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By gzt (Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 07:21:20 AM EST) gzt, new holidays, puritans (all tags)
Happy Will Long Day, everybody. It is a holiday you celebrate by rocking out like a rockstar. I will rock out like a rockstar unless the show has sold out by the time I get there. It's by the cathedral.

I should get little trinkets and cards for my coworkers. They're all still out, but it seems like something they do, so I should have something waiting for them when they get back.



It's odd. I've never been much for the whole "Christmas presents" thing, none of us have. Christmas dinner and a couple sweaters, that's all there is besides the religious observance of the holiday. The religious observance of the holiday is, for me, a lot larger now than way back in the day (if only in terms of the sheer number of hours). So it always strikes me as slightly odd to see others going all out for it, like it really is a huge deal. I also don't quite understand why Protestants - like the Focus on the Family sort - even take notice of the holiday. They seem mildly schizophrenic about it. On the one hand, they want people to say Merry Christmas at stores instead of Happy Holidays. On the other, they want people to remember the religious background of the holiday. And even further on the other hand, they're the sort of Protestants that don't actually have any holidays, so Christmas is quite literally meaningless to them, and in a more consistent era they (the sort of Protestants in Focus on the Family) did not celebrate it at all. I say the first two are at odds because saying Merry Christmas at the shops reinforces the commercial, as opposed to religious, nature of the holiday.

I remember being puzzled when I got to college about Easter in the same way, but even more so, because it seemed to me, growing up, to be a completely religious holiday that you wouldn't even notice if you were not observant, but a number of people I knew were going home for Easter and wondering if I was going home for Easter and such and I thought, huh, how quaint. I don't go home for Easter, by the way.

I had liver and onions last night. A couple of the pieces of liver were a little overcooked. I ate while watching season three of Star Trek. I will soon be finished. I drank some beer I brought back from the Great State of Iowa. It was kind of lame and flat. So I drank a different brand of beer from the Great State of Iowa. That one was good. I forget what they were called. I will get back to you when I get home.

I know it sounds odd, but, from the above, you can gather that I have a lot of sympathy for the Puritans. They were far more consistent and thoughtful than their descendants, which makes them a lot easier to deal with rationally. They also produced far better art: Milton and Bunyan were pretty intense, but I don't think modern Evangelicalism is capable of producing a great author. It is too terminally shallow. I should be glad to be proven wrong, but I am not holding my breath. Yes, I already thought of Marilynne Robinson, she's a good author, but I don't think she really falls into that group.

I think I will invent my own family holidays, I just have to get everybody above me on the chain to agree. I will put them at a time when the weather is nicer and flights are cheap. A functional secular equivalent of Christmas so the religious aspects can be left to do their own thing and so we don't have to worry about icy roads. A replacement for Thanksgiving because travel that weekend sucks.

< Baby's First Xmas | Conundrums >
Will Long Day | 7 comments (7 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
'And now for the Airing of Grievances' by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 2) #1 Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 07:23:19 AM EST


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Destroy All Planets

we would certainly keep the feats of strength by gzt (2.00 / 0) #2 Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 07:26:18 AM EST
The problem with Festivus is that it's still in the Christmas season. Bump it to March, that could work.

[ Parent ]
I like materialistic Christmas by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 2) #3 Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 07:28:41 AM EST
It's what my memories of Christmas are. It's great.

My hippy-ass parents cut Christmas out of our life from the time I was 7 until I was 14. They greatly regret it now.

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Destroy All Planets

[ Parent ]
Evangelical artist types by lm (2.66 / 3) #4 Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 07:50:24 AM EST
Two I can think of off of the top of my head are Stephen Lawhead and Howard Finster. It is true that Lawhead's early work is crap. But somewhere around the late eighties or early nineties, he's matured into a decent author. I don't think I need to comment on Finster.

But I'm not really an artsy type and I don't follow the art world. I suspect that there are plenty of Evangelicals represented throughout the fine arts. The problem, though, is that those Evangelicals don't tend to be all that evangelical about their faith so the details about their faith aren't made public. There is a weird, parallel media universe for Evangelicals to be Evangelical. And I would agree that the vast majority of that is crap.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
I think of Finster as a previous generation by gzt (2.00 / 0) #5 Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 08:22:35 AM EST
Who still produced after the religious scene shifted. I think we'd agree that a Baptist coming of age prior to WWII and a Baptist coming of age in the Vietnam era would have two very different religious milieus. My criticism is primarily of the latter group.

[ Parent ]
Yes and no by lm (3.00 / 4) #6 Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 09:30:58 AM EST
I have an aunt that married a man whose family was from  Appalachia. The sort of Evangelical Baptistry present in that family for generations is not really all that different from the post-Vietnam Evangelical experience. Nor is that same post-Vietname Evangelical experience all that different than congregations formed in the Campbell-Stone Restoration mold or the Plymouth Brethren mold.

What is unique about post-Vietnam era Evangelicalism is the way that many of the traditions of the above named groups have pervaded large swaths of mainstream Evangelicalism. What was once restricted to small groups (Churches of God, Plymouth Brethren, Disciples of Christ) suddenly started to overtake more traditional Protestant groups.

Or at least that's my take on it.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Well, I'd really put the beginning at WWII by gzt (2.00 / 0) #7 Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:30:46 AM EST
When the new evangelicals were distancing themselves from the fundamentalists. But I suppose you're right, the relevant aspects of modern Evangelicalism may be present. But if you take two Baptist congregations in the hills in that generation and one turns Fundamentalist while the other turns Evangelical, I expect more artistic potential in the Fundamentalists.

[ Parent ]
Will Long Day | 7 comments (7 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback