Social Dementia

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As November 11th approaches, there seems to be evidence of a sort of social “dementia” in which collectively we are suffering  a “swiftly failing memory” of those who have come before us.  Cliches such as “those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it” aside, I find it troubling that a social media “trend-setter” has recently suggested that British students should learn less about World War Two and more about issues like the environment and Brexit.

But should I be troubled?  First of all, what did those people “way back then” ever really do for us?  It’s not like their example of rationing, and limiting unnecessary consumption has any “real world” application in 2019.  And there is a certain logic in his argument politically.  After all what does rise of a right wing nationalist leader, the manipulation of the press, the suppression of the voice of a  parliament, and the sorting of society into “us and them” back in the 1930s have to do with us today?



Today’s prompt: Write a piece of prose or poetry with the phrase “swiftly failing memory” in it


PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

“The building looks so plain.  I wonder if there is any life in it?” the tourist commented to her partner as she passed the synagogue.

“It is not the cover that makes the book,” an elderly man in a dark overcoat and homburg hat interjected on overhearing her.

“Excuse me,” Alice responded, stopping in her steps.

“No please, it is I who interrupted your conversation.  I was merely observing, however, that we can’t know about the ‘life’ of a place only with a glance.  I assure you, it continues to live.  We still live,” he said revealing the number tattooed on his arm.


(103 words)



Friday Fictioneers 3 May


Stained Glass © Padre’s Ramblings


This Seat Has Been Taken


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Oslo Chair image by Padre’s Ramblings

This Seat Has Been Taken

Has this seat been taken?

May I please take a chair?

Are you sitting alone?

Is anyone else there?


No the seat is vacant,

Its occupant no longer there,

Gone the lively chatter,

Now only their empty chair.


Has this seat been taken?

It seems nobody’s there.

But this seat has been taken,

By the memory of those who care.


Maria Antonia posted a list of 52 prompts for weekly photos for the year.   I have tried to link this not just with a picture but with a poem.  This weeks prompt is: “Take a seat.”

The photo from Oslo, Norway is of a memorial sculpture in the city’s port.  It commemorates the empty places or “seats” left in Norway’s society by the deportation of the Jewish community during the Nazi occupation.


For a fuller more prosaic discussion of the memorial see: Empty Chairs

MARIA ANTONIA 2019 Photography Challenge

On Remembrance


                                          On Remembrance

Tins rattled before our face,

Reminding us to buy,

A poppy red to remember them,

The men and w’m, who fought and died


We who served – do remember them,

and not just upon one day,

Their faces printed in our minds 

Forever there to stay


It’s more than poppies, flags, and horns 

our remembrance requires no prompts, 

For we who’ve served,  it’s part of us

shaped in deserts, seas, and swamps


It is right and good to remember them –

Those who served along our side

As years go on we’ll honour them –

those who fought and died




In honour and remembrance of HM3 David Worley (USN) [Beirut 1983] and Sgt. Patrick R. Kwiatkowski (USMC) [El Salvador 1985]

Why Holiday Celebrations?




One of my students asked recently why we observe Christmas, which is not mentioned (or at least sanctioned) in the scriptures, but not Purim and Passover, which are actually mandated.  Okay, fairly deep question and one with several angles for consideration.

On one level we have the idea of the keeping of “days.”  Paul in his letter to the Galatians concludes chapter 3 with a discussion on how the coming of Jesus and that subsequently He and His sacrifice led to an adoption into the family of God, separate from the “Law.”  As such the “letter of the law” (if not its principles) has passed away.  He writes,  in chapter 4, “But when the set time had fully come,God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir (verse 2-7).”

He goes on to note that some in Galacia had turned to things (false gods) that bound them. He writes, “Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?  You are observing special days and months and seasons and years!  I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you (verse 9-11).”

Paul is suggesting that the Law of the Old Testament, and the god’s of pagan society both enslaved.  In keeping the strict calendar of observances people were binding themselves to functions and forms.

It can be argued, however, that Jesus Himself kept these days.  In fact, He also kept Hanukkah which was not biblically commanded (John 10:22).  While this is true, Jesus commented,  “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them (Matthew 5:17).”  Until His words on the cross, “It is finished,” that fulfillment would not yet be complete.  Thus He kept the festivals of the Law that “all righteousness might be fulfilled.”

Does this mean that observing Purim, Passover, or Sabbath (for that matter) is wrong?  This question, in part, has been explored by a fellow blogger Pastor Mike which makes a thought provoking read.  But on a ride the fence (and simple) note, it all depends.  Are we marking these days as obligation?  Are we binding them on ourselves as law? If so, Paul’s concern of Galatians 4:11 seems to apply.

However, are we doing them as activities of praise and remembrance?  This seems to open a different aspect of consideration.  Jesus said, when we take the bread and fruit of the vine, we should do so in remembrance of Him.  In the Book of Acts and in Paul’s own writings (I Corn. 16:2) this was done on “the first day of the week.”  Is this “day” a “new obligation?” No. The remembrance is, but the day is not.  First Corinthians 11:25 notes it is “as often as you do it.”

Here we can approach the Christmas question.  We do it to celebrate the coming of Messiah.  It is, like the Lord’s Day, a remembrance.  And, for many Christians through the ages, it has been questioned.   Yes, it’s celebration is not scripturely commanded. In fact, some Protestants, and especially Puritans, even outlawed it (Cromwell’s England, and the Massachusetts Colony).   This may have been because the idea of “days of obligation” had come into many “high church” calendars, or merely because it was not found in the Bible.  In either case, they saw it too much like the Galatians’ keeping of days.

In the end, my (very unimportant) opinion is it comes down to heart.  Why do we celebrate Christmas?  To rejoice and remember the coming of our salvation. Why do (most) Christians not keep the Hebrew festivals? They are part of the old covenant, which the coming of Messiah fulfilled (and with that advent, the requirement to keep them passed away).