My blog did not go out last week. The failure was a growth experience.
My lesson started in a church study group held on Wednesday evening. We are currently sharing an excellent book by Jen Wilkin, “Ten Words to Live by.” She gives an interesting look at each of the 10 commandments. Last meeting we discussed “Do not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
Her words challenged me to realize that failure to take responsibility for my actions is bearing false witness.
Later that night I was tested. My test was small but I see it as a test. How I act in the simple things is an indication of how I will act in the complex.
As I said, my blog did not go out last week. I have to post it by 6 pm. Wednesday for it to be distributed on Thursday. We had a three-hour power shortage Wednesday afternoon. I had several unusual disruptions of my routine that day.
In thinking about the failure to distribute the blog, I realized how easy it would be to blame circumstances rather than taking personal responsibility for the failure. That would be bearing false witness. Her lesson helped me realize how easy and how often the temptation occurs to blame other people or circumstances. Taking responsibility for a personal mistake is more difficult than blaming others or circumstances.
So let me be clear, I forgot to post in time. I learned a big lesson on an important personal issue in a small situation.
Remember the Alamo. Two weeks ago I stressed I agree with the need to be honest and educated about past prejudice and the built-in prejudice in some institutions. I support knowing past and present injustice. That week I learned a part of American history I did not know. I was glad to gain new knowledge and increase my understanding of the importance of being educated about past prejudice.
I grew up respecting the courage of the men who fought to the death at the Alamo. The names Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie create images of brave men fighting for a cause. In the movie version from my youth, I see John Wayne and Richard Widmark fighting against overwhelming odds; staring into certain death without blinking. In my ancestry hunting, I even found distant cousins who I believe to have been killed at the Alamo.
I was aware they were fighting to take land away from Mexico. I took a – “that was then, this is now approach,” – very similar to my” head in the sand” view of the theft of land from First Nation tribes.
I still respect the courage of the men at the Alamo but I have a deeper understanding of the cause for which they were fighting. The cause was not a simple – “we need more land.” Slavery was an integral part of the cause.
Why Texas fought for Independence. In 1928, in San Felipe de Austin (site of the current Austin, Texas) a “legislature” met. At that time, Texas settlers had developed cotton plantations and were shipping a half a million bales of cotton to New Orleans. They used slaves. The problem was slavery was illegal in Mexico.
“Therefore, the proposal came up —what if a slave wasn’t technically a slave? What if they called it something else? Say, an indentured servant? Or a really, really loyal servant?
As harebrained as it sounds today, Stephen Austin thought it just might work.
Each incoming slave would be forced to sign an employment contract with his owner. The slave would be paid twenty dollars a year, and in return could buy his freedom for $1,200, i.e., after sixty years. The catch was that the slave would also be charged for food and housing, making emancipation all but impossible.”
Mexico saw through the proposal. Thus, if Texans wanted their plantations and the promise of more immigrants, they needed independence. Thus, a major reason for fighting the Battle of the Alamo was to defend the right to have slaves.
Forget the Alamo. A more detailed look at the issue can be found in the following link:
The article is a review of the book “Forget the Alamo.”
I do not want to forget the Alamo; I want to learn from it. Since slavery is so abhorrent to me, I have a hard time imagining a commitment to slavery being a powerful part of American history. I have trouble imagining people fighting for the right to have slaves. The story of the Alamo was another good learning experience for me.
Good News. If you do not have time to read the articles, the headlines alone are positive and worth knowing.
Jeny is getting better. Her improvement is slow but steady. As always, thank you for your support.