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Saturday, June 2, 2007

More Towne Times

Still, blogging versus Town meeting

I found myself guffawing a few weeks ago at a line from our Bishop Margaret's homily at this year's Renewal of Vows (Worcester, MA)...she was referring to the myriad barriers and "walls" people create in order to preserve their "uniqueness" (Spiritual and otherwise....

The example that broke me up was "skiers and boarders" since, as everyone on the snow knows (with an exception made for Waitsfield, VT) "there are no FORMER snowboarders, but lots of former SKIERS" (Jacob The Venerable, circa 1988).....the whole notion of Alterity applied to these two snowspas is of course ad absurdem--exactly the good Bishop's point!

Yet I am also reminded (by my English Teacher spouse, more often than not) that Frost's "Mending Wall" is absolutely equivocal on the alleged moral inferiority of walls (see poem at WWW.POEMHUNTER.COM).

And another thing: in his memorable brief paperback ' The Christian in Modern Style,' the late Pr. Henry Horn talked about "The Office of a Wall," an idea which he borrowed from a book written by a guy forced to wear a helmet due to a head injury. With his inimitable insight, Henry pointed out that walls (viewed solely as boundaries or line-drawing) are actually quite a nice thing for the clarity of all our Christian thinking.

Never mind that for the Cultured Despisers of today, "Christian thinking" is the worst sort of oxymoronic phrase. We must own this dilemma and for that very reason pay homage to the good boundaries that exist between us evangelical catholics and those who hide their Good News under the god-awful bushel basket of Arminianism, of which more later.

And that funny (not really) thing really did happen on the way to our Town Meeting here on Buzzards Bay not too long ago. Recently our town voted to (NOT) override the Prop 2.5 limits on taxation (thanks a lot, California!?) because it might have raised our taxes here by about the cost one Big Mac per month (we like to eat). It was soundly defeated but since then the Town finds itself in deep Fiscal Doo-Doo, since we will no doubt be charged for everything from garbage collection (down to the color-coded bags) to crossing guards. Where Janet teaches, D.H.S., they have already tried trimming the budget by down-sizing teachers and asking her (and older colleagues) to double up on classes, including ones outside their subject area. The (further) decline in education is the most likely result. But, philosophically & theologically, it is astounding to me that this all derives from a freak accident which occurred on a local highway early one morning when a young cop was on his way home from work. I guess he had been asked to work an extra shift, was utterly exhausted, and fell asleep at the wheel. Our frugal (?!) leaders turned to self-insuring the Town to save premiums and so we need to keep him alive in his tragic condition.

I had been a member of Town Meeting until this year, mainly because I missed One meeting and didn't petition the right authority figure for mercy. As a joke (I surmise), my wife wrote me onto the ballot for one of about 9 vacant seats. The Town then sent me a form for choosing between two OTHER write-ins, both unknown to me. And so it goes. There is a kind of cosmic entropy which sets in and bears down hard upon New England Town Meetings, and especially ours in Dartmouth.

Which remains a reason for me to just blog forward, more or less.

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