Friday, April 15, 2005

Whose Blog Cabin?

Whose blog Cabin?
Let me be the first to comment on the title of my blog, lest someone think it's intended as any kind of insensitive slur.The name was suggested to me by my brother-in-law, and it had such a good ring to it, I couldn't resist. However, this being a Christian blog, I decided I'd better research the term before using it in a God-fearing context.
I knew (in a general way) that the "Uncle Tom" term was not typically used in flattery. To my embarrassment, that's about all I really knew.A quick search got me up to speed on Harriet Beecher Stowe's antislavery novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin, whose main character is a Christ-like sufferer. However, the term itself came to be used, not as an acknowledgement of someone's righteous willingness to suffer nobly, but to describe a person playing the servile role to whites for lesser motivations than Christ-likeness.

This revealing website explains the difference between the character in the original book, and the less flattering versions of the Uncle Tom character portrayed in theatrical productions.
According to Patricia Turner, author of Ceramic Uncles & Celluloid Mammies:
Further marked inconsistencies are discernible between the values and principles of the reconstructed Uncle Tom and Stowe's original hero. Both are devout, stalwart Christians. Both are unflinching in their loyalty. But the reconstructed Uncle Toms are passive, docile, unthinking Christians. Loyal and faithful to white employers, they are duplicitous in their dealings with fellow blacks. Stowe's Tom is a proactive Christian warrior. He does more than accept God's will, he endeavors to fulfill it in all of his words and deeds. He is loyal to each of his white masters, even the cruel Simon Legree. Yet his allegiance to his fellow slaves is equally strong.

Other entries in Wikipedia give excellent descriptions of both the Uncle Tom's Cabin book, and the term Uncle Tom.
So why all this info just to justify a blog name? Well, I wasn't even going to use the name, until I did the research and found the strong Christian theme. Since I hope to provoke Christians and non-Christians alike with this blog, the title should work just fine.
Oh, and just for the record, this Uncle Tom really is:
A) named Tom
B) an Uncle (of three nephews)
C) the writer of a blog. I'd like to say I write it from a cozy log cabin, but that would be a lie
D) a growing Christian. I've got a long way to go before anyone would ever describe me like the Uncle Tom of Harriet Beecher Stowe's book - "a proactive Christian warrior. He does more than accept God's will, he endeavors to fulfill it in all of his words and deeds." My only hope to ever become such an individual is rooted in one of my favorite scriptures, Philippians 1:6:
"He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ."

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