Monday, November 30, 2015

Coming home from curling

Well. I'm returning from Windsor last night after my Monday night curling league. And I cleared customs more easily than I cleared the toll booth, which is where you pay the Ambassador Bridge toll between Detroit and Windsor after the Department of Homeland Security has graciously allowed you to return to your own country. I should be scott free by then, right?

I offer the toll to the toll taker. She doesn't take it. Instead she asks, "You're the curling guy, aren't you?"

"Uh, I curl, yes", I respond uncertainly.

"You're the coach. You're Mike" she says, with a certain triumph in her voice. I did not correct her that I am the skip.

"Um, Marty", I corrected her instead. I did not mention that I had lost to a curler named Mike last night, though her words fanned the flames of defeat and I burned inwardly at her mistake.

"What? No. I have you down as Mike." She began then to look over some papers in front of her.

"Uhhh, you take notes on the people who pay you tolls?"

"Sure. I like to know who they are, so I can talk to them friendly".

That's okay, I guess. I in truth remembered her, and as gregarious and friendly. I really believe her to be innocent enough. Only not enough to take notes about. "You're not Mike?" she asks.

"No, honestly."

"Then you have a twin you can frame for a crime."

So all I have to say is, Mike, who and where are you? Just in case I have to pull off grand larceny and need a fall guy.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Long live orthodoxy

Embracing change is easy. Embracing Orthodoxy is the real challenge.

-a paraphrase of Mr. G. K. Chesterton

We hear it all the time, don't we, fellow conservatives? We hear the importance of embracing change, of being willing to change, of the need to alter our beliefs and desires to the will and whim of the current society. That's all we need to do is embrace the change which the modern society wishes us to do.

If they meant for us to change in the sense of becoming truly better persons, of changing from bad habit to good, of learning to like what we ought and dislike what we ought as well, of becoming more truly and usefully charitable and kind, there would be no problem. But they don't mean that. They mean, 'accept our ways of thinking and acting'. Or, more precisely, accept the change we want imposed on you.

But the trouble with accepting change merely because it's change, merely because it is what modern society may want rather than what may really help both the individual and the world at large, is that it will leave us we know not where. For accepting it is simple. Do nothing, reflect on nothing, question nothing, and change will occur. There's no effort involved.

Yet embracing Orthodoxy, and we capitalize it on purpose, accepting and living by proper traditions, now that's the challenge. That's where we grow and nurture our selves and our souls. That's how we create better people and a better world. By living right according to the just precepts which have been with us since the dawn of time. Change is all right, yes, if done to that purpose.

Otherwise, it will happen anyway. But would you rather do what you can to control change, or merely be stuck in its tight and unwieldy (and worldly) groove, as Mr. Chesterton also suggests? For you will lose control of yourself by merely agreeing to eternally change. Yet tradition works. That's how it became traditional in the first place.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Let's end Black Friday

Once there was a day called Black Friday. It was meant to launch the holiday shopping season, and was known to start as early as 4 or 5 in the morning on the day after Thanksgiving. Yet that, it seems, was not good enough. We have reached the point where the sales are encroaching so far into Thanksgiving itself that there are stores opening as early as 3 or 5PM Thursday afternoon. We are now faced with Black Thursday.

There is something seriously wrong with this picture, something which speaks to a serious ill in American society. Why do we need these sales? Why do people think they have they right to them? And before all the rabid libertarian free marketers go livid about it (no one makes them do it, what about freedom?) let's ask you two things: aren't some folks (if not most involved, quite frankly) being made to do things?, and, isn't their freedom thus being sacrificed?

It is hard to imagine that the bulk of sales and support staff at stores would rather be working than at home with their families and friends on a major holiday. The same can be said of those working arenas for sporting events as well, or even at television stations and entertainment establishments. Why do we think we have the right to expect those people to have to work for our leisure?

This isn't capitalism. It's consumerism, and it's the worst example of bacchanalia. It is the time of year when we least like free markets, and perhaps the best time to remind those who do preach them that economics aren't everything. Simple, unfettered economics may well infringe on someone's freedom as well as any government attempt to stifle a reasoned liberty. Yet there is a difference. There's at least a small chance that, with a bit of discipline at the voting booth door, we might actually stop government. Is there any way we might stop the Invisible Hand?

Anything which does not practice a decent amount self examination and a reasonable self discipline will become a devil. The free market is no different. Yet it does create quite the hypocrites among its defenders, doesn't it? They express a disdain for coercion. Yet they sure don't mind the coercion which the markets force upon people.

That strikes us as violence against the person as hateful as any government encroachment upon the person. But the free marketers won't see it. They have their own god attending to their business. And it is not constrained by care for humanity.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

Giving thanks means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Sometimes I wonder if it might help if we were to whittle that down to one or two specifics, simply to emphacize what we really should be thankful for. You know, find something small and specific as an illustration of a broader point.

We might say as a general point that we are thankful for family. That's a good thing, right? Yet how about a concrete example of that? For me, one such example is Thanksgiving 1984.

There were only just the three of us in the immediate family at the time. We had Thanksgiving Dinner at Nana and Paw Paw's, and waddled down the block home in the late afternoon, and hour or so before dark. There had been about a two inch snowfall, enough so everything was covered in a nice and clean white blanket. We went into the backyard to play in the snow a bit before actually going inside.

My wife and I began tossing snow up in the air, and Charlie followed suit as best an almost two year old could, all of us laughing and giggling. Then we found an old slat from an old picket fence and I made a snowball, while Gail took the piece of fence and held it like a bat in Charlie's hands. I pitched the snowball gently; Charlie 'swung' mightily with his mother's help. The ball exploded when hit, and all three of us laughed out loud. Charlie laughed especially hard, as small children can laugh, without holding back, in a more free spirited manner than us adults. We did it again and again, several times over, each time cackling madly when the snowball vanished in a spray of white. We did it, I don't know how many times. But each time was a laugh riot. It's a memory that even then, thirty one years ago now, I knew I would never forget.

It's a prime example of being thankful for family. You'll hear more from me involving everyone else in the family as time goes on. But this being Thanksgiving, I felt it a good place to start.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Cat people

So we're keeping my daughter's fiance's cat. I'm not quite sure how this happened, but it has. So be it. The cat has so decreed, it seems.

She's a really good cat. She stays out of my way except to mew when she's hungry, or, better, when she just wants food. At those times when she mews I hear myself saying, sorry, honey, only mommy can feed you, as I stroke her fur.


Last week, when I was staying overnight with my son and his family (who have three cats who tolerate their presence) I found myself looking for their cats. Just to pet them, you know, and say things things like, How are you sweetie? Are you okay? She's a good girl, she is. And the like.

Now my daughter's fiance's cat sits on the paper return tray of my printer as I want to print something. She sits there like she owns it. And what do I do? I sit at the computer patiently, stroking her back. And saying, how are you sweetie? Yes, she's a good girl.

Good girl? I'm trying to print something and you're in my way. I would have knocked my own children aside screaming, 'I want to print this. I need to print this. Go play Super Mario!' even though I thought video games a waste of time when they played them. And then I think, Oh Dear God I'm becoming a cat person.

Please make it stop. Please. I'm still brushing fur off my Big Dogs fleece hoodie.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Aw Hell and fresh oranges

Grandpa Joe swore quite a bit. Most of it was rather tame compared to what we hear these days, however, and it consisted mostly of 'Aw Hell' which by his inflection could express anything from mild distaste to complete disgust. If he really thought you were full of it, he said, "Ain't that a crock of stuff." Yes, stuff, he said, not even using the obvious expletive in the plainly obvious context. In great distress he was bellow, "No, no, no, Hell, no", with a profound and almost indescribable emphasis on Hell, drawing the word out as though he had to force it from his lungs. But those stories are for another time.

Joe was rough and difficult to deal with, yet he had a soft side. Once when out and about with a friend, I'll call him Cloyce just to give him a name, Joe asked Cloyce if he wanted a soda pop. Told yes, they found a store, parked, and went headed towards the door. Clyde remembered a street urchin, a sad and frail little boy sitting over to the side with his knees tucked into his body, trying to stave off the chill in the air.

They went into the store. Clyde went to the refrigerated aisle and grabbed a bottle of pop. Realizing next that Joe was not with him, he found him trolling a stack of bagged oranges. You know how they would bag oranges in those mesh bags, right? Orange mesh bags, I suppose to blend with the oranges. Joe took one, then got a drink for himself, and they went to the checkout and paid. So he wants oranges, Cloyce thought.

When they were outside, Joe went over to the urchin and tossed him the oranges. Cloyce said the boy looked up at Joe in surprise and joy and said, "Mister, when you dies, I hope you goes straight to Heaven." Joe replied ironically, but in a quiet voice, "Aw Hell". It was perhaps the only time and manner in which such words could sound humble.

So Aw Hell can mean a lot of things. You just have to have the right emphasis. Joe was a master of that.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Jimmy's a grand old Scotsman

I first met Jimmy about 25 years ago, a grand old Scotsman with many a fine tale, after a bonspiel (curling tournament) at the Detroit Curling Club. We were talking after a game. He noticed my name tag and he comments, "Cosgriff? Is Welsh is it?"

I replied, "I don't think so. My cousin Beth has traced our family to north Tipperary in Ireland."

Jimmy replies, "Ah, Irish, Scottish, Welsh. All Gaelic. We all have the one thing in common."

"What's that, Jimmy?" I asked in curious reply.

"We hate the English."

We have been good friends ever since.

Just saying...

Democracy is the worst political system...except for all the other political systems.

Capitalism is the lousiest economic system...outside of all the other economic systems.

Why are they the best, yet the worst? Because they are based on human freedom and dignity. People have a great capacity for good, but a terrible propensity to do ill. Freedom unfortunately feeds both these notions.

But I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The old barn

I drove by that old barn last night, late, when I was coming back from curling in Windsor, Ontario. I needed to be sure she was secure, and she was.

That old barn means a lot to me. Me Grandpa Joe, he rented it first, back in 1960, the year I was born. Later, he bought it outright. It had been a stable back when actual horsepower still drove the world. It had then been a mechanic shop, then an auto detailing shop. Then a place to store welding equipment and pipe threaders, things necessary for fabrication in an era before prefabrication. Things me old grandfather owned and rented.

There was many folk what worked there. Some was relatives. Some were neighborhood friends, some were folk who needed one more week of work to make their full Social Security. Me Grandad, he did that for an old friend from Illinois who for whatever reason needed one week of work to qualify for a whole Social Security check. Miles Fitzpatrick his name was. Grandad helped his old friend from Jacksonville earn his full Social Security with the one more week of work he needed to collect before earning his whole Social Security.

Me Dad, he brought me in there when I was 13 and expecting a whole summer off schoolwork. Baseball and all, you know, what kids then wanted to play. I still remember Pops knocking on me door at 7:30 on that Monday morning after seventh grade let out and saying simply, 'Marty'. I was up straight off, and soon into clothes I didn't mind ruining, and went to work. I can honestly say I have 42 years experience in the business. It was me Pops what saw to that.

It was in that old barn wheres I learned to appreciate them folks around me. Grandpa Joe, we lost him in Nineteen Ninety One, two days before his eighty sixth birthday. We lost Pops in Twenty Thirteen, on the Twenty Fifth of June. I learned what great guys they were whiles workin' in that old barn. Now, that old barn, it's mine and me brother Phil's.

And it's secure. And I'll go to sleep being secure myself tonight now.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Swagger is shallow

You don't brag on yourself. You don't. I'm not saying that it's a moral wrong. But it is crude.

Everyone in Detroit remembers Kirk Gibson punching his fists in the air when his three run shot off Goose Gossage sealed the 1984 World Series for our hometown Detroit Tigers. Some would call it an iconic moment. But what did it actually accomplish? The Tigers were already leading the game 5-4 in the bottom of the Eighth and the series 3 games to one. A smarter manager than Dick Williams would have walked Gibson. Who drove in the actual Series winning run? Who was the MVP of the 84 Series?

You had to look that up didn't you? But aren't their accomplishments really more important than a moment caught on camera when the series was at least arguably already over? Gibson may have been the icing. But he was not the cake.

We're too much for show in the U.S. and in many other parts of the world today. Yet show rarely accomplishes anything. It's the grunts what do that. It's the little things which add up to great things which ultimately matter the most.

Rusty Kuntz and Alan Trammell BTW. You had forgotten that until now I'm sure.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A holiday on an actual holiday

Did my eyes deceive me? Did we just have a holiday on the day of the holiday and not on the nearest Monday?

I went to the bank yesterday and it was closed. We had no mail delivery. The school across the street from my workshop was closed. It seems as though we actually (well, some of us anyway) celebrated a holiday on the holiday. Veterans Day was actually on the traditional Veteran's Day.

Of course, that's how it should be. But as we have gotten into the habit of remembering special days on the nearest Monday (you know, for our convenience rather as an honor to the person or subject at hand) it took me awhile to realize that Veteran's Day was different.

That's good. We should treat all holidays the same. That would actually respect them rather than just giving some folks a day off work.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veteran's Day 2015

Why is it that we often only appreciate the American Soldier when he is fighting Nazis?

That is the fault of the Hollywood Left, quite frankly. For whatever bizarre reason, and knowing them it must be somewhat bizarre or selfish, it seems that the soldiers most fondly recalled are those from the WWII generation. Without a doubt, they deserve their praise of course. This isn't to doubt their service or their bravery. We should recall them. The American Soldier, and his compatriots from Canada and Great Britain and France and China and dozens of other nations from around the world fell while fighting the menace of Nazi Germany and militarist Japan. They may have been at least to that time the worst threat the entire world had faced, and a threat to the United States as well, to be sure. But were they only reason the American Soldier fought and died?

Did not the American Soldier fight and fall at Lexington and Concord? Citizen soldiers, yes, they were. And they stood their ground, refusing to allow the Redcoats to secure a garrison of patriotic supplies at Concord, pestering the British all the way back to their garrison at Boston. Did the American Soldier not fall at Fort Ticonderoga, or Bunker Hill, or at Saratoga? Did he not fall at the retreat from Manhattan, or while fighting the Hessians at Princeton or Trenton, or was their blood not shed as they attacked redoubts numbered 9 and 10 at Yorktown, the attacks which were key to victory at that famous battle? Why should we not remember that American Soldier?

During the Wars which we do not remember so fondly, at sea against the French in 1798, at the Raisin River right here in Michigan in 1813 during the War of 1812, did he not fall? At Tripoli during the Wars in 1804 and 1815? Why do we not remember the American Soldier from then?

Do we remember Fort Sumter? Do we remember Antietam? Do we remember Bull Run, battles One and Two, or the siege of Vicksburg? Do Chambersburg and Gettysburg, Gettysburg, the battle which many historians argue is one of the ten most critical battles of World History, World History, mind you, mean anything these days? Do we appreciate what that means to our nation even today?

The doughboys in World War I; do we know them these days? Yes, they are universally gone now. They should not be forgotten.

World War II and Korea live in our memories. Yet we forget Korea. That is, other than with the greatest cynicism, as presented by M*A*S*H. Why do we recall only with disdain the great victories of the American Soldier in Vietnam? Why do we not acknowledge the tremendous victory of the American Soldier of the TET Offensive during the New Year of 1968? The Viet Cong were blown off the field of battle as an effective fighting force for a year, an entire year, and the media (which hates conservative America) called it a military loss. Why do we forget you? Why do we forget the American Soldier of Operation Iraqi Freedom? Why do we forget the American Soldier who toils each day in Afghanistan? Why do we forget the American Soldier who toils each day holding the Al Qaeda militants at bay at Guantanamo, safe from attacking their fellow citizens?

We should not. We should not forget you any more than we should forget the veteran of Granada or Operation Desert Storm, of Panama or Haiti or the 200 or more military operations in our history. Has every action of the US been right? No; we are human. We have made mistakes. Where we have, nature and nature's God rightly demand we regret them and make amends where we can. Yet even then we must not forget that our sons and daughters have not died in vain. There were part of the greater cause, willing to serve their nation whenever or wherever it called. We must give them their due too.

The Nazis have not been the only evil in the world. They may have been not the worst evil, either. Other evils have arisen; evils whose blood soils the hand of the American Soldier. They was always and everywhere concerned with rightness and justice no matter what. And that, dear friends, is how we ought remember them.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

What's behind me doesn't matter

A few weeks ago the rear view mirror on the windshield of my van fell off. Well, that was no big deal; in forty years of driving I've had that happen before. I went to the auto parts store and bought the primer and adhesive I needed, applied the bracket which holds the mirror to the window onto the window, waited the 24 hour curing period, installed the mirror the next day, and drove away satisfied at a job well done.

A few miles down the road the mirror falls off again.

Well, so what? No problem. I might have done something wrong, or there was something wrong with the adhesive, or whatever. Anything made or done by human hands is subject to failure. That's just the way things are. So I went back to the auto parts store, bought more stuff, blah, blah, blah, install mirror a day later, drive a few miles...and the mirror falls off.


Later that same day I was talking to my daughter about it, and she told me about some kind of super adhesive which she and her mother used on their various arts and crafts products which might work. It certainly seemed worth a try. So I took some, applied it to the bracket, put the bracket on the windshield, waited the appropriate curing time, and installed the mirror. I drove a bit, and everything seemed fine.

When I got in the van to go to work the next day, the mirror was lying against the gas pedal. And I swear it was mocking me.

Okay, it was time to go to the pros. Yesterday morning I took the van to the auto glass specialist whom we have went to for, well, my grandfather and father before me went to him, and he really is a great glass man, and asked what he could do. He used his gunk, and told me in about 15 minutes that the car was ready. He wouldn't take payment for it though I, being a noble sort, tossed a twenty on his desk over his protestations. I climbed into the van and went to start the rest of my day, beginning with a trip out the freeway to my barber. As I took the Ford Road exit off of I-94, the mirror fell off. I exploded in laughter. It really was hilarious by that point.

So my question now is, does anyone out there know how to hang a stupid mirror to a windshield?

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Curling and Fr. Smith

I have a bad habit when curling. I tend to jog down the ice when it's my turn to throw a stone, and that's something you should never do: run on ice. I've injured myself quite spectacularly more than once doing that. So even as I tell new curlers not to run on the ice, I turn around and do it myself. With abandon.

Last night as I curled I religiously followed that old habit. And I had a lot of change in my pocket. It jingled heartily as I jogged down the sheet. Shing, shing, shing was the sound I made as I ran toward the far hack to deliver my curling rock. And halfway down sheet six last night, as I jogged to throw my shots in the second end, I found myself reminded of a Sunday afternoon quite a few years ago.

When I was young, my dad would often take my brother and I to a field right across the street from our Church and we would all take turns hitting and fielding a baseball. One such day our Pastor, Fr. Smith, saw us as we pretended at baseball and asked if he might play along. And as we had extra gloves and only needed one bat, and as he was our pastor (and good friend of Pops), we said sure.

Fr. Smith took a glove and we all tossed the old pill around to warm up. Then Father hit a few, then grabbed a glove and went out into the field. And I learned very quickly that he was a serious ballplayer.

He tracked down every fly ball anywhere near him. His keys gave away his determination. As pastor of our parish, he had all kinds of keys, and seemed to have them all in his pockets that far ago Sunday afternoon. He stalked every fly ball with almost reckless abandon, running down whatever dared towards his territory. And his keys made this emphatic sound, shing, shing, shing, as he tracked down the baseballs which challenged him.

He was a great guy, Fr. Smith. And of all things, I found myself remembering him and that day fondly last night while on the curling ice. Funny, eh?

Friday, November 6, 2015

This Napoleon was truly funny

While surfing around Wikipedia this morning I decided to look up a few unimportant things which are nonetheless of interest to me. I searched for Napoleon XIV, as I had always liked his novelty song They're Coming to Take Me Away and was curious about the songwriter/performer who came up with it. As it was, the song made the billboard top five in 1966. It likely would have stayed longer except that radio stations stopped playing the catchy little ditty after advocacy groups for the mentally ill alleged that it made fun of people with psychological issues.

I do not know what to think of this. No, wait, I do: such things are simply far too politically correct for their own good. For starters, the song is just an attempt at humor. Why can't it be accepted on that level? Then, too, it isn't making fun of anyone. It's a parody about the overreaction of a guy who's girlfriend dumped him. It does not, that I can see, make fun or light of mentally ill people. I simply can't see anything wrong with it.

Part of the trouble in this world today is that too many people won't lighten up, and that's especially galling where there's no true ill will expressed by a song or a joke. I will grant you that anything done with venom, something done with malice aforethought intended to actually offend a person or group, may well be indefensible on its own merit. But when someone can't use a common reference for the sake of a laugh, I have to conclude that we have too many folks out there who worry too much about stuff which doesn't rate the amount of concern they think it should.

Busybodies, that's what they are. Fortunately those of us with lives know how and when to laugh. Let's start by laughing at them.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The rush to judge social conservatives

I am a conservative; that point I've never hidden from anyone. But what's more, I am also in the eyes of many the worst kind of conservative: a social conservative. As such, I am frequently told that I must not judge. If by that charge the accusers mean that I cannot judge people as good or bad I will readily agree. Yet they don't mean that. They only mean that I must not judge actions with which they sympathize. And to that I readily do not agree.

To begin with, isn't arguing that we should not judge in itself a judgment? If it is, then isn't the idea intrinsically contradictory? Doesn't it pull support right from under itself? It is simply an entirely untenable position, especially with questions of God or right and wrong. If God doesn't judge, or at least expect us to act certain ways, then why did he bother about those pesky Commandments?

That is perhaps the most critical point in having to make judgments. From that idea, we surely must see that the concept goes all the way down. It would be awfully hard to be a good parent if you could never judge the actions of your children. Society could never make the first law for the simple reason that laws make judgments. Indeed if judging is wrong then how might I ever decide which contractor to repair my home or car, for in the act of choosing Mechanic Sam ahead of Mechanic Kyle I have judged Sam's talents superior to Kyle's. But if sort of judging is wrong, then my car shall never get fixed. No; we simply must judge actions (and histories and abilities) if we are to get on in this world.

It is interesting that those who assert that we cannot judge never condemn judgment over things they believe good. They encourage it in fact. They say things like, we should accept everyone no matter what. Well, accept me and my judgmental ways then; of course, they won't do that. I can't help but think it's hypocrisy, however inadvertently or unintentionally it may be done. If judging is wrong, then judgments about what is good are as invalid as judgments about what is bad. At that point, as with picking our mechanic, we couldn't get anything done because even a good judgment, would be, by obvious inference, out of the question.

The bottom line is that non-judgmentalism is an impossible scientific, philosophical, theological, or even merely practical position to hold. But I bet that won't stop the no judgment folks from judging my words here, will it?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Must there be life on other worlds?

The SETI (search for extraterrestrial life) folks have decided that they're going about the search for alien life in the wrong way. They've been listening to distant star systems for steady radio signals which would theoretically would indicate intelligence. Yet a newer view is that intelligent life would sent out short, powerful bursts of radio energy based on the idea that other smart fellows would be sending out those rather than the steady, lower powered energies we've been looking for. It's really quite interesting. The sad thing is that it will almost certainly lead to nothing.

I will go on the record as saying that I don't believe that there is other intelligent life, indeed that there is not any life at all, elsewhere in the galaxy. That is not etched in stone, for if the universe is huge and expanding as we're told then other life is admittedly not out of the question. Still, that old saw, that with the sprawling and expanding nature of the universe there must be intelligent life besides our own, isn't really that impressive of an argument. Space and time do not necessarily mean that other life forms can or must have developed.

For starters, our immediate experience is that nothing else is there. We've found no hard and fast evidence of life in the local planets and solar systems; it would be more logical to assume that the more worlds without life, the less likely that there are in fact others with it. Further, why is it so outlandish to think that maybe, just maybe, we were touched by the Divine for a very singular purpose? Perhaps, only perhaps, we will allow, the rest of creation is there simply for our marvel, to appreciate the immensity of the Supreme Being? And there is certainly no law of physics which states there must be life elsewhere.

Yet if there is, it isn't as though such a discovery would alter what should be our proper view of things. If there are intelligent aliens, they would have been created by the same God. They would face the same issues which we do: seeing to their needs, their daily bread, and considering their responsibilities to their fellow creatures and to whomever else they may find. In short, SETI is interesting as an academic device. But would any discoveries it may make be, shall we say (we do so love puns), Earth shattering?

Of course not. So keep looking, if that's you life's work, and I will readily concede my error if proved wrong. But don't make it too much of a mission. There's an awful lot here on our world which could be as rewarding. Indeed, if you want to get to know others, there's plenty of them around here for your entertainment.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Leap of Faith

There is only one thing which it takes courage to say and that is a truism.

- G. K. Chesterton

Chesterton had a way about him, didn't he? He could cut to the chase better than anyone, and today's quote is a prime example of that.

Why is it so hard to mouth a truism? All truth is built on things so obvious that no rational mind would reject them. Call them truisms, axioms, first principles, self evidence; it's all the same thing. And all reason is built upon them. All that an anti-abortion activist need point out is that human beings have human babies and all other truths about the pro-life issue fall squarely into place. For the rational mind, that is. That's why so many pro-abortion activists are simply shrill. They have no rational option to offer.

Still, I can see where speaking a truism can be difficult. There is a degree to which they appear too simple, and simplicity can be scary exactly because of that. Another great British Christian, Mr. C. S. Lewis, famously remarked that he was never less sure of an issue than right after he had successfully defended it. That makes sense to me. It's daunting to believe that's that's all there is to it, so to speak. There's a part of us which has trouble believing the great questions have simple answers. The questions seem too great to have answers so obvious.

That's where trust comes in. No matter how obvious something may be, scientifically, philosophically, or theologically, we have to take a leap of faith to fully accept it. We see what seem to be apparent complications in the world and have a tough time cutting through all that noise to understand truth. That is why, to employ Mr. Lewis again, we must be obstinate in belief. Until the proof is incontrovertible that our position is wrong, then believe it is right. There's no shame in that. Why ought anyone abandon a position merely because the wind might be blowing against them?

There's no point making the world a more complicated place that it may seem, and certainly no point complicating issues through nothing more than ignorance and human frailty. The truth is indeed out there. It can be expressed in the most simple ways as well. Take strength in that. Take that leap of faith.