Thursday, February 5, 2009

Things I Don't Understand: The Past

There are lots of things I just don't get, I've never gotten that lots of people understand. So, if you have clues to the things I don't understand, I'd love to hear from you. This may be the first of a many-part series! Things relating to the past I don't understand:

1. The DAR. My sister is a member of the DAR. She has been since her 30s. Why does anyone think what some ancestor did 200 years ago is important? (Our papers read that our ancestor was a "foot soldier" in the revolution. Family legend on the other hand is that we are descended from a same-last named brother of a signer of the Declaration.)

2. Anniversary Celebrations for churches. (We're facing our 100th and then death.) These celebrations look backwards and are nostalgic rather than look forward to what our legacy will be. At least as I have experienced them. For me, to look back is a sign of death, of rigidity, of frozen ness. Christianity looks forward, not backwards. Christianity is about hope, not nostalgia.

3. This Scottish-thing. Last Sunday, I drove by an Episcopal Church which had a sign announcing the kirking of the tartans. I mentioned this at the SuperBowl party with several members of my church. One wanted to know why I didn't uphold some Scotsman whose statute was on the grounds of the National Cathedral whose name was John S. The only one I could come up with was John Witherspoon, who I do mention from time to time as the only clergy signer of the Declaration. Some members of our church want to have bagpipes on Reformation Sunday to celebrate our "Scottish" connection. OK, my family came from Scotland to Pennsylvania a little less than 300 years ago. I think men in kilts are cute. I like Scotland. But, really, what does Scotland have to do with Christianity other than a dislikeable man named John Knox? (And don't get me started on John Calvin.)