Tuesday, May 24, 2005

A Christian Nation

Howdy! I've been hearing a lot lately about evangelical Christians and their attempts to "reclaim America for Christ" and how we here in the US should be "a Christian Nation".I have found the notion of "a Christian Nation" frightening but I've been thinking about what kind of nation that could be if it was Christian at its best.Jesus, according to the Gospel of Matthew, describes the way he'd like to see our society. And, truth be told, it's rather attractive. Shortly before his death he describes the judgement of humanity when the end comes.
The Sovereign will say to those on the right: "Come You have my Parents' blessing! Inherit the the realm prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me. I was ill and you comforted me, in prison and you came to visit me." Then the just will ask: "When did we see you hungry and feed you or see you thirsty and give you drink? When did we welcome you away from home or clothe you in your nakedness? When did we nurse you when you were ill or visit you in prison?" The Soverign will answer them: "I assure you, as often as you did it for one of my little sisters and brothers, you did it for me." Matthew 25:34-39 (NAB inclusified)
Just try to imagine what America would be like if our government was based on these principles
We would have programs to feed the country, no child would go to bed hungry. Everyone would start the day with a good breakfast.
0We would have clean water because the government would insist the polluters clean up their messes.
We would welcome emigrants and refugees as well as the undocumented workers.
Workers would have safe and healthy working conditions just as a matter of course.
We would have a national health care system that really works and a prison system that is based on rehabilitation and not revenge.
Funny, I can't imagine this a world like this. Perhaps I've lost hope......

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Hail to the Chief

Hail to the Chief
I can’t begin to count the number of times they played Hail to the Chief today. I got to wondering where this earworm* came from. Seems the words are from Sir Walter Scott’s Lady of the Lake, published in 1810. (Yes there are words!) And the music, by James Sanderson, is from the London musical version of the poem. It didn’t take long to cross "the pond" and in 1815 was used at a memorial service for George Washington. According to the , Julia Tyler, wife of President John Tyler (who served from 1841 to 1845), was the first to ask that the song be used to announce the commander in chief's arrival. But it was another first lady, Sarah Polk, wife of President James K. Polk (1845-1849), who requested that "Hail to the Chief" be played routinely for presidential entrances. According to historian William Seale, Sarah Polk was concerned that her husband "was not an impressive figure, so some announcement was necessary to avoid the embarrassment of his entering a crowded room unnoticed." Funny how a short man’s insecurity lead to this Presidential March based on a London music hall melody! So I promised you the words…..enjoy! Hail to the Chief we have chosen for the nation, Hail to the Chief! We salute him, one and all. Hail to the Chief, as we pledge co-operation In proud fulfillment of a great, noble call. Yours is the aim to make this grand country grander, This you will do, That's our strong, firm belief. Hail to the one we selected as commander, Hail to the President! Hail to the Chief! [Repeat as often as necessary to get him where he‘s going!] * an "earworm" is a tune that once you hear it, you just can't get outta your head!

Monday, January 17, 2005

Happy Birthday Dear Martin

Sorry to be away so long. It’s been one of those strange and delightful weeks…I’ll explain sometime.
Today we celebrate the Rev. Martin Luther King.
I grew up in Salt Lake City, not a hotbed of civil rights! All my life I knew Hispanics and Native Americans ( I won’t repeat what most people called these folks) but I didn’t meet an African American until I was 18. I grew up in a church that at that time taught that blacks carried the "mark of Cain." Cursed they couldn’t hold the "Priesthood" (something that every other boy in the church received at age 12.
In 1968 I was a senior at Highland High School and also a student at the Highland LDS Seminary, a released time non-credit program for Mormon high school students. I sang with the Seminary Choir. One night at our weekly rehearsal someone interrupted to announce that Dr. King had been slain…the room erupted in cheers. (Everybody "knew" he was a communist, right?) I slipped out the back door went out to my dad’s car and broke down in tears. It wasn’t because I was particularly sensitive to the plight of blacks or the struggles for freedom. Somehow I knew this man was changing the world. I was overwhelmed with sadness and I didn’t know why! As I look back I am so glad I cried instead of cheered. At least I don’t have that on my conscience!

Wednesday, January 5, 2005

I keep talking about "we"...well this is the man who makes "me" into "we" and "us"!

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas

Here in Baltimore we are having a very early Spring...rain instead of snow, dark cloudy skies instead of glaringly bright off of snow. Most bizarre.
Last Sunday we cohosted an Open House with our backdoor neighbor (and my longest term friend) Steven. Our friends and business partners Jeff and Isaac came up from Bowie with Jeff's dad and two cousins visiting for the holidays. Our friends Kate and Pam brought two friends who are moving here from Florida. Mark and Dennis, a couple from across town, and Ed and Rick two of the most talented artists/musicians I've ever known. Patty Kay our next door neighbor also stopped by. It was good to gather after the holiday chaos. Eat and catch up. I made a fabulous pork roast and some vegitarian curry/chili. We ate a lot, drank enough and all had a good time. And so it is in a world beset by tsunamis, war, chaos and confusion a handful of people gathered onthe 8th Day of Christmas. For all my complaining I have to admit that I am well blessed in the friends I have around me. They are my real family.
That's all, nothing profound, no great poetry just the musings of an old bear in Baltimore! Grace and Peace!

Saturday, January 1, 2005

Auld Lang Syne

Every year around this time of night we hear one of the innumerable versions of Robert Burns classic Auld Lang Syne. Written in 1788 I can't help but wonder how many have read the words and, considering the thick Scot's dialect, understood them. So here's your chance to at least read them. Good luck with the translation!

Auld Lang Syne
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

Chorus.-For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye'll be your pint stowp!
And surely I'll be mine!
And we'll tak a cup o'kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.


We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou'd the gowans fine;
But we've wander'd mony a weary fit, S
in' auld lang syne.


We twa hae paidl'd in the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
Sin' auld lang syne.


And there's a hand, my trusty fere!
And gie's a hand o' thine!
And we'll tak a right gude-willie waught,
For auld lang syne.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

And so we end 2004 and begin 2005.
2004 was a hard year for us but we survived it in reasonably fine style. Let us hope that 2005 will be a better year. My hope for you and us is this: May there be fewer strangers and more friends in our lives and may the friends we have this night be our friends this time next year.
And may we be at peace in our hearts, our families, our lives and our world.
Much Love