Count Your Blessings

There are times when our outlook on life can be very negative, times when the things that comforted us in former days have lost their luster, or when the things that comforted a different generation never comforted us in the first place.

One of my sisters felt that way about the song, Count Your Blessings.

The lyrics to Count Your Blessings were written in 1897 by a Methodist minister, Johnson Oatman, Jr. The tune we all know would also have been written around that time by E. O. Excell, who also composed the tune we use for Amazing Grace.

My sister told Eliza Porter about her wish that there were another tune. Eliza was the drum major at the high school my sister attended. Eliza composed the tune sung in the video above, telling my sister that the tune came effortlessly. The adapted lyrics and new tune are sung by daughters of Darrell Brown. 1

I hope you enjoy this updated version of Count Your Blessings. At the least, I hope it will give you a few moments to reflect on your blessings in a way the time-honored song perhaps has not.

Notes:

  1. All five of the “Brownies” are Darrell’s daughters, but this Darrell Brown isn’t the famous musician Wikipedia talks about.

Black Lives Matter and MMM

During the last riots, I tried to explain Black Lives Matter. Having failed, with the new protests I’ll try another way.

1857. Parley P Pratt is murdered and federal troops are crossing the Plains to stop the evil polygamist Brigham Young from building a kingdom. Saints had been driven from place to place, women ravaged, leaders imprisoned. Hauns Mill. Joseph and Hyrum murdered and the temple destroyed by fire.

There was nowhere else to go.

Brigham took a strong and harsh stance. He made an agreement with the Utes to fight the military. He spoke of war.

The events and BY’S rhetoric led to the Mountain Meadowso Massacre. Good men, who had been driven and suffered, listening to the rhetoric from Salt Lake, took things into their own hands because no one listened.

It would take the Manifesto in 1890 to begin ending government and public thrashing of the Mormons.

Black people don’t have the option to sign a manifesto and have their problems go away. Whites still are scared when a black man jogs in their neighborhood. There are still bad cops protected by the system.

Whites don’t understand privilege nor little bigotry especially that stare in black people’s faces.

All lives matter And Black Lives Matter. All houses matter, but we need to focus on the house that is on fire right now.

I don’t condone riots or violence. I do condone the protests and hope we white folk can truly understand it this time.

Black Lives Matter

2020 election prediction from the person who correctly called 2016

In May 2016, I predicted Donald Trump would be the next president. You can read it here. So readers are anxious to know what I think will happen in November 2020.

The answer: Trump will win again. Republicans will keep the Senate, and there is a 50-50 chance of the Republicans winning the House.

This is not necessarily a brave prediction. Anybody following the betting markets knows that Trump is expected to win among the people willing to put money on it.

Yes, yes, I know that Biden is way ahead in many crucial polls. I am predicting that the country will become less enthusiastic about Biden as he emerges from his basement. I am also predicting that the Democrats will suffer from their love for endless lockdowns during the COVID-19 crisis. I predict they will get more blame for the economic downturn than Trump.

But here is the thing about making predictions: sometimes you are wrong. For those who don’t understand my tongue in cheek sense of humor, please note that I was absolutely sure Mitt Romney would win in 2012, and I was very, very wrong on that prediction. Win some, lose some.

God’s Truth v Our Opinions

I’ve been bemused in the past several weeks (actually years) to hear folks debate as though their pronouncements change Truth.

This is not to pretend that I know Truth in its fullness. Mastery of Truth is the domain of God. Or for those doubting that there is a God, hypotheses regarding Truth are the domain of those who can objectively measure some aspect of Truth.

I’m going to avoid talking about the current pandemic in this post. But I will liken our many internet discussions to two discussions occurring in my extended family.

The more present example of grossly wrong opinion comes to me from my autistic child, who persistently asserts that I am her brother-in-law, that I and my husband are not her parents, and other bizarre assertions that fly in the face of objective, provable truth. Her memories of past events are often distorted. Sometimes her recollections are so vastly distorted that it strains imagination.

Her perception of current realities can be frustrating. When I encourage her to shower, for example, she’ll almost always challenge me. “How do you know [I need to shower]?!?!?” she will yell at me. The response is often a variation of “Darling, because I can smell/I can see.”

This kind of obtuseness was frustrating enough when she was in grade school. Now that she’s an adult, it is still frustrating.

And yet I love her.

Another example is my relative Riley. 1 After much effort and expense [and after Riley had sent roughly $1.2M to scammers], the family was able to get Riley protected by orders of guardianship and conservatorship. But as is Riley’s right, they are petitioning for these protective orders to be terminated. While Riley has been under conservatorship and guardianship, their health has improved and they assert they have not suffered further losses to scammers. Riley believes this improvement and lack of loss means everything is better. They are willing to incur tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees to free themselves from protection.

This is frustrating. And yet we love Riley.

Though I will not draw the parallels between my two domestic situations and larger concerns about Truth, I hope these parables of my reality will prick any excessive self-confidence you may be nurturing. For an instant, imagine that certain confident pronouncements you make could be as wrong as pronouncements voiced by my child or by Riley.

I submit that a key tenet regarding Truth is that God loves all of us. Or that even if there were no God, we ought still act as though an omniscient, omnipotent being will hold us to account for hateful thoughts and deeds regarding ourselves and others.

I also submit that another key tenet of Truth is that there is one sole truth (albeit complex and multi-faceted). Your opinion about truth has no power to alter that truth. Those who act contrary to objective, known evidence will not have the luxury of being lauded by God or history for their obtuse ignorance.

Now I’m off for a bit of self-reflection regarding which of my cherished convictions are in painful conflict with God’s Truth and which actions are inconsistent with God’s Love…

Notes:

  1. Not their real name.