Allowances for Evil

Going through my first year of teaching public high school, I am constantly amazed at myself and others that end up allowing evil to occur.

Teachers aren’t infallible. Teachers aren’t all seeing, hearing, etc. We let a lot of stuff go, either by choice or policy.

And letting too much go is where our problem starts.

I haven’t written up too many students this year in terms of getting them in serious trouble. The most egregious offenses this year were the threats made against my life and my wife’s body. The response was to send the students responsible home for 3 days’ suspension because the threats were not direct enough. That’s the administration’s decision, and I understand it and appreciate them handling the situation.

However, if you are 16 years old, I don’t care what situation you come from — you know better than to threaten murder and rape towards another human being, no matter how veiled the threats are. Those are serious statements, those who make them should be punished for them.

So why the kid gloves?

The more allowances we make as a society — the more we desire to be liked rather than desiring justice; self-gratification more than righteousness — the further we slide along towards Gomorrah. Certainly, we’ll shake our heads and bemoan the state of things, but by doing nothing we allow evil to flourish. For what reason? So that we have something to complain about? So that we won’t have to put up with the lawyers or the latest “poor pitiful me, everything is society’s fault” group? Since when has politeness become the supreme virtue over good? When did we decide to cash in our chips of truth and righteousness for a form of civility that undermines the basis for it?

This is not only true in terms of discipline, but also in Pro-Life organizations. (Here’s where I’m likely to lose most of you.) Don’t get me wrong, I am opposed to abortion in any case. However, Pro-Life efforts are predominantly about regulating abortion, not getting rid of it. Even within the pro-life society, many believe in allowing exceptions for when sacrificing an unborn child’s life is “acceptable.” Besides, without legalized abortion, there’s one less issue to raise money over and vote for. Make no mistake, even if (God willing, when) abortion is illegal in the United States, abortions will still occur. The problem is we keep believing that the answers to our problems are political in nature.

The malady we suffer from — every human and every nation, not just the United States — always has been sin. Without a change of heart, the evils of child-sacrificing abortion will continue. Without a change of heart, people will continue to choose actions that require punishment rather than reap just rewards. (John 3: 19 — 21)

And yet God chooses to save people, as unlovely as they are. (Romans 9) We are called to have a mind that follows after God’s — to love what He loves and hate what He hates. (Romans 12:2) God is not willing to make peace with evil. He sent His only Son Jesus to die on the cross to pay the penalty for sin for those He chose. The question for us remains then: what sort of allowances are we prepared to make for evil?

Dear readers, thank you for indulging me with your time and views. Unfortunately, I am at a place in my life where continuing to write on a consistent basis is not possible any longer. I bid you a fond farewell, and leave with just enough of a caveat to say I may be providing “guest posts” in the future, should the editor allow such.

Thank you, and adieu.

Words and Pictures from a Memorable Memorial

Believing a proper sightseeing trip to Washington, D.C., demanded at least one visit to the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, Brandon, Elijah, and I–recently acquainted and co-adventurers of necessity–put these two sights on our Saturday itinerary. While the weather was warm in the morning and at midday, by the afternoon the skies had become cloudy.

Drops of rain began to fall as we drew close to the Washington Monument, but we pressed on, and after getting several close-ups of the Washington Monument we saw our next destination in the distance:

Lincoln Memorial
Pentax K-x, f/11.0, 1/100 sec., 55mm

Crossing a field, we found shelter beneath the trees along the path towards the memorial. As we walked, the rain fell harder and the sky darkened. Soon, the rain fell torrentially and lightning flashed through the sky. Brandon was the only one with an umbrella–Elijah and I were drenched.

And then the hail began – pea to dime-sized balls falling from the sky, most of them landing in the trees but some of them impacting on the ground, and us. I shielded my eyes, figuring the rest of me would probably be all right and hoping my camera was staying dry enough in the camera bag at my side.

It was fortunately, because we arrived at the Lincoln Memorial just as the storm paused. Water gushed down the steps of the memorial as we looked up to see dozens of people beginning to move out from their temporary shelter under building’s roof. Climbing the steps, I snapped a photo of the Washington Monument.

Washington Monument
Pentax K-x, f/9.0, 1/40 sec., 18mm

Inside, the lights of the memorial had been switched off temporarily. Wet and cold, we examined the two wings of the memorial—on the left, the words of the Gettysburg Address were inscribed on the wall, and on the right the words of Lincoln’s second inaugural address.

Elijah ushered us towards the right. “Of the great speeches of history, I put the Sermon on the Mount at the peak,” he said. “But I would put this one in second.”

I felt an echo of familiarity with the words on the wall, but that day, in the dim light of evening, Elijah read the words of the address, words I will never forget.

“Fondly do we hope—fervently do we pray—that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said, “The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations.”

As we discovered shortly, the storm was not past—we were only at intermission in that day’s terrestrial light and effects show: The second act was about to begin. Returning to the subway later in the day, thoroughly soaked, we knew our trip to Washington was not one we would soon forget.

Thunderstorm

 

The patter of infantry fire;

The crack and rumble of cannon,

And the frequent flash of their flame;

The saturating smoke of rain

And its heavy, fresh, cleansing scent;

Trees fall, bend, break, burn – under assault;

Then the storm stops; the rain recedes;

The vapor vanishes; the sun

Shines:  the storm is over.