Be A Southern Gentleman – Defining The Southern Gentleman, Part 1

Every man is going to be something. Be a Southern gentleman.

Source: Be A Southern Gentleman – Defining The Southern Gentleman, Part 1

From the inestimable Stephen McGehee, who notes:

“Being a Southern gentleman is a state of being. It is not something that is put on to impress others and then taken off. It is a lifestyle based on the ancient code of chivalry. It is a mindset of putting others first and having a truly humble spirit. It is a respect for others – and for oneself. It is respecting the dignity of all men, no matter what their station in life may be. It is a deep and abiding reverence and respect for women, coupled with the manners and etiquette that outwardly demonstrate that reverence. It is the understanding that we are not self-made men, but we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. It is a reverence for the God who created us, and who is the source of all of our many blessings.”

While cautioning us to understand that “no one possess all of these traits. Most of us are fortunate if we can successfully cultivate even a few of them,” he reminds us that

“What sets a man apart as a Southern gentleman is that he understands the goals, knows that they are important, and strives with every fiber of his being to be a Southern gentleman. When he fails, he is determined to do better next time and never makes excuses.

“Being a Southern gentleman is a journey. It is not a destination.”

Indeed it is, and a journey worth embarking upon, regardless of where one is geographically located. As another Southern friend of mine has remarked, these days not all Yankees (properly damnedyankees) are in the North, nor are all Southerners in the South. Yet as Mr. McGehee further points out, in a comment to another post,

Southern culture – and the Southern hospitality that is so much a part of it – is still alive and well in much of The South; especially in the more rural parts. Much of this came from the culture of the English Cavaliers who came to The South during the English civil war and brought with them their respect for good manners and gracious hospitality.

Reassuring indeed that so much of it still survives! It is not so in all areas of this once-great land of ours. Yet cultural influences, for good or ill, can long linger. See David Hackett Fischer, Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America, to learn more about how the points of origin of the original settlers of the British North American colonies, that later became the original United States, continues to affect the character and ethos of the regions they settled, many centuries later.

I am eagerly looking forward to Mr. McGehee’s “Part 2.” God save The South!

 

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Prince Louis | The Royal Family

The newest member of the British Royal Family – Prince Louis!

Source: Prince Louis | The Royal Family

On 27th April 2018, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced that they would name their child Louis Arthur Charles. He will be formally known as His Royal Highness Prince Louis of Cambridge.

Prince Louis was born at 11.01am on 23rd April 2018 at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London, weighing 8lbs 7oz. As the third child of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge he is fifth in line to the throne. https://twitter.com/KensingtonRoyal/status/988387844111716353

The Duke of Cambridge took Prince George and Princess Charlotte, his older brother and sister, to visit him at the hospital on the day Prince Louis was born:

Screenshot-2018-4-27 Kensington Palace on Twitter.png

6 Qualities That Define Southern Hospitality – Southern Living

Woman Preparing Meal

One survey narrowed down the characteristics of Southern hospitality to six qualities, with politeness and delicious home cooking topping the list.

Source: 6 Qualities That Define Southern Hospitality – Southern Living

To my mind, this should be the case everywhere! It used to be, to a much larger extent than it is now. Well within my lifetime, as I remember it well! But the fact that the South has hung onto these (among other) traditions longer and more tenaciously than many other places is one reason that I so love that region…

At any rate, follow the link to learn what all six characteristics are. All highly admirable!

Chesterton – the “special mark of the modern world”

Chesterton – Special mark of the modern world.jpg

Full quote:

“The special mark of the modern world is not that it is sceptical, but that it is dogmatic without knowing it. It says, in mockery of the old devotees, that they believed without knowing why they believed. But the moderns believe without knowing what they believe – and without even knowing that they do believe it. Their freedom consists in first freely assuming a creed, and then freely forgetting that they are assuming it. In short, they always have an unconscious dogma; and an unconscious dogma is the definition of a prejudice. They are the dullest and deadest of ritualists who merely recite their creed in their subconsciousness, as if they repeated their creed in their sleep. A man who is awake should know what he is saying, and why he is saying it – that is, he should have a fixed creed and relate it to a first principle. This is what most moderns will never consent to do. Their thoughts will work out to most interesting conclusions; but they can never tell you anything about their beginnings. They have always taken away the number they first thought of. They have always forgotten the very fact or fancy on which their whole theory depends.”

— G.K. Chesterton​, March 15, 1919, Illustrated London News

And, ironically, in our present age it is often those who believe themselves to be the most “liberal,” the most “tolerant,” the most open-minded, who are, in fact, among the most dogmatic – and sometimes, the most repressive.

Wisdom from “Silent Cal”

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“One of the first efforts of all kinds of absolutism is to control the press and the schools as the sources of information and education of the people. Where the press is free, as it is in our country under the guaranties of the National and State Constitutions, it has a reciprocal duty of its own to perform toward the administration of the Government, of giving true reports to the people of the actions of public officials. To do otherwise would be to establish a petty tyranny of its own.”

—President Calvin Coolidge, from an “Address at the Dinner of the United Press in New York City on Difficulties with Mexico, Nicaragua and China,” April 25, 1927. The full text of the address is found here.

Almost the whole address may be read as an (unintentional, as he could not have known the way things would go) indictment of our modern-day actions and attitudes, and most especially of the alliance of convenience between neoconservative politics and neoliberal economics! Or more broadly, as I have phrased it on more than one occasion, the unholy alliance between Washington and Wall Street.

Much to ponder in these words of President Coolidge! For they are not only an indictment of where we have gone wrong, but a blueprint for how we might fix it, if we have the will. Whether we do, in fact, have the will is the proverbial $64,000 question.

N.B.:  I have commented previously – including, I believe, in this blog – on the fact that I knew next to nothing about Calvin Coolidge until I ended up living on a street named for him! Since then, synchronicity (along with Ms Ross’s daily history posts) has handed me more than a few nuggets of his wisdom, and I have come to respect him a great deal.

He was known as “Silent Cal” because he only spoke when he had something worthwhile to say. That alone makes him remarkable – for anyone, but especially a politician! And when he did speak, it was generally worth listening to.

How the Church Exchanged Worshiping God For Cheap Emotional Thrills

Worship is supposed to be the Body of Christ accepting God’s invitation into His life, the Divine Life of God as it is expressed in the selfless and absolute love of God lived out forever in the Trinity.

Source: How the Church Exchanged Worshiping God For Cheap Emotional Thrills

I am aware of the saying, often attributed to St. Augustine of Hippo (although it is not found in any of his extant writings), that “He who sings, prays twice.” As a former Methodist and continuing respecter of John Wesley, I am aware of the high premium he placed on congregational singing, as found in his “Directions for Singing.”

However, as I read the “Directions,” I am not at all sure he would find much to approve in a lot of what passes for “Christian music” these days. And I suspect he might share my suspicion of the assumptions underlying the concept of “praise music” – and the idea of “praise services,” generally: are not traditional services also filled with praise for God?

But they are not unbalanced in that direction; to use the oft-used acronym “ACTS,” traditional liturgies balance Adoration (praise) with Contrition (confession and repentance), Thanksgiving, and Supplication (asking God for His aid for the concerns of ourselves or others). And I am quite sure Wesley would look askance – as do I! – at blogger Sarah Koenig’s assertion, quoted in the linked post, that

“Praise and Worship time is a means of coming into close contact with the mercy and love of the Divine – one might even consider it a means of grace. It not only replaces the service of the Table as a primary ordering liturgical element, it also in some sense functions eucharistically for its participants.”

“Replaces the service of the Table”…? “Functions eucharistically”…? Hmmmm. I have a problem with that. Christ did not say, “Sing this in remembrance of me!” Rather, I agree with Patheos guest blogger Les Lamkin, when he writes,

“I do not question music’s power. I do not question that it touches us deeply and profoundly. I question its fitness for shaping us into Christ-like people both individually and as the Body of Christ. I question the idea that raw sensuality is what Jesus had in mind when he said that true worshipers will worship in spirit and truth. I question the idea that somehow drawing people into church with cheap, ‘sanctified’ parodies of Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga is going to shape us into the Bride of Christ, without spot or wrinkle.”

More generally, to quote Lamkin again, “here’s the problem: the Bible never connects worship to preference. Or emotion. Or music.” As a wise priest once commented to me, part of our problem, or at least challenge, as Christians is distinguishing between feeling our heart “strangely warmed” (a la Wesley)… and heartburn.

We live in a society that teaches – sometimes explicitly, almost always implicitly – “if it feels good, do it.” We are trained, by our current society, to associate “warm fuzzies” (to use the old ’70s buzzword) with what is good and right, “cold pricklies” with what is bad and wrong. “How does it make you feel?” is the dominant question – not, “is it right or wrong?”

This is problematic, when dealing with theology, and related concepts like morality. Because often, our faith teaches us – or should, if it is itself being taught correctly – that there are times when we need to feel bad!

We need to experience the guilt, pain, and sorrow of understanding ourselves as sinners, so that we can truly repent; we need to feel the awe – and even terror – of realizing the power of God, literally the Creator of “all things, visible and invisible,” even if we are also grateful and reassured by his goodness to us. We need to mourn the fact that our sinfulness led to the death of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, in order to fully experience the joy of His Resurrection, and all that it means for us.

We cannot do these things, we cannot have these experiences and the understanding that comes with them, if we equate worship with a giddy emotional high. And we cannot even understand and appreciate that we as humans go through times of spiritual drought – what has often been referred to as a “dark night of the soul” – if we key our religious experience primarily into being made to feel good.

“I really felt the Spirit’s presence there” can mean exactly what it says… and it can also mean that we particularly enjoyed the music and fellowship that day. Can you reliably tell the difference? Is your heart strangely warmed, or do you have a case of heartburn? Sometimes the Holy Spirit comes to us in the midst of that dark night of the soul. Sometimes His presence isn’t even discernible to us, except in retrospect.

And we also need to reflect on these things, intellectually, using our God-given rational faculties. We need to understand their implications. We need to internalize not only feelings, but the truths of the faith, and their personal as well as doctrinal implications. This requires rational thought, cognition, reflection – not just emotion.

I am reminded of an excellent essay by David Mills, which I posted here on the blog a few years ago, entitled “A Defense of Traditional Worship.” In it, he writes,

“The concert ended with everyone singing an old hymn, swaying gently from side to side, many holding hands with the strangers beside them. Someone turned out the lights, and people began holding up lit matches, as a feeling of brotherhood descended, it seemed, on everyone in the hall. Out in the parking lot a few minutes later, many of them were fighting, stealing, and selling drugs to small children.

“It was a rock concert ending in the then-popular style. It taught me, a new Christian, that feelings of worship were easily aroused and often almost completely transitory and insincere, in the sense that they did not reflect any change in the will, or any desire in the worshipers to turn from their wickedness and live. Such feelings may be spiritual, but they are not always Christian.

“People are easily moved but not easily changed. The most elevated feelings are no guide whatsoever to the formative value of an experience. To be changed people need to be made to see the world and to act in certain ways and not in others, and this is the reason that Christians ought to worship traditionally, that is, in formal, ordered, regular, heavily textual liturgies designed by a central authority in its historical tradition.”

This is as true now as it was when Mr. (now Dr.) Mills wrote it, which was a good few years before I posted it here on The Anglophilic Anglican. I strongly encourage you to read his whole essay, if you have not already done so! It is well worth the “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest” treatment I recommend for particularly seminal readings.

To return to the present essay, Mr. Lamkin reminds us that

“Worship is supposed to be the Body of Christ accepting God’s invitation into His life, the Divine Life of God as it is expressed in the selfless and absolute love of God lived out forever in the Trinity. It is supposed to be formative and the experience derived from is meant as a means of grace in which the Divine Life of God is imparted to us, individually and as the Body of Christ,”

and then warns us, aptly, of the hazards of using emotion as a guide to this:

“Our emotions are powerful influences. Scripture encourages emotion as a response to God, His greatness, His glory, His love. But we must recognize that scripture also warns against allowing emotion to be our sole, or even a significant, guide regarding faith and practice.”

He even goes so far as to assert,

“I’m a musician. I led my church’s worship team for nearly 30 years. I wish I could take it all back; all the rock and roll from the stage, all the outpouring of raw emotion in the name of worship, all the—do I dare use the word?— idolatry.”

“Idolatry”? Really? Yup! Some powerful stuff here. And and he writes “from the inside,” as it were: from the perspective of someone who’s been down the road, and trying to dissuade other travelers from taking the same unproductive detour.

Here again, I encourage you to “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest.” I think you may find it interesting, helpful, illuminating, and perhaps even… to cite a “cold prickly” that is nonetheless an important part of faith… convicting.