Glories of the West: What we’re fighting for

It’s been a while since I’ve posted one of these. Never hurts to remember why we fight.

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New Buck folder! #110 Folding Hunter

Buck #110 Folding Hunter

For the first time in many years, I can feel the reassuring heft of a knife on my belt, riding at my right hip: it is a Buck knife, a #110 Folding Hunter, in a black leather sheath.

Just purchased it this afternoon – appropriately, on the Feast of St. Hubert. It is part of Buck’s “Classic” line, made here in the USA: I am doing my best to limit my knife purchases to ones made in America! And sure enough, here’s “A Message from the Buck Family,” on the reverse side of the “Forever Warranty” card included with each knife:

As my father Chuck Buck would say, if this is your first Buck knife, “welcome aboard.” You are now part of a very large family. We think of each one of our users as a member of the Buck Knives family, and we take care of our own.

Now that you are family, you might want to know a little more about us. Dad said it best when he said, “The fantastic growth of Buck Knives, Inc. was no accident. From the beginning, we determined to make God the Senior Partner. In a crisis, the problem was turned over to Him, and He hasn’t failed to help us with the answer. Each knife must reflect the integrity of management. If some¬times we fail on our end, because we are human, we find it imperative to do our utmost to make it right. If any of you are troubled or perplexed and looking for answers, may we invite you to look to Him, for God loves you.”

CJ Buck, CEO, Chairman of Buck Knives

For God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son; so that anyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” — John 3:16

Not only an American-made knife, by a family-owned American company, but made by a Christian family-owned American company! Feels good to have it on my hip. Continue reading “New Buck folder! #110 Folding Hunter”

The Drama of Hallowmas | Sally Thomas | First Things

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“As a friend of mine observed recently, there is something medieval about Halloween…”

Source: The Drama of Hallowmas | Sally Thomas | First Things

A very interesting “take” on Halloween, and the larger Hallowmas season (Eve of All Hallows, All Hallows / All Saints Day, and All Souls Day) of which it is a part. Sally Thomas writes, in this “web exclusive” for the excellent journal First Things,

“As a friend of mine observed recently, there is something medieval about Halloween. The masks, the running around in the dark, the flicker of candles in pumpkins, the smell of leaves and cold air — all of it feels ancient, even primal, somehow. Despite the now-inevitable preponderance of media-inspired costumes, Halloween seems, in execution, far closer to a Last Judgment scene above a medieval church door, or to a mystery play, than it does to Wal-Mart.

“To step outside on Halloween dressed as someone—or some thing—other than yourself is to step into a narrative that acknowledges that the membrane between our workaday, material world and the unseen realm of spirits is far thinner and more permeable than many of us like to think. This narrative disturbs a lot of people, as the proliferation of church-sponsored ‘autumn festivals’ and ‘trunk-or-treat’ parties suggests. To some of those who worry about it, Halloween is either a thoroughly secular or a thoroughly pagan observance, to be avoided by serious Christians…

“Halloween’s emphasis on darkness makes many Christians squeamish, but, to my mind, what my friend observed about the medieval feel of Halloween is more on the money. There is a drama to be played out, like a mystery play in three scenes, and it makes sense only if you observe all three days of Hallowmas — not only Halloween but All Saints’ and All Souls’ days as well. In this context, the very secularity and even the roots-level paganism of Halloween become crucial elements in a larger Christian story.”

She adds,

“What their costumes are is less important than the fact that, for a night, my children will be people other than themselves: each of them will be someone who, regardless of real-life fears about the dark, is not afraid to step out into the night. Armored inside their personae, they can laugh at the shadows, as well they should. On the one hand, the powers of darkness are no joke; on the other hand, although Christians have no traffic with these powers, we do not fear them.”

This is an important lesson to learn, and one of the reasons I get a bit impatient at those Christians – usually on the Evangelical / Fundamentalist Protestant side of the Christian spectrum – who get into conniptions over Halloween, and often refuse to celebrate it at all. They are missing the point. They are also surrendering to the demonic far too much power: as Ms Thomas points out, we have no traffic with these powers, but neither need we fear them: Christ has already won the victory over them.

[These are some of the same folks – doubtless good and well-meaning people – who act as if, even if they may not formally believe, that the Devil is God’s “opposite number,” so to speak. In fact, the counterpart to Satan (Lucifer, the fallen “angel of light,” who became the demon of darkness) is St. Michael the Archangel (see Revelation 12:7–10): God is utterly supreme, omnipotent and ineffable, and has no opponent! That the Devil thinks he is anything close to equivalent with God is but a conceit on his part (hubris: overweening pride), and a heretical error to any human who believes it.]

Halloween is (or should be; admittedly, there are some who use it to celebrate darkness to a psychologically and spiritually unhealthy degree, but Christians should know better) about mocking the forces of darkness, not embracing them. It is, in a sense, a victory parade for the battle that was won for us on the Cross of Calvary – a celebration in which some may choose to wear the uniforms of the defeated enemy.

Pyramid of captured German helmets, New York, 1918 (2)
Pyramid of pickelhauben (captured WW I German helmets), Grand Central Terminal, New York, 1919. While I do not necessarily applaud this sort of display, it does speak to the point of emphasizing the defeat of one’s enemy by displaying his “stuff.”

And it is also, of course, a harvest festival, celebrating the turning-point between the season of warmth and light, and that of cold and dark… between, that is to say, the seasons of life and of death, or seeming death. And this, too, is a Christian mystery!

For just as the myths of the “dying gods” recorded by Frasier in The Golden Bough, and others, were reflections of the seeming “death” (actually dormancy) of the natural world in the Winter, only to be “reborn” in the Spring, so that very seasonal cycle is a reminder of what C.S. Lewis called the “true myth” of Christ’s death and resurrection:

“Now what Dyson and Tolkien showed me was this: that if I met the idea of sacrifice in a Pagan story I didn’t mind it at all: again, that if I met the idea of a god sacrificing himself to himself . . . I liked it very much and was mysteriously moved by it: again, that the idea of the dying and reviving god (Balder, Adonis, Bacchus) similarly moved me provided I met it anywhere except in the Gospels. The reason was that in Pagan stories I was prepared to feel the myth as profound and suggestive of meanings beyond my grasp even tho’ I could not say in cold prose ‘what it meant.’

“Now the story of Christ is simply a true myth: a myth working on us in the same way as the others, but with this tremendous difference — that it really happened.”

Thanks be to God! Just don’t forget that All Saints and All Souls are yet to come – the drama is not yet complete:

“On All Saints’ Day, our parish holds a children’s festival, hugely attended, at which children and adults alike dress as their favorite saints… The party is such fun that we could almost dispense with Halloween, whose festivities, as we observe them, are minimal by comparison. But the cumulative iconography of being, first, a secular character confronting darkness, and then a saint in light, is imaginatively powerful and valuable.

“As our Hallowmas ends, the pageantry and excitement of Halloween and All Saints’ Day give way to the comparative quiet of the feast of All Souls. This final solemnity is a day without costumes. Having been denizens of the night and citizens of the household of God, the children step back into themselves to contemplate their own mortality and pray for our beloved dead. In three days they have enacted the story of their own eternal lives: from darkness to the hope of heaven and the joy of the saints who await them in glory. From mystery to mystery, it’s a drama I would not have them miss.”

Amen, and amen!

Essential Manual Hand Tools: Carry a Pocket Knife | The Art of Manliness

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It used to be that a pocket knife was an essential item that a man carried with him. You had your wallet, your keys, and your trusty pocket knife.

Source: Essential Manual Hand Tools: Carry a Pocket Knife | The Art of Manliness

It still is an essential item, for me!

Wallet in right rear pocket, comb and handkerchief in the left; keys in left front pocket, knife and any loose change in the right. Sometimes, but not always, watch on wrist; if not, it joins my pocketknife in my right pocket. I usually pat-check myself to make sure I have everything, and everything in its place, before heading out the door.

In fact, I feel rather naked if I realize that I have gone out without even one pocketknife – or even just the small Victorinox “Swiss Army” one that hangs on my key-ring (2.25″ overall size, 1.25″ blade). Typically, as noted above, I have at least one more, in my right pocket, balancing the key-ring in my left; and sometimes a larger one, either in a cargo pocket – if my pants are so equipped – or in a belt case.

It’s a tradition that is no longer as common as it once was, however. Some of Brett’s videos are a little corny, and the one that accompanies this post certainly falls into that category! But nonetheless, this is a good short article explaining the reasons why the tradition of carrying a pocketknife is still a good one in the 21st century. He comments,

“Men have been carrying pocket knives for centuries. But with increased security at the airport and other buildings, knives have been disappearing from men’s pockets. Yet these minor obstacles are not sufficient reason to give up carrying a knife completely. The carrying of a pocket knife is a manly tradition that should be continued.” Continue reading “Essential Manual Hand Tools: Carry a Pocket Knife | The Art of Manliness”

Review: Gränsfors Bruk Forest Axes

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Gränsfors Forest Axes are made to be used in the forest for everything from felling large trees to limbing small logs.

Source: Gränsfors Bruk of Sweden – Forest Axes

While I’m reviewing products with a Nordic origin and/or ethos, I thought I would mention what I consider to be the gold standard in axes, Gränsfors Bruk. Of themselves they say,

Throughout history, the axe has helped us source wood for our fires, build our houses and protect ourselves against enemies, and that’s just scratching the surface. For much of human history, the axe has meant the difference between life and death.

“Here at Gränsfors Bruk, we feel a keen responsibility to ensure that knowledge of axes and axe making is preserved for future generations. We strive to make the best possible axes, based on three different perspectives:

“Making a good product based on the perspectives above is our way of showing responsibility towards everyone who buys and uses our products, towards our environment and towards our staff.” Continue reading “Review: Gränsfors Bruk Forest Axes”

Buck Knives: doing it right!

Related image

“From the beginning, we determined to make God the Senior Partner. In a crisis, the problem was turned over to Him, and He hasn’t failed to help us with the answer… If any of you are troubled or perplexed and looking for answers, may we invite you to look to Him, for God loves you.”

— Chuck Buck: from the “Forever Warranty” page, Buck Knives website

Source: The Buck Forever Warranty – Buck® Knives OFFICIAL SITE

Full version:

As my father Chuck Buck would say, if this is your first Buck knife, “welcome aboard.” You are now part of a very large family. We think of each one of our users as a member of the Buck Knives family, and we take care of our own.

Now that you are family, you might want to know a little more about us. Dad said it best when he said, “The fantastic growth of Buck Knives, Inc. was no accident. From the beginning, we determined to make God the Senior Partner. In a crisis, the problem was turned over to Him, and He hasn’t failed to help us with the answer. Each knife must reflect the integrity of management. If sometimes we fail on our end, because we are human, we find it imperative to do our utmost to make it right. If any of you are troubled or perplexed and looking for answers, may we invite you to look to Him, for God loves you.”

We have stood by these values since 1902 and honor our products with this Forever Warranty. Please don’t hesitate to contact us regarding your knife.

CJ Buck

President, CEO, Chairman of Buck Knives

And they put their money where their mouth is, with the “Forever Warranty.” I particularly like this:

If your knife has sentimental value, please make a note of it when you send the knife to us so that we can determine whether to repair or replace.

That, to me, shows way-above-average class – and compassion, realizing that a knife is more than just a tool: it is (or can be) part of a person’s individual “story,” and often their family history as well. Well done, Buck Knives!

I am in the process of finding a replacement for my old Schrade Uncle Henry 3-blade “Stockman,” and since they are no longer made by the original company, or in the U.S., that means buying “pre-owned.” But I think my next new knife is going to have to be a Buck.

Many thanks to Stephen Clay McGehee, who alerted me to the fact that Buck Knives is not only a family-owned company, but one whose ethic is based firmly in the Christian faith.

If the World Could Just Snap Green Beans With Granny Again | Appalachian Magazine

Green-Beans

Though I make my living writing articles online and sharing posts on social media, I cannot possibly thank God enough that I was born prior to the days rectangular-shaped screens conquered society.

Source: If the World Could Just Snap Green Beans With Granny Again | Appalachian Magazine

Another good one from Appalachian Magazine.

“I’m not so naïve to believe that simply by gathering around a front porch and snapping green beans all of the problems of this generation would be erased; however, I believe it would sure be a heck of a great place to start…

Though I make my living writing articles online and sharing posts on social media, I cannot possibly thank God enough that I was born prior to the days rectangular-shaped screens conquered society.”

Amen. I feel the same way.

And I have many good memories of snapping green beans, shelling peas, and shelling lima beans on the big, screened-in porch of my Grandma Reamer’s un-air-conditioned farmhouse in Dennisville, New Jersey. How I do miss those days! And the activities, and – especially – the people who made the memories golden.

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