So there I was, teaching my 8th grade CCD class all about mortal and venial sin. And the question came.
"Mrs. Fox, who can really say what 'good' is; doesn't that come down to each person's opinion?"
I thought that it was as good a time as any to discuss 'Objective Truth'. And so I brought up a subject we had discussed in an earlier class - abortion. I told the students that the arguments for abortion were many and varied - women were poor; they were powerless; they were sick; they were in danger of destroying their lifestyle; and on, and on, and on. Even the real life scenario I had come across in my law practice - a woman was married, and the child she carried was not her husband's. The birth of that child could destroy her marriage, break up a family, cause great pain. All these, my students admitted, were serious issues, and 'good' reasons for abortion.
And then I asked them to think further. I asked them what would happen if that woman did not terminate her pregnancy - was there any doubt that a child would be born? They answered, "no". So we thereafter agreed that it is a human child that we are dealing with. That's a pretty basic fact.
Okay, I then mentioned the additional fact that there is now hard medical evidence that the pre-born child feels pain during the abortion. Even without the evidence, there is the video called 'Silent Scream'. It is the video that, on the spot, made an abortionist give up his trade. You see we have something called 'ultrasound technology' now; and this doctor was using an ultrasound machine one day while performing an abortion.
And there it was.
As the abortionist's tools began to approach the baby boy, he suddenly began to jerk and try to pull away. His heart began to beat wildly, and desperately, the small unborn child sought escape - but there was none. Yet that was not the worst part... That part occurred as the abortionist began to - limb by limb - cut and pull the child apart. The child screamed. Showing complete and total agony - the child opened his mouth in a heartrending - albeit silent - scream.
The abortionist hung up his tools; and went home - destroyed. For the first time, he was able to visibly see what he was doing. He was killing a human life. Quietly, and silently - but not without agony; not without pain.
It reminds me of the plight of those millions of African American slaves who lived desperate, pain filled existences - out of the sight of all but those on the plantations. No one else heard their screams - and hence, slavery continued for 350 years.
But back to my class. We agreed that women's lives often times are desperate; and they have little, if any, 'choices'. We also agreed that the subject of the abortion, was an actual human being - who feels pain. I then asked the students to visualize something. I stood before them, and asked them to consider me as a poor, powerless woman. I then asked them to imagine a 2 day old baby, laying in a basket, on a desk next to me.
I asked them who was the most powerless person in that scene. They pointed to the baby. So I brought up another real life situation. I told them that, if the baby lived, I would have to give up my education to care for the baby. I would not be able to achieve the goals that I had set for my life. I then asked them to consider how desperate my situation was, and then decide who was the most powerless - me or the infant. Without hesitation, they all pointed to the baby.
It was clear to me that I needed to work harder for them to see exactly how desperate my situation could be. I told them to imagine that I was the woman who had had the affair. My life, marriage and family would be destroyed if that child lived. NOW, I asked to tell me who was the most powerless person - me, or the infant in the basket next to me. They hesitated a minute; and then all pointed to the baby. So I tried to make it even more desperate. I said that my health was bad, if I let that baby live then there was a good chance that my health could be seriously damaged; I might even die eventually. NOW, who was the most powerless person? They hesitated another minute; and then cautiously all pointed to... the baby.
And that; ladies and gentlemen; is Objective Truth.
I explained to my students that we, as a culture, try to tell people that we are 'good' because we fight for the weakest, we fight for the destitute, we fight for those who have no one to fight for them. I also pointed out to my students that we, as a culture, proclaim that a woman's 'right to choose' is a good thing; in fact, we proclaim to the rooftops that we are so 'progressive' that we fight for that right everywhere it is infringed upon in the least bit.
And I asked my students to look at the objective truth of that 'goodness'. Is it good - or is it evil? Is it standing up for the weakest among us - or is it killing the weakest among us? And I explained that objective truth is 'objective' because no matter what someone says about it - it simply is truth. And if we actually stop listening to the lying and deceptive voices trying to distract us from that truth - we will have no problem determining Good; and Evil.
Now, If 8th graders can 'get it'; why can't we?
I am, once again, wrestling with the state of the world - the level of darkness in it and the sinfulness of people's hearts and souls. I had come back from a teacher's conference where someone had made an innocent reference to an antique garden hoe that they had found. Except they called it a "Virginia hoe". Suddenly the room filled with much laughter. I had no clue what they were laughing about; and looked around for answers. (Being clueless is NOT a rare occurance for me - hence I've learned to be a quick study...) And then I realized. They were laughing because the words 'Virginia hoe', made everyone think of a whore. In the US, the word 'ho' has come to be associated with it. Even my 6th graders knew that. Everyone knew that. Everyone except me.
Have I mentioned that I don't watch television anymore? I stopped about 25 years ago. Simply had no time with 4 small children and a husband gone to sea. I never picked the habit back up. Once the children were older, I began my law practice, and never had a spare minute to waste. Now I wonder how anyone manages to get anything done in this world. Studies show that people watch television every single night! How are they living?
I know one thing that they are not doing. They are not keeping an innocent heart, and mind.
I was also, a couple weeks ago, at a conference for my husband's employment. One of his colleagues was there, and began talking about the hotel rooms and how they were condusive to intimate relations. However, he did not use the term 'intimate relations' - he used something much cruder. I was embarrassed to have heard it; but I suppose I was not surprised. Gone are the days when certain things were NEVER raised in 'polite company'. I suppose, perhaps, because gone is 'polite company'.
And so my newest mantra is not just that television will waste your time - it is that television is destroying your mind, heart and soul. The level of sin, filth and sexual innuendo that has grown in our culture can be laid directly at its feet - and we seem to not even notice. We seem to think that this is how it has always been. But it's not. People did not eat, breathe, and swallow sin when I was young. It was unheard of, and would be crushed immediately if discovered. People then had strong boundaries that kept those horrible things OUT THERE. But we have actually now invited those horrible things IN HERE - into our living rooms - and they have slowly, but surely, taken over our minds.
These are not horrible people I am talking about. They are us. Teachers and pilots, wives and husbands, mothers and fathers, teenagers and children - all think that to think with a filthy mind is normal; to see sex in a garden hoe is normal; to waste and even destroy your life is.... normal.
I have no answers but one: Pray, pray, and pray again. But first - turn off the television.
Caterpillars become butterflies. They do not have free will. They cannot look to God and say, "God, I refuse to become a butterfly." Nor does God say in reply, "Ok, caterpillar."
The caterpillar has no choice. It will become a butterfly. As it was designed by God to become one.
The good news is, you are not a caterpillar. The bad news is, you can say no to God because He has given you free will and He will respect your choice to refuse to become the person you were made to be.
Perhaps it is better to be forced to become a butterfly.
How many of us have been left to our own devices? We think that the person we are today is who we are. We were told that we can become whoever we want to be so that is what we did. Unfortunately, we were fed a lie.
The truth is that God made us. He made our personality. He thought up the original color of our hair. He loves the freckled places of our body. He gave you those specific gifts and talents for a reason. He made you. So many of us chalk up our gifts and talents with the thought: "Oh, well everyone is good at this." The truth is that no, not everyone is good at it. YOU are good at it. For a reason. God made it so for a specific purpose. It is your job to figure out what is that purpose.
God did not make you out of happen-chance. You were thought up and loved before the beginning of time. God could have made a gazillion times gazillion amount of people. Instead, He only made a specific number of them. You are one of them. For a reason.
Just because you have become someone does not mean that you have become the man or woman God intended you to become. Culture influences our life philosophies. Society stamps its opinions into our minds. How much of you -- the you that you are today -- has been influenced by the goodness and beauty and truth of our good God?
Answering the question in an honest manner might scare you. Do not fret. We all, hopefully, begin this journey toward truth, beauty, and goodness somewhere. Perhaps this is where you begin yours.
This is what happens when you raise children to walk with God - and use their talents. You end up getting dragged into a blog...
Oh well, here we go with the latest great Fox adventure! Hopefully it will go better than one of the other Fox adventures: learning to scuba-dive (in the local pool). The instructor told us that there was nothing to worry about - if we began to panic - then just STAND UP.
If I recall, Mom (aka: Me) ended up bolting up after my mouthpiece was yanked from me by one of my darling children (who shall remain nameless) so that she could practice 'rescue breathing'. Unfortunately, the one who needed to be rescued was Mom... (aka: ME!).
At least a blog will not come with a lung full of chlorinated water...
Nonetheless, Saint Irenaeus once said that, “The glory of God is man fully alive.” I think you will find that my children (and soon to be new son (in-law)) are 'fully alive' - and our life as a family reflects it.
Hold on to your hats, for it is certainly an interesting ride...
A college professor once gave out a final exam with only one question on it. "Why?" The students could not believe that after hours of study it would come down to this one question, and their one answer to it. Some chalked it up, made one comment, turned it in, and left the room. Others spent hours trying to write something of venerable worth. The professor graded the exams.
The students that wrote the word "Because" in frustration to the question received an F. The students who spent hours trying to come up with a venerable reply received a C. Those that scribbled the two-minute reply "Why not?" worthily received an A+.
Even worse, do you lack the confidence you need and instead rely on what others think of you, all the while trying to prove your way into their positive light?
Life is about more than reacting and brown-nosing.
Life is about more than reacting and brown-nosing. It is about discovering a great God who made you out of love. It is about hoping in that love that He will always be there for you, whether or not the chance of life has you on your face deep down in mud. I hope in Christ, our Lord, who loved us so much He became man, died for our sins, and rose again. You and I are His children, the children of God. I hope in His eternal Resurrection. You and I are on this earth for a short time. We have a purpose in life. Our purpose must be discovered. It must be confidently walked in. It must be made wonderfully known to ourselves and to the world.
Do you know the reason for your life? Do you know why you are here? It is a question of inestimable worth that demands an answer and cannot be ignored.
Ashley and Susan
Two women asking the world to not just hope, but to Hope in Love.