Happiness and Remembering

Happiness and Remembering

Random thoughts for the week after Thanksgiving:

Seven Steps to Happiness:

Think less, feel more.

Frown less, smile more.

Talk less, listen more.

Judge less, accept more.

Watch less, do more.

Complain less, appreciate more.

Fear less, love more.

And this because we must not forget the continuing persecution of our Jewish brother and sisters.

Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller was a German theologian and Lutheran pastor. He was a national conservative and initially a supporter of Adolf Hitler, but he became one of the founders of the Confessing Church, which opposed the Nazification of German Protestant churches. He vehemently opposed the Nazis' Aryan Paragraph, but made remarks about Jews that some scholars have called antisemitic. For his opposition to the Nazis' state control of the churches, Niemöller was imprisoned in Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps from 1938 to 1945. He narrowly escaped execution. After his imprisonment, he expressed his deep regret about not having done enough to help the victims of the Nazis. He turned away from his earlier nationalistic beliefs and was one of the initiators of the Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt. (Wikipedia)

He is best known for his opposition to the Nazi regime during the 1930s and for his widely-quoted poem "First they came ..." The best-known versions of the speech are the poems that began circulating by the 1950s. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum quotes the following text as one of the many poetic versions of the speech:

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Other versions exist which substitute communists for socialists or omit Jews or add the un-curable. Whichever version we come across, it is always challenging to our natural tendency for worrying about own interests and social groups, while setting aside Jesus’ call to love our neighbors and be our brothers’ (& sisters’!) keepers.