Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Andrei Face of the day

cf Whaleoil

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Lucia Did the Pope really relax the Church's stance on "gays"?

During an 80 minute interview with journalists, when Pope Francis was apparently asked about gay people, he answered “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

Pope Francis' answer to the question has been reported all over the place - but not the actual question itself.  This has lead to excitement in some quarter that Pope Francis is somehow changing the direction of the Catholic Church on her attitude towards homosexuals. Misinformation is being spread, mainly through is this AP article, regurgitated by news sources such as Stuff, with quotes such as the following:

Gay leaders were buoyed by Francis' non-judgmental approach, saying changing the tone was progress in itself, although for some, the encouragement was tempered by Francis’ talk of gay clergy's ''sins".

''Basically, I'm overjoyed at the news," said Francis DeBernardo, executive director of the US-based New Ways Ministry, a group promoting justice and reconciliation for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people and the wider church community.

''For decades now, we've had nothing but negative comments about gay and lesbian people coming from the Vatican," DeBernardo said in a telephone interview from Maryland.

The largest US gay rights group, Human Rights Campaign (HRC), said in a statement that the pope's remarks "reflect a hopeful change in tone".

The real change in tone comes from journalists, not from the Pope. Pope Francis is being cast as a change of direction from Pope Benedict, when he is no such thing.  Both popes are Catholic and will continue to be so, and no one should be surprised about this.

Here is the actual question that Pope Francis was asked (translated by the Salt and Light blog from Italian), in relation to the new head of the Vatican Bank who might have had a gay affair:

I would like to ask permission to pose a rather delicate question. Another image that went around the world is that of Monsignor Ricca and the news about his personal life. I would like to know, your Holiness, what will be done about this question. How should one deal with this question and how does your Holiness wish to deal with the whole question of the gay lobby?

Pope Francis' answer was as follows (also translated by the Salt and Light blog). I've bolded the part that has been picked up by the world, so you can see it in context of the entire answer:

Regarding the matter of Monsignor Ricca, I did what Canon Law required and did the required investigation. And from the investigation, we did not find anything corresponding to the accusations against him. We found none of that. That is the answer. But I would like to add one more thing to this: I see that so many times in the Church, apart from this case and also in this case, one looks for the “sins of youth,” for example, is it not thus?, And then these things are published. These things are not crimes. The crimes are something else: child abuse is a crime. But sins, if a person, or secular priest or a nun, has committed a sin and then that person experienced conversion, the Lord forgives and when the Lord forgives, the Lord forgets and this is very important for our lives. When we go to confession and we truly say “I have sinned in this matter,” the Lord forgets and we do not have the right to not forget because we run the risk that the Lord will not forget our sins, eh? This is a danger. This is what is important: a theology of sin. So many times I think of St. Peter: he committed one of the worst sins denying Christ. And with this sin they made him Pope. We must think about fact often.

But returning to your question more concretely: in this case [Ricca] I did the required investigation and we found nothing. That is the first question. Then you spoke of the gay lobby. Agh… so much is written about the gay lobby. I have yet to find on a Vatican identity card the word gay. They say there are some gay people here. I think that when we encounter a gay person, we must make the distinction between the fact of a person being gay and the fact of a lobby, because lobbies are not good. They are bad. If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge that person? The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this point beautifully but says, wait a moment, how does it say, it says, these persons must never be marginalized and “they must be integrated into society.”

The problem is not that one has this tendency; no, we must be brothers, this is the first matter. There is another problem, another one: the problem is to form a lobby of those who have this tendency, a lobby of the greedy people, a lobby of politicians, a lobby of Masons, so many lobbies. This is the most serious problem for me. And thank you so much for doing this question. Thank you very much!

What you can see happening with Pope Francis is what has been happening with previous popes over the decades. It's a misrepresentation of where they are coming from by ignorant or devious people who have an agenda. Hopefully the internet will be able to do with Pope Francis what hadn't been possible earlier, and that is clarification of what he actually said so that Catholics don't freak out and so that dissents and others don't get control of the message.

Lucia Christchurch Catholic Cathedral hailed as incredibly sophisticated architecture by visiting expert

A visiting American expert on historic buildings talks about the partially destroyed Catholic Christchurch Basilica:

The cathedral was still "incredibly beautiful", McNamara said. "It's very sombre and melancholy of course - but I could see the beauty and sophistication in this architecture, and it really stands out as a fine building anywhere.

"Even in the churches that you see ... in other parts of the world, to have this stone exterior instead of brick, to have these grand colonnades on the inside that are natural stone and not just plaster, reflects that it's at the higher end of buildings of its type.

"You could tell coming down the street something grand, valuable and important was here. I wish I'd been here to see it in its full glory."

With the cathedral's fate still to be decided, McNamara was reluctant to declare that it should be rebuilt. He said grand architecture was at the heart of Catholic worship.

"It is an inordinate and disproportionate expense to build a beautiful church but it's part of the nature of Catholic worship," he said.

"It's not something that can be easily dispensed with."

He says much more about the nature of Catholic worship in the video attached to the story, in that we make visible what is invisible in order to prepare for heavenly things. That's why beauty in our churches is so incredibly important.

Related link: Expert hails Catholic cathedral

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Lucia A Royal Baby is born

A royal baby is always good news, and today New Zealand woke up to the announcement that a new heir to the throne was born. A little boy.

I'm personally quite pleased about this. The royal family of Britain (and New Zealand) is doing well, and a new baby is a great way for them to keep up their popularity. Babies always bring their own luck with them (according to the Greek takeaways guys who tried to convince me years ago to have another baby), and I now realise with hindsight and much more life experience that those Greek guys were right.

A baby is a blessing, and many babies multiply those blessings. Our world needs to rediscover that married men and women create babies, and that it is good, and that we should have more. Maybe the Royal Baby will inspire a baby boom.

Whatever one might think of the Royals, their continual existence is important. They are a link to the past and as such are hated by modernists who would replace them with a republic. You can't make Socialist Man without destroying the past, and therefore socialists and utopians who want to create a new future free of past restraints and traditions, will always stress the Monarchy's irrelevance.

Yet, the Royals are not irrelevant, the interest in the Royal Baby proves that.

Related links: Royal baby: what the British papers said ~ The Telegraph
Duchess of Cambridge gives birth to a baby boy ~ The Telegraph

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Andrei An interesting insight from an unlikely source who doesn't understand it anyway

A civil marriage service is not a "proper wedding" which can only take place in a Church.

How do we know?

ZM’s breakfast host, Polly Gillespie has told us so

"This is a momentous occasion for New Zealand. If we went with a civil service and then a blessing in St Matthew’s as the Anglican Church has suggested, we’d effectively be saying everyone’s equal but some are more equal than others. That’s not good enough for us at ZM. We want our royal themed wedding to be a proper wedding, which means a marriage ceremony, not a blessing or anything less than that. ZM will deliver on this. We are left with no alternative but to move the ceremony elsewhere, so we’re on the hunt for another church!"

This could be a teaching opportunity for the Anglican Church on the nature of Christian marriage but given their own confusion over these matters it will be missed

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Lucia Catholic doctor denies woman contraception makes the news and the blogs

A Catholic doctor in New Zealand has denied a 23 year old engaged woman the contraceptive pill and now it's made the news. David Farrar is appalled, for the doctor was apparently not doing his duty by the patient.  Many men prefer their women on contraception it seems, maybe because the contraceptives act in such a way to make less masculine men more attractive

Contraception does not fix a medical problem, however, no matter how unattractive the man.  The capacity to bear children is in itself not a disease that needs to be cured. Having children is in fact, the primary difference between men and women, even though some women will never have children.  So, for a doctor, denial of contraception is not denying health care as such, as it is denying women a medical means of neutering themselves and aborting any children they might conceive.

For yes, even on contraception, women can conceive children, it's just that their  bodies are unable to nurture their children and so they generally die.  This is what is known as the abortifacient effect of the pill.  Of those that somehow manage to survive, many are aborted as the natural reaction of a woman to a child while on the pill is the desire to not be pregnant.  A recent study in Australia found that 70% of women seeking abortions used birth control when they became pregnant, because the women who uses birth control is not wanting pregnancy, and if it does occur, the child needs to be dealt with.

Contraceptive pills also have side effects and dangers inherent in their use. Recently, a contraceptive Yaz or Yasmin is causing problems is implicated in deaths, and critics are calling for a world wide recall.  From DrugNews:

Yasmin and Yaz were FDA approved in 2001 and 2006, and are sold by the German drug company Bayer. The fourth-generation birth control pills were marketed as alternative contraceptives with limited PMS (premenstrual syndrome), bloating, and acne.

Due to recent safety concerns over these drugs that have been used by millions of women worldwide, many critics are now calling for a Yaz recall.

Recently, drug safety experts have found that the synthetic hormone used in Yaz and Yasmin – drospirenone, can elevate potassium levels in the blood. This may be linked to severe side effects, including:
  • blood clots
  • stroke
  • deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • pulmonary embolism
So far, the FDA has received over 50 reports of death among women taking Yaz or Yasmin. They have also received adverse event reports indicating more than 20,000 episodes of blood clot injuries such as pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis linked to the drugs. However, the agency has yet to issue a Yaz recall.

Although Yaz and Yasmin remain on the market, a federal court has ruled that those women injured have the right to seek compensation. Also, sales of the drugs have dropped as Bayer has paid nearly $1 billion to compensate those injured by blood clots.

When it comes down to life saving treatment, risking adverse reactions from drugs can be justified. But how do people justify women taking potentially dangerous chemicals to alter her own female biology so that she can have sex without becoming pregnant? Wouldn't it better for the couple to learn how to avoid having sex on those days where the woman is fertile? I'm not talking about the "Rhythm Method", but the more accurate charting and self-observation that women can learn to do using some of the NFP methods (Natural Family Planning).

I do wonder if the doctor who refused the 23 year old woman contraception actually really suggested the "Rhythm Method" to her, or whether that's what she supposed he was suggesting.  So far, only she has gone to the media, and only she has given her side of the story and her translation of what the  doctor said to her.  I would be very wary of accepting all of what she said at face value, given that what Catholics say can be completely misrepresented, as it's happened to me frequently.

I'll finish off with Jason Evert talking about NFP and contraception, from the Catholic point of view, just so everyone actually knows what the real Catholic point of view on all of this is.

Related link: Women have reproductive duty, says 'rhythm' doctor ~ NZ Herald

Friday, July 12, 2013

Lucia Be proud of what’s been done to you, even when it hurts

My title is chosen from within the article I've linked to. It refers to the child's pain of being different, of not having a mother or a father, and to have to put on a brave face to the world, because that is what is expected of them. This is personal for the writer, Robert Oscar Lopez, because he knows what it's like to be raised by two lesbians. He's one of the very few that are now grown and are able to talk and write about their experiences. He considers two men or two women bringing a child into their relationship on purpose to be abusive.

Worst of all is a same-sex parenting home that arose because two homosexuals contrived the situation knowingly, in order to experience parenting. These are cases in which divorce was initiated by a gay spouse, with the explicit goal of setting up a new gay parenting household, and then custody was transferred (often in an ugly family court process). Or where lesbians went to a sperm bank. Or where two homosexuals began a lifelong relationship with the intent of adopting and then sought adoption on-demand. Or worst of all, two gay men engaged in a surrogacy contract with a woman who sold them her baby.

Many gay parenting advocates say these are more noble scenarios since they “wanted” the child, but they are wrong. They imposed their vision ruthlessly on a helpless being and then extorted gratitude. The false equivalency used in order to make the child “love” a second parent of the same sex is coerced and injurious.

In the household irreversibly alienated from constitutive rituals like Father’s Day and Mother’s Day, it is abusive to tell the child it was all for her own good and she shouldn’t listen to her own feelings, nor her peers, neighbors, or any moral authorities on TV who praise motherhood or fatherhood.

It is abusive to tell a child, “We are your moms” or “we are your dads,” and then expect the child never to feel the loss of such important icons, in addition to the injury of having been severed from at least one, and possibly both, biological parents—not because it was necessary, but because the two adults insisted on the arrangement. The lessons children learn from this undermine selfhood: might makes right, little people are subject to the whims of self-serving parents, and powerful people can impose “love” on weaker beings with money or political influence over adoption agencies, family courts, sperm banks, and surrogate mothers.

None of these problems would arise if we lived in a world where gay people saw children not as a commodity for purchase but rather as an obligation requiring sacrifices (i.e., you give up your gay partner instead of making your kid give up a parent of the opposite sex, because you’re the adult.)

Fletch posted a you-tube on KiwiBlog's General Debate today, where Robert Lopez answers a number of questions about gay adoption and gay marriage, and also towards the end, mentions the linked article. Well worth listening to.

Related link: Same-Sex Parenting: Child Abuse? ~ Robert Oscar Lopez, The Witherspoon Institute, Public Discourse

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Lucia Blog side bar update, blogs removed, blog added

Every once in a while I delete blogs from my sidebar that haven't been active for a long time. A long time being defined as anything more than eight months or so. Today's clean up removed Dad4Justice and PinkoFreeZone. If either of those blogs come back to life, please let me know and I'll add them back again.

As always, the blog list does not reflect the blog's authors' views on anything. A link to a blog does not mean endorsement of that blog. A number of the blogs on the blog list will not link to this blog for various reasons, but that does not stop me from linking to them. Kudos to the HandMirror, with whom I disagree with on just about everything, for showing me that this was possible by their own policy of linking to women bloggers, despite what they blog about.

I've also added another NZ blog to the list: Wonderful Now. The blogger reminds me of the woman in Luke 7:47.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Lucia Book on a man who converts to Catholicism from Islam has influenced me in recent weeks

A couple of weeks ago I was wanting to read something worthwhile, and even thought to myself that it would be good if I could find something on Kindle.  I was thinking of fiction rather than non-fiction, as I seem to read quite a few non-fiction books and very little fiction, so I was really wanting a story.

All of this thinking occurred just before bedtime, and as I normally do at night, in the process of closing down my computer, I just had a last look around.   A post on our sidebar caught my eye by Te Deum laudamus!, Book Review | The Price to Pay: A Muslim Risks All to Follow Christ:

The Price to Pay grabs you by the seat of your pants right on the first page and doesn't let go until you are done. It begins in Iraq in the late 1980's with a Muslim man from a tribe with considerable esteem who encounters an Iraqi Catholic while in mandatory military service. Without spoiling it, suffice it to say, that after initially having a serious aversion to the guy, he has an experience that will change his life forever.

The man lived to write about his epic and heroic journey into Catholicism. In fact, it wasn't a journey, it was a roller-coaster ride, running at a fast pace, with many ups and downs. As one priest said, "if you didn't know he survived, you'd have a heart-attack reading the book."

Throughout the book you see God initiating contact with a man who has no knowledge of Christianity, much less Catholicism, other than the false notions served to him by his anti-christian culture. You then see a man's free-will response to each grace God sends him. Divine providence is visible so many times throughout the book, I lost count.

The book is ultimately hope-filled and triumphant. It was fascinating to see how some people today pursue Jesus and His Church with the boldness of yesterday's first Christians. His thirst for Baptism and the Eucharist catapulted me into an examination of conscience of a very different kind. He wanted badly to share his new found faith with his family in a country where certain death awaits one who converts from Islam to Christianity...

Well, I downloaded the sample and was grabbed by the seat of my pajama pants! So I stayed up quite late reading it after getting through the sample and then buying the book to see what happened next, and I think I finished it the next day.

Afterwards I just felt stunned. I couldn't write about it, I just needed time to process what I'd read, especially the concept of a family who would want to kill a member who converted to Christianity because of the shame of it to the family. To want to kill a family member because of the shame they bring, I can't get my head around that.

I was also in awe of the man's courage. I think it's easy to get comfortable in one's place in life and not go out on a limb because of the disruption it could bring.  That was very much in the forefront of my thinking over that period of time.

A couple of days later, I wrote a very short post linking to another post on a recent court case that involved bloggers and all hell broke loose. If anyone really wants to understand a little of what lead me to writing that short post, I recommend reading The Price to Pay as a starting point.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Andrei Where does this clown think the money comes from that pays his salary

New Zealand has a large parasite class - much of it domiciled in Wellington.

Here is a prime example a Professor of Public Policy, no less

Here is an sample of his thought processes

"The current New Zealand Government, for instance, is only too eager to proclaim the virtues of our country's favourite brands - clean and green, 100 per cent pure - but the very same government is pursuing policies on multiple fronts that are making an absolute mockery of such brands," he said during a panel discussion.

"Examples include the severe weakening of the emissions trading scheme, the vigorous endorsement of onshore and offshore mining of fossil fuels with no mention of carbon capture and storage, reduced public funding for DOC, huge investments in new roads rather than public transport, the inefficient expansion of urban boundaries, and numerous proposed changes to the Resource Management Act designed to lower environmental standards, fast-track major projects and limit citizens' participatory and legal rights."

Hard tradeoffs had to be made in some cases, Boston said, acknowledging it was reasonable for people to focus on their pay packets "particularly if they're relatively modestly paid, and they don't have significant savings, and if they don't have an adequate safety net to fall back on in terms of community support through the welfare state".

A good reason for having a reasonably generous welfare state was that it provided something to fall back on when there was an intention to move people out of industries that were damagingly extractive into things that were going to be more sustainable.

I'm fairly sure that Professors of Public Policy are paid from the public purse which is kept topped up not by the tosh that Professors of Public policy produce but by the sweat of those who get up in the morning to milk the cows and those humble souls who build and maintain the roads, (roads that he decrys)that transport the milk to factories and those who work in the factories to turn the milk into cheese, butter and other products that can be sold to pay all these people and the others who are cooperating to generate the wealth that feeds this nation for their labour.

And as these people go about earning their living with honest toil they accept that some of their hard earned money will be taken in tax to pay the costs of good governance and also to keep Professors of Public Policy in the style to which they no doubt feel they are entitled

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Lucia Pope Francis' first encyclical on faith reiterates that marriage can only be between one man and one woman

This will upset the liberals who imagined that Francis might support same-sex unions. The message loud and clear is that he doesn't - marriage can only ever be between one man and one woman.

ROME, July 5, 2013 ( – In his first encyclical letter, released this morning, Pope Francis has reiterated that marriage is a union of one man and one woman for the procreation and nurturing of children.

This lifelong pledge is possible only in the light of a greater plan for marriage, he said: “Promising love for ever is possible when we perceive a plan bigger than our own ideas and undertakings, a plan which sustains us and enables us to surrender our future entirely to the one we love.”

Titled Lumen Fidei (The Light of Faith), the encyclical is known to have been authored mainly by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who was still working on it at the time of his abdication and it strongly reflects the theological style of Francis’ predecessor. In his introduction, Pope Francis wrote that he merely “added a few contributions of my own.”

Section 52, on Faith and the Family, calls the family the “first setting in which faith enlightens the human city.”

“I think first and foremost of the stable union of man and woman in marriage," he said. "This union is born of their love, as a sign and presence of God’s own love, and of the acknowledgment and acceptance of the goodness of sexual differentiation, whereby spouses can become one flesh (cf. Gen 2:24) and are enabled to give birth to a new life, a manifestation of the Creator’s goodness, wisdom and loving plan.

“Grounded in this love, a man and a woman can promise each other mutual love in a gesture which engages their entire lives and mirrors many features of faith. Faith also helps us to grasp in all its depth and richness the begetting of children, as a sign of the love of the Creator who entrusts us with the mystery of a new person.”

Anthony Ozimic, communications manager for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children told today, “The Pope is linking being pro-life with having a correct understanding of the true nature of marriage. His words will be of great assistance to pro-life organisations who are fighting homosexual ‘marriage’. We know that the homosexual attack on marriage is an attack on the family, which is the best protector of children, both born and unborn.”

Ozimic said that although the section of the encyclical on the subject was short, only a few paragraphs, it is a “significant” aid in the struggle against the global efforts by the homosexualist lobby to dismantle legal definitions of marriage.

“The message from Pope Francis in his first encyclical is that the life-bearing potential of heterosexuality is the prerequisite of marriage,” Ozimic said.

Related links: Marriage one man and one woman for nurturing children: Pope Francis’ first encyclical ~ LifeSiteNews
Lumen Fidei - 'The Light of Faith' ~ Catholic Herald
Encyclical Letter Lumen Fidei of the Supreme Pontiff Francis ~ Vatican

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Lucia That brown paper bag book for teenagers that everyone's talking about

A book that should be brown paper-bagged and left there to rot has netted writer Ted Dawe a $7500 prize.
Ted Dawe’s Into the River claimed top prize in the annual New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards.

The author makes no apology for the provocative content, saying the story needs to be told, even at the risk of upsetting parents and booksellers.

One scene describes, in extensive detail, two adolescents having fumbling sex in shallow water.

Award organisers have sent “explicit content” stickers to all booksellers to warn potential buyers.

The 2013 Kiwi Kids’ Good Book Guide lists the book’s target age as 13 years and over but Masterton Paper Plus says the book is only suitable for those over 15.

The Conservative has an excerpt of the "fumbling sex", and has suggested a more appropriate title for the book. I won't post the excerpt here, as I don't even want to look at it, yet alone have to put blockquote tags around it and have it on the blog.

Sue Reid of Masterton has written a review of the book, and found it was worse than she expected it to be.
“Devon (a.k.a. Te Arepa) is the central character of Dawes’ book. He lives on the East Coast of North Island NZ and experiences family / community dysfunction. At age 14 he goes to Auckland and attends a boarding school there.

The school has a ‘pecking order’ of older students (not bullying) but graphic violent assaults carried out on the younger students. Fear and intimidations uphold the social order. It is here that the c-word is used extensively along with f-word (I don’t use these words personally and would certainly not be allowing my children or expect school students to use them, so why should I be reading then in a children’s book!)

Devon meets Steph (a boy) at this school and they become ‘allies-brothers-in-arms’ but Steph is harbouring secrets…and this is where the adult themes really take hold in the book.

Steph is having an affair with his music teacher, Willie, along with having an affair with his father’s work colleague (who is a father himself). i.e. two separate paedophiles sexually abusing a 14 year old.

On a holiday back to East Coast, Devon has a graphic sexual encounter with young single mum (Tania) – twice…the second time whilst her young baby is in the room and who starts to mimic her mother’s sounds of arousal! (yet another scene normalising paedophilia.)

Back to school and Steph takes Devon to see their music teacher Willie during the weekend. Willie takes the boys to an isolated beach and they swim naked, then smoke a joint. The session finishes back at Willie’s house where the boys strip, and photos are taken of the boys (more sexual abuse)….these photos are added to a large pile of photos of naked boys.

Willie is one of the teachers that leads a school camp to Waiheke Island and both Steph and Devon are opportunistic to sneak graphic sexual encounters. The teachers in ‘control’ of camp lead the students in drug taking of ecstasy (drug abuse) and ends with a night swim complete with naked teacher and student engaging in an incident of statutory rape (yet more sexual abuse). No teacher holds any student accountable and it is a vile misuse of a teacher’s position and power.”

This is not the sort of book I could read even for research purposes, but I'm thankful that Sue Reid could read it and wrote a review so that parents could be warned about the book and alert for attempts by adults to recommend it to their children. I know that if a teacher tried to encourage either of my boys (aged 12 and 16) to read it, I would be seriously worried that there might be some sort of attempt at grooming going on and would act appropriately.

However, what I have done is an online search for people's reactions and found a blog post by the chief judge,  Bernard Beckett, defending the book:

[...] This is a story that captures, better than any I’ve read, the plight of the young Maori boy, looking for a place to stand. Our protagonist is smart, ambitious, and eager to please, and when he wins a scholarship to an elite Auckland school, we are encouraged to believe that this is his chance to make his mark. But life is not that simple.

What this book shows, with tremendous skill and courage, is the complexity of the problem these young men face. If you want to better understand the price we pay for depriving young Maori a place to stand, then this is the book to read. It is not didactic, nor is it sentimental. Rather, it forces us to consider the subtle but powerful forces that make a nonsense of the popular myth that all the dispossessed need to do is pull their socks up and make an effort.

If we measure a society’s moral strength by the way it treats its most vulnerable, then this is a book that speaks to the heart of our obligation to be better members of this community. To be more understanding, more open to difference, more willing to accept the part we play in perpetuating the pain.

I want young people to consider this message, and so I want them to read this book. That groups purporting to care about family values should seek to oppose it is perplexing. Yes, there are harsh aspects to this story. There have to be. Without the harshness, we could not properly understand the price that is being paid. This is a book about what happens when a young man is forced to the periphery, that place where the normal social constraints do not reach. And out there risks are taken, and damage is done. This book stands as a call to arms to those who wish to see an end to such needless, racially primed vandalism.

The language, the sexual references and the drugs are as integral to this story as domestic violence is integral to Othello. That is my considered opinion as an author of ten novels, as a teacher for over twenty years, and as a judge who has read this book slowly and carefully.
He then goes on to counter what he considers the major objections to the book:

Now, it may be that you accept this is an important, and indeed moral novel, and you accept that the graphic content is a necessary part of this book’s story, but still oppose it on the grounds that the price we pay for this message is too high. Specifically, it might be that you believe that young adults reading this book will be encouraged to use the less palatable language themselves, or indeed take this book as licence to indulge in the high risk activities that are portrayed. To this, I would only say, trust your children more, and trust yourselves as parents more. It is simply not true that the young refrain from swearing because they have never heard it. There are no words in this book that a teenager will not have heard in the school ground, at the shopping mall, the bus stop or read online. That they will suddenly, at the twenty third exposure, switch lexicons on us, is an absurd suggestion. All teenagers are exposed to offensive language (‘bugger’ was turned into a national advertising campaign) and most of them, most of the time, manage to express themselves beautifully without it. It is the way we raise them, the way we win their respect, and earn our place as role models, that matters.

With regard to the bullying, the drug taking or the casual sex, there is nothing glamorous about the lifestyle into which our protagonist falls. To argue that because the content is there, young readers will imitate it, is fanciful. Nobody opposes books about World War One, on the grounds that we don’t want our children heading off to shoot Germans. Nor are we afraid of our children seeing the bible, least they develop a taste for crucifixion. The way we process content is entirely dependent upon the context within which we encounter it. Read the whole book. Think about it. Then pass it on to a young adult you care about. They’ll thank you for it.

Finally, although you may not agree with my judgement, ours must not be portrayed as a disagreement between the moral and the apathetic. Those of us who believe in literature like this are as driven to make a better world for our children as those who oppose it. Nor is this even a disagreement about what stands as moral, for I too seek a place where the young may move with safety and joy, live in respect and tolerance, and form healthy, nourishing relationships. To the extent we do disagree, it is about the way this book will be read, and more broadly, the way that reading will influence world view and behaviour. These are difficult questions, to be approached with a cautious and open mind, and crucially, with careful study and evidence to support one’s case. Do that, and there is a chance we can move together towards the sort of world we all desire. Turn this into a tribal war, between the putatively decent and depraved, and everybody suffers.
Ok, lots to think about there.  I left a comment on his blog and he has responded, and so I will write another post and include my response here.

Related links: Book too hot to handle for store ~ Wairarapa Times-Age, (Hattip: Bob)
Family Review – “Into the River” by Ted Dawes ~ Family First

The Judges: Bernard Beckett, Eirlys Hunter, Lynn Freeman

About the Awards

Monday, July 1, 2013

Fletch Men With Same Sex Attraction Speak About Traditional Marriage

There is a very interesting blog post HERE by a minister on the dissertation he gave at a theological seminary. He interviewed Christian husbands who had (or still have) same-sex attraction and their responses are very interesting about what makes traditional marriage to a woman different and unique.

There are those who can teach us the difference between “intergendered” unions (between two people of different genders) and “monogendered” unions (between those of the same gender). In fact, there are plenty of them in our churches. Sadly, they get ignored, insulted, or shunned, yet they are the ones before whom we should all be quiet and listen.

Who, you ask? Simply those who feel long-term same-sex attraction (SSA), and who may have even acted on those feelings in gay relationships in the past but who came to decide, in their Christian commitment, to marry the opposite gender instead. Ex-gay Christians who have been happily married for years are the best instructors what the difference is. They have been there and can compare. It was to just these people that I turned to explore these questions of marriage in my doctoral qualitative research project[i] under Covenant Theological Seminary.

I decided to limit the scope of my study to husbands with SSA, talking in depth with them about how their Christian wives, as women, made a difference in their relationships

The second thing I learned was that gender matters in making closeness in these marriages. This kind of research is great in its allowance of time to listen to one’s interviewees talk, so I got to hear many reasons why these men treasured their wives. As I pressed them about why they felt that they could not share the same intimacy with a man, a host of explanations issued forth. I eventually distinguished 28 distinct reasons for intergendered intimacy. Some of these reasons concerned the essential nature of women, as these men saw it. Others involved their wives’ gendered practices. But even the latter also depended on their being women. It was not just what they did, but who they were, doing what they did, that made these husbands feel, as one confessed, “To depend on her makes me more me.” So discussion of inherent feminine gender traits entwined with the wives’ consciously womanly deeds.