Learning Gratitude

Gratitudeby Anniel2/6/16
After this manner therefore pray ye. . . Matthew 6:9 KJV ~ My friendly advisor in Judaic thought tells me that in many sects of Judaism the practitioners are told not to engage in intercessory prayers on the sabbath, although they may ask for blessings on the sick. The teaching is that God established the first sabbath based on HIS own need for rest following creation, and that He still has need for rest from the pleas of His children. As my friend says, “I’m sure He doesn’t like to hear our whining all the time.”

This is a new way of looking at prayer for me. I have heard sermons given where we are told to pray sometimes and ASK FOR NOTHING, but GIVE ONLY THANKS to God for His blessings, and that such a prayer should make us more grateful and aware of all God does for us. Making it a regular sabbath day matter had not occurred to me.

In what manner ought we to pray? Dietrich Bonhoeffer recommended the Psalms as a teaching tool for prayer based on a sermon given by Martin Luther. Bonhoeffer said that every person seeking God in prayer should take the time to go through and study all of the Psalms at least once each year. They can be our model for prayer. Even the Disciples asked, ” . . . Lord, teach us to pray . . .” (Luke 11:1) KJV.

Jesus did give the true pattern of prayer in answer to the request of His disciples. Although it is translated a little differently in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew, the essence is the same, and it is beautiful in its profound simplicity. It is known as THE LORD’S PRAYER. Let’s break down the version from Luke to see if we can give attention to the meanings:

Our Father which art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Christians pray to the Father Creator of us all, who dwells in Heaven, and give reverence to His name to show our love and awe for Him.

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
We need to be reminded that it is HIS kingdom we look forward to. In order for that kingdom to come, we seek to follow His will here on earth. We study the scriptures and pray for understanding. This verse reminds us to consider our doings carefully and not rely on our own limited understanding. Truth is available to us.

Give us this day our daily bread.
Such a simple thing, our daily bread. We don’t ask for great riches or glory here, merely the humble “bread” that sustains us. Beyond that, we need to remember that Christ, Himself, is called “the Bread of Life.”

And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to
us.

In order to be forgiven by God, we must forgive all men. Forgiveness takes divine help so we must ask God to aid us in that grueling task. Notice that in Luke’s version he says we are to forgive “indebtedness”, a term which covers all sorts of payments we think are due us, maybe even the value of a tooth for a tooth, or for emotional or monetary harm. We need to learn to forgive, but we can still ask for justice to prevail.

And lead us not into temptation; But deliver us from evil.
Does God “lead” us into temptation? Does He always “deliver” us from evil? I find these to be hard questions. Is this another warning statement of how the world really works? If we are not careful, can we and all men be led easily or blindly into temptation? Or from time to time, through no fault of our own, might we find ourselves in a time or place where we must be “delivered from evil?” Perhaps we need to think of this as a responsibility we each have, to pray for the strength to resist temptation and, if at all possible, the strength and ability to flee if we are in a dangerous or evil situation.
(From Luke 11: 2-4. KJV)

. . . For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. (From Matthew 6:13.) This ending is left off in Luke’s account. But we must always keep in mind that the kingdom belongs to our Father. That it is HIS kingdom, and power, and glory we seek, not our own.

Amen. This is our seal of acceptance for that which we have earnestly prayed.

The Lord does not want us to insult Him with thoughtless “vain repetition”, but rather we should offer Him thoughtful prayers – from the heart. Jesus said that God our Father knows what we need before we ask, but we still need to talk to Him about those needs. That is good six days a week, but perhaps we should approach our sabbath day prayers a little differently. Give our Father a rest and let full thanksgiving really count on that day.

The gratitude we learn and give voice to will profoundly strengthen our own lives, and perhaps even our degenerating culture. • (1065 views)

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40 Responses to Learning Gratitude

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    I’m not sure where it came from, but I recall that when I was young, the standard version we used (this was in Episcopalian churches, which at that time still qualified as Christian) was “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” My recollection is that reciting the Lord’s Prayer was a regular part of the service.

  2. Anniel says:

    Timothy – That is how the version in Matthew reads, and most people use that version. But I find the version translated in Luke to be even more interesting to ponder.

    • Tom Riehl Tom Riehl says:

      Anniel, the reference to “vain repetition” is unclear to me. Does it apply to prayers like the Rosary, or the unthinking repetition of any prayer?

      Also, the Matthew version resonates with me, as that was the one used in the Church as I was growing up. My opinion is that this version is more mellifluous. The coda at the end of Luke’s version surprised me that first time I heard it. Either version of this prayer is truly beautiful, though. Running hard in second place is the Nicene Creed, the most elegant explanation of the Trinity.

      • Anniel says:

        Tom: My take on “vain repetition” is that it truly means THOUGHTLESS. if the Rosary, or any other form, like the Matthew Lord’s Prayer, helps you draw nearer the Lord, then it is not “vain.” It is affirming.

        If things are done as a -what, maybe a checklist? They may not be carefully thought through. Before flying a small plane, for instance, a pilot has a checklist, but he also needs to physically check the systems, not just glance at them and assume they’re fine. That can be fatal. We all need to be more careful how we contemplate our dealings with the Lord, and how we come to “know” Him. If all we do is follow a checklist (I’ve said my prayer, check) each day, and then forget about it, we may miss out on what we really need.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          If god is a product OCD, then that’s not God. And I do think many people turn the whole Holy Enterprise into something resembling that. The God of the Bible is not an idol. He is not to be treated like a talisman, a lucky charm.

          But people do that because they are looking for the power and protection for themselves, and if it means enacting some OCD-like ritual, they will do it. And one can understand that.

          I think your distinction between OCD-like ritualizing and something more thoughtful is a good one, Annie.

  3. Lucia says:

    I decided to be thankful all day yesterday and not ask God for a thing, but just trust in His assurance that He will take care of all my needs. It turned out to be one of the most peaceful days I’ve had in a long time. I felt as if I had “entered into His rest”. So, I decided to practice “resting” every day by putting my faith in action, acting as if I believe God will take good care of me even if at the moment I don’t feel it. My nerves are doing much better. Thank you, Anniel.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Maybe there’s something to day “day of rest” thing.

      I think we will starve if we just “let go and let god.” We have to work. We have to plan. We have to strive. And yet, watching my mother yesterday (I stopped by playing the good son) stress over her dishwashing machine, I was again flabbergasted at the ways people go out of their way to screw themselves into knots. She’s losing her memory and is suffering from dementia. But that only masks the fact that she is doing what she has always done: making mountains out of molehills.

      She was fussing with this and with that. I won’t go into the hellish detail. I finally told her “It’s a damn washing machine, not a nuclear power plant. If you haven’t hooked it up right, it’s not going to explode. The worst thing that can happen is you’ll have some dirty dishes.” I mean, I wish I could say I was the uber-patient son telling her this. But I almost had to scream this at her.

      I, for one, don’t believe God will take care of me. I am getting old and the afflictions of age are here and coming. There is no escape from the corrupting influences of the physical world. But, good god, we can make things so much worse by obsessing on the bad stuff. To some extent, we have to accept the bad stuff. Sure, we do what we can to ameliorate the harm. We should eat well. Exercise. And practice gratitude. But we also need to make peace with the fact the suffering is inherent to existence. We can ask why. And should ask why. But we can’t fundamentally change that.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        I, for one, don’t believe God will take care of me.

        An Arab camel herder and his young helper stopped at an oasis to rest. Before settling down, the camel herd told the boy to tie up the camels to insure they did not wander away during the night.

        The boy asked the camel herd, “Why do you want me to tie up the camels, do you not trust in Allah?”

        The camel herd replied, “I trust in Allah, but do not expect him to do my work for me. Now, go tie up the camels.”

        The boy did as he was instructed.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          “The Lord helps those who helps themselves.” This doesn’t rule out miracles, but it does say not to rely on them — especially as an alternative to self-reliance.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          The sun is shining after so much rain and overcast skies. There’s good and there’s bad, and it’s undeniable that some people get more of the bad than their fair share. But then life isn’t fair.

          We needn’t roll over and be passive fatalists. But unless we make peace with that one fact, we will forever have the equivalent of a Demon inside of us, poisoning everything we do.

          Those who do probably then concentrate more on what they can do, not what they can’t do. Maybe in Heaven it all works out. But down here, we are in the role of Job. We get crap thrust upon us all the time and we wonder why. Surely there are people far more deserving of these hardships.

          Perhaps we can rationalize the hardships as character-building events thrust upon us from above. Who is to say this isn’t the way things work? We don’t know for sure. But that mindset is by far healthier than the “woe is me” one. That doesn’t mean one can’t bitch and complain. The Psalms are full of “Woe is me” laments. I know of nothing in Christianity that requires one to whistle past the graveyard and put on a false, shit-eating grin all the time.

          But…but…be sure to tie up the camels.

        • Bell Phillips says:

          The more modern parable I’ve heard is:

          An old man is sitting in on his porch, watching the rain fill the street. Some firemen in a rowboat come by and offer to take him to an evacuation area.

          He says, “No, thank you. God will take care of me.” They go on, because there are more people to rescue.

          Later, he is still sitting on his porch. This time his shoes are off because the water is up to his ankles. The firemen come back and plead with him to go.

          He says, “God will take care of me.”

          Hours later, he is clinging to his chimney when the Coast Guard Helicopter spots him. He fights away the rescuer hanging from the rope, screaming over the noise that “God will take care of me.”

          Shortly thereafter, he finds himself face to face with God. He asks God, “Why didn’t you take care of me?”

          God says to him, “I sent two boats and a helicopter. What more did you want?”

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            That’s similar to the parable I’ve heard, Bell, and it’s a good one. If one believes that the world is a created thing (and I do), then despite whatever miracles may be happening that we aren’t aware of, we can certainly make use of the tools we have. There are a lot of secondary aspects to these things. I was thinking about this just the other day. We have brains. And these brains have become, for earthly purposes, an extension of our already amazingly sophisticated immune systems. We can create medicines with them, for example.

            Life is like that. I’ve never been the kind to jump straight to God for the answers (or, if I have, it’s never worked). That’s not an argument against those who do. But it is an argument for the varying degrees of separation and distinction between Supreme Being and our own helping hands.

          • pst4usa says:

            I have often herd this modern parable Mr. Phillips as an argument for our need to do something such as work or whatever. I have looked at it as a parable of choice. We win either way, trust God to take care of us and he will, work and do the things required to extend our physical lives, enjoy our lives or not while we are here and He will take care of us in the end.
            The rest of the story as I see it, is when this guy asks God why didn’t you take care of me, God would have responded, “I sent two boats and a helicopter. What more did you want?” But you made the choice to ignore those options and now I have called you to live with me here in heaven, welcome, my beloved child.

  4. Lucia says:

    Lately I’ve been remembering the lessons I learned through my ordeals with my cancer, with my parents’ illness and passing, and dealing with my brother who is subject to rages. First of all, God will allow anything to happen in my life that will help me become more like Christ, even if it means enduring extreme difficulties. There are some changes that are so deep and life altering that only suffering can bring them about.

    Secondly, God already knows what I need and has already provided it if only I had eyes to see it. He goes before the trial and makes a way for me to endure it. When I rest in His care, I am showing my faith by my actions. I trust Him to show me what I need to do and when I should do it so that His will can be worked out through what I do. But I don’t sit around waiting for instructions. There are plenty of chores to do every day that don’t require heavenly direction.

    Thirdly, for Christians that die, after the pain is over, comes joyful release. Our grip on this life will weaken when it’s time to leave this earth, because our thoughts will turn to our next destination. I think God is wise to hide the glory of heaven from us to prevent people from committing mass suicide to get there right now. I don’t think even the prohibition against suicide would stop very many, if they fully knew what lies ahead for them. (But I could be wrong.)

    Brad, I’ve found that when old people begin to lose their mental facilities, they become afraid. My father would fall asleep at his computer while working on spreadsheets far into the night because he couldn’t figure them out anymore. He had nightmares about his CDs coming into maturity because he couldn’t figure out how to roll them over. My mother would tell me that my childhood memories were just dreams because she didn’t remember any of them. I used to get mad at her until I realized she was afraid of dementia.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      and dealing with my brother who is subject to rages.

      Come and have him write a few things for StubbornThings. For many people, actually expressing themselves can be cathartic.

      I think God is wise to hide the glory of heaven from us to prevent people from committing mass suicide to get there right now.

      LOL. I suppose there’s a lot of truth in that. One very powerful argument for our inherent suffering is that you see what utter moral and intellectual vegetables we become when we are little more than hedonists. There is no character. There is no depth. There is no soul. There is a reason Mother Teresa was Mother Teresa and Caitlyn Jenner is Caitlyn Jenner.

      So let’s say there is a heaven where we spend eternity. That would make earth a sort of training ground. And instead of trying to move heaven and earth to avoid every little ache and pain, we perhaps can acknowledge this aspect…or the possibility of this aspect. We have things we need to overcome…and some things we must learn to live with. And part of the journey is gaining the wisdom to distinguish between the two. (Obviously Bruce Jenner did not do that.)

      Yes, I get that my mother is likely afraid. But she’s had issues exactly like this 30 years ago. Some people see the glass as half full. She doesn’t even acknowledge the glass sometimes. She became a Christian about 30 years ago. But you would never know it. I don’t see how it changed her for the better. I think she initially did it simply to beat my father over the head with it.

      But I have to disengage from this, not take any of it personally, and realize she’s reverting to a helpless child…and about as morally responsible as a child. She’ll be in God’s hands soon enough and I hope the hell they know what to do with her.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Of course, this can have negative consequences. The Muslims have their 72 virgins, used as an inducement for suicide bombers (a variation of the methods of the Assassins, founded by Hassan ben Sabah and more or less destroyed by the Mongol Hulagu). It also encourages the sort of attitude made famous at Béziers during the Albigensian Crusade: “Kill them all, and the Lord will know his own.”

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I suppose that’s indicative that any idea, no matter how good, can be made bad if taken to extremes. In this case, it’s just a cover for earthly abuse, murder, and power….all sanctified and laundered by calling it the “Will of Allah.” There is the devil in that religion, deeply embedded and integral.

    • Anniel says:

      Lucia, Bless you. I’m reminded of a line from a poem that went something like: “To keep us here until our task is complete, God gave death an ugly face.”

      I almost didn’t submit this article, but I have thought a long time about why the Lord was so insistent on keeping the sabbath day holy. In the Ten Commandments Symposium on the sabbath I told how the Prophet Jeremiah told the Israelites if they would just keep the sabbath day holy, Jerusalem would stand forever. If the people refused then he would start a fire at their gates that would destroy them. My questions on the matter had two parts. One was if that scripture applied to us and our nation today, and, secondly, what is it about keeping the sabbath day holy that makes us worthy of being saved?

      I still wonder about many of these things, but have concluded, at least in part, that Sabbath observance can teach us gratitude and help us remember God in all our trials, because, as you say, God already knows what each of us needs and what will take us back to him.

      Thank you. Annie

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I almost didn’t submit this article

        One of the difficult things in this polluted, mean, and vulgar culture is to put yourself out there, damn the consequences. Nobody likes to have their heart driven over and tread marks left on it. We’re not a bunch of vulgar and mean people here, but still it’s always possible some jerk will log on and trash what someone says mercilessly.

        I don’t know if that’s behind your “I almost didn’t submit this” thought. But I suppose it could be. It’s common enough. It’s much easier to just stay at the surface level which, really, is at the level of the political where concern is mostly over what other people will think, not thinking itself.

        I read this article and I liked this article. Your exegesis of the Lord’s Prayer was very good. Even better were your thoughts on the day of rest: “I’m sure He doesn’t like to hear our whining all the time.”

        Much of religious writing out there isn’t particularly good. People either tend to stay on the surface level or just re-hash the same old thoughts. But I thought you articulated a principle in a very relatable way. This is fairly rare. One tends to get either surface level “Jesus, hallelujah” 0r (especially from men) an over-intellectualized account of how this all supposedly works, dry and devoid of much meaning.

        On the first day, I created this site. On the second, I didn’t rest because there is no rest when you’re striving to be the very best thing on the web. But that’s not easy because most people are climbing the greasy pole in some way. They are looking to up their reputations. And we’re free-wheeling enough at StubbornThings that someone’s reputation may not be safe for we may say something politically incorrect. We may even say something true. And, by and large, people don’t want truth. And to get to true, one has to take some chances.

        If I have belabored the point, I’m not sorry. I wish more people who have accumulated life’s wisdom would, instead of shrinking back, push the “send” button.

        • Anniel says:

          Brad, Maybe I had my heart on my sleeve on this one. The thought that God created Sabbath worship and rest for His own need first just kept niggling at the back of my mind and new thoughts would pop up . I was not certain that it would resonate. I have a deep feeling of new gratitude now that so many people have thought so deeply on the matter.

          Thank you for the encouragement this site gives us all. Annie

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            The thought that God created Sabbath worship and rest for His own need first just kept niggling at the back of my mind and new thoughts would pop up .

            I thought that was a very interesting interpretation, Annie. If the Creator is a conscious person (of some sort), one would suppose that this Creator could use some rest from a bunch of nitwits like us.

            One of the sensitive issues as well regarding talking about these big subjects (“religion,” per se) is that it’s easy to get beaten down with “Well, who died and made you the interpreter of God?” I’m not a fundamentalist (nor am I a squishy relativist). In Catholic circles, for instance, the tendency is to keep people inside a specified box. Nothing against Catholics. I like Catholics. But I’ve often come away with the impression that they have become afraid of their God-given own minds.

            That doesn’t mean I’m an advocate of the drip, drip, drip acid of constant questioning. Some do that to no good purpose. And yet, to be fair, I think a lot of these big questions remain mysterious, at best. But I do like open-minded, thoughtful expositions of these subjects.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              And after all, Genesis does say that God rested from his labors and blessed the Sabbath for that very reason. Her interpretation seems very reasonable on that basis.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                Yes, her interpretation sounds reasonable to me. And what’s striking about Annie’s interpretation is that it wasn’t me, me, me-centered. That, for all intents and purposes, is a foreign language in today’s culture. I think many people would have to read this three times and still wonder if she is crazy.

              • Anniel says:

                Bear says crazy might be a good explanation. The bite marks on his shin bone didn’t bleed too much.

  5. Anniel says:

    I love all of your responses to this article. They show a lot of thinking going on out there. I admit that I have learned a lot from all of you and you have lifted my spirits today more than you know.

  6. What a wonderful discussion set off by a wonderful essay. I’ll add only a recommendation for a remarkable book on the subject of gratitude: “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp. She’s not only a marvelous writer, but the mother of 6 children and the wife of a Canadian pig farmer — and she’s writing a book about being grateful. Wow. It’s a delightful read. dc

    • Anniel says:

      Deanna, Thanks for the book tip. What is it about reading that perks up ones need to know? I feel so sorry for the loss of reading ability in general, and the consequent loss of thinking abilities in particular. We need to turn common core out post haste. Annie

  7. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Through the ups and downs of life, I have have kept one thought in mind, to wit, “no matter how bad things are, they could always be a damn sight worse.”

    Be happy with what you have. Others struggle with greater problems yet get through them.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      A friend of mine has lost half his right leg due to diabetic neuropathy (as well as part of his left foot), and is now permanently ensconced in a nursing home. No matter my problems (and Elizabeth’s), I know personally how much worse off we could be.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        By strange coincidence, just after I wrote my above comment, I turned on my Kindle and read the following words,

        In the exhaustless catalogue of Heaven’s mercies to mankind, the power we have of finding some germs of comfort in the hardest trials must ever occupy the foremost place; not only because it supports and upholds us when we most require to be sustained, but because in this source of consolation there is something, we have reason to believe, of the divine spirit; something of that goodness which detects amidst our own evil doings, a redeeming quality; something which, even in our fallen nature, we possess in common with the angels; which had its being in the old time when they trod the earth, and lingers on it yet, in pity.

        This is from Dickens’ “Barnaby Rudge”, the first page of chapter 47.

        • Anniel says:

          KFZ, what a beautiful quote. I’ll have to go back to my Dickens. Thanks.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            Annie,

            I loved Dickens as a young man and have come back to him in my old age. He is still my favorite author. And although he can, sometimes, be verbose, his use of English is literally “wonderful”. What a vocabulary and gift in using it!!!

            Furthermore, he is able to show the reader humanity in all its greatness and folly, evil and good. The man had a rare gift.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          You’ve piqued my interest, Mr. Kung. I think I might try to read that.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            Immediately following the lines I quoted came the following,

            How often, on their journey, did the widow remember with a grateful heart, that out of his deprivation Barnaby’s cheerfulness and affection sprung? How often did she call to mind that but for that, he might have been sullen, morose, unkind, far removed from her-vicious, perhaps and cruel! How often had she cause for comfort, in his strength, and hope, and in his simple nature! Those feeble powers of mind which rendered him so soon forgetful of the past, save in brief gleams and flashes,- even they were a comfort now. The world to him was full of happiness; in every tree, and plant, and flower, in every bird, and beast, and tiny insect whom a breath of summer wind laid low upon the ground, he had delight. His delight was hers; and where many a wise son would have made her sorrowful, this poor light-hearted idiot filled her breast with thankfulness and love.

            This touches, on part, in what I said about being happy with what you have. Even in pain there can be joy.

            A little background is probably appropriate. Barnaby Rudge is a mentally handicapped young man who is the son of a widow. They are poor and the mother is hiding from something in her past which is not yet clear.

            I have read just about all of Dickens’ novels, but was not familiar with “Barnaby Rudge” as it is not that popular. Having made it over half-way through the book, I find it to be one of his better novels. The characters are not caricatures like those in some of Dickens’ novels. And it is surprising to find someone writing, around 1840, about a mentally handicapped character in a positive way.

            I have not finished the book so I may yet be disappointed, but somehow, I don’t think so.

            “Radio” is brought to mind when I read this.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              I would say that the lesson is that past deprivation can make one more easily grateful for whatever one has. The total lack of deprivation is likely to lead to being spoiled and ungrateful. This attitude can also come from feeling that the world owes you, as I know from the experience of a woman formerly active in local SF fandom.

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                I would say that the lesson is that past deprivation can make one more easily grateful for whatever one has

                That is as true as far as it goes. But I don’t believe deprivation accounts for a mother’s love for her handicapped child. And as she has no other children she cannot exactly compare Barnaby with her other bairns.

                I think she realized that here is no unalloyed joy in this world and she had the good grace to understand and appreciate the joy Barnaby brought her personally and vicariously, as only a sweet child could.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              I downloaded it and might give it a go after (or during) my current installment of Quatermain.

      • Anniel says:

        Timothy, you are so right. Some days it may be hard to remember to be grateful for what we have. People do get through.

  8. Lucia says:

    I think a thankful attitude is how most people “get through.” The alternative is bitterness, self-pity, and resentment which not only ruins one’s health and relationships, but closes the mind to creativeness and solutions to one’s problems. Gloomy-Gus types seldom learn from their mistakes or see advantages to their difficulties, since their disappointments or suffering is always unwarranted or someone else’s fault. “It isn’t fair that life is unfair.”

    Making lemonade out of life’s lemons is one of the survival skills I tried to teach my children. I tried to help them see all sides to a dilemma, to be realistic in their analysis of a situation, but to do as St. Paul encouraged believers, to see the silver lining in every ordeal.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I think you have a terrific attitude, Lucia. It is so true that one will ruin a lot of stuff with an attitude of bitterness, self-pity, and resentment. But, as the Democrats have shown, stoking those resentments is a good vote-getter.

      I guess I would get more excited about Trump if he was truly as opposed to political correctness as he says he is and would say something like this. I think our nation so desperately needs an injection of “Stop whining and do something productive.” We don’t need another enabler-in-chief such as Obama. We need someone who embodies the American spirit.

      Take extra note of what you said. You said that you were trying to pass on these lessons to your children. The significance of that can easily slip by. The assumption you have is that children have things to learn in order to lead a good and useful life.

      But contrast that with the message our culture sends out now. The message is clearly that there is no need to grow up. You don’t have to temper your appetites. You don’t have to learn to curb your passions. You don’t have to learn to moderate your emotions or behavior. In effect, the gist of our culture teaches people that it’s okay to remain as children.

      Again, this makes for good politics. And if anyone wonders if Beelzebub is behind this, I can only say that I don’t think so, but it would be inconsistent with the evidence.

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