The Christian Bard

Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Christianity and Capitalism

To many, these two concepts are incompatible. In fact, they are completely compatible (I’d argue that long-term capitalism cannot exist without Christianity); together they form what Rich Devos, co-founder of Amway, calls Compassionate Capitalism.

Ayn Rand was a proponent of capitalism, but not a proponent of Christianity. From what I have read, she disliked Christianity, not in toto, but because its altruism does not jive with making money. By definition, altruism does not equate with making money, so I agree with her on that point. But I disagree with the thought that altruism/charity do not belong, that Christianity and Capitalism cannot co-exist.

I like Rand’s concise definition of capitalism – you can make whatever you want, and nobody has to buy it. This brings up the point where morality/ethics/religion comes into the picture. On the surface, it’s a good definition. But she wrote, “whatever you want.” With no Christian basis, this opens the door to producing pornography, smut, and whatever else a non-moral mind can bring up. You can see our American society going more that way, though we still have several boundaries.

The reason that Christianity and capitalism can, and must, co-exist for the long-term benefit is because 1) capitalism provides the freedom to make and earn money, thereby providing a consistent incentive to produce in society, and 2) Christianity, and to extend that – the Bible, provides the best basis for a free people, and for laws to be enacted that keep people honest in their dealings in business. This worldview also provides stability in every other area – civil government, family, military, etc. A biblical worldview is holistic.

This country was not founded to make money – it was established to provide a haven for people seeking liberty. Liberty is no license. License is freedom without responsibility. Liberty is freedom with responsibility and accountability.

There are ample quotes to show that America’s Founders were either Christian or subscribed to and promoted Christian principles. Many don’t like that, but that’s the way it is. This is not to say, and the Founders did not say, that all people in America must be Christian, or be Christian to benefit from the liberty we have here. But Christian principles are the best basis upon which to found a society, because they are logical, mature, considerate of the best of society, considerate of individual rights (stated most succinctly in the Ten Commandments) and provide direction and instruction for one’s own soul, one’s family, one’s work, one’s life.

Learning Poetry

Learning poetry, at any age, improves overall memorization. As one learns to memorize one poem after another, one learns how he best memorizes. For me, I started about a year ago, starting with short rhyming, rhythmic poems. I used a microphone and recorded them on my laptop, then onto CD. I listened to them on my job commute. I have memorized about 15 good poems, of varying lengths, since, and have enjoyed teaching them to our children.
Children can learn faster, of course, because they’re not old, tired and inundated with information, like we adults are. They have fresh, insightful, eager minds, not cynical, skeptical and worn-out ones.
I have come to understand much more about poetry, and that understanding has increased my appreciation of how poems and poets work.
A Poet is not just limited to doing professional work. They are from all different backgrounds.Legacy -- I have made some CDs of poetry, with my voice, for our children. I am not a great speaker or orator, but that is not my goal. I know how endearing it is to hear my parents’ voices. And I wish I had something to listen to in order to hear their voices from when they were young. My children now have that – I know they will feel that way. I am still young, but each year I hope to leave a little bit more. If God chooses to bring me home while my children are still very young, then they have a little something. If He chooses to let me stay for a long time, then my children will have that much more to keep and let their children and grandchildren hear how their Grandfather sounded. They won’t say that I’m an impressive stage presence, but it might instill each generation to keep up the tradition.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

How Did You Die?

How Did You Die?
by Edmund Vance Cooke

Did you tackle that trouble that came your way
With a resolute heart and cheerful?
Or hide your face from the light of day
With a craven soul and fearful?
Oh, a trouble’s a ton, or a trouble’s an ounce,
Or a trouble is what you make it.
And it isn’t the fact that you’re hurt that counts,
But only how did you take it?

You are beaten to earth? Well, well, what’s that?
Come up with a smiling face.
It’s nothing against you to fall down flat,
But to lie there -- that’s disgrace.
The harder you’re thrown, why the higher you bounce;
Be proud of your blackened eye!
It isn’t the fact that you’re licked that counts;
It’s how did you fight and why?

And though you be done to death, what then?
If you battled the best you could;
If you played your part in the world of men,
Why, the Critic will call it good.
Death comes with a crawl, or comes with a pounce,
And whether he’s slow or spry,
It isn’t the fact that you’re dead that counts,
But only, how did you die?

New Orleans thoughts

No doubt about it -- what Katrina did to New Orleans was a catastrophe. The survivors need prayer support, physical support and emotional support.
What gets me is this: why do they complain about the lack of government support? It's a sad commentary on today's society -- I wonder: where was the local support? People want a military presence; where is the local militia?
The hurricane could not have been stopped, and people certainly would have died -- I'm not downplaying that. But whatever happened to people taking care of their own? What happened to women and children first? Society has gone so far from our Juedo-Christian (i.e., Biblical) and Constitutional beginnings that we 1) don't teach Judeo-Christian priniciples (that's why there's so much looting), and 2) we teach communities that they can't take care of themselves, taht they need the federal government to do it.
For certain, if we don't govern ourselves, somebody else will. That's where we are -- we've relied on government so long that we can't take care of ourselves. We have to let judges define simple definitions (IS and MARRIAGE); we have to depend on the President of the US to come to our aid; we have to rely on the Armed Forces to keep thieves off the streets. What happened to everyone owning a gun and shooting thieves on their own? What happened to being pioneering men and women who could take care of their own communities?
Again, this is not to downplay the tragedy! However, so much of this could have been alleviated sooner had their been a local militia, partnerships with neighboring communities (this is NOT the first time this has happened, and it should have been expected) and training the people to be servants to one another.
We can't control the weather, but we can control how we deal with it -- as individuals and as a society. Society is so caught up in working smarter that they don't work hard AT ALL. Teach your children to work smart AND hard. Teach them to think creatively and to act accordingly. And buy a gun. With proper training, it's a great means of self-defense, along with martial arts.