Feb 23, 2011

The Screwtape Letters revisted (part IV)

12) He must not be allowed to suspect that he is now, however slowly, heading right away from the sun on a line which will carry him into the cold and dark of utmost space.
For this reason I am almost glad to hear that he is still a churchgoer and a communicant. I know there are dangers in this; but anything is better than that he should realise the break it has made with the first months of his Christian life. As long as he retains externally the habits of a Christian he can still be made to think of himself as one who has adopted a few new friends and amusements but whose spiritual state is much the same as it was six weeks ago. And while he thinks that, we do not have to contend with the explicit repentance of a definite, fully recognised, sin, but only with his vague, though uneasy, feeling that he hasn't been doing very well lately.

As people start their Christian walk in life and become content with their new found happiness there comes a time when Satan throws those forks in the road. The forks which are subtle, yet can lead us down the wrong path.
The tendency is to become a "Sunday Christian" or a "Cafeteria Catholic"; "I'm a good person" attitude and that is well enough, even though on the inside we having feelings and opposition to Gods laws and Church teachings.

Just as "the angels in Heaven rejoice over one repentant sinner" (Luke 15;10), the fallen angels rejoice whenever they take the soul of a luke warm Christian.

We are sinners and we are going to fall from time to time, but when we lose the reverence to all that is Holy and become "content" sinners, unrepentant sinners, the devil still has a chance of taking us to the pit with him.

If you lock God in a closet, you don't have to face him, or so you tell your self.

"I now see that I spent most of my life in doing neither what I ought nor what I liked". The Christians describe the Enemy as one "without whom Nothing is strong". And Nothing is very strong: strong enough to steal away a man's best years not in sweet sins but in a dreary flickering of the mind over it knows not what and knows not why, in the gratification of curiosities so feeble that the man is only half aware of them, in drumming of fingers and kicking of heels, in whistling tunes that he does not like, or in the long, dim labyrinth of reveries that have not even lust or ambition to give them a relish, but which, once chance association has started them, the creature is too weak and fuddled to shake off.

You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing.

This reminds me of the saying "idle hands are the devils workshop".

Much like kids (and some adults) today; they either have a lot of free time to spare or they claim that "there's just nothing to do".

We used to use that phrase a lot when I was a kid, the only problem was that we would find something to do and it was usually something bad.

I think that this is the problem with kids growing up too fast; you have to always find something to occupy their hands and minds quicker. Nothing seems to satisfy, and as modern children grow up with more of the "luxuries" in life, the simple pleasures seem boring to them. A board game becomes just that...a "board" game...they grow board of it quickly, unlike the sights and sounds of a video game.

If we are not vigilant in filling our kids hands and minds, be sure Satan will.

The second paragraph reminds us that venial sins can be just as bad as mortal sins if we continue to let them pile up. One bad habit can lead to an addiction.

The addiction to sin can only be cured by prayer, reconciliation and penance. (and Gods Grace)

13) The man who truly and disinterestedly enjoys any one thing in the world, for its own sake, and without caring twopence what other people say about it, is by that very fact fore-armed against some of our subtlest modes of attack. You should always try to make the patient abandon the people or food or books he really likes in favour of the "best" people, the "right" food, the "important" books.

God has placed before us a real world with real pains and real pleasures. In their right order (in a way that gives glory or acknowledgement to God), material possessions, passions and feelings
can be "good for the soul".

These worldly things can lead us to spiritual things (not new age spiritual, but Holy spiritual).

People in these days have a tendency to "go with the flow" and in most cases, they get washed downstream. We have the freedom to like and dislike things in this world, but it seems that people are more concerned with their "image" so they are driven to what the rest of society deems good whether it is good for them or not.

There is only One who is good...that is God.

We are made in His image, and that is the only image we should strive for.

14) Your patient has become humble; have you drawn his attention to the fact? All virtues are less formidable to us once the man is aware that he has them, but this is specially true of humility. Catch him at the moment when he is really poor in spirit and smuggle into his mind the gratifying reflection, "By jove! I'm being humble", and almost immediately pride—pride at his own humility—will appear. If he awakes to the danger and tries to smother this new form of pride, make him proud of his attempt—and so on, through as many stages as you please.

Virtues, as great as they are, and as much as we want to gain them, can be used against us. We can succumb to false humility, or false pride. The virtuous person should be more aware of Gods blessings in their lives than by concentrating on how to obtain the virtues themselves. God has given us the virtues to glorify him and to bless others, not so we will feel more or less better about ourselves.

Feb 8, 2011

The Screwtape Letters revisited (Part III)

9) All we can do is to encourage the humans to take the pleasures which our Enemy (God) has produced, at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which He has forbidden. Hence we always try to work away from the natural condition of any pleasure to that in which it is least natural, least redolent of its Maker, and least pleasurable. An ever increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure is the formula. It is more certain; and it's better style. To get the man's soul and give him nothing in return—that is what really gladdens our Father's (Satan) heart. And the troughs are the time for beginning the process.

There is a lot of unsatisfied, unfulfilled lives today which causes people to become depressed. They then seek to find satisfaction and fulfillment in pleasures (especially those of the flesh). They want internal happiness but try to obtain it through external pleasures which any true disciple of Christ will tell you won't work. True happiness comes from inside.

God has given us pleasures of the senses to come to know Him, love Him and serve Him. If we use those pleasures for anything other than that, then we are turning our back on the Creator of all that is good. We lose focus on the internal and focus more on the external.

This also works in Satan's favor when times are not good.

Death, illness, marriage problems, financial hardship, job loss, war and just when you are having a bad day can bring in the tempter.
Satan (the father of lies) will make you think things will be better with a little alcohol or drugs (even prescription drugs). Pleasures of the flesh or a spending spree or a trip to get away from it all, that's what he will tell you that will make you happy. No matter how far away from your troubles you may move to, unless you take care of what is going on inside you, the troubles will still be there.
Satan will offer you those idea's of pleasure, but give you nothing in return but more problems.

10) All mortals tend to turn into the thing they are pretending to be.

Humans by their nature are social beings. God calls us to love Him, but also to love our fellow mankind.
It is not easy to love your enemy; but even harder sometimes may be seeing those whom you like as your enemy.

What am I trying to say???

There are people we may truly love, especially family members and close friends, that are not good for our spiritual health.

They may have different beliefs, idea's or world views that are not Christ centered. They may let their feelings or stubbornness (pride) stand between them and the truth. They may have sin in their lives that clouds their minds.
If we spend a lot of time with these people, there is a chance we may start thinking like them or agreeing with them, or just not saying anything which is just as good as agreeing with them.

I know I am guilty of not rebuking others out of love for that person, out of charity or just to keep the peace....but, what is the cost of that silence?

If there is someone or a group of "someones" that is causing your faith to be tested, then either try to lead them to the truth or get away from them because your soul is at stake also.

It also works the other way. If someone whom who spends time with you is not a believer or is weak in faith, they can be influenced by your example of living and speaking the Christian way of life.
It is a fine line on which to walk. Ask God to guide you always to good and holy people. Ask God especially on behalf of your children to guide them to good and holy friends.

11) I divide the causes of human laughter into Joy, Fun, the Joke Proper, and Flippancy.
There has been some studies done which strongly suggest that laughter is good for your health. I can see some good in it myself.
There is also a saying that goes "laughter is good for the soul" that is accredited to Proverbs 17;22 but a closer look at that verse in the NAB tells us
"A joyful heart is the health of the body, but a depressed spirit dries up the bones." (Which is why you should be careful about reading modern translations of the bible).

A joyful heart is more than laughter and nowhere does it say that laughter is good for the soul. A depressed person can still laugh and have fun externally, but internally, they are still depressed and their condition is still detrimental to their body and soul.
Here Lewis (or Screwtape) shows us how Satan likes to use humor against us. He shows us that humor can be used to bring forth cruelty, lewdness, lust, pride and many other sins.
Screwtape also tells us that flippancy is the best of all. Flippancy is where every serious subject is discussed in a manner which implies that they have already found a ridiculous side to it. It reminds me of how our culture portrays religion and God in movies, books and sitcoms. They shrug off anything that is virtuous or moral as being too ridiculous to believe. We live in a very flippant world.

Feb 1, 2011

HB 255

Most people would think that it is good for the state or government to make sure school children are learning and keeping up the grades in school. We have many friends and family that are educators and concerned with the level of children's education and care at home.
"No child left behind" is the moniker today. We are all responsible for the most vulnerable people in our communities (and in all the world) and this includes children.
We must do all we can to stop abuse and neglect. Our society is in shambles with broken homes and single parents trying to juggle work and home life. Most parents put education at the bottom of their list and entrust the public schools to help in that area. Some parents don't have a good enough education to be able to help their children even if they had the time to.

But, anytime the government starts wanting to pry into the family homestead without legitimate reasoning, it is bad news.
I noticed the phrase "based on criteria set by the bill".
Who sets the "criteria" and what is their reasoning behind it?......do they have other agenda's or special interests that could hamper their reasoning?

I personally believe that a bill like this leaves the door open for the government to come into your home and take your children away or haul you off to jail, neither of which is going to help matters any.
If you think I am crazy, just look at other countries, most especially China with their 1 child policy. Don't think it can't happen in our country....
We have already seen the effects of legalized abortion and now the USA is teetering on the brink of ObamaCare.
These are perilous times and we better come together to thwart the attack on families.

From http://www.parentalrights.org/

Last Thursday, CNN reported that a Florida legislator has proposed a bill that would have public school teachers issuing a grade to parents. Yes, grading the parents. HB 255 provides that “each prekindergarten through grade 3 student report card shall include a section in which the teacher grades the parental involvement as satisfactory, needs improvement, or unsatisfactory…” based on criteria set by the bill.The whole idea of setting up public schools as overseers of parents is one more sign that American parental rights are in danger. Parents should not have to answer to government agents unless and until there is solid evidence of abuse or neglect on the part of that parent. Giving a grade to every parent clearly violates this constitutional principle.In fact, this bill would espouse the same foundational principle as the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child: assume that all parents are bad parents, and that only government oversight can save our children from parental incompetence.Totalitarian regimes are built on assumed guilt; the nanny state determines which citizens do or do not require their “services.” Florida’s bill would establish a system to do the same. A free nation, on the other hand, operates on the assumption of innocence until proven guilty. Parents do not need government intervention (interference) unless there is proof to the contrary. The Supreme Court has held that “historically, [the law] has recognized that natural bonds of affection lead parents to act in the best interest of their children.” Parham v. J.R., 442 U.S. 584 (1979) Sadly, Florida’s proposed bill recognizes no such thing.We can stop this trend and reestablish the fundamental right of fit parents to direct the upbringing of their children through passage of the Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. If you haven’t already done so, click here to sign the petition at ParentalRights.orgAnd please pass this message on to your family, friends – anyone you know who might share your concern for the future of our American families. If we lose the right to raise our children without constant government oversight, we will lose every other political fight we care about – and we will ultimately lose our children, and our country.But together we can save the future, by protecting these parental rights.
Michael Ramey, Director of Communications and Research