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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Temperance Banner

The new banner on this blog was created from a photo I took at the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory on Belle Isle in Detroit, Michigan, USA.  It's of the Temperance sculpture dedicated by a Christian group in 1910.  While I don't agree with the extreme temperance movement (an oxymoron if there ever was one), the virtue of temperance itself is I believe worthy of respect.  Here is part of the definition taken from Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary 11th Edition:
  1. Moderation in action, thought, or feeling: restraint.
  2. Habitual moderation in the indulgence of the appetites or passions.
Side view of Temperance sculpture
How boring some would say and point out the quote I've seen attributed to Oscar Wilde, Ben Franklin and Mark Twain among others, "Moderation in all things, including moderation."  This quote is something I wish those pushing alcohol abstinence when this statue was erected would have taken to heart.

By no means am I temperate in all things.  But it's a personal goal I strive for at all levels physically, mentally and spiritually and in my dealings with other people.  I was reminded of this photo because of the somewhat recent internet Pagan brouhaha over soft vs. hard polytheism.  My eclecticism or maybe just my personality keeps me from caring about what others believe or how they practice their religion or live their spirituality as long as it isn't trampling on the rights and lives of others.  That doesn't mean I'm a big fan of the coexist bumper sticker ideology though.  Moderation shouldn't mean tolerating murderous, misogynistic religious ideologues.

Does temperance imply no passion?  I don't think so.  But scholars have been pondering this for centuries so I have some way to go in expounding on the virtue.  I'll leave you with some quotes I found to ponder for yourself.
"A man who is eating or lying with his wife or preparing to go to sleep in humility, thankfulness and temperance, is, by Christian standards, in an infinitely higher state than one who is listening to Bach or reading Plato in a state of pride."  ~ C. S. Lewis
"Temperance is moderation in the things that are good and abstinence in the things that are foul."  ~ Frances E. Willard
"Taste every fruit of every tree in the garden at least once.  It is an insult to creation not to experience it fully.  Temperance is wickedness."  Stephen Fry
Hmmm, it seems one man's foul would be another man's pleasure.

Basically, I hope you like the photo gentle readers.  Blessings.

© Trish Deneen

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