Posted by: Jim E | April 9, 2014

The Last Straw…Where Are We Going…And The Last One Standing…

A little over a month ago…I got up early as is my wont to do…did a few things I usually do…open the blinds, clean out the dishwasher…heavens I always run it as I go to bed…sit on the couch for a few minutes as I think through the day…then go in and turn on the computer…look at the news, read a few blogs and websites, so I will be up to date on theCandlelight vigil for murdered 10 yr old overnight news and views…then move on to other things…but that morning when I read the home page news…and as I read the story about a 10 year old girl who was abducted in broad daylight…found murdered in the basement of a neighbor…in trash bags and storage containers…and a picture of a candlelight vigil in Springfield, Missouri, where hundreds came out…that put me over the edge…as my Mom used to say, “that’ s the last straw”…I knew I had to write something, though I didn’t know then and even now, as I write, what it would be…even though it was as the proverb said, “…the last straw that breaks the camel’s back.”…

You probably know the scene in the Christmas movie, “The Christmas Story”…called the Scut Farkus affairScut Farkus affair, where Ralphie loses it after months of being picked on by Scut Farkus and his toady, Grover Dill…standing there after being irritated by a number of problems that stretched Ralphie’s endurance beyond his limit…”the last straw” happened, Scut Farkus hit him in the face with a snowball…and that was “it”..the fight was on and Ralphie “lost it”…it is kind of the way I felt that day…after seeing all the negatives on the news…where almost all of the things I believe in are being attacked almost everyday…where even at the highest levels of society, government, entertainment and culture…seem to be turning away from what I believe has made our country great…and how I saw this little girl being killed as part and parcel of that downward slide we are on in this culture…

And I see things on a fast trip into the abyss…I remember so well, in my former life, B.R. (before retirement)…I was  a principal of a large high school…one of my axioms was, “it takes a week to lose it and a year to get it back”…I saw it happen many times…at the high school level, if you change something, like a rule, and it is less controlling than the former, it is easy to change the rule…but almost impossible to change it back…it can be done but it takes a lot of time and a lot of work…I’ve been there, I know…I remember when I became the principal of our school…there were many things I felt I had to “clean up” to return the school to do what we were charged to do…educate…to be a place where teachers can teach and kids can learn…that seems simple but there are many things which work to stop that from happening…look around you, at schools that work and those that don’t…it doesn’t take much time to see why…but getting the right person or group of persons on board and willing to do the hard work to make it happen is the difficult task…but I digress…it is also true in our we give up mores and cultural principles that we have live with “forever”…easy to change, difficult to return to them again…

I have a poem written in the front of my Bible…it goes like this:Alexander Pope

Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.

Written by Alexander Pope, 1688-1744, from his epic poem, “An Essay on Man”…published in 1733-34…vice meaning sin…mien meaning conduct…so if I have written this way in the front of my Bible…”Beware of this human weakness: first we abhor…then we pity…finally, we embrace“…put another way: ”sin first unthinkable, is grudgingly tolerated, then condoned, then endorsed, then openly promoted as acceptable in God’s eyes”…we see it all the time…things thought unimaginable are being endorsed…

So when I see people being mislead by whomever they are listening to or watching, I know how the process works…it is a breakdown of morals and values, that have been taught by parents, schools, churches, synagogues, culture in general for generations…then I read about Miley Cyrus…a young girl, maybe over 18, but young…and her move from being Hannah Montana to what she is today…how did that happen…drugs, sex, and all the rest…I look to her parents, her “handlers”…they have talked her into this kind of life…if this continues, it will not go well with her…those of us who are older have seen this many times…and her parents think this is a great thing for her…I see it as tragic…I feel badly for her…but she has been “groomed” by those around her…though she would not see it that way now, I’m sure…we desperately need to return to the morals and values that many in this country still hold dear… 

I read a memoir recently by Jeannette Walls, “The Glass Castle”…it is a good read…almost unbelievable but a good read..without going into the book itself…one of the last lines in the book goes like this:Glass Castle

[“A wind picked up, rattling the windows and the candle flames suddenly shifted, dancing along the border between turbulence and order.” -Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle]

It’s where I see us as a culture…dancing along the border between turbulence and order…there still are those who want us to stand against the onslaught of turbulence but even in the highest places in government, in churches, in entertainment…no one seems too interested in providing the role models to follow…and seem to attack those of us who still want high standards…let me pick on churches for a moment…like Calvin Miller wrote in “Letter to a Young Pastor”…“Confess what the centuries have labeled the historical faith, or, well…follow the crowd of those “new kind of Christians” who arrive at the old kind of nothing yet still believe themselves faithful…”…I know, I am only hitting the high ground, ignoring the valleys, gulleys and draws…but you get my drift…Where are we going?…What shall we be if we continue down this path?…I say put on the brakes before we can’t stop at all…this will end badly if we don’t…that 10 year old girl and all the 10 year olds around us deserve a better world to live in…the one we are headed for is not so good…

I just finished “Goodbye, Darkness”, a memoir of the Pacific War by William Manchester…a story of his time in WWII…at the end of his book he tries to put it all in focus…to answer why they served…it is a bit more than I will share here…but this is some Goodbye, Darknesss by William Manchesterof it…“It was an act of love. Those men on the line were my family, my home. They were closer to me than I can say, closer than any friends had been or ever would be…Actually love was only part of it…we had to be tough too. To fight WWII you had to have been tempered and strengthened in the 1930’s depression by a struggle for survival…devotion overarched all this. It was a bond woven of many strands…You also needed nationalism, the absolute conviction that the United States was the envy of all other nations…Wickedness was attributed to flaws in individual characters, not to society’s shortcomings…to accept unemployment compensation, had it existed, would have been considered humiliating…Debt was ignoble. Courage was a virtue. Mothers were beloved, Fathers obeyed. Marriage was a sacrament. Divorce was disgraceful. Pregnancy meant expulsion from school or dismissal from a job. The boys responsible for the crimes of impregnation had to marry the girls. Couples did not keep house before they were married and there could be no wedding until the girl’s father had approved. You assumed that gentlemen always stood and removed their hats when a woman entered a room. The suggestion that some of them might resent being called “ladies” would have confounded you…All these and “God Bless America” and Christmas or Hanukkah and the certitude that victory in the war would assure their continuance into perpetuity…”

But it is not so…every generation must fight the battle for the survival of this great country…so far this generation has not done well…I still have great faith in America…there are still millions of Americans who believe in values that have made us great…that includes American’s in every walk of life, every background…churches, families, individuals need to stand…we may be the last one standing but we must stand…it will be a struggle but one we must win…God help us…Jesus said in Matthew 12:25…Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.


  1. Reblogged this on Your Roving Reporter and commented:

    I wrote this post April 9, 2014, just a little over a year ago…but the march to the abyss continues apace…it has become even more important that we understand what is happening than a year ago…

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