Last couple of months have been full of transitions. I moved to Lowell, Massachussets. Began work as a fishmonger in Cambridge. Yesterday I signed a lease in Malden, Massachussets. Will be moving in a couple days which means the great book packing will begin once again. Will need one… maybe two… more boxes as I have aquired a few more books in my time here. I’m sure it is coincidence in a state that actually pays librarians a living wage one would find an abundance of used bookstores.
Once upon a time there were children, children who would one day grow up to learn that people are complex, messy, a mix of good and bad words, deeds, and thoughts. That day is not today, so lets just chill out a second with all the ruckus concerning the formerly named “Laura Ingalls Wilder Award.”
The Association for Library Service (ALSC) bestows the now titled ‘Children’s Literature Legacy Award‘ annually to an author who has made significant and lasting contribution to children’s literature.”
Many have responded to the change with much angst and gnashing of teeth labeling it as another attempt to rewrite history.
These people do not understand what re-writing history looks like.
No one is saying that Laura Ingalls Wilder, who was the first recipient of said award, has not made lasting contributions to children’s literature. No one is saying she did not inspire generations of authors and readers. No one is saying she did not inspire a just short of a decade long television series that took a whole lotta liberties with the text near the end there…
What they are saying is this. Perhaps we don’t need to continue celebrating them the way we used to? Maybe? Just maybe this many decades later we don’t need to celebrate with full abandon an author who during the time it was fully acceptable for her community to other Native Americans, blacks, and i’m just gonna take a swing and say she probably sometime said some awkward insensitive things about Asians.
But in a way removing her name from the award is more honorable than not. In so we further acknowledge Laura Ingalls Wilder not as some one sided cartoon but as a real live person whose mind and work we continue to dive into, turn over, and rearticulate for future generations. This is the work for adults, not our children. And I certainly would rather the next generation have a few years of ignorant bliss before they realize how horrid we have been (and continue to be) to each other.
And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes. And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee.
—Mark 1 21-28.
King James Version, because I don’t have the energy to deal with copyright permissions this morning.
Before we begin…
The following is not a sermon. Nor is it a theologically deep analysis of the above passage Thoughtheological it remains.No great interpreters of scripture will be referenced. In fact the whole excursive rant could be viewed as entirely humanistic. To which I would respond, ‘yes, and…’?
My second thought for a title revolved around ‘the asshole in me acknowledges but in no way accepts the asshole in you’ but really that’s a bit lengthy and one too many assholes for a blog title.
Jesus and the Heckler
Our passage here opens with Jesus teaching in a synagogue. The crowds, per usual were quite impressed with his TED Talk. What great words! This guy has really thought out this meaning of life stuff. Now amongst them was a fella with an unclean spirit. We can safely assume everyone knew about this. It was just one of those things polite people don’t talk about. They wouldn’t want to be thought of as not being nice would they? It was the sabbath after all. Just a little bit longer and service would be over and they could all disperse. Oh yes, there goes… lets say Bob… yes… there goes Bob again being Bob. I mean, that guy sure has issues. oh yep, he’s doing the “art thou come to destroy us” bit again. Used to really creep us out but you get used to it. Just smile and it’ll pass. Really, Jesus… this happens every Shabbat service. Nothing to worry about. Jesus? Jesus, what are you doing?!
Is Christianity nice?
I do not know when Christianity first became associated with niceness, but i’ll bet the rise of television ministry did not help. It’s hard to do a keep an audience tuned to a fire and brinstone sermon when you’ve got Andy Griffith on the other channel. (I certainly would turn the channel) However with this polish, with the smiles, with the ‘God will bless you’ ministries questions soon arise.