How Hard Is It To Miss The Point?

This post is a response to Dalrock’s latest, Missing the point is hard work. In that post Dalrock pokes fun at a certain Trevin Wax of the Gospel Coalition. Mr Wax apparently was stupefied as to why young girls were taking Frozen and its song “Let it Go” as encouragement to be immoral. He was expecting a toxic message, seemingly found a decent message, and yet the toxic message seems to seep through. How can this be?

Well, let me be the Devil’s Advocate for Mr. Wax.

You see, I think the key is understanding levels of communication. As an adult Mr. Wax is picking up the (apparent) deeper message of the story. Namely that “letting go” is a disaster of an idea. This deeper message is not surface level- it requires analysis. Maybe not a lot, but analysis nonetheless. And it also requires a certain level of critical viewing skill as well. Guess what kids don’t have? Yeah, that.

The problem is that the toxic message is surface level. This is what children are picking up- especially through the music. The song celebrates rebellion, and all its accompanying sins. That is what the children listen to, that is what they sing, and that is what they memorize. They don’t do any of that for the deeper messages of the story (which I assume are present).

This is why Disney and similar products are so insidious. An adult watching them might think that the message of the story is ok- that it teaches that being rebellious and selfish and whatnot is a bad idea, and will leader to disaster. But the children are getting an entirely different message- one that is reverberated again and again, especially thanks to music.

Is all of this obvious- well, to some degree. But I suspect many miss it. A singular problem that I have noticed in my life is that many adults have forgotten what it is like to be a child. Especially parents. This only contributes to their often foolish behavior as parents. I suspect that some of this is going on as well.

But whatever else, this is how people “miss it.” It doesn’t even require willful blindness- just a healthy dose of folly and a lack of perception. And unfortunately those are in abundant supply these days.

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Selected Sunday Scriptures- #135

Today’s post is inspired by this recent post over at Zippy’s. A major point of discussion in the comments is Christian (in that particular context Catholic Christian) heroism. I want to move this post out of a narrow Catholic context into one that all Christians can address. A question is necessary: are we, as Christians, called to heroism? Lets look at some Scripture:

23 When they were released they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who didst make the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, 25 who by the mouth of our father David, thy servant, didst say by the Holy Spirit,

‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples imagine vain things?
26 The kings of the earth set themselves in array,
and the rulers were gathered together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed’—

27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against thy holy servant Jesus, whom thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever thy hand and thy plan had predestined to take place. 29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats, and grant to thy servants to speak thy word with all boldness, 30 while thou stretchest out thy hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of thy holy servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.

(Acts 4:23-31)

That whole chapter features boldness, which I think is a heroic quality.

I thank God whom I serve with a clear conscience, as did my fathers, when I remember you constantly in my prayers. As I remember your tears, I long night and day to see you, that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lo′is and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you. Hence I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control.

Do not be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but take your share of suffering for the gospel in the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not in virtue of our works but in virtue of his own purpose and the grace which he gave us in Christ Jesus ages ago, 10 and now has manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 For this gospel I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, 12 and therefore I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. 13 Follow the pattern of the sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus; 14 guard the truth that has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.

(2 Timothy 3-14)

These are just a couple of passages, but to me it seems like we as Christians are called to boldness and endure great challenges. Seems an awful lot like heroism to me. However, I could be wrong. So I ask my readers to offer their thoughts. And if they have passages from Scripture which they think would fit (or counter the above), feel free to mention them below.

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Saturday Saints- #135

We finish up another round of alphabetical saints today with the letter Z. Our saint hails from central/eastern Europe and is Saint Zdislava Berka:

Zdislava Berka T.O.S.D. (also, Zdislava of Lemberk; c. 1220–1252) was the wife of Havel of Markvartice, Duke of Lemberk, and is a Czech saint of the Roman Catholic Church. She was a particularly austere and generous woman who founded a convent.

Zdislava was from a Moravian family, born in Křižanov, in what is now the Žďár nad Sázavou District of the Czech Republic. She was reportedly an unusually devout child, who at age seven ran away into the forest with the intention of living a hermit’s life of prayer and solitude. She was forcibly returned by her family, and made to live a normal childhood from that point on. Later, her family arranged for her to marry Bohemian lord Havel of Markvartice (also known as Gallus of Lämberg or Havel of Lemberk) from prosperous Marquards family, founder of the towns of Jablonné (German: Deutsch Gabel) and Habelschwerdt (now Bystrzyca Kłodzka). Together they would have four children.

More can be found out about her at her wiki, located here.

 

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When Compassion Becomes Divorced From Reality

Reader Michael K alerted me to this this article yesterday, and I thought it was worth remarking on. The tagline is “Beware of false compassion in implementing Amoris Laetitia.” Its not long, but I won’t quote the whole piece. Instead, here is the relevant section:

Maybe my experience is atypical. But I doubt it. Statistically speaking, men are more likely than women to remarry after a divorce. And that’s just one way in which men typically fare better than women after the breakdown of a marriage. Divorced woman are disproportionately likely to have financial problems, health problems, emotional problems. In a word, they are apt to be women in need.

If Catholic pastors adopt a more open attitude toward divorce, along the lines suggested by Amoris Laetitia, will that attitude benefit the people most in need? As a practical matter, if pastors make a special point of welcoming divorced-and-remarried Catholics, will the benefits flow to the spouses who are abandoned, or to those who abandoned them?

Since the publication of Amoris Laetitia, much has been written about women who have been abandoned by one man and subsequently formed a new union with another. For every wife who is cruelly abandoned, there is a husband who cruelly abandoned her. He, too, might feel more comfortable if the Church relaxes her traditional insistence on the permanence of the marriage bond. Should he?

If women typically suffer more than men after a divorce, the children of a broken home often suffer even more. What sort of message do those children receive, when they see their father, who deserted them to live with another woman, sitting in the front pew with his attractive new partner, while they huddle in the back with their mother, all dressed in second-hand clothes?

Anyone notice a possible problem with what he said?

Well, lets start with the fact that the author mentions some statistics about divorce. Specifically, about who does better afterwards. But then he stops there. No further statistics come into play. Which is a pity. Because if they were, it would help show the error in his argument.

Because from there he essentially makes the argument that men are the primary beneficiaries in divorce, and thus are responsible for the problem.  In other words, all the blame falls on them. There is this implicit assumption throughout that men instigate divorce more than women. We know this isn’t true; in fact the complete opposite is the case. Women initiate most divorces.

Furthermore, look at that final sentence. Does anyone else find that, well, questionable? I mean, has the author ever heard of child support? The truth is usually the opposite- it is the mom who enjoying her ex-husbands income, while he is making do with less- living in a smaller apartment, driving an old car and struggling with finances. Of course, not always; but there are always exceptions.

Also consider this: if mom makes the poor decision re: divorce, why shouldn’t we expect her to make other poor decisions? Decisions which end up with her in a bad financial state? Poor decision makers have a habit of making poor decisions. That is common sense- which we all know is anything but common.

This is just another example of a classic white knight in action. [If I was Rollo I would probably insert here some comment about how this Catholic is saying that loosening the  Catholic approach to the divorce should be rejected because it interferes with the feminine imperative.] Compassion is a good thing. But we must not divorce compassion from reality, else wise we end up doing more evil than good. In this case, it would be poisoning the argument against AL by using faulty examples of where it fails Catholic teaching.

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Power And Control

Zippy has a new post up which demands a follow-up: With great power comes great incontinence. Short and to the point, I am tempted to repeat all of it. Instead I will merely quote what I see as the key parts. They are:

 

  • The most primal power of men is violence

  • The most primal power of women is sex

  • [O]ur society is willing to punish crimes of violence but is not willing to punish crimes of sex

I think it should be readily apparent to all my readers, but I will repeat it all the same-

Society and Civilization can only exist when there are structures in place which control the base, primal natures of human beings. Failure to control that primal nature leads to savagery in the end, and that means chaos. Towards that end, the building and the maintenance of civilization requires that the primal nature of both men and women alike must be strictly controlled and regulated.

For men our most primal power is violence. Thus, to control our primal nature requires the strict regulation of male violent tendencies. Fail to do so, and you have disorder.

For women, their most primal power is sex. Thus, to control their primal nature requires the strict regulation of female sexual tendencies. Fail to do so, and you have disorder.

The problem right now is what Zippy notes- we regulate violence extensively, but not sexuality. The result is that women are now the primary source of disorder in the “Civilized West.” This will not change until sexuality is regulated with the same fierceness as violence is.

Unfortunately, what we see now is that efforts are being made to double down on the regulation of the male capacity for violence. And further efforts are being made to double down on the deregulation of female sexual tendencies. Rollo has a new post  where this is discussed in the context of The War on Paternity. While most previous efforts to ensure paternity in the past have been dismantled, new technology has changed the field. DNA testing means that a man really can be certain, for the first time in history, that a child is truly his. That naturally conflicts with female sexual power. Thus, it has to go. Hence we are seeing increased efforts to limit when paternity testing can take place, and when it can be used to change a man’s situation (legally, at least).

I have some more thoughts I may add to this post as I develop them. In the meantime feel free to comment below.

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Selected Sunday Scriptures- #134

So I guess there was something of a debate over at Dalrock because of this post. Scott wrote his own thoughts about it over here. I’ve got a few thoughts of my own, but they are tied to scripture- hence why they are in this post. Reading through Dalrock’s post, I immediately saw the apparent “shallowness” of Mrs. Stone’s approach. At the same time, I was reminded of this:

He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a steward, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’ And the steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the stewardship away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do, so that people may receive me into their houses when I am put out of the stewardship.’ So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ The master commended the dishonest steward for his prudence; for the sons of this world are wiser in their own generation than the sons of light And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations.

(Luke 16:1-9)

I also got to thinking of this passage from First Timothy:

Now we know that the law is good, if any one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 immoral persons, sodomites, kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 in accordance with the glorious gospel of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

(1 Timothy 1:8-11)

The way I look at it is this:

Those who are truly good – or at least aspiring towards it- won’t need the kind of admonishment that Heidi provides. They will want to honor their vows, they will want to be loyal and faithful, etc. However, not everyone is like that. Some wives will not be like that- either because they never truly were, or because they are going through a time of personal weakness. Whatever the cause, they are not necessarily inclined to seek righteousness at that point. However, those who weak in that way might be persuaded by Heidi. She will appeal to their lesser nature- their cunning. And that is something that we as Christians should understand, and acknowledge as perhaps helpful. After all, that is the point of the first passage above- cunning has its use. And we as Christians should recognize it. Even if “lowly” methods are what is needed at the time, we can always appeal to the higher nature later.

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Der Kommissar

Scott is once again lamenting the current state of affairs in our society, in particular the madness of the “Watermelon purge.” The part that caught my attention is this:

They have no idea the purging pogrom that is coming if this stuff is not stopped. No one will escape it. If you have ever posted something online that looked like a watermelon, smelled like a watermelon or had the word “black” in it, you will be dismissed from polite society. It’s just not your turn yet.

Scott is correct- the new Commissars are indeed coming. The West is in for a series of purges, the likes of which haven’t been seen for a very long time. I use the word Commissar because the allusion to Communist enforces of “orthodoxy” is quite apparent. The same level of viciousness is to be expected, although perhaps not the same level of violence. Rather, I predict that social, political and economic sanctions will be the primary means of enforcement. All the same, it won’t be pretty.

Watermelons are far from the beginning, and far from the end. I’ve written on this many times before. Sadly, I will be writing on it in the future- at least, until I am forced to abandon this blog… or it is shut down.

 

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