Thankful

As seen on a rural church sign:

It’s not happy people who are thankful…
It’s thankful people who are happy


(painting by Henry A. Bacon 1877 of Mary Chilton stepping onto “Plymouth Rock” /
Mary Chilton is my long ago relative)

Back in the early 1950s my grandmother, my dad’s mother, did extensive genealogy work.
She had her reasons and I confess that I am so grateful she did

It is because of her exhausting work that both my family, my cousins and I,
have a valuable gift of our lineage.

Lineage, that being the line from whence we come.
Even the Bible offers us the extensive lineage of Jesus—
We are also all a part of that same extensive lineage, yet that story is for another day.
Today’s tale is about a single family’s lineage and the gratitude for that lineage.

Now if you’ve read my posts regarding my adoption,
you know I actually have two family trees.

I have a biological tree that I know very little about.
And I also have an adopted tree, a tree and a people that have each embraced me
as their own.
It is a most extensive tree.

What my grandmother started almost 70 ago was no easy task.

She had to do a lot of leg work on her own as well as seek the help of many others.
She had to write a myriad of letters and make many personal phone calls to various state
record departments as well as to state historians in order to enlist their help in
researching her family’s past.

This was long before there were computers, databases, DNA Genealogy companies—
as archaic landlines were the standard norm.
Most calls were considered long distance…meaning you paid extra for long-distance calls.
But my grandmother was determined.

What she didn’t realize then, in her seemingly very personal quest, was
that she was giving her lineage, her grandchildren
one of the greatest gifts she could give.

That of a collective uniting history.

In those days there were no immediate connections, so her quest took time.

She had to request birth, death and marriage certificates.
She had to scour family bibles and records.
She had to have documents notarized and verified.
She traveled to courthouses.
She had to get the assistance of others in other states to visit distant courthouses
and churches and cemeteries in order to do a large portion of the digging.

For you see, my grandmother knew she had come from a line of people who
were important to the founding of this now great nation and she needed the proper
validation to be able to be granted the acknowledgment by such organizations as
The Daughters of The American Revolution, The Daughters of the Mayflower, The Pilgrims Society,
The Colonist Society, The Huguenot Society, etc.

This woman, who was born in 1896 in a small country town in the middle of the state
of Georgia, had actually come to be there by way England.

But from England, it was first to Plymouth…and from Plymouth, Massachusettes it was
to various towns in the colony of Massachusetts then to the city of Bristol in the colony
of Rhode Island, next, it was to the city of Savannah in the colony of Georgia
and finally to the tiny town of Molena in the state of Georgia…
but the final resting place was to be Atlanta, Georgia.

Her 10th great grandmother was Pricilla Mullins of London, England.
Pricilla Mullins was married to John Alden of Essex, England.
John was a cooper aka, a barrell maker.
John had a dream and Pricilla shared her husband’s dream.

They were on that fateful ship that we tend to remember each Thanksgiving,
just as we remember that first colony of Plymouth and of that first
celebration of not only survival but the beginning of thriving in a new land.

The Alden’s first daughter born on this new mysterious land was named Elizabeth–
the purported first white European girl born to the Plymouth Colony.

So yes, Thanksgiving is important to me on a family’s historical level…
but it is more important to me as a grateful American.

For it matters not how we came…be it those who were first here on the continent,
or if we came via Plymouth, a slave ship, Ellis Island or came with a visa in our
hand seeking citizenship…we have come…
We also have come in various shades of color.
Red, White, Brown, Black, Yellow…

We fought and died creating a new nation just as we’ve fought and died keeping her free.

It troubles me terribly that our society has developed a tendency to gloss over Thanksgiving…
basically jumping from Halloween to Christmas in one fell swoop…
But we can blame that on our obsession with materialism…
which is in actuality a loss of thankfulness.

Yet what is most troubling is that we now have many voices crying out that we rename this
day of thanks.
Some smugly stated that this is only a day of overindulgence and eating.
They claim Thanksgiving is not a day this Nation should recall let alone recognize.

One of our fellow bloggers, Citizen Tom, offered the following post regarding
our Nation’s Thanksgiving observation and celebration.

I highly recommend taking the time to read his post as it is a beautiful reminder
as to why Thanksgiving matters.

AN AMERICAN FIRST THANKSGIVING

This from President Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1789

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next
to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being,
who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is,
or that will be–
That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks–
for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming
a Nation–for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions
of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war–
for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty,
which we have since enjoyed–for the peaceable and rational manner,
in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government
for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted–
for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed;
and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;
and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath
been pleased to confer upon us

distortions, lunacy or both?

“Finding the right spirit for the Chruch…the Chruch needs the Holy Spirit.
And that is not the spirit currently serving the Chruch.

You cannot serve two gods.”
Bishop Gavin Ashenden

The Church ought to have noticed that one of the aspects of the New Left and its
ambition for culture is that it literally hates ‘Judaeo-Christian’ values.
At this point, the new alliance between Islam
(given a special pass by the New Left as both an ally in destroying Judaeo-Christianity,
and because it is a minority in Europe) and the Left makes it impact energetically felt.

Bishop Gavin Ashenden


(cyclists in Cophenhagen, Denmark)

I recently watched the latest offering of Anglican Unscripted…
I’ve posted the clip below.

In the conversation between Kevin the host and Bishop Ashenden the guest,
a conversation which primarily focuses on the ailing Chruch of England as well as
her sister affiliation, or perhaps more like her red-headed step-child–
that being The Episcopal Chruch here in the US, the conversation deviated toward a recent
trending news story coming out of London.

It seems that the mayor of London, who is Muslim, complained publically that there is not
enough ethnicity amongst those who cycle throughout the streets of London.

Huh?!

It seems that the fact that the majority of cyclists, be it those who are cycling for exercise
or cycling as a means of transportation, are predominately white middle-aged males.

This small observational fact troubles the mayor.
He is calling for a more diverse population of cyclists.

Hummmmm…

How does one go about such a task?

Advertise to those of varying skin tones, ethnicities, and genders, etc. that cycling
through the congested and rather traffic-heavy streets of a major global city would be fun
and a good idea?

This coming on the heels of rising reports of severe injury and even death amongst those
who are currently opting to bike these so-called undiverse streets.

Maybe the ethnicities and varying genders are wise in that they prefer not to play
‘dodge the truck and car’ while opting not to breathe the noxious and deadly exhaust fumes…

But it is this very nonsense of a mayor who is over-reaching to extremes in wanting to mix up
the colors he’s noticing on his streets riding bikes, that the Chruch of England is also
headed…headed to a dangerous precipice in her own over-reaching.

The Church of England is promoting the idea, nay enforcing the mandate,
that the pulpits throughout the UK should be more full of diversity.
More homosexuals, more women, more varieties of skin color and more transgender individuals.

Bishop Ashenden notes in a recent article that piggybacks off of his Anglican Unscripted
interview,
“It has been said that we don’t get ideas; they get us.
Two announcements have been made recently by parts of the Church of England.
One was that it looked to increase the quota of ethnic and other minorities ordained
to the Christian priesthood,
and the other was the promotion of transgendered people as clergy.”

The good Bishop continues….
“The second idea is simply an intensification of the first.
We have been hearing so much about minorities and diversity in recent years,
it can be hard to remember that these are artificial political categories that have not been
around very long.

By artificial, what I mean is that they are all to do with category and not with content.
The categories are political ones that allow a language based on power to be used and developed.
What is an ‘ethnic minority’?
It all depends on where you use the word.
In England it becomes a euphemism for non-indigenous people.
What would it mean in India.
There an Englishman or woman would be part of the ethnic minority.
Do you ever hear anyone show concern for the English as an ethnic minority in India?
No, of course not.

This is a strategy of what we are calling the New Left, and it’s a very dangerous one.
Its intention is to capture both politics and culture and radically change them.

But this in itself has terrible implications. The whole idea of the incarnation,
is that God became a human to save His lost children.
But one of the very clear elements in the Bible is that God deals with people individually
and not collectively.
He engages with us at a direct personal level,
not through our parents, tribe skin colour, intelligence or sex.

In fact, St Paul goes further with the matter of homosexuality and talks only of acts,
sexual intimacy entered into.
There are no such thing as gay or homosexual Christians.
Secularists might want to describe themselves as gay or homosexual,
though even then it seems strangely shallow to sum up a whole human being through the
filter of their sexual appetite.
In fact, it represents a decadent and sad diminution of the way one looks at people.

Even Gore Vidal, one of the homosexual revolutions most articulate advocate despised the idea
of calling people gay.
In an interview with the London Times his interviewer wrote,
“Vidal says that he hates labels and has said he believes in homosexual acts
rather than homosexual people.”

The moment a Church starts talking about gay Christians it has been captured by an
anti-Christian idea, some would go further and say ‘an anti-Christian spirit.

Our dear Bishop closes his latest post offering with the following wisdom…

At what point might the Church of England notice that is has given up the life and language of the New Testament and the grace of the transforming Holy Spirit for the death and incoherence of politicisation and the stagnation of the spirit of the age?

There is a way out. There is one door through which the Church can pass in order find its freedom, but it is the door of repentance of action and ‘metanoia’, a transformation of the mind and soul.

In the language of the Church, in order to be the Church, trans needs to stand for transformation, not trans-sexual.

A distorted church;- where ‘trans’ stands for transsexual not transformation – and stagnation replaces salvation.

“provoke to love and good works”

Here also is security for the welfare and renown of a commonwealth;
for no state is perfectly established and preserved otherwise than on the
foundation and by the bond of faith and of firm concord,
when the highest and truest common good, namely, God, is loved by all,
and men love each other in Him without dissimulation,
because they love one another for His sake from whom they cannot disguise
the real character of their love

St Augustine


(poor example of spontaneous note taking / Julie Cook / 2018)

Well….
it happened that before I could elaborate on last week’s video offering
by the Scottish pastor David Robertson..that being a video posting from his
Wee Flea Blog and the SOLAS conference talk given in 2010—
during the course of the weekend here came another posting.

It seems our Wee Flea friend is faster at offering tasty morsels than I am at
digesting them and then in turn sharing the nourishment of the morsel with you…..

This time the posting is from a 2013 SOLAS conference which focuses on education
and the poor.

Very powerful, sobering and collar grabbing kind of stuff.

And well, you didn’t think a retired educator, a Christian retired educator,
one who taught for 31 years in the secular public educational system of the
United States could actually pass over such a tempting morsel without stopping
to take it all in did you??

Despite this latest SOLAS (remember Gaelic for Light) offering running for
nearly an hour…I couldn’t let it pass without giving it my undivided attention.

During last week’s video offering, I wrote down two quotes of David’s…

“When you remove Christianity from a country, [its] education declines”

“Secularism doesn’t educate you—it dumbs you down.”

I was struck by both of those statements.

And as I am also a faithful reader of Citizen Tom’s blog (https://citizentom.com)
as Tom often points out the dire and dismal state of the educational system in the
United States, I knew these two statements were indeed onto something….

And before I could properly digest and share my copious note taking from the previous
posting, here came this latest posting over the weekend.

My weekend was such that I had to put off watching this particular video until
this Monday morning when I could carve out an hour’s time…
in order to properly sort things out.
Yet on top of just watching the video, came the sorting of the notes and then the
turning around and offering to you a proper post regarding David’s talk…

So now picture me holding my hands to my head in a bit of a tizzy while visions of the
National Football Championship dance dizzily around my head…
There are homemade cookies and homemade pizza preparations to get underway all
for this evening’s big game festivities…..GO DAWGS…while my head was still
swirling with what I’d gleaned from David’s talk.
(well, I wrote this before the big game obviously—now, we won’t talk about it)

But back to the SOLAS clip….

Do yourself another favor—carve out the time to watch this.
Especially if you are a teacher, have children or grandchildren who attend schools
or are simply worried about our youth and their future…..

You should note however when watching the video that there is one huge difference
between the educational system in Scotland verses the educational system
in the United States.
The educational system in Scotland is considered a state Christian System by law
verses our very separate and secular school system in the US.

But the message remains the same—as there is a growing gap between rich and poor
in educational opportunities in both of our nations.

David noted an example….
The more affluent families can easily afford after school and out of school tutors.
Whereas a finer tutor, say in London, might fetch 400 pounds an hour—
such a tutor in Dundee, Scotland might command only 15 pounds an hour—
but no matter, as both kids, be it from London or Dundee, those who can afford a
tutor already have a step up the ladder from those disadvantaged kids from lower
income families who can’t afford any sort of tutor….

If you’ve never heard of Thomas Guthrie, it’s worth clicking on the following link for
a bit of background on a man whose life has played a rich part of the
educational system in Scotland other than that of John Knox himself who boldly
stated that “wherever there is a church, there shall be a school.”

https://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/1801-1900/reformer-thomas-guthrie-11630341.html

Guthrie (1803-1873), a man who studied to become a doctor but became, upon graduating college, a minister instead held as his mission statement…
regarding those he ministered to in Scotland, that education was essential to saving
the less fortunate from a life of ignorance, squalor, disease, idleness and poverty.

He saw that education and learning were the keys to opening doors and turning away
from the vicious cycles of hunger, alcoholism, crime and poverty that was rife
within the families of the poor and disadvantaged…
Guthrie therefore petitioned Parliament to make compulsory education mandatory
in order to help save the children and future children from an assumed destiny
of misery.

Yet Guthrie maintained that such an education had to have Christianity as its root.
How else would morality anchor itself within society.
As we bewildered watch the secular movement today creating its “social engineering”
of the masses.

The physical threshold of each school Guthrie founded was to be fashioned with the
carving of an open Bible with the motto written, “Search the Scriptures”

Yet David notes that there will always be secular resistance as the secular world
pushes ever closer to ultimately having a society without God.
However David holds firm to the notion that without Christianity,
we will destroy Education….
***and in turn destroy our civilization…
(*** my 2 cents)

And David presents this polestar thought with laser precision in this talk.

David admonishes us all…those of us who confess the Faith of Jesus Christ…
that as Christians it is our moral obligation that we should be making education
and our schools a top priority…be it here in the States or there in Scotland.

Yet I don’t see that happening here anytime soon.

He reminds each of us not to simply leave it to the schools to educate our kids
as to what is a Christian worldview—but it is up to us…us being the ones who need
to chiefly see to that responsibility.

And I dare say, that most of us have grown rather complacent here in the States.
The upper tier pay exorbitant yearly fees to upper crust schools for a
private education, that even though some of the private institutions claim a church denomination’s backing…as I dare ask is that a worldly looking denomination???

Leaving everyone else to the charge of the state and federally funded school
systems—schools, many of which, are woefully lacking and are stymied in
their ability to lay a moralistic foundation…due greatly in part to the fact that
we have erased our Christian heritage from the very system our founding fathers state
as being an important component to the fledgling new nation’s growth and development.

Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.
Proverbs 4:13

St Stephens Day

You desire that which exceeds my humble powers,
but I trust in the compassion and mercy of the All-powerful God.

Saint Stephen


(portion of the Demidoff Altarpiece 1476 / The National Gallery / London, England)

In the Acts of the Apostles, St. Luke praises St. Stephen as
“a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit,” who
“did great wonders and signs among the people”
during the earliest days of the Church.

Luke’s history of the period also includes the moving scene of Stephen’s death –
witnessed by St. Paul before his conversion –
at the hands of those who refused to accept Jesus as the Jewish Messiah.

Stephen himself was a Jew who most likely came to believe in Jesus
during the Lord’s ministry on earth. He may have been among the 70 disciples
whom Christ sent out as missionaries, who preached the coming of God’s kingdom while traveling with almost no possessions.

This spirit of detachment from material things continued in the early Church,
in which St. Luke says believers “had all things in common”
and “would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all,
as any had need.”

But such radical charity ran up against the cultural conflict between
Jews and Gentiles, when a group of Greek widows felt neglected
in their needs as compared to those of a Jewish background.

Stephen’s reputation for holiness led the Apostles to choose him,
along with six other men,
to assist them in an official and unique way as this dispute arose.
Through the sacramental power given to them by Christ,
the Apostles ordained the seven men as deacons,
and set them to work helping the widows.

As a deacon, Stephen also preached about Christ as the fulfillment of the
Old Testament law and prophets. Unable to refute his message,
some members of local synagogues brought him before their religious authorities,
charging him with seeking to destroy their traditions.

Stephen responded with a discourse recorded in the seventh chapter of the Acts
of the Apostles.
He described Israel’s resistance to God’s grace in the past,
and accused the present religious authorities of “opposing the Holy Spirit”
and rejecting the Messiah.

Before he was put to death, Stephen had a vision of Christ in glory.
“Look,” he told the court,
“I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”

The council, however, dragged the deacon away and stoned him to death.

“While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,’”
records St. Luke in Acts 7.
“Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice,
‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’
When he had said this, he died.”

The first Christian martyrdom was overseen by a Pharisee named Saul –
later Paul, and still later St. Paul –
whose own experience of Christ would transform him into a believer,
and later a martyr himself.

—Catholic News Agency

we the people

“where there is a crime, there is an investigation…
where then is there an investigation hoping for a crime?”

Charles Krauthammer

I have been arguing for years that our society is becoming more intolerant,
not less and that in rejecting our Christian roots we will end up
rejecting our Christian fruits (including tolerance).

David Robertson

“Their common enemy is now an illiberal and feral anti-religious movement
which wants to criminalise faith.”

Kevin McKenna


(a tiny plucked fig rests on a bed of freshly picked herbs / Julie Cook / 2017)

Since today is Sunday, the Christian sabbath, I thought it timely, and perhaps
rather important, that I use today’s post to remind us, the Faithful,
that as we now rest and enjoy this holy day, that we should remember that there
are those who are waiting in the wings for our undoing….
and lest any of you think me daft or suffering from
the heat, all you need to do is look around your world….

The following excerpts are from an article written by journalist Kevin McKenna
which appeared in a recent column in The Guardian.
The Guardian being an odd place to find an article written by a journalist
who is alarmed by the brewing trouble he sees on the horizon for both
Christianity and our Western Civilization…
for The Guardian is known for its more left and liberal offerings.

The article is based on the current situation in Scotland but I believe we could
pull out the word Scotland inserting rather say Boston or Atlanta
or London…maybe New York, Berlin, San Francisco,Paris…or…well,
you get the idea….as it the sentiment is one of a global scale and not
merely localized to Scotland.

So maybe, just maybe, we see a bit of common sense actually filtering out of the
proverbial turnip….

Thus, if you sincerely believe that a human life in the womb is
deserving of as much protection as any other human life you are considered
an extremist and obviously (if you are male) a sexist who is guilty of
crimes against feminism. If you sincerely believe that the sacrament of
marriage is “a covenant by which a man and a woman establish between
themselves a partnership of the whole of life and which is ordered by
its nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education
of offspring” then there are people in Scotland who would wish to have you
jailed for homophobic hate crime.
And if you support the concept of faith schools then you are fuelling
sectarianism, despite there never having been a scintilla of evidence
to support such a specious claim.

It’s this insidious campaign of intolerance against Christians in Scotland
that Archbishop of Glasgow Philip Tartaglia sought to address in a recent essay
for the US online publication Crux which is influential in Vatican circles.
The archbishop claimed too many Catholics had become “wishy-washy”
about their faith.
They were being challenged by robust secularism,
according to the archbishop,
which was hostile to believing “in anything supernatural;
in anything they can’t see or touch or experience;
or in anything beyond modelling and encouraging decent behaviour”.

The Reverend David Robertson,
former moderator of the Free Church of Scotland and perhaps the most influential
Christian thinker in Scotland today,
knows what the archbishop is talking about.
The Rev Robertson has been the victim of a sustained campaign of abuse for many
years now simply for re-emphasising Christian teaching on the
sanctity of life and the meaning of marriage.
One of the big lies that have been allowed to take shape in modern,
diverse Scotland where all are apparently welcome is that failure to sign up to
the mainstream view of society and what it means to be human is evidence of hate.

If you are anti-abortion you must hate women;
if you are against same-sex marriage then you must be homophobic.
It’s a falsehood and a pernicious one at that.
Hatred of gay, lesbian and trans-gender people and hate crimes against women
are serious and ugly issues.
But knowingly to manipulate ignorance around these issues to make false
accusations against people whose religion you resent is an equally serious and ugly matter.

Kevin McKenna

Please find the full article posted here on the link to The Wee Flea—
whose author just so happens to be one of the victims of today’s
ugly and hate filled anti-Chrisitan rhetoric….

Kevin McKenna – It is time to stand up to those who wish to criminalise faith – article in The Herald

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.
If you were of the world, the world would love its own;
but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world,
therefore the world hates you.

John 15:18-19

Defense or offense

Every good citizen makes his country’s honor his own,
and cherishes it not only as precious but as sacred.
He is willing to risk his life in its defense and is conscious
that he gains protection while he gives it.

Andrew Jackson

If I were a high school coach, I would put my best players on offense.
The best athletes on my team, I would give them the ball and score points.
I wouldn’t play them on defense.
I would play them where they can get the ball and score points.

Nick Saban


( Law enforcement canvases London’s streets / photo courtesy 570 News, OT, Canada )

Which do you want to play…
Defense
or
Offense?

Nick Saban is a coach who knows a thing or two about playing offense and defense.
He knows football.
And he seems to think offense is the way to go.
Because Coach Saban knows offense scores the points and wins the games.
And isn’t that the goal…
to win the game?

When a team’s defense spends the majority of the game on the field,
it usually means they’re not winning.
The game is probably now lopsided and the defense is spending entirely way too
much time working to keep the opposition from running up the score.

Player’s hands are seen resting on hips as they are bent over in the huddle winded.
Arm tackles take over the more successful full body tackle because players are tired.
Mistakes become blatantly apparent as play becomes sloppy in the fog of fatigue.
And if the truth be told, the players just want the clock to run out so they can
blessedly just finally get off the field and end the bleeding.

Offense is goal oriented not goal stopping.
Offense is sitting in the driver’s seat while working to capitalize on scoring
and winning.
As that’s the key to any game…winning.

But it seems to me that Western Civilization has been playing defense.

The above image of masked law enforcement canvasing streets should not be the face of
what has become the new normal….
Not the cost that politicians flippantly brush off as to living in larger cities.
Fear of crowds, fear at sporting venues, fear at concerts, fear at historical landmarks,
fear of dining in popular neighborhoods, fear of flying, fear of riding on trains,
fear of walking across a bridge…

Defense can only do so much.
And obviously our defense is not working…

Then David said to Solomon his son,
“Be strong and of good courage, and do it.
Fear not, be not dismayed; for the Lord God, even my God, is with you.
He will not fail you or forsake you, until all the work for the service
of the house of the Lord is finished.

1 Chronicles 28:20

remembering one of the good guys

“It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation.
Not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people,
but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say,
“Wait on time.”

Martin Luther King Jr

sir-nicholas-winton
(Sir Nicholas Winton / Foto: SITA/Nina Bednáriková)

This past week, the BBC ran a story about a recent memorial event held at London’s Guildhall.
The event was a tribute honoring one of Britain’s own, Sir Nicholas Winton.

On more than one occasion I’ve written about Sir Winton and of his tremendous gift of life afforded to the children of a very hopeless and dark time in our world’s history.
His was an unassuming selflessness quietly extended by one human being, freely given to another human being, and then another and another…given upwards to 669 times.

669 which grew exponentially over time to 7000…

We must never doubt that one person can make a difference—

Nicholas Winton continues reminding each of us, even a year following his death, that
one person is not only capable of making a positive difference in the lives of others but that that difference has the chance of tremendous growth…

Revisiting the humble heroism of Sir Nicolas Winton….

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-36329801

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-36325187