Posts Tagged With: Self-government

The G. of G. # 6: Lesson from a Leprechaun

This Grammar of Government series continues. While we continue in limbo, waiting for final election results for certain races, most notably, the presidential results, let me tell you a story.

First, I must admit that I really have been in need of the comforting admonition I offered in my last post on November 5. It contained a number of Scriptures, but the article was bookended by this passage:

“Do not be anxious about anything,

but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,

present your requests to God.  

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,

will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV).

With this encouragement in mind, I want to tell you a story that I first heard when I was eight years old.

I tell this story in the chapter of introduction in my yet to be published book, A Traveler’s Guide through Suffering and Joy. The story goes like this.

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The G. of G.#2: What is the Relationship between Self Government and Civil Government?

This is part two in my series on The Grammar of Government. (If you did not read the first article, run back to my previous post.)

My study table for this series, set up in our living room in the front of the house. (I study all over the house, but usually in our sunroom in the back of the house.) I’ve been studying and simmering….

Why am I writing this series? Why would I bother to read, re-read, and study all this material in order to condense a few, good thoughts on the topic of government?

Two students of our history said it best many years ago:

“But the blessings of liberty in America cannot be perpetuated unless the principles of that liberty are re-identified and re-affirmed in each generation.”*1

My answer is because it is needed. The situation in American is now so confusing and muddled, that only by going back to the basics or “first principles” can we see our way through the maze in order to make better decisions and affirm liberty for ourselves, so that we have it to pass on.

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The Grammar of Government: Part 1

Grammar. Government. How do you respond when I say each of these words?

Many, so it seems, feel irritation, disdain, or boredom at the word, grammar. Some are intimidated at the thought of grammar. As a school subject, grammar is typically disliked. I know. I was an English teacher. Most students that entered my classroom were there only because they had to be. I understand. Yet, there were a few, besides me, who were fascinated by studying the workings of language.

Government, particularly these days, is a word that conjures up even more distasteful feelings. So, why would I put the two together? “The Grammar of Government” is not a title that would attract readers. Admittedly, true. How unfortunate. But I’ve done it anyway, and you are reading this! Let’s see if I can keep your interest. (And if not, “A good day to you!” and “God bless you!”)

Now, really, grammar is very exciting! And government…well, it is an overwhelming topic, but also, oh, so exciting (and intimidating and frightening and dangerous and demanding and so on).

You may only think of “grammar” as “the parts of speech,” um, “How many?” In English we employ and study the eight parts of speech. We observe how words shape phrases and clauses, and how they are structured into paragraphs and whole works of every genre.

Well, actually, grammar is more basic, and every field of exploration (discipline, hobby, or career) has its own grammar. Simply defined, grammar means “the fundamental principles or rules of an art or science.”*1 The rules of chess form the game’s grammar. The grammar governs the game.

We are in an important time to consider the grammar of government. Most likely, you are thinking of politics. Election day is near. Also, today, September 17, is Constitution Day, which commemorates the writing and signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787.

However, as we pursue the grammar of government, politics is not the place to start. Then where do we start?

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And Just What Is Government?

Paul and I spent most of Inauguration Day, Friday, January 20, following the events via our online connection which we cast to our “big” screen (a 37 inch flat screen that is not hooked up to use as a TV).  Watching “the peaceful transfer of power,” our patriotic spirits were exercised, and we almost felt as if we were there. Almost! Happily, I was curled up in my roomy, warm, upholstered chair. The hubbub, the music, the crowds, the motorcades, the who’s who entrances —  all blended to evoke a spirit of belonging — similar to (for me in my simpleness) going to a county fair, but on a huge and impactful scale. This is more than the satisfaction of belonging to a local community or club; on this day, we gratefully sensed our belonging to our country, the United States of America. ( Much of the week end’s madness had not yet happened. I choose not to smudge Friday’s memories with it.)

As I ruminated over the day’s events and words, I asked myself, “And just what is government?” The teens in my Sunday school class and I had discussed this a few weeks before when we were reviewing a period in ancient Israel’s past, the era of the judges, which preceded the kingdom era of King Saul, King David, and King Solomon. In the era of the judges, everyone did what was right in his own eyes (Judges 17:6).   I asked my teens, “What is government?” Their only association of the word is with politics — some form of civil government and economic system such as democracy or communism. Hmm. There is something important beneath these ideas, something preceding them.

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