Last week, on Thanksgiving Day, I began a list of things for which I am thankful. I am glad it turned into a multi-part series. Here are some more things for which I am thankful, again in no particular order.
7/Fiction writers who have brought much joy to my life. Here are a few of them. I will probably forget someone important. And I could list more than just these few. Reading fiction has been a big part of my life. Here a few of the writers for whom I am grateful, in alphabetical order, or as close to alphabetical order as I can make it: Joseph A. Altsheler, Jane Austen, L. Frank Baum, Anne Bronte, Charlotte Bronte, Walter R. Brooks, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Agatha Christie, Michael Connelly, Charles Dickens, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, George MacDonald Fraser, Zane Grey, H. Rider Haggard, W. W. Jacobs, Franz Kafka, Burgess Leonard, C. S. Lewis, Talbot Mundy, J. D. Salinger, Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, Rex Stout, Cid Ricketts Sumner, Booth Tarkington, Leo Tolstoy, Anthony Trollope, Mark Twain, P. G. Wodehouse, Zack (pen name of Gwendoline Keats). Obviously, some of these writers have been more important to me than others. In my book The Way to Do a Thing Is to Do It: Essays, I list the ten writers I would take with me if I were exiled to a desert island. But here in this blog post I have many more than ten names. Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate bounty.
8/Jesus Christ. I am thankful that He died for sinners, and that He has granted me the ability to believe in Him, so that I have the hope of joining Him in heaven someday. Who else was going to pay for my enormous sins?
9/The biblical Christian faith. It makes intellectual sense, it rewards good and punishes evil, it gives me a solid foundation on which to live my life in hope. It suits my personality, perhaps. I hate pietism and antinomianism and the welfare state and the warfare state, and so does biblical Christianity. I love freedom and responsibility and humility and purity and generous behavior (I love them better in theory than I do in personal action, no doubt), and so does biblical Christianity.
10/High school sports. I enjoy following several of the sports teams at the local high school. Don’t misunderstand me. I hate public education. I don’t think it should exist, and it is shameful that Christians send their children to public schools, and shameful that they work in public schools at any level. I grant all that, and even insist on it. That does not change the fact that I vastly enjoy following the teams at the local public high school. High school sports get me out of the house. They are a large part of my social life. That may be pathetic, but it is what it is, and it behooves me to be grateful for any of my blessings. Often our local teams are good, which makes it easier to be a fan. And rooting for the home team does not keep me or anyone from showing respect to opponents or to officials. I hope a day comes when there is no more public education. But even such a day does come, there will still be schools, and there will still be high school teams. I will be there with my hair in a braid, as Bertie Wooster would say.
11/That I can work and earn a living. What a blessing it is to be able to earn my own living by working. I don’t have to pay for my food and shelter and clothing by taking money extracted from my neighbors by force by a vicious state or central or local government. Not everyone can work, not everyone has the physical ability to move around. But I can, and the living I earn is plenty sufficient to live comfortably.
12/The disappearance of the Soviet Union (1991) and the reemergence of Russia. What an encouraging thing it is for me that the Soviet Union ceased to exist! Here was a great evil power which had caused so much death and misery for its own people as well as for others, suddenly giving up and no longer able to do the evil it had done for almost two generations! Amazing. Few saw it coming, although Andrei Amalrik did. After the Soviet Union disappeared, Russia was back. What is so encouraging about all this is that the United States too is in danger of becoming the Soviet Union. We are in danger of being ruled by conscienceless totalitarians, and the misery, perhaps the number of deaths, will be great if that happens. And yet all will not be lost! Because if the Soviet Union can cease to exist, so can the totalitarians (soft or hard) who are volunteering to run and to ruin our lives in the immediate future. It may take two generations or more, but evil doesn’t keep on winning. Something will emerge after the totalitarians begin to lose their grasp on our lives. We could even still fend them off, but even if we don’t, our grandchildren or our great-grandchildren or our great-great-grandchildren might return to freedom and responsibility. “There is more than one hit in a game,” as Rod Laver said. We may lose Christian civilization for two generations, as Russia did, but that doesn’t mean the totalitarians will win for all time. They didn’t win in Russia for all time. Russia is back, and we might be back also.
I hope to bring you, next week, more things for which I am grateful.