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Random Notes, 67

Christians need to rethink their attitude towards contact sports such as football, hockey and boxing. Are they godly?

R. J. Rushdoony
  • R. J. Rushdoony,
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  1. Christians need to rethink their attitude towards contact sports such as football, hockey and boxing. Are they godly? A very great number of adults are suffering handicaps from injuries received in high school and college sports. The injured list, for example, for any football team, professional or otherwise, is considerable. Some are crippled for life.

    Athletic activities have a place in life; that we can safely assume. But can we approve of a sport that leads each season to the maiming of many persons? Can we favor an activity which has elements of sadism in its appeal to spectators?

    We are seeing a degradation of athletes by a mean-spirited attitude which rewards the poor loser and the ungracious competitor for their bad behavior. Tennis, once almost courtly in the conduct of participants, has seen much ugliness well rewarded in recent years rather than expelled from the game. This is a symptom of a declining public character, and also for the replacement of sportsmanship with viciousness. If the sports lovers refused to tolerate the boors, they would soon change their ways.

    The coaching staffs are also at fault. Too often they encourage practices which can cripple opponents. If they themselves were not so lax, they would demand stricter supervision by officials.

    Athletics are in some ways a reflection of everyday life, and what we see is a growing eclipse of morality, a loss of civility, and a barbarization of everyday life. It is time for Christians to rethink the matter, to bar dangerous sports from Christian schools, and to insist that moral concerns apply to sports.
  2. In 1927, President Calvin Coolidge said that the foundations of government and society would collapse if the people didn't pay more attention to the Scriptures.
  3. Over the years, I have known several families who "returned" to Europe to visit the family of their parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents. In all instances related to me, it was a wonderful experience. The American family still used at times some favored old country recipes handed down to them. Only one thing caused ripples of dismay among their relatives: The differences in child rearing. The Americans, all Calvinistic, seemed both more permissive (bolder, more vocal children) and more given to chastisement, to the dismay of their kinfolk, who saw it as harsh.

    I wonder. This could be an important aspect of the American advantage. Our Puritan heritage has, until the latter years of the 20th century, stressed the discipline of the children so that an American edge existed.

    About 50 years ago, I thought at times of writing a book on culture and child-rearing. My familiarity with various immigrant groups in the United States, as well as American Chinese and Indians, made me aware of how important the Puritan heritage in America is in providing cultural energy to various groups. Now I shall never get to this project.
  4. Those of you interested in painting will find of interest two books by a Chalcedon reader, Margaret E. Stucki: Crud, and other Essays on Art, and War on Light: The Destruction of the Image of God in Man Through Modern Art. Write to Christian Cultural Center, 1050 East Center St., Pocatello, ID 83201.
  5. My youngest granddaughter, daughter of Mark and Darlene Rushdoony, is Marie Anne. When she was very young, Mark brought home a German Shepherd pup, named Akela by Isaac and April after the wolf in Kipling's jungle tales. Marie could not have been happier with the pup. A usually very obedient child, when her father was not around she disobeyed him by carrying the pup around. But, very soon, Akela weighed as much as she did but still wanted to be carried around by Marie, which made it difficult for her to step out of the house. Mark reminded her of his statement. Now she knew why father had commanded her as he had!
  6. We hear so much about how the rich evade paying their income taxes that the Internal Revenue Service data comes as a surprise. The top 1% of taxpayers, those with gross adjusted annual incomes of over $196,000, paid 29% of all income taxes; the top 5%, with incomes of $96,000, paid almost half of all income taxes. Those with incomes below $22,000, 50% of all taxpayers, paid less than 5% of all income taxes.
  7. About the time of my 80th birthday in 1996, one of our kinfolk died at age 97. George Esajian and his younger brother had a remarkable life. When my father and mother, with my mother's sister, husband Nishehn Esajian, and infant son Edward came to the U.S. via Archangel, Russia, in late 1915, a number of relatives remained behind for lack of funds; they were sent for and brought to the U.S. in the next eight years or so. George, age 15, and Dick, age 5, remained in Leningrad; an older brother who remained died. Although they were escapees from the Armenian massacres, the U.S. bureaucracy told them, when it came to their turn to migrate here, that they could leave only from the country of their origin, Turkey. The two boys, slowly and with difficulties, made their way from Leningrad, USSR, to Instanbul (Constantinople), Turkey, at times on horseback, often on foot. In Turkey their protection was their Russian-style clothes and the Russian they had learned. In Istanbul they met and were befriended by an Armenian man married to a Turkish woman; he provided them with a room. But they had a problem: their suitcases had been stolen on their arrival, and they had only the clothes on their backs and no address now for their brother and my father in the U.S. Dick went to work as a street peddler, selling shoestrings, pencils, and the like out of a cigar box. One day a Turkish policeman took what he wanted and refused to pay. Angry, Dick spoke in a way that betrayed his Armenian origin, and the officer took him to the nearby station, eager to kill him for the "insult." The officer in charge said, "Toss him into the sea [nearby] and let him drown: don't create an incident." Dick was beaten, kicked down a flight of stairs to the water's edge, and, as he passed out of consciousness, felt himself picked up and thrown into the water. Late in the day he regained consciousness, having drifted to the shore not too far away. He struggled home to cry in his brother's arms. "In the morning," his brother said, "there is an Armenian church nearby; now, more than ever, we need the Lord." When they got there, George asked Dick for the one small coin in his pocket to buy a prayer candle. Dick protested and began to cry, but George insisted. Then they sat through the service. When it ended, bewildered, they continued to sit. The priest came up to ask them what was troubling them, and the story poured out. When they mentioned the loss of the suitcase, with the Rushdoony address, also the address for their brother, the priest asked if this were Y.K. Rushdoony, who used to teach at Van College. "I have his letter on my desk," said the priest, "to answer shortly." And that is how they located my father and their brother and finally came to the U.S.

    This is an account of God's providence, to me a very moving story.

R. J. Rushdoony
  • R. J. Rushdoony

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965. His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.” He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.

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