Thursday, November 16, 2017

“The Only History That Is Worth a Tinker's Damn”

“History is more or less bunk. It's tradition. We don't want tradition. We want to live in the present, and the only history that is worth a tinker's damn is the history that we make today.”

That's Henry Ford as quoted in an interview with the Chicago Tribune in 1916.

Of course, the only portion of that quote which has gone down in...uh, history, is the first line. But it is actually the last line that is the most relevant to modern culture.

Indeed, it's pretty obvious that the cultural powers that be (politics, academia, Hollywood) are determined to escape what they believe are the shackles of the past. They are progressives through and through who believe that civilization is like detergent or breakfast cereal -- only the “new and improved” brands should be allowed on the shelves. Everything else should go to the trash bin.

Therefore, the virtues of Western culture, no matter how beautiful, ennobling or indispensable for a society's health (think of the U.S. Constitution, Christianity, marriage, family, etc.) are ignored if not mocked and vilified.

History is made an ally of this bold social transformation; that is, a distinctly progressive version of history, a twisted thing that is much more propaganda than it is precision. It is a thing that is quite willing to drastically distort the actual record, to carefully omit (even conceal) those things that do not fit with the desired political conclusions, to engage in outright invention -- all to create an ideologically favorable product.

“History is more or less bunk. It's tradition. We don't want tradition. We want to live in the present, and the only history that is worth a tinker's damn is the history that we make today.”

Yes, the words are Henry Ford's. But the sentiment is alive and well in the hearts of today's progressives.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Os Guinness on the Reformation, Covenants, and Passing On the Torch

A couple of weeks ago I very much enjoyed watching the Trinity Forum’s presentation of Os Guinness speaking on the Reformation's ideals and effects. His talk (and the response to it by Joseph Loconte) was remarkably cogent, enlightening, and corrective. Indeed, I can't thank Trinity Forum enough nor can I recommend the presentation more highly.

Below I embed the entire video from the Trinity Forum website knowing that it takes time to listen carefully to the talk…but knowing also that it is well worth it.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Words to Live By (From Billy Sunday and Fr. Edward Flanagan)

Last month I gave my talk, “Piety on the Plains: A Religious History of Omaha,” to audiences at 5 different senior citizen facilities with nearly 120 people involved. It was, we are delighted to report, very well received. And Claire and I had a great time following up with wonderful visits with the residents afterwards.

The talk covers a lot of ground – the earliest missionary activity in the area, church beginnings, the impact of such groups as the Sisters of Mercy and the Immanuel Deaconess Institute, Christian radio, notable events and persons, and much more.  And since that review included the 6-week revival crusade in 1915 led by baseball player/evangelist Billy Sunday as well as the founding of Boys Town by Fr. Edward Flanagan, we handed out a double-sided sheet of quotations from those two leaders.  We thought you might find those quotations of value too so…here they are.

From Billy Sunday:

“The trouble with many men is that they have got just enough religion to make them miserable. If there is not joy in religion, you have got a leak in your religion.”

“Some homes need a hickory switch a good deal more than they do a piano.”

“Better die an old maid, sister, than marry the wrong man.”

“If there is no hell, a good many preachers are obtaining money under false pretenses.”

“Hypocrites in the Church? Yes, and in the lodge and at the home. Don't hunt through the Church for a hypocrite. Go home and look in the mirror. Hypocrites? Yes. See that you make the number one less.”

“I believe that a long step toward public morality will have been taken when sins are called by their right names.”

“Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile.”

“Religion needs a baptism of horse sense.”

“Temptation is the devil looking through the keyhole. Yielding is opening the door and inviting him in.”

“I believe the Bible is the word of God from cover to cover.”

“God likes a little humor, as is evidence by the fact that he made the monkeys, the parrot -- and some of you people.”

“Some persons think that they have to look like a hedgehog to be pious.” 

“The inconsistency is not in the Bible, but in your life.”

“If you live wrong you can't die right.”

“Churches don't need new members half so much as they need the old bunch made over.”

“Try praising your wife, even if it does frighten her at first.”

“If you don't do your part, don't blame God.”

“When I hit the devil square in the face some people go away as mad as if I had slapped them in the mouth.”

“To train a boy in the way he should go you must go that way yourself.”

“It is not necessary to be in a big place to do big things.”

“Yank some of the groans out of your prayers, and shove in some shouts.”

“The Bible will always be full of things you cannot understand, as long as you will not live according to those you can understand.”

And from Fr. Flanagan…

“The work will continue, you see, whether I am there or not, because it is God’s work, not mine.”

“When parents fail to do their job, when they allow their children to run the streets and keep bad company, when they fail to provide them with good examples in the home, then the parents, and not the children, are delinquent.”

“Without God at the beginning, there can be only confusion at the end.”

“A true religious training for children is most essential if we are to expect to develop them into good men and good women — worthy citizens of our great country.”

“No race that does not take care of its young can hope to survive — or deserves to survive.”

“Our country needs good men and good women who have learned to love God above all things, and their fellow man for the love of God.”