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Sometimes, we journey to the dark so we can be moved by the Light. We trace the furthest boundary lines behind our eyes. We get deep next to demons, weighed down from evil within and without. And when warmth first touches cheek or shoulder or the back of our knees, the weight may not lift but there is relief. . . . And it is the same magic— to feel Light's warmth after a cold night or a long stretch of summer, it is the same glory— to be reading the lectionary in a Home Depot parking lot with sleeping car seats or having a morning cup of coffee on the front stoop with my co-laborers. . . . Somehow, God has anchored the pale blue ombre sky above me like an endless umbrella. He covers and cloaks with Light and sometimes I have to go deep in dark to feel it's warmth. . . . Morning Call:  Lamentations 1:12 Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see if  there is any sorrow like my sorrow which was brought upon  me, whom the Lord hath afflicted. . . . Opening Prayer:  Loving Father, as we journey with your Son in this week of remembrance and hope, help us to experience and receive you and your love for the world more clearly. Transform us by the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. In the name of your Son, our Lord, we pray. Amen. #holyweek #notredame #outofthedarkness #intothelight
Naked morning comfort and I'm just basking in the humble light of it. They wear all their affections like clothes and this one makes me melt because they aren't so attached to their wholeness. They are ready to be broken to make peace with one another -- more ready than me, so I take notes. . . . The making of our Peace broke Him, completely. His humble persistence was full of glory because He was God, not because it looked good. Making peace means breaking pride, breaking selfish gain, breaking the sin inside that so easily entangles us, and breaking the power of the sin outside that so deceives us. . . . #newblog #momswhowrite #writersofinstagram #motherhood #siblings #siblingsasfriends #braveryofsmalllife #Godseconomy #kitchen #atlanta #family #teamkolts #teampixel #teampixelnofilter #nofilter #morningglow #morning #liveauthentic #kids #georgia #southernsummer
"Look, Mom! Edelweisses!!!!" And she passed the peace to me with flower weed stems and smooshed petals. The brisk tickle of Spring wind swept my elbows as I reached out to receive. . . . And it got made again, Peace. Established with delicate weed offerings and vulnerable outstretched hands, peace mended for a moment the breaks of the morning. The Great Deceiver's attempts to put us at odds— to wound one other with war words thrown in defense and pride— got smooshed underfoot in the backyard. . . . And I thought of Jesus making literal Peace, because the world doesn't allow it to come and be kept. Peace must be forged with active rebellion against the forces within and without that would rather war. We are a peace breaking people made in the image of One who carries Peace in his character, One who made Peace for us forever with God so that we can make peace today exactly where we are. . . . "For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility." Ephesians 2:14 . . . And the little child shall lead us.
I studied Job's friends pretending comfort, while withholding kindness and refusing to revive a weary spirit. I taught about the people in Jerusalem spreading their coats out like a royal carpet for the King of glory to ride in on a borrowed mule. I learned about the invisible God we try to force fit our image but our invisible spirit is made in His. I chased my littles in circles in the newly cut backyard and followed Foster's gaze to find birds high on budding branches. I heard Zella yell to our neighbor two houses down to move her apple trees far away because our juniper tree has a bad disease that could infect it. I wrestled through pride and failure and defending ideas. I made a very late afternoon cup of coffee and cooked with my baby strapped on my back. I snuggled my girl and gave her choices while praying she would choose right. On the first day of Spring. . . . We rode to Bible study, the kids and me, in an Uber because I ran the battery down on the van. I caught the sun glory streaming in to hit all our faces in the backseat as Zella chatted with the driver about music, imaginary children, and her preference to not wear socks and shoes. Our Wednesdays have so much Bible in them — sometimes nothing connects and I arrive at the end with mush brain and then sleep in my day clothes. But yesterday, I fell into bed so thankful that there are constellations in all these bits of Light. He is holding all things together and sometimes He connects dots and reveals a special glimpse of the glory of it all. #writersofinstagram #momswhowrite
My brows converge over my nose and my face squints against the dark. I pray, "O, God. O, God." I lay flat on my bed between two littles and take a deep breath that reaches my shoulders and sides and ankles "O, God." . . . It feels like Spring shouldn't come, that it is so *wrong* here that Lent should last forever. That, though our hope for Spring is strong, it is mostly about escape and not about salvation. We have made ourselves at home in winter, comfortable with the frosted ground under our hibernation. Our evil isn't seasonal. It isn't an epoch, a phase, a time period. It is in us— bones, marrow and evil. And we don't even want out. A Stockholm syndrome sickness that's eating us up from the inside but we refuse rescue. . . . The mercy of the Lord comes anyway, budding trees and blooms for the just and unjust. He woos us— relentlessly— out of our captivity with kindness. He calls us to repent of our soul's winter so we can finally see and taste His Spring. He calls us out of shadow and into marvelous light where our winter is exposed and we can squint to see our salvation. And we can know even a little bit more the extent of His glory and the depth of His grace. . . . Spring is coming and we are Easter people, but today there is lament. #light #shadow
Why is it that when we talk about the beginning of the United States it's always "when we founded this great nation" but when we talk about slavery it skips to the Civil War and it's always, "they were fighting to keep slavery in the south." The same humans who founded this nation bought humans and made them slaves in it. And today, for that, I mourn. . . . Every human made in the image of God is the same amount of invaluable. The same amount of mysterious wonder is knit up in our bones, from those first moments curled up in the womb. Lord, have mercy on us for acting like it is not so. . . . . . #americanlent #lentenrose #whiteprivilege #slavery #lent #lament #foundingfathers #letstalkaboutit #repentanceproject #didyouknow #spring #teamkolts #liturgy #reflection #monday #teampixel #atlanta #blackandwhite #slavetrade

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Men Without Chests … and the miseducation of children

I posted this several years ago, but I’ve been thinking about it recently (especially in light of the rumblings in the presidential primaries).

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The book starts with an eloquent description of an elementary text book.

An interesting object on which to base an argument, but C.S. Lewis does just that in his opening of what was originally a lecture series titled “The Abolition of Man” (the subtitle reads: Reflections on education with special reference to the teaching of English in the upper forms of schools).

With all the nebulous talk of improved education among scholars and legislators, I have long wondered if there is truth to the fabled “subliminal message.” After painstakingly reading one of Lewis’ most controversial books, I submit that merely wondering at such a possibility is just as damaging as promoting it.

C.S. Lewis refers to the elementary text in question as The Green Book and sets out to argue that the authors teach very little about literature. In fact, The Green Book essentially seeks to ‘debunk’ the existence of any objective value.

Now, that may not strike you as dangerous or deceiving, but this ideological shift is not so plainly described by the authors. The example Lewis gives from their book cites the “well-known story of Coleridge at the waterfall” (of which I knew little) where one tourist called a waterfall sublime and the other pretty. Lewis writes that Coleridge, a renowned poet, mentally endorsed the first description and was disgusted in the second. This is the excerpt from The Green Book:

‘When a man said This is sublime, he appeared to be making a remark about the waterfall… Actually … he was not making a remark about the waterfall, but a remark about his own feelings. What he was really saying was really I have feelings associated in my mind with the word “sublime,” or shortly, I have sublime feelings.’

Keep in mind, the young mind for which this text is intended has little reference for such a proposition. Boys and girls are more concerned with receiving good marks then defending the notion of objective value. And herein lies the danger.

The authors (possibly unintentionally) are making no claims about literature. They are instead suggesting that human sentiment is contrary to reason and ought to be eradicated. Interestingly enough, as Lewis points out, to say something is reasonable or unreasonable means that there must be a standard to make that judgment.

And now, by way of this disastrous summary of Lewis’ first chapter, we start to see the development of Men Without Chests. Assuming objective value is unreasonable, Lewis moves toward the logical question: On what grounds does any value exist in the world and what force would move me to protect this fleeting, traditional idea?

Interestingly enough, though this idea is purported in institutions across the country, the opposite is expected in life’s vernacular. Students might be taught to disregard value and view all things in relativistic terms, yet when it is time to preserve society, all are called to sacrificially stand on the high grounds of character. Lewis writes that youth are encouraged to strive to be people of character, while being conditioned to believe such traits are unreasonable.

“In a sort of ghastly simplicity,” Lewis writes, “we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise.”

Strip life of sentiment and you are left with a skeleton. Relativism may be trendy and “progressive,” but this kind of progress would lead straight to humankind’s demise. There will simply always be those who make the rules and those that follow them. If the rule makers decide life is void of sentiment, they will certainly reap the benefits of this stale standard.

Dangerous? yes. Deceptive? yes. Merely wondering at the possibility of ‘value debunked’ is just as damaging as promoting it. Can we recapture the necessary distinction of humanity? Can we hold firm the objective value intrinsic to our created nature? I believe we were born for such a purpose.

Maybe someone should write a children’s book about it.

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let LOVE fly like cRaZy
the true, beautiful kind

5 comments on “Men Without Chests … and the miseducation of children

  1. hscraig says:

    HI!!!! Oh how so true this is!! Keep up the awesome blog!!

    In Christ
    Scott

    1. Caroline says:

      Thanks, Scott! This book was totally worth trudging through!

  2. hscraig says:

    Reblogged this on One Mans Opinion and commented:
    This was written by a wonderful young woman in Christ, and she’s right on with everything she says, take the time to enjoy this wonderful blog.

  3. lamehousewife says:

    Thank you for reminding me about The Abolition of Man. I think I will have to read it again. It has so many good points. God bless.

    1. Caroline says:

      It definitely gives great perspective – and it’s sad how much things haven’t changed.

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