Thanksgiving Stories the Teacher is not Teaching to the Children

Dinner Topics: Stories for Thanksgiving

 “Here’s the part that’s been omitted…”  I’ll come back with the part that is omitted from modern day textbooks for young children in the schools. ~Rush Limbaugh

plymouth-colony-AA group of separatists first fled to Holland and established a community. “After eleven years, about forty of them agreed to make a perilous journey to the New World, where they would certainly face hardships, but could live and worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences. On August 1, 1620, the Mayflower set sail. It carried a total of 102 passengers, including forty Pilgrims led by William Bradford. On the journey, Bradford set up an agreement, a contract, that established just and equal laws for all members of the new community, irrespective of their religious beliefs. Where did the revolutionary ideas expressed in the Mayflower Compact come from?

bible1“From the Bible. The Pilgrims were a people completely steeped in the lessons of the Old and New Testaments. They looked to the ancient Israelites for their example. And, because of the biblical precedents set forth in Scripture, they never doubted that their experiment would work. But this was no pleasure cruise, friends. The journey to the New World was a long and arduous one. And when the Pilgrims landed in New England in November, they found, according to Bradford’s detailed journal, a cold, barren, desolate wilderness. There were no friends to greet them, he wrote.

“There were no houses to shelter them. There were no inns where they could refresh themselves. And the sacrifice they had made for freedom was just beginning. During the first winter, half the Pilgrims — including Bradford’s own wife — died of either starvation, sickness or exposure.” For a long time, many of them continued to live on the Mayflower. There was nowhere else to live. “When spring finally came, Indians taught the settlers how to plant corn, fish for cod and skin beavers for coats. Life improved for the Pilgrims, but they did not yet prosper!

“This is important to understand because this is where modern American history lessons often end. Thanksgiving is actually explained in some textbooks as a holiday for which the Pilgrims gave thanks to the Indians for saving their lives,” and teaching them to grow food and eat and all that, “rather than as a devout expression of gratitude grounded in the tradition of both the Old and New Testaments.” The Bible. Remember, these were religious people. They set out on a journey to a place that they had no idea of, and they just found barren wilderness.

thanksgiving1stThe very idea that they survived — even before they began to prosper, the very idea that they just survived — was what gave them pause to thank God. That was the original Thanksgiving, and that’s not taught. The original Thanksgiving is taught as, “If it weren’t for the Indians, Pilgrims would have died. The Indians saved their bacon! The Indians saved them.” It’s an understandable effort here, but that’s not what happened, is the point. “Here’s the part that’s been omitted…”  I’ll come back with the part that is omitted from modern day textbooks for young children in the schools.

RUSH: We are back with the original, the true story of Thanksgiving, as written by me See, I Told You So, Chapter 6: “Dead White Guys, What the History Books Never Told You, The True Story of Thanksgiving – “Here is the part that has been omitted: The original contract the Pilgrims had entered into with their merchant-sponsors…” in London called for everything they produced to go into a common store, and each member of the community,” all 40 of them, “was entitled to one common share. All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belong to the community as well. “

Mayflower-compact-hero2-AIt was a commune. It was socialism! Because they wanted to be fair. “They were going to distribute it equally. All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belonged to the community as well. Nobody owned anything. They just had a share in it. It was a commune, folks. “It was the forerunner to the communes we saw in the ’60s and ’70s out in California — and it was complete with organic vegetables, by the way,” in case you’d like to know. “Bradford, who had become the new governor of the colony, recognized that this form of collectivism was as costly and destructive to the Pilgrims as that first harsh winter, which had taken so many lives,” and half the people weren’t carrying their weight, didn’t have to.

“He decided to take bold action. Bradford assigned a plot of land to each family to work and manage,” and they got to keep the bulk of what they produced, “thus turning loose the power of the marketplace. That’s right. Long before Karl Marx was even born, the Pilgrims had discovered and experimented with what could only be described as socialism. And what happened? It didn’t work! … “What Bradford and his community found was that the most creative and industrious people had no incentive to work any harder than anyone else, unless they could utilize the power of personal motivation!

“But while most of the rest of the world has been experimenting with socialism for well over a hundred years … the Pilgrims decided early on to scrap it permanently. What Bradford wrote about this social experiment should be in every schoolchild’s history lesson. If it were, we might prevent much needless suffering in the future. ‘The experience that we had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years,'” meaning it was tough for a long time, “‘that by taking away property, and bringing community into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing — as if they were wiser than God,’ Bradford wrote.”

Meaning: We thought we knew, but we were wrong.

“‘For this community [so far as it was] was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense…that was thought injustice.'” So what happened was, the hard workers began to see a bunch of slackers. Even in the first Pilgrims, they had a bunch of slackers, and they said, “What the hell are we doing? If everybody’s getting an equal share here and half of these people aren’t working, to hell with this!” and they threw it out.

William Bradford wrote about it in the journal. “The Pilgrims found that people could not be expected to do their best work without incentive. So what did Bradford’s community try next? They unharnessed the power of good old free enterprise by invoking the undergirding capitalistic principle of private property. Every family was assigned its own plot of land to work,” and they were permitted to use it as they saw fit, “and permitted to market its own crops and products. And what was the result? ‘This had very good success,’ wrote Bradford, ‘for it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.'”

bradfordwilliamThey had surpluses. You know what they did with the surpluses? They shared them with the Indians. Capitalism, as opposed to socialism, produced abundance, the likes of which they had never experienced. They remembered the help they got when they first landed from the Indians. They shared their abundance. That’s the first Thanksgiving: A thanks to God for their safety, a thanks to God for their discovery, and a thanks to the Indians by sharing the abundance that they themselves produced after first trying what could only be called today Obamaism or Clintonism or socialism.

That, my friends, is the real story of Thanksgiving.

It’s not taught. It is not explained anywhere. The original story of Thanksgiving stops where the Indians saw these newly arrived, struggling Europeans who did not know what to do, and showed them how to plant corn and all that. Meaning the first Thanksgiving is: “If it weren’t for Indians…” So that has led us to today where Obama says the Indians are the only ones that have any real right to be offended at immigration. I try to tell this story every year on the day before Thanksgiving on the EIB Network. I do. And as I say, we’ve written an entire book for children about this featuring time travel with Rush Revere and his talking horse, Liberty, that take children back to Holland.

They make the journey with the Pilgrims across the Atlantic Ocean.

They’re there and get to know Bradford and so forth.

It’s the way we decided to teach history, by actually taking these young readers to these events and making them part of them. Kathryn and I are abundantly thankful for all of you for making our lives and the lives of our families so rich and rewarding. The true story of Thanksgiving for us is how fortunate we all are to have people like you in our lives and compromising this audience. We hope you have a great Thanksgiving with your family. We hope that it’s everything that you want it to be, hope you’re able to get there if you intend to go. But regardless, if you’re able to make it or not, we hope that your Thanksgiving gives you time to pause and give thanks for the great fortune we all have to be Americans.

History: George Washington, Thanksgiving to God

Thanksgiving Dinner Topics

Before the mad rush to shop for Christmas on Black Friday, let us pause to give thanks to God–not the government– for our daily bread. Many of our ancestors came to America for liberty. If it weren’t for their hard work and moral character, we would never have reached the prosperity we once knew a few short years ago. Prosperity does not come from Santa Claus; it comes from effort and responsibility.

George WashingtonHere’s what George Washington proclaimed in 1789:

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor – and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be — That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks — for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation — for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the tranquility [sic], union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed — for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted — for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions — to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually — to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed — to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn [sic] kindness onto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord — To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease [sic] of science among them and us — and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York
the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

~George Washington

‘You want me to count the number of references to God? How about just the first line? “Whereas, it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and to humbly implore His protection and favor.” Let’s see. One, two, three, four references in just that first clause. ~Rush Limbaugh

Thanksgiving Stories: Faith and Native American Covenant

Were American Settlers God’s Covenant People?

The people called upon to honor God and keep the Faith

History-Clues

By Timothy Ballard massbaycolony2

 

As the Puritans arrived upon the shores of the New World, their leader John Winthrop shared words that sounded a lot like those declared by Father Lehi [ancestor of the Native Americans] when he brought his people to the same land. Said Winthrop: “Thus stands the cause between God and us, we are entered into Covenant with Him for this work . . . . If we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword through the world.” Winthrop called upon his people to live the commandments, that God might make them a “City upon a Hill.”

bible1The prophet Nephi [among ancient Native Americans] saw the early American settlers in vision and described them appropriately: “And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that they did prosper in the land; and I beheld a book, and it was carried forth among them . . . . which contains the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel.” (1 Nephi 13:20,23)

Where did the expression “bury the hatchet” come from?

lamanitesburyweaponsWhen ancient Native Americans made a covenant with God to serve Him and stop killing people, they buried their weapons deep in the earth.

 

John Winthrop

From wikipedia

massbaycolonyWinthrop’s reference to the “city upon a hill” in A Modell of Christian Charity has become an enduring symbol in American political discourse.[136] Many leading American politicians, going back to revolutionary times, have cited Winthrop in their writings or speeches. Winthrop’s reputation suffered in the late 19th and early 20th century, when critics like Nathaniel Hawthorne and H. L. Mencken pointed out the negative aspects of Puritan rule, leading to modern assessments of him as a “lost Founding Father”. Political scientist Matthew Holland argues that Winthrop “is at once a significant founding father of America’s best and worst impulses”, with his calls for charity and public participation offset by rigid intolerance, exclusionism and judgmentalism.[137] But at heart he did truly want to be a good leader.

Winthrop strongly believed that civil liberty was “the proper end and object of authority”, meaning it was the duty of the government to be selfless for the people and promote justice instead of promoting the general welfare.[138] Winthrop supports this point of view from his past actions such as when he passed laws requiring the heads of households to make sure their children and even their servants to receive proper education and for town to support teachers from public funds.[60]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Winthrop

Thanksgiving Stories: Pilgrims and Mayflower

Dinner Topics for Wednesday

William Bradford

from History.com

plymouth-colony-A   William Bradford (1590-1657) was a founder and longtime governor of the Plymouth Colony settlement. Born in England, he migrated with the Separatist congregation to the Netherlands as a teenager. Bradford was among the passengers on the Mayflower’s trans-Atlantic journey, and he signed the Mayflower Compact upon arriving in Massachusetts in 1620. As Plymouth Colony governor for more than thirty years, Bradford helped draft its legal code and facilitated a community centered on private subsistence agriculture and religious tolerance. Around 1630, he began to compile his two-volume “Of Plymouth Plantation,” one of the most important early chronicles of the settlement of New England.

Born of substantial yeomen in Yorkshire, England, Bradford expressed his nonconformist religious sensibilities in his early teens and joined the famed Separatist church in Scrooby at the age of seventeen. In 1609 he immigrated with the congregation, led by John Robinson, to the Netherlands. For the next eleven years he and his fellow religious dissenters lived in Leyden until their fear of assimilation into Dutch culture prompted them to embark on the Mayflower for the voyage to North America.

Did You Know?

William Bradford’s descendants include Noah Webster, Julia Child and Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist.

The Pilgrims arrived in what became Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1621 with a large number of non-Separatist settlers. Before disembarking, the congregation drew up the first New World social contract, the Mayflower Compact, which all the male settlers signed.

bradfordwilliamBradford served thirty one-year terms as governor of the fledgling colony between 1622 and 1656. He enjoyed remarkable discretionary powers as chief magistrate, acting as high judge and treasurer as well as presiding over the deliberations of the General Court, the legislature of the community. In 1636 he helped draft the colony’s legal code. Under his guidance Plymouth never became a Bible commonwealth like its larger and more influential neighbor, the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Relatively tolerant of dissent, the Plymouth settlers did not restrict the franchise or other civic privileges to church members. The Plymouth churches were overwhelmingly Congregationalist and Separatist in form, but Presbyterians like William Vassal and renegades like Roger Williams resided in the colony without being pressured to conform to the majority’s religious convictions.

After a brief experiment with the “common course,” a sort of primitive agrarian communism, the colony quickly centered around private subsistence agriculture. This was facilitated by Bradford’s decision to distribute land among all the settlers, not just members of the company. In 1627 he and four others assumed the colony’s debt to the merchant adventurers who had helped finance their immigration in return for a monopoly of the fur trading and fishing industries. Owing to some malfeasance on the part of their English mercantile factors and the decline of the fur trade, Bradford and his colleagues were unable to retire this debt until 1648, and then only at great personal expense.

PilgrimsembarkationRobert_Walter_Weiroverall“Embarkation of the Pilgrims,” by Robert Walter Weir. William Bradford is depicted at center, kneeling in the background, symbolically behind Gov. John Carver (holding hat) whom Bradford would succeed.[1]

Around 1630 Bradford began to compile his two-volume Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647, one of the most important early chronicles of the settlement of New England. Bradford’s history was singular in its tendency to separate religious from secular concerns. Unlike similar tracts from orthodox Massachusetts Bay, Bradford did not interpret temporal affairs as the inevitable unfolding of God’s providential plan. Lacking the dogmatic temper and religious enthusiasm of the Puritans of the Great Migration, Bradford steered a middle course for Plymouth Colony between the Holy Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the tolerant secular community of Rhode Island.

The Reader’s Companion to American History. Eric Foner and John A. Garraty, Editors. Copyright © 1991 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Christian Literature: Story of Narnia

Dinner Topics for Tuesday

keyExpert Children’s Book Reviewers tell us there is a great dearth of good literature for children and young adults. They are not being taught about God in schools, or even the Universal Morality that Lewis refers to. If we want our children to have good character, which is founded upon Judeo-Christian principles, we need to teach them ourselves. C S Lewis’ work  will bless families for generations to come.  Let’s start today to strengthen our families—turn off the TV and reach for these timeless classics.  ~C A Davidson

Related post on moral compass

From Wikipedia

C.S._Lewis,_BelfastClive Staples Lewis (29 November 1898 – 22 November 1963), commonly called C. S. Lewis and known to his friends and family as “Jack”, was a novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, and Christian apologist. Born in Belfast, Ireland, he held academic positions at both Oxford University (Magdalen College), 1925–1954, and Cambridge University (Magdalene College), 1954–1963. He is best known both for his fictional work, especially The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Space Trilogy, and for his non-fiction Christian apologetics, such as Mere Christianity, Miracles, and The Problem of Pain.

Lewis and fellow novelist J. R. R. Tolkien were close friends. Both authors served on the English faculty at Oxford University, and both were active in the informal Oxford literary group known as the “Inklings“. According to his memoir Surprised by Joy, Lewis had been baptized in the Church of Ireland (part of the Anglican Communion) at birth, but fell away from his faith during his adolescence. Owing to the influence of Tolkien and other friends, at the age of 32 Lewis returned to the Anglican Communion, becoming “a very ordinary layman of the Church of England“.[1] His faith had a profound effect on his work, and his wartime radio broadcasts on the subject of Christianity brought him wide acclaim.

In 1956, he married the American writer Joy Davidman, 17 years his junior, who died four years later of cancer at the age of 45. Lewis died three years after his wife, from renal failure, one week before his 65th birthday. Media coverage of his death was minimal; he died on 22 November 1963—the same day that U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and the same day another famous author, Aldous Huxley, died. In 2013, on the 50th anniversary of his death, Lewis will be honoured with a memorial in Poets’ Corner, Westminster Abbey.

Lewis’s works have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold millions of copies. The books that make up The Chronicles of Narnia have sold the most and have been popularized on stage, TV, radio, and cinema.

Christian apologist

In addition to his career as an English professor and an author of fiction, Lewis is regarded by many as one of the most influential Christian apologists of his time; Mere Christianity was voted best book of the twentieth century by Christianity Today in 2000.[58] Due to Lewis’s approach to religious belief as a sceptic, and his following conversion, he has been called “The Apostle to the Skeptics.”

Lewis was very interested in presenting a reasonable case for Christianity. Mere Christianity, The Problem of Pain, and Miracles were all concerned, to one degree or another, with refuting popular objections to Christianity, such as “How could a good God allow pain to exist in the world?”. He also became known as a popular lecturer and broadcaster, and some of his writing (including much of Mere Christianity) originated as scripts for radio talks or lectures.[59][page needed]

According to George Sayer, losing a 1948 debate with Elizabeth Anscombe, also a Christian, led Lewis to reevaluate his role as an apologist, and his future works concentrated on devotional literature and children’s books.[60] Anscombe, however, had a completely different recollection of the debate’s outcome and its emotional effect on Lewis.[60] Victor Reppert also disputes Sayer, listing some of Lewis’s post-1948 apologetic publications, including the second and revised edition of his Miracles in 1960, in which Lewis addressed Anscombe’s criticism.[61] Noteworthy too is Roger Teichman’s suggestion in The Philosophy of Elizabeth Anscombe[62][page needed] that the intellectual impact of Anscombe’s paper on Lewis’s philosophical self-confidence should not be overrated: “… it seems unlikely that he felt as irretrievably crushed as some of his acquaintances have made out; the episode is probably an inflated legend, in the same category as the affair of Wittgenstein’s poker. Certainly Anscombe herself believed that Lewis’s argument, though flawed, was getting at something very important; she thought that this came out more in the improved version of it that Lewis presented in a subsequent edition of Miracles – though that version also had ‘much to criticize in it’.”

Lewis also wrote an autobiography titled Surprised by Joy, which places special emphasis on his own conversion. (It was written before he met his wife, Joy Gresham; the title of the book came from the first line of a poem by William Wordsworth.) His essays and public speeches on Christian belief, many of which were collected in God in the Dock and The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses, remain popular today.

His most famous works, the Chronicles of Narnia, contain many strong Christian messages and are often considered allegory. Lewis, an expert on the subject of allegory, maintained that the books were not allegory, and preferred to call the Christian aspects of them “suppositional“. As Lewis wrote in a letter to a Mrs. Hook in December 1958:

If Aslan represented the immaterial Deity in the same way in which Giant Despair [a character in The Pilgrim’s Progress] represents despair, he would be an allegorical figure. In reality however he is an invention giving an imaginary answer to the question, ‘What might Christ become like, if there really were a world like Narnia and He chose to be incarnate and die and rise again in that world as He actually has done in ours?’ This is not allegory at all.[63]

“Trilemma”

Main article: Lewis’s trilemma

In a much-cited passage from Mere Christianity, Lewis challenged the view that Jesus, although a great moral teacher, was not God. He argued that Jesus made several implicit claims to divinity, which would logically exclude this:

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.[64]

This argument, which Lewis did not invent but developed and popularized, is sometimes referred to as “Lewis’s trilemma“. It has been used by the Christian apologist Josh McDowell in his book More Than a Carpenter (McDowell 2001). Although widely repeated in Christian apologetic literature, it has been largely ignored by professional theologians and biblical scholars.[65]

Lewis’s Christian apologetics, and this argument in particular, have been criticized. Philosopher John Beversluis described Lewis’s arguments as “textually careless and theologically unreliable,”[66] and this particular argument as logically unsound and an example of false dilemma.[67] Theologian John Hick argues that New Testament scholars do not now support the view that Jesus claimed to be God,[68] New Testament scholar N. T. Wright criticizes Lewis for failing to recognize the significance of Jesus’ Jewish identity and setting – an oversight which “at best, drastically short-circuits the argument” and which lays Lewis open to criticism that his argument “doesn’t work as history, and it backfires dangerously when historical critics question his reading of the gospels,” although he believes this “doesn’t undermine the eventual claim.” [69]

Lewis used a similar argument in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, when Digory Kirke advises the young heroes that their sister’s claims of a magical world must logically be taken as either lies, madness, or truth.[61]

Universal morality

right-wrongsignOne of the main theses in Lewis’s apologia is that there is a common morality known throughout humanity. In the first five chapters of Mere Christianity Lewis discusses the idea that people have a standard of behaviour to which they expect people to adhere. This standard has been called Universal Morality or Natural Law. Lewis claims that people all over the earth know what this law is and when they break it. He goes on to claim that there must be someone or something behind such a universal set of principles.[70]

These then are the two points that I wanted to make. First, that human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it. Secondly, that they do not in fact behave in that way. They know the Law of Nature; they break it. These two facts are the foundation of all clear thinking about ourselves and the universe we live in.[71]

Lewis also portrays Universal Morality in his works of fiction. In The Chronicles of Narnia he describes Universal Morality as the “deep magic” which everyone knew.[72]

In the second chapter of Mere Christianity Lewis recognizes that “many people find it difficult to understand what this Law of Human Nature … is”. And he responds first to the idea “that the Moral Law is simply our herd instinct” and second to the idea “that the Moral Law is simply a social convention”. In responding to the second idea Lewis notes that people often complain that one set of moral ideas is better than another, but that this actually argues for there existing some “Real Morality” to which they are comparing other moralities. Finally he notes that sometimes differences in moral codes are exaggerated by people who confuse differences in beliefs about morality with differences in beliefs about facts:

I have met people who exaggerate the differences, because they have not distinguished between differences of morality and differences of belief about facts. For example, one man said to me, “Three hundred years ago people in England were putting witches to death. Was that what you call the Rule of Human Nature or Right Conduct?” But surely the reason we do not execute witches is that we do not believe there are such things. If we did – if we really thought that there were people going about who had sold themselves to the devil and received supernatural powers from him in return and were using these powers to kill their neighbours or drive them mad or bring bad weather, surely we would all agree that if anyone deserved the death penalty, then these filthy quislings did. There is no difference of moral principle here: the difference is simply about matter of fact. It may be a great advance in knowledge not to believe in witches: there is no moral advance in not executing them when you do not think they are there. You would not call a man humane for ceasing to set mousetraps if he did so because he believed there were no mice in the house.[73]

Lewis also had fairly progressive views on the topic of “animal morality”, in particular the suffering of animals, as is evidenced by several of his essays: most notably, On Vivisection[74] and “On the Pains of Animals.”[75][76]

Legacy

Lewis continues to attract a wide readership. In 2008, The Times ranked him eleventh on their list of “the 50 greatest British writers since 1945″.[77] Readers of his fiction are often unaware of what Lewis considered the Christian themes of his works. His Christian apologetics are read and quoted by members of many Christian denominations.[78] In 2013, on the 50th anniversary of his death, Lewis will join some of Britain’s greatest writers recognized at Poets’ Corner, Westminster Abbey.[79]

Lewis has been the subject of several biographies, a few of which were written by close friends, such as Roger Lancelyn Green and George Sayer. In 1985 the screenplay Shadowlands by William Nicholson, dramatising Lewis’s life and relationship with Joy Davidman Gresham, was aired on British television, starring Joss Ackland and Claire Bloom. This was also staged as a theatre play starring Nigel Hawthorne in 1989, and made into the 1993 feature film Shadowlands starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger. In 2005, a one-hour television movie entitled C. S. Lewis: Beyond Narnia, starring Anton Rodgers, provided a general synopsis of Lewis’s life.

Read more about C.S. Lewis

 

YouTube Video: Thanksgiving and Charlie Brown Children Stories

Dinner Topics for Monday

keyThis is a great way to reconnect your children to the Pilgrims who originated the first Thanksgiving. Great for a Family Night, then follow up with session of “Count Your Blessings”, listing all the things you and your family members are grateful for. When you think of all the Pilgrims suffered for religious freedom, and all our soldiers sacrifice for our freedom, our own challenges and problems are kept in perspective.

YouTube Video: Charlie Brown and the Mayflower (This is the first clip.)

 

Click Here for the rest of the Series of clips on Charlie Brown and the Mayflower

 

Charles Schulz

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

chshulz2Charles Monroe Schulz (November 26, 1922 – February 12, 2000),[3] nicknamed Sparky, was an American cartoonist, best known for the comic strip Peanuts (which featured the characters Snoopy and Charlie Brown, among others). He is widely regarded as one of the most influential cartoonists of all time, cited as a major influence by many later cartoonists. Calvin and Hobbes-creator Bill Watterson wrote in 2007: “Peanuts pretty much defines the modern comic strip, so even now it’s hard to see it with fresh eyes. The clean, minimalist drawings, the sarcastic humor, the unflinching emotional honesty, the inner thoughts of a household pet, the serious treatment of children, the wild fantasies, the merchandising on an enormous scale — in countless ways, Schulz blazed the wide trail that most every cartoonist since has tried to follow.”[4]

Early life and education

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Schulz grew up in Saint Paul. He was the only child of Carl Schulz, who was born in Germany, and Dena Halverson, who was Norwegian.[5] His uncle called him “Sparky” after the horse Spark Plug in Billy DeBeck‘s comic strip, Barney Google.[6]

Schulz loved drawing and sometimes drew his family dog, Spike, who ate unusual things, such as pins and tacks. In 1937, Schulz drew a picture of Spike and sent it to Ripley’s Believe It or Not!; his drawing appeared in Robert Ripley‘s syndicated panel, captioned, “A hunting dog that eats pins, tacks and razor blades is owned by C. F. Schulz, St. Paul, Minn.” and “Drawn by ‘Sparky'”[7] (C.F. was his father, Carl Fred Schulz).[8]

Schulz attended Richards Gordon Elementary School in St. Paul, where he skipped two half-grades. He became a shy, timid teenager, perhaps as a result of being the youngest in his class at Central High School. One well-known episode in his high school life was the rejection of his drawings by his high school yearbook.[9] A five-foot-tall statue of Snoopy was placed in the school’s main office 60 years later.

Military service and post-war jobs

In February 1943, Schulz’s mother Dena died after a long illness; at the time of her death, he had only recently been made aware that she suffered from cancer. Schulz had by all accounts been very close to his mother and her death made a strong impact on him.[10] Around the same time, Schulz was drafted into the United States Army. He served as a staff sergeant with the 20th Armored Division in Europe, as a squad leader on a .50 caliber machine gun team. His unit saw combat only at the very end of the war. Schulz said that he only ever had one opportunity to fire his machine gun but forgot to load it. Fortunately, he said, the German soldier he could have fired at willingly surrendered. Years later, Schulz proudly spoke of his wartime service.[11]

After being discharged in late 1945, Schulz returned to Minneapolis. He did lettering for a Roman Catholic comic magazine, Timeless Topix, and then, in July 1946, took a job at Art Instruction, Inc., reviewing and grading lessons submitted by students.[12]:164 Schulz himself had been a student of the school, taking a correspondence course from it before he was drafted. He worked at the school for a number of years while he developed his career as a comic creator, until he was making enough money from comics to be able to do that full-time.

Career

charleschulzpeanuts1Schulz’s first regular cartoons, a weekly series of one-panel jokes entitled Li’l Folks, were published from 1947 to 1950 by the St. Paul Pioneer Press; he first used the name Charlie Brown for a character there, although he applied the name in four gags to three different boys as well as one buried in sand. The series also had a dog that looked much like Snoopy. In 1948, Schulz sold a cartoon to The Saturday Evening Post; the first out of 17 one-panel cartoons by Schulz that would be published there. In 1948, he tried to have Li’l Folks syndicated through the Newspaper Enterprise Association. Schulz would have been an independent contractor for the syndicate, unheard of in the 1940s, but the deal fell through. Li’l Folks was dropped from the Pioneer Press in January 1950.

Later that year, Schulz approached the United Feature Syndicate with the one-panel series Li’l Folks, and the syndicate became interested. However, by that time Schulz had also developed a comic strip, using normally four panels rather than one, and reportedly to Schulz’s delight, the syndicate preferred this version. Peanuts made its first appearance on October 2, 1950, in seven newspapers. The weekly Sunday-page debuted on January 6, 1952. After a somewhat slow beginning, Peanuts eventually became one of the most popular comic strips of all time, as well as one of the most influential. Schulz also had a short-lived sports-oriented comic strip called It’s Only a Game (1957–1959), but he abandoned it due to the demands of the successful Peanuts. From 1956 to 1965 he contributed a single-panel strip (“Young Pillars“) featuring teenagers to Youth, a publication associated with the Church of God.

In 1957 and 1961 he illustrated two volumes of Art Linkletter‘s Kids Say the Darndest Things,[13][14] and in 1964 a collection of letters, Dear President Johnson, by Bill Adler.

Peanuts

charleshulzpeanuts2At its height, Peanuts was published daily in 2,600 papers in 75 countries, in 21 languages. Over the nearly 50 years that Peanuts was published, Schulz drew nearly 18,000 strips. The strips themselves, plus merchandise and product endorsements, produced revenues of more than $1 billion per year, with Schulz earning an estimated $30 million to $40 million annually.[3] During the life of the strip, Schulz took only one vacation, a five-week break in late 1997 to celebrate his 75th birthday; reruns of the strip ran during his vacation, the only time reruns occurred while Schulz was alive.

Schulz said that his routine every morning consisted of first eating a jelly donut, and then going through the day’s mail with his secretary before sitting down to write and draw the day’s strip at his studio. After coming up with an idea (which he said could take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours), he began drawing it, which took about an hour for dailies and three hours for Sunday strips. Unlike many other successful cartoonists, Schulz never used assistants in producing the strip; he refused to hire an inker or letterer, saying that “it would be equivalent to a golfer hiring a man to make his putts for him.”

The first book collection of Peanuts strips was published in July 1952 by Rinehart & Company. Many more books followed, and these collections greatly contributed to the increasing popularity of the strip. In 2004, Fantagraphics began their Complete Peanuts series. Peanuts also proved popular in other media; the first animated TV special, A Charlie Brown Christmas, aired in December 1965 and won an Emmy award. Numerous TV specials were to follow, the latest being Happiness Is A Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown in 2011. Until his death, Schulz wrote or cowrote the TV specials and carefully oversaw production of them.

Charlie Brown, the principal character for Peanuts, was named after a co-worker at the Art Instruction Inc. Schulz drew much more inspiration than this from his own life, some examples being:

  • Like Charlie Brown’s parents, Schulz’s father was a barber and his mother a housewife.
  • Like Charlie Brown, Schulz admitted in interviews that he’d often felt shy and withdrawn in his life. In an interview with Charlie Rose in May 1997, Schulz observed: “I suppose there’s a melancholy feeling in a lot of cartoonists, because cartooning, like all other humor, comes from bad things happening.”[16]
  • Schulz had a dog when he was a boy, reportedly a rather intelligent one at that. Although this dog was a pointer, and not a beagle such as Snoopy, family photos of the dog confirm a certain physical resemblance.
  • References to Snoopy’s brother Spike living outside of Needles, California were likely influenced by the few years (1928–1930) that the Schulz family lived there; they had moved to Needles to join other family members who had relocated from Minnesota to tend to an ill cousin.[17]
  • Schulz’s inspiration for Charlie Brown’s unrequited love to the Little Red-Haired Girl was Donna Mae Johnson, an Art Instruction Inc. accountant with whom he fell in love. When Schulz finally proposed to her in June 1950, shortly after he’d made his first contract with his syndicate, she turned him down and married another man.
  • Linus and Shermy were both named for good friends of his (Linus Maurer and Sherman Plepler, respectively).
  • Peppermint Patty was inspired by Patricia Swanson, one of his cousins on his mother’s side. Schulz devised the character’s name when he saw peppermint candies in his house.[

Personal life

In 1951, Schulz moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado. In April the same year, Schulz married Joyce Halverson (no relation to Schulz’s mother Dena Halverson Schulz).[24] His son, Monte, was born in February the following year, with their three further children being born later, in Minnesota.[25] He painted a wall in that home for his adopted daughter Meredith Hodges, featuring Patty with a balloon, Charlie Brown jumping over a candlestick, and Snoopy playing on all fours. The wall was removed in 2001 and donated to the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, California.

Schulz and his family returned to Minneapolis and stayed until 1958. They then moved to Sebastopol, California, where Schulz built his first studio (until then, he’d worked at home or in a small rented office room). It was here that Schulz was interviewed for the unaired television documentary A Boy Named Charlie Brown. Some of the footage was eventually used in a later documentary, Charlie Brown and Charles Schulz.[26] Schulz’s father died while visiting him in 1966, the same year his Sebastopol studio burned down. By 1969, Schulz had moved to Santa Rosa, California, where he lived and worked until his death.

By Thanksgiving 1970, it was clear that Schulz’s first marriage was in trouble,[27] and their divorce was final in 1972. Schulz married Jean Forsyth Clyde in September 1973; they’d first met when Jean brought her daughter to Schulz’s hockey rink.[27] They remained married for 27 years, until Schulz’s death in 2000.

Schulz had a long association with ice sports, and both figure skating and ice hockey featured prominently in his cartoons. In Santa Rosa, he was the owner of the Redwood Empire Ice Arena, which opened in 1969 and featured a snack bar called “The Warm Puppy”.[9] Schulz’s daughter Amy served as a model for the figure skating in the 1980 television special She’s a Good Skate, Charlie Brown.

Schulz also was very active in senior ice-hockey tournaments; in 1975, he formed Snoopy’s Senior World Hockey Tournament at his Redwood Empire Ice Arena, and in 1981, Schulz was awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding service to the sport of hockey in the United States. Schulz also enjoyed playing golf and was a member of the Santa Rosa Golf and Country Club from 1959 to 2000.

In July 1981, Schulz underwent heart bypass surgery. During his hospital stay, President Ronald Reagan called him on the phone to wish him a quick recovery.

On Sunday, May 8, 1988, two gunmen wearing ski masks entered the cartoonist’s home through an unlocked door, planning to kidnap Jean Schulz, but the attempt failed when the couple’s daughter, Jill, drove up to the house, prompting the would-be kidnappers to flee. She saw what was happening and called the police from a neighbor’s house. Sonoma County Sheriff Dick Michaelsen said, “It was obviously an attempted kidnap-ransom. This was a targeted criminal act. They knew exactly who the victims were.” Neither Schulz nor his wife was hurt during the incident.[28][29]

In 1998, Schulz hosted the first Over 75 Hockey Tournament. In 2001, Saint Paul renamed the Highland Park Ice Arena the Charles M. Schulz Highland Arena in his honor.

In addition to his lifelong interest in comics, Schulz was also interested in art in general; his favorite artist in later years was Andrew Wyeth.[30] As a young adult Schulz also developed a great passion for classical music. Although the character Schroeder in Peanuts adored Beethoven, Schulz said in an interview with Gary Groth in 1997 (published in The Comics Journal #200) that his own favorite classical composer was actually Brahms.

Religion

chbrownchristmas3Schulz often touched on religious themes in his work, including the classic television cartoon, A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965), which features the character Linus van Pelt quoting the King James Version of the Bible Luke 2:8–14 to explain “what Christmas is all about.” In personal interviews Schulz mentioned that Linus represented his spiritual side.

Schulz, reared in the Lutheran faith, had been active in the Church of God as a young adult and then later taught Sunday school at a United Methodist Church. In the 1960s, Robert L. Short interpreted certain themes and conversations in Peanuts as being consistent with parts of Christian theology, and used them as illustrations during his lectures about the gospel, as he explained in his bestselling paperback book, The Gospel According to Peanuts, the first of several books he wrote on religion and Peanuts, and other popular culture items.

 

Thanksgiving as a Lifestyle

A Lifestyle of Thanksgiving leads to real Happiness . . .

keyIn short, deep, abiding happiness – even in the midst of life’s hardships –is a result of being grateful for what the Suffering Servant did on our behalf.  ~Anne Reed

 

Thankfulness, happiness – what’s the connection?

By Anne Reed

KJV BibleGratitude is a quality woven through Scripture, directly and indirectly. Directly, for example, in Psalm 147:7: “Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving.” Indirectly in passages such as 2 Samuel 7:18 as David prays to the Lord, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?”

It seems self-evident that such gratitude springs from, as well as leads to, a happy life. And isn’t that what we hunger for – happiness?

In fact, modern studies have borne out the connection between thankfulness and the happiness expressed as an unalienable right in our Declaration of Independence – at least the pursuit of happiness.

That pursuit has led many to seek happiness in possessions, pleasure and power. However, it is unlikely that the treasure chest of true happiness exists at the end of that chase.

A study from the Interdisciplinary Forum on Subjective Well-Being1 found that those with materialistic goals harbor a smoldering brew of envy, depression, low self-esteem, indifference to the welfare of others, greed and a number of other distasteful qualities. Happiness was missing from their lives.

In contrast to the kind of pursuit of happiness that often ends in disillusionment, the Apostle Paul described the paradox of the churches of Macedonia, “… for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part” (2 Corinthians 8:2. Emphasis added).

Ironically, the gratefulness of the Macedonian Christians – as evidenced by generosity – was born in the midst of trials and poverty. And yet their lives were abundantly joyful. How does that work?

What the Macedonians came to understand is that in Christ, God wrapped Himself in human flesh, lived among men and sacrificed His life on a bitter cross “while [they] were yet sinners,” according to Romans 5:8.

jesusforgivemedIn short, deep, abiding happiness – even in the midst of life’s hardships –is a result of being grateful for what the Suffering Servant did on our behalf.

That kind of happiness overflows in love for others and a desire to grow even deeper in our love for Christ.

On the other hand, materialism is linked to an unwillingness to deal with thoughts, feelings and circumstances that could present opportunities for character development.

A materialistic person will be inclined to use others rather than serve them. While excitement and a temporary sense of well being may be gained through material accomplishment, long-term joy is always beyond reach.

Unbelievers are typically convinced that men are born good and are simply influenced negatively by outward circumstances. If that were true, it would also make sense that happiness and joy could be gained through positive circumstances. A savior would be unnecessary. But Scripture is clear that humans are born sinful. [Note*: Correction on the “Original Sin” doctrine. Humans are born innocent. We are not accountable for Adam’s transgression. However, all of us are born with the gift of free will: to choose for ourselves. We are born with the weaknesses of a fallen nature, which cause us to make sinful choices. That’s why we need the Savior Jesus Christ. Our weaknesses should humble us to turn to Him. ~C.D.]

Months ago, a video of a well-known pastor’s wife went viral. She spurred on the megachurch congregation: “Do good because God wants you to be happy. When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doing it for God really.” She continued, “You’re doing it for yourself, because that’s what makes God happy.”

Her words satisfied the ears of many, evidenced by the applause that filled the auditorium. But in reality, the gospel goes far beyond fleeting moments of excitement or fulfilling one’s selfish desires to attain happiness.

Theologian Albert Mohler expressed concerns about this particular megachurch’s focus on happiness with no talk of repentance, the cross or the atoning blood of Christ. He wrote: “The problem with prosperity theology is not that it promises too much, but that it aims for so little.

old fashioned family dinnerWhat God promises us in Christ is far above anything that can be measured in earthly wealth – and believers are not promised earthly wealth or the gift of health.”

As you sit down for a Thanksgiving Day meal this year, may your heart be filled with gratitude as you ponder Christ who died for sinners like you and me and gave us an eternal home in His presence. Therein lies the happiness our hearts yearn for.

1Journal of Happiness Studies, Interdisciplinary Forum on Subjective Well-Being, Volume 12, No. 2, 2010

- See more at: http://www.afajournal.org/archives/2010-present/2014/november/commentaries/thankfulness-happiness-what-s-the-connection.aspx#sthash.JWOv12xQ.dpuf

Action Update: Take Action for Liberty!

Dear Concerned American,

keyPlease click on the links below to call, Tweet, or email Senator McConnell and John Boehner. You can also right-click the email link to get the address. Then copy and paste the messages below to the respective Congressmen. The Tea Party gives us the latest updates and makes it as easy as possible to make your voice heard for Liberty. Please take a moment to contact these leaders and let them hear from the American People.

Yesterday, we learned that President Barack Obama is going to announce his plans for executive amnesty this evening in a live address to the nation from the White House.

After the American people soundly rejected his policies on November 4th, he has the audacity to address us in prime time fashion to announce his plans to defiantly enact executive amnesty.

This is the moment we anticipated happening.

The American people have chosen a new path – one in which Mitch McConnell and John Boehner have been trusted to lead. Today is their moment to step up to that task.
Call to Action:

Today we are asking Senate Majority Leader-Elect Mitch McConnell to come out publicly – before the President addresses the nation – to announce that if the President moves forward against the will of the American people the Senate will reject every single nomination or appointment that the President puts forward for the next two years – except for critical national security positions.

Likewise, we are asking Speaker John Boehner to come out publicly and commit to not funding any portion of the President’s plan.
This is the moment the American people feared and this is the reason why Republicans were given control of Congress. Let’s call today and encourage them to do the right thing!

Senator Mitch McConnell

Senator Mitch McConnell

 

Speaker John Boehner

Speaker John Boehner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sen. McConnell John Boehner
 (844) 397-2146
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 Send an Email
 (844) 397-2152
 Send a Tweet
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In Liberty,
Jenny Beth Martin & Tea Party Patriots National Support Team

YouTube Video, Acoustic Guitar, and Rodrigo

Dinner Topics for Friday

YouTube video: John Williams Acoustic Guitar, Concierto de Aranjuez

keyRodrigo, blind since age three, was a pianist. He did not play the guitar, yet he still managed to capture the spirit of the guitar in Spain.

From Wikipedia

Joaquín Rodrigo Vidre, 1st Marquis of the Gardens of Aranjuez (November 22, 1901 – July 6, 1999), commonly known as Joaquín Rodrigo, was a composer of classical music and a virtuoso pianist. Despite being nearly blind from an early age, he achieved great success. Rodrigo’s music counts among some of the most popular of the 20th century, particularly his Concierto de Aranjuez, considered one of the pinnacles of the Spanish music and guitar concerto repertoire.
Life
He was born in Sagunto, Valencia, and almost completely lost his sight at the age of three after contracting diphtheria. He began to study solfège, piano and violin at the age of eight; harmony and composition from the age of sixteen. Although distinguished by having raised the Spanish guitar to dignity as a universal concert instrument and best known for his guitar music, he never mastered the instrument himself. He wrote his compositions in braille, which was transcribed for publication.
Rodrigo studied music under Francisco Antich in Valencia and under Paul Dukas at the École Normale de Musique in Paris. After briefly returning to Spain, he went to Paris again to study musicology, first under Maurice Emmanuel and then under André Pirro. His first published compositions[1] date from 1940. In 1943 he received Spain’s National Prize for Orchestra for Cinco piezas infantiles (“Five Children’s Pieces”), based on his earlier composition of the same piece for two pianos, premiered by Ricardo Viñes. From 1947 Rodrigo was a professor of music history, holding the Manuel de Falla Chair of Music in the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters, at Complutense University of Madrid.
His most famous work, Concierto de Aranjuez, was composed in 1939 in Paris, and in later life he and his wife declared that it was written as a response to the miscarriage of their first child.[2] It is a concerto for guitar and orchestra. The central adagio movement is one of the most recognizable in 20th century classical music, featuring the interplay of guitar with English horn. This movement was later adapted by the conductor Gil Evans for Miles Davis’ 1960 album Sketches of Spain. The Concerto was adapted by the composer himself for Harp and Orchestra and dedicated to Nicanor Zabaleta.
The success of this concerto led to commissions from a number of prominent soloists, including the flautist James Galway and the cellist Julian Lloyd Webber for whom Rodrigo composed his Concierto como un divertimento and Concierto serenata for Harp and Orchestra dedicated to Nicanor Zabaleta. In 1954 Rodrigo composed Fantasía para un gentilhombre at the request of Andrés Segovia. His Concierto Andaluz, for four guitars and orchestra, was commissioned by Celedonio Romero for himself and his three sons.
None of Rodrigo’s works, however, achieved the popular and critical success of the Concierto de Aranjuez and the Fantasia para un gentilhombre. These two works are very often paired in recordings.
He was awarded Spain’s highest award for composition, the Premio Nacional de Música, in 1983. On 30 December 1991, Rodrigo was raised into the Spanish nobility by King Juan Carlos I with the hereditary title of Marqués de los Jardines de Aranjuez[3][4] (English: Marquis of the Gardens of Aranjuez). He received the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award—Spain’s highest civilian honor—in 1996. He was named Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government in 1998.
He married Victoria Kamhi, a Turkish-born pianist whom he had met in Paris, on 19 January 1933, in Valencia. Their daughter, Cecilia, was born 27 January 1941. Rodrigo died in 1999 in Madrid at the age of 97, and was succeeded as Marqués de los Jardines de Aranjuez by his daughter. Joaquín Rodrigo and his wife Victoria are buried at the cemetery at Aranjuez.

Royal Palace of Aranjuez
Inspiration
The Concierto de Aranjuez was inspired by the gardens at Palacio Real de Aranjuez, the spring resort palace and gardens built by Philip II in the last half of the 16th century and rebuilt in the middle of the 18th century by Ferdinand VI. The work attempts to transport the listener to another place and time through the evocation of the sounds of nature.
According to the composer, the first movement is “animated by a rhythmic spirit and vigour without either of the two themes… interrupting its relentless pace”; the second movement “represents a dialogue between guitar and solo instruments (cor anglais, bassoon, oboe, horn etc.)”; and the last movement “recalls a courtly dance in which the combination of double and triple time maintains a taut tempo right to the closing bar.” He described the concerto itself as capturing “the fragrance of magnolias, the singing of birds, and the gushing of fountains” in the gardens of Aranjuez.
Rodrigo and his wife Victoria stayed silent for many years about the inspiration for the second movement, and thus the popular belief grew that it was inspired by the bombing of Guernica in 1937. In her autobiography, Victoria eventually declared that it was both an evocation of the happy days of their honeymoon and a response to Rodrigo’s devastation at the miscarriage of their first pregnancy. It was composed in 1939 in Paris.[1]
Rodrigo dedicated the Concierto de Aranjuez to Regino Sainz de la Maza.[2]
Rodrigo, blind since age three, was a pianist.[3] He did not play the guitar, yet he still managed to capture the spirit of the guitar in Spain.

John Williams: Rodrigo Concierto de Aranjuez

Christian Fiction Literature: The Hobbit Party vs. Big Government

Dinner Topics for Thursday

‘The Hobbit Party’ uncovers Tolkien’s anti-big government message

Michael Haverluck

American Family Association “Perspective”

keyHobbits may love big parties, but they hate big government, say the authors of The Hobbit Party: The Vision of Freedom that Tolkien Got, and the West Forgot.

hobbit_partyEven though many authors over the years have written about how J.R.R. Tolkien uses numerous Christian analogies throughout his epic series, little attention has been given to the political motivations behind the author of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit when he penned the escapist novels. Through The Hobbit Party, co-authors Dr. Jonathan Witt and Dr. Jay Richards dig deep into Middle-Earth to uncover how Tolkien’s epic series celebrates freedom, trade and limited government — all hot topics that continue[d] to be visited as the November midterm elections approach[ed].

Blending Witt’s evangelical Christian background with the Catholic faith that Richards shares with Tolkien, The Hobbit Party explores answers as to why the celebrated author rejected large top-down solutions as a remedy to the many societal ills plaguing modern times.

“He was deeply worried about where Western democracy was headed and about the many people it was damaging,” the authors divulged about Tolkien. “But he believed the way to confront cultural decay was, well, culturally — in other words, not through government edicts or government planners or government ‘sharers,’ but through the leavening work of great and good art, through discourse grounded in truth and reason, and through the hard and patient work of modeling whatever is worth rescuing and cultivating in civilization.”

berlinwallreaganThe authors insist that Tolkien’s stance on keeping big government out when it comes to assisting the needy should not be misinterpreted as insensitivity toward the poor, downtrodden or dispossessed. Instead, they interpret Tolkien’s worldview to reflect his desire for people’s freedom, which should never be undermined through governments’ intervening social programs.

In fact, Witt and Richards would agree that Tolkien shared the same mindset of former United States President and California Governor Ronald Wilson Reagan when it comes to restricting the role of government to ensure freedom.

“I hope we have once again reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited,” Reagan proclaimed while in office. “There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: as government expands, liberty contracts.”

Forging their point

Many Tolkien experts and literary critics agree with Witt and Richards that the timeless author exuded an unmistakable desire for liberty and limited government through his chronicles of Middle-Earth — a passion that was driven by his biblical understanding of man and God’s creation.

hobbitshire2“The hobbits’ Shire is a microcosm of Victorian England in every way, especially the way everything works fine without interference from the institutions of the state,” expressed Tom Shippey, author of The Road to Middle-Earth. “But can the Shire really be a model for our more complex times? The Hobbit Party, with its punning title, makes the case that it can be, should be, was meant to be, and that The Lord of the Rings expands the argument to give us images of an ethical as well as ecological politics, ever more badly needed.”

Thomas Howard, who wrote Dove Descending: A Journey into T.S. Eliot’s ‘Four Quartets,’ argues that Witt and Richards touch on something in The Hobbit Party that should be studied and expounded on during political science courses in today’s universities.

“Richards and Witt have opened up an often-ignored aspect of Tolkien’s work, namely the sense in which his myth bespeaks a political and economic order that stands in stark, even violent, contrast to the presiding power structures that dominate this unhappy globe,” Howard asserts.

Richards, who serves as senior fellow at the Discovery Institute and as an assistant research professor at the Catholic University of America’s School of Business and Economics, is a New York Times bestselling author who has tackled many issues concerning Christians and society, including Money, Greed, and GodThe Privileged Planet and The Untamed God. As executive editor for “The Stream,” Richards frequently speaks to the deleterious consequences of government taking a big role when it comes to societal and economic issues.

Witt, who works alongside Richards as managing editor of “The Stream,” is a research and media fellow at the Acton Institute. He is also a senior fellow for Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Cultures and formerly served as an English professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. As co-author of A Meaningful World and the lead writer for the “PovertyCure” series and the award-winning film Poverty, Inc., Witt is widely recognized for his candid take on the invasive role of government and its detrimental effects on society.

It’s about time

With multiple works touching on the spiritual significance of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, few have come to realize that the iconic author – who spent much of his life in Africa and fellowshipped with C.S. Lewis in England – was just as zealous of an advocate for economic freedom and small government as he was a fiery dissident of tyranny.

Consequently, Witt and Richards illustrate how Tolkien’s passion for freedom is readily witnessed throughout Tolkien’s epic works, which are said to show how Sauron’s campaign of takeover of overreaching evil leads to political, economic and moral bankruptcy.

No current author appreciates The Hobbit Party’s contemporary and relevant message more than British scholar, Joseph Pearce, author of Bilbo’s Journey: Discovering the Hidden Meaning of ‘The Hobbit’ and Literary Giants, Literary Catholics.

hobbitshire1“If much has been written on the religious significance of The Lord of the Rings, less has been written on its political significance — and the little that has been written is often erroneous in its conclusions and ignorant of Tolkien’s intentions,” Pearce points out. “Much more work is needed in this area, not least because Tolkien stated, implicitly at least, that the political significance of the work was second only to the religious in its importance.”

The insight of Witt and Richards is also applauded by Acton Institute research director Samuel Gregg, author of Becoming Europe. Gregg understands and recognizes the deleterious effects of governments over-regulating society and insists that The Hobbit Partywill transform the way readers have viewed Tolkien’s politics in the past.

“J.R.R. Tolkien is one of the most widely read but arguably misunderstood of the twentieth century’s literary geniuses,” Gregg asserts. “In this book, Witt and Richards lift the veil on Tolkien and reveal a political and, yes, economic thinker who constantly surprises readers and whose insights are even more valuable for our time than his own.”

Tolkien ‘red,’ not ‘blue?’

tolkienDespite many different takes on Tolkien’s political leaning in the past, The Hobbit Partyclearly lays out what many literary critics consider to be “red” blood flowing through the Hobbit creator’s veins.

“As with the best works of the imagination, Middle-Earth invites one into a true reality, one immersed in timeless and universal truths,” says Bradley J. Birzer, author of American Cicero: The Life of Charles Carroll and a visiting scholar in Conservative Thought at the University of Colorado, Boulder. “Witt and Richards brilliantly delve into the most profound depths of Tolkien’s endlessly fascinating soul. A true conservative in the old sense, he recorded the stories of a world in chaos, but saved by the integrity of the person willing to surrender to grace. This work offers us a true feast: the feast of nobility, truth, goodness, and beauty.”

The Institute for Faith, Work & Economics vice president Art Lindsley takes it a step further, noting how Tolkien portrays Sauron’s regime as a socialist takeover of the world, a point that is captured in The Hobbit Party.

“Beautifully written, this work gives fascinating insights into the realm of Middle-Earth,” Lindsley proclaims. “Moreover, it is a tour of the important issues of our world through Tolkien’s eyes, including limited government, man’s temptation to power, freedom, just war, socialism, distributism, localism, love and death. These topics are woven seamlessly throughout, and you will leave the book with unforgettable impressions of these themes illustrated by Tolkien’s imagery.”

Tolkien’s conservatism is also impressed by David Goldman, who penned How Civilizations Die. He believes the authors of The Hobbit Party clearly present their case that Tolkien gave numerous warning signs about leftist agendas working to destroy Western culture through their reckless expansion of government.

“Witt and Richards do a brilliant job of rescuing Tolkien’s literary legacy from the clutches of the cultural left,” Goldman declares. “They reveal Tolkien as a profoundly Catholic thinker, with deep insights into the fundamental issue of religion, namely man’s attempt to grapple with his own mortality. As a conservative’s companion to Tolkien, The Hobbit Party renews our appreciation of Tolkien’s contribution to literature and his profound impact on our culture.”

Michael Haverluck is a freelance journalist based in Southern California.