Saturday, November 27, 2010

Think on These Things: Sources of Courage, Hope, and Faith for Those Serving Their Country.

As a carrier battle group steams to the Yellow Sea off Korea (and the Creating Peace folks go silent on conflict. Seriously, does one of them care to comment on Prez Obama's actions here, or must we wait till war goes south and then say hey, big mistake.), it would seem appropriate to for Beacon press to reprint this little book.

A recent sermon on it: Think on These Things: Sources of Courage, Hope, and Faith…
A Sermon by Sean Honea


A few clips from Honea,
In 1941, the America Unitarian Association (or AUA) commissioned a pocket guild for Unitarians serving in WWII entitled Think on These Things: Sources of Courage, Hope, and Faith for Those Serving Their Country.

Describe Book:

I have it right here. This edition was published in 1942. It’s the Fourth Printing. So that would make it almost 70 years old. It’s a good size for soldiers: small, thin, and if one things soldier had plenty of, it was pockets, and so I don’t imagine it would have been too hard to carry. It’s 77 pages, with 8 pages for personal notes -- lined and unlined – choices are good things. Now I could be wrong, but it seems to me that the pages are just the right size for ripping out and rolling cigarette. So if nothing else it was practical, it was it’s fourth printing after all. I’m old enough to remember mass smoke breaks, just barely.

[***]

Think on These Things: Sources of Courage, Hope, and Faith for Those Serving Their Country

Sound nice doesn’t it. Very all encompassing and general. Take note of the gender inclusive and non-deity specific language. It’s very UU.

At least in the title, once I get two lines into Frederick May Eliot’s Forward, it takes slight turn towards masculine. He writes:

“This Book has been planned and prepared to offer young men in the national service a means of fortifying their faith in the basic religious principles of democracy.”

Think on “these” things. Not his things, God’s thing, or Godly things, but these things. Not just for young men, but “those” serving in their Country. And until you get to Chapter 10 entitled, “the American Dream, “ the AUA left the question of nationality open.

I suppose the title may sound a little too commanding or authoritative for the fiercely independent Unitarian Universalist of today. However, title’s intent becomes clearer when we hear the verse that inspired it found buried on page 72 of the “Prayers” chapter.

Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians, Thing on These Things Pg. 72)

So, guide was telling young men and women sent to fight and aid others in horrible and dehumanizing action that is Modern Warfare to remember that no matter what may befall them, remember your connection to humanity: the good and just are still in the world and are still within you, and still care about you.
Read all of Sean's sermon. It might be a good little book for all of us to read. It might even help us reach out a little better than the woeful efforts we seem to be exerting here.

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