A Letter from Licentia

December 11, 2017 — Leave a comment

My name is Licentia. It means free love, but I am anything but free. I was an embryo of an idea in Eden and have been born and reborn many times throughout history. My most recent manifestation began in the Western Civilization of the 1960s. I was a full-fledged idea before that. But that’s when people started to find it easy to ward off the consequences of my embrace. Or so the people of the day took as gospel; many still do.

“I am harmless,” I preach. “I bring you only pleasure and never pain.” Because of their innate innocence and trust, and because of their desire, they believe me.

Their faith in me ensures what they once considered a sacred physical union of marriage has become recreational. No longer a complete commitment, simply mere entertainment.

I’m especially good at convincing people how to avoid one of the nastiest results from such recreation–children. Messy, noisy, inconvenient, and expensive, the most negative aspect about them is that they can make some people grow up.

Those who mature internally cast me aside.

I’ve been pretty successful in selling the idea that children are burdens rather than blessings. Sometimes, I can convince a man to push a mother to destroy her unborn child. He simply tells her that she will please him to do it. Afterward, he discards her like a piece of trash, which leads her to believe that she is indeed trash.

Her regret over the child soon follows.

On the other hand, I have also been able to press the mother herself to cast off her child against the wishes of the father who wants to nurture his offspring. In this way, I wound her spirit and foster a helplessness within his heart that he carries to his grave. At my leading, a few societies destroy the little beasts even after they’re born.

But child avoidance is only one of my talents.

I have the power to infect them with diseases to maim and kill those I encircle. I teach some to use violence to get what they desire. Some of them end up in prison. There are real prisons with real bars and there are virtual prisons. It is a small matter to me which one they inhabit.

Most effectively, I teach them that exploiting each other for pleasure is what love is. I destroy every vestige of true devotion to anything other than their own pleasure. Thereby I destroy the monstrosities themselves, for I loathe them when they are virtuous and sound in their hearts.

Above all, I shall never be satisfied until they are all destroyed. I alone seem to realize their destination–their journey’s end. Of late, I have reached new lows in my attacks upon civilization.

I give them easily accessible moving images to watch to substitute for the real thing they are missing.

I have cultivated the idea that there should be no differences between them. That men and women are interchangeable. Therefore, one of them is unnecessary. They have no need for each other. They need only me.

Presently, I am hard at work on a new campaign to silence those who speak out against this way of thinking. It’s outcome remains to be seen, yet I am optimistic.

In a heretofore unheard of development, I now offer them the means to produce the vile progeny without the direct involvement of the other sex. I admit I prefer their unequivocal destruction. But if they don’t destroy their children before birth, I can destroy their spirits after birth. I keep busy either way.

Nowadays, fewer people understand the sacredness of true love. And each new generation is further removed from the days when love actually meant the giving away of oneself. A wretched notion!

It’s not at all like the past when the Church was awake. Oh, make no mistake. Throughout history, I have captured plenty of those who sit in the pews. And others of their ilk just point fingers at my victims.

The best scenario? Some are sound asleep. Shhhhhh! For me to succeed, they must remain in slumber.

There are few mentors, few sympathizers, few who will speak from their own wounds to heal others.

Seldom spoken years ago, the so-called four-letter words are now common. And the old three-letter word, the most cursed word in their modern language? I make sure that there are plenty of people around to make fun of anyone who uses the word sin. That’s my best-kept secret.

As their great author Dostoevsky once predicted: “ages will pass, and humanity will proclaim by the lips of their sages that there is no crime, and therefore no sin, there is only hunger.”

When the guardians sleep and the general populace place themselves in my hands, I cannot fail.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Post revised from November 2015

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How Much is Enough?

December 7, 2017 — 3 Comments

[G]ive me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, Proverbs 30:8b. 

For five years, I was an English teacher at Grace Prep High School in State College, Pennsylvania.  Every year, the school participates in Air School—learning outside the classroom.  In 2009, Air School consisted of a long weekend in an Amish community in Virginia.

My husband Paul and I and three students stayed with an Amish family—mother, father, and their three remaining, as yet unmarried, children.  Seven other children had grown up, married, and established their own homes, so there was plenty of room for us.

No electrical lighting, no microwave, no television, no radio, (I-pods and phones were verboten to ensure the authentic experience), and no computers.  There was a propane powered hot water tank (Yay!) and we cooked on the woodstove (in May!).  We washed dishes by hand in the sink and dried them with a linen towel.  I tried to milk the goats. Continue Reading…

Advent in Crazy Days

December 4, 2017 — 2 Comments

It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. It can be.

Yesterday’s Communion meditation reminded us to remember Thanksgiving through the Christmas season. Christmas can be a wonderful time if we remember what we’re thankful for instead of listing what frustrates us about the holidays.

Traffic jams and crowded stores and expensive lists of wants and needs.

The key is to remind ourselves of true Christmas and reasons to be thankful.

I look around me and those reasons are plentiful. Continue Reading…

Our Sex Problem

November 30, 2017 — 12 Comments

“No,” was the easiest answer–the one I gave him. But what I was really thinking was this: “Yes, I picked this dress out just for you. I don’t own another dress that covers more of my body. I chose it because I knew you would see me today–and I didn’t want you seeing more of me than is absolutely necessary.” 

Continue Reading...

Reinventing Christmas

November 27, 2017 — 4 Comments

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” Charles Dickens

I wasn’t sure it was the kind of story four children would want to sit through for nearly two hours. But it’s important for kids to know that stories can change the world. So we went anyway.

The movie was The Man Who Invented Christmas–a depiction of Charles Dickens’s struggle to publish his classic “A Christmas Carol”.

It wasn’t a good sign that the movie was showing only at our discount theater–an editorial comment by the theater showing a lack of faith in the film. Sometimes, that’s enough to limit the audience–creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

But the movie was fabulous. And I’m not the only one who thought so. Continue Reading…

Give Thanks

November 22, 2017 — Leave a comment

It is good to give thanks to the Lord
And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning
And Your faithfulness by night, Ps 92:1-2

The blessing jar is waiting to be stuffed with acknowledgments of God’s grace, help, and gifts through this year.

May your jar (or cup) of blessings overflow.

Happy Thanksgiving. Continue Reading…

Returning a Favor

November 20, 2017 — 2 Comments

When I moved into my home in 1977, I salvaged an old table my father was discarding. Our family grew from four to seven around that table.

Then we shrank. When their father departed, we were six.

The years began to show on the table. One of its legs began to wobble. Without warning, it would collapse to the floor leaving all the work for the other three legs. We would laugh. But after a while, one of us found the falling leg not so funny.

When my youngest son was eight years old, he found a hammer and some very long nails and played carpenter. He reattached the errant piece, permanently joining it to the table. The repair was effective, but not pretty. Continue Reading…

I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait, And in His word do I hope. Psalm 130:5

When I was in high school, I spent good chunks of time waiting for my dad to pick me up–from school, from practice, from lessons. It all seemed such a waste. Once I learned how to drive, I had to wait for my turn to have the car.

I wasn’t good at waiting. I’m still not.

Waiting in line, in traffic–those times can be frustrating. Waiting for life events to unfold might be the hardest test of faith. We wait as a situation resolves itself, as someone else makes a decision we can’t control. That’s difficult. But that’s what makes us grow in Christ.

As Tish Harrison Warren writes, “Christians are people who wait . . . Christ has come and he will come again. We dwell in the meantime. We wait.” Continue Reading…

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels . . . II Cor 4: 7a

We are earthen vessels, comprised of soil and God breathed life. We stumble, fall, and get dirty. We cause others to fall. Along with our depravity–our bent selves leaning toward sin–we embody imago Dei–the image of God.

If we are Christ’s, we carry the Holy Spirit. Yet the battle between His spirit and our bent tendencies continues. We feed our souls the way we feed our bodies–with nourishing foods or with junk. And though we may try to convince ourselves differently, what we consume matters. Continue Reading…

It was a work of Providence I might have missed. I have no idea how long the book sat on the shelf waiting for me to buy it. But I do know it was there just for me–just for the moment I would need it.

That moment would be one every mother who has watched her son go to war knows. It’s an indescribable emptiness. But an almighty God can reach down to fill a heart’s void. And He can use any little nook or cranny to do so.

My daughter and I were in an antique store killing time as we waited to see my son off. He was deploying to Iraq. While we shopped, his unit was on base packing equipment. Families would see our soldiers later that evening for a short time before they left for their departure point.

A yearlong deployment lay ahead. Continue Reading…