The view from afar

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It will soon be time for Neo to go East – which never seems quite the thing, as I always think of him in terms of the West and the wilds of Nebraska. I recall from being in the States for a year or so in the early 90s that the thing which hit me most was the size!  I remember driving to Abilene from near St Louis, and I71 seemed to go on for ever – and once we got past KC, it was (or so I recall) an endless straight line; it was the first time I’d ever seen cruise control – there’d be no point on English roads.

I was brought up a semi-rural part of Wales, and you could probably fit the whole country into Kansas and have room for France. I’d never had any idea that a country could be that big – and when we flew from St Louis to Sacramento, I remember thinking that it was like going from one country to another – and yet it was one country. I learned in school about how important the flag was (can still recite that pledge) and the language and, though no one I think said it – Christianity.

With so many different nationalities emigrating from all over the world, America could just have become a maze of different cultures – and yet it became a nation – one nation under God. From afar, where I am, that still seems a pretty remarkable achievement and worth examining and defending – not least at a time when migration is high on the political and religious agenda.

As I understand it (so just put me right if that means I understand squat) it was the allegiance to the flag and to ‘these United States’, as well as the need to learn a common language which, along with a common religion, served as the sinews to unite the fledgling nation. At a time when so much writing seems to be about what the USA got wrong – slavery, its treatment of the first nations – it might be worth a little balance here? We lose much if we project our values on to the past and judge it wanting. Go that way, and let’s think what a future where no one kills babies in the womb would think of us?

History has winners and losers, but we are all its heirs. We all want to be the good guys, and it is easy enough to use our value judgments to make ourselves more virtuous than our ancestors. But I guess they did their best, and we have inherited their work – and if we don’t concentrate on the good bits as well, and we see only the bad bits, then what sort of world will we bequeath to the future?

America is an idea, and it is always in development. As you guys enter an election year, it looks as though things will get pretty polarised – but I hope, for all our sakes, that as usual, you’ll do the right thing – even if it is, as Churchill once put it, after doing all the wrong things first.

That journey Neo’s about to take is across the breadth of a great nation – and Americans, not least at this time, might stop and think about those pilgrims who took so long going the other way and in so doing, created a great nation out of a wilderness. I know in our ecological times that’s not a popular viewpoint – but let’s face it, the critics would have nowhere to live or to have been educated without those old white men. So, I’m saying a thank you to them – and wishing Neo a happy journey – and a merry Christmas.

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About JessicaHof
Anglican Christian, evangelist, survivor, grateful

37 Responses to The view from afar

  1. Reblogged this on BPI reblog001.

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  2. When I watch TCM and the older 1930 to 1940’s American movies I can see the way America used to be! Not to mention watching the Duke, John Wayne! His movies about the American Marine Corps were stables even for us RMC’s (Royal Marines). The Sands of Iwo Jima and Flying LeatherNecks! The former was made the year I was born as I remember? 1949

    My father was something of a British bit actor in college after WW II, but he knew American movies also. So this was also pressed on me, as the First Born!

    I have expressed this before, but it was my father’s great joy to meet the American Astronaut, Neil Armstrong! My father was a scientist and physicist. And as I remember him telling me, when they met, since, they were both pilots and military aviators (my father a Spit pilot from WW II, and Armstrong, a Korean War naval aviator) all they talked about was airplanes and aircraft, and the ones they flew! What a generation!

    Liked by 1 person

    • JessicaHof says:

      John Wayne was my first ‘crush’ – I still love him to bits – oh I could watch his movies all day 🙂

      Your father’s generation, like mine, was indeed a generation and a half!

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      • 🙂 That was *staples btw. And yes I chased my father’s image for years! “a generation and a half!”

        Liked by 1 person

        • JessicaHof says:

          You’ve reminded me of all those lovely movies now – I adored ‘She wore a Yellow Ribbon’ – swoons!

          Like

        • Oh yes, Maureen O’Hara there as too the Quiet Man! Maureen was the model Irish lass, for both Americans and the Irish! At least in my generation!

          *On a sour note, I saw the special last night about Lockerbie, 21 Dec. 1988! I have a aunt who lived there. We are technically Scots-Irish. She moved back to Lockerbie in 1979 as I remember. She is before the Throne now, RIP, died, thanks be to God of old age!

          Liked by 2 people

        • JessicaHof says:

          Ooh, well, you’re going to love my one tomorrow then – as it is on the Quiet Man and the lovely Maureen.

          That was a terrible disaster – awful.

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        • Looking forward to it! And we Brit’s ARE so connected to America and American aren’t we!

          Liked by 1 person

        • JessicaHof says:

          We surely are. I spent a year in Missouri in the early 90s – loved it!

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        • *Americans… I am a poor typist!

          Liked by 1 person

        • JessicaHof says:

          But a lovely correspondent – so not to worry 🙂 xx

          Like

        • Oh my Thank You! But some would disagree? lol Note, I put up my old full face! And shades express the man! 😉 Perhaps I will share my wife’s favorite pic of me, younger? Btw, I have never seen the NEO in pic? I think I have several years on him also? 😉

          Liked by 1 person

        • JessicaHof says:

          Well, I enjoy your company, and know dear Neo does 🙂 xx

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        • My wife just said, enough of it! So back to the old me now! But aye I am me father’s first-born son!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. the unit says:

    Ah, Fr. Robert has given us a Ha:)ppy Christmas puzzle to consider. Does he have several years on NEO he wonders? Had he paid attention over the months like the good RMC he is, he would know. I know the answer, hough not exact date. I won’t disclose directly, but vetting and betting is encouraged (funzzies of course). 🙂
    I’ll give clues. And Fr. it would help you if you remember how much older I am than you. That’s been stated several times. 🙂
    Clues coming soon, forgive my forgetfulness. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • the unit says:

      First clue: He served during my early years and for a couple right after I was born..,
      http://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofBritain/Able-Seaman-Just-Nuisance/

      Liked by 1 person

    • @Unit: Yes, I kind of remember? I think NEO is three to four years younger than me? I am 66, this past October, born in 1949. And you are in your early 70’s? Funny, how I can remember biblical things, and surely doctrine! And even some military things… I guess it comes with my overt conservative thinking? But, I am NOT an American conservative, strictly! Btw, I would be an Independent if I could vote American.

      Quickly, one does not need to be a rocket scientist to see that Trump has changed this season of the American presidency!

      Liked by 1 person

      • the unit says:

        Dang you’re Just Nuisance! Messed up my game with your memory!!! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        • Sorry, but just roll it out anyway! We love to hear your Americanisms! But my memory is somewhat tired. And to speak truthfully, as much as I love America, I fear for America, I really do! Where are the great preachers, teachers & scholars… who love and believe in the Judeo-Christian God of the Holy Bible?

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        • the unit says:

          Fr. Robert, there are plenty of them on TV right now. Dad passed in ’97, listened to and was uplifted by Jimmy Swaggart for many years (he was 87). Oops, he was a sinner! (Jimmy and Dad)

          Like

        • Btw just a note, but I love “Gunsmoke” re-runs! Old James Arness, and wow “Kitty” (Amanda Blake) now there was a babe, wish the early versions were in color. She had beautiful red hair! May they all RIP! The morals and life situations of Gunsmoke were simply excellent!

          Also old Arness was “The Thing” from another world! What a hot old and early SyFy movie!

          Like

        • the unit says:

          I like Gill-Man. Former U.S. Marine. Confirmed he did serve in Korea. No records of his service awards. But before he became the Creature he worked as a real estate executive. Not worked on Wall Street though. 🙂

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        • TV preachers? Humm… not my cup of tea! I would take an empty and classic church building, perhaps with Icons and just me Bible, to read and pray! God is always in the silent places, like nature also! But, yes preachers and preaching is important too! One of my favorites is old Rev. James Stewart (1886-1990), both a preacher and a professor, and a Church of Scotland minister. His sermons are many and beloved, and many are still in print!

          http://www.christinyou.net/pages/jamstewart.html

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        • Gill-Man? Can you expand?

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        • the unit says:

          I’ll check him out.
          Without your referral, how would I know.
          Then the old Baptist preacher R.G. Lee, sermon Pay Day Someday. Days of my youth!

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        • the unit says:

          Gill-Man.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Chapman_(actor)

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        • Yes, I have read some of R.G. Lee, a good old Southern Baptist I think? If Gill-Man is who I think he might be? He has also passed, and was a US Marine in Korea, with the Frozen-Chosen! A well known TV preacher, but he was very un-traditional in many doctrinal and biblical places.

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        • Not the same guy I was thinking of, and his name escapes me right now? But his ministry is still on TV on Sunday. I will check him out. But it seems both men were part of the so-called Frozen-Chosen?

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        • @Unit: I was thinking of Arnold Murray! Not a bad guy, but certainly NOT always orthodox biblically!

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  4. the unit says:

    Choo-choo-choo. Old how ever he is old may be checking the blog on his IPhone and seeing how much fun we are having. We holding down Fort Apache. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. PatriotUSA says:

    Jessica and Irish,
    so appreciate your wonderful commentary and insights. Just to the clear deck, I will 63 and have seen, experienced and doled out much in the way of wisdom as I have learned it, common sense, which I was born with(thank you Lord) and an uncompromised sense of loyalty, honesty,of stalwart heart and now the maybe proud of a deeply damaged and scarred soul.

    I love American Exceptionalism and is what has set this Republic truly apart from all other
    countries, nations, states, vassals, regimes in the world.

    I canny wait for your next post, Jessica and I always smile when I read them and Irish, we be on the same page.

    And to NEO, fair winds, travel well and safely. The place is in good hands while you be on holiday.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nice to know ya blog wise PatriotUSA! We both shall enjoy Jessica, as the other ladies insight on the blog.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Btw, just a quick note, but it is quite obvious that I am fully a Biblicist and Evangelical Christian Anglican. This always raises above the mere human-being political, but true conservatism is part of the human and God given conscience, though within a fallen, broken world. There is no perfection or knowledge without God and His Revelation/Word! Thus mere humanism will never do!

        Liked by 1 person

        • the unit says:

          Clicked “like” at 11:18 EST. I do kinda like to know who is still up listening. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • the unit says:

          You’re excused because of the time zone.

          Like

    • JessicaHof says:

      Goodness me – well, as Neo knows, I am but a youngster – but my daddy was in his late 40s when I was born, so I have a lot of older cultural references as result.

      Like

  6. Pingback: My Article Read (12-22-2015) | My Daily Musing

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