June 17, 2005

Let Us Now Praise Famous Ethnic Groups

At the risk of sounding like Miss Mortimer...

Went to the rehearsal dinner for my brother-in-law's impending wedding. He's marrying into an old-fashioned Irish Catlick family from Illinois, all U of I grads and according to my brother in law, 'all witty and charming --if you think our family is funny you should hear them around the dinner table' he said. Telling stories and being charming are two Irish characteristics that have evaded me, though I suppose I can drink like an Irishman. The family has those large Tip O'Neillian noses and I feel a bit of nose envy since my nose is much more pedestrian. The patriarch told a joke at the dinner and we laughed uproariously, though I wondered if we did more for the excellent quality of the joke-telling than the quality of the joke.

The Lutheran minister who will be officiating was earnest and animated, somehow managing to be both intense and laid back. Eventually I realize who he reminds me of-- the wonderful German family I grew up next to in Cincy. I suspect he comes by his Lutheranism honestly. So while enganging in stereotypes, I may as well extend it to religious denominations. I think of Luther & Lutherans with great sympathy; while Calvin was a healthy individual hobnobbing atop his anti-clerical hobbyhorse and King Henry was interested in gaining progeny, Luther was looking for relief from scrupulosity. He wielded a wrecking ball too but seems less culpable, as if backed into a corner until forced to say "here I stand, I can do no other." If he denied free will, he wasn't too far from Augustine, who had to do so to combat the Pelegian heresy.

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