The Triumph of Christ

Christ of the Ozarks

Christ of the Ozarks

I may be the last person in the Episcopal Church that dislikes calling the last Sunday of the Church year “Christ the King.”

The previous name was quite boring, the Last Sunday after Pentecost. It may be a pedantic name, but it did not introduce a problem when trying to solve a problem.

The problem is the word “king.”

I live almost exactly 200 kilometers (120 miles) from the Vancouver, British Columbia, Art Museum. As a result, I have been in a country with a monarch. That experience does not convey what the metaphor of Jesus Christ being a king is supposed to mean.

What do monarchs do?

A monarch drops the puck before the start of National Hockey League games. I was in Vancouver when that happened. Although not at the game, I did see it. It was live on all the television stations.

A monarch is honored by being on a coin called the Looney because of the bird on the reverse. Previously, the monarch was on the front of the $20 bill, with the “common loon” on the back. Do you think the Royal Mint of Canada is trying to tell us something?

A monarch proclaims things, even if actually proclaimed by her lieutenant governor in the province. Did Elizabeth II even know about this proclamation?

Proclamation of Changes to the Arms of British Columbia

Proclamation of Changes to the Arms of British Columbia

I have nothing against Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada and several other realms. To be honest, knowing several of her subjects living in Canada and other places, I feel that I have at least some concept of what it means for her to be Head of State that citizens of the United States of America do not have with our elected Head of State. There can be good in having a monarch (not that I desire one for the United States, mind you).

However, Elizabeth II is not queen as Jesus Christ is “king.” For that matter, nor was Victoria, Elizabeth I,  John, or Æthelred the Unready.

For that matter, Jesus Christ is not a monarch that lives in a Disney castle modeled after the one built by Mad King Ludwig.

As a citizen and resident of the United States of America, my only experience of “kingship” is that of a figurehead, a mad person, or a fantasy. While I have some friends that would agree that such is a good metaphor for the idea of Jesus Christ, I do not.

The problem with calling the last Sunday after Pentecost the Feast of Christ the King is first you must redefine what you mean by “king” before you even come close to understanding what should be conveyed by this commemoration.

It is possible my Anglican sisters and brothers in Canada sense some of the problems I do with the name “Christ the King,” as they call it “the Reign of Christ.” However, it doesn’t solve the problem. What does it mean to reign?

I think a better solution would be to call the last Sunday after Pentecost (if you need a special name) by this name: the Triumph of Christ.

This name would convey what is important to remember. This is, at the end of time, Christ triumphs over all from his throne, the Cross.

What do you think?

The ROI of Black Friday Creep

My 2 cents worth

My 2 cents worth

I had a grandmother that worked in the Housewares department at the Famous Barr depatment store in the Northland Shopping Center, Jennings, Missouri, for many years. As a result, I know what the day after Thanksgiving means to the retail industry.

President Franklin Roosevelt knew, also. In 1940 and 1941, he proclaimed Thanksgiving Day to be the third Thursday in November instead of the then-traditional last Thursday in November (which could be a fifth Thursday), just to give retailers an extra week of Christmas shopping. Later, Congress set the date of the holiday to be the fourth Thursday (not the last Thursday).

So, the race is on to try to get each of us to spend a buck with one retailer before we spend it with another retailer. The retailers know we only have so much money to spend.

I am not against retailers making money. In fact, I want them to maximize their return on their investments. Honestly and morally, but maximize them. That is why I do not understand Black Friday Creep.

In an attempt to get my limited cash, how much are retailers willing to spend?

Opening a store costs money. Opening that store on Thursday evening and running all night costs more than opening at the regular time on Friday.

Paying holiday bonuses with time-and-half rates increases labor costs.

I am not going to spend any more money, and neither is anyone else, over the total holiday season. That makes the ROI of Gray Thursday very dubious.

There are ways to move to the head of the line to get my cash, though.

Start the sales on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, or on Veterans Day.

Pre-sell items on the Internet to be picked up at a reasonable time on Friday through Sunday.

Start longer store hours before Thanksgiving.

The ROI on each of those would be better than they are doing now.

In addition, I might buy something. There is no way I go near a big box store or shopping center this weekend if can avoid it. The crowds and hassle keep me away. However, I might venture near a store late Saturday or Sunday to pick up something I bought Thursday over the Web.

And retail workers would get their holiday.

SJR 8223 (Washington State)

Washington State Flag

Washington State Flag

Vote NO.

Didn’t we learn something about investing money during the past few years? Particularly, for governmental bodies?

In case you have forgotten, there is the Toyota Center in Wenatachee, Washington. Central Washington University invested in the Toyota Center bonds, and faced losing its investment. That investment was legal because it was for bonds from a government agency.

So, we want to allow the University of Washington and Washington State University to invest in the stock market?

I don’t think so.

ESJR 8221 (Washington State)

Washington State Flag

Washington State Flag

Vote NO.

Normally, when I see State Rep. Hans Dunshee (D) supports something, I am favorably disposed to it. Not this time, though.

(Never fear, fellow Democrats. I agree with State Sen. Maralyn Chase (D) on this one.)

My reasoning is different from the “no” argument in the Voter’s Pamphlet. My concern is how you are going to pay for the increased authority to borrow with this change to the state constitution.

Increased authority?

On the surface, it looks like a reduction. The percentage goes from 9% down to 8%. However, they get to count a much larger pot of money to calculate that percentage with this amendment.

Currently, the amount of interest and principal payments must not go over 9% of “general state revenue” based on a three-year average. Basically, “general state revenue” is non-earmarked tax revenue. The state property tax for schools is earmarked revenue, and does not count towards calculating this amount.

The amendment would eventually lower the amount of interest and principal payments to 8% based on a six-year average, but changing what counts as “general state revenue.” I can agree with the six-year average, as it would reduce the effects of revenue spikes and dips. However, counting the school property tax revenue as “general state revenue” will greatly increase the borrowing limit.

So, what current state programs would you cut to pay the increased borrowed amounts?

We do not borrow to meet operational expenses. This increased borrowing authority can only be for capital expenses. However, the state must repay it with “general state revenue.” I cannot get a definitive answer whether “general state revenue” would or would not include earmarked school property tax revenue for purposes of repaying the loans. At any rate, we do not have enough money for operational expenses now.

Are we supposed to cut operational expenses (schools, Medicaid and other welfare programs, prisons, and police) so we can borrow more?

I don’t think so.

Do the supporters of this constitutional amendment have something up their sleeves to pay for increased borrowing without cutting operational expenses?

Initiative 502 (Washington 502)

Washington State Flag

Washington State Flag

Vote NO.

I strongly support the idea behind this initiative. The so-called War on Drugs is not working. Instead, it is harming people—and some classes and races of people more than other people are hurt.

However, if you can do the right thing for the wrong reason you create even bigger problems.

Even if every sanction against marijuana usage in Washington State were to disappear, the possession and use of marijuana is still against federal law. A state cannot nullify a federal law. The thought of Washington State trying something segregationists and secessionists tried to use throughout United States history does not put us in good company. What I fear most is that Washington State could be successful in this nullification effort. Success will open the floodgates of unintended consequences for state legislation restricting civil rights.

I wish this initiative had been written differently. A clause stating that this law cannot take effect until federal law permits marijuana use would solve the problem. Then, the people could vote “yes,” deliver the message to Congress, and avoid attempted nullification. This problem only reinforces my desire for us to be more like a republic, and less like a direct democracy.

Another interesting point is a comparison to making marijuana as legal as alcohol through Initiative 502. However, the Revised Code of Washington does not limit me to only an ounce (or other small quantity) of alcohol. The Revised Code of Washington does not limit my alcohol usage to non-public locations.

The only way Initiative 502 would even begin to legalize marijuana to be the same as alcohol is if the people gathered outside the doors at bars smoking (because Washington law prohibits indoor smoking in a bar) can smoke marijuana and alcohol.

Please try again.