Mother’s Day on a Stick?

Mother’s Day on a Stick? May 11, 2023

 “…Women such as Julia Ward HoweAnna Jarvis, and Anna Jarvis “Jr.”  [the originators of Mothers Day] really ought to be more familiar to us.  In some ways, I feel like being a bit of a party-pooper for reminding us of the overtly radical and political origins of this special day. I mean, there’s “nothing more American than baseball, apple pie, and mom.” Why politicize it?

Well, because it is political. It is radical. And it is subversive. Sadly, the holiday was co-opted by commercial forces. Anna Jarvis was devastated, and dedicated her inheritance and the rest of her life fighting the corruption of the sacred celebration. She even came to say that she “wished she would have never started the day because it became so out of control.” It’s time to take back Mothers Day for Peace. Let us remember the origins of this day to truly honor it – and our mothers and foremothers. One way to consider doing this is to participate in the various anti-war/pro-peace events which seek to sway our government to consider another way regarding our current war in Afghanistan — and all future potential conflicts. …”

…words I originally wrote in an article back in 2010 – “Mother’s Day is for Peace.” In that article, I shared how the original intent of the various founders of Mother’s Day was for it to be a day for the mothers of the nation – and even the world – to unite in protest against injustice – and especially against war. Those founding mothers were traumatized by witnessing armies drafting their boys and senselessly sending them into the slaughterhouse of warfare. They wanted to put an end to that so they tried to unite mothers in a common cause to prophetically speak truth to power and say “NO MORE WAR!” (Think MADD – Mothers Against Drunk Driving but focused on war)

I shared how the creation of a Mothers Day for Peace never quite came to pass as the founders had hoped, and I shared about their deep disappointment that it became sentimentalized and commercialized. As a progressive Christian pastor, this reminds me of how Jesus’ intentions for fellow humans to come to know and experience the same deep communion that he had with God through following a radical way of love, trust, cooperation, sharing, and communal inter-dependence came to be reduced to a religion that’s primarily about getting people to believe “the right things” – instead of living the right way; i.e., shifting from the religion of Jesus to a religion about him. To worshipping him instead of following his way. Sigh.

I’d like to invite us to revisit some of those earlier words that I wrote – “there’s “nothing more American than baseball, apple pie, and mom.” They of course refer to a particular nostalgic vision of America; i.e., a largely white/Anglo, Norman Rockwellian ideal of what the U.S.A. is all about. That said, close to half of the professional major league baseball players in the U.S. are people of color; most everyone enjoys baked goods infused with fruit; and most of us were born and raised by mothers.

Let’s focus on the apple pie. A slice of apple pie every once in a while is good for us. It’s perfect for people to share and enjoy on several holidays. In many families (likely most) apple pies are baked by mothers and grandmothers – and it’s that special ingredient of love that makes them so wonderful. Mmm. Yet, what if someone took the slices of apple pie and deep-fried them; shoved sticks in them; and smothered them with 6 kinds of syrup? Is that an improvement? Umm, that would strike most of us as unnecessarily decadent, obscene, and simply “too much.” It’s taking something arguably wholesome and turning it into something profoundly toxic and unhealthy. The deep-fried version isn’t an improvement and it’d be best to not have them around – otherwise there’d be spikes in diabetes, obesity, and early deaths across the land.

deep fried moon pie on a stick

I’d like to invite us to see this apple pie story as an analogy. The leading cause of death for children ages 3-18 in the United States is firearms. This hasn’t always been true. It’s a recent turn of events. Assault style rifles such as the A.R. 15 are flooding the market. There are more mass shootings in the U.S. in each year than there are days in the year. Children are forced to practice active shooter drills in their schools. Generations are growing up traumatized. This is unacceptable. We cannot let this be our “normal.”

Now, calling for banning all guns would be like banning all apple pie. Ain’t gonna happen. Yet, in the same way that it’d be for the best for us to not shift to deep fried apple pie on a stick, it’s for the best for us to limit sales and access to semi-automatic firearms – especially assault style firearms. This could be done through many means including:  raising the age to purchase or own such weapons from 18 to 21 (or 25); requiring background checks on all persons who purchase or own them; banning the sale of AR15s; requiring a unique insurance policy for each semi-auto firearm a person owns; banning large capacity magazines (which hold the bullets); offering single payer universal health care that covers mental health; and/or re-instating the Assault Weapons Ban that our nation had in place for 10 years. The number of mass shootings and the average number of fatalities in mass shootings was reduced because of that ban.

It is very much in the spirit of the women who worked to create Mothers Day to honor them by seeking to save the lives of children. It’s time to renew the Million Mother March. And it’s time to not just see this as “women’s work” – it takes a village to raise children into adulthood and we need people of all sexes and genders to be part of this effort.

Anything less is downright UnChristian and UnAmerican. Let’s love our mammas – and – let’s cease our warring ways.

XX ~ Roger

  Rev. Roger Wolsey is a certified Spiritual Director, United Methodist pastor, and serves on the Board of Directors of ProgressiveChristianity.Org. He is a contributing writer for the Progressing Spirit newsletter, and author of Kissing Fish: christianity for people who don’t like christianity  His new book, Discovering Fire: Spiritual Practices That Transform Lives, is available on Amazon.image of roger wolseyimage of roger wolsey

Roger’s other blogs on Patheos   Roger’s website

If you would like to become a patron of Roger’s work as a spiritual writer, please click Here to learn more.

"I love Christ, and have since I was 5. I see everyone as a holy ..."

The Prophecies – Are False.
"Thank you. I would have to recommend "Tripocalypse", "Left Beyond", or "The Salvation War" if ..."

The Prophecies – Are False.

Browse Our Archives