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Novice Karate Group (ages 8 & up)

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Myron Markov
Myron Markov

Poor Fool

"Never in the world! He would be angry and would never writeto me again if he thought so. Does he write to you? Never a line.Does he send you a message? Never a word. It is because he lovesyou, poor fool, and is trying to forget you, since you are not freeto listen to him or to belong to him."

Poor Fool


When the family is in the South, Wang Lung thinks about selling the first daughter in order to get back home. Normally, this would be a no-brainer, and she would be sold to the highest bidder. That was a common fate for poor girls in turn-of-the-century China (see our "Symbols" section for more information on the novel's historical context).

Jeremiah contemplates his findings and tries to understand how this predicament had happened. He thinks to himself, it must be only the poor and uneducated that had this problem. Jeremiah figured that the poor and uneducated would be more concerned about their basic physical needs, than with their spiritual needs. He felt they would not be as informed of the things of God, as maybe the educated and wealthier people would be.

Adonai Elohim, my Great Lord, forgive me for my foolishness, all of those times that I have insisted on doing things my way. Lord, my heart has been hard, lately my ears have failed to be listening for your still, small voice. My foolish pride thought it knew the way that I should go, and it seems that I have gotten far from you. Please forgive me, Lord. I am running to you, once again, to ask for your help. Help my heart to be soft for the things of God. Help me to be pliable in your hands and give me understanding. Help me to be wise, and not a fool. Lead me, dear Lord, in the ways that I should go. Thank you, Lord.

The Tablet notes that "during the past three years over 100,000 people have stopped going to Mass in England and Wales alone," and is running a series called "Once a Catholic," profiling some of the new apostates and examining their reasons for apostasy. Sad reading. What Maggie perceived as the rigidity of Church teaching was something that in some ways appealed to Gabriel, although his faith never survived his departure from a small, overwhelmingly Catholic town in Northern Ireland. He had been bookish and devout as a child and enjoyed being an altar server but began to have doubts at the age of 14 when he started to be exposed to other ideas. More likely, Gabe had always been exposed to these "other ideas," but began to pay attention to them when they promised escape from newly-irksome teachings. It's called puberty. It's happened before. "I had been locked up in a very inward-looking society and discovered a wider world through reading. I began to scrutinise the religion I was brought up in and see some contradictions and things that did not ring true," says Gabriel, an actor and writer in his early thirties. He kept going to Mass while he remained at home; he says it seemed aggressive to do otherwise, but his faith was slipping away. After he left home he attended only when visiting his parents in Northern Ireland. He recalls how on one visit he forgot to go to Mass and his father was so troubled that he arranged for his son to meet a Jesuit priest. Note that this was not a kid who simply lost track of the time one afternoon. He was already living on his own and had ceased to practice his faith. So how does the wise old Jesuit deal with it? "We had a very nice chat about sceptical enquiry and continuing spiritual quest. The priest told my father that I didn't have a problem but that he [Gabriel's father] did." Great work, Rev. I hope you're proud of yourself. Gabe's father, the poor fool, thought Mass-going had some connection with the destiny of his son's immortal soul. Poor fool, he imagined he was doing his duty as a father by trying to address his son's spiritual difficulties instead of just banning him from his house. Poor fool, he implicitly believed a Jesuit would want his son to return to Mass and could satisfactorily deal with questions beyond his own capacity to answer. Well, we all know better now. Gabriel retains a deep respect for the Catholic Church and, while he has no intention of returning, he would be troubled if it diluted its teaching to accommodate critics. Brilliant. If your solute is also your solvent, wherewith shall it be diluted?

May 1973 Photo by Dean Cadle Harriette Arnow The Washer Woman's Day by HARRIETTE SIMPSON ARNOW "It was pneumonia all right, but the lye maybe had something to do with it," Granma said. Mama shifted Joie to her other breast. "Ollie Rankin ought to have had more sense," she said. "She didn't know the old fool would take off her shoes and scrub the kitchen barefooted." "Can I go to the funeral," I said. "Be quiet," Mama said. "Her shoes were new, and she maybe diought to save them. The poor fool, her legs were swollen purple to her waist, Molly Hardwick said." "If that Laurie Mae were fit to go into a decent house. They say that baby is exactly like Perce ..." Mama looked at me. Granma hushed. "Can I go to the funeral?" I said. "No," Mama said. "It does make it unhandy . I guess we'll have to get a nigger from Canetown, but I don't like niggers about." "I always said I'd rather have black trash than white trash any day ..." "Did she walk home without her shoes? Susie Chrisman said she did, and there was snow and ..." "Hush, Jane," Mama said. "You'll be late to school." "Spell vegetation," Granma said. "V-e-g-e-t-a-t-i-o-n," I spelled. "Wear your overshoes," Mama said. "Don't go about the funeral," Granma said. "The Ladies Aid are burying her. Susie Chrisman said her father ..." "Don't argue," Mama said, and Granma tapped her cane. I ran all the way to school. I thought all morning, and at noon I said, "Miss Rankin, my little brother Joie was croupy this morning and Mama forgot." "What?" "To write a note of excuse for me to go to the funeral. Susie Chrisman is going." "Are you sure your mother wanted you to go?" "Yes, Mam. Clarie Bolin has always done our washing. Mama said I should go out of respect for the dead and the Ladies Aid ... if she was poor white trash. I know my spelling." "You may go at one-thirty," she said. Susie and I held hands and ran fast down the sidewalk from the school. We laughed as we ran, for it was good to be out of school and there was a snow promise in the air and Christmas wa,s only two weeks away. At the foot of the hill we stopped. "It's not proper to run all the way to a funeral," Susie said. "No," I said. "Did they undertake her?" "No. My father said it was a waste of good money to undertake poor people in cold weather. He sold the Ladies Aid the coffin, though." "Is it true about the roses?" Susie skipped twice before she remembered and was proper again. "Yes. The 5 Ladies Aid sent all the way to Lexington. Two dozen white roses, and it the dead of winter. They cost three dollars . . . and her the washerwoman, Papa said." Inside the church Mrs. Hyden was singing a solo. Her mouth was very wide open, and while we tiptoed to the second row from the back she held the word dew until it seemed she would not let it go until we sat down. I was embarrassed and in my haste stumbled over Susie. Susie tittered . When we were seated, Mrs. Hyden sang on about the dew on the roses and the voice she heard. Susie nudged me. "Laurie Mae don't look so nice. That coat Mrs. Harvey gave her don't fit so good." I craned my head down the aisle to see. Laurie^ Mae sat alone in the front row before her mother's coffin. Beside her was a long bundle wrapped in a piece of dirty brown blanket. "Mama said, 'She'll have her nerve to bring that baby.' The Ladies' Aid'll be mad," Susie whispered. "Mama said the baby looked like Mr. Perce Burton," I said. "On account of Laurie Mae was a hired girl there last year." Something jerked my pigtail. I looked around. Mrs. John Crabtree set her lips tight together and looked hard at me. She was president of The...

President Heber J. Grant noted how Galileo's theory nearly cost him his life: "When Galileo announced that the earth revolved, they passed the sentence of death upon him. They thought it was too bad to kill the poor fool who thought the world revolved and was round, so they concluded to let him off if he would pledge himself not to teach this doctrine. But he could not keep the truth back and quietly taught it. So they arranged to make him lie down in front of the church where they were worshiping God on this stationary earth and let everybody step on him to show their contempt, and when they all had stepped on him, he got up and said, `Well, it goes around just the same.' " (Gospel Standards, p.321.)

Let us be careful to remember the Cross with the proper attitude of mind. Let us not pity Jesus. What a caricature of religion is that of one who pities Him crucified, as though the Cross were merely an instrument of pain and defeat. Why? Because tears and blood are there? Do we merely pity the heroic man who in No-man's-land gasped out his last painful breath, merely pity Edith Cavell, merely pity the wounded soldier who came back blind? Surely we are not stupid enough to see in them nothing more than the pitiable. Far less, then, may we pity Christ as He goes to Jerusalem, is tried, convicted on false evidence, beaten, spat upon, thorn-crowned, mocked, murdered. Many people seem to regard Him through it all as a poor, mistreated weakling. In their hearts and tones of voice they give to Him that name which the apostate emperor Julian applied to Him,--"the pale Galilaean." This figure who approaches in quiet simplicity, with unostentatious grit, the fate meted out by human wickedness, is by no means a weakling, unable to help Himself. This figure is none other than He "who, being in the form of God, thought it no robbery to be equal with God." This Crucified figure is that of supreme, omnipotent success. With one effort He could have destroyed His oppressors, punished His revilers, saved His life;--yes, and prevented forever the splendid power of His example over the lives of men, and ruined all the purpose of His coming to earth at all. He had said, "I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me". He has been so drawing them ever since. He draws them now. 041b061a72


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