Gen X at 40

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Ben (The Tiger) -

"Forgotten Founding Father"?! The one cited at length by JFK and Reagan?

We should all be so forgotten, three hundred years after our passing...

Alan -

It is a great read. And was he cited faithfully?

Ben (The Tiger) -

I would say that he was cited reasonably, within the context of American history and ideas of American exceptionalism. The way, say, Washington's early stuff gets quoted. That's to say, the bad stuff isn't mentioned -- for instance, Winthrop's anti-democratic tendencies -- but more just the good.

But that very quote got trotted out at Reagan's funeral.

I'd suggest that Kennedy and Reagan, among others, made Winthrop seem more optimistic than he really was -- but that falls under literary and political license.

Key shift from Reagan: from "a city on a hill" to "a shining city on a hill".

Reagan did quote the warning words that followed in some speeches -- generally when speaking to fellow conservatives (i.e., at CPAC conferences in the 1970s) -- but he tended to suggest that Americans HAD kept their faith with God.

You may be right to look to the communalist thread in it: see the Buchananites being upset by it here.

To the extent that 20th century politicians got Winthrop wrong, it's the way they get any sort of history wrong -- it's always more complex than the speeches make it. Necessarily so.

Alan -

I think it's pretty hard to get history wrong in the sense that we can't live in the past. We have to live in our era and can only learn from the past. The past is a foreign land. Also, read the book. There is an openness in Winthrop being described in the book, too. Worth a read.

Ed Carson -

"the bad stuff isn't mentioned -- for instance, Winthrop's anti-democratic tendencies". In the 17th century, people we would consider democratic in thought were very thin on the ground.

Ben (The Tiger) -

Alan, Ed:

So then you're more with JFK and Reagan's Winthrop citations than I am?

Well, if I were drafting speeches, I'd probably do exactly what they did -- small quotes with a more presentist interpretation. Far better than not mentioning these figures at all -- too many contemporary politicians do that, now. If you make it too complex in the interest of accuracy, you kill the point you're trying to make.

Alan -

Yes, the story has to be sensible. I like the guy from what I read but there are 150 pages left to go. Maybe he gets bitter but at 1633 or so he is still compelling.

Ed Carson -

1) How many Republicans do you see quoting from Lincoln's First Message to the Congress. You know, the one where he exalts Labor over Capital.
2) And the point of my comment about Winthrop was the application of today to yesterday. Of course, Kennedy's and Reagan's point was about "American exceptionalism".
You pick your rhetoric where you can find it.

Alan -

My only observation, not having a US passport, is that the exceptionalism America offers the world is triggered by the failure to fulfill the promise.

Ed Carson -

As one who does, I cannot feel exceptional when I see Tunisians, Egyptians, Libiyans and Ivoirians demanding, working for, fighting for their freedom of speech and expression, freedom from want, freedom from fear.

Pastor Douglas Benson -


There has been a longing in my heart for some time now on how to begin evangelizing, winning the lost unto Christ in these last days. I have been an evangelist in a Vancouver, Granville Street mission for Teen Challenge for a number of years and have witnessed many come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and healed from their addictions to drugs and alcohol.

Since then, I have asked God, the Holy Spirit what I must do to further His Kingdom. I have waited upon the Lord, and He has put upon my heart to be personally filled, daily, with His Holy Spirit, “…praying in the Holy Ghost”, Jude 1:20. And I have experienced the wonderful satisfaction of Him imbuing me with His leading to preach the Gospel with His authority and power, an endowment of the Holy Spirit.

I have been praying for the way to supply the needs of a weekly evangelistic effort throughout Canada the United States and abroad. Is this not what your foundation is mandated for? To send forth evangelists into the world? I am asking you to pray “the Lord of the harvest” and if He fills you with His Holy Spirit as a witness to the request of this letter, then you shall know the Lord’s leading. There is great anticipation in my heart to many souls saved under the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit. But how will they know if I don’t preach and how can I preach if I am not sent?

Thank you for your ministry foundation to a lost and dying world. I praise God for such an opportunity to minister the Word of God under the unction and anointing of the Holy Spirit, to see many come out of darkness and into His wonderful light of Truth and Salvation.


Pastor Douglas Benson