Moral Shepherds, Immoral Kings




 – Why we should be exposing and reading to our children fairy tales and stories. God is only truly believable through the imagination. And so then are his statutes only obtainable through parable, story, and fable.


 I had a thought while reading the section about Beauty and the Beast: most children these days are only exposed to children’s TV programming. While we all have known this is not healthy for children – my eyes were opened to “why” we are seeing such moral depravity in younger generations: they were not exposed at early ages to moral imaginative stories. They are always silly, or community-citizen driven animation, but not moral and virtuous stories of old.

If children are only exposed to what is silly – not only are they deprived of learning a correct definition of humor – which is not bodily functions or back-side bearing – but also they are missing the formation and inspiration of virtue, character, and morality. I wish I had read more to my children when they were younger than I did! I am glad we stopped TV, especially children’s shows years ago. But I have not taken special care to ensure the reading of fairy tales. Redeem the time, Lord Jesus!!

Another thought: When the prophet Nathan had to confront David about his manifest transgression against the house of Uriah and against God, he used a story. He had to capture the heart of the shepherd in order to rouse the conscience of the king. When we try to “teach” ethics and morality we only rouse the conscience of the king – and he is a KING!
Don’t we each feel some sense of dignity that needs defending when people are about to accuse us of doing unjustly? – even if we are just surmising what may happen in the future and what we need to do should we be faced with the temptation to do unjustly – well, we are KINGS! We don’t do injustices!
 – ah, but we do. All the time, and we justify our injustices. So, our hearts must be got at another way. Is there something or someone ELSE we care for deeply, that we would never want to see hurt – an animal, a child, a lady in distress? Well we would never want to be the cause of pain or penalty for that fair one. And so the moral is embedded in the heart more assuredly than if we tried to forcibly erect it in the conscience. Perhaps the heart is more of a garden than the conscience. And so it is that by time and tending and cultivating this moral imagination, a great plant produces fruit in the conscience that is ready during a time of crisis to be consumed.

Can We Perceive Loveliness?

Is beauty in the eye of the behold, or the nature of the object being held?

Is beauty in the eye of the behold, or the nature of the object being held?

I had a conversation with my 13yo about this statement:
“Boredom is the seed of unloveliness.” Leigh Bortins refers to this idea in this video after reading a priest’s passionate book on cooking, The Supper of the Lamb. He has a chapter on smelling onions or loving onions?!
My son defined “boredom” and we defined “loveliness”. He remarked that loveliness included what is good, and “what you like”. That opened up a conversation about whether there are things that are lovely whether we see them as such or not. Is a rose lovely whether you like it or not? Is creation lovely because a loving God made it, not because we perceive it as such? Does our minute perception or opinion diminish the eternal beauty of created situations, subjects, or seasons of life?
Part of his definition of “boredom” was – not wanting to work. Yes! I am so glad he didn’t say – when there’s nothing to do, because the point of the quote is that the reason you perceive something as unlovely is because you do not want to work at seeing the lovely – if you are bored with it, it is unlovely to you – is this a correct way to assess loveliness?
What makes a thing boring – is it the hard work? Is it the lack of natural affinity – and then should an acquired affinity be attempted? – Because that strikes at the heart of the essence of Classical education – beholding the true, the good, the beautiful.
Here was a quote she also referenced from Plato’s Meno . Plato credits Socrates as saying:
“Some things I have said of which I am not altogether confident. But that we shall be better and braver and less helpless if we think that we ought to inquire than we should have been if we indulged in the idle fancy that there was no knowing and no use in seeking to know what we do not know; — that is a theme upon which I am ready to fight, in word and deed, to the utmost of my power.”
I want to convey to my children they should not be content to just be bored or dislike something – they should seek to ask why they don’t like something, and then seek to undislike it, acquire an appreciation of its inherent loveliness, and this may require hard work.
But what can I-I-I do to exemplify and inspire this attitude, or principle? I hope my children see me seeking what is true, and good, and lovely, and not avoiding the things that are hard for me.
Although, I will say I avoid housework. And as I listened to Leigh and her going through these ideas of loveliness and the passionate cooking priest loving onions, I wondered about the need for me to stop and seek the loveliness of keeping my home. – Help me, Lord Jesus!
What are some things you avoid because you perceive them as hard or unlovely? Can you see a need to ask God – how is this thing lovely and help me to work hard to see it that way too?
Some recommendations that reflect these ideas:

The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection (Modern Library Paperbacks),
Beauty for Truth’s Sake: On the Re-enchantment of Education,