Archive for November, 2008

In search of Identity

(Cross posted at Facebook and LiveJournal.)

dum dee dum, it’s my birthday. It’s the second time in my life that my age is divisible by 11. It will probably happen about 5 more times (hopefully). Let us reflect…

Who am I? No, really, WHO AM I? Well I’m a 70th generation descendant of the Suebi tribe. While that sounds cool it’s mostly speculation combined with a little bit of research and math.

This much I know for certain: I’m a tenth generation Swiss Mennonite immigrant and a fourth generation English migrant. Northumberland to be precise, I believe. I’m also a eighth generation Dutch immigrant. I have some Anglo-Norman roots and possibly some Scottish, too. But mostly there’s German, Dutch and English blood flowing through my veins giving me a fairly well-rounded Germanic heritage.

I want to be proud of my Germanic heritage, I really do. Unfortunately, unlike other groups like the Slavs or the Celts there’s a stigma attached to the idea of a united Germanic ethnicity. You see, there once was this historical figure who was also very proud of his Germanic heritage. His name was Adolf Hitler. Much the same way he ruined the name “Adolf” and the toothbrush moustache, he’s ruined Germanic pride. What a douchebag.

Historically national identity has been very closely tied with religious identity and this is no different in my case. My mom’s family were all Anglicans from England. My dad’s family ultimately hailed from the Old Swiss Confederacy, the birthplace of Anabaptism and the Dutch Republic, which encapsulated Friesland, the birthplace of the Mennonites. As for me personally, I’m still searching. And for me faith is a very private, intimate matter. You could say I’m a lapsed-deist monotheist. But there were two paths I have been exploring. They were two that appealed to me the most and incidentally they both have deep connections with the Germanic peoples.

After exploring Anglicanism I concluded it was a little too traditional for me and I was also uncomfortable with the intimate links it has with the British monarchy. So I next looked to Lutheranism. Martin Luther was, of course, born in the Holy Roman Empire. Lutheranism spread to the Nordic countries where it still functions as an established church in most of them.

The other, more enigmatic, form of Christianity that piqued my interest was Arianism. This school of thought, later to be deemed a heresy was founded by Arius, a Berber priest from Egypt. For awhile it seemed posed to become the dominant form of Christianity. Eventually, however, it was decisively crushed at the Council of Nicaea. However, in the meantime, many of the Germanic “barbarians” had already been converted to Arian Christianity. Odoacer, the first ruler of Italy after the fall of the Western Roman Empire was such a person. Eventually however, the orthodox catholic doctrines won out. Oh well.

After writing this, I am still no closer to my answer of who I am.

Who’s Right and Who’s Left?

(Cross posted at LiveJournal and Facebook)

I’m thinking of a politician. He has many detractors but is nonetheless an elected official who is very popular where he’s from. Some of his various political positions include opposition to gay marriage and support for a two-tiered health care system. He’s a man for whom religion is very important and talks openly about his faith. His foreign policy includes maintaining close ties with Israel and sending more troops to fight in Afghanistan.

Who am I thinking of? You’re thinking probably some real conservative figure, maybe Stockwell Day? Well you’re wrong. I’m thinking of Barack Obama. While he does have a lot of other opinions on various issues, many of which wouldn’t fit nicely into this little game we played, the fact of the matter is Mr. Obama isn’t nearly as left-wing as some people would like to believe. I laughed out loud the first time I heard him being called a “socialist.” If Mr. Obama is a socialist then Jack Layton must currently be planning a revolution of the proletariat. Read more »