A former Lutheran pastor sharing thoughts on faith and life. Please join the conversation! I love your comments!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Call for Valiant Politicians and an Update on Lent and Luxuries

I have been reading C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books to my children.  I think I am enjoying it more than my kids.  I love those books.  My children love the movies and my oldest loves the books.  The youngest finds them a bit long, I think.  Anyway, as we were looking at a book about Narnia, I noticed that the character Lucy was referred to as Queen Lucy the Valiant.  I like that word, “valiant”.  Not one I hear very often.  I wasn’t even sure I knew what it meant.  I looked it up.  The definitions were always something about courage or bravery but I was thinking valiant had a little different sense than that.  I kept looking and eventually found some references to courage for the sake of a good cause.  There is a sense to Valiant being something more than the courage to go bungie jumping.  Valor is courage with a purpose.  
It occurred to me that this is what I want and what is missing in our politicians these days.  They may uphold some good causes.  They may want to do what is right.  Or maybe not... but I hope this is true with at least some of them.  But they do not have the valor to do what is right if it costs them their political career.  Most often they are not even valiant enough to do what is right if it might cost them a few points in the opinion polls or a few dollars in their campaign funds.  I would like to challenge the candidates to prove me wrong.  Let’s call on the politicians: show us times when you did what was right and it hit you in your political or financial pocket book.  Prove your valor.  I dare say it is rare when there is anyone whom we could call Senator or Congressman or Congresswoman or President whomever The Valiant.  

On a different topic, I mentioned I would provide an update about what I am giving up for Lent.   As I wrote last week, I have decided to give up some luxuries for Lent.  One thing I have realized as I reflected on the many luxuries in my life is that when it comes to food, where you live determines what is a luxury.  At least this is true when one considers all the costs of an item: financial, environmental, and so on.  For example, living on a farm where we raise beef cattle, beef is not a luxury item for us.  The financial and environmental costs are lower because it is right here.   Another example might be oranges, a luxury in Kansas (when all costs are considered) and not so much in Florida.  
Therefore, it makes sense to try to give up things that don’t come from around these parts.  Admittedly, this time of year fresh vegetables would fall in this category but it doesn’t make sense to me to have a Lenten diet that is actually less healthy for me.  So, I will concentrate on eliminating things that don’t grow here any time of the year like avocados, oranges, bananas, and chocolate (it pains me to say).  As I reflected last week, food we don’t have to cook is also a luxury so I will try to limit pre-prepared foods like mixes, frozen dinners (neither of which I use much anyway), boxed cereals (gasp, sob), store-bought crackers, and I will even try to make my own bread.  Yes, I realize I will likely snarf chocolate with even more enthusiasm come Easter but that is not the point.  I am giving these things up for a time to increase my awareness of the luxuries I experience in my everyday life.  
I also have this thing about my temporary diet decisions not being a huge pain in the rear for other people.  I will not hold the rest of my family to my Lenten plan, much to the relief of my chocolate loving husband.  And, if someone else treats me to a meal I will abide by the above as much as I can in the context of their hospitality but I will consider that the feelings of my host take precedent.  
So, don’t be afraid to invite me to dinner.  

Not that I am hinting or anything. 


Dean said...

I think your iPad would be a wonderful thing to give up. It doesn't affect your health (as giving up citrus might do) and is a LUXURY you can do without - you just have to use the computer in the office. Small sacrifice but it takes effort and inconvenience.

Laurie said...

If you plan to write letters to your congressmen about valor, you might want to be specific about "doing the right thing" and their "pocketbook". Surely most of them give generously to charities, but I don't think that was your point.

Sheri Ellwood said...

Dean, that is a good idea. I hadn't thought of that one. Laurie, you are right. I am not talking about just giving to charities. I am talking about making tough decision for the sake of the greater good. I am talking about doing their jobs in a way that supports the greater good even if it hurts their campaign finances or their investments and such. Good point.

Sheri Ellwood said...

Dean, I also thought of the health effects of giving up citrus and looked into other healthy replacements. For example, brussel sprouts are high in vitamin C. Don't know if I can find a way to fix them that I can stand but I will try:)