Monday, April 28, 2014

All or None

"Parents Call Cops on Teens" I found this story amusing in some ways. But I also found it stupid. What a stupid bunch of parents. 

See, I don't like the idea of banning books. It isn't because I don't think there are some books that are trash and should be burned. Should never be published, in fact. I do think there is material out there that should be tossed on bonfires. But I'm opposed to anyone telling another person what to read, watch, listen to, or think. The only exception I make to the material that denigrates human beings, women and children in particular, into objects of abuse. These come from sick, twisted minds and have no place in any civilized society.

There are materials on the market - books, movies, magazines, songs, programs that I find very offensive and believe should not be out there. But I have no right to try and stop someone who wants that from seeking it out. I don't like it but I have no say in their choices. 

There are people who are actively trying to ban all Christian literature, television programing, movies, and radio programs. I'm a Christian and I'm threatened by that. No one has a right to prevent me from seeking out those things and reading, watching, and listening to them.

If you seek a righteous society it must be obtained by choice, not by force. In an equal society, that is balanced and just, you must allow people to choose between good and evil. Joshua said, "Choose you this day whom you will serve. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." He didn't make the choice for them. He gave them the choice. Their choice could result in separation from the nation. He knew that. His choice was clear. Theirs was up to them. He turned his back and walked into the Promised land. I doubt he looked back to see who followed.

You need to be teaching your children from the time they are toddlers what is that good reading material and what is garbage. I remember when my youngest son, David came and told me some adolescent books he'd requested were inappropriate for him to read. He was 13. I didn't tell him. He told me. And he tossed them, the whole set that he'd requested as gifts or had bought with his own money. His daughter has been watching t.v. shows and on occasion will say, "Mawmaw, I don't think this is appropriate for me to watch." She's seven. We turn it off or change the program.I don't watch much t.v., particularly children's programing since my sons grew up. I take her word for it because she's been taught. 

We live in a nation predicated upon free speech. And you can't have it both ways. Either it is free to all or it is free to none, no matter how much I dislike the other side, no matter how much they dislike mine. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

False Impressions

I was talking with my Aunt Phillis this weekend about something while we were in the car. She and my uncle were visiting from Atlanta for the weekend. Something was said about King David. I don't remember what but she told me about how everyone seemed to paint David as such a good man when in fact, he was a terrible man. He stole another man's wife. I laughed at her but the realization struck me that it was true. Not only was he an adulterer but a murderer. He arranged the death of the woman's husband. That's pretty awful when you think about. But the Bible calls him a man after God's own heart. 

I pointed out to her that not only did it seem that David was painted better than he actually was, Bathsheba, the woman he lusted after, was made to sound like a victim. Go back and read the story. There isn't much said about her but when I read it I feel like she was taken advantage of. The truth is she was a participant. 

I hear some of you now saying, "She had no choice! He was the King!" 

Hogwash. She could have said no. She could actually have gone to the elders and complained or to the priest. She could have raised a huge stink. There were things she could have done to draw a lot of attention. There were people who would have been thrilled to publish the news. But when summoned, she went, took off her clothes, and had sex with the King. She went home, continued to bathe on her exposed rooftop, and when she became pregnant, she moseyed over and told David. Do not tell me she didn't know she could be seen by anyone in the palace. She lived close enough to the palace that she knew exactly which windows the king spent time looking out. When her husband came home, to be set up as the illegitimate child's father, she kept her mouth shut. She never cried rape, a heinous crime punishable by death. So was murder.

I don't believe she was afraid of the king. I think she saw an opportunity and she took it. I believe this because when it came time for David to step down, due to his health, she pranced into the King's quarters, where his current concubine lay in the bed with him, and told him that one of his son's was trying to usurp the crown and David had promised her that "her son" would be the next King of Israel. David promptly crowned Solomon. No arguments from him.

Tell me she didn't have that in mind all along. Hogwash. She was an adulteress and a liar and a co-conspirator in the death of her first husband. She was not nice. She was not a victim. But do you ever get that opinion of her from anyone teaching on this story? No.

So, why is it that David is a man after God's own heart? My aunt and I agreed that the reason was because he recognized when he had sinned. He sincerely repented and actively attempted to right his wrongs. He accepted his punishment without flinching. And he was punished several times. When it was all said and done, he kept God sovereign and accepted whatever came at the hands of God, even if it harmed him. And because of those traits, God favored him. Not because of the wicked things he did, but because of the sincerity of David's repentance.

I don't really know why David and Bathsheba are painted they way they seem to be in all the Sunday School lessons and sermons I've ever heard. That impression of them is completely false. I am interested in why, just now, I see them in a whole new light. They weren't a good man making a single mistake or a woman victimized by a king. Their actions were inexcusable. They were overtaken in not one fault but several. As a result a man died and a child died and events that followed were irrevocably altered. Had they not done what they did, Solomon would never have been born and Israel would have taken a completely different path. Not one life changed, but a whole nation. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Age of Grace

I was reading a post by my writing buddy, A Writer Called Wanda about the aging process. She told a story about aging gracefully and it reminded me of my great aunts and my grandmother. 

I grew up surrounded by these wonderful women who I just thought were all beautiful, genteel, dignified Southern ladies. They knew how to dress and they spoke so sweetly and seemed so content and did things. They were great fun to be around and they all laughed a lot, lovely lady-like laughs but genuine laughter all the same. I just loved to see them and I wanted to be like them when I got old. 

I'm there and I've come to realize that maybe I did them a disservice. They made it look so easy and I thought it would be. I've started to think I did something wrong. It isn't easy. I'm grumpy and intolerant and annoyed by people. 

I know their life stories but didn't think about the issues they might have dealt with when I was young as being issues. I do now. In hindsight, which is always crystal clear, they had to deal with the same kind of problems I deal with - illnesses, children, jobs, spouses, war, death - and yet they seemed to be so ... together. So, I'm now asking, how did they do it?  And how do I come out at the end with the same dignity they had despite the problems they had to deal with? I am nothing like those wonderful ladies and it upsets me because they were the ideal. My ideal. 

I think the difference is in our expectations. Their whole outlook on life and what it was all about was totally different from this generation. They lived through the depression and scarcity. Through struggles I've never and will never experience when they were young. The world was different and people's brains were wired differently. They lived a different lifestyle. There was no handouts. It was do or die. So they did. They became strong and courageous women capable of building airplanes or spending hours in sewing plants making shirts or hoeing in fields to grow their own food. As they grew older they knew that aging is inevitable, but aging with grace and style is a choice. 

 I'm a wimp. I had superheros for aunts.