Friday, November 21, 2014

The Gods of the Copybook Headings

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us, they showed us each in turn,
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come.
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshiped the Gods of the Market, Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew.
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true.
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four.
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man.
There are only four things certain, since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins.
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

This is a poem written in 1919 by Rudyard Kipling and his editor and friend Andrew Rutherford shortly after Kipling’s only son was killed in a World War I battle.

From a historical perspective, Kipling’s son had poor eyesight and was exempt from serving in the military, but the boy wanted to due his duty to his country. Kipling’s influence helped to get son in the military and onto the battlefield.

It was during these horrid years, the young men of British villages served together in units. In them was distilled the belief to fight and die for God and Country. When the cry was ordered to “go over the top” meaning to get out of the trenches and try to overtake the ground held by the enemy, thousands of young men were shot and killed. This left their home villages tragically bereft of young men.

The poem demonstrates Kipling’s ire and disbelief in the failed system that promised valor and glory and ended in grief, loss, anguish and disgust with the system. It reminds me of the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. Longfellow's son Charles went off to join the Civil War without his father's permission. Young Charles was severely wounded during a battle but survived. Longfellow's poem recounts the senselessness and apprehension of war.

Copybooks were the note pages used by British students to write their assignments. There were maxims or proverbs printed at the top of the pages extolling virtues such as honesty of fair dealing. Students were encouraged to write these over and over to commit them to memory and put them to use in their lives.

The period of time leading up to World War I when Britain was in the midst of much social progress; schemes that promised a better life for all through social engineering, politics and philosophy. Some of these ideals went against the grain of natural law. Worship of market place ideals were hailed over traditional religion.

The philosopher George Santayana told us those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. He also said only the dead have seen the end of war. This poem echoes these facts.

I cannot recall a time since when I was a young man in my late teen years that the United States has not been engaged in some form of war. Even as a child growing up, the threat of the Soviets using the nuclear bomb to attack a city in the United States loomed large. The draft of 18 year old men threatened my generation and left its mark on cemeteries throughout this nation.

We have just had a national election which sealed the disgust and national anger against the current administration and our president. Despite the election nothing has changed; in fact things are becoming worse.

Those words fashioned in 1919 still ring true in 2014

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

That Beautiful Scandalous Night

Go on up to the mountain of mercy
To the crimson perpetual tide.
Kneel down on the shore
Be thirsty no more
Go under and be purified.

Follow Christ to the Holy mountain.
Sinner, sorry and wrecked by the fall.
Cleanse your heart and your soul,
In the fountain that flows,
For you and for me and for all.

At the wonderful tragic mysterious tree,
On that beautiful scandalous night you and me,
Were atoned by His blood,
and forever washed white
On that beautiful scandalous night.

 On the hillside you will be delivered.
At the foot of the cross, justified.
And your spirit restored By the river that pours,
From our blessed Saviour's side.

At the wonderful tragic mysterious tree,
On that beautiful scandalous night you and me,
Were atoned by His blood,
and forever washed white
On that beautiful scandalous night

You carry the sin of mankind on your back.
And the sky went black.

Go on up to the mountain of mercy.
Go the crimson perpetual tide.
Kneel down on the shore Be thirsty no more.
Go under and be purified.
On that beautiful scandalous night Beautiful scandalous Miraculous night.

This is one of my pastor’s favorite songs. I have added it to my repertoire for Sunday’s guitar songs/hymns. The opening line is reminiscent of My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean. Don't take this as a criticism, it is a memory trick for me to remember songs.

The song was written by a young guy named Bebo Norman (Jeffrey Stephen Norman). Norman has written quite a few Contemporary Christian songs and had some success.

He was a member of Young Life Ministries and gained a considerable following at their summer camp programs. From there his career as a Christian musician took off.

He has toured with several well known bands such as Caedmon’s Call. One of his songs, To Find My Way To You, was chosen as the theme song for a CBS situation comedy called The Class. His songs have been recorded by several Christian bands and entertainers.

His last album was released in 2010. In 2013 he announced his retirement from Contemporary Christian Music.

I have known several people who had careers in the Christian Music industry and became disillusioned that it was an industry whose main concern was making money and gaining profit. Several acquaintances walked away because they felt let down and the companies they signed up with now owned the rights to their music.

I certainly hope this has not happened to Bebo Norman.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Common Core is Sneaking In Lessons On Islam

 A work sheet from the workbook

The following conversation was on my Facebook page. I am stunned. I have not revealed the names of the participants.

Jim T - If we can't teach Christian beliefs in the classroom why are teachers assigning homework on the Cult of Islam to our kids? •

 • Anne -  Hannah had an Islam lesson last week. Very disgusted!

Judy -  I would like to know the answer to that one. I did not know they were teaching that in school.

 • Jim T - Who is authorizing these "lessons" Anne?

 • Anne - The lesson was on gold mining in Africa but they worked Islam into it. It's a workbook of lessons the sixth grade is doing aligned with the Common Core Standards

 • Jim T - Common Core is beginning to sound like Muslim Core.......... Gold mining in Africa and Islam?....I can't quite make the leap there.

 • Christopher - First off it starts by Americans taking back what's our. Which is our nation. Which as always been "under God". We the people need to make the difference Tuesday and 2016 elections.. it's one thing teaching different religions but when you own religion is taken out. That's when i have a problem. God bless America and the people who stand up for it.

So I went online to see if this is true; It is!

Another work sheet from Common Core
Here is a link to the The Bradley County News. Read what they have to say about it.

Here is a link to the Catholic Tradition Webpage. Read their views.

We live in frightening times my friends!

Another work sheet from Common Core.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Ecclesiasticus, Chapter 44.

Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers that begat us.
The Lord hath wrought great glory by them through his great power from the beginning.
Such as did bear rule in their kingdoms, men renowned for their power, giving counsel by their understanding, and declaring prophecies:
Leaders of the people by their counsels, and by their knowledge of learning meet for the people, wise and eloquent are their instructions:
Such as found out musical tunes, and recited verses in writing:
Rich men furnished with ability, living peaceably in their habitations:
All these were honoured in their generations, and were the glory of their times.
There be of them, that have left a name behind them, that their praises might be reported.
And some there be, which have no memorial; who are perished, as though they had never been; and are become as though they had never been born; and their children after them.
But these were merciful men, whose righteousness hath not been forgotten.
With their seed shall continually remain a good inheritance, and their children are within the covenant.
Their seed standeth fast, and their children for their sakes.
Their seed shall remain for ever, and their glory shall not be blotted out.
Their bodies are buried in peace; but their name liveth for evermore.