She was an ominous, mythological
creature, sometimes mentioned by the scouts in the deep Catskill woods where I’d
taken them for a two-week stay as part of the program I ran for the troop. She existed only there, and that’s why one of
the Tenderfeet asked me to call up his parents to take him home. She
had reportedly, according to the boys’ stories, killed some scouts in
the woods, and the Tenderfoot or new scout told me she shook his platform tent
at night. An inspection of his tent
showed a thin string leading from the top of his tent pole to a tree and back
to the tent of one of the older, Star scouts.
I had a serious talk with that scout, and the problem was solved.
I could have been a proselytizer, but I
was head of a multi-faith troop, and that was out of the question. I couldn’t tell them of another lady, known
to millions as Our Lady, who was almost mythological too, but who had existed
about 2,000 years ago as the mother of the man who influenced Western
Civilization more than any other man in history.
I was sitting out on the patio one morning when I noticed a dragon fly (yes, I’m sure it wasn’t a damsel fly, which looks almost the same) light with its almost transparent wings on an iron tomato support. It stayed there about five minutes and then flitted away. It came back almost immediately to the same position, facing the sun. It would repeat this several times in forty-five minutes, always resting with the left wings down and facing the sun.
To me this was a mystery, though I’m sure in the annals of nature there is an explanation. We go through life meeting many such enigmas, and yet we are sure we understand life and the possibility of God.
How many times have I suddenly become aware that a prayer or a hope has been fulfilled? We don’t realize what’s going on part of the time. It’s like growing a sunflower; suddenly there’s a big flower on it with seeds, and the time has come to harvest it.
I don’t know if heaven was made for me. I’d probably miss out on half of what’s going on. I’m part Zwingli (the Swiss reformer) and missed out on the Catholic Marian devotion. I didn’t know it could appeal to a man, too (Juan Diego), and so didn’t notice that other road to God. As they said in 500 A.D., “All roads lead to Rome,” paraphrased by “All roads lead to Christ.”
Whoever heard that a gift of the Lord
was evil? Take the recent New York
billionaire who used his wealth to abuse children and seduce young ladies. Was his gift of wealth evil? Does God lead us into temptation?
Temptation is part of life, but God’s
gifts are not evil. What we do with them
can be evil. I suspect the billionaire’s
wealth was gained by taking advantage of others, either illegally or
unfairly. There was no concern for
others—cheat, steal, oppress. Do this
and the oyster is yours.
There is a decided bias against wealth
in the New Testament. The New York
Trader explains that by his life history.
I come from the same heritage as the Swiss Guard. Fidelity should be inbred in me from the days when Switzerland was one of the poorest nations in Europe; the young men of that Alpine nation hired out their skill with weapons and their loyalty. I am no longer for hire, but my wife knows I am loyal.
It is part of Western Civilization now. A young woman who worked in the Peace Corps in Senegal observed how in that nation, women who were married to one man sold their sexual favors for a few cents in order to have money for shopping. Senegal definitely does not have a Judeo-Christian tradition, and a man in that Muslim country can have several wives.
We are not that good at keeping up our own tradition, but we try. We work at it, and in the end, the Word is still there.
“If you’re not a liberal at twenty, you have no heart; if you’re not a conservative at forty, you have no brain.” Winston Churchill. The husband of Joan O’Shaughnessy sent me that one, and it sums up some of the other people I know. Life has its challenges, right?
Conservatives must be able to see beyond a man’s background, otherwise Trump would be intolerable. But he’s got the heart of America, America which can ignore some faults. Hey, I’ve prospered, right?
Yea, Sir Winston, I’m past forty, and like my brothers, conservative, at least mostly, and that mostly means I still have room for the heart. Yes, send me your wretched from your teeming Salvadoran shores, and I’ll try to make room for at least one more.
I heard Sharpton accuse Trump of racism. The old racism card. I listen to Trump, but I heard no racism. Child-like reaction to being attacked, but no racism. AOC and Ilhan are not black (Ilhan is decidedly more Muslim than black) and in my book, being told to go back where you came from is not racism, it’s just plain insult. Sharpton needs to learn rationality, not fake news. Trump needs to learn courtesy.