Monday, August 29, 2005

I think I would have like Thomas Jefferson

Just finished watching a documentary on Thomas Jefferson - some PBS special, converted to DVD, rentable on

One thing I liked: he said the Constitution should be revisited and/or rewritten every 19 years (both State and National Constitutions). YES, YES, YES!! This would give Democracy a chance to grow with its people (cf. again things like "no spitting" laws).

He also grappled with "stuck" issues (in ways that I believe are resonant with my previous post on Unions). In particular, this documentary focused on Jefferson's frustration with "negro slaves." His plan, should anyone have wanted to implement it, was to (1) educate the slaves and the (2) send them to one of the predominantly Negro islands in the Caribbean. All at the cost of the "slave owners." Why? Because too much bad blood existed between owners and slaves. It was a horrible situation that was unfixable - the situation had to end wholesale. That is: no hope, so make a new situation. [All this according to the documentary, the facts of which I have NOT checked - it's was an introspective time for me anyway, fiction or non] Since nobody took to his plan, he decided that keeping slaves was the best option for the slaves. I know, I'm sure there were other motives, but one of his oft-repeated statements was that freeing an uneducated, thought-low-of "negro slave" was a disservice to the slave.

What scared me after watching the DVD, though, was that he gave up hope. His ideas were not realized, and he died sad. This blows my mind: IN HIS LIFETIME, Jefferson saw his ideas come into existence and then degenerate into a future without hope.

Maybe the reason I focus so much on the Church of God Himself, is that it's actually HIS thing, not mine. HE is the one that makes it work to begin with so HE is the one who can make or prevent its future. If I were Jefferson, working on a country that was NOT God's primary community, I honestly think I would have gone suicidal since I would have no hope that God would protect the people nor their community.


Mike said...

I like Thomas as well but I think one of the major differences between you and me and Jefferson (if my history is right) is that he had a very differnt view of how God worked since he was a Deist. To have a change in a country or chruch culture will take God moving in hearts. If you don't believe that he does that then you have every reason to die sad because it is about you and what you can accomplish not trusting what God is and will do in His timing.

David M said...

Ah, the Diest thing. Reminds me of those that state C.S. Lewis was not a Christian. Most of what I've read on these two people comes from those not allowing for a temporal vocabulary change/evolution and/or a focus on a few documents to the exclusion of others.

As to God's will and timing - how does that prevent me from being sad? Jeremiah (the "weeping prophet"), Jesus (as He weeps, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem!"), Isaiah (Your people are like beaten sheep) - not loss of sadness in them, no?

Could it not be stated that if someone cares at all for people and desires to love those God loves, that such a person MUST be marked, scared, and/or impacted by sadness?

I trust that running (for exercise) will make me healthier, but I am no less sad by my having to do it!!

Mike said...

I was not saying I knew he was a deist but that if he was and if he believe God was essentially absent then their was no reason to hope and every reason to die sad.

I to am sad about this world, society my life and the sin that entangles. I could fully lose it if that was all there was. But...

I also have hope in my savior. He entered to give hope to the hopeless, lost and weary. That is my only real reason to keep running because I believe.

I am not prevented from being sad but I don't stay there. May be I am just a stupid optimist.

I hope not!

David M said...

And when God does NOT change people? Do we stop being sad, do we re-write God's plans, do we just ignore it? My hope cannot be in the outcome of God's working - it must lie in Him (Himself). If my desires for particular circumstances never change, then to not be sad is to be non-real, no?

Mike said...

My hope is in my Savior not situations, circumstances, or outcomes. My sadness is because of the unrepentant hearts all around be. They coexist, at least in my life. By God's grace hope tends to win out. To not be sad is to be non-real! To not have hope is to not believe? No?

AvianaBleu said...

David -

I do enjoy how your mind works. I look forward to reading more.