Ash Wednesday: Lent begins

Today, known as Ash Wednesday, marks the first day of Lent in the Western Christian tradition – including Anglicans, Roman Catholics, Old Catholics, Lutherans, and others. And Lent is, of course, the holy season of self-examination, penitence, and preparation as we who are Christians prepare for the Feast of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday. These two lovely images, from Enid Chadwick’s marvelous little volume, My Book of the Church’s Year, do an excellent job of presenting the key themes of Lent!

There are actually six Sundays in Lent; the others being Passion Sunday (Lent V) and Palm Sunday (Lent VI) – which, as the above notes, are found in a separate image – and are collectively known as “Passiontide.”

Wishing all my Christian viewers a holy, blessed, and fruitful Lenten observance!

Nota Bene: Chadwick’s book has recently be re-published by St. Augustine Academy Press. I’ve obtained a copy (not receiving any compensation for this “plug”), and I commend it to your attention!

 

Dr. Carol M. Swain: Critical Race Theory’s Destructive Impact on America | 1776 Unites

https://anglophilicanglican.files.wordpress.com/2020/02/swain.png

Under the guise of a venture called the “1619 Project,” revisionist history about race in America is being introduced into classrooms across America without undergoing the normal peer review expected of educational materials.

Source:  Critical Race Theory’s Destructive Impact on America | 1776 Unites

It is possible – and indeed, I frequently experience this feeling – given the current state of what passes for sociopolitical discourse in early-21st-century America, to feel like one is living in an insane asylum run by the inmates. Fortunately, every once in a while, one hears or reads something that gives one hope that sanity is not totally a thing of the past.

Such an example is this superb essay by Dr. Carol M. Swain, Ph.D., a former political science and law professor at Vanderbilt University (my graduate university, where I attended Divinity School). She writes, inter alia,

“Those who push white guilt and black victimhood ignore critical facts. One is that today’s white Americans are not responsible for the sins of generations ago. Second, slavery was an institution that blacks, Native Americans, and whites participated in as slaveholders. There’s plenty of guilt to go around there…”

“The 1619 Project is a misguided effort to keep open historical wounds while telling only half of the story. It is flawed because it is connected to critical race theory and the diversity-inclusion grievance industry that focuses on identity politics and division. Blaming today’s families for the mistakes of our ancestors is not a prescription for unifying the country or empowering racial and ethnic minorities.”

She adds,

“We can do better. Within Christian communities, there is a basis for countering destructive narratives that have invaded our educational institutions and the corporate world. The solution for hatred, bitterness, and distrust can be found in New Testament principles.

“Rather than wallow in the past and revisionists’ efforts to build a case for reparations, we, as Americans, need to move forward while practicing the forgiveness and love of neighbor that Jesus espoused. We need not look any further than the ‘golden rule’ (do unto others as you would have them do unto you) to find the tools that enable us to transcend racial and ethnic conflicts that keep us from working together and celebrating our victories.”

As I say, it is very encouraging to see / read / hear people in the African-American community – especially scholars of the caliber of Dr. Swain – beginning to push back against the dangerous absurdity of critical race theory. Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest!

Shrove Tuesday: penitence, absolution, and… pancakes!

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Pancake races are apparently a “thing” in the UK, for Shrove Tuesday  – the day before Ash Wednesday, and the start of Lent – and have been for centuries. Even clergy and choristers get into it, on occasion! Not to mention some really cute kids…

The town of Olney takes credit for their origin, as recorded on the town website:

“According to tradition it was in Olney, back in 1445, that pancake racing started. On Shrove Tuesday the church bell rang out to signal the start of the church service.

“A local housewife who was busy cooking pancakes before the start of Lent, ran to the church. She was still carrying her frying pan and wearing her apron and headscarf, and tossed the pancake to prevent it from burning.

“Local people who saw this were amused, and later started to organise pancake races. Pancake races still take place in Olney each Shrove Tuesday.”

Several of these pics are from Olney itself (a town which presumably gave its name to a town in Maryland, near where I grew up), both modern and historical; others are from elsewhere around the web… and the UK!

But of course, Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day, Doughnut Day, Fastnacht, Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, etc.) is not just an excuse to eat yummy pancakes or doughnuts. It is about preparing for a holy Lent by being shriven (past participle of “shrove”) – forgiven, pardoned – for one’s duly repented sins, in preparation for the great season of self-examination, repentance, and preparation that is Lent.

 

Tofu: This vegan food staple is damaging the planet | The Tab

Source: Tofu: This vegan food staple is damaging the planet

Some things just make you shake your head. Vegetarians, and especially vegans, tend to get on their self-righteous high-horse about how they’re “saving the planet” by declining to eat meat, and how plant-based diets are both more ecologically and ethically sound than that nasty meat. Turns out – surprise, surprise! – that this may not actually be the case.

“A new study by Dr. Graham McAuliffe has revealed tofu could be more harmful to the planet than chicken, beef and pork. Speaking at the National Farmers Union Dr. Graham McAuliffe of the Rothamsted Institute said after researching  tofu, he’d concluded it potentially causes more environmental damage because of the production to make the processed protein source.

“He said: ‘But if you look at tofu, which is processed so there is more energy going into its production, when you correct for the fact that the protein in it is not as digestible compared to the meat-based products, you can see that it could actually have a higher global warming potential than any of the mono gastric animals. To get the same amount of protein, tofu is worse.'”

Nor is tofu the only staple of vegetarian / vegan diets at which this article takes aim: almond milk, coconut, palm oil, cashews, avacados, and quinoa are among the foods in the cross-hairs. The article is written in a UK publication, for a UK audience, but it’s just as applicable to those of us here in the US.

Bottom line? As Barry Commoner put it in his Fourth Law of Ecology, “there is no such thing as a free lunch.”

There are trade-offs in everything; and it is sustainable agricultural techniques – that is to say, a move away from industrial, commodity-based agriculture to smaller-scale, more local and natural methods – that are our best bet for ecologically- and ethically-beneficial sourcing of foodstuffs, not replacing animal protein with plant-based (and often highly-processed) substitutes.

 

“So God Made a Farmer” – Paul Harvey | YouTube

Already shared this in my recent post about Bloomberg’s idiocy, but thought it deserved “top billing” in a post! Paul Harvey’s classic paean to the American farmer:

Full text of this marvelous speech may be found here.

 

What Princess Charlotte’s Portrait Teaches Us About Raising Adults | Intellectual Takeout

What Princess Charlotte’s Portrait Teaches Us About Raising Adults

Is it possible that in treating children like children – both in the way we dress them and the activities we allow them to pursue – we will better prepare them for a natural, responsible transition to adulthood some day in the future?

Source: What Princess Charlotte’s Portrait Teaches Us About Raising Adults | Intellectual Takeout

Annie Holmquist, Editor of Intellectual Takeout, often has good things to say, and this is no exception. This essay is a few years old, but that does not make it any less apropos. She notes a Spanish clothing designer – Spain being one country where traditional clothing for children is much more common than it is here in the US, or apparently in the UK – as commenting,

“The style is much more classic for children, with Peter Pan collar shirts, soft colours, floral prints. We keep the essence of timeless clothing for children and enjoy seeing our children look like children.”

(See also this earlier essay on the subject.)

The Anglophilic Anglican is a hopeless traditionalist – and darned proud of it! – so needless to say, I agree. But it may be more than merely an aesthetic preference. As Holmquist continues,

“I can’t help but wonder if the Royals have caught onto an idea that’s been completely overlooked by all of us commoners across the pond… after reading the ideas behind the Spanish approach to children’s dressing which the Royals follow, I had to ask myself if the American habit of dressing children as mini-mes has helped to fuel the rise of immature and incapable adults.”

Well worth a read!

Heather MacDonald: Uproar Over Essays Turns MLK’s Dream Inside Out | Wall Street Journal Opinion

Source: Heather MacDonald: Uproar Over Essays Turns MLK’s Dream Inside Out | Wall Street Journal Opinion

“The University of Montana asked students, staff and community members to participate in an essay contest on the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. When the school released the results last month, Montana students and race activists across the country accused university officials of racism and disrespect. That’s because all four winners were white…

“The four contest winners started receiving threats, and the African-American studies program, which had sponsored the contest, removed their photos and essays from its website. A central fact—no black students had even submitted an essay—failed to defuse the racism charge.”

This is the direction we’re headed, folks. As the author of the linked piece, Heather MacDonald, puts it,

“Turns out some would rather the school had honored King by judging entrants on the color of their skin rather than the content of their submissions.”

In this case, though, the University of Montana would have had to pick people who didn’t even participate in the contest. Let’s look at this again:

“A central fact—no black students had even submitted an essay—failed to defuse the racism charge.”

Ponder that, for a few moments. White students should not have won – regardless of the quality of their essays, or their thoughts on the subject – and regardless of the fact that no black students even bothered to participate. This may be the direction we’re headed, but are we sure this is the direction we want to be headed…? I’m not.

And what would MLK himself have thought of this? Impossible to be sure, of course, but this famous quote might give a clue:

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Somehow, I just don’t think this was what Dr. King intended…