Thursday, July 04, 2013
Morning Thanks--Our own Declaration
Here it is, 237 years old and looking every bit its age. If we had to rely on the original to determine the tidings it brings, we'd be in trouble. Like most anything it's age, it wasn't what it was. The folks in the National Archives do absolutely everything for its safe-keeping, but Father Time will have his way, as he does with most everything, save grace.
Six years ago I started blogging for two reasons--1) I wanted to know what all the fuss was about; and 2) I was going to be teaching four courses instead of two, and I wanted to be sure that I'd keep writing. For the record, this post is number 1834, if anyone's other than the software is counting, vastly more than I ever thought possible or, good night! any man should have to say. It's kept me at the keyboard, where every morning I'm a sit in awe before a brand new day. Hogans and teepees faced east for very good reason.
Yesterday, out of nowhere, some filmmaker sent me an e-mail about something I'd written here in 2008. She wants to do a film on an obscure writer I'd said some things about, had googled the guy's name and discovered the post, a post I had no memory of writing. Such strange things happen. Blogging's been a trip, in a way, rarely a burden. I think about quitting, then meet someone in Timbuktu who says he reads this blog daily. Just like that, my oompah is renewed. But then, I've always been easily led.
It's fair to say that all of us--me included for sure--take some things for granted. Like grace. Like comfort. Like opportunity. Like freedom.
Millions took to the streets in Egypt once again in the last couple of days, the military stepped in, and a democratically-elected President is out, just like that. Why? Freedom. An Egyptian majority simply was not interested in Islamic theocracy. "It's not about him," some guy from the streets told a reporter yesterday on the news. "It's about the Muslim Brotherhood."
Look, no one knows what's going to happen in Egypt. The Brotherhood may use means that have become synonymous with Islam--suicide bombings and mass murder. Things may get bad and bloody. But this American retiree couldn't help feeling great about the goings on in Cairo, the news that the Egyptian people wanted no part of Islamic Law, whatever the heck that is. They wanted what our Declaration declares--they wanted to be free.
That Thomas Jefferson rewrote the New Testament and expunged the miracles is true. He was a great man, a patriot, the founding-est of our founding fathers. It's his work on this parchment; but theologically it's simply flat wrong to call him a Christian.
However, he was, without a doubt, reflecting a sentiment that was borne out of the Reformation and a species of the Christian faith that maintained grace was a matter between God and every human soul, an idea that granted dignity to every human soul, every last child of the Creator. That point of view can and is played out ad infinitum, but the dignity of every person is the basis of Jefferson's argument in the faded document up top the page.
I can say what I want on this blog post. No one, no government, no church, no political party, no power of any kind can stop me. Some readers may not like me saying that America isn't a Christian nation--it isn't, thank God; or that it is--because, in a way, it certainly is. But no SS officer or priest or righteous bigot will come along and toss me in the brig for saying it.
Even though the Declaration is getting hard to read these days, everyone knows that what it declares is alive and kicking on Egypt's streets and the cry of hungry people who want to be free all over the world .
Even here, on a guy's blog, on a odd little inner-tubed raft on the vast ocean of information each of sails with a keystroke, I can say what I want because a bunch of Englishmen in the colonies, old white men who were carrying with them their own undeniable prejudices, somehow determined that the best way for them and all of us to live was going to be free. Slaveholders all, what they proposed was far more than they knew, as most gay folks in this country this week know better than most of us.
Ben Franklin warned us it wasn't going to be a cake walk, and it's not. But we're free. Thank God a'mighty--we're free.