Friday, June 23, 2017

Virtue, Blue Light, and the Needy

I was listening to two fathers talk about their children's sports activities; not only were they involved in year-round local sports, but they were also on travel teams.

It was as if they were talking about robots programmed to play baseball and hockey - they were pushed into the sports pipeline and their sports futures are assured until high school graduation, if not beyond.

Why don't we also talk about how we are developing virtue and character in our children? Certainly that is more important. Or is it?


A coworker just left my office - thankful I think to leave. I was talking to him about a recent ABC 20/20 segment that highlighted addiction to electronic devices in children and adolescents. He came in with a story about his young son using his tablet in bed, and he left with me asking him to think about the child's well-being. I don't get a lot of traffic in my office...I wonder why.

The 20/20 segment shouldn't be a surprise, the fact that it is and that most parents are in denial shouldn't be a surprise either - how can people living in a stupor be surprised? We disparage parents of crack babies but think little of raising children on blue light and electronic addiction - no matter what it does to their brains and cognitive processes.

So the adults program the computers and the computers program the children and then the adolescents program more devices and the devices program the population and it may well be that one day there really is a Matrix - which I think is already the case - the Bible calls it "this present age" or "kosmos" - God's people are in the Matrix but not of the Matrix - well, I hope so anyway...hard to tell sometimes.


King Lemuel's momma said to him (Proverbs 31:8 - 9):

"Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the poor and needy."

Well, I don't see many leaders speaking up for the poor; not in the professing church and not in government. The way a society treats it defenseless, its innocent, its children, its elderly, and its poor says a lot about the society.

"If they would rather die," said Scrooge, "they had better do it and decrease the surplus population."

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Sun or a Planet?

Why do people circle planets when they could circle the sun? Why be distracted at best, or disoriented at worst, by living in an orbit that cannot give life?

Why settle for lesser things? We are distracted as puppies and children – in fact, as Pascal would say, the whole point in money and power and position is to pay for distraction. As Neil Postman wrote, we are amusing ourselves to death.

We are a foolish people. We have traded virtue for personality; character for charisma. We are a plane load of drunks heading into a mountain and don’t know it. 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

A Fire That Broke A Heart and Hope

Catherine and Bill Robinson were a couple in our parish in Becket, MA. During a visit to their home one day they told me that the house they were in was not their original house. Years ago their home had burned down; by the mercy of God no one was hurt, and while no animal was burned, a dog’s heart was broken.

Their dog lay for days on the concrete threshold where their front door had been and whined…then he died.

What a mysterious relationship between man and creation; many facets, few understood, if any. Our backyard holds a universe. The two holly trees off our deck are apartment buildings for birds and places of safety for songbirds when owls and hawks scan for living food. The moles and vols have a subway system that rivals London’s Tube. The crows and turkey vultures (as ugly as they are) provide a garbage service that cleans our street at no cost to us. The worms in our gardens are our partners as they aerate the soil.

Our original habitat was a garden, we will return to a Garden City – an arboretum, a place of life and vibrancy. Won’t it be amazing when the lion lies down with the lamb?

A week or two ago I told a boy of about ten years old who lives across the street that the great oaks in our yard were descendants of Ents. He is a foster child who has been with his foster family a few months. When I told him about the Ents he smiled and asked, “Really?” It was the first time I’ve seen him smile, the first time I’ve seen a hint of joy. I think it gave him hope. It gives me hope.