On (Not) Saluting the Flag

I don’t think I have placed my hand over my heart to “honor” the flag of the United States since high school. (Which means during the Vietnam War. More on that later.) When the national anthem is played and those present turn to face the flag, I will stand, angled toward the flag. I will remove my hat if I’m wearing one. I will remain quiet and attentive.

But my hand doesn’t cover my heart.

I am not anti-American.

I am not un-American.

I view myself as a respectful, responsible citizen.

Rising Sun
What Franklin mused about…

When visiting Philadelphia and Independence Hall many years ago, I paused to gaze at the chair used by George Washington during the Constitutional Convention. Benjamin Franklin noted the distinctive carved sun on chair and declared his belief, with this new nation, that the sun was rising and not setting. I wept. How powerful our history!

After the 26th Amendment was ratified, I knew it would soon be my turn . . . to vote! In 1972, during college in my twentieth year of life, I arrived at the polling place in the early morning for the first election where I could cast a ballot. Since then, I have always voted in local, state, and national elections.

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#8: The Call

+ Larry’s List of Dark Corners, Holy Nudges, and Faithful Nonsense +

This ends it.

This is my last weekly “And Yet” posting of my faithful and foolish reflections. Launched in 2007, I published my debut “blog” during the first week of June.

An excerpt from that attempt:

How foolish of me to think that I will be heard in the immense pond of the Internet. With famous writers blogging away, snazzy faith-based websites galore, the 800-pound (and buck naked) gorilla of pornography, keeping up with Paris Hilton, spamming, and the fact that all of us don’t have much time for anything new, who will care about my miniscule contributions? It won’t matter how many brilliantly crafted words-as-pebbles I toss into the web’s pond, the tsunami of everyone else’s actions will hide any ripple I try to make . . .

. . . Jesus, according to the Gospels, wrote only once. In John’s account of Jesus’ ministry, the Nazarene (read Chapter 8) “bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.” He did this as others prepared to hurl rocks at a woman “caught in adultery.” What did he write? What were his scratches in the dirt about? John didn’t say, but whatever it was, people got the message. Even a few words scrawled in mud have the power of transformation.

I suspect no one read the initial post. But writing has fascinated me for a long time.

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#7: As Is

A visit to Yosemite Chapel on our 35th Anniversary…

+ Larry’s List of Dark Corners, Holy Nudges, and Faithful Nonsense +

My long-ago stint in seminary included:

  • Barely surviving a semester of Greek.
  • Forgetting lines in a dramatic reading of a W.H. Auden piece.
  • An esteemed professor, in an aside, declaring I’d be a good preacher.
  • Learning that learning was a lifetime endeavor.
  • Rediscovering Jesus again. (And again.)
  • Meeting beloved friends that are still friends.
  • Arriving married, leaving divorced.

The last one is the punchline with a grimace; a shameful, unavoidably obvious truth.

My time at Claremont School of Theology, all in the 1970s, was a transformational journey. I was raised in a loving Christian family. I attended Sunday school since being “knee high to a grasshopper.” Though declaring my plans to become an attorney before high school started, the parallel nudge of ministry shadowed me. Law faded, ministry blossomed. And yet even with all of my background and support, seminary staggered me.

And some of that involved a divorce.

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