Wednesday, December 30, 2015

  "By the time I was fifteen I had had it. I was a cold, flip little bitch. I had survived just fine without comfort or affection, it didn't bother me. No one could get me to cry. If my mother threw me out, I would just curl up and go to sleep in a trunk in the hallway. Even when that woman beat me, no way was she going to make me cry. I never cried when my husband beat me. He'd knock me down and I'd get up for more. It's a wonder I didn't get killed. I've cried more in therapy than in my whole life. I never trusted anyone enough to let them see me cry. Not even you, till the last couple of months. There, I've said it! That's a statement of the year!"

  These are the words of a severe childhood abuse survivor.

  "In childhood, we live in God's creation, as in the carefree shelter of some Eden; the innocent in a garden of fruits, where the tillage demands no toil, and with smallest restraint, we have little else to do but gather and enjoy: and the utmost duty is to abstain, rather than to do; to keep the lips from forbidden fruits, we  needn't worry about the labor and sorrow of the brow or of the soul, in order to earn and multiply the bread of nature, or of life. And many alas! there are, who make their life this sort of holiday thing unto the end, and retain its childishness, only, from the nature of things, losing all its innocence; strolling through it as a mere fruit-gathering place, a garden of indulgence, a Paradise, sacred no more, because it's empty now of God, and unvisited by the murmurs of his voice." Martineau.   

  If you don't know the story of Joan of Arc you owe yourself the blessing of learning of her life, faith and heroics. At thirteen and a half she heard the voice of the Holy Spirit. The voice which gave her the vision that she would go and help the King in the battle of Orleans, which defeat seemed imminent. After a long series of events, at the age of seventeen, she believed God had told her, "that she would save Orléans and would compel the English to raise the siege, that she herself in a battle before Orléans would be wounded by a shaft but would not die of it." As history records, she led the battle and they were victorious, which led to a series of successes where the principle aim of Joan's mission was attained. There is a quote by one of her life-long friends that I ran across which gives insight to the battles.

I was her playmate, and I fought at her side in the wars; to this day I carry in my mind, fine and clear, the picture of that dear little figure, with breast bent to the flying horse's neck, charging at the head of the armies of France, her hair steaming back, her silver mail plowing steadily deeper and deeper into the thick of the battle, sometimes nearly drowned from sight by tossing heads of horses, uplifted sword-arms, windblown plumes and intercepting shields." Sieur Louis De Conte.

Monday, December 28, 2015

In some orders of Christianity, we feel a harshness and constraint or are compelled to believe by fear or gain. This piece by Martineau shows another way.

"In order for us to submit to a spirit above us, it must appeal to other considerations than those of self-interest and fear; it must convince us that it is not only stronger, but more excellent than we; it must make evident a wisdom, a constancy, a clearness, which we do not possess and yet are able to discern; above all, it must penetrate us with loving awe by a faithfulness purer than our own to that eternal law by which the true and beautiful and good are opposed to the false and base and wicked. Such a one rules me not like the seasons, the pestilence, or the storm: he brings me to a quiet: he wields no hard material sway: he imposes no foreign unsuspected law: he asks and will have no blind compliance: he orders a service, and yet will have it free: he carries me away, not by keeping me blind, but by making me see: he lets in the light which my own unfaithfulness has obscured, and shows me where I am, what I serve, and to what end I will be. My will falls under a new order of influence; and if henceforth I follow him as Master of my soul, it is not with the obedience of self-interest, but with the obedience of reverence." 

Monday, December 21, 2015

One of the fearless men in the effort to overcome slavery was William Lloyd Garrison. On a trip to the south he saw for the first time Africans being auctioned off. Families torn apart, children separated and he saw the fresh wounds from merciless beatings. This changed him forever and he became a crusader for freedom. He ran a newspaper and began working for abolition. He was threatened, thrown in jail and suffered much for his stance. The following are his words in response to those who cautioned him to take a more moderate stance.

"I am aware that many object to the severity of my language;
But is there not cause for severity?
I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice.
On the subject of slavery, I do not wish to think, or to speak, or write, with moderation. 
No! no! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm;
Tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher;
Tell the mother to gradually rescue her babe from the fire into which it has fallen;
But urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present
I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse —
  I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD!"

"Every fiction that has ever laid strong hold on human belief is the mistaken image of some great truth; to which reason will direct its search, while half-reason is content with laughing at the superstition, and unreason with believing it."

Saturday, December 19, 2015

  "There is no way to the peace of God but by absolute self-abandonment to his will that whispers within us, without reservation of happiness or self. Then, the relinquishment once made, --- giving ourselves up to any high faith within the heart, --- the sorrows of mortality, its reproaches, its fears, will soon vanish, and even death will be robbed of its terrors; for, to quote the noble words of Lord Bacon, 'He that dies in an earnest pursuit is like one that is wounded in hot blood, who for the time scarce feels the hurt; and therefore a mind fixed and bent upon something that is good, doth best avert the sorrows of death.' Martineau.