Tag: Tradition

Why Americans Honor the Queen


As expected, Americans are expressing their deep sense of loss for Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, as well as sending our good wishes (regardless of how we felt about his politics) for the ascendance of Prince Charles as King Charles III. But I couldn’t help feeling that our participation and engagement with all these traditions, history, and formality were somehow different this time around. In the past, we have been intrigued and excited about events in the United Kingdom, ranging from the blessings of weddings, to the tragedy of Diana’s death and the controversy over misguided royals. With the loss of the Queen, however, I believe our reaction reveals a deep sense of loss, not only for the Queen, but for the losses we ourselves have sustained over the last several years in our own country.

Think about it. We have had people determined to destroy the historic symbols of our country, whether they have characterized us as racists while disregarding our determination to transcend our commitment to slavery. The Constitution, monuments, statues, and schools that represented our admiration for, and commitment to, the founding of our country have been desecrated and condemned. Our strength and power, which have always been important forces for the world, have been weakened and disregarded. We no longer have a history to be proud of, a tradition of freedom to celebrate, and a foundation to point to; these have all been criticized and downgraded in the eyes of the political Left. And we watch, perhaps with envy, the love and affection the people of the U.K. have for their departed Queen and their country.

Member Post


This weekend is Memorial Day weekend.  It’s often thought of as the traditional start of Summer.  It’s a time for putting the dock in, getting the deck or patio ready for outdoor gatherings and meals, or putting in your garden (for  us northerners).  However, it’s still a holiday meant for remembering those who have served […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Ignoring the Rules 2.0


We just moved.  I’m in a new neighborhood, a new town, same state – thank God (for Gov. DeSantis).  It’s a 55+ community because me, my husband and our cat are over 55.  He picked the community – when we cashed out in spades selling our old house, and our real estate agent told us about our current town.  We like it here, but it’s been less than two weeks.  There’s construction – because half the country is moving to Florida –  and older folks.

I have nothing against grey hair and golf carts.  Personally, I like Ultress and Preference by L’Oréal – it does wonders, but that’s just me. The next-door neighbor brought us a triple chocolate cake.  He has brown hair and two adorable pooches. They gave us a snapshot of the nearby neighbors and I was impressed.

They seem to jump in and do projects – scarfing up free lumber from the dumpsters and building things as needed, including a ramp for a disabled neighbor and insulating garages from the Florida heat.  Older people know how to build things and how to budget.  They bike, kayak, walk, and hike, we noticed. The amenities center had a lively water volleyball game taking place when I visited, an outdoor painting class, and bocce ball and tennis games in action.

Member Post


When I was a boy my sister and I had to find our Easter eggs and Easter baskets. I hated every minute of that tradition. My sister, loved it. To this day, a look of glee comes over her face as she contemplates finding hidden treasure. You, your family, your friends could have an Easter […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Real Enemy, Real Freedom


Why is America eroding? Why does it seem like we can’t get “unstuck” from the inevitable cycle of decline? I believe it has to do with what we might not yet identify as the real enemy of our Republic. The truth might be uncomfortable. And what we might fail to remember is real freedom.

Os Guinness’s 2012 book, A Free People’s Suicide, takes St. Augustine’s basis for politics as the starting point for freedom. Augustine suggested “loved things held in common” are the basis of freedom. Guinness goes one step more with the saint. We may use loved things held in common to diagnose the health of our nation.

What do we hold in common? Is it enough to sustain our freedom? Or is our freedom eroding because our loved things held in common have been debased—or are vanishing?

Member Post


In my continuing effort to track cultural weirdness, I had another eye opening exposure I thought I’d drop it in here: The growing use of the term “birthing person.” I didn’t quite get what it was for, and found a counseling practice that explained it. They are willing to use “mother” if that is what […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Where We Do Not Wish to Go


“Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were young you used to fasten your own belt and you would go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will put a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” (John 21:18, New Catholic Bible)

I attended a Catholic Mass this past week to watch a cousin graduate from 8th grade and move up to high school. While I haven’t been a Catholic for 40 years, it’s still pleasant to listen occasionally to the familiar old service. The Church made changes to the liturgical responses a decade or so ago, and I find it a little jarring to hear something slightly different from the words I memorized in my youth; if not for that, I’d still be able to recite the responses correctly, even after all these years.

‘Tis the Season: Free the Cake!


It’s the time of year again when many Americans find themselves isolated, out of step, and even mocked and persecuted. I am one of them. This year I am stepping out of the shadows to plead for tolerance for this beleaguered minority. So here goes: My name is Suspira* and I like fruitcake.

I know. Listen to voices in the media—comedians, chatty newscasters, and even advertisers—and you’ll come away with the idea that no one likes fruitcake. In fact, no one even tries to eat them, instead making them ammunition in fruitcake tosses and other seasonal activities for fruitcake-haters. Then there’s the joke that there really is only one fruitcake that has been passed around for centuries.

Fruitcakes (that’s plural!) have been around for a millennium, at least. The ancestor of today’s fruitcake was concocted by the Romans, and the fruitcake habit was spread along with the Roman legions throughout Europe. Each nation produced its own variety, from German stollen to Italian panforte to England’s dense versions featuring marzipan and royal icing.

How Sweet the Sound


What would Black Gospel Music sound like if it blended with Eastern Orthodox liturgical tradition? Though liturgical traditions have a reputation for their timelessness, or at least for not changing, the Eastern Orthodox liturgy of singing and chanting antiphonally has changed over the past 2,000 years, particularly when Orthodoxy has met with other cultures whose own musical talents and understandings are different.

Though the broad outlines of a Russian or Greek liturgy are substantially identical, with the same prayers, the same order of service, the same structure, they do not exactly sound the same, even setting aside the language differences.  Saturday night in Columbus, Ohio, Dr. Shawn Wallace, Director of Jazz Studies at Ohio State University, and an Orthodox Christian himself, presented a project long in his heart.  How Sweet the Sound was a concert that presented an Orthodox vespers service as blended with, and sung in the style of Black Gospel music.

Words are inadequate to properly describe the concert.  It was beautiful, joyful, and above all worshipful, weaving traditional Gospel and other Protestant hymns in and through the prayers, psalm reading, and hymns of vespers – a service sung and chanted to mark the ending of one day, and herald the beginning of the next.  Holy Holy Holy wove in and out of Psalm 104, Wade in the Water carried, like waves Lord I have Cried, and Amazing Grace brought Psalm 117 to a beautiful crescendo.

Why Do Those Wanting to Transform an Institution Almost Always Claim the Institution…


. . .and the people who want to preserve what the institution has stood for must leave and create a new institution to preserve the values of the old institution?

The United Methodist Church, which I recently joined in the hopes of avoiding just such a fracturing, has before it a proposal to split over whether to adhere to traditional church teaching. Although the triggering issue is listed as human sexuality, sexuality is merely the surface issue for a much deeper conflict over many aspects of traditional church doctrine, the authority of scripture, the value of traditions, and questions of how God has related to His people throughout history. But this is not the thread in which to discuss the specifics of the Methodist controversy. For better details on the Methodist proposal, go to the thread entitled, “This Week in the UMC” by @jimchase.

Member Post


Holidays were always a fun time as a kid. The ones that we marked, at least. On Thanksgiving, we went around and said what we were grateful for. On Succos (Feast of Tabernacles), my father and brother built our own little temporary hut and I helped string the cranberries to hang from the branches above […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Crystals the Color of Sweat and Blood


I was a minor rock hound — a rock pup, if you will — in my youth. Nothing serious, a small collection, only a few spectacular finds of my own, the rest either dull or store-bought. I liked crystals. But not as “wellness” aids. The folklore surrounding minerals, including their medicinal use, is part of their history. Still, I found myself mildly disappointed by the degree to which even geology shops treated the folklore as true.

Apparently, “wellness” claims for rocks have only gotten worse — er, I mean, more popular — since I was a young rock hound. Gwyneth Paltrow, for example, has gifted the world with Goop, like crystal-enhanced water bottles! Yoni eggs! (Warning: these eggs NSFW.) Rose quartz, with its soft pink hue, is particularly popular for “wellness.” Fair-trade certification, which is supposed to guarantee humane treatment of workers, is also popular in wellness products. But — and it’s a big but — most “wellness” crystals are far from fair trade. That pretty rose quartz is the color of sweat and blood.

Poor folk paid pennies to mine, in cramped, dangerous conditions, rocks that richer folk will sell for hundreds of dollars doesn’t shock me. Terrible as these mining jobs are, people choose these jobs over the other available alternatives. But then, I’m usually of the attitude that there’s no reason why bad conditions couldn’t get worse, and that’s not an attitude I’d expect the “wellness” crowd, which believes in “wellness,” after all, to share. Even someone resigned, or callously indifferent, to human suffering might balk at the environmental damage wreaked by humanity’s current appetite for crystalline “wellness.” I have a rare stone in my wedding ring, but it’s lab-created: I didn’t find it appealing to molest tons of extra earth for one small pebble, not even for a wedding ring — especially when a better-quality version of the same crystal can be easily made in the lab. Natural and environmentally-friendly aren’t always the same thing.

Cloudburst — only a paper cloud?


“Tell me, burnt earth: Is there no water? Is there only dust? Is there only the blood of bare-footed footsteps on the thorns?” “The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.”

Eric Whitacre is a conductor and composer with matinee-idol good looks, personal magnetism, a slick marketing strategy, and arguably common sense, too: he recommends young composers not waste time acquiring training in academic theory beyond what they need to write music that sounds good. Whitacre is beloved in the choral world, but also, sometimes, disdained — for being overrated (he is, although overrated can still be good), for being gimmicky (also true, though his gimmicks often land), and for writing music “suffused with a sense of easy spiritual uplift… Everything [is] maximally radiant and beautiful, and beautifully sung. And that [is] the problem.”

If that’s the problem, it’s a problem many composers would like to have. Or at least it’s a problem many performing musicians wish the composers whose music they have to perform had. Our disdainer continues, “Whitacre is so sincere I suspect he would glow in the dark.”

Member Post


The United States Open is the ultimate conservative golf tournament.  Let it sink in for a second.  I know what you are thinking.  What about The Masters?  I am not saying it is not great, if not the greatest golf tournament in the world.  I am saying The U.S. Open is the golf tournament a […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Member Post


Sohrab Ahmari’s latest piece in First Things cause quite a stir and rightfully so. I am a big fan of Ahmari and First Things- though both have disappointed in this episode. I appreciate David French, but he is far from my favorite conservative. David’s cultural tastes are different than mine. He likes the NBA, blockbuster […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

How Political Correctness Infects Religious Organizations


When I was in Israel just over a year ago, I had one of my most uncomfortable moments related to Judaism. I visited Beit Hatfutsot, the Diaspora Museum, on the Tel Aviv University campus. In one room, they featured small replicas from synagogues all over the world; it was a beautiful display. They also had films of international congregations conducting services from many different cities and towns. One of the films stopped me in my tracks: a group of Jewish women were being led in prayer by a small group of women—wrapped in tallitot and kipot—prayer shawls and skullcaps. As I recall, they were filming a service in the Midwest. Granted, I haven’t been in a Conservative or Reform synagogue in a very long time, but it was still a shock. I stepped away from the film and collected my bearings.

It’s not like I haven’t been exposed to the idea of women wearing tallitot previously. In fact, I had joined a Jewish group in Los Angeles that had a weekly discussion of the Torah. I also attended a silent retreat with them. At the end of the retreat, the women in the group called us all up (Aliyah) and we surrounded ourselves with prayer shawls. It was a unique and moving experience, and I decided to purchase my own prayer shawl.

The first morning I was going to say the prayers at home, I pulled out my new tallit and prayed. I was uneasy and uncomfortable the whole time. I put the tallit back in its bag and never took it out again.

Chaconne à Son Goût – Christmas Treats and Traditions


Plenty of today’s “Christmas carols” are unabashedly secular songs. So were many of the original Christmas carols, it’s just that their words were adapted to be overtly religious to celebrate Christian festivals. What we now call our sacred carols are typically festive, seasonal, and dancelike. Easter carols exist, but the most well-known sacred carols are for Christmas. The Christmas concert season often features other early music, too. Music that sounds “Christmassy” in part because our sacred carols are also largely early music.

The chaconne or passacaglia is one of these early-music tropes. There isn’t a fixed distinction between chaconne and passacaglia, or between these and other ground-bass forms (this is “ground” as in “foundational,” not as in we’re making sausage of the deep-voiced menfolk). But all describe a short bassline or chord progression repeated over and over … and over … again. The refrain of the carol “What Child Is This” (whose tune is also known as “Greensleeves,” and may or may not have originally been about a woman whose dress is green because she rolls around in the hay rather often), for example, uses a repeated romanesca progression. “What Child Is This” has a wistful, haunting character, and there’s no shortage of chaconnes in a minor key expressing lamentation (often with a bassline explicitly called a lament bass), but the chaconne seems to have descended from an impertinent, even “sexy” dance in 3/4 time.

The Old Wooden Shoeshine Box


Back in 2005, I was searching for a shoeshine box for my husband. I know that it’s a nutty gift, but I found all his shoe polish, old rags, and brush in a nasty, zip lock bag. He would get it out and polish and buff his shoes on occasion. He was taught to take care of his shoes, his car, his clothes, all his belongings.

I had fond memories of this wooden shoe box that belonged to my dad. My dad’s wooden shoe box contained all the supplies needed to make your leather shoes look like new, and a footrest to buff, on top of the box. I loved that box – it was a part of my dad’s life, like his army dog tags in his cedar box on the dresser from the 1940s, where he was deployed to Japan and served as military police, and his hand-tied fishing hooks that I still have from his fly-fishing days.

My husband reminisced about a similar shoeshine box that his dad bought him from a drugstore when he was ten. His dad showed him how to care for his shoes and it contained buffers, polishing rags, a brush and several colors of polishing paste. I was determined to find a similar box as a birthday gift.