What I Was Happy and Interested to Find on Spanish, Catholic American History

Before I get into the thick of things, I just thought it would be fun to mention that there are almost an equal amount of English-speaking people and Spanish-speaking people in the world. English and Spanish tie at number TWO for the most spoken languages. Chinese is spoken by the most people in the world. Also note, I had trouble copy/pasting this document, so there might be some punctuation marks that have floated beyond their boundaries.

The First Christian service in the New World. The First Christian service was on present US land (Florida area), and the service was the Catholic Mass, celebrated around 1521 by Dominicans; one year later, St. Ignatius in Spain wrote the Spiritual Exercises; the Society of Jesus, aka the Jesuits, began to actualize just a few years later—they were dedicated to discernment, intellectual pursuits, helping people through the process of conversion, and faithfulness to Christ’s Bride, the Church; on the other side of the Americas, the Mass reached Alaska by 1779 (Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions) around the same time the Russians began to colonize the area from the East.

The First Christian Church in the New World. The First Church to be built on present US land was Catholic; it was built by Franciscans in Santa Fe in 1609 or 1610.

The First Hospital. Hospital care became an important human development, attributed the influence of Christianity. The first hospital in the Americas was built in the area of Mexico (1524); meanwhile, Luther and the secular nobles suppressed a Catholic peasant rebellion, killing 100,000 peasants in the process, showing an uptick in a trend in Europe that would push people to find a new place to live; in 1598, Spanish settlers built a shrine for our Lady called Nuestra Senora de la Leche y Buen Parto, the statue that would inspire Catholic women in 1956 to start La Leche League, dedicated to teaching people about the benefits of breastfeeding, encouraging women to breastfeed, teaching women how to breastfeed, and working towards making it more socially acceptable since breastfeeding had been frowned upon because of the widespread influence of dualism in the U.S..

The First Christian Martyr in the New World. The First Martyr in the Americas died in 1542 when a Franciscan, Father Juan de Padilla, who was building a school for the Wichita Indians, is caught in a battle between two warring tribes. Several martyrs are killed by Calvins while on their way to help out with missionary work in 1570. There are approximately 100 martyrs that died on what would eventually be called the United States; they died in various places in Maine, Florida, California, Virginia, Texas, Georgia, Kansas, New Mexico, Illinois, New York, Arizona, Mississippi, Michigan, Louisiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Most were Spanish missionaries, some were French, and the English killed a few Catholics when they finally arrived here. That is, the seeds of Christianity were spread by the blood of the martyrs as the saying goes.

Dissemination of Knowledge. Spreading literacy and education has always been an important part of the Church’s mission. She has built libraries, educational institutions, developed thought. Besides Scripture, theology, and philosophy, Catholics in Spain also wrote down stories like Cantar de Mio Cid, which is an epic poem from the 1100’s. The first book to be printed in the New World was “The Spiritual Ladder of St. John Climacus;” it was printed in New Spain (Mexico) in 1535. Higher-Level Learning was important to Catholic missionaries; they began building universities within in a few decades; for instance, St. Dominics on Dominican Republic was built in 1538; it is also known as Universidad Santo Tomas de Aquino; another university was established in Philippines by 1611. By 1758, the Jesuits had created 105 schools for higher learning in the Americas, had written down over 300 new languages, had created grammar books for 40 different languages, had built elementary schools that taught music, trade, agriculture, reading and writing, physics, chemistry, and math (Jesuits in America, 1911, by Robert Swickbrath). Unfortunately, since most of the Press, news media, in the 18th century was not owned by Catholics, political propaganda easily detracted from Jesuits, who had shown their dedication to educating all people; they were subsequently suppressed by several political movements. A major factor in the detracting perception of Church was the British Empire; despite the loss of the American colonies beginning in 1776, the British Empire began to spread and control most publications houses internationally. However, in the U.S., some government leaders had also been intimidated by the adeptness of Jesuit education, perhaps as a result of British influence on historical perceptions. They tried to suppress Catholic education in a different way.

Feminine Influence. As Christianity had done since it was established by Christ, women were able to influence history. Spain continued to spread better concepts of woman; in 1523, Juan Luis Vives, a Spanish humanist, dedicated a work to Catherine of Aragon, Henry’s VIII of England’s first wife, that is called de institutione feminae christianae on the importance of women using their talents both in and outside of the home; Teresa of Avila began writing her autobiography and her spiritual treatise beginning in 1565; a sister from New Spain, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, in the 1690’s became one of the most published writers at the time. Queen Isabella was also not without her feminine talents; she expected restraint and integrity from her soldiers during times of war, personally helped the poor, prohibited slavery, and helped in uniting Spain. As said before La Leche League, in 1956, was developed by Catholic women who saw a problem with artificial milk and mother/child detachment; they were inspired by a very feminine statue with Spanish influence.

Technological Advances. Agricultural techniques were shared. Navigational understanding, especially in regards to the oceans and continents, expanded. Spanish missionaries brought the idea of the Printed Word to Native peoples, so wrote down many languages. Spanish explorers learned about International Trade in a way the world had not seen before. Spanish traders brought pigs, cattle, sheep, and donkeys. By far the horse helped not only exploration advance quickly, but the horse also gave the Native Americans an opportunity to travel faster than they had; the first horses were brought to the Americas through Florida be Ponce de Leon. Other goods that were brought by the Spanish through what is now called the Columbian Exchange were rice, onion, peaches, sugar, coffee, and black pepper, to name a few. In exchange, the potato, pineapples, cocoa, rubber, chile peppers, peanuts, and corn were given (okay, sometimes taken). This exchange of agricultural ideas, languages, plants, and animals irrevocably connected the Old World with the New World. For instance, after the potato arrived in Ireland, it became an important part of the Irish diet. And who doesn’t enjoy the mixture of cocoa, sugar, milk, and coffee? These four great ingredients only came together and mixed after the two sides of the world met.

Different perspectives on slavery. The most striking feature to me about the slave trade is that because of Christianity, slavery had very nearly disappeared from Europe by the 15th century; however, outside of Europe, slavery was still accepted and widespread—it was the way humans from all over the world had been doing things for a long time. Why did Europeans get involved in slave trade after having lived without it for so long? It gets complicated and thick. It certainly had been attenuated, if not condemned by the Church, but the new situations that arose were not necessarily met with the right choices or easy answers. African slaves were sold and/or traded by African/Arabic/Turkish/Muslim people; Irish slaves were captured and exploited by the English after England split from Catholics; Native American slaves were traded by Native Americans, but when Columbus brought them to Europe, he was told by Isabella to set them free; Cherokee Indians at one point even owned African American slaves. It seems, however, that Spain did not have any slave ports that sold slaves, and slaves were given the opportunity to win their freedom in the Americas; slaves ran away to Spanish colonies in order to escape English slavery, a place called Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mosé (1687) in Florida ; slavery was much different in Spanish colonies than in English colonies; for instance, slaves were allowed some level of due process, slave-owners were given orders to not mistreat slaves and would be punished if they had, and slave owners were required to keep family units together. Too, slavery was not necessarily based on race or culture in the Spanish colonies as it had been in the English colonies. It should be noted, additionally, that the British and the Spanish both quit using slave labor before the United States.

Literature, media, and the art of alive! Not only do I love the spiritual works that come from Spain, but I also enjoy works like Don Quixote by Cervantes (1605); poets include Gonzalo de Berceo (13th century), Teresa of Avila (16th century), John of the Cross (16th century), and those poets influenced by Catholic mysticism: Guillen (Cuba), Neruda (Chile), Alberti (Spain), and Lorca (Spain). Unfortunately, because the revolution in Spain suppressed Catholicism, it also suppressed and censored culture, so many of these poets were not allowed to publish their works until later. Because of censorship, what many people don’t know about John of the Cross is that he saw apparitions of Mary and had ecstasies while celebrating the Mass ; in stark contrast to the kinds of material that Anglo American and British writers were creating in the early 20th century, the Spanish seemed to avoid the nihilistic results of dualism by allowing themselves to be inspired by John of the Cross’s mysticism. Some influential artists from Spain are Picasso and Salvador Dali, who painted Christ of Saint John of the Cross (1951); from the 16th century, El Greco managed to influence 2oth century Cubism; other artists include Juan Bautista Vasquez, Gregoria Vasquez (1700) from Columbia, and Francisco Goya, who made cartoons in 1771. As far as Spanish American or Spanish American Catholic artists, however, I am still looking. There seems to be a gap in the information, and there’s that problem of who is building the canon.

Saints with connections to Spain: Teresa of Avila, Francis Borgia, Luis of Granada, Ignatius, Peter of Alcantara, John of God, John of Avila, John of the Cross, Juan Diego, Isidore of Seville, Martin de Porres, Rose of Lima, Junipero Serra, Peter Claver, Francis Xavier

Musings.

What I have found fascinating is how much Protestant English influence there was on how Spanish history has been explained (emphasize evil players; distort or delete the good players). Was this perception given by the British historians developed as a result of jealousy? Was it detraction in order to harm strong competitors? Was it just because the British Empire became so vast at one point that it owned most publishing houses throughout the world? Could it have been that politics now guided what was allowed to be printed? What was the intention? I don’t know. I just know that it is an obvious problem in historical narratives and commentaries. I wonder, sometimes, if the Protestant Reformation was actually the seed for nationalism and racism. No longer was writing histories a matter of searching for beauty, truth, talent and expression in all cultures as it had been with the Catholic Church. Literature became a way to devote energy to a political cause and a national identity.

 

Let me reiterate, here: I love English literature and culture! I love English people. When I learn things about history, however, it’s just somewhat disconcerting to realize that I don’t know my own American and Catholic history very well.

Another thing I have learned to be wary about when reading the canons of literature is that many of the Spanish authors that have been chosen in order to repair the problem of deletion/censorship that occurred by 19th and early 20th century Anglo-centric thinkers is that they continue to choose works according to former 20th century Anglo-elitist tastes and patronage; by the early 20th century, British tastes were dualistic and nihilistic; they tended to degrade just about everything—from men to motherhood to love—or to revolt against all authority and tradition in support of a progressive communism and population control. Spanish thinkers in the early 20th century, on the other hand, were exploring a different influence—that of Saint John of the Cross. However, totalitarianism or the imperialism of one thought even found its way to Spain, and cultural expression was suppressed even there. Unfortunately, because the United States became an English-only country in the early 20th century, American authors looked to English authors for narratives on history, literature, and culture. As a result, many Americans have some…interesting ideas about Spain.

When did Spain become Spain? Spain, at the time of exploration, was made of several different people from several different languages and religions and was not united until Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile joined in marriage in the 15th century; Muslims had held power in the Iberian peninsula since the 8th century; prior to 1492 when the Spanish monarchy took power, the Moors had enjoyed control of large portions of the Iberian peninsula. In other words, Spain had boundaries closer to what we know it as today towards the end of the 15th century, but it was really brand new in 1492.

The challenges European cultures faced prior to further exploration were widespread, devastating plagues that, according to some sources, annihilated half of the population by the 14th century as well as powerful and very large Empires from the East, Middle East, and Northern Africa. These conflicts with very large empires pushed the development of weaponry, and also added to the dissemination of Eastern knowledge into Western thought. Christians continued to influence the expansion of literacy, science, math, and learning, the development hospitals and care for the poor, the creation of laws to protect women, children, and strangers, and the openness to innovation, human interaction, and exploration.

Western scholars at the time spoke Latin in the universities, which helped in the diffusion of knowledge since Europe is made of several different cultures and languages. So, it’s hard to know much about Spanish exploration without knowing, first of all, the Italians. The Italian trade economy had been developing a strong middle class by the 1400’s, which led to a widening embrace of humanistic learning and thought via Latin, Greek, and Italian vernacular. Prior to this time, such scholars and explorers as Raymond Lully of Majorca, Albertus Magnus of Germany, Thomas Aquinas of Italy, Leonardo Fibonacci of Pisa (who adopted Arabic numerals for math), Roger Bacon of England, Francis of Assisi, and Dominic of Spain had been laying the groundwork for substantial innovation and exploration.

The context of Amerigo and Columbus. Many explorers were Italians who sailed in Spanish ships. The Italian, Amerigo Vespucci was educated by his Dominican uncle while Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy . About 75 years before these two men were born in 1451, Catherine of Siena, on the heels of Bridget of Sweden, had just managed to get the Pope back to Rome. Just 20 years before these two men were born, St. Joan of Arc, from France, was burned at the stake by English Catholics for being a witch—in hindsight, it rather seems that their egos were hurt because she had led the French to a victory in a major battle. 15 years before these two were born, the German Catholic, Gutenberg invented a new printing press and printed the Latin Vulgate. Within 30 years, the printing press was used for printing several kinds of works in several different languages.

When Amerigo and Cristoforo were nine-years-old, Prince Henry the Navigator, a Portuguese Catholic, built another university, but this university would have its primary focus on navigational techniques and technologies. 27 years later, Dias sailed around the southern tip of the African continent. 5 years after Dias’s adventure, Columbus finds what he thinks is the other side of India, no one from Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, realizing the extensive continents that existed on the other side of the earth. Just one year after this historic and earth-connecting event, Catherine of Genoa, having survived a plague that had killed 75% of Genoans a few years prior, was able to write a treatise and dialogue for the Church. Think about the 75%. Disease was not something that Europeans escaped even during the time of exploration. Finally, in 1499, Amerigo Vespucci, still Italian but on a Portuguese ship, contends that Columbus did not find the other side of India but an entire new continent. Because he passed this map information onto a German, the continent would be read as Amerigo—the Americas.

Three things to note: the Spanish were contributing to human knowledge and innovation with several nations; there was a level of the harmony and cooperation brought by having a forum language (Latin) that did not subtract but added to the use of vernacular languages and literacy; the people of the Iberian peninsula were in an ideal location to disseminate knowledge and to explore these other parts of the world. With all that, exploration and contact with several new types of cultures began.

Suddenly, it became vastly important to further develop principles of international law. This would be done humanely and thoughtfully at the School of Salamanca in Spain by such thinkers like Vitorio, who taught from 1526-1540. Among other things, he taught that all peoples have a right to their life, property, and culture. Besides figuring out how to negotiate first contact, it is also clear that the people of the Iberian peninsula and Italy were discovering these new cultures faster and going further than any of the European neighbors in the north.

The Native Americans, however, were less advanced in weaponry and in the collaboration of knowledge; so, unlike the other European, African, and Eastern neighbors, the Spanish and Italians encountered a different sort of dilemma with this New World. The Native Americans were more susceptible to being overtaken by cultures who had garnered more power. Not all Spanish explorers approached this very different situation in the same way. Some would fall into the temptation to abuse the greater power they had; others would try to restrain and reprimand those who were not met with and prevented by an equal power. Father Bartoleme de las Casas convinced the king to pass the “Law of Burgos” (1512) in order to protect the Native Americans, and the Pope in 1537 again urged explorers to not abuse indigenous people with a decree. In 1542, de Vaca continued to urge people to see the humanity of the indigenous people. In some cases, economics seemed to overshadow Catholic influence despite Catholic missionary efforts to influence positively human interaction and development in the New World. There were successes and failures when people from one side of the world met the people from the other side of the world.

Multiple first contacts had multiple results. The Portuguese Catholic Ferdinand Magellan, in 1519, circumnavigated the world and found the Philippines . Hernando de Soto finds and crosses the Mississippi River by 1539, and one year later Hernando Alarcon finds the Colorado River while de Cardenas spreads news to Europe about the massive Grand Canyon. By 1542, Cabrillo had seen places around San Diego and Santa Monica . In 1565, Spanish explorers establish the first colony that would last unto today in St. Augustine, Florida, the first city in what would eventually be called the United States. It is here that many African slaves would find safe haven from England who had separated from Catholic countries a few years before . The Philippines had become a Spanish colony by 1571, but after the Spanish-American War (1898), the United States took over and would not let the Philippines become independent until 1946. Because Jefferson feared Spanish control of important ports in the South, he bought a large portion of land from the French, the Louisiana Purchase (1803).

All Spanish colonies became increasingly independent after 1810; Mexico became independent in 1821; some former Spanish colonies in Mexico became part of the U.S. after the Mexican-American War in 1846, the same year the concept of “manifest destiny” arose—Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California would become states with new boundaries that in some ways split cultures that had become accustomed to the boundaries that Spain had created. This was particularly harsh for some Native Americans since they had to now learn a third language/culture and would eventually be bounded by reservations under the newer government.

That said, by 1920 and because of increased nationalism and hatred toward religion, the Mexican government had killed nearly 300,000 Catholics; in the 1930’s, a revolution in Spain took the lives of 1 million people in an attempt to disestablish the Catholic Church; nearly 7,ooo priests and religious were martyred along with thirteen bishops. Because religious freedom was supported by the United States, disestablishment of the Catholic Church did not develop in the same way (a story for another post). However, some scholars contend that there have been far more lynchings of ethnically Mexican-American peoples than there has been of African Americans, but this problem has often fallen under the radar. It’s a complex dilemma, the changing of political boundaries.

While some regard the massive new interaction of people from both sides of the Earth to be a complete disaster, I think, it’s important to remember the good things that came despite some of the bad actions. The spread of literacy, the interaction and learning caused by interaction between cultures, the development of knowledge, the communication between people, and the improvement of what it means to be humane to others who seem outwardly different–these are all things humans were asked to learn as they became more innovative, energized, and explorative. Looking back, sure there have been mistakes. That is easy to do with any person’s, with any people’s history. The question is, do we learn from those mistakes? The obvious point is as time advances, humanity is being asked to communicate between and within cultures. It sounds easy, but when applied, this has been a very difficult step for every one of us. I think the the mistakes that happen as well as the very good things that occur are illustrated profoundly in learning about Spanish, American, and Catholic history.

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References in order of introduction to the text:

Pollen, J.H. (1910). St. Ignatius Loyola. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved July 27, 2013 from New Advent:http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07639c.htm

Russia’s Colony: The Russians Use Alaska (2004-2014). Alaska History and Cultural Studies. Retrieved from http://www.akhistorycourse.org/articles/article.php?artID=131

Our Parish History (2012-2014). The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. Retrieved from http://www.cbsfa.org/parish-life/about

Walsh, J.J. (1910). Hospitals. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved July 16, 2013 from New Advent:http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07480a.htm

Weidenkopf, Steve and Dr. Alan Schreck. Epic: A Journey Through Church History. West Chester, Pennsylvania: Ascension Press, 2009.

Armenio, PV (2005). The History of the Catholic Church: A Complete Course. James Socias, ed. Midwest Theological Forum: Woodridge, Illinois.

Where did La Leche League get its name? Retrieved from http://www.llli.org/faq/lllname.html; see also “A Brief History of La Leche League International. Retrieved from https://www.llli.org/lllihistory.html

Marquette University (2013). Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions. Retrieved from http://www.marquette.edu/library/archives/Mss/BCIM/BCIM-SC1-history2.shtml

Our Sunday Visitor’s Encyclopedia of Saints. eds. Matthew Bunson, Margaret Bunson, Stephen Bunson.Huntington,Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, 2003.

Early Spanish Literature. Retrieved from http://www.infoplease.com/encyclopedia/entertainment/spanish-literature-early-works-castilian-spanish.html

Currier, CW (1911). The first book printed in America. Catholic Educational Review. Catholic University of America. Retrieved from The Online Books Page Presents Serial Archive Listings for The Catholic Educational Review (1911-1969) at http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/serial?id=cathedrev

Currier, C.W. (1912). Spanish-American Universities. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved July 27, 2013 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15201a.htm

National Catholic Educational Association (2010). A brief overview of Catholic schools in America. Retrieved from http://www.ncea.org/about/historicaloverviewofcatholicschoolsinamerica.asp

Puchner, M, ed. (2012). The Norton Anthology of World Literature, Third Edition, Volume D. WW Norton & Company: New York.

Barnes, Ian. “The Horse.” The Historical Atlas of Native Americans. London: Chartwell Books, Inc., 114-117. Print.

Singer, B. (no date given). Canadian Geographic: A brief history of the horse. Retrieved from http://www.canadiangeographic.ca/magazine/ma05/indepth/

Columbian Exchange on both European and Native Americans. Retrieved from http://public.gettysburg.edu/~tshannon/hist106web/site19/

Crosby, A. The Columbian Exchange. Retrieved from http://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/american-indians/essays/columbian-exchange

Riordan, Patrick: “Finding Freedom in Florida: Native Peoples, African Americans, and Colonists, 1670-1816″ Florida Historical Quarterly 75(1), 1996, pp. 25-44.

Sveinsson, Kjartan. The Real Histories Directory. Retrieved from http://www.realhistories.org.uk/articles/archive/slavery-in-latin-america.html

Stein, Edith (1942). The Science of the Cross. ICS Publications: Washington, D.C.

Kleiner, Fred S. Gardner’s Art Through the Ages. Thomson Wadsworth: Australia. Print.

Amerigo Vespucci: biography. Retrieved from http://www.biography.com/people/amerigo-vespucci-9517978

Christopher Columbus: biography. Retrieved from http://www.biography.com/people/christopher-columbus-9254209

Twain, M. (1896, 1989 reprint). Joan of Arc. Ignatius Press: San Francisco.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2004). Inventor of the week: Johann Gutenberg, movable type. Retrieved from http://web.mit.edu/invent/iow/gutenberg.html

Lienhard, J. (1988-1997). Engines of our ingenuity: No. 43: Amerigo Vespucci. Retrieved from http://www.uh.edu/engines/epi43.htm

Villa, SM (1997). The philosophy of international law: Suarez, Grotius, and epigones. International Review of the Red Cross, No. 320. Retrieved from http://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/misc/57jnv9.htm

Pagden, A. & Lawrance, J., eds. and trans. (1991). Vitoria Political Writings. Cambridge Texts in History of Political Thought. Cambridge University Press.

Brennan, MS (1887). What Catholics Have Done for Science. Benziger Brothers: New York. Retrieved from the Library of Congress at http://archive.org/stream/whatcatholicshav00bren#page/n5/mode/2up

The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2000 and 2013.

San Diego History Center. Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo (?-1543). Retrieved from http://www.sandiegohistory.org/online_resources/cabrillo.html

City of St. Augustine. The Nation’s Oldest City. Retrieved from http://www.staugustinegovernment.com/visitors/nations-oldest-city.cfm

The Louisiana Purchase. Retrieved from http://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/louisiana-purchase

Rico, BR, & Mano, S (2001). American Mosaic: Multicultural Readings in Context, third edition. Wadsworth, Cengage Learning: Australia.

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Disenchanted (short story)

Thought-World: Progressivism

Personal Log: J.T. Startracer

After we were twisted and turned around in the storm of nationalism and false promises, we found that we were out of supplies. The planet Fundamentalism had betrayed us and left us empty. Many of our books had been burned and several of our fellow soldiers had been killed in concentration camps and bloody political revolutions. Because so many soldiers who were still faithful had been so overcome by the mass disaster, they could not bring themselves to teach their own children history. They had lived through such a nihilistic, uncaring, and gory massacre. The closest history in their time overshadowed anything that had happened before. They desired peace but did not give their children any indication of what peace was and why it was so important to work for and how it became unraveled by ignorance, schooled hatred, and meaninglessness. Because of their war weary thoughts, parents could no longer tell their children what was good. They were not known for being good communicators. But actions speak louder than words.

Of course, the children also had to watch the betrayal of soldiers en masse. They broke their vows, decided to move to other worlds, and embraced a different way of life. They armed themselves to attack us. They believed those who told them it was our soldiers’ fault. Only a few soldiers knew the real story. Only a few knew when this misinformation began, but even fewer wanted to point out where in time the misinformation started because many of their friends belonged to these other worlds. They didn’t want to offend anyone.

But now the children of those war-weary soldiers are parents and grandparents. The children made choices based on their limited knowledge of history and the misinformation that was spread. The children grew angry with their parents and sacrificed their own children. They felt like they needed to claw their way to the top of the new world that had been created for them—this came at the expense of anybody. Their children, often overlooked, often criticized, often carrying a target on their back, escaped the world that the soldier’s children chose. These grandchildren of the faithful soldiers returned to soldiers’ library and began to find out about their history. They wanted to find a way back home. I am on that ship that is searching for that world.

We were welcomed with open arms onto the planet called Progressivism. On the outside, the world looked pretty good. Because I had not quite delved into the history of the planet Progressivism, I didn’t realize until after living there where it had come from and why the consequences are the same in this world as in worlds previously explored by faithful soldiers. They had already encountered what I saw. It was not until later that we realized that this was the same world as the one we had just left. Forgive us our confusion and indulge us by directing to that place we call home. Can you give us the coordinates? If we must explore these other worlds first, before coming back to you, we will trust your plan.

And Captain, if you find this log later and find something incorrect, I trust that you will highlight the fault and insert a gloss to show what was wrong and what was right. I know that, rather than a censor, you will keep both the good and the bad until the Last Day because we, your soldiers, get so confused on those darker days. Not only that, we don’t necessarily know what is good unless we can see what is also bad.

On this planet, I noticed that they like to use words. Their actions, however, say something else entirely. These are my observations of the people of this world:

One. Mr. Arnold. He divorced his wife, I think, in the 1960’s. At least, that is what they say. Although his parents told him that it was not nice to have an affair, then a divorce, then to remarry, he didn’t listen. He hated his parents. Because he hated his parents, he hated the world that he came from. He would visit other worlds and envy those who lived on the other sides of the galaxy. He particularly liked when they talked bad about the world he had left because that world included his wife and his parents. He engaged in all kinds of post-divorce gossip: His wife had done everything wrong; he and other worlds had done everything right. His wife had a mole in an intimate spot; his body and the body of the people from other worlds were praiseworthy. He had children; they were her responsibility. When they defended themselves against him and the other worlds, he would say they were violent. Praise God, because without his bad example, I would have never learned this important fact–this is when I realized the difference between loving the people of my world versus loving my government. Loving my world means loving the people in it. The government, on the other hand, is about ideas. When it’s too big, it will end up supporting only one idea that might not suit every brother’s idea. That’s when I realized how much I liked the idea of small government. Mr. Arnold loved his government, a big idea. He could then make his children be what he wanted them to be, to think how he wanted them to think, to love whom he wanted them to love. He could force them to hate their mother and their grandparents and their traditions. He loved all the control he was granted when he decided to betray the world he was born into. I asked Mr. Arnold his thoughts on this because he was the regent diplomat in another system, and he confided that, “Diplomacy, before I left that other thought-world, meant talking bad about my countrymen, focusing on the negative, never mentioning the good we, I mean, they had done; if I must needs mention the good, I needed to twist it so it did not sound that good because I wanted other countries to like me. They seem to get jealous, you know. They have no need to be jealous because their systems are better. I made sure that they knew that the place of my birth was an utter embarrassment to me.”

Two. Mrs. Inclusive. I was invited to lunch with Mrs. Inclusive one day, but she told me the wrong place, so we couldn’t meet. I left a message with her secretary, but she never seemed to hear about the messages, but I finally caught up with her. She wanted to bring her dog along on a trip to the park, but she said she hated her husband, so he wasn’t allowed to come along. I met her at the park, and she began to grill me with questions. I wanted to know what she was getting at when I realized that she was listening for some code words. Her friends whispered that I could not be in the group unless I said the right thing. I asked my superior about this, and he said it’s called politically correct language. You are essentially ousted if you say the wrong thing, he mentioned. Shit! I say the wrong thing many times, especially when I am nervous. After he told me that, I didn’t even know how to say hi. Would I say it wrong? What if I shook their hands the wrong way? What if the tenor of my voice was too strong, too weak, too high, too low? I became so afraid to talk that I said nothing. I found that Mrs. Inclusive enjoyed mixing up the terms. For instance, culture on this planet has nothing to do with culture (arts, sciences, literature); it is only about sexuality. Since the conversation could end up being boring with such a small topic, I gathered from Mrs. Inclusive that she has created all these different genders to make things more interesting. I tried to get into her lab, but she said that she was only experimenting. I watched her experiments walk out of the door—they looked like men and women to me. I realized at that moment that this was why the whole planet only spoke one language with a limited but confusing vocabulary. They loved to change the names of things and would instantly forget what they used to call something. They murdered anyone who refused to forget certain words. When I arrived, they had this movement called eugenics. After that, it was called population control, then it was called modern birth control. By the time I left, they called it reproductive responsibility. All this within four hours. Mrs. Inclusive made sure to remind me that everyone was included in “reproductive responsibility” even me. I said, “No, thank you,” and quickly returned to the ship.

Three. Mr. and Mrs. Femme Fatale. I would say that the motto that this couple lived by was “Live and Let Kill.” They thought that using contraception was a modern idea. Sometimes I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I hear these kinds of things, especially when I hear these things from fallen-away soldiers. They also said that they don’t believe in abortion, but that they aren’t going to say that to a woman who is considering having one. “It’s her choice,” they say. If only they knew the history of the Birth Control Movement, how contraception and abortion began long before the 20th century, how propaganda was able to convince people that contraception and abortion were something modern and new, how the framers of the Birth Control Movement really just wanted one superior race to exist on earth, the race being their own, how the framers of this movement focused on certain historical moments to support their claims without providing any information that would help others see the big picture and without looking at the present circumstances of those who really still live in reproductive slavery. I have noticed that this couple enjoys sexual abuse and perversion. Mr. Fatale began abusing his own niece and had eight affairs. He also insisted that those who were poor ought to be shot or gassed. Mrs. Fatale, for some reason, puts up with it. She insists that it’s the modern thing to do. She just takes her anti-depressants and sleeps with other women and needle pushers. It helps her escape from Mr. Fatale’s world in theory but not in fact, at least for a few minutes at a time. Would it help if they knew that the drugs they push are linked to the growth of cancer and multiple sclerosis, the extinction of plants and animals, and the tendency to have bad taste in men because of the disruption to natural femininity? Because these folks are so good at rationalizing behavior, I really doubted they would listen. How well-informed are those who are given this choice to decide between life and death? How much are they encouraged by others to live and let live?

Four. A false Franciscan and his followers. People here love the sound of the name Saint Francis. They always bring up his name if you sound like you might say or do something that feels judgmental. Like a pothead who swings from dead-beat husband to wife-beater, depending on how high or how low he/she feels, these people are either totally inactive or totally offensive. If a man is beating his wife, he screams, “Stop judging me! Saint Francis listens to me.” If a woman is killing her children, she screams, “Stop judging me! Saint Francis still likes me.” If a man sexually abuses children, he yells, “Stop judging me! Saint Francis loves me.” If a woman distorts the truth, she hisses, “Stop judging me! Saint Francis understands me.” I asked them which one of Saint Francis’ works they had read; they stared blankly at me. I asked them if they were living in poverty, chastity, and obedience, they all screamed, “Stop judging me!” I found out from this group an interesting thing: In order to live up to their definition of a true feminist, a woman must also stand up for perversion. They don’t understand women unless they categorize her with the perverted and disturbed. She can only be equal to those who embrace indignity. She, in other words, is not capable of being embraced with her dignity intact. She’s just a lower being, according to these insincere monks. That is why many of these monks from this planet support the presidential nomination of Mrs. Femme Fatale. She will let them continue to traffic exploitative sexuality because she does not judge them. I wanted to tell them how we had defined feminism, but they didn’t want to hear my definition. They told me I was not broad-minded.

Five. Mr. Lucifer. While I was taking a breather and having a drink of beer at the local bar, I heard this guy say, “Women really suck and are sucked in easily.” He was telling his friend that “Women are not working unless they work outside of the domicile that men have created for them.” It is here that I learned that the value of women’s work had been greatly devalued. It was nearly non-existent, the feminine touch. I found it more in this planet’s men than I found in their women. I also wondered when I went to their fashion show if that was why the clothing looked like it was made for men and not women; although it draped here and there, the women who wore the clothing had no breasts, and they were so thin I thought their legs would pop out of their flattened hips. Did these men really wish that women were men? While stating that women needed to be independent, they created an atmosphere of complete dependence on overtaxed men, in a detached sort of way. These women were no longer allowed to have husbands, but they could go to the local rationing body and get money from men another way. I think I heard a man laugh and say, “Now we only have to give them 1 cent of our dollar.” Although this planet said that they support equality of women, they seem to undermine it at the same time. “Women need to be like men in order to be valued,” so the saying goes.

Six. Mr. Luther and the either/or mentality. After I met this man, I finally realized that we had landed on a planet that we had already explored. I found that fundamentalism on the left is just as bad as fundamentalism on the right. Fundamentalists on the other side of this planet have a certain box that they have created for people, and they want them to live in it. A year ago, I saw them chop the head off of one man who didn’t quite fit into the box they had created. On this side of the planet, they have also created these fences. They kept telling me that someone else built them and that they live on the outside of the fence, but when I asked them if we could climb over and see the land on the other side, they became horrified. They said the people over there are way too mean with their words and don’t believe in Mrs. Inclusive’s new version of family. The only difference I see between their fundamentalisms is that the fundamentalists on the other side of their world know that they see things in black and white, so to speak, and are happy to see things that way. The fundamentalists on this side of their planet don’t realize or at least won’t admit that they see things with the same kind of mentality. Since they believe in the opposite side of everything the fundamentalists say on the other side, they think that they are thinking differently. For example, there are heretics to progressive dogma who get severely punished: Those who wait for predictions on this planet’s climate to really manifest themselves are not allowed access to the labs; they are also not allowed to print their findings in the paper. Because I wanted to be prepared when I visited Mr. Luther, I looked up the weather in the paper. It said mild and sunny. So, I only took a jacket. It snowed and was very cold. Unfortunately, I ended up with a slight cold. I am okay now. Anyway, heretics, I found out from Mr. Luther, are also those who believe that there will be detrimental effects on women and children after the community raises two men to the highest level of income, respect, and power. Men can marry men here because Mrs. Inclusive has promised this will bring about the longed for equality. I was trying to wrap my head around this concept since the men here make more money than the women and since women’s work is not valued and since men have more physical strength when her sister came into the picture. Dr. Exclusive, her sister, has said that people should not marry at all. She has plans for the embryos she is harvesting. Dr. Exclusive, by the way, has said that she has used the highest-degree of scientific discrimination in order to choose the right genes for her embryos. I mentioned to this doctor of science that the extraordinarily high-levels of synthetic hormones that are being dumped into their environment will cause an environmental disaster. She laughed at me. I wondered why they take so many drugs, prescribed, over-the-counter, and recreational, drugs mostly seen in the poorer areas. How did they convince people that feeling good equates with living well? How did they convince the people here that their expectations for a good life are high when I see that their standards are so low? Why does it feel like people need to like you more than they need love you in this place? Is it that they put popular-liking onto an equal footing with love? If you are liked, you are loved. If you are not liked, you are not loved. ???? This world is starting to either worry me to chaos or confuse me to paralysis. It is certain, though–heretics on this world get burned.

Seven. Mr. BF Skinner. I think it was after my conversation with him that I began to realize why the lost children of the faithful soldiers are so automatic in their reactions to certain words. It was here, in his stimulus-response class for higher primates, that I understood the difference between being educated and being schooled. The people here exemplify a naïve trust in doctrines that have already been proven to not work. Because they have been so schooled, they are highly co-dependent. The results have been an entitlement to irresponsibility, a growth of distrust in ideas that sound different, a clinging to immaturity, the control of other people’s habits, and the freedom to exploit. It’s such a strange combination. This is a schooled way of thinking because deeper-level thinking and research would easily undo these non-philosophies that these minds automatically believe; these so-called higher primates, which are humans on our ship, were never given the chance to have wisdom drawn out from within. They hear a word, and react with what they have been told is the right answer. In listening to their leaders, I have found that they only string together phrases without making sentences, but it seems to make the followers so happy. They love words, even if the words make no sense, even if the words are hiding something disturbing. When BF Skinner told me that he and Mrs. Inclusive meet frequently, I understood this world a little better.

Eight. Mr. and Mrs. Me-me-me, or was it Neatchee. This couple was hard to sit with. I had to endure a dinner with all their smoke, vanity, and repetitive music. They honestly believe that 1968 was the height of man because they were “there.” Where? They couldn’t explain. They just said that man’s greatest achievement came from their achievement—the sexual revolution, women’s rights, equality, freedom from tradition. They quoted someone oddly familiar. When I said he was from the 19th century, they argued with me and gave me a quote from someone in the 18th century. “Well, anyway, God is dead,” Mr. Me began as Mrs. Me finished. Why? “Because we say He is.” I began to ask them if they called me dead would that mean I would be dead? but a chill ran up from my toenails to the roots of my hair. They might have thought it was a suggestion. Even though I didn’t want to hear what they said, I decided to sit on their lip-shaped couch and listen with my hands clasped. They said women had the right to will themselves into power, no matter the cost, but they also said that promiscuous sex was free. When I asked them how that helped women have more power, they threw a sign at me. The sign said Cigarettes are Illegal. “I made that,” said Mrs. Neatchee proudly as she inhaled something from a thing they called a joint. I asked them what it was joining. They frowned at me…equally. I found out later that this couple had a lot of stuff—they had no money, had a lot of clothes, had a lot of debt, had STD’s, had anxiety problems, had depressive bouts, and had an equal chance at one day dying by the hand of someone who believes that productivity is more important than the person. I asked them if they had children. They couldn’t remember.

Nine. Ms. Doctrinaire. This woman, at least I think she was a woman, had a lot of certificates hanging on her walls. She also had a lot of pictures with her and her leaders shaking hands at various events. She also had a lovely voice. I noticed that her automatic, #1 person to call was her publicity agent. She gave me the sense that propaganda on this planet is not such a bad thing as long as you are from the planet Progressivism. She was not afraid to use entertainment and news to push her perspective. She was imperialistic in the way that she passed on messages. She owned most of the news organization, or at least was in charge of the taxes and bribe exchanges that would keep the journalists telling people what they wanted to hear about her. She made sure to keep actors and actresses and filmmakers hired that believed in the same things as she did so that they would not produce anything and say very little that veered from her daily agenda. I noticed that they had a lot of award ceremonies to suggest that they were doing really well. I asked her what she thought of the people on the other side of her world. She said I would have to leave because Mrs. Inclusive was coming for a meeting.

Ten. Miss Fillsory. This wispy woman wept a lot. A man didn’t want to bend over to tie the long shoelaces on his shoe (he was playing video games); she felt sorry for him because his shoes were new, yes, that’s it, new, so she bent over to help. She pulled the laces up, nice and taut, then she pulled out her knife and cut the laces off. She said, “You shouldn’t buy shoes that are so new.” In other words, I feel sorry for you, but I don’t really want to help you. She had surface of compassion undergirded by policies and ways of life that undid her compassion. For some reason, we got on the topic of taxes. She told me “I don’t mind paying taxes for low-income families as long as they get on birth control.” She began to talk about inner-city women as if they were dogs in need of spaying. I asked her about the poor women who lived countryside. “Who?” In other words, I don’t really want to help low-income families; I just want to sound like I want to help low-income families. She actually believed that the government will give her back her taxes if the low-income people decrease in population; she felt sorry for them but avoided acts of kindness by paying to get rid of the population that needs her compassion. She mentioned something about how keeping them poor helps them understand that having more children is bad for everyone. Didn’t some guy in the early 19th century write an idea like that? I asked her. “I don’t know what you mean. This is the planet Progressive! We live in the moment.” It’s strange, but when I first got there, I thought I saw a toddler with a casted leg. Miss Fillsory cried, “Mama’s here. Mama’s here. Oh, does my baby’s leg hurt?” I thought Miss Fillsory took the child in back to soothe the crying child. As I was leaving, I looked around for the toddler. Something told me that I didn’t want to know what had happened.

Eleven. Officer Spockedea. The information I received on this person came from the various articles he wrote. “Fat in the diet is bad for you.” “Giving your children fat is a nice thing to do.” “Children are obese…increasingly.” “Keeping milk in the refrigerator will keep it from spoiling.” “Milk is bad for you.” “Spoiling your children will help you.” “Calcium has benefits.” “How children are a burden.” “Cheese-makers have rights to name cheeses.” “Let your child name their sibling.” “What’s in a name?” “Why rage helps you focus your life.” “The evils of guns and violence.” “We evolved from a single cell.” “Stop treating me like an amoeba!” I think his, or maybe it was a her, articles were based on science, no, emotion, no science, no, either, or, either, or. He or she seemed to use science when it supported his or her argument; otherwise, he or she ignored or conflated, confounded, and muddled his or her own statistics to the point where they sounded good but made absolutely no sense. I wondered how much they paid writers on this planet. I also wondered what their patrons thought.

Twelve. Minister Doppelganger. One of the strangest looking people on this world, I found that from one side, he looked like a handsome man and from the other side, she looked like a beautiful woman. She called her nephew a retard and said that he shouldn’t have children, but he said that people should not call other people names. He said that those people have no right to use the word “alien” when speaking about him, but she called her brother a “freakin’ alien.” He said that he was the only person who had the right to use the term misogynist, but she said men are pigs. He and she looked at me and asked me what I wanted to do when I was done exploring space. Before I could answer, he and she said that I should go to college to learn how to make my bed. I laughed and said, “Right, because I am such whore,” until I realized that he and she was serious. She and he got up from the table and walked away. Apparently he and she can use racist or insulting words, but I could not even when joking about myself.

Thirteen. Herr Freud. This character was such a whiner and seriously singularly minded. I had a hard time listening to his lectures, and the kinds of questions he had for me. Seriously! These are things I only want one person to know. He could not get over the fact that childhood can be hard, well growing up in general takes work. He just wanted to continually refer to the past, but only the negative parts. He helped his patients blame everyone else for their actions (parents, spouse, society). They paid him quite a bit of money, so I guess that’s why he kept preaching. I felt like I was seriously lacking something when I left there. I found out that one of his frequent customer, er, uh patients was Mr. Lucifer.

Fourteen. Their children. The state of their children brought me to one of my most tearful days. Their eyes had been gouged and their ears had been stuffed with cotton. They had to be led by the hand and had rails on which they had to stay in line. I wanted to ask the older students why they believe their journalists’ political perspective, but I found that they can’t tell that they hold a political perspective because they are not able discern bias in journalists who no longer believe objectivity is important. Objectivity had become a sin. Fitting in was more important.

Fifteen. Their bible, canon of must-read literature, their art, and their prayer-life. They had several required pieces of literature from Sanger to Darwin’s theories on race, Marx’s subsistence to Nietzsche’s hyperactivity, Woolf to, oh, what’s her name, the one who hated her dead dad, and, oh, a little bit of Dickinson, and that guy who says everyone can be a mystic. We know all these, but so much more. I asked them if they had any other literature, but they said the rest was too old-fashion. Their art had distorted bodies, pornographic representations, blanks, and pentagrams. I thought they didn’t pray after what I saw, but I found that they love prayer a lot. I asked to see what it was like, but they became really irritated with me. “It’s private.” “It’s my me-time.” “La-la-la-la-love.” One person clarified that their prayer consisted of relaxing the mind so that nothing can be thought for a time. I asked them what they thought of soldiers like me. They said, “Stop judging me!”

In the end, I became progressively disenchanted with progressive sounding liberalism on this planet called Progressivism. It was not a world built on the liberality of freedom; the people seem to not trust that people know what to do with freedom. It reminded me of the late soldier, Frederick Douglass, who said that “Their object seems to be, to disgust their slaves with freedom, by plunging them into the lowest depths of dissipation. For instance, the slaveholders not only like to see the slave drink of his own accord, but will adopt various plans to make him drunk” and further, he says, “I have said that the mode of treatment is a part of a whole system of fraud and inhumanity of slavery. It is so. The mode here adopted to disgust the slave with freedom, by allowing him only to see the abuse of it, is carried out in other things.” (Narrative of the Life…Chapter X). How like the drugs that they continue to push and proclaim, recreational and prescriptive, uppers and downers! How often their news runs stories about those who abuse their freedoms rather than those who live freedom responsibly! How often their leaders tell them that they must take away more in order to restore order! How many promises they make! How many words they change so that their people don’t see how low their standards have become! Where is this planet heading?

Rather than progressing, I noticed that these folks are regressing. I think it’s because they love the sound of words that seem new or advanced, but they don’t take the time to look at how the concept is being enacted. And Lord knows, it is great to progress, but many do not know that progress has two meanings. Would they understand how a disease progresses? They seem to be so

  • Progressively naïve
  • Progressively undereducated
  • Progressively sterile
  • Progressively dependent
  • Progressively weak
  • Progressively lost
  • Progressively hypocritical

It’s a funny word, progressivism.
From the data I have gathered, I have found that this is their basic formula for living:

Anger+Arrogance+Undereducation+Sophism=Elitism

I must get back to work. It seems that one of the soldiers cannot remember the code for the pantry. He seems to think that food will suddenly appear on the counter, like I can read his mind or like he can move food with his thoughts. I should probably remind him that movement is good, as much as working for one’s food. It’s good to be back on this ship, Captain.

______________________________________

Copyright 2014

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Do single moms feel ________________ when heterosexuals talk about traditional marriage?

After reading an article about Notre Dame and the group of students who are trying to support traditional marriage, I was reminded of my early days in managing the feelings and effects of divorce. The article mentioned that single parents might feel somewhat bad about their own Christian identity if people promote traditional marriage. At first, I actually said to myself, “Why on earth would talking about the good of traditional marriage hurt single parents?” It seemed like nonsense, but then I remembered how I felt when my husband first left me.

I felt angry. I felt sad. I felt not good enough. I felt confused. And to get down to it, I felt jealous. Now, before you think I am accusing all those hurt single parents of the vice called envy–I am not!–I would like you to consider the movement of jealousy when a spouse leaves you for someone else. Of course there were feelings of jealousy. Trust was broken. Betrayal was raw. Helplessness was striking. I would say that it is entirely too cold-hearted to not feel jealous if your spouse chooses to be with someone else. Your spouse made some promises to you; the promises are being lived out with someone else.

It was not until I read St. Catherine of Siena that I realized that jealousy is not necessarily a sin, just like anger is not necessarily a sin (The Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena). As an emotion, jealousy recognizes that something good is missing and desires that good which is missing. She says that it can motivate one to try harder to move toward a more virtuous life when a person feels jealous about, for instance, someone’s holiness. The person sees something missing in self, a something which someone else has. To desire holiness is not a bad thing at all. When a spouse leaves, there is something not only good but something exceptional and holy missing–married life. To desire the good that comes from married life is not wrong. To desire holiness in married life is really good.

Of course, there is a moment to let go of the good that cannot be attained for whatever the reason may be. I have no control over the spouse who leaves. I cannot make him love me. I cannot make him understand the good that he is giving up. This is why the Sacraments are so important for the abandoned spouse. I knew I felt jealous, but if I had let those emotions, pulling and drawing me apart some days, if I had let them control me, the jealousy could easily have turned into envy. Envy would resort to manipulating or hurting others in order to obtain what is missing. This is the vice to avoid because it bears no love.

And honestly, thoughts of envy did arise for brief moments. When I would see a happy marriage, I would wonder, why me? It’s not fair! Why can they be happy? When my husband’s marriage seemed to be going well, I would wonder, what is wrong with me? Why can’t I have that? I even tried for a time to replicate my marriage for a time by having the “traditional” rebound relationship, in hopes that I could stave off the envy I felt and thought.

It became a wonderful moment to learn more about spiritual discernment, about how to draw the lines of what having a good marriage really meant. A good marriage is a marriage lived in truth. A good marriage is a marriage lived in justice. A good marriage is a marriage lived…lived! That includes fidelity, unity, and procreation. It’s creative! It is not built on a lie. It is not destructive. It is not divisive. Our marriage was built on all of those good qualities at first. After my spouse decided to leave, I began to notice the empty space, like a dark valley, where all of those good, good things were no longer being added. Marriage is a beautiful expression of God’s love. I knew that, but I didn’t know where I fit into that expression since my marriage was so obviously…not beautiful, at least on the outside. My marriage had suddenly become a journey into darkness, steep falls, and stumbles.

Had I let those movements of jealousy develop into the actual vice of envy, I probably would have tried to find ways to see all marriages as I saw my own–a negative blob of it-can’t-work-because-he’s-not-even-trying. I probably would have tried to redefine marriage in order to attempt to make myself feel better. After all, I had been excluded from that majority group. I wanted to feel included. My married life no longer included someone who wanted to continue on the same path. I wanted my helpmate and lover. I didn’t necessarily fit in because the other part of me, my husband, was not there. I wanted to fit in. At times, I even intimidated women who thought I might be after their husbands, perhaps bringing out their own jealousies. They obviously could see that the something-good-is-missing could be a potential problem for those husbands who think they need to fill in the gaps.

After healing, I would have to say that even the jealousy is gone. I have my moments, still, especially around certain anniversaries. It’s just a feeling. When acknowledged, I can accept the pain of living with the something-is-missing by handing it to my Lord. In addition, I know what looks like the “fulfilled married life” might actually be the loss of souls. This is the gravity of the problem of redefining marriage. Not only will redefinition have temporal effect, the effects are such that they can continue to shoot toward eternity if not dealt with. Eternal loss of love is still an option when people do not choose to live authentic love in the here and now.

Just because my husband left the game, I don’t have to quit supporting traditional marriage. Supporting traditional marriage takes nothing away from me. Nothing. Do not be afraid to clarify marriage.

Clarifying the good of traditional marriage only makes it devastatingly clear what and who is missing from my family. I know the statistics. The odds are against me. The odds are against my boys. But it would be ridiculous to undermine traditional marriages just because the odds are against me [Besides that, I've always had a penchant for challenges]. Bringing down traditional marriages (with remarriage or an affair or any other redefinition) does not build me up. I don’t want to participate in the same destruction as those spouses who leave their marriages to remarry or to do whatever they do.

Although I love traditional marriage, there are heterosexual marriages that bring a great disturbance to my spirit, perhaps due to the injustice I already know, perhaps due to the superficial nature of these “marriages.” These marriages harm children; these marriages harm people’s understanding of God’s love; these marriages pretend to give instant fulfillment (gratification) today. You might be thinking one way, but I am thinking in particular of remarriages. When this happens within the Christian fold, it is particularly disturbing. It is a broken promise, putting on the mask of God’s commitment and love.

Happy authentic marriages, on the other hand, make me extraordinarily happy. I love God’s wise design. I love every single part of what He has done to show His tremendous love. Do I wish I could live out my vocation fully? Heck ya! But, I’ve been promised by an even greater Person that if I offer my sense of something-really-good-is-missing to Him, great things will happen.

Because of the many spiritual movements that single parents actually feel when they are left to have a “marriage” alone, confusion might develop. Are single parents accidentally supporting alternative versions of marriage because they are hurt when they hear people support traditional marriage? Are single parents trying to redefine marriage in order to avoid the pain of what is missing? Wouldn’t it be wise to help single parents heal…authentically? There are a lot of us out here, and I see no better solution to this problem than to share the authentic message of Jesus, His love, His enduring faithfulness, His strength, His integrity, His forgiveness, His support, His everything. If Jesus is given authentically and is honestly received, I do not see how single parents would feel excluded from the Christian life when Christians talk about the nature of authentic marriage. Being a faithful single parent is just another path to holiness in Christianity.

For Saints that were single moms, I would begin with the following:

Margaret of Cortona

Elizabeth Ann Seton

Jane Frances de Chantal

Clarify the emotion:

  • Do single moms feel bad when heterosexuals talk about traditional marriage?
  • Do single moms feel sad when heterosexuals talk about traditional marriage?
  • Do single moms feel jealous when heterosexuals talk about traditional marriage?
  • Do single moms feel hopeless when heterosexuals talk about traditional marriage?
  • Do single moms feel angry when heterosexuals talk about traditional marriage?
  • Do single moms feel like something is missing when heterosexuals talk about traditional marriage?
  • Do single moms feel excluded when heterosexuals talk about traditional marriage?
  • Do single moms feel happy when heterosexuals talk about traditional marriage?

Of course, it is not good to generalize.

How do single moms feel about traditional marriage?

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inklusiv (poem)

i signed up
to be a part of
the section of
living spaces that were categorized under
the title World Cultures

how cultural!
i thought

i could be a part of
a group of
diplomatic people who wanted to
interact with
others from
several nations, languages, and
cultures

i could learn more about
the French, German, Italian
Chinese, Japanese, Czech,
Russian, Nigerian, Spanish,
Korean, Filipino, Venezuelan,
etcetera, etcetera, etcetera

we could have barbeques with
different food, story, and musical exchanges

we could have sessions of
speaking and trying to
understand

we could build bridges over
the oceans, forests, and stars

i wanted to be a part of
the endeavor

i wanted to be
included

included

i arrived with
my suitcase of
music, clothing, and memories

i introduced myself to
the resident cultural overseer

he spoke English like me
he was too much like me
he didn’t seem to like me

i walked around to
meet others from
the adjacent living spaces

they wouldn’t speak to me
they glared at me
they were from that same state as me

cultures?
bridges?
diplomacy?

Knock.
Knock.
Knock.

besides the superficial use of the English language
it seemed more like Ancient Greece to me
but when i started asking Socratic questions
they sent me to the room
with drugs
doped girls
male promiscuity

they tried to give me hemlock
because i impiously
wouldn’t participate
in their worship of party

i corrupted youth
with questions on virtue
and morality

at least, that’s what they told me

the implications of their choices:
girls were not worth marrying
boys wanted to be with boys
they didn’t care about dead Roman slave babies

this was their culture
one culture
one

Knock.
Knock. Knock.

i moved into my own living space
with my family
the women next door screamed
include me! include me!

women can only be included
if they agree that they are a perversion


a woman, neighbor, came in
took my husband
from me

i asked her why she thinks it is okay
to undefine my family

i could tell that Aristotle hurt her feelings
why are you so judgmental?
she asked me

my husband said
she’s now a part of the family

and what about me?
he didn’t answer
his eyes were stuck on her pornography

porn [G.], prostitute
forn [G.], brothel
adulter [L.], corrupt

their language didn’t seem right
their bridges seemed broken
their food was forced down my throat

Knock. Knock. Knock.

i answered the door
to be polite
the man looked at my sons
as if he had just realized
that death might
even exist in Venice

you certainly have fine young men
you need to include me,
include me
have them call me
Aschenbach, Gustav-
afraid-of-my-own-mortality

i tried to shove him away from my door
he sent a signal
right through me,
through me

the university
the TV
the ambiguous term, equality

men, men
gaining more power
women, women
losing integrity
men, men
getting more money, money
women, women
losing identity
children
not allowed to keep
predators out with boundaries

so alone
so alone
so alone

they called it marriage
even though nothing could be joined
they called it culture
even though nothing could be learned, created
they called it inclusivity
even though they contracepted their mentality

one
uni
solitary

i tried to defend my babies
they drugged me

i tried to learn about Latin languages
they wouldn’t let me network

i tried to keep my husband
they sucked him up and closed him behind their doors

they didn’t want to include me
but exclude me
they let the record play,
include me, include me
naïve couldn’t hear
seduce me, seduce me
just snap your fingers and sing:
it’s new to me
it must be modern
it’s new to me
because i don’t know history
lie to me
lie to me
i don’t want to face reality

i realized that World Cultures, inclusive,
is code for one homogeneous, unisexual, lonely, exclusive, anti-philosophical culture

this worldview
does not include me

let me in
or let me out?

_______________________
Copyright 2014

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