We went on seven Crusades. Will we burn Qu’rans, too?


There is nothing more embarrassing, in this season of burning Qu’rans, than admitting that you married into a family that went on seven Crusades.

Graham clan crest

The Graham family crest is something of a medieval "gang tat."

The Montrose Graham clan doesn’t talk nowadays about the plainest meaning (in traditional heraldry) of its crest — the emblem that flew on its banners as it went into medieval battle. But it’s as aggressive a medieval “gang tat” as you can imagine:

Ne oublie: French for “do not forget”
The falcon: Single minded focus
Killing a stork: As today, the stork is family.

So the Grahams’ battleflag meant something like:

“Don’t forget, we’re so focused on our goal that we’d stomp our own mother if we had to.”

(Not a banner I’d want to face in battle!)

And as I look ahead to next weekend’s 9/11 events in Gainesville and elsewhere, I feel the spirit of the Crusading Grahams rising up, ready if not to “slay the infidel” at least to destroy his book.

Not among the Grahams, of course. Their faith has taken a different course. They would say:

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands. But those who hate him he will repay …  (Deut. 7: 9-10)

The Grahams I know have become teachers, pastors, worship leaders, and ethnomusicologists in the service of God’s kingdom. Not to mention music teachers, bookkeepers, sales reps, nurses, soldiers, college students, moms, dads, and much much more. They teach God’s truth and trust God to take any needed vengeance and do any necessary repayment.

Indeed, when my father-in-law — the one who married into the Grahams — lost all of his self-control and all of his social skills and almost all his memory to Alzheimers’ disease, he remembered only one thing, which he told everyone he met:

“You are wonderful! I love you!”

God continued to bless His Creation through my father-in-law long after Pop ceased to have any consciousness we could encounter.

The Grahams are a tight clan. But the one they “never forget” is their God.

Copyright (c) 2010 Carlene Byron

Is your “clan” helping you move toward God or urging you away from God? What can you do about it?

UPDATE: Gen. David Petraus told The Wall Street Journal that burning Qu’rans next weekend “could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort.”

“It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems. Not just here, but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community.”

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About Carlene Byron

Writer, editor, publicist, communications project manager ... I've written technology and infrastructure; I used to edit New England Church Life and The New England Christian and I've freelanced to publications ranging from Commonweal to Christianity Today. I'm now living in my hometown in Maine and am speaking about global perspectives on suicide prevention.
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