Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Word Became Flesh and Blood and Moved Into the Neighborhood

A Christmas Poem: Prudentius

Though you came from the mouth of God,
Born as his Word on earth below,
Yet as his Wisdom you lived
Forever in the Father’s heart.

This Wisdom uttered made the sky,
The sky and light and all besides;
All by the Word’s almighty power
Were fashioned, for the Word was God.

But when the universe was formed
And ordered by unchanging laws,
The Cause and architect divine
In the Father’s bosom still remained,

Until the slow revolving years 
In centuries at length had passed,
And he himself condescended to come
Down to the world grown old in sin…

But such destruction of humankind
The heart of Christ could not endure;
And lest his Father’s handiwork,
Unvindicated, should be lost,

He clothed himself in mortal flesh,
That by arising from the tomb
He might unlock the chains of death
And bring man to his Father’s house.
This is your natal day, on which
The high Creator sent you forth,
And gave to you a form of clay,
Uniting flesh with his own Word.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Walk in the Woods

My friend Michael Povey has some thoughts about grumpiness at his blog Povey Prattle. I know I was grumpy this past week. Grumpy when a bureaucrat at Social Security demanded another document before I could start collecting benefits. Grumpy when I received the second call about how satisfied I was with the service department at the local Toyota dealership - I was very satisfied - and the caller couldn't accept that I didn't want to talk with her. I get grumpy and I am very thankful for Michael's gentle prodding that got me to think about something that happened today that got me very tired and cold, but not at all grumpy.

This morning I took our family's eight-month old black lab Scout for a walk in Ravenswood Park in Gloucester. The 600 acre park is one of those owned and maintained by The Trustees of Reservations. According to someone I met on a previous visit, the donor of the land stipulated that it be maintained as a place where dogs could run free. An eight-month old black lab needs a place to run free and that she did this morning.

When we arrived, I saw a man with two dogs a short way up the road in the woods. Scout, after the obligatory sniffing around the area, bounded up the road to meet the dogs and the man. He patted her, made a comment about what a nice dog she was, assured me that his two were very good with other dogs, and then we were off walking. I lagged a bit behind, not quite up to his pace, but also quite sure that he hadn't come to the woods to chat with me, just as I hadn't come for a long talk, but for a long quiet walk. For the next half-hour or so we walked, the dogs racing ahead and then coming back and then wandering off the road for a bit to sniff out something interesting. I lagged even farther back as we walked, but Scout kept stopping and looking back to be sure that I was still with her. As we reached the end of the circuit we had taken and approached the parking lot and the road beyond, the man stopped and petted Scout again and held her collar until I could put her back on the leash. He told me that there had been some dogs hurt as they raced out of the park and into the road and that he always stopped with his dogs a few feet short of the parking lot. I thanked him and we parted.

I never got his name, but I am thankful for his part in this very ungrumpy adventure. I probably would not have taken as long a walk if I hadn't sensed that there was no chance of getting Scout to go anywhere but where the other dogs were going. I am also very thankful for The Trustees and for the donor of Ravenswood Park, Samuel E. Sawyer, for providing just the place for me to get over being grumpy.

Friday, December 10, 2010

I Don't Get It - Again

Even though my grandparents were ardent Republicans and I have many friends in that party, I don't understand how all the Republican Senators, except Susan Collins, could vote against repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell. Maybe my Republican friends are as confused as I am by the refusal of members of the party of Lincoln and the party that prides itself  as being pro-military to end DADT. The law weakens our national security by preventing committed and talented women and men from serving in the military.

The President has taken the position that he is bound to enforce DADT and has waited for Congress to repeal it. I think that it is well past time for the President to decide that he cannot enforce a law which is a threat to our national security.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I Don't Get It

I am not an economist, so I probably shouldn't get it, but I find the Republicans' argument for continuing the Bush era tax rates unconvincing. Tax rates were much higher in the 1950s, a period of, at least from my perspective, prosperity. They were higher during the Clinton era and we got a balanced federal budget. And during the Bush era, tax rates were lowered, the national debt grew, and the economy crashed. 

So, the Republicans want us to go back there?