Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas and the Nazis / 3

Since the last post on this subject I've done some more reading on the various youth organizations agitating during the Weimar republic.  The anger over Versailles and the occupation of the Ruhr created overflowing anger, frustration and hardship which drove the politics into the street and to the average citizen's breast.  About 400 youth groups of all kinds were organized throughout the country involving about six million youth and children.  These groups had many different ideologies.  Some were tolerant, leaning to incorporating communists and Jews and others were developing with a pagan mythology and race focus.  After 1933, these groups were all gradually brought by more or less force, through the ideological "Gleichschaltung", to submit to Nazi ideology or else risk being sent to Dachau.  Young people were even encouraged to denounce their parents and send them to camp.

Thus the young folk systematically was forced to be incorporated into the Hilter Youth.  I read a very good article on this process here.

Over Christmas, I also asked the elder women in my family about how this worked and got the following out of them.  One of the women was born in 1934, so she was not even born when this Gleichschaltung of youth organizations happened. She always has told us somewhat cynically that it was in the Hitler Youth that you learned which one was your right hand.  It was the one you saluted with.  She also said that after 1942 when there were food stamps, that you could not have any if you were not in the Hitler Youth. -- I find this all very disturbing, having been born after war and knowing all about what happened and always wondering what I would have done if I had been in their shoes.-- The other woman I spoke to, was born in 1926 and remembered a little more.  She said  that for some reason such as that she had to work somewhere, she ended up not on the roster for being called up.  All the younger girls were in the DM, Deutsche Maedchen (German Girls) which they liked to joke about as the "Deutsche Milchkuehe" (German Milkcows), (I am guessing because of the Hilterian idea of reproduction and motherhood).  (Our grandmothers, my husband's and mine, had medals for bearing quite a few children.)  So, this woman I mentioned, was not on the roster and never ended up having to swear and oath or become a member of the Party;  but this was some kind of fortuitous accident.  She did not, for that reason, have to be de-nazified, later.  Somehow, she did suffer repercussions, as did others in the family, since hers was not a good Nazi family, so that she received bad report cards in school and one of her brother was even failed a grade.  She says that he certainly wasn't that stupid and that this sort of thing could damage your future and determine what kind of school you might transfer to later on.

So as the Nazi's tried to control the indoctrination of all children in youth groups and in school, they also tried  to stamp out the bourgeois observance of Christmas but this proved difficult even in their own circles.  There was the attempt to rename the Christmas tree as the "Juletree" or the "Worldtree".  In addition, if you could not institute successfully songs, such as we looked at in the last post on this subject, then at least you could try to rob the regular Christian songs of their substance or else make them ambiguous in their meaning, so that pagan ideas could be brought in.

Such ideas included mystical thinking about the solstice, resurrection of nature, motherhood and hopefulness in life.  This happened mostly during the war years, so that in addition there was an increase in themes related to the national character.  Even though Christmas could not longer be Christmas, it was still the German character to celebrate Christmas and, of course, no other nation could celebrate it as well as Germans. (The songbook I am looking at gives examples of such verses.)

The Nazi "Christmas" songs in this songbook are printed small and without music, or else without piano accompaniment as they are not meant for singing or revival, only for illustration and learning of history.   Here is a translation of one by me:

 "Today the God who made you  reaches for your heart.  Will you just let it pass, oh you my Volk (German nation, racially speaking), the call of the Savior?  Is in your heart, too, not burning the question about God?   Even more in these days of darkness and wild greed?  Now you have been snatched by a miracle from the hands of the enemy's darkness.  My Volk, God is your guest.  He invites himself into the German house.  Up!  Open the door!  God wants to be your comforter.  His word has German language, is manly, tough and clear.  Germany!  My Volk!  Awake!  God was revealed to you!" (p. 226)

A Pastor wrote this mixing up German Lutheranism with racial purity and election, to the honor of the Fuehrer's Heil.  Very pathetic and quite incomprehensible in some ways.  (The State church, of course, had to be "gleichgeschaltet", too, doing things like this to the Christmas message.)  The famous Christmas song "See how a rose is blooming" has a line "von Jesse kam die Art" (the root of Isaiah), which was changed to "von wunderbarer Art" (in a wonderful way);  and such the prophecy was done away with and a pagan nature magic was replacing the prophetic word.  More difficulty was had with "Silent Night".  Even we nowadays, seem to be able to substitute everything with Santa, snow and jingling bells, but "Silent Night" stubbornly remains.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Back from short trip to the Rocky Mountains

Canmore View

Downtown Banff

Johnston Canyon

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Blessed Christmas to All!  We're back home from services and visits with family.

Our thoughts, however, are with the brothers and sisters around the globe and especially those suffering persecution, as we give thanks for our Savior's coming.


2.  Report about the situation of Christians in Iraq, in German audio/mp3 newscast.  Oriental Christians of ancient faith in ancient country leaving homeland because of threats and persecution, and murder.  Documentary, 30 min. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas and Nazi poets / 2

It is the forth of Advent Sunday and tomorrow is Christmas Eve, so not much working on this, at the moment.  However, see a sample of the ideological Christmas song:

It goes like this:

Valley and hills are covered in snow,
and the nights are silent,
as we, at this time, at this time,
bow before the silence,
bow before the silence.

Somewhere deep in the forest,
a little spruce tree is green and hidden.
This makes our hearts glad,
just like the bright morning.

It's pretty terrible, isn't it.

I'm not into obscenities, but something comes to mind, excuse me.   This is so bad.

This one is from the Nazi Party Women's Magazine.  It goes like this:

It will happen:
a new light will rise.
Light must come again,
even after these dark days.
Let us not ask ourselves,
whether we will see it, too.
It will happen:
a new light will rise.

Just lovely.  Lovely.  Genial.

For the word "rise", they actually use "resurrection".  A new light will be "resurrected."
Wonderful.  Aren't we glad.

At the very top of the illustration we seem to have a rooster.  Perhaps because there will be eggs and then there will be chicks and they are like a "resurrection."  --  I don't know.  It's bizarre.

Thank God, we don't have to live under such people.

This is how it ended.  Christmas in the bunker.  My mother was a little girl like this, in the basement in Darmstadt.  The "genius" lead everything to ruin and by force. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas and what the Nazi poets tried to do to it / 1

There are several things which are coming together here.  Lately, I've been wondering about this mysticism which seems to come up everywhere on the internet, though not with any "real" people I know.  The whole scene is not familiar to me, but then if I attended a different "church" it might not be.

So we have mysticism and we have Christmas.  Now, I have noticed that at my grocery store, they have moved one step further away from Christmas by giving up Santa and red suits and red hats.  There are green hats now and everything "elves".  Somehow elves are green-ish.  In the public sphere, I've never much cared about real Christmas carols blaring through speakers as I'm shopping.  It was at the same time anachronistic and yet a preservation of some cultural heritage.  What I am fearing is that with the banning of anything approaching Christian Christmas we are losing the last set of songs we actually could sing together.  We have hardly any public spaces in this country, besides malls and schools and Walmart, too, now,-- hardly anybody sings, and if we tried to sing together we'd know nothing that we'd all know--the Christmas carols excepted.  We are fractured as a people and culture, the way our families are fractured nowadays.  It maybe some sort of freedom and individualism, but at huge cost to psychological well-being.  We then have to go to Yoga class, where we do some stretching -fine--but also where we sit together trying to think nothing--not to mention not sing anything, except, perhaps, "Om".

We used to be able, not very long ago, to sing Christmas carols together with gusto and joy, and I am new-ish to this country.  But it seems like the next generation won't know them at all.

Between mysticism, elves and disappearing cultural / religious goods of song, I am thinking why am I not writing something nice and Christmas-sy, myself, today, since were are nearly upon the season?  But instead of that I am thinking to link all that with my other concern and upcoming discussion of Poewe's "New Religions and the Nazis".  You see, because in the pre-war years we had something analogous happening.   And one does wonder:  what comes next?

As we could see from Brahms and Wagner and those who thought themselves avant-garde, creative and brilliant, the Judeo-Christian heritage had to go.  It had to be stamped out.  It was hated, distasteful old stuff.  Christianity would have to go perhaps because it was not Darwinian enough.  Eugenically speaking  the weak were coddled and the proletariat was oppressed.  (There is something add odds here. If the "genius", i.e. "leader", i.e. "Fuehrer" was to lead, what was wrong with the monarch?  And if the proletariat was stupid and weak, why encourage it.  Hm.  Something wrong with either their or my thinking. ...)  In any case, Christianity was too Jewish, and the whole thing was distasteful to the Romantic age and their experience of... whatever, whatever experience they were having, Christianity didn't fit properly.  In any case, Christ didn't fit, either because he was either too Jewish and inappropriate or crucifixion to ugly to those with refined taste, else Christianity was said to be to particularistic and against the Jews.  (Again, nothing hangs together here.  Is it me or is it them?).  That Wagner was anti-semitic can be seen by looking simply into his writing against Mendelssohn and other muscicians.  Mendelssohn was was a Lutheran of Jewish extraction.  Neither the Lutheranism, nor the Jewishness, nor the orthodoxy in the oratorios, etc. was acceptable to Wagner.  Likely the resurrection of J.S. Bach facilited by Mendelssohn did not please Wagner either.

At the same time as we have the rise of materialism and Darwinism  we also had this rise in mystical romanticism.  Somehow, all of it combined into one stream of anti-Christianity which facilitated the rise of National Socialism and the racial movement of German spirit and faith.

The German faith movement I want to get into later by looking at "New Religions and the Nazis".  For now lets just look at what Nazi ideologues and poets did to Christmas and its songs.

In my collection I possess several volumes of Christmas songs, which contain hundreds and hundreds of songs, most of which I know and can sing and play.  I am just contrasting this to the narrowing of the repertoire in the grocery store.

Here are two of my books.


It was given to our family a long time by an American family from San Diego.  The family had billeted with us during a choir tour to Germany.  There are about 400 songs in it, and you can see the book is well used.    At the very end of the book are some ancient Latin songs, which are also hauntingly beautiful. 

2.  This is a book given to me by my brother, I think.  It is an astonishing collection of song through the ages and cultural epochs with explanations of the trends that can be discerned--a truly enlightened and illuminating edition.  

It is available at Amazon, here, we note,  for $22.00, truly an amazing value for this kind of book, which also contains wonderful illustrations.  It might be worth getting the book for yourself or a friend, if there is any German-language knowledge.  (This is another thing.  Who knows any German these days except native German speakers.  In North America hardly a soul bothers learning languages because they don't need to.  This may have to led to misunderstandings of many kinds over the years.  I am slightly side-tracked, but this issue may also have contributed to a very shallow understanding of the Nazi movement and war times.)

This is the contents page:

We see that under 6. and 7. we deal with the Youth-movement that merged into the Hitler-youth and the overhaul of Christmas by gutting it of Christian content and substituting a mythology of nature, stars, motherhood and German nation.  The Christmas tree is now the "Jultanne".  I myself remember singing a set of songs which are mostly about snow and walking in snow.  

--I think I will get my day going, at this point.-- We have made a introduction to the subject.  In the next post, I want to have a look at what this "Buch der Weihnachtslieder" can tell us about the Nazi-movement, its songs and its efforts to remove Christmas from Christmas. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Exercising through a cold winter

... without going outside much.

His and her's machines and i-pads, side-by-side. 

It seems indulgent, but he needs his i-pad for work and the treadmill is already old.  The elliptical is new from Costco and will be paid for by one winter's gymn fees not paid out.  

Husband and I mostly enjoy different things from Netflix while exercising.  

It seems that one subscription pays for several viewings simultaneously. This way I've caught up on some interesting shows and movies:  Elizabeth the first, Breaking Bad, Machiavelli,  the Borgias.  -- Lot's of good solid historical things.  Also stuff on diet and exercise and one on psychedelic drugs and how they supposedly show us the way to genuine experience of the spiritual or maybe parallel universes, or spirits, angels or gods, or help us through addictions.  (They are not sure which it is;  but they seem to need to rationalize their use of substances.)

We keep increasing our speeds and resistances and length of time.  So this is working.  

Thursday, December 20, 2012

When Christmas becomes a myth

"Grandpa, when is Santa coming?"  --  "They sent us way because we were interrupting something?"-- "Yes, they said they were having a family celebration."

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What's with this myth business? / 2

Dear Tolkien--looking over some other things about his life--seems to have drunk deeply from the mystics, which seems to put him for me into the category of great English professors and writers, who think they are great at philosophy or theology or both, in addition to fantasy writing, but truly have their limitations in those regards.  Their fictional side runs away with them.  It does not work in all spheres, gentlemen.  It's not that simple.  I would say, if they asked me.  Maybe it's no wonder that the movie industry has turned the books into action flicks that the Tolkien family is deeply satisfied with, as we hear this week in advance of the opening of the Hobbit.  Maybe the sophistry of this myth business isn't that workable.  Still, I wonder why it doesn't bother me, when Lewis says about the Narnia series, that the underlying premise is that just because there is one place, why should there not be another place.  He likened it to being a boy away a boarding school.  He slaves away far from the comforts of home and the freedom of summer holidays, the woods and field and shore and many adventures.  Such as there are summer holidays and there is slaving at boarding school, such there can be one place and another, and while you are in one, it is hard to imaging the other until you are there and then it all happens in reverse.  This works for me.  There is more than I can know or imagine.  That's alright.  But this myth talk is just double-speak to me.

I also want to quote some things from the German philosophers around that time, their looking for genius (Fuehrer) and mythology.  When I have time, but soon.  These will be from a book by Karla Poewe, "New Religions and the Nazis".  Some of this, seems to me to connect in cogent ways.

In the meantime, glancing at my favorite place to get irritated at, I see this outgrowth of the myth thinking.  This is the Christmas message--believe it or not.  What is it we are supposed to get out of it?  Are we allowed to say anything definite about it?  Did something actually happen?  What am I supposed to glean?

It is very difficult not to impute into the very unassuming original story all the grand assumptions of our time. We don’t know what happened. We can’t rely on the texts for historical accuracy. Our minds gather all the accretions built up over the centuries and assign the magnificent edifice of these traditions to whatever happened in the first century. We don’t know what happened.
But something happened. The borrowed mythologies and hopes combined together with an event that is hopelessly buried in our own mythologies and hopes. But something happened that changed the way we perceive reality and That-Which-We-Call-God.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What with this myth business?

The Supreme Fiction:

Quotes:  opening and closing paragraphs

Wallace Stevens used to write about “the possibility of a supreme fiction, recognized as a fiction, in which men could propose to themselves a fulfillment.” Some of his best poetry takes steps toward a supreme fiction, conjuring a sense of clarity through its oblique modernist verse. It occurred to me that Genesis is such a supreme fiction, or perhaps it is the supreme fiction in western culture, which begat many others. For thousands of years this book has been the mirror or lamp that reveals what reality consists of – regarding the nature of human existence, the cosmos and God. Or, to put it differently: the meaning of life, the universe and everything...
...Genesis has long exerted its revelatory force as a supreme fiction. Yet, it may seem anachronistic to call it that, since the recognition of its fictive quality is so much a characteristic of modernity. In pre-modern times – and still today among many – it was (and is) a supreme non-fiction. Perhaps the contrast of fiction versus non-fiction draws an illusory line. I prefer to describe Genesis as a work of magical realism. In any case, the life of Genesis persists, since it continues to live in our cultural and religious imagination. Our lives are still entwined in its life, whether we are believers or not...

Lewis and Tolkien on myths:

Myths are fiction, beautiful lies.  How can you believe a lie.  But Jack:  myths are not lies.  We have been duped into accepting the lie of materialism, the hideous claim that there is no supernatural order to the universe.  They have come up with a false myth.  They have made us believe that this is all there is.  The materialists have put us into a prison of false four walls.  Escaping from this prison is considered an act of treason.  Myths exist outside of the prison and allow us to escape it to see the beauty outside the walls.   Myths show us a fleeting glimpse of truth.  Creativity  is God's imageness in us.  We create stories because God is a story teller.  He tells his story with history.  --  All of history is a divine myth? -- We are all part of his story.  This very conversation is.  --  Christianity is the true myth.  The archetype. The evangelion.  The true joy.  Rejecting it leads to darkness or wrath.  Accepting it leads to joy. 

Jack is cute, very good looking. -- Tolkien, sorry, makes no sense to me.  It does not work for ME.  ARRRRR!!!!  I thought I liked Tolkien.

I am wondering if this is a kind of Roman Catholic talk, which is used to discounting scriptural revelation when push comes to shove.  Myth, myth, myth.  Keep your myth.  Pulling my hair out.  The supreme fiction and true myth, the archetype, to combat materialism.  Does this help someone?  Did this help C.S.Lewis?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Dead children / Kollwitz

With the death of a large number of deaths of Kindergarden and grade one students in another school schooting in the United States this week, and an entire world seemingly mourning these utterly senseless deaths with a great cry of "Why?",  a Kaethe Kollwitz drawing appeared in my Facebook newsfeed.

Many of Kaethe Kollwitz's pictures are on Google images here.

This is the one a friend shared on Facebook:

This is one I've shared before from my hymnbook, titled:  the parents.

This is just amazing art.  How much can  be captured in one simple black and white image.  Astounding.  What is left to say.  We didn't know what to say to begin with.  Now we can just look at this.

Her silent lines penetrate the marrow like a cry of pain; such a cry was never heard among the Greeks and Romans.
--We learn from Wikipedia

Interesting--the bringing in of the Greeks and Romans, all that beauty and nothing but beauty.   But to Kaethe Kollwitz it was also beauty.  This is what gets me:

"The motifs I was able to select from this milieu (the workers' lives) offered me, in a simple and forthright way, what I discovered to be beautiful.... People from the bourgeois sphere were altogether without appeal or interest. All middle-class life seemed pedantic to me. On the other hand, I felt the proletariat had guts. It was not until much later...when I got to know the women who would come to my husband for help, and incidentally also to me, that I was powerfully moved by the fate of the proletariat and everything connected with its way of life.... But what I would like to emphasize once more is that compassion and commiseration were at first of very little importance in attracting me to the representation of proletarian life; what mattered was simply that I found it beautiful."[8]

She didn't say that she didn't care, but she was attracted by the beauty of "proletariat" life.  In fact, she was quite an ideologue with a socialist and anti-war posture.  But no doubt, never-minding the ideology, or the reasons for the art, the feelings and the problems depicted were genuine, human and compelling.  We all would like a just world without war and children or anyone else dying before their time.   She captured some of the pain.  This is good.  It is even "beautiful".  Just like Good Friday is good and Christ's glory is in the cross.  Like humanity is found in pain and loss and trial.  Like when I am weak that's when I'm strong. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Saturday in Advent, 2012

Beautiful Saturday in Advent with great sunshine to do housework by.  Baking cookies and playing Handel's Messiah, thinking about our dear departed, including our children tragically lost.  We don't need just Santa Claus and merriment (that too), but the substance of Christian hope and comfort.  Singing mostly and crying just a little bit.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Brahms / Dump the Myth

I'm still a little obsessed with Johannes Brahms.

I listened to a series on his symphonies on CBC radio, where the host was in conversation with Pinchas Zukerman, famous conductor.  At one point they mused that the reason Brahms never wrote an opera was because he might have been too religious.  This swayed me for a moment.  Brahms wrote the requiem and people thought him "religious."  ?  Nope.  I think we had it right in the last post.  Art was indeed his religion and Christianity goes as sterile and what not, a la Wagner. We have this analyzed somewhat clearly in this article by the Freethinkers:   Brahms would have gladly called his German Requiem, the human or humanist requiem.

His art is indeed most touching and moving.  And EVEN the requiem, I can barely get over it, it is so beautiful -- it is anti-Christian.  I think I am going to cry.

He takes all the meaningful moments, anything with some gravitas, and throws out the "myth".  I am alluding to the advertisement that atheist have put up in Time Square, this Christmas:  Keep the MERRY!  Dump the MYTH!

american atheists christmas billboard

This sort of thing--we are almost getting used to, though even the popular media deems a despicable hit below the belt.  Here we want to keep the "merry" and throw out the "myth".

Brahms kept the "gravitas" and threw out the "myth".  It really is analogous.

None want the Savior who died for them to forgive their sins and they will have their choice.  There will be no Savior.

I don't understand them, though.  What are all the whipped up feelings, the merriment, or the depth, or even eroticism and all the things people are after.  How long does any of it satisfy?  Is your soul not responding when it hears God's word, and you realize that you too are a sinner.  Where is your self-knowledge?  Where is this genuine crying need for a Savior?  What happened to your soul?  --  Sensitivity, art, ect. have become your soul.  You cultivate it.  You contradict things didactic and historic as simply too banal for your tastes.  The cross, the one thing that is not a myth, becomes the thing to be discarded.  What a turning everything on its head.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wagner, Brahms, Religion and Art

I just read on Wikipedia that Richard Wagner said this:

"When religion becomes artificial, art has a duty to rescue it. Art can show that the symbols which religions would have us believe literally true are actually figurative. Art can idealize those symbols, and so reveal the profound truths they contain."

This brings to light to me some of the muddled thought of the 19th century.  

I've been struggling with Brahms' German Requiem, which falls into a similar time period as Wagner's life,  because I learned to love this piece and the text is scripture throughout except for a quote from the apocrypha. -- Yet, the Requiem contains no references to Christ, at all, except there are some words of his quoted.  When you wade through the forest of biblical quotes you find no Messiah in the piece. 

This made me sad and angry. -- But an "enlightened" acquaintance of mine said to me: "But Brahms was an artist."   

This made no sense to me in this context, but in speaking with mystics and reading this Wagner quote, I see now, how they see the world.  Because they have lost their faith, they can now work and play with the "symbols" to their heart's content and be the "profound" ones. At the heart of it all is a denial of a historical Christ, historical scriptures, of sin and redemption, death and resurrection.  In their place steps the imagination which becomes now the essence of spirituality, and myth which now becomes the essence of reality.   All the while it is religion which has become "aritificial." --Nifty. 

It comes to me now that "sterile" and "artificial" are words that can be wielded just in the same way as "shallow", "profane" and "imbecilic", against which I have railed previously.  It's a way to shout down your opponent, when you have no decent argument . They can be used in various ways, but they are also used in this fallacious and arrogant way.

The broken heart

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Read and sang through a hymnal

Just now I read and sang through a hymnal from a different denomination.  It has a great big fiery picture in the front with the thinnest sliver of a cross off to the side. I'd say the cross is about one half millimeter wide.  You have to look for it to see it.

The songs are upbeat and cheery and from various traditions and styles.  I like them.  I can pick them up in a jiffy, singing and playing at the same time.  There are beautiful words, many of which I can agree with or live with about creation, mystery, solidarity, love and peace.

But I cannot find a thing about forgiveness of sins, or even sins, or Jesus dying on the cross for you.  It has been x-ed out.  Not there.  There are some words hinting at it under the title "Assurance" and "Communion".   There is a psalm of David that has "my mother's womb was blessed with me" instead of "in sin my mother conceived me."  Or as in the original Hebrew, as I read in a Pro-Life Bible the other day:  "in sin my mother went into heat for me."   Oh boy, have we sanitized it.  The Hebrews had no problem with sex and procreation and God's command, but yet, we are all born and conceived sinful.  There isn't one who isn't like that.  Sinful human being from conception.  However... this denomination's people only need some "assurance" of "love".  Yes, I want that, too.  But what is it really saying that we don't know as wishful thinking.  What is the pledge and promise?  And what is it we have done?  It has pretty much all been shoved under the carpet.

The word "Assurance" makes me stop.  Already, though a nice idea, we have weakened everything by not going with the strong word "Absolution". It is a Calvinist problem.  We absolve, not assure.

I have to go and tomorrow I need to return the hymnal.

Edward I and the Jews in 1290 / Chesterton

Wikipedia tells us something interesting:  

Chesterton faced accusations of anti-Semitism during his lifetime, as well as posthumously.[23] In a work of 1917, titled “A Short History of England,” Chesterton considers the year of 1290, when by royal decree, Edward I expelled Jews from England, an edict not rescinded until 1655. In writing of the official expulsion and banishment of 1290, Chesterton writes that Edward I was “just and conscientious” a monarch never more truly representative of his people than when he expelled the Jews, “as powerful as they are unpopular.” Chesterton writes Jews were “capitalists of their age” so that when Edward “flung the alien financiers out of the land,” he acted as “knight errant,” and “tender father of his people.”[24] In The New Jerusalem, Chesterton made it clear that he believed that there was a "Jewish Problem" in Europe, in the sense that he believed that Jewish culture (not Jewish ethnicity) separated itself from the nationalities of Europe.[25] He suggested the formation of a Jewish homeland as a solution, and was later invited to Palestine by Jewish Zionists who saw him as an ally in their cause.


We learn here, that Edward I expelled Jews from England in 1290.  This edict was not rescinded until 1655.  Chesterton approves of this edict because the monarch was protecting his people from powerful, capitalistic and unpopular people.  He did right to fling "alien financiers out of the land."

I hadn't heard this before.  Nor is it often mentioned that Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain cruelly had expelled the Jews from their land which caused untold misery to the affected families.  They were not allowed to take any goods with them and often perished.  (The other day, I read a book by a Roman Catholic apologist on the inquisition.  He never mentioned the treatment of the Jews.)

All of these expulsions happened before Luther let himself be carried away into his famous tirade.  However, the circumstance related to Jews in Europe during the centuries were always complicated due to segregation and money lending.

Please refer back also to this previous post on the subject. 

Some more Chesterton / Eugenics and Other Evils

Yesterday, I had a chance to read some more G.K. Chesterton and have only a bit left in the "Eugenics and Other Evils."  And I must say simply this:  the man is so incredibly sane.

I love sane.  I love clear and good.  I don't need slant and sly. Slant and sly can be fun like those who want to sit forever and solve a puzzle.  Not I.  I don't do that.

There are different ways of being smart.  There are different ways to think about thinking.  There are different kinds of poetry with different applications.  Chesterton does not fall short anywhere.  He's got the vocabulary, yet he is also simple.  He has imagery and examples galore.   He is thinking extremely deeply about the thinking process and its fallacies.  --It seems like he is one step further.  He sees the fallacies of those who fancy themselves thinkers. He's got them by the tail.  Yea!  Fun!

He debunks the wrong thinking of an entire age.  I've just become acquainted with this age and Chesterton is the antidote to this.  I had suspected that Eugenics was intimately connected to some of the arrogant, Christless stuff I had come across.  I had even said it at the time but no one agreed with me. (Instead it was my own biases, supposedly, which always made me say stupid things like that.  This was someone's thinking about thinking.)   Of course, I have my own framework, but it is the same same framework as Chesterton's.  And he will point out the anarchy of the undogmatic age.  The State becomes anarchic.

In some ways the English have an advantage.  They sit on their nasty, little, windswept, rain-beaten island, somewhat removed from the convulsions of the continent. They have a kind of observer perch and status on some items.  It's a little bit like living in this cold, northern place.  We watch the hotheads in the United States and even try to talk with them, but we are truly removed from the center of all the mania, and for some several reasons we don't really get what is going on in some of the busy places and hothouses.  But we can also comment on all that in some reasonable and detached fashion.

In as far as Chesterton sometimes mentions Prussian attitudes, I am guessing he is talking about a militaristic predeliction. In reading Simon Uwe Netto we also learned that this generalization by the English turned out to be very unfortunate.  The existing distance did not lend itself, in the end, to aiding the German underground during Hitler's days. So this detachment can also be fatal.  But then much of the thinking non-sense of the Enlightenment and I'd say also Idealism grew mostly on the continent. Not that there wasn't cross-fertilization.  Recently I read how jubilantly Marx welcomed Darwin's book on the "Origin of the Species".  (We should remember in this context that the full title of the book was:  On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.)  So here we have the English coming up with some nutty idea of their own. Marx cannot resist commenting on the "crude English method" by which the world came to such a marvelous theory. 

All of this brings me back to my recent ranting and raving about people calling people "imbecilic", as opposed to the genius status they hold for themselves, about calling people "shallow" while thinking themselves "complex",  This is analogous to the calling of the poor and underprivileged and exploited-- the "feeble-minded", as in Chesterton's "Feeble-Minded-Bill" under discussion in England.

We've come to complete a circle here, and Chesterton has closed it for me.  I wonder why he comes up so rarely in the talks of the enlightened.  Chesterton reminds me of Luther, in some ways: lucid, picturesque, earthy, humble, loud, smart, knowledgeable, grounded, thoughtful, simple, honest, sane.   Luther spoke to the Middle Ages and the depravities they had sunk to.  Chesterton spoke to other centuries and their follies.  How did they do it?  How could they be so insightful?   Luther and Chesterton drank from the same fountain and secret well. -- We know what it is. It is their deep joy in Jesus Christ. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Making the sign of the cross / two links

I think these two links about making the sign of the cross are very good. -- I've also come to making the sign of the cross later in life, having been raised on the thought that only Roman Catholics do that and they are a superstitious lot.  And I have to say that Luther's and Lewis' points are well taken.  There is something objective about the action which makes it kind of sacramental, though you do it by yourself.  But you don't really do it by yourself.  In the remembrance of your baptism you remember and feel the inclusion you have and enjoy in the baptized membership and blessed body of Christ, the church, his presence with you in this very moment, whether happy or sad, the reality of your acceptance and forgiveness, the hope for the future, which belongs to us by birthright, through baptism, together, baptized into his death.  It is a great comfort and it is good to talk about it.

Reading Chesterton on the I-Pad

My dear new I-Pad has delivered to me a complete library of G.K. Chesterton, free of charge. -- Only I can't handle the book and abuse it with underlining and such.  I don't know if I can deal with that in the long run.  It's like being in love relationship at a distance.  Proximity is what is desired.  I want to hold the book so badly. Anyhow,  I need to keep this quote below:

From:  Eugenics and other Evils. Chapter 3.  The Anarchy from Above.

A government may grow anarchic as much as a people... Take for the sake of symbolism those two great spiritual stories which, whether we count them myths or mysteries, have so long been the two hinges of all European morals.  The Christian who is inclined to sympathize generally with constituted authority will think of rebellion under the image of Satan, the rebel against God.  But Satan, though a traitor  was not an anarchist.  He claimed the crown of the cosmos   and had he prevailed, would have expected his rebel angels to give up rebelling.  On the other hand, the Christian whose sympathies are more generally with just self-defense among the oppressed will think rather of Christ Himself defying the High Priests and scourging the rich traders.  But whether or no Christ was (as some say) a Socialist, He most certainly was not an Anarchist.  Christ, like Satan, claimed the throne.  He set up a new authority against an old authority;  but He set it up with positive commandments and a comprehensible scheme...

Anarchy is that condition of mind or methods in which you cannot stop yourself.  It is the loss of that self-control which can return to the normal.  It is not anarchy because men are permitted to begin uproar, extravagance, experiment, peril.  It is anarchy when people cannot end these things.  It is not anarchy in the home if the whole family sits up all night on New Year's Eve.  It is anarchy in the home if members of the family sit up later and later for months afterwards...  It is this inability to return within rational limits after a legitimate extravagance that is the really dangerous disorder. The modern world is like Niagara.  It is magnificent, but it is not strong.  It is as weak as water--like Niagara.  The objection to a cataract is not that it is deafening or dangerous or even destructive;  it is that it cannot stop.  ...  The State has suddenly and quietly gone mad.  It is talking nonsense;  and it can't stop.

... It multiplies excessively in the more American sort of English newspapers.  When this new sort of New Englander burns a witch the whole prairie catches fire.  These people have not the decision and detachment of the doctrinal ages.  They cannot do a monstrous action and still see it is monstrous.  Wherever they make a stride they make a rut.  They cannot stop their own thoughts, though their thoughts are pouring into the pit.

...But the vital point to which to return is this.  That it is not necessarily, nor even specially, an anarchy in the populace.  It is an anarchy in the populace.  It is an anarchy in the organ of government.  It is the magistrates--voice of the governing class--who cannot distinguish between cruelty and carelessness.  It is the judges (and their very submissive special juries) who cannot see the difference between opinion and slander.  And it is the highly placed and highly paid experts who have brought in the first eugenic law, the Feeble-Minded Bill--thus showing that they can see no difference between a mad and a sane man. 

That, to begin with, is the historic atmosphere in which this thing was born.  It is a peculiar atmosphere, and luckily not likely to last.  Real progress bears the same relation to it that a happy girl laughing bears to an hysterical girl who cannot stop laughing.  But I have described this atmosphere first because it is the only atmosphere in which such a thing as the Eugenist legislation could be proposed among men. All other ages would have called it to some kind of logical account, however academic or narrow.  The lowest sophist in the Greek schools would remember enough of Socrates to force the Eugenist to tell him (at least) whether Midias was segregated because he was curable or because he was incurable.  The meanest Thomist of the medieval monasteries would have the sense to see that you cannot discuss a madman when you have not discussed a man.  the most owlish Calvinist commentator in the seventeenth century would ask the Eugenist to reconcile such Bible texts as derided fools with the other bible texts that praised them.  The dullest shopkeeper in Paris in 1790 would have asked what were the Rights of Man, if they did not include the rights of the lover, the husband, and the father.  It is only in our own London Particular (as Mr. Guppy said of the fog) that small figures can loom so large in the vapour, and even mingle with quite different figures, and have the appearance of a mob.  But, above all, I have dwelt on the telescopic quality in these twilight avenues, because unless the reader realizes how elastic and unlimited they are, he simply will not believe in the abominations we have to combat. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A "Profane" Church

When we were in San Francisco, recently, we saw a man holding a sign that says "Jesus Christ loves you."   This mostly struck me because we don't usually have such demonstrations of religion in Canada.  It also struck me because I have an acquaintance in the United States, who seems to be something of a mystic or theosophist who objects to such taking religion outside of the sanctuary, calling it profane, insisting that such demonstrating and confessing turns people of religion and off the faith.  Similarly, he likes to call scripture quoting "profane" because the word is supposed to be something more living or arising out of dialogue, etc. (see also the last post and YouTube link).  It needs to be more "innovative", with "innovative" being something like a synonym to finding a synthesis of ideas, which, yet, somehow, miraculously, is not a "compromise."

Well, I read this in the current Canadian Lutheran.  Volume 27, Number 5, p. 6.  Also: 

Luther goes on to explain his concept of the church's missionary role:  "He [the Holy Spirit] has a unique community in the world.  It is the mother that begets and bears every Christian through the Word of God.  The Holy Spirit reveals and preaches that Word, and by it he illumines and kindles hearts so that they grasp and accept it, cling to it and persevere in it.... Until the last day the Holy Spirit remains with the holy community or Christian people.  Through it he gathers us, using it to teach and preach the Word.  But it he creates and increases sanctification, causing it daily to grow and become strong in the faith and in the fruits of the Spirit."   Luther speaks in terms of this "unique community" as a "profane church."  Not "profane" in the sense of the church being crude or using gutter language, but "profane" in the Latin sense of the term, meaning to "move outside the temple."   There is a temptation for Christians to insulate themselves from the evil world in which they live or to make Sunday worship the end goal of what they say and do, but Christians are to "move outside the temple."  The Holy Spirit not only "calls, gathers, enlightens and sanctifies" us  by the Gospel, but He sens us as His missionary people into the world.  Commenting on 1 Peter 2:9, Luther says, "We live on earth only so that we should be a help to other people.  Otherwise, it should be best if God would strangle us and let us die as soon as we were baptized and had begun to believe.  For this reason, however, he lets us live that we may bring other people also to faith as he has done for us."  Having been the recipient of God's overflowing love and forgiveness, the Christian delights in sharing Christ with others. 

Emergent Mysticism

I spend a good deal of time this morning, while doing housework, watching this lengthy but worthwhile video on my new favorite device, the I-Pad re: Emergent church. This phenomenon is not entirely new anymore, but the proponents of a universal mysticism are out and about on the net and I keep bumping into them everywhere. Either that, or I am drawn to this discussion / arguing like the moth to the flame. It's not that hard to spot the mystics, though they do cloak themselves in double-speak. After talking with them for a while, you are not allowed to quote the Bible or any established teacher of the church, nor is the cross the place for the forgiveness of your sins. It turns out that they are the "real" Christians because the are the modern, or post-modern, and especially loving kind of people, whereas everyone else is "medieval" or some other thing. I have spent many, many hours speaking with them but they want to silence anything that is "declarative." If you "declare" anything you are arrogant. So it goes. Some people say "Why speak with them?" -- Well, why not? Who is supposed to speak with them? When is something a complete waste of time?

Monday, November 19, 2012

God in the village

Here is a poem that I just read this weekend in my German hymnal. I will give it first in German and then translate it. No doubt my translation will lack something but, here it goes. I think it is such a lovely poem with great imagery, and I think it speaks to those who say that the church miniaturizes God. The author is Jossif Broskij, Russian poet and author, if it is the same guy I googled, “Joseph Brodsky”, who one a Nobel prize in literature. (I really have no idea if that’s the same person. Maybe someone knows.)

“Im Dorf wohnt Gott nicht in den Zimmerecken nur, wie Spoetter meinen, sondern ueberall. Er heiligt Daecher, Teller, Schuesseln, Pfannen, teilt ehrlich jede Doppeltuer in Haelften. Im Dorf ist Gott im Ueberfluss vorhanden. Im Eisentopf kocht er am Samstag Linsen, er taenzelt leicht verschlafen ueberm Feuer und winkt mir als dem Augenzeugen zu. Er setzt die Zaeune, gibt ein junges Maedchen dem Foersterssohn zur Frau, und spasseshalber laesst er schier tausendmal den Wildhueter nicht treffen, wenn er auf die Ente anlegt. Die Moeglichkeit, dies alles wahrzunehmen–beim Lauschen auf des Herzens Toene–, ist uebrigens die einzige Gnade, die im Dorf dem Atheisten offen steht.”

My translation, a better one is probably available somewhere.

“In the village,
God does not only live in the corners of the ceiling,
as many scoffers like to say,
but everywhere.
He sanctifies roofs and plates,
bowls and cooking pans,
and honestly divides every double door
into halves.
In the village,
God is found in great overabundance.
On Saturday, he cooks lentils in the
big iron pot.
He dances sleepily over the fire
and waves at me, as to a witness.
He sets up the fences and gives the
son of the forest warden a nice young
woman for a wife.
And for sure playful fun he lets the
game warden miss the duck he tries to
shoot about one thousand times.
The openness to recognize all these things,
by listening to the sounds of the heart,
is by the way,
the only grace,
which is open to the
atheist in the village.”

Thursday, November 15, 2012

This weekend / plus Radway Charismatics

1.  This weekend is the Love Life 2012 Conference, and I'll be able to spend some time with the keynote speaker, Michael Coren driving him around to places and going to dinner.  This should be marvelous. (!)  (Have to clean the car this morning.)

We've been watching him a little, lately, on the TV show he hosts, and I've been trying to get his books read. He is an important Christian apologist in this country, hailing from England and being a convert to Roman Catholicism.  He has written biographies of Chesterton, Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. (I'm trying to read more Chesterton having downloaded most of his books into our I-Pad.)

He will be discussing his recent books, on Friday, this one and this one.  See schedule.

So, I'll be signed off from here for several days.

2.  I want to save this article in our little local newspaper because we were somewhat close to this scene at the time.  As staunch Lutherans we observed this from the outside but were close to some individuals involved.  Thus this testimonial is significant to my husband and myself. I should like to read this book, sometime.  The review is well written, and I hazard that the author of the book wrote it himself.  See below:


Bruce Atchison of Radway has published his third novel.  This book, "How I was Razed;  a Journey from Cultism to Christianity," is a memoir of his recovery from the spiritual abuse he suffered while attending a cutlic house church.

It tells how he became enamored with a lay minister's teachings and prophecies in 1971.  So seductive were the doctrines of that self-appointed teacher that Atchison remained loyal to his church for more than 15 years.  This despite receiving continual criticism from church elders because prayers for his eyes to be healed remained unanswered.  Atchison is legally blind.

Eventually, Atchison became so upset at the actions of the elders that he left the house church.  He turned his back on Christianity for nine years, until he slowly realized that the theological cult's pseudo-prophet had taught him falsehoods, particularly about claiming healing in Jesus  name.  Atchison explained that a number of scholarly bible teachers and friends "deprogrammed" him by steering him toward an understanding of what scripture actually meant.  He learned to read the bible for all it is worth rather than accepting the opinions of charismatic preachers.

How I Was Razed is available for Kindle and Nook readers on line.  The paperback edition is sold through Virtual Bookworm Publishers.

Atchison previously published "When a Man Loves a Rabbit" and "Deliverance from Jericho."  He lives in Radway with Mark and Deborah, his house bunnies.

(Sorry, I always have trouble when trying to change text color in Blogger here.  It tends to change the background instead.)

What happened at the time was that people from various small towns and churches would go out to the small town of Radway where a number of charismatic gifts were supposedly manifesting.  Many of the people involved belonged to the so-called Catholic renewal.  Someone from this group once tried to pray over me without asking me first, standing behind me with his hands raised over me.  Someone from this group got his fairly young children involved in casting out demons.  Some of these phenomena were once explored through the national media and the CBC, the broadcast of the story we happen to chance upon.  My husband and I warned the people, at the time, but when such spectacular things are happening (or not happening), your staid old Bible teaching, is just that to staid for them.  Unfortunately, the results for the families involved were not overall positive and many relationships deteriorated inside families and in the larger neighborhood.

So much until after the weekend.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Augustana Graeca / Mystics.

Once in a while I need this link below on the Augustana Graeca -- on-line and in person.

 It is very interesting to read what happened between the Lutherans and their overture to the Orthodox in writing the Augustana Graeca.  (This can be googled further).  But this above link is an important entry by our friend Rev. Stuckwisch, which I refer to occasionally. For example, my husband and I have a dear Lutheran friend who was an Orthodox Priest before his wife left him.  (In Orthodoxy you cannot be a priest and remarried.)  He was so very surprised to hear of the Augustana Graeca for the first time so late in his life and career as an Orthodox and a Lutheran Christian.

Today, this is topical for me because someone countered me on a blog by saying that Luther tried to engage the Orthodox but that they would not have anything to do with an upstart.  However, the fact is that it was Melanchton who wrote this and that indeed some extensive discussions had occurred, at the time, which were, indeed, dropped by the Orthodox.

I am noticing that some Mystical/Buddhist/Universalist/ -- Word-deniers really, love to throw in Luther, Melanchton and Augustin to boot, in an unhistoric, untrue way.  They get away with this, because nowadays nobody knows anything about this stuff.  And when you correct them, they don't really care.  Facts don't actually matter when you are "experiencing" the divine.  They also don't like "lengthy" quotes, so really everyone is left in the dark, except for their own exceptional, deep, spiritual light, which, while it is only one way among many, somehow defining and restricting, anyhow.

It came to me this morning that when someone calls "The imitation of Christ" a mystical work and Christian, one should be very careful that we are actually dealing with Christ and not an "imitation" of him, i.e. the image we are creating for ourselves, that suits us, makes us feel something, etc.  Christ is a revelation of God.  "Hear HIM" said the voice of God.  If we are not dealing with his word we are dealing with an "imitation".

Delights From Utah

Our dear friend and brother Rev. Bror Erickson, mailed me some of the new translations of Giertz "Then Fell the Lord's Fire".  The book is a collection of Ordination Sermons by Bo Giertz.  (If you live around here and you would like one, tell me, but most of these already have recipients.  --  Order from here, at Magdeburg Press.  

Bror also sent me some of his pendants which he likes to make in his spare time, which I will enjoy wearing.  :)

In checking for info on Bo Giertz, on-line, I see that the Wikipedia entry is very sparse.  Someone might fix this.  Here is also a nice entry by Gene Veith, some time ago. 

Thank you very much Bror.  You are turning into what the Japanese call a "National Treasure" (those who keep alive important tranditions such as pottery, etc.), both with your translations and jewelry making!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Luther just lets in all the fresh air!

To make good people does not belong to the Gospel, for it only makes Christians. It takes much more to be a Christian than to be pious. A person can easily be pious, but not a Christian. A Christian knows nothing to say about his piety, for he finds in himself nothing good or pious. If he is to be pious, he must look for a different piety, a piety in some one else.

To this end Christ is presented to us as an inexhaustible fountain, who at all times overflows with pure goodness and grace. And for such goodness and kindness he accepts nothing, except that the good people, who acknowledge such kindness and grace, thank him for it, praise and love him, although others despise him for it. This is what he reaps from it. So one is not called a Christian because he does much, but because he receives something from Christ, draws from him and lets Christ only give to him. If one no longer receives anything from Christ, he is no longer a Christian, so that the name Christian continues to be based only on receiving, and not on giving and doing, and he receives nothing from any one except from Christ alone. If you look at what you do, you have already lost the Christian name. It is indeed true, that we are to do good works, help, advise and give to others; but no one is called a Christian by reason of that, nor is he on that account a Christian.

- Luther's First House Postil for Trinity 24 (Matthew 9:18-26)


Began listening to these proceedings in Great Britain regarding charitable institutions.