How was our Lenten break, you ask? Don't ask; we've had better. As we've said so many times before in our life, for so many reasons, Thank God for Easter.
Sadly, the earth refused to stand still around us for forty days; this was a surprise and a disappointment. Though tempted, we blogged not, and although there is no way to catch up, we can at least review a few of the posts that were never posted. Here, in nor particular order, are a couple of things that happened during Lent, upon which we might have been inclined to write, had we not been so busy reciting the Litany:*
1) Breaking our heart, Newt Gingrich failed to sew up the nomination. Seems that Republican voters don't care as much as we had hoped about colonizing the Moon. Instead, they are going to run Mitt Romney, a candidate whom their rabid base despises for his Mormonism, Massachusettsism, and ability to speak French. After an expensive and destructive few months spent denying every reasonable, moderate, good-government impulse he has ever had, Romney will lose to a not-terribly-popular incumbent. And we, it seems, will never found the first Lutheran parish on Moonbase Alpha.
2) Rush Limbaugh said some very bad things about a law student named Sandra Fluke. This is a problem for Rush's advertisers, who scrambled to drop their support for his program. It is a delight for us, though, since it gives new life to our favorite early-90s joke: "Q: What's the difference between Rush Limbaugh and the Hindenburg? A: One is a flaming Nazi gasbag, the other is a blimp."**
3) The worst bishop's chair in the world became available when Rowan Williams resigned as Archbishop of Canterbury, beating a retreat back to academia. The second-worst chair also came open, when Pope Shenouda, primate of the embattled Coptic church in Egypt, died. When the body was exposed for public viewing, two of his followers were crushed to death; the transitional government has announced plans to crush the remainder as soon as possible.
4) Trayvon Martin was stalked, beaten, and killed, all for the apparent offenses of walking while black and unlicensed possession of Skittles. The story is appalling to any sensible person, and while it appears that his killer will finally be prosecuted, there is no way the predict an outcome. What the incident brings to light, apart from the familiar questions of race and class and gun ownership, is the very strange phenomenon of "Stand-Your-Ground" laws, which apparently empower any citizen with a gun to use lethal force against anybody who scares them. Frankly, we're astonished that, when it heard about this, the entire GOP establishment didn't lure then-Candidate Gingrich to Florida with evil intent.
5) John Edwards, the wealthy lawyer who cheated on his cancer-stricken wife while running for president as an advocate for the common man, is reported to have visited an expensive prostitute. He denies the report. And heaven knows, we trust John Edwards.
6) This terrorist is afraid other terrorists may hurt him. Poor baby. Funniest part is that he's American. Hope he's not waiting for the cavalry to come save him.
7) Some vast number of atheists marched on Washington, to stand up for ... well, atheism. Richard Dawkins, whose devotion to reason has long since rendered him unreasonable, encouraged them to mock Christians. We've said before that we like and respect many atheists, but it does begin to seem that their militant wing is as eager to create a stable, tolerant, pluralistic society as the Taliban.
8) An American soldier, apparently brain-damaged and probably suffering from PTSD, snuck out of his barracks to murder 17 Afghan civilians, the majority of them children. The damage to US/Afghan relations, and therefore to the battle against Muslim extremism, is likely to be grave. The reflection upon our military's grasp of emotional health matters is grim. What shocked us far more, though, were the responses of some Americans, as reported by a colleague: "They just don't seem to care about what happens to 'the enemy.' " Setting aside the fact that the Afghans are our supposed allies, the very people our soldiers are there to protect, this pitiless response reminded us of what Aquinas says: "The proud are without pity, for they despise others, and think them wicked, so that they account them as suffering deservedly whatever they suffer." (ST 2:2, Q.30, Art. 2)
9) And we stumbled over this tidbit. The Danbury Baptist Association's letter to Jefferson is famous principally for his response, about the wall of separation between church and state. But it might also be remembered on its own merits, for this blessing:
May God strengthen you for the arduous task which providence and the voice of the people have called you - to sustain and support you and your Administration against all the predetermined opposition of those who wish to rise to wealth and importance on the poverty and subjection of the people.
How few are the American Christians, and how pitifully few are the Baptists, who would sign off on such a mission today?
* Seriously, that's what we were doing with the extra time. Nerdy or what?
** Technically, we are honor-bound to point out that the Hindenburg was in fact a dirigible. The difference is the rigid superstructure.