Musings on Sports, Politics and Life in general

Posts tagged “Bible

The Little Red Hen


In case you’re wondering why so many Americans are dependent on the government for subsistence today, I thought returning to our childhood might be a good place to start. When I was a wee lad, I was told the story of the Little Red Hen. It goes something like this:

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Once upon a time, there was a little red hen who lived on a farm with her friends, the dog, the cat and the duck. One day when she was scavenging for food (for that’s what hens do), she found some seeds laying on the ground. Being a bright hen, she had an idea. She would plant the seeds and see what grew.

“Who will help me plant these seeds?” asked the little red hen.

“Not I” said the dog. “Not I” said the cat. “Not I” quacked the duck.

So, the little red hen tilled the ground and planted the seeds by herself. But she knew from watching the farmer that the seeds needed to be watered.

“Who will help me water the seeds?” asked the little red hen.

“Not I” said the dog. “Not I” said the cat. “Not I” quacked the duck.

So, every day the little red hen watered the seeds by herself. Soon, she had big stalks of wheat ready for harvest.

“Who will help me harvest the wheat?” asked the little red hen.

“Not I” said the dog. “Not I” said the cat. “Not I” quacked the duck.

So, the little red hen harvested all the wheat by herself. She was tired, but proud that her hard work had paid off with such a handsome harvest. But what to do with the wheat? The little red hen thought she could grind the wheat into flour.

“Who will help me grind this wheat into flour?” she asked.

“Not I” said the dog. “Not I” said the cat. “Not I” quacked the duck.

So, the little red hen ground the wheat into flour. It was wonderful flour, pure and white, perfect for baking a cake. The little red hen, being hungry from all of her hard work, decided to do just that.

“Who will help me bake the cake?” asked the little red hen.

“Not I” said the dog. “Not I” said the cat. “Not I” quacked the duck.

So, the little red hen baked the cake. When it was done, it smelled soooo good that the little red hen decided to eat the cake.

“Who will help me eat the cake?” asked the little red hen.

“Oh, I will” barked the dog. “Yes, I will, too!” purred the cat. “I will eat the cake” said the duck.

The little red hen looked at her friends in amazement. “When I asked your help in planting the wheat, none of you would” she said. “When I asked your help to tend and harvest the grain, none of you would. When I asked for your help to grind the wheat into flour and to bake the cake, none of you would. So, I will give each of you as much cake as you have earned.”

And with that, the little red hen sat down and ate the whole cake by herself.

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Today, I see a lot of people acting like the dog, cat and duck in the story, but very few little red hens. Once upon a time, this was the American ethos. But the dual ideals expressed in the “Little Red Hen” are apostasy to many of our countrymen these days. The ideals of earning you own way in the world, and the that diligence in your labors enable greater gains in the future. Rather, today the story is seen as an example of greed and avarice: how dare that little red hen keep that cake all to herself when those around here are asking for their “fair share?”

How old is the story of the little red hen and her barnmates? Nobody knows for sure, or even knows the origin. Some say it began in Russia, others in Germany. What we do know is that the principles exhibited by the characters and the results of their work (or lack  thereof) are found in texts that predate the Persian Empire. In the Bible, the Book of Proverbs (also known as the Wise Sayings of King Solomon) has several passages that refer to laziness. Among them is Proverbs 10:4, “He becometh poor that dealeth [with] a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich” and Proverbs 19:15, “Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.” The current idea that your “fair share” is determined by need, not effort is a relatively new phenomenon, first expressed by Karl Marx. You know, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”

I often wonder if the folks protesting at OWS encampments are aware of the story of the Little Red Hen. I’ve no doubt they’re aware of the Marx quote (although I would be willing to wager a small sum that most would confuse its origin). If we want to fix what’s wrong with the country, perhaps we should return to teaching more “Little Red Hen” and less “Critique of the Gotha Program.”

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What Would Jesus Do?


Does he really believe in the symbolism?

Does he really believe in the symbolism?

I generally try to leave religion out of this blog. Religion is a deeply personal matter and I’ve always tried to respect that. While I make no attempts to hide the fact that I am a Christian, I also realize that our great nation has people of many faiths (and some with no faith, although I find that puzzling) and not everyone shares identical beliefs. My original intent here was to discuss politics and sports. It has since evolved primarily a political blog (I still blog about sports; you can catch my writing at Zell’s) and one aimed at policy matters. But as you may be aware, I recently suffered a setback in my battle with Crohn’s Disease and spent some time in the hospital. Such stays allow you a chance to reflect on things more deeply than you might otherwise, and as a result of that reflection I decided I cannot stay silent on the sudden intrusion (and misrepresentation of Scripture) in political discourse.

One of the tag lines that liberals love to toss around is “what would Jesus do?” The intent, of course, is to paint conservative thought as mean, bullying and anti-Christian. In a world where Scripture is often used to further political ends, conservatives are just as guilty as liberals, of course. But the sad reality is that the archetype of liberal thought loves to use misguided perceptions of Christ’s teachings in an attempt to show conservatives as hypocritical.. Two recent events are incredible examples of just how liberal political use of Scripture has perverted its lessons and meaning.

The first was the President’s invocation of Luke 12:48 in his National Prayer Breakfast speech on February 2. He said,

“I think to myself, if I’m willing to give something up as somebody who’s been extraordinarily blessed, and give up some of the tax breaks that I enjoy, I actually think that’s going to make economic sense. But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’s teaching that ‘for unto whom much is given, much shall be required.'”

This gave me pause at the time. The President claims to be a Christian, yet used this particular verse to justify raising taxes in the name of charity? There are plenty of verses regarding the concept of charity. 1 Timothy 1:5 is an excellent example of the Christian view of charity, “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” But since the verse is a description of charity not mandated by government but rather as a demonstration of faith, it hardly fit the political bill.

See the reason the particular verse cited by the President made me sit up and take particular notice is that it has nothing do with charity or taxation. It is part of a parable Christ was telling the disciples regarding the types of punishment that would be meted out during the Second Coming. The parable begins in verse 42, in response to a question from Peter. Jesus had just told the disciples the parable of the Thief in the Night, which he used to describe the timing of the Second Coming, and Peter asks in 12:41 if Jesus is only telling this parable to believers or to all people. Christ then describes how Christians are held to a higher standard than non-believers. While all men will be held accountable for their sins on Judgment Day, believers who purposely misled the unfaithful through their actions will receive a special punishment. That is what he is referring to in 12:47-8, “And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”

I was, and remain, deeply puzzled by the President’s misuse of this piece of Scripture. There are only two possibilities for him to use it in the context he did. Either he is not a Christian, or he has been seriously misinformed regarding one of the most important passages in the Bible. If the former, so be it – but he shouldn’t suggest he understands the meaning behind words that hold no particular relevance to him. If the latter, he should seek a new church, one that actually hews to Scripture and do so immediately.

The other odd policy decision regarding faith that made headlines was the President’s seemingly insane attempt at forcing Catholics and others to accept mandated birth control, in direct contravention to their doctrine. I am not Catholic – many of their teachings I cannot find Scriptural reference for (such as the veneration of saints). Yet, I still found the method he arrived at the decision to be puzzling. Catholics believe contraception to be a sin and there is a Scriptural basis for this doctrine (Geneses 1:28 and Leviticus 15:16, in particular). So why was it so difficult for the President to make the exception he made on Friday part of the original HHS decree, especially when the Catholics in his administration warned him beforehand that such move would essentially be sticking his thumb in the eyes of all people of faith? Again, the only answer I can come up with is that the President, his protestation to the contrary, is either not a man of faith or has received seriously deficient spiritual counsel.

This brings me back to the beginning of my post. What would Jesus do? Jesus was not apolitical – the Romans would have cared less about him if he were. No doubt, Jesus would have been fired up at the President for misrepresenting his teaching. Given that Christ was first given to instruction of those who should know better, he would have asked the President to define how he could simultaneously claim to be a man of faith, and in the same moment blaspheme? That would have been very akin to his questioning of the Pharisees over their hypocrisy (Matthew 23:41-46).

So, I’ll now sit back and wait to hear replies, either from the President or his liberal supporters. I suspect, that much as the Pharisees were unable to answer Jesus, I won’t hear a peep from the liberal masses.