It is a delight to be the spouse of a hard working, joy-filled, dedicated man.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Just Thinking Through The Eye of a Mutt

I was raised Catholic but from my mother's side, German, French and Danish in ethnicity.

My father claimed primarily Scotch-Irish decent and, until his third child was born, was Presbyterian in faith. But not unlike the the first Scotch-Irish that came to North America in the seventeen hundreds, my father felt strongly for the oppressed and was a fighter, perhaps not to the wild extent of his youngest daughter, he was able to channel it better into socially acceptable determination to get things done, he was fierce in what he did and what he believed in.

Family history plays a large part in my views on things but oft times heritage does not necessarily play out entirely as one might expect. But I was raised not only by my parents but by an Irish Catholic priest and the nuns who taught at the school he oversaw.

We learned the Irish jig each year, we sang Irish music during music classes, many of my classmates had auburn hair and freckles, there were a few dark haired, blue eyed students, it was evident that there were many Irish families in our parish. I was rather steeped in Irish at school, if not completely at home.

When I went to college and had a chance to pick a narrow area of study in history, I naturally gravitated to Irish History, and I learned a lot. One of the many things I came across was a piece written by Jonathan Swift. The author of Gulliver's Travels was an Anglo-Irish, the privileged class in Ireland.

Somewhat similar to Saint Patrick, he was a Brit that returned to Ireland, St Patrick went back for the people, Jonathan Swift changed because of the people. His A_Modest_Proposal was a satyric piece aimed at the oppressive class in defense of the oppressed. The basic point is that civilized society would find it beyond repugnant to raise infants for profit but that same society doesn't bat a privileged eyelash at oppressing another class of people to the point of debilitating weakness and death. Those not of the privilege class, but not of the greatly oppressed, were only too happy to not put any pressure on the privileged for their own sakes.

Sometimes our views don't run straight lines from our heritage, sometimes they veer off and follow something else entirely, such as principles based on Scriptures:

Malachi 3:5 "So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me," says the LORD Almighty.

James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Matthew 25:34-45 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'
"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

So yes, I love and appreciate what has gone before me to exemplify these scriptures and be my cloud of witnesses, a bold Saint as Patrick, an outspoken critic of his own people and culture as Swift and my folks, both of them. Good honest God-fearing people trying to make good the best they knew how.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

That is the stock I come from and sometimes I like to think my stalk runs to the green side. The color of freedom and life.

Dear Reader, I pray that you had a good day today. My day was excellent because fortunately, more and more, what rings true in my life is that it is not based on whether the cupcakes turn out, or that we even remember to take to town the ones that were okay enough, or half a dozen other things that makes my day fall short of my plans. Those are all the things of periphery and not the substance. I am thankful that those ahead of me are sweet and kind enough to allow me to catch up to them without being overly critical, because I'm just not all the way to where they are at yet.

You know there sure seems to be a lot we can spend our day praying for: the big obvious stuff that is going on in the world, conflict, hunger, theft, abuse; the up close and personal, loss of employment, health, grief, misunderstandings, things even so small as lost papers and missed deadlines. Listen to your neighbors and friends and you will never be without something to pray for.

Good night Dear Reader and God bless.
No man - I don't care how colossal his intellect - No man is greater than his prayer life. Leonard Ravenhill


KathyB. said...

Well, there is some Danish in you too! I always think of you when I think of the Irish, because you're the first person who ever told me about that particular piece of Jonathon Swift's writing . Made and impact!

And yes, we need only to look to our family and friends to find needs of prayer and help that we can do in a practical way.

Happy day AFTER St. Patrick's day to you all.

Karen said...

Yes, as Americans, we need to humble ourselves and pray. Thanks for your encouragement today.

Anonymous said...

I have four friends who have recently lost their jobs. As you say, if we truly listen with our hearts, there are many things to take to the Lord in prayer.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

i was trying to read but i kept looking at the cake!!!

smiles, bee

Tipper said...

A very thought provoking post for me Lanny. Interesting to think of where and who you come from and how that filters down into the way you view the world-the good and the bad.

I just noticed the quote you have in your sidebar-about the Church once being a lifeboat-Makes me want to say AMEN!!

Jennifer said...

What a well written and thought out post. Very thought provoking too. I really enjoyed it. Happy (late) St. Patrick's Day!

Cliff said...

I took pause when I got to the missed deadlines being ranked as small. I need to have you talk to my editor about that. He may disagree but I'm a fan of your thinking.

Sparky ♥ ∞ said...

That was very good but I'm suffering from Brain Fart today. I can't get my thoughts together. Must be all that heavy, rich food I ate yesterday but I did enjoy hearing some of your family history. :o) ♥ ∞

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Mmmm that sure is a GREEN cupcake! :D :D So what happened to them??

Ted M. Gossard said...

Amen, to most all you say here. Actually Amen to it all!!!

My heritage is somewhat French and German I guess, my wife thinks a majority is French. Don't know what that means, but I'll take it.

Daisy said...

Wow! Those are VERY green cupcakes! :D

We are the sum total of our past, aren't we. Happy belated St. Patrick's day to you and yours, Lanny. Thought-provoking post.

Lea of Farmhouse Blessings said...

Profound post, Lanny. That is the second time in 3 days that the scripture in James was brought to me. I really have some seeking to do.

Blessings, Lea