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  • A Stark Choice

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on July 13th, 2013 (All posts by )

    Apropos of nothing – although since the Zimmerman jury has begun deliberations, this selection might be seen as a comment – today I am thinking on a certain 19th century hymn. Which my mother always disliked since a certain pastor liked to bring it out, incessantly with regard to particularly mid-20th century political concerns. Yes, I was raised religious, in one of the more flintily intellectual Protestant religious traditions, and today I believe this particular hymn to be especially relevant, in light of David’s post about Saint Alexander of Munich. There are choices one makes – sometimes momentous ones, on the spur of an instant, which turn out to be the choices which define your life … and now and again, your death.

    Once to every man and nation
    Comes the moment to decide,
    In the strife of truth with falsehood,
    For the good or evil side;
    Some great cause, God’s new Messiah,
    Offering each the bloom or blight,
    And the choice goes by for ever
    ‘Twixt that darkness and that light.

    Then to side with truth is noble,
    When we share her wretched crust,
    Ere her cause bring fame and profit,
    And ’tis prosperous to be just;
    Then it is the brave man chooses,
    While the coward stands aside
    Till the multitude make virtue
    Of the faith they had denied.

    By the light of burning martyrs
    Jesus’ bleeding feet I track,
    Toiling up new Calvaries ever
    With the cross that turns not back;
    New occasions teach new duties,
    Time makes ancient good uncouth;
    They must upward still and onward
    Who would keep abreast of truth.

    Though the cause of evil prosper,
    Yet ’tis truth alone is strong;
    Though her portion be the scaffold,
    And upon the throne be wrong,
    Yet that scaffold sways the future,
    And, behind the dim unknown,
    Standeth God within the shadow
    Keeping watch above his own.

    James Russell Lowell

    Whom, it may be relevant to add, was one who stood squarely in the nexus between the intellectual and political world in the 19th century.


    16 Responses to “A Stark Choice”

    1. Wayne Says:

      This is a beautiful hymn and very appropriate for the day.

    2. Mike K Says:

      Having lived through the Rodney King fiasco, and having sent money to Stacy Koon’s family while he was in prison, I have a weak hope that sense will prevail.

      In that case, the local jury acquitted the four LAPD officers and the DoJ came in and tried them again.

      Maybe the public has learned something from that but I doubt it.

    3. Sgt. Mom Says:

      Looks like the ladies of the jury sacked up and did their job. Verdict returned.

    4. Jonathan Says:

      Verdict in, not guilty.

    5. Jonathan Says:


    6. Mike K Says:

      NOT GUILTY ! The prosecution, in the person of the execrable Corey, is still blathering. A small amount of confidence in sanity is restored.

    7. VXXC Says:

      When Ends don’t justify the Means, you’re on the Losing End.

      No Riots, no power. For good or ill that was the power.

    8. VXXC Says:

      Sgt Mom,

      Are you saying it’s OK to tell women to sack up?

    9. Tim Says:

      An attempt to whitewash the cravenness of the media. Some good comments schooled him even on the liberal Post site.

    10. Sgt. Mom Says:

      VXXC – yes, although it helps if they are not the fainty, shrieking, delicate flower of womanhood sort.

    11. Margaret Says:

      Universal air conditioning=> no more summer riots. 30 years ago could have been a problem. Now? The only violence I’ve read about has been in…Oakland, where the temperature is under 60 degrees.

    12. Jezzy Says:

      Lets be honest, a mouse farting in a high wind, is all that is needed to spark a riot in Oakland these days.

    13. Bill Brandt Says:

      @Jezzy – not that is funny – and unfortunately true.

    14. zuckerman Says:

      Zimmerman a nut and though innocent I am glad he lives far from

    15. Anonymous Says:

      As I am curious of same, pray tell which “of the more flintily intellectual Protestant religious traditions”?

    16. Sgt. Mom Says:

      Lutheran – and I have the three years of catechism once required to prove it.