Glory and Obscurity

“Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever.”

Who do you suppose said that? An obscure figure unknown by history? A great historical figure whose glory fled? 

It was the latter – Napoléon Bonaparte (1769 – 1821), glorious military conqueror, political hero of the French Revolution, and Emperor, who died ingloriously in exile on the Isle of Saint Helena.

Napoleon and the Napoleonic Code

Napoleon and the Napoleonic Code

The Napoleonic Code, which forbade privileges based on birth, allowed freedom of religion, and specified that government jobs should go to the most qualified, remains his legacy. Upon his death, more than 1,000,000 people are said to have viewed his remains when he was brought home to Paris.

Obscurity: “the state of being unknown, inconspicuous, or unimportant.”

Might Napoleon have endorsed Nelson Mandela‘s sentiment, spoken when Mandela was leaving behind a glorious career and office in South Africa:  “I would like to rest, and welcome the possibility of reveling in obscurity”?

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, November 4, 2015

John the Baptist, Jesus, and Mandela

Preached the Sunday after the death of Nelson Mandela, this sermon sought to tie together the first anniversary of the tragedy of Sandy Hook in Newtown, CT (December 15) and the date of Reconciliation Day in post-Apartheid South Africa (December 16), the date in 1977 when Nelson Mandela marked a quote from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in what became known as The Robbins Bible, a complete works of Shakespeare that had been smuggled into the Robbins Prison by an Indian inmate.

Warren, Mandela, and Truth

This morning’s Washington Post ran the story “Think tank’s criticism of Elizabeth Warren’s populist policies leads to Democratic feud”. Click HERE to read the story.

The story runs the day after the death of one of the world’s great leaders who turned his vision into reality in South Africa: Nelson Mandela. It was reading the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr. and biographies of Gandhi that Mandela became the voice that changed Apartheid.

Reading the online “comments” on today’s Washington Post article about Senator Warren led me to leave my own comment, as follows.

Elizabeth Warren rankles the feathers of all who have yet to see the insidious assault of crony capitalism on the integrity of a democratic Republic. Right, left, and center thinking people in this country recognize we have a VERY serious systemic problem that required redress. Think tanks, like political parties themselves, belong to the people who pay their bills. Senator Warren does not work for a think tank, and does not work for the Democratic Party. She represents the people with conscience, clarity, and boldness that cut to the quick. That’s to be applauded. Dismissing her as an unrealistic idealist is also to dismiss Abraham Lincoln, Sojourner Truth, Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, and, particularly apt for today, Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu who saw something better for their societies.

Chime in with your views.

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

A mandala
Black Center
Warm light
To the cold
Of the circle
Of White

A Light
In the
Dark night
His light
Does not

– Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, Dec. 5, 2013