This is Auckland Anniversary week-end. Each of New Zealand's original provinces. From 1841 until 1876, we had official divisions called "Provinces". Since 1876 they have been notional, but it is still the case that each province gets one holiday a year - and Auckland's is on the Monday of the last week-end of January (not sure about week-ends with five Sundays or whatever).
And on Auckland Anniversary week-end a Christian pop music festival, called the Parachute Festival, happens near Hamilton.
And Eddie is a security guard at the festival (and also plays his guitar). So that Eveline can go down for part of it, Sue and I go up to their house on the Saturday and stay with Robyn, Jonathan, and Julian until Monday. Their birthdays cluster around this time (one in mid-January and two in early February) so it is also their 'birthday present' from us.
We went to a movie on the Saturday (Bolt) - which was fun - and swimming yesterday - which was productive of sunburn - and generally have the standard grandparents-indulging-grandchildren sort of week-end.
Back to work tomorrow, and so I am not going to write anything much, but will cheat (this time) by pointing you to an article that I think expresses a reality for modern voluntarist society. It is entitled "Religion, the Church and Politics in America."
For those of us who are not (or, as in my and Susan's case, not functionally) Americans, is this relevant?
We are all - at least, we speakers of English are all - part of the same culture. We are all Americans now.
To quote the provocative last bit of the article:
It may sound strange to say that the most important thing we can do politically in America is to strengthen our families and strengthen the Catholic Church. But because of the critical political nature of intermediary and countervailing institutions, it is also true. Though such a statement does not begin to exhaust the value of either family or Church, strengthening the family and strengthening the Catholic Church are profoundly constructive political acts.
The full article is here. The article is about freedom - political freedom, to be sure, but that is not a small thing.
Until next time!