Ellison Onizuka, American astronaut – and philosopher. . .
From the Scribe (7/6/14)
Welcome to the DOR Scribe website.
This blog is about reading the Bible with an open mind. If you do it that way, you’ll be better able to realize the Three Great Promises of Jesus. Those promises include living a life of abundance and performing even greater miracles than He did.
For more background on those ideas and others, click the links above. In the meantime:
Happy Sunday 4th of July weekend!!
As I’m writing this, I’m riding a train north from New York City to Montreal, which means that in the past couple weeks I had to find my passport. In the process I found out that my passport makes for some interesting reading, especially on this holiday weekend.
There’s page 1, on which the “Secretary of State of the United States of America” personally requested, of “all whom it may concern,” to permit this particular named citizen – me – “to pass without delay or hindrance and in case of need to give all lawful aid and protection.”
That’s followed by the Preamble to the United States Constitution – Wikipedia, the …, which also makes for some pretty impressive reading. That’s followed by pages of Important Information, then the pages where you get your visa(s) stamped. Each two-page set is topped with a pithy quotation, about America and the promise of freedom it entails.
For example, pages 8-9 are topped by a saying from George Washington, “Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair.”
Unfortunately – and as we’ve seen way too often lately – the stupid and the dishonest can also “repair to the standard” of freedom that America promises. But that seems to be part and parcel of what our “freedom” is all about. Or as John Steinbeck put it:
…this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about.
Of course he always was an ornery cuss.. . .
Then there’s a quote on pages 16-17 of the passport, attributed to Teddy Roosevelt: “This is a new nation, based on a mighty continent, of endless possibilities.”
Get that? “Endless possibilities.”
But to get to that land of endless possibilities, our ancestors – the people with gumption and nerve – had to leave behind the old and corrupt ways of “where they came from.” (Which is another way of saying “conservative types,” but that’s a subject for another blog-post.)
Anyway, finally, there’s the last quote on page 28, from the late astronaut Ellison Onizuka:
Every generation has the obligation to free men’s minds for a look at new worlds . . . to look out from a higher plateau than the last generation.
(The ellipses are in the passport original.)
But of course, what Onizuka said is just another way of saying, “Sing to the Lord a new song.”
It’s also another way of saying that you can’t fully “live up to, fulfill or implement” either promise – either the promise of the American Dream with its “endless possibilities” or the set of Three Promises of Jesus – if you interpret either the Bible or the Constitution in a closed, narrow, or “strict” way.
The point is that our duty as Americans – and especially as Christian Americans – is to help and not hinder either the endless possibilities of the American Dream or the promise of Jesus that we should live a life of abundance, in His name.
(On that note see On the Bible readings for July 4, which includes a note about how a group of Anglicans – who were members of the official state religion of the time – voluntarily gave up their power “to guarantee “freedom of religion to people of all religious faiths.”)
A few things to remember this July 4th weekend (along with Isaiah 40:31):
Ellison Shoji Onizuka (1946-1986) was “an American astronaut from Kealakekua, Kona, Hawaii, who successfully flew into space with the Space Shuttle Discovery on STS-51-C. He died in the destruction of the Space Shuttle Challenger, on which he was serving as Mission Specialist for mission STS-51-L. He was the first Asian-American to reach space.” See Ellison Onizuka – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The upper image is courtesy of that article.
The bottom image is courtesy of media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/45/e2/f0/45e2f06303beab78234e814d5ff84274.jpg
That quote from Isaiah 40:31 could be seen as an indication that our American Dream might well have been “preordained before the beginning of time.” I.e., that may have been one reason “we” chose the Bald Eagle as our American icon. (Benjamin Franklin wanted the national bird to be the wild turkey. See Wild Turkey – National Geographic.)