Who Decided What Went Into The Bible?

When scholars talk about how a book qualified to be called Scripture, they list five characteristics called “the laws of canonicity.”

By Hal Seed

Just about everyone wants to know how the sixty-six books got chosen to be in the Bible. Why these sixty-six? Why not a few more (or a few less)? Why these books and not others?

In Persecution in the Early Church, Herbert Workman tells the story of a Christian who was brought before the Roman governor of Sicily during the last great persecution of the church. His crime? Possessing a copy of the Gospels.

The governor asked, “Where did these come from? Did you bring them from your home?”

The believer replied, “I have no home, as my Lord Jesus knows.”

The governor asked his prisoner to read a portion of the Gospels. He chose a portion of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Next he read from Luke: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

At this, the judge ordered the prisoner taken away — to his death.

Under Roman law new religions were illegal. In its first few decades Christianity was seen as a sect within Judaism. Once it was determined that Christianity was a separate religion, it became illegal to identify as a Christian. So, for the first three centuries of what we now call the Christian Era, it was a crime to be Christian. Persecutions sprang up throughout various parts of the empire. Believers were tortured and sometimes martyred for their faith. In 303, Emperor Diocletian ordered the confiscation of Christian property and churches and the burning of Scriptures. Believers and their Book had become so inseparable that the way to eliminate Christianity was to eliminate the Bible.

How the Bible Came Together

Who decided what went into the Bible? The short answer to that question is no one. Or maybe a better answer is God did. When scholars talk about how a book qualified to be called Scripture, they list five characteristics called the laws of canonicity. But these characteristics are recognized in hindsight; they weren’t developed by a particular group at a particular time in history.

After his resurrection, Jesus commissioned his followers to go and make disciples, and they did. They devoted themselves to sharing the Christ’s good news, enfolding people into local churches and teaching them to obey all that Jesus had commanded.

These Jewish believers already had Scripture. Around Palestine the Jewish Scripture is exactly what Protestants today call the Old Testament. Jesus referred to these books when he spoke of the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms (Luke 24:44).

Outside the Holy Land, some Jews included 12 to 15 other books as part of Scripture. The Septuagint, which was translated in Egypt, contains books that we now call the Apocrypha. (Apocrypha means “those hidden away.”) Early Christians differed over whether these extra books should be considered Scripture or not. Those nearest Palestine tended to exclude them. Those closer to Rome tended to include them.

During the sixteenth-century Reformation, Martin Luther spoke strongly against the Apocrypha. In reaction the Roman Catholic Church convened a council in Trent (now in Italy), where they declared the Apocrypha to be canonical. To this day Catholics and Protestants disagree on this issue. Catholics uphold the Apocrypha. Protestants believe that the Apocrypha is useful but not inspired.

Wherever Christianity spread, Christians gathered for worship and instruction. In keeping with the customs of the Jewish synagogue, a portion of Old Testament Scripture would be read and explained. Meanwhile, the apostles, along with other evangelists and teachers, traveled from place to place to plant churches and encourage believers. When one of these recognized leaders was in town, he was invited to speak during the service.

As need arose, the apostles wrote letters to various churches. When a letter arrived, it was read with great excitement in the worship service. Often the letter would be copied and shared with neighboring churches who, in turn, would share it with still other churches. Naturally, the more inspiring letters were copied and shared more often.

In his letter to the Colossians, Paul wrote, “After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea” (Colossians 4:16). We still have the letter to the Colossians. The letter to the Laodiceans was not considered inspired or pertinent enough to be preserved.

Around A.D.150, Justin Martyr described worship this way:

On the day called the Day of the Sun all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then all rise together and pray.

By this early date, “the memoirs of the apostles” were considered as important to the teaching of the church as the writings of the prophets.

Marcion and Montanus. About ten years earlier, a wealthy ship owner named Marcion sailed from his home near the Black Sea to the capital city of Rome. Marcion believed that the God of the Old Testament was different than the God of the New Testament. The former was distant and loved justice, while the latter was loving and emphasized grace.

Marcion rejected the Old Testament, along with any writings that might reinforce views other than his own. He developed a list of books he considered acceptable: portions of the Gospel of Luke, ten of Paul’s letters, plus a letter purportedly from Paul to the Alexandrians. This list is known as the Marcion Canon.

The church had to respond to this. Though nothing had been officially written down, decided or proclaimed, most Christians had a sense of what was Scripture and what wasn’t.

Between A.D.156 and 172, a second provocateur appeared on the scene. His name was Montanus. Montanus was accompanied by two prophetesses, Prisca and Maximilla. “The Three” spoke in ecstatic visions and encouraged their followers to fast and pray, calling the church to a higher standard of righteousness and zeal. If that was as far as their teaching went, they would have been an asset. But their message included what they called “new prophecy,” which pushed Christ and the apostolic message into the background. The age of Jesus was being superseded by the age of the Holy Spirit, and Montanus was its spokesman.

Was Montanus truly bringing a new prophecy with new authority? Prophecy more authoritative than Jesus and the apostles? This question prompted the church to respond a second time.

In A.D.144, the church of Rome excommunicated Marcion and continued the sifting process on what was Scripture and what wasn’t. The Montanus controversy pushed the church to ask further questions of their Scriptures. Specifically, was God bringing further revelation? Could that revelation be true if it contradicted things taught by Jesus and the apostles? Could new truth change or add to the basic teachings the church had been feeding on for the past century? The answer was no. From this, the church concluded that the canon of Scripture was closed.

Spurred by these dilemmas, the church developed its list of canonical books. The following are guidelines for accepting a book into the New Testament:

1. Was the book written by a prophet of God?

2. Was the writer confirmed by acts of God?

3. Does the message tell the truth about God?

4. Did it come with the power of God?

5. Was it accepted by God’s people?

These are the marks of canonicity. “Canon” is a Greek word meaning “rule” or “measuring stick.” These five questions are used to determine which books “measure up” to being labeled divinely inspired. They exhibit “the marks of canonicity.”

Turn to a Bible’s table of contents and you’ll see that each of the books was written by either a prophet or apostle (Ephesians 2:20) or by someone with a direct relationship to one.

Miracles were the means by which God confirmed the authority of his spokesmen. In Exodus 4, Moses was given miraculous powers to confirm his call. In 2 Corinthians 12:12, Paul teaches that the mark of an apostle is “signs, wonders and miracles.”

Truth cannot contradict itself, so agreement with the other books of Scripture was only logical. As was historical accuracy. If the facts of a book were inaccurate, it couldn’t have been from God.

The inner witness of the Spirit was equally important. A key question these early Christians asked was, “When we read this, is there an inner sense from God that what is written is right and true?”

Initial acceptance by people to whom the work was addressed was crucial. What was the original audience’s sense? Did they accept the book as an authoritative word from God? Daniel, who lived within a few years of Jeremiah, called Jeremiah’s book “Scripture” in Daniel 9:2. Paul called the Gospel of Luke “Scripture” in 1 Timothy 5:18. Peter affirmed that Paul’s letters were “Scripture” in 2 Peter 3:16.

The Muratorian Fragment. Even before Marcion and Montanus, the church was aware of these important criteria. In A.D. 96, Clement of Rome wrote, “The apostles were made evangelists to us by the Lord Christ; Jesus Christ was sent by God. Thus Christ is from God and the apostles from Christ. . . . The Church is built on them as a foundation” (1 Clement 42).

After Marcion and Montanus, lists of New Testament books begin to appear. One of the first was The Muratorian Fragment. It was discovered among the Vatican’s sacred documents by historian Ludovico Antonio Muratori in 1740 and dates to about A.D. 190. The fragment is damaged. The portion we possess begins with “the third book of the Gospel is that according to Luke.” We assume the first and second Gospels to be Matthew and Mark. The fragment lists John, Acts, all of Paul’s letters, James, 1–2 John, Jude and the Revelation of John. It also includes the Revelation of Peter, the Wisdom of Solomon and (“to be used in private, but not public worship”) the Shepherd of Hermas.

Eusebius. By the early third century only a handful of books that we now call our New Testament were in question. In western regions of the empire, the book of Hebrews faced opposition, and in the east Revelation was unpopular. Eusebius, a church historian of the fourth century, records that James, 2 Peter, 2–3 John and Jude were the only books “spoken against” (though recognized by others).

Athanasius. In 367, Athanasius, the bishop of Alexandria, wrote an Easter letter that contained all twenty-seven books of our present New Testament. In 393 the Synod of Hippo affirmed our current New Testament, and in 397 the Council of Carthage published the same list.

Who Decided What Belongs in the Canon?

Theologians are careful to note that the church didn’t develop the canon; God did that by inspiring its writing and superintending each book’s preservation. The church recognized the canon by experience and mutual agreement.

Scriptures: 1 Timothy, 2 Corinthians, 2 Peter, Colossians 4:16, Daniel 9:2, Ephesians 2:20, Exodus 4, Luke 24:44

https://www.sermoncentral.com/pastors-preaching-articles/sermoncentral-hal-seed-who-decided-what-went-into-the-bible-1585

These Out-Of-Print Children’s Biographies Repudiate The Bitter Lies Of Today’s Uneducated Anti-Americans

Forty years ago, as my children’s book collection proves, grade-school history pedagogy offered a diverse and inclusive narrative about our national past.

These Out-Of-Print Children’s Biographies Repudiate The Bitter Lies Of Today’s Uneducated Anti-Americans

By Casey Chalk

This month marks 143 years since Chief Joseph, leader of the Pacific Northwest Indian tribe the Nez Percé, surrendered to a U.S. Army detachment in northern Montana. There the warrior famously declared, “From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever.”

Others, however, are still eager to keep up the fight in the name of indigenous people. Demonstrators affiliated with the Miwok Tribe in San Rafael, California, on Oct. 13 vandalized and tore down yet another statue of Franciscan missionary Junipero Serra. Other ersatz torch-bearers of the cause include those municipalities, such as Baltimore and the District of Columbia, that have recently changed Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

The first place I read of Chief Joseph’s famous speech was in a children’s biography of him, published more than 40 years ago by Troll Associates. It was one of many titles Troll released in the 1970s and 1980s honoring Native Americans such as Black Hawk, Osceola, Pocahontas, Pontiac, Sacagawea, Squanto, and Sitting Bull. I was fascinated by all things American Indian. These titles were part of my childhood library as an elementary student in the early 1990s. I still own them and have read them to my own grade-school children.

Troll’s canon of American biographies for kids extended far beyond Native American heroes. There were biographies honoring the best of baseball, such as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Jackie Robinson. Other books memorialized our nation’s first leaders: George Washington, John Adams, John Paul Jones, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe. Still, others paid tribute to later great Americans: Abraham Lincoln, Clara Barton, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King, Thurgood Marshall, Rosa Parks, and even actress and singer Pearl Bailey. No one could accuse Troll of not being inclusive of women or minorities.

Many Older Books Don’t Whitewash the Past

Also among Troll’s biographies of historical American figures was one of Christopher Columbus. “Of all the explorers in history, none made a greater contribution to the world than Christopher Columbus. He was more than an extraordinary navigator and sailor. Columbus was a man of vision and determination,” reads the introduction by author Rae Bains.

Bains also notes many of those who followed Columbus in colonizing the New World for Spain were greedy and “became angry and disillusioned.” And Columbus ultimately fell out of favor at the Spanish royal court and “died a deeply disappointed man.” The author might not indulge the reader in the brutal details of Spanish colonization, but this portrayal is far from saccharine.

Bains’s biography of Columbus certainly doesn’t employ the absurd and erroneous assertions we find in contemporary portrayals of the explorer. “Native Hawaiian advocate” Lopaka Purdy in a recent Washington Post article claims, “Columbus should be considered the progenitor of white supremacy. Let us remember him for that. … Columbus is famous because he was a thief. That was his impact.”

Purdy should also consider Columbus’s purposes and contributions. As for the anachronistic charge that Columbus is the “progenitor of white supremacy,” one might as well charge Alexander the Great with inventing imperialism or Genghis Khan with toxic masculinity.

The difference between Troll’s and today’s portrayals of American history is that the former actually tried to tell a coherent, inclusive narrative about our nation, one that sought to find unifying themes among a diverse and disparate set of characters. Native American heroes such as Osceola and Sitting Bull are rightly lauded for their love of their people and their homes, and for courageously resisting what was often unjust, unsympathetic, and racist attacks on their way of life.

We celebrate Washington and Jefferson because they made unparalleled contributions to American politics and history. We honor Thurgood Marshall and Rosa Parks because they represent our nation’s continued struggle to right past wrongs and fully realize the unprecedented vision of our founding political documents.

Sympathy unites all of these children’s biographies. The biography of Robert E. Lee, also by Bains, largely focuses on his childhood, which was marked by great familial upheaval. His father, Henry “Light-Horse Harry” Lee, despite being a Revolutionary War hero and a Virginia politician, was incompetent and negligent, spent time in debtors’ prison, and for a time lived in the West Indies. He died on the return journey to Virginia when Robert was 11. “Robert had a difficult childhood,” observed Bains, who devoted far more attention to Lee’s resilience and virtue at West Point and in the U.S. military than his role as the Confederacy’s greatest general.

Kids Need to Learn the Complexities of History

Eliciting empathy in the child reader is an essential educational objective because it is required for both civic and family responsibility. As this year proves, our political climate is in sore need of more of it. Learning of the struggles, failures, hopes, and achievements of historical Americans engenders that virtue. Limiting Columbus and Lee or Washington and Jefferson to a simplistic, binary narrative of white, patriarchal oppression not only doesn’t do their stories justice, but it also short-circuits the maturation process via reductionist tropes.

Telling kids that their history is full of racist patriarchs fosters cynicism and a Manichean, self-destructive understanding of the past in which some people, namely oppressors, are evil and to be censured; others, namely the oppressed, are good and to be praised. It is this kind of blinkered, perverse thinking that provokes the continued desecration and destruction of our national heritage. Unable to see ourselves in our collective past, we tear it down with impunity.

What Troll sought to accomplish with its American biography series was far more inclusive than what today’s social studies curricula seek to sell children. The publisher, which filed for bankruptcy in 2003, believed there was enough room in the telling of American history for both Christopher Columbus and Pontiac, Robert E. Lee, and Rosa Parks. Certainly, all four possessed manifestations of courage, leadership, brilliance, and conscience. That their stories represented different and even conflicting visions of America reveals the complex, sometimes morally nebulous nature of our national narrative, rather than obscures it, as do the 1619 Project and the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Teaching Hard History.”

Forty years ago, as my children’s book collection proves, grade-school history pedagogy offered a diverse and inclusive narrative about our national past. It integrated biographies of men and women from a remarkable variety of backgrounds, be they rich or poor, black, white, or indigenous.

As I became older, I sensed the tension between their stories. James Monroe was a brave soldier and great statesman, but his hostile, expansionist policies ultimately incited a bloody, desperate revolt by Osceola to protect his people. That we are capable of deeming both men worthy of America’s honor evinces what is best about our national history, not what is worst.

Casey Chalk is a Senior Contributor at The Federalist, columnist for The American Conservative, Crisis Magazine, and The New Oxford Review. He has a bachelors in history and masters in teaching from the University of Virginia, and masters in theology from Christendom College.Photo Internet Archive Book Images/Flickr

https://thefederalist.com/2020/10/22/these-out-of-print-childrens-biographies-repudiate-the-bitter-lies-of-todays-uneducated-anti-americans/

How The Revolutionary War Taught More Americans To Oppose Slavery

How The Revolutionary War Taught More Americans To Oppose Slavery

 

July 8, 2020

 

As the author of nine historical books, my heart has truly been broken at the nihilistic, all-or-nothing approach to history demonstrated by anarchists tearing down and vandalizing statues, especially of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Often spray-painted on these statues is 1619, a reference to The 1619 Project, published by The New York Times.

The fundamental [1619] claim that the Revolutionary War was fought to preserve slavery simply does not correspond with the facts, too conclusively for the point to be dismissed as mere hair-splitting. The issue is not differing interpretations of history, but an outright misinterpretation of it,” African-American scholar John McWhorter wrote on 1776Unites.com, which warns of 1619’s fallacies.

“For one, note the suspension of disbelief we are expected to maintain. Supposedly the Founding Fathers were trying to protect slavery, despite never actually making such a goal clear for the historical record, and at a time when there would have been no shame in doing so,” McWhorter observed.

My research of the record concurs. In fact, throwing off political slavery by England motivated many to fight for independence. In writing “Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War,” I read original letters, writings, and sermons from the nation’s founding generation. One question I asked: how did Christians justify taking up arms against their God-ordained king? Ministers and congregations looked to two primary biblical examples to resolve this faith crisis. Both directly related to slavery.

I have this morning heard Mr. Duffield upon the signs of the times. He runs a parallel between the case of Israel and that of America, and between the conduct of Pharaoh and that of [King] George,” John Adams wrote his wife, Abigail, in mid-May 1776, after attending church in Philadelphia. If God delivered the Israelites from slavery by Egypt, would He deliver America from enslavement by England? Adams hoped so.

“(Duffield) concluded that the course of events indicated strongly the design of Providence that we should be separated from Great Britain.” Duffield and Adams were not alone. “We have no choice left to us, but to submit to absolute slavery and despotism, or as freemen to stand in our own defence, and endeavor a noble resistance . . . every reasonable method of reconciliation has been tried in vain,” Baptist minister David Jones declared. “Our addresses to our king have been treated with neglect or contempt.”

Jones looked to Galatians 5:1, as did others, including Simeon Howard of Boston’s West Church: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free. And be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

“It is the duty of all men to stand fast in such valuable liberty, as Providence has conferred upon them,” Howard proclaimed. “But in what way can a man be more justly chargeable with this neglect, than by suffering himself to be deprived of his life, liberty or property, when he might lawfully have preserved them?”

These Americans saw themselves as enslaved by Great Britain. This was not a new concept. Some of their ancestors had fled England to escape religious intolerance.

“They would hazard everything dear to them, their estates, their very lives, rather than suffer their necks to be put under that yoke of bondage, which was so sadly galling to their fathers, and occasioned their retreat into this distant land, that they might enjoy the freedom of men and Christians,” wrote Boston’s First Church’s Charles Chauncy.

The view that Americans were enslaved by England enabled many to see the hypocrisy and injustice of enslaving Africans, which was legal in the 13 original colonies.

By the 1770s, black New Englanders, thousands of whom were Revolutionary War veterans, had begun sending petitions to northern state legislatures demanding an end to slavery. These, essentially, worked,” African-American scholar Wilfred Reilly wrote for 1776Unites.com. “By the 1790s, 10 states and territories, containing more than 50 percent of the free population of the new nation — Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, the North-West Territory, and the Indiana Territory — were free land by law. And, the anti-slavery upswell continued apace.”

History isn’t always what it seems. It is more nuanced, incremental, and complicated than today’s all-or-nothing purity approach by the statue-toppling mob. This headline-only approach to history misses questions like this: How did George Washington transform from being born into a slave-owning family to emancipating slaves in his will, which was published in newspapers throughout the nation? What were the steps that made this transformation possible?

Those who erase history today are trying to prove they aren’t racist. Tolerance and living by an honor code affirming that everyone is created in God’s image is a better proof.

A healthy approach to history takes strength in the good from our past, such as the origin stories of freedom of religion, speech, and the press. It’s important to remember what we have overcome and those who’ve contributed to America’s growth.

While acknowledging that slavery and discrimination are part of our nation’s history, we believe that America should not be defined solely by this ‘birth defect’ and that black Americans should not be portrayed as perpetual helpless victims,” 1776Unites.com’s founder Robert L. Woodson, Sr. explained.

One way to fight this culture war is to rediscover American history. Don’t rely on your memory of history class. Read 1776Unites.com. Flood local bookstores with purchases of American history and biographies by conservatives and scholars who rely on original writings.

Several years ago a publisher told me that patriotic books don’t sell. A professional at a major TV streaming company recently told me they probably wouldn’t produce a film now on George Washington. It’s time to prove that patriotism and American history are marketable ideas for books and films.

It’s not enough to buy products made in America. We must buy products about America. Our future understanding of the past depends on it.

Jane Hampton Cook is the author of the new book, “Resilience on Parade: Short Stories of Suffragists and Women’s Battle for the Vote.” The first female webmaster for the White House (2001-03), she is now a screenwriter and author of ten books, including “Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War.”

https://thefederalist.com/2020/07/08/how-the-revolutionary-war-taught-more-americans-to-oppose-slavery/


No, It’s Not Time To Give Up On The Nuclear Family To Build Grownup Dorms

Communist-minded pundits see the nuclear family as a cultural anomaly, but living with friends can’t replicate the need for family that is in our DNA.

No, It’s Not Time To Give Up On The Nuclear Family To Build Grownup Dorms

Feb 18, 2020

I love my extended family. David Brooks, not so much. His way of writing about the decline of the American extended family is occasionally hysterical, sometimes saccharine, and entirely lacking perspective. The suggestion that the nuclear family was a mistake strikes this immigrant as un-American.

Brooks uses the 1990 movie “Avalon” as a metaphor for family fracture. In the beginning, we see a large group of kinfolk at a holiday dinner:

As the years go by in the movie, the extended family plays a smaller and smaller role. By the 1960s, there’s no extended family at Thanksgiving. It’s just a young father and mother and their son and daughter, eating turkey off trays in front of the television. In the final scene, the main character is living alone in a nursing home, wondering what happened.

Thus, nuclear family is a station on the way from the tribal “tangled, loving, exhausting glory” to total loneliness.

It’s a flawed, overly dramatic setup because, while it’s the norm for today’s nuclear families to live apart from cousins and grandmas, everyone still gets invited to Thanksgiving dinners. Multigenerational gatherings are so much the cultural expectation that pundits advise starting political arguments around the holiday table: See what happens if the crazy uncle chimes in.

Is the Nuclear Family an Anomaly?

Brooks explains that, prior to industrialization, most Americans lived on farms and worked together within corporate family arrangements. Distant relatives filled in for each other, taking care of the young and the old, smoothing out intra-family feuds.

Brooks tends to overly idealize the extended family, which is not exactly primitive communism where leadership emerges spontaneously and everyone contributes according to his ability and takes according to his need. Clans operate with a clear chain of command, and that chain is not matrilineal. Some family members often end up feeling cheated or alienated, so rivalries abound.

Brooks sees the nuclear family as an anomaly fashioned in the Victorian era and fully realized in the 1950s. Even then, it only existed for about a dozen years and solely because of unique historical circumstances — namely, unions enabled men to find good-paying jobs, women were excluded from the workforce for child-rearing, and a high degree of social trust meant families in geographic proximity could forge tribal bonds.

With its focus on the last 250 years, Brooks’ narrative overlooks the fact that the extreme nuclear family — mom, dad, and minor children living in a single household — has been the Anglo-Saxon ideal since time immemorial. In “America 3.0,” James C. Bennett and Michael J. Lotus note that Germanic tribes on the outskirts of the Roman Empire lived in dwellings that resembled today’s single-family suburban households. These tribes eventually took over the British Isles, and their descendants have spread across the American continent.

Young families were always expected to move out as soon as land became available. Only economic pressure kept children under the same roof as their parents — not unlike what student loans are doing today. In Bennett and Lotus’s model, the success of the post-war extreme nuclear family is not a step on the way to total disintegration, but a contemporary realization of the age-old dream.

Brooks notes that economically stressed immigrant families are more likely to live in multigenerational households. Coming from an upwardly mobile immigrant subculture, I can assure you something more significant than economic pressure keeps multiple generations under the same roof: tradition. Bennett and Lotus argue that as immigrants assimilate, they adopt the kinship model of their American neighbors. The extreme nuclear family is a building block of a dynamic, mobile capitalist society — our past, present, and future.

What Brooks Doesn’t Get About Community

Brooks would agree with the point about dynamism, but would ask: “At what cost?” The fracture of the “fragile” nuclear family has been debilitating for the lower classes. He chides conservatives for incessantly telling the poor to build stable nuclear families — a pointless undertaking, in his opinion. If he knows conservatives so well, he should perhaps acknowledge that we offer different explanations for the decline.

Where the author sees unions as benign enablers of the short-lived blossoming of patriarchal nuclear families, conservatives argue that the greedy labor establishment destroyed American industry and point out that the working class in right-to-work states is doing fine. Moreover, capitalism isn’t eating into the family. Rather, that’s what welfare state is doing, providing mothers subsidies that enable fatherless child-rearing.

Our lawmakers in all levels of government are putting in place an elaborate set of workplace arrangements that will make it costly for a young mother to disentangle herself from full-time employment to raise children. That said, many conservatives more or less align with Brooks’s idea that societal trust is evaporating, or that we are perhaps too individualistic.

Brooks acknowledges that extended family can be excruciating and repressive. He blames it on the fact that people don’t choose their kin. He then suggests replacing the allegedly failed nuclear family with “families of choice,” which is a dramatic way of saying “friends.” He rounds up anthropological evidence:

The Chuukese people in Micronesia have a saying: ‘My sibling from the same canoe’; if two people survive a dangerous trial at sea, then they become kin. On the Alaskan North Slope, the Inupiat name their children after dead people, and those children are considered members of their namesake’s family.

The first study sounds like a description of a rite-of-passage ritual, or a trial not unlike what young Americans do in fraternities or the Armed Forces, and the second practice is a bit like having godparents or namesakes. Fraternity brothers and soldiers bond and live together for a while until they age out of the communal arrangements. Their close camaraderie is a stage in life following childhood and preceding marriage.

Brooks sees youthful adventure as a foundation of permanent living arrangements. He gives the example of Temescal Commons in Oakland, California, as a functioning, chosen extended family mysteriously bound into a tight-knit community:

[T]he 23 members, ranging in age from 1 to 83, live in a complex with nine housing units. This is not some rich Bay Area hipster commune. The apartments are small, and the residents are middle- and working-class. They have a shared courtyard and a shared industrial-size kitchen where residents prepare a communal dinner on Thursday and Sunday nights. Upkeep is a shared responsibility. The adults babysit one another’s children, and members borrow sugar and milk from one another. The older parents counsel the younger ones. When members of this extended family have suffered bouts of unemployment or major health crises, the whole clan has rallied together.

So, like a dorm, but for life. As a descendent of people who at some point were all crammed into Soviet communal apartments, or kommunalki, I find the description above hopelessly naïve.

Communal Living Isn’t Romantic

Brooks is not the only pundit who has been romanticizing communal living, especially communal kitchens. In a bizarro segment, National Public Radio lauded Soviet communal kitchens for allegedly fostering anti-Stalinist resistance. In reality, those were a constant source of irritation and discontent: the worry about broken dishes, stolen food, noisy drunks, and, during Stalin’s Reign of Terror, the numbing fear that the neighbors may turn to the NKVD to evict an odd tenant to the Gulags.

There was little trust in kommunalki, but plenty of fear and resentment. The 1950s suburbs with high trust and lots of privacy, and where every woman was the mistress of her own kitchen, were the polar opposite of Soviet communal apartments.

Wealthy Americans such as Brooks tend to romanticize food and rituals surrounding it, and this is a mistake. Like living in close proximity does not ensure trust, and scheduling people to break bread with each other is an unnatural way to form meaningful relationships.

Cooking with others and for large groups of people is nerve-racking. Brooks mentions a study showing that women working in extended family kitchens tend to have higher rates of heart diseases because of the stress of cooking for a large brood. Imagine cooking for two dozen non-relatives while sharing the kitchen with random neighbors!

A Co-op Can’t Replace the Nuclear Family

Actually, none of it should be too hard to imagine. Because young Americans typically leave their parents and spend several years living with roommates, we all have a kind of window to the lifelong communal misery. In the short term, hanging out together and meeting new people is fun. Yet once romantic relationships are forged, roommates move out. To move back to a communal arrangement at the point in one’s life when the habits have already formed is an odd sort of midlife crisis.

The reason extended clans work is that individuals don’t chose them. They are bound together by bloodlines for which there are no substitutes. Friendships are optional, and if they go astray or buddies grow apart, there is no shame in breaking them off, or at least stopping friendship maintenance. Glorified roommates are not displacing families because the former are not nearly as reliable.

Nuclear families are not fragile, but friendships are a poor substitute for tribes and families. A co-op may sound better than total isolation, but to spend one’s entire life in one is still a lonely proposition.

The erosion of trust Brooks notes is not going to be countered by arranging diverse families in crypto-socialist dwellings where they are forced to share amenities. That’s a miserable life, and it’s not in our cultural DNA. A better option is to free men and women to form stable nuclear families, have many children, and then organize communities around family needs. Yes, rebuild nuclear families.

Katya Rapoport Sedgwick is a writer from San Francisco Bay Area. She has published at The Daily Caller and Legal Insurrection. You can follow her @KatyaSedgwick on Twitter.
Photo Cottonbro/Pexels

https://thefederalist.com/2020/02/18/no-its-not-time-to-give-up-on-the-nuclear-family-to-build-grownup-dorms/

 

How Does Death Rule Over Us?

December 9, 2019 hepsibahgarden

Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight. Psalms‬ ‭119:77‬

We need GOD’S TENDER MERCIES TO LIVE CONTINUALLY.

He did not call us to death. Rather, God called us forth from death and brought us into Life so that we may live eternally. We need to always keep “sin” in a dead state, and to do this we need God’s mercy. What does keeping sin in a dead state mean? It means to forsake the works of death immediately in our lives.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans‬ ‭6:23‬

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians‬ ‭5:19-21‬

To be carnally/fleshly minded is death, therefore this also needs to be kept in a dead state. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Romans 8:6

If we hate our brethren, he is a murderer. The Scriptures says there is no eternal life for such a person. Where there is no Life, there death is present. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. 1 John‬ ‭3:15‬.

For mercy to remain upon us, we must perfect our works before God. If not, we are good as dead to Him. And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Revelation‬ ‭3:1-2‬

If we aren’t found in the first love, we are in a dead state. Falling away from First Love is referred to being asleepHence St.Paul writes, Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. Ephesians‬ ‭5:14‬.

If we are not in the Spirit, we are in God’s sight dead. This was why God asked prophet Ezekiel to prophesy to the wind looking at the Valley of Bones. When the prophet did so, breath came into them and in no time the Valley of Dead Bones revived into an exceeding great army.

So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.

And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.

Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.

So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. Ezekiel‬ ‭37:7-10‬. May God help us to preserve His mercies in our lives!

Be blessed 💕

Original here

‘Grinch’ group bullies elementary school into canceling live Nativity

Judge: Artistic performances don’t ‘establish’ a religion

December 11, 2019

A live Nativity scene in Stuart, Florida (Photo by Joe Kovacs, used with permission)

A “grinch” organization that flexes its influence each year during the holiday season, the Freedom from Religion Foundation, has “bullied” a school district in Oklahoma into canceling a live Nativity scene that had been part of the school’s annual Christmas celebration.

Liberty Counsel said it’s prepared to represent the school if officials decide they want to restore the holiday display.

LC said FFRF not only was wrong to insist such displays aren’t allowed, it mischaracterized a court ruling on the dispute.

FFRF wrote to Supt. Bret Towne of Edmond Public Schools in Edmond, Oklahoma, declaring “the Chisholm Elementary School Christmas program may not include a live Nativity scene in the performance.”

Liberty Counsel, which has handled many such disputes, said that while FFRF cited a 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, the atheist organization failed “to accurately describe” the decision.

“The 7th Circuit simply did not make the sweeping ruling claimed by FFRF. FFRF has once again selectively related what actually happened in a suit, in order to frighten a school district into compliance,” Liberty Counsel explained.

The ruling stated clearly, “We are not prepared to say that a nativity scene in a school performance automatically constitutes an Establishment Clause violation.”

FFRF had said, “While a public school can hold holiday concerts, religious performances and instruction that emphasize the religious aspects of a holiday are prohibited.”

It continued, “Please note that including a live nativity performance in a school’s holiday concert remains illegal even if participation in the nativity scene is ‘voluntary.'”

FFRF cited a previous dispute in which it wanted to ban a 20-minute Nativity within a program that covered about 90 minutes.

The appeals court said: “The district court found that the Christmas Spectacular program. … A program in which cultural, pedagogical, and entertainment value took center stage – did not violate the Establishment Clause.

One judge wrote: “It is not sound, as a matter of history or constitutional text, to say that a unit of state or local government ‘establishes’ a religion through an artistic performance that favorable depicts one or more aspects of that religion’s theology or iconography. [The school] would not violate the Constitution by performing Bach’s Mass in B Minor or Handel’s Mesiah, although both are deeply religious works and run far longer than the nativity portion of the ‘Christmas Spectacular.’ Performing a work of art does not establish that work, or its composer, as the state song or the state composer; no more does it establish a state religion.”

“Liberty Counsel therefore stands ready, along with our affiliate attorneys in Oklahoma, to provide assistance at no charge to Edmond Public Schools, if the district desires to resume a live Nativity in a school Christmas program,” the organization promised.

 

Original here

How you Can Become a Better Person Starting Now

Can you Really Change?

Most people wonder if it’s possible to become a better person after maturity. The answer is a resounding yes. There’s actually room for change at every stage of our life. With a willing spirit, you can transform your personality. Once you figure out the best and easiest approach to take, you can decide the most important personal aspects to work on. Taking into account the best interest of others and your well being, below are some of the most important things you’ll need to work on, in order to make the changes.

Photo by Freshh Connection on unsplash

Help Others:

Good people support and encourage others to do and become their best selves. I believe one of the greatest responsibilities we have is to support ourselves and others to live as close to their unique potential as possible. Because everything we say and do has a negative or positive influence on others. We should always take into consideration the words we speak to and about others.

How you can show Support?

  • Have some faith in others.
  • Hold high expectations.
  • Be encouraging.
  • Be honest.
  • Share yourself.
  • Set the best example.
  • Challenge them.
  • Be mindful of your questions.
  • Invest your time in them.
  • Acknowledge them.

Let go of Anger:

Your relationships can create a haven from stress as well as help you become a better person. But if you walk away from unresolved conflicts, they can become a significant source of stress. Let’s face it, conflicts are common in our society. They happen with our families, neighbors, friends or colleagues. You have to face them in the right manner and come up with a fair solution. The best way to improve in this area is to learn conflict resolution strategies. Let’s take a look at 5 of this tools that are more effective:

Conflict Resolution Strategies:

  • Recognize that all of us have biased fairness perception.
  • Avoid escalating tensions with threats and provocative move
  • Overcome an “us versus them” mentality.
  • Look beneath the surface to identify deeper issues.
  • Separate sacred from pseudo-sacred issues.

You can also identify what your anger triggers and eliminate them as much as possible. Also learn to let go of any grudge and residual anger.

Be a good Listener:

Listening to others and is one of the best things you can do for another person and yourself. It shows them that you value their opinion and allows you to develop closer connection with others. You also get to hear perspectives you might otherwise dismiss. It is important to engage in active listening with the people in our lives. Being an active listener can change your life for the better. It fosters deeper relationships and exposes you to thoughts, ideas world wide views beyond your own experience. You never know what you might learn from someone.

Self Care:

Self care is vital for building resilience when facing life’s unavoidable stressors. Making sure that you get enough sleep is important for your physical and emotional wellbeing. Less sleep can make you less able to brainstorm solutions to problems you come across. I don’t know about you, but when l don’t sleep enough, it makes me very edgy the next day.

Eating a proper diet is also essential in keeping your body and mind healthy. When you eat healthy, problems like bloating and constipation are never going to be on your worry list. That means you will be in optimum shape for handling stress – which gives you added resilience to manage those challenges that come up unexpectedly.

Be Polite:

Being polite is an act of kindness. We can show politeness to everyone we come across. It is not a trivial thing. This little act instill positive feelings in the people around you. Maintaining a certain level of politeness and civility is appreciated because it shows thoughtfulness, considerations, and kindness.

Live with Integrity:

Personal integrity is a cornerstone of whom we really are. It also shows what we stand for. Integrity is part of our mortal foundation. Integrity shapes the person you become with time. Living with integrity means being true to your ideas. It means that your outward actions reflect your inner beliefs and values. It means making necessary changes to live up to your standards. Take time to understand what integrity means to you and how your decisions align with your values. These things can help propel you towards becoming a better person.

Original here

 

VIDEO A Christmas Story

December 7, 2019   By Reverend Paul N. Papas II

 

 

The Christmas Story is story of a hero. The greatest evil the world has ever known made the greatest hero the world has ever known. Crucifixion was the cruelest form of torture and execution man devised or used.

Not every hero since has given up his life for another. Heroes generally take no concern for their own life while trying to save the lives of others.

The acknowledgement and veneration of heroes has existed for centuries. It was the ancient Greeks who are accredited with first coining the designation.

A very recent tragedy brought to light another hero.  A young graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, whose dream was to become a pilot, is a hero after he reportedly related crucial information about the identity of the Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola shooter to first responders, despite having been shot several times, a family member revealed.

Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, was confirmed as one of the three victims who were killed Friday morning when Saudi national Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani opened fire on a flight training program for foreign military personnel, Adam Watson revealed in a Facebook post. (1)

Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, was confirmed as one of the three victims who was killed Friday morning.

“Today has been the worst day of my life. My youngest brother gave his life for his country in a senseless shooting. Joshua Kaleb Watson saved countless lives today with his own. After being shot multiple times he made it outside and told the first response team where the shooter was and those details were invaluable. He died a hero and we are beyond proud but there is a hole in our hearts that can never be filled. When we were little I gave Kaleb the name little poot and it stuck. It eventually evolved into pootis and finally uncle poot. Just wish I could talk to him one more time or wrestle with him one more time even though he could probably take me now. Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers in this difficult time. “(2)

Simply put, the key to heroism is a concern for other people in need—a concern to defend a moral cause, knowing there is a personal risk, done without expectation of reward.

Philip Zimbardo: What Makes a Hero?

 

Christians who helped Jews during the Holocaust were in the same situation as other civilians who helped imprison or kill Jews, or ignored their suffering. The situation provided the impetus to act heroically or malevolently. People choose one path or the other.

Some choose a path to meet the needs of others. For example there is New England Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson will use his custom-made “My Cause, My Cleats” cleats to bring attention to his One More Foundation. H e created the One More Thing Foundation to spread the love and hope of Christ to one more soul.

“And, we do that by following the three charges that are given in Micah 6:8 when it talks about doing justice, loving-kindness, and walking humbly with our God,” he explained.

Watson said that, for the last decade, the foundation has given him the opportunity to meet people with “real needs” and “to know the one who can meet their needs forever and ever.”

“Whether it’s promoting and giving food to those who are hungry, doing events around the holidays, promoting education, standing against injustice — whether that be sex trafficking, abortion, or racial injustice … and also, just bringing kindness to people,” he continued. (3)

Courtesy of Eric J. Adler and the New England Patriots

Heroes | Restoring Faith in Humanity | 2017

 

“True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.” — Arthur Ashe, professional tennis player.

There have been thousands of unnamed and unknown heroes over the centuries. Heroes include those who stood ready, who fought and who died for the cause of freedom, first responders, those who served others, and the many that have helped someone without regard to their personal safety,

The true Christmas Story is an everyday story.

The real reason for the season was born to die and save us all.

——-

(1) https://www.foxnews.com/us/naval-academy-grad-shot-5-times-hero

(2)  https://www.facebook.com/adam.watson.397/posts/3471855006187806

(3)  https://www.foxnews.com/media/patriots-benjamin-watson-one-more-foundation-my-cause-my-cleats

——-

Below are a handful of links to heroes

https://www.naplesnews.com/story/news/local/2019/11/14/sons-american-revolution-honor-first-responders-heroic-acts/4193217002/

https://www.aol.com/article/news/2019/08/05/soldier-praised-for-heroic-act-at-el-paso-shooting-what-i-did-was-what-i-was-supposed-to-do/23788523/

https://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/westchester/2019/09/17/hero-westchester-cops-honored/2354177001/

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/bradley-plane-crash-heroic-acts-saved-lives-in-deadly-b-17-bomber-crash-official-says/

https://www.usla.org/page/HEROIC

https://publicholidays.la/anguilla/national-heroes-and-heroines-day/

https://preacher01704.wordpress.com/2019/12/08/a-christmas-story/


Daniel Webster: America Rests Upon Gratitude For Our Government Of And For The People

‘When, from the long distance of a hundred years, they shall look back upon us, they shall know, at least, that we possessed…gratitude for what our ancestors have done for our happiness.’

Daniel Webster: America Rests Upon Gratitude For Our Government Of And For The People

Nov 28, 2019

 

This excerpt from “The First Settlement of New England” by famed American orator and U.S. Sen. Daniel Webster is selected from the “What So Proudly We Hail” collection of Thanksgiving original documents and information about them. The collection introduces the speech: “In 1820, the bicentennial of the Pilgrims’ arrival at Plymouth Rock—well before Thanksgiving became a national holiday—the great statesman, orator, and United States Senator Daniel Webster (1782–1852) delivered this oration (excerpted) at the landing site.”

The online What So Proudly We Hail curricula, extended from a worthy book of the same name, includes videos, poems, discussion guides, and other excellent resources for families, schools, and civic organizations.

Standing in relation to our ancestors and our posterity, we are assembled on this memorable spot, to perform the duties which that relation and the present occasion impose upon us. We have come to this Rock, to record here our homage for our Pilgrim Fathers; our sympathy in their sufferings; our gratitude for their labors; our admiration of their virtues; our veneration for their piety; and our attachment to those principles of civil and religious liberty, which they encountered the dangers of the ocean, the storms of heaven, the violence of savages, disease, exile, and famine, to enjoy and to establish.

And we would leave here, also, for the generations which are rising up rapidly to fill our places, some proof that we have endeavored to transmit the great inheritance unimpaired; that in our estimate of public principles and private virtue, in our veneration of religion and piety, in our devotion to civil and religious liberty, in our regard for whatever advances human knowledge or improves human happiness, we are not altogether unworthy of our origin.

There is a local feeling connected with this occasion, too strong to be resisted; a sort of genius of the place, which inspires and awes us. We feel that we are on the spot where the first scene of our history was laid; where the hearths and altars of New England were first placed; where Christianity, and civilization, and letters made their first lodgement, in a vast extent of country, covered with a wilderness, and peopled by roving barbarians. We are here, at the season of the year at which the event took place.

The imagination irresistibly and rapidly draws around us the principal features and the leading characters in the original scene. We cast our eyes abroad on the ocean, and we see where the little barque, with the interesting group upon its deck, made its slow progress to the shore. We look around us, and behold the hills and promontories where the anxious eyes of our fathers first saw the places of habitation and of rest. We feel the cold which benumbed, and listen to the winds which pierced them.

Beneath us is the Rock, on which New England received the feet of the Pilgrims. We seem even to behold them, as they struggle with the elements, and, with toilsome efforts, gain the shore. We listen to the chiefs in council; we see the unexampled exhibition of female fortitude and resignation; we hear the whisperings of youthful impatience, and we see, what a painter of our own has also represented by his pencil, chilled and shivering childhood, houseless, but for a mother’s arms, couchless, but for a mother’s breast, till our own blood almost freezes.

The mild dignity of CARVER and of BRADFORD; the decisive and soldierlike air and manner of STANDISH; the devout BREWSTER; the enterprising ALLERTON; the general firmness and thoughtfulness of the whole band; their conscious joy for dangers escaped; their deep solicitude about danger to come; their trust in Heaven; their high religious faith, full of confidence and anticipation; all of these seem to belong to this place, and to be present upon this occasion, to fill us with reverence and admiration . . .

‘It Rests on No Other Foundation Than Their Assent’

The nature and constitution of society and government in this country are interesting topics, to which I would devote what remains of the time allowed to this occasion. Of our system of government the first thing to be said is, that it is really and practically a free system. It originates entirely with the people and rests on no other foundation than their assent.

To judge of its actual operation, it is not enough to look merely at the form of its construction. The practical character of government depends often on a variety of considerations, besides the abstract frame of its constitutional organization. Among these are the condition and tenure of property; the laws regulating its alienation and descent; the presence or absence of a military power; an armed or unarmed yeomanry; the spirit of the age, and the degree of general intelligence. In these respects it cannot be denied that the circumstances of this country are most favorable to the hope of maintaining a government of a great nation on principles entirely popular.

In the absence of military power, the nature of government must essentially depend on the manner in which property is holden and distributed. There is a natural influence belonging to property, whether it exists in many hands or few; and it is on the rights of property that both despotism and unrestrained popular violence ordinarily commence their attacks. Our ancestors began their system of government here under a condition of comparative equality in regard to wealth, and their early laws were of a nature to favor and continue this equality.

A republican form of government rests not more on political constitutions, than on those laws which regulate the descent and transmission of property. Governments like ours could not have been maintained, where property was holden according to the principles of the feudal system; nor, on the other hand, could the feudal constitution possibly exist with us.

Our New England ancestors brought hither no great capitals from Europe; and if they had, there was nothing productive in which they could have been invested. They left behind them the whole feudal policy of the other continent. They broke away at once from the system of military service established in the Dark Ages, and which continues, down even to the present time, more or less to affect the condition of property all over Europe. They came to a new country.

There were, as yet, no lands yielding rent, and no tenants rendering service. The whole soil was unreclaimed from barbarism. They were themselves, either from their original condition, or from the necessity of their common interest, nearly on a general level in respect to property. Their situation demanded a parcelling out and division of the lands, and it may be fairly said, that this necessary act fixed the future frame and form of their government.

The character of their political institutions was determined by the fundamental laws respecting property. The laws rendered estates divisible among sons and daughters. The right of primogeniture, at first limited and curtailed, was afterwards abolished. The property was all freehold. The entailment of estates, long trusts, and the other processes for fettering and tying up inheritances, were not applicable to the condition of society, and seldom made use of . . . .

‘Every Feeling of Humanity Must Forever Revolt’

I deem it my duty on this occasion to suggest, that the land is not yet wholly free from the contamination of a traffic, at which every feeling of humanity must forever revolt,—I mean the African slave trade. Neither public sentiment, nor the law, has hitherto been able entirely to put an end to this odious and abominable trade.

At the moment when God in his mercy has blessed the Christian world with a universal peace, there is reason to fear, that, to the disgrace of the Christian name and character, new efforts are making for the extension of this trade by subjects and citizens of Christian states, in whose hearts there dwell no sentiments of humanity or of justice, and over whom neither the fear of God nor the fear of man exercises a control.

In the sight of our law, the African slave trader is a pirate and a felon; and in the sight of Heaven, an offender beyond the ordinary depth of human guilt. There is no brighter page of our history, than that which records the measures which have been adopted by the government at an early day, and at different times since, for the suppression of this traffic; and I would call on all the true sons of New England to cooperate with the laws of man, and the justice of Heaven.

If there be, within the extent of our knowledge or influence, any participation in this traffic, let us pledge ourselves here, upon the rock of Plymouth, to extirpate and destroy it. It is not fit that the land of the Pilgrims should bear the shame longer.

I hear the sound of the hammer, I see the smoke of the furnaces where manacles and fetters are still forged for human limbs. I see the visages of those who by stealth and at midnight labor in this work of hell, foul and dark, as may become the artificers of such instruments of misery and torture.

Let that spot be purified, or let it cease to be of New England. Let it be purified, or let it be set aside from the Christian world; let it be put out of the circle of human sympathies and human regards, and let civilized man henceforth have no communion with it . . .

‘The Voice of Acclamation and Gratitude’

The hours of this day are rapidly flying, and this occasion will soon be passed. Neither we nor our children can be expected to behold its return. They are in the distant regions of futurity, they exist only in the all-creating power of God, who shall stand here a hundred years hence, to trace, through us, their descent from the Pilgrims and to survey, as we have now surveyed, the progress of their country, during the lapse of a century.

We would anticipate their concurrence with us in our sentiments of deep regard for our common ancestors. We would anticipate and partake the pleasure with which they will then recount the steps of New England’s advancement. On the morning of that day, although it will not disturb us in our repose, the voice of acclamation and gratitude, commencing on the Rock of Plymouth, shall be transmitted through millions of the sons of the Pilgrims, till it lose itself in the murmurs of the Pacific seas.

We would leave for consideration of those who shall then occupy our places, some proof that we hold the blessings transmitted from our fathers in just estimation; some proof of our attachment to the cause of good government, and of civil and religious liberty; some proof of a sincere and ardent desire to promote every thing which may enlarge the understandings and improve the hearts of men.

And when, from the long distance of a hundred years, they shall look back upon us, they shall know, at least, that we possessed affections, which, running backward and warming with gratitude for what our ancestors have done for our happiness, run forward also to our posterity, and meet them with cordial salutation, ere yet they have arrived on the shore of Being.

Advance, then, ye future generations! We would hail you, as you rise in your long succession, to fill the places which we now fill, and to taste the blessings of existence where we are passing, and soon shall have passed, our own human duration.

We bid you welcome to this pleasant land of the fathers. We bid you welcome to the healthful skies and the verdant fields of New England. We greet your accession to the great inheritance which we have enjoyed.

We welcome you to the blessings of good government and religious liberty. We welcome you to the treasures of science and the delights of learning. We welcome you to the transcendent sweets of domestic life, to the happiness of kindred, and parents, and children. We welcome you to the immeasurable blessings of rational existence, the immortal hope of Christianity, and the light of everlasting Truth!

Photo By Internet Archive Book Images – https://www.flickr.com/photos/internetarchivebookimages/14597125217/Source book page: https://archive.org/stream/popularhistoryof00brya/popularhistoryof00brya#page/n471/mode/1upNo restrictionsLink

 

https://thefederalist.com/2019/11/28/daniel-webster-america-rests-upon-gratitude-for-our-government-of-and-for-the-people/

VIDEO Historian Wilfred McClay: Thanksgiving Established Fundamental American Values Centuries Before 1776

 

ROBERT KRAYCHIK

Fundamental American values manifested in the story of Thanksgiving centuries before the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, explained Wilfred McClay, author of Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story and professor of history at the University of Oklahoma, in a Tuesday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with hosts Rebecca Mansour and Joel Pollak.

Mansour invited McClay’s assessment of criticisms of the November holiday among left-wing teachers calling for students to “unlearn” a “feel-good” Thanksgiving “myth.”

McClay said of leftist contempt for Thanksgiving, “I think it’s a reflection of what — for some people — is the obsession with the politicization of all aspects of life, and everything has to be brought into conformity with some kind of ideological worldview.”

LISTEN:

McClay continued, “It’s almost like a kind of revolutionary religion, like in the French Revolution, the way they abolished the calendar, and tried to reinvent civilization from the bottom up. It’s the kind of mentality [against] something that really … is one of most admirable holidays imaginable. Of course, we aren’t the only ones that have Thanksgiving in the world, but it is integral to our essential practises, and it’s an expression of gratitude.”

“It has religious roots,” said McClay of the history of Thanksgiving. “In the 1620s — there’s some debate over when the first Thanksgiving was, whether it was in Virginia or whether it was in Plymouth, but it’s in the 17th century — it had religious overtones, particularly with the Pilgrims in 1621.”

McClay added, “It is an amazing story. Of course they had come in pursuit of freedom to practise their religion and raise their children as they saw fit. They had come from the Netherlands, where religious liberty was available to them, but it was a hard place to live for various reasons, and particularly for their children, to have them grow up not speaking English and all of that, so they got on the Mayflower and came on over.”

“It was a terrible, brutal first winter,” stated McClay. “They suffered from disease and exposure, and about half of them died. Many of them never came off the ship because they saw the landing as so dangerous, but they did have favorable contacts with some of the native tribes, the Patuxet Tribe [and] Squanto, and he taught them how to cultivate corn, what plants to eat and what plants not to eat.”

“[Squanto] was an intermediary,” explained McClay. “He helped [the Pilgrims] form relationships with the Wampanoag Tribe. … They had this celebratory feast in November 1621 to celebrate a successful harvest of corn that Squanto had helped show them [how] to cultivate. So that’s seen as the historical origin of it, and it was, by all accounts, by everything we know about it, and we don’t know a lot.”

McClay remarked, “Puritans were great about keeping journals and diaries. They saw success or failure as evidence of the degree to which they were being faithful to God. … That’s what their settlement was all about. They saw this as a mission, this errand into the wilderness.”

“Ten years later, John Winthrop, who led the Massachusetts Bay Colony, which became Boston — he gave this magnificent speech … where the phrase ‘city on a hill’ comes from — makes it very clear this was a religious enterprise, so they’re grateful to God [for] the success in finally getting through — or at least having the materials to get through — the coming winter,” added McClay.

Fundamental American values were being developed by the early colonists, explained McClay.

“What they did was enact social compact theory that had been sort of kicked around in Europe — especially in Britain — for awhile,” McClay noted. “They created a body politic out of the consent of those who were aboard the ship, and they had the foresight to realize they should [and] could do that … two centuries before the Declaration of Independence, the idea that government is based on the consent of the governed, which of course is one of the fundamental American ideas. So all of this is prefigured by the Mayflower Compact.”

McClay said, “There’s a kind of audacity about these [first colonists] that we miss, I think, in the historical accounts. Their journeys were dangerous. The habitats into which they were coming were brutal, and they lost many lives, and yet they had this sense that …. they were on a mission of God, ‘The eyes of all people are upon us.’ … They were so deeply committed to the vision of what they were doing, and that was the germ of what became, ultimately, a great nation.”

The Puritans sought religious restoration via their settlement enterprise, explained McClay.

“[The Puritans] wanted to just have a faithful remnant of a church that they thought had become corrupt in England, and in Europe, in general,” McClay shared. “What they really wanted to do was recreate what [William Bradford] called, ‘the primitive church,’ and that doesn’t mean people running around with spears and that sort of thing. It meant a church that resembled the church of the time of the apostles and Jesus and immediately after Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection, the early time of the church, when it was simpler, when you didn’t have a lot of pomp and ceremony and popes and bishops running around in fancy robes and the accumulation of wealth and worldly power.”

McClay added, “It’s proper, I think, that we really trace Thanksgiving more to the Puritans, to a kind of reverent Thanksgiving.”

“[Left-wing criticism of Thanksgiving] doesn’t touch the validity of the holiday for us, because we don’t necessarily ground what we value of Thanksgiving in that historical episode. It’s not like the founding is, where it really matters what the language of the [Declaration of Independence] and Constitution was, and we want to try to stay as close as we can to the original intent of those documents. We don’t have that same kind of relationship to the first Thanksgiving, so I think it’s kind of a phony charge, what it does reflect to me is this pervasive politicization of American life, particularly from a left, radical, critical perspective.”

McClay described Thanksgiving as an “aspirational” holiday.

“A myth, properly understood, is not a falsehood,” McClay said. “We say that we believe all men are created equal. In some literal way, of course that’s not true, so what do we mean? Do we mean all men are created equal in the eyes of God? Maybe, although secular people might object to that formulation, but we certainly mean we have a kind of aspiration towards recognition of — in some ultimate way that’s very hard to define — the equal worth of all individual people. That’s really, I think, fundamentally religious. It’ s hard to imagine that existing out of a Juedo-Christian understanding of human beings.”

McClay went on, “We have this day because we aspire to reconciliation to one another and a recognition of just how profoundly indebted we are to those who came before us, to our parents, to our surrounding society, to our neighbors and friends, that there’s so much that we take for granted every single day.”

“How are you going to go through life?” asked McClay. “How are you going to go through the world? Are you going to go through it thinking that everything is your due and everything you don’t get [means] you’re being cheated by the world? Or do you think, ‘Why do I have something rather than nothing? Isn’t that great?’”

McClay continued, “The Christian view — I’m sweeping widely, here — is that we don’t really deserve anything. Our sinful nature is that we don’t really have anything coming to us, that it’s God’s graciousness that is the source of all these good things that we really don’t deserve.”

“It is a time in which we recognize our own insufficiencies, that we are not islands unto ourselves and that we depend on others, and that there are so many people in our lives to whom we owe profound gratitude, and just the bounty of existence,” determined McClay. “These are all reasons for gratitude.”

McClay contrasted gratitude and ingratitude.

“Gratitude is the proper disposition of a healthy human soul, and it’s the proper disposition of a good citizen in a democratic society,” assessed McClay. “If we lose those things and we become, sort of, brats — and I’m not meaning to say all the radical critiques of American society are bratty, most of them are, but not all of them — brattiness is a kind of ingratitude and a feeling that, ‘I deserve it all and whatever I don’t get is a form of expropriation.’ It’s the seed of other good things, other forms of mutual appreciation and reconciliation that can occur, and to take that away atomizes people.it leaves people without a means to reach out to one another.”

Left-wing critiques of Thanksgiving are generally a part of a broader political campaign to undermine America’s founding, concluded McClay.

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Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.

https://www.breitbart.com/radio/2019/11/28/historian-wilfred-mcclay-thanksgiving-established-fundamental-american-values-centuries-before-1776/