Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Words of Wit and Wisdom

More musings from my co-worker:

On this day in 1683 the first Mennonites arrive in America. The Mennonites, members of a Protestant sect founded by Menno Simons in the 16th century, were widely persecuted in Europe. Seeking religious freedom, Mennonite Francis Daniel Pastorious led a group from Krefeld, Germany, to Pennsylvania in 1683 and founded Germantown, the pioneer German settlement in America and now part of the city of Philadelphia.

Did you ever notice the plethora of religious groups who came to America seeking religious freedom (or as I like to think of it, the freedom to persecute other religious groups who don’t agree with you)? Contrast that with Australia which was settled by convicts, ladies of negotiable affection, and other rapscallions.

Maybe if we’d had a few more shady characters emigrating to America we’d be more inclined to wear bush hats, drink Foster’s beer, and throw another shrimp on the Barbie, you know, have a certain joie de vivre. Instead Americans get all in a titter over whether or not someone else is having more fun than they are—then they call those people sinners and let them know they are wholly “other” than the righteous folk. I think Billy Joel summed it up pretty well, “I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints. The sinners are much more fun”. Unless you’re lucky and those sinners are your family of choice in your own faith community, trying to figure out what it means to be a saint in the 21st century, making their way in a world filled with a whole lot more shades of gray than stark black and white, and learning to love the questions together. That can be pretty fun too.

Little known fact of the day: At the last supper, Jesus was billed an 18% gratuity because his party included six or more people.

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