Wednesday, July 03, 2013



150 years ago today, near Gettysburg, PA, my double great uncle, Martin P. Fraley (born 7/19/1827), 50th Virginia Infantry, was killed in action in a failed assault on Culp's Hill, on the northern flank of the Union line. His brother Harvey D. Fraley (born 10/29/1837), 51st Virginia Infantry, survived the war and lived to July 11, 1933. My father talked to him. He was a little bitter about his months as a POW in 1865 in Maryland before he took the oath of allegiance to the United States and was paroled. That blows my mind-- just three overlapping generations back and we're fighting the Civil War.

I'm a southerner. We southerners were fighting the wrong fight, to preserve slavery for the racist, Democrat slave owners, but we fought well for a long time against very long odds. And that battle prowess and enduring courage are a source of provincial pride to me.

It just hit me that one of the biggest changes in the past 500 years is that pride is now considered a good thing when, in 1513, to the whole of the civilized, Christian World, it was the worst sin you could commit.
I'm not sure I can even fully imagine the breadth of that change.

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Not a biblical expert, but I think that the "pride" you were supposed to avoid, the kind that goeth before a fall, meant the belief that you were on even footing with God, that you were His equal and had accomplished all that you had without Him. Mainly it was something that kings and generals and such would have had to look out for.
Here is what Wikipedia says: In almost every list, pride (Latin, superbia), or hubris (Greek), is considered the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins, and the source of the others. It is identified as a desire to be more important or attractive than others, failing to acknowledge the good work of others, and excessive love of self (especially holding self out of proper position toward God). Dante's definition was "love of self perverted to hatred and contempt for one's neighbour".

So I see what you're saying. Rejoicing in the accomplishments of our loved ones or our state or country isn't really in the same league as a perverted self love. I wonder if we're just having trouble recognizing rejoicing in the accomplishments of our loved ones or our state or country is per se a form of perverted self love and necessarily diminishes God. I'm not bible expert either. Thanks for the comment. Very thought provoking.
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