I’ve been doing some work with Susan Fockler on her website. She’s a personal financial organizer here in Maine.
My Bible reading plan is pretty straight forward. Pick up the Bible. Start at the first page. Read about five chapters in the morning. Keep going until you get to the last page. Find a different Bible. Start at the first page. Read five chapters in the morning. When you get to the end, find a new Bible. Repeat.
Today, I started the gospel according to John in the “American Patriot’s Bible,” New King James edition. In chapter 1, you get these verses:
vs. 38+39 Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?”They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), “where are You staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour). (Emphasis added)
vs. 46 And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” (Emphasis added)
It struck me that the words “Come and see” were recorded by John. It reminded me of another writing of John, the Revelation given to him we find as the last book in the New Testament. There we read:
Rev. 6:1 Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.”
Rev. 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
Rev. 22:20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
I’m thinking a word study on John’s use of the word “come” and “come and see” may be in my future. Possible sermon idea? I wonder if the phrase is used much in the three epistles we have John wrote. More digging to follow.
Last night, around the dinner table, Susan and me and the boys were having a discussion. Apparently, sometimes when the boys need to get their mother’s attention, they refer to her as “Susan.” My oldest boy mentioned it, and he said it with a smile. I said to him “I’m glad you say that with a smile, because generally I wouldn’t want you calling your mother by her first name.” We talked about Frank Zappa’s children, and how they all apparently refer to their father as “Frank.”
I had a discussion about this with a guitar playing friend–a huge Zappa fan–who said it came from this idea in the ’70s that you treat your children as little adults, and so Frank trained his children to call him Frank. I was raised to never call my parents by their first name. My aunts and uncles were always “Aunt Ginny,” or “Uncle Roger.” Once in church, my Aunt Suz called me out because I told the congregation “If you have any questions, see Suzy Batty.” And she said “Aunt Suzy.” Even if I was just trying to be clear to those people to whom Aunt Suz isn’t their aunt, I was supposed to still call her “Aunt.”
I’ve taken this teaching one step further with my children. I’ve explained it to them like this: “There are three people in the entire world who get to call me “Dad.” Three. And you’re one of them. Anyone can call me ‘Bill.’ To you, I’m ‘Dad.’ Don’t take that lightly. Instead, be glad.”
Take a look at Luke 11. The disciples ask Jesus “Teach us to pray.” And then he says to them, “When you pray, say ‘Father, who art in heaven’…” (Emphasis mine.) Jesus doesn’t say “When I pray, I pray ‘Father.'” No, He tells them “When you pray, call Him Father.” Of all the names God could insist we call Him, He wants to be called “Father.” He doesn’t ask to be called Lord, or LORD, or King, or God, or Master, or any of those things. And He could rightly demand that we address Him as such. If I were to address the president, I’d call him “Mr. Obama,” or more likely “Mr. President.” If I would give the POTUS the respect he deserves, wouldn’t I offer the same to the God of the Universe? Of course. And yet, He doesn’t ask us for that. He deserves that, but instead He wants us to call him “Father.” The fullness of God’s glory is recognized through the Son. And the Son says “Call him Father.” How awesome!
Monday night, at my jazz gig at The Slipway, I was discussing an upcoming absence of mine, and inquiring with the guys in the band about a sub. Steve Grover’s name came up as a possibility as a sub, but guitar player Dave said “I think I heard he’s struggling with cancer.” That’s the first time I heard such a thing.
In 1990, I was a Jazz and Contemporary Music major at the University of Maine, Augusta. The jazz program there was highly regarded at the time; it was where players went who couldn’t afford Berklee. I, of course, couldn’t afford Berklee, so UMA made a good choice. It was affordable, a fine school, and only an hour away from my parent’s house, so I could live at home. So I did. And Steve Grover was my drum instructor.
So intense was that music instruction that the one hour weekly lesson actually counted as two credit hours. I learned so much from Steve in that one semester, it’s unreal. So much of who I am as a jazz player came directly from Steve. I took jazz band in high school, and studied drums privately, but not really JAZZ drumming. That all came from Steve. Steve taught me the hemiola. Steve taught me independence, and comping. Steve beat alternating sticking into my head. He taught me how to count out loud by insisting that I do it–something I try to get MY students to do. And it was Steve that realized I’d been playing my right and left flams backwards for years! He made me go back and re-learn them–something that was very hard to do. All this stuff from Steve.
Wednesday night, two days after the initial news that Steve might be sick, I see a note from a mutual friend and trumpet player on Facebook. Steve’s in hospice. Hospice?! As I read down through the comments, I see “Steve’s taken a turn for the worse. He’s not in hospice. He’s in the hospital. He’s not expected to ever come out.”
Last night, just before 6pm, I was just about to start another gig, when I took a quick glance on Facebook. Steve died. Rest in peace Steve. You made a difference in my playing, and you made a difference in me.
OK, I’ve got one more historical flag left in my collection that relates to the Revolution. It’s the Gadsden flag. Some people know it as the “Snake” flag, or the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag. General Gadsden was the designer of the flag. Congress appointed some Marines to go along with Washington’s Navy (see the Washingston’s Cruisers flag), and those Marines carried this flag. It flies today in downtown Spruce Head America, and this flag is a particular favorite of Mrs. Batty.
We talked briefly about ensigns yesterday. A ensign is a flag flown on ships used to show the nation of origin. At the time of the revolution, the British used an ensign of the Union Jack as the canton, and a field of red. It was also known as Queen Anne’s flag, and when Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, it was under this flag. Apparently, in Taunton Massachusetts in 1774, and band from the Sons of Liberty raised a flag based on the British ensign with the words “Liberty and Union” sewed on it.
To me, this solidifies the idea the patriots weren’t just about breaking the noose of British authority. Yes, they wanted liberty, but they wanted it within the union of a British colony. I don’t think independence was the first thing on their mind; it was equality. Had it been given them, I think we might be seeing a much different globe today.
“Appealing to Heaven for the justice of our cause, we determine to die or be free.” The Provincial Congress of Massachusetts
The Pine Tree flag, or as I know it, Washington’s Cruisers Flag, was a popular symbol during the revolution, especially in New England. The pine tree was used in flags in New England for over 100 years before the revolution. It was part of the ensign for ships in New England, and the pine tree was used in the flag that flew over Bunker Hill.
On Sundays, I like to fly a flag that represents my Christian faith. Usually, that means the Christian flag. Sometimes, though, when I feel like I really want God to intervene for the sake of our country, I’ll fly Washington’s Cruisers flag as a way to offer an appeal to heaven. Today, that flag flies over downtown Spruce Head America.
When I bought Spruce Head House, I wanted to continue the flag flying tradition of my father. His father had a flag pole, and I suppose that’s why he had one installed on his property. As I was looking for secondary flags to fly with Ol’ Glory, I happened upon the Sons of Liberty flag. Most of what they stood for seemed to fit with the political leanings of me and wife, and so I bought “her” a Sons of Liberty flag as a gift.
In reality, one might consider The Sons a group of toughs; a gang. While they were a gang for liberty, and so are generally accepted as patriots, their methods were pretty strong arm. The Boston Tea Party was a Sons stunt. Tarring and feathering was done, as well as general beating of someone Brit loyalist who dared cross paths with them. So while I might not agree with their tactics, I agree with their ideals. For those reasons, the Rebellious Stripes fly over downtown Spruce Head America today.
OK, technically Ben Frankin’s “Join or Die” cartoon didn’t start off as a flag. And, it didn’t even start off during the Revolution. It predates the revolution, actually. During the time of the Revolution, though, it came back into favor as a cartoon, signifying that if the colonies were going to defeat the British, they would have to stay united.
In our current times, I fly this flag with frequency. As a nation, we’re so divided. “Don’t think people should own an AR-15? You’re not welcome in my restaurant.” “Don’t agree with who I want for president? Unfriend me from Facebook.” Apparently, some people can’t even be friends with someone who doesn’t share their viewpoint. Not very united.
Anyway, today under the Betsy Ross flag, you’ll find Ben’s cartoon-cum-flag in downtown Spruce Head America.
For at least the next four days, the Betsy Ross flag will fly over downtown Spruce Head America. Under it will fly some other historical banner pertaining to the American revolution. Today’s entry will have two parts; this, the first, discussing the Betsy Ross flag, and the second will discuss the flag under it.
The Betsy Ross flag has been attributed to Betsy, but in reality, the details of how the flag with 13 stars arranged in a circle in a canton of blue came to be have been lost. Even if we agree with the story that’s been handed down through family lore, Betsy sewed the flag, but didn’t design it. Her input of the design was limited–according to the family’s own story–to changing the six pointed star to a five pointed; the story is most likely false.
Still, tradition calls this flag the Betsy Ross flag. In this instance, we’ll stick with tradition.
Sidebar: In addition to my interest in history and flag flying, I’m also a stamp collector. Betsy Ross has been honored by the USPS with her own stamp.