Truth, Goodness, and Beauty

But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. I Timothy 6:8, NIV

“The closer men came to perfecting for themselves a paradise, the more impatient they became with it, and with themselves as well. They made a garden of pleasure, and became progressively more miserable with it as it grew in richness and power and beauty; for then, perhaps, it was easier to see something was missing in the garden, some tree or shrub that would not grow. When the world was in darkness and wretchedness, it could believe in perfection and yearn for it. But when the world became bright with reason and riches, it began to sense the narrowness of the needle’s eye, and that rankled for a world no longer willing to believe or yearn.” Walter M. Miller Jr.

History moves in cycles.

Civilization moves from darkness to light.

Under good conditions, food grows, people survive, subsist, succeed. Communities grow.

Such a life brings a hunger for knowledge. With faith, comes a pursuit of truth and goodness. Truth and goodness propel us to beauty.

Knowledge with truth and goodness also lead to prosperity, which leads to pleasure, which we confuse with happiness. Happiness brings satisfaction. Pleasure provides only a desire for more, a distorted yearning for something else, something next.

Constantly seeking happiness, we pursue pleasure and perceive we’ve found it in ease. But knowledge, truth, goodness, and beauty are all hard. They demand our sweat and toil.

We prefer ease. So we trade truth for ease, and in that swap, we lose the yearning to find beauty.

History moves in cycles.

Civilization moves from light to darkness.

Only His light gives us the right yearnings.

Only through truth do we find beauty.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Our new website milicomathersreads.com is accepting reviews for middle reader books–especially those written by middle school students. Message me at readgoodbooks@milicomathersreads.com or in the comments below.

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Telos of Technology

“What is the goal of our technologies? What should be our goal? What is off limits and why? What is our operating definition of the good that we are pursuing through technology? Where is the uncrossable line between healing and enhancement, and what are the other proper limits of our technologies? What are people?” Maria Baer and John Stonestreet

Telos: Greek, (noun) the end term of a goal-directed process; esp. the Aristotelian final cause (the end result/purpose).

When my father was born in 1916, the first radio broadcast was still a dim hope, still four years off. KDKA in Pittsburgh wouldn’t transmit the first radio signals ever until 1920. Home ownership of telephones was still uncommon.

Now we carry devices that contain phones, radios, televisions, cameras, clocks, calculators, flashlights, information resources, and social media outlets.

Technology has come a long way since sliced bread and the assembly line.

During the 1990s, I took a college class called Science, Technology, and Society. The professor led multiple discussions of the telos of technology by asking the question, “Will people invent a technology they won’t use?”

Along with others, I asserted that our production of nuclear warheads was fulfilling its telos as a deterrent to nuclear war. We didn’t build bombs so we could use them. We built bombs hoping no one else would feel brazen enough to use theirs against us.

We didn’t think of the self-destructive “bombs” we were developing to finish ourselves off one at a time and with no beneficial result.

Take embryonic stem cell research, for example.

From Baer and Stonestreet:

“Historically, President Bush’s position on embryo-destructive research has been thoroughly vindicated. The additional funding committed to research into adult and induced pluripotent stem cells produced amazing medical breakthroughs. But none of the promises of embryonic stem cell therapies ever materialized, even after his Oval Office successor reversed Bush’s policies, rebuilt the Council around only scientists and medical researchers, and released enormous funding for embryo-destructive research,”

Additional funding. On and off over the years. But not a single benefit.

Harvesting humans. Reaping no benefits. Continuing to take lives and money to repeat the process.

Even if there were a benefit, I would still argue against this barbarity. How can we “benefit” from the death and destruction of innocents? We hope to gain healing for a physical body but harm eternal souls. We become less than we were, less than we can be, when we engage in such practices.

Technologies have good and bad ends. Even a bread slicer can produce a more usable and uniform product or a wounded worker. It’s all in how we use it and what the telos is.

We are letting the end we hope for overcome the meaning every human life always Contains. That purpose never involves becoming spare parts for someone else, directly by transplant or indirectly through research.

God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27, ESV

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Our new website milicomathersreads.com is accepting reviews for middle reader books–especially those written by middle school students. Message me at readgoodbooks@milicomathersreads.com or in the comments below.

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Forgotten Dream

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. Matthew 10:29, NIV

One of my favorite aspects of fall is watching flocks of birds dance through the sky in synchronized motion.

So I offer this from the work of a grandson and former student, Aaron Hildebrand. You or someone you know could be like the bird in this poem. Recognizing the broken-winged among us shows grace and shines the light of Christ in a darkened world.

Almost too easy to pass by,

Save for when it gives a cry,

Is the gentle presence of a bird.

Planted lightly in the ground,

It makes a faint yet shrill sound,

In hopes that it will be heard.

In the wind high above,

Sparrow, jay, quail, dove,

Soaring through the sky.

As if by chance or fate

This one bird must forever wait

Till eternity may pass by.

From the sadistic hand of nature

Has this poor bird been injured,

With wings so frail and delicate.

In vain attempt it tries to fly,

Not wanting to leave the sky

Now one bird more desolate.

To the surface it quickly returns,

So far away from what it yearns,

As close as it may seem.

Distant remain the fields of blue and white,

Henceforth destined to believe that flight

Was but a forgotten dream.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Our new website milicomathersreads.com is accepting reviews for middle reader books–especially those written by middle school students. Message me at readgoodbooks@milicomathersreads.com or in the comments below.

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Showing the Better Way of Freedom

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36, ESV

“The true value of a human being is determined primarily by the measure and the sense in which he has attained liberation from the self.” Einstein

The questions of our times: Do we look within and decide for ourselves who we are? Or do we look outside ourselves and rise to become more than we are?

The first question leads people to what they believe is freedom, but their lives become a new kind of bondage. The second leads to a life we could not have imagined on our own, yet a life that may at times be more challenging.

Do you decide or let God decide?

“There are two freedoms – the false, where a man is free to do what he likes; the true, where he is free to do what he ought.” Charles Kingsley

Many choose the false way. The true way is harder, at first. It is harder to do what we ought to do, but the reward comes later.

Having made the right choices makes life better.

We see the results of people choosing their own way, lives broken by irrevocable choices. You can’t restore the marred bodies of children and babies, of men and women.

Suicide and drug overdose deaths are at all-time highs.

In choosing the harder way, we can show others the better way.

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:35 ESV

True worship makes life better and helps us find freedom from ourselves, freedom in Christ.

Joe Carter writes for the Gospel Coalition: “Frequent churchgoers aren’t merely benefiting from a useful delusion or a sense of community. They are finding the relief—the psychological and spiritual relief—that comes from aligning oneself with the true and ultimate reality. What we find in frequent worship services is helping us fulfill the purpose of life, what we could call biblical happiness: to glorify God and enjoy him forever. “

Even so, choosing the harder way means more than loving those like ourselves.

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. Matthew 5:44-45, ESV

Choose true freedom. Walk in the harder way. Show that way to others.

Reap the joy of living out truth.

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Our new website milicomathersreads.com is accepting reviews for middle reader books–especially those written by middle school students. Message me at readgoodbooks@milicomathersreads.com or in the comments below.

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

One Name for Three Persons

In Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview, W. Gary Phillips and William E. Brown discuss a point of faith that has perplexed Christians through the ages: the Trinity.

“The Bible is clear that there is only one God … yet this unity does not preclude statements that allow three persons–the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit–to be called ‘God’ or ‘Lord.'”

It’s a doctrine that’s clear from the beginning in the Hebrew words of Genesis.

“Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness.'” Genesis 1:26a, NIV

Three persons referring to themselves as ‘us’ but called God–a singular term.

And this doctrine continues through the New Testament.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” John 1:1-2, NI’V

Something I’d not considered before: Phillips and Brown explain that when Jesus issued the Great Commission, He commanded us to make disciples and “‘baptize’ new converts in the ‘name’ (singular)” of each member of the Trinity.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28: 19, NIV

A singular “name” for the three persons of one God.

They further state: “The respective roles and relationships within the Trinity present God as a dynamic fellowship rather than a static unity. God has exercised an eternal relationship of love and communication within His own nature.”

Singular names for one God comprised of three persons so unified they can correctly be called One.

We cannot fully appreciate the sacrifice the crucifixion caused, the division of persons who had never been separated for all of eternity past–and never will be again for all of eternity to come.

Our God, so big as to contain Three in One, so loving as to separate the indivisible–for us.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called the children of God.” I John 3:1a, NIV

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Our new website milicomathersreads.com is accepting reviews for middle reader books–especially those written by middle school students. Message me at readgoodbooks@milicomathersreads.com or in the comments below.

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Milico Mathers Reads: Good Books for Kids

School libraries and classrooms used to be trusted sources of worthy reads for kids. Today, that’s not a certainty in a growing number of communities.

Parents and kids need information about safe, clean books for kids and teens.

Books that are windows to history, culture, faith, and virtue. Books that urge readers to look outward to others, not just inward to self.

Books that invite young people into adventures that call them to higher thinking and nobler living.

A soon to launch website (we’re looking at mid-September), www.milicomathersreads.com, will offer reviews of classroom and read-for-fun books. Students and parents can post short reviews or blurbs providing title, author, plot summary without giving away the end, information about the main character, and their opinion about the book including identifying an audience who would enjoy the read.  

At the beginning, we plan to focus on middle reader books (ages 8 through 13). You may offer a submission at nancyehead@yahoo.com or in the comments below.

Kids, tell us about the book you just finished reading. Grown-ups, dust off that copy of your favorite youth read and offer your insights.

We reserve the right to determine the “window” (looking outward) value of reviewed books and to edit submissions for punctuation and grammar, and for conciseness and clarity.

Share a message about a book you love!

Photo Credit: Li of Milico Mathers

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Little Strength, Big God

Little Strength, Big God: Discover a God Bigger than Your Goliaths is a little book with a big message.

It’s easy for us to feel overwhelmed in life, to feel that our struggle is unique in history, to be discouraged by the political sniping, growing violence, and shrinking dollars our times have come to.

Some of us face larger challenges of personal tragedies, illness, or other loss that convince us that there’s no coming back for us.

Our situations intimidate us.

As we look back on our childhood studies of Bible stories, the characters often seem larger than life, as though they had no fears, no questions. To us, they seem too confident to be real.

But if we step into their shoes, we might be able to see that they were much as we are. They faced difficult decisions. They knew what seemed to be impossible circumstances. But the heroes among them followed truth and faith.

We can, we must, be like them. We’re all human. We’re all the same, past and present.

The book’s author Debbie W. Wilson says:

“Loss and intimidation are not new to God’s people. What if you had to choose between―

“– Drowning your baby or letting your worst enemy raise him?
“– Bowing before an idol or being thrown into a fiery furnace?
“– Compromising your convictions or being tossed to the lions?
“– Living in fear or leading ill-equipped volunteers against an intimidating enemy?”

Midwives who risked death to save Hebrew babies, the heroes of Daniel including the prophet himself, Gideon leading a miniscule force against a seemingly invulnerable army were real people serving the able, present Lord.

Debbie Wilson leads us to understand the mountains biblical heroes climbed, to hold the stones they threw at giants, to see the risk to themselves they endured for the sake of honoring God.

She has a message for you in retelling these stories.

God was faithful to those who trusted Him in the past.

He will be faithful to you as well.

Coming from Debbie soon: a Leader’s Guide for this study. Check out Debbie’s other studies.

Photo Credit: Debbie Wilson Cover

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Innovation that Kills Innocence

“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16, ESV

The world has transformed over the last century. Incrementally, gradually, with blips of notice and adjustment, we’ve navigated our busy lives. Technological change led the way.

A few go off the grid, rejecting a life of constant change and motion.

Some of us take a while to catch on to one innovation or another but don’t know enough about traps that shift shape with the wind.

Many of us roll along with the lava rush, embracing the most recent innovations.

All too often those caught up in that flow are kids who don’t have the needed skills to protect themselves.

Children and teens haven’t experienced life before the explosion of change. Those born at the onset of this century have only a foggy recollection of life without social media, without information, entertainment, and connection at their fingertips.

To them the world seems as if it’s always been this way, constantly shifting.

Mental health for youths, already in crisis pre-COVID, accelerated downward during the pandemic. Now, schools are suing social-media platforms over alleged damage to students’ psyches. Groomers lurk behind innocent-looking deceptions.

Ryan Kingensmith of shapethesky.org says younger kids don’t have the skills needed to avoid internet ills. The older they are when they engage in electronic socialization, the better. Even so, he doesn’t recommend that parents prohibit screens for younger kids altogether, but rather teach children how to handle technology responsibly as they grow.

“Kids have the knowledge to use technology, but sometimes lack the wisdom to use it responsibly. Adults have the wisdom to be responsible users, but sometimes lack the knowledge to use technology.”

Shape the Sky’s website says, “There’s a disconnect between how adults think children use social media and how they actually use it.”

The wry insight of Mark Twain tells us, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

To be as wise as serpents, we must understand the magnitude of the internet creature that is such a threat to minds, souls, and bodies of the innocent. We must understand the reality kids face.

We must realize the reality that our “adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” I Peter 5: 8, ESV

He seeks us. He seeks our children.

Resources like Shape the Sky help us perceive the reality around us to help protect the naive, the ones caught in the lava flow of innovation that kills innocence.

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Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

A Window, not a Mirror

You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:39b, ESVUK

“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.” Sydney J. Harris

The elder leader of the group smiled with the presumed wisdom of a sage. “We can’t teach old books. The world has changed.”

The seminar for teachers had been filled with the assumption that contemporary education must include reflective books for middle/high school students. Old books no longer held relevance.

According to the new authority, teachers must give students books with characters like themselves in modern situations kids face today.

The world has changed, I thought. But how will students know how it’s changed if they only read books about kids like themselves? How will they ever be able to understand situations people faced in other times and what difference those books made?

To be fair, there’s nothing wrong with students considering how someone else might face a situation similar to one they’re experiencing.

Our minds, like our stomachs, need variety. But mirror-reflecting situations are good for occasional desserts, not as a steady diet.

Young people still need models who faced situation bigger than themselves.

Let’s consider some characters from a widely read book, banned in some places in the past, and having fallen out of favor with many educators in today’s world: To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.

Lee’s magnum opus came at a time of disruption in America, the 1960s. It showed what life was like in the fictional community of Maycomb, Alabama, in the 1930s.

Atticus Finch looked through a window. If he’d looked into a mirror, he would have refused to defend Tom Robinson. He would not have wanted his children to suffer the abuse of schoolmates that led Scout into playground fistfights.

He would have shielded them from the issue of their day. He would have protected them from witnessing a quest for justice. He would have kept them from who they would become–better people for having gone through the trial of resisting racism around them.

Mayella Ewell looked through a mirror and saw the disdain the community would have for her for desiring the attention of a Black man. If she’d looked through a window, she might have seen Helen and the children who would have to find their way alone without the provision and love of Tom.

(Spoilers ahead.) Had Bob Ewell looked through a window, he could have avoided the revenge that cost him his life.

Scout, Jem, and Dill looked into a mirror and found a desire to make Boo Radley come out.

Perhaps Boo Radley had looked into a mirror long enough. When he looked through the window, he saw children in need of protection and saved them.

The book wasn’t set in contemporary times. It reflected the inward conflict that comes with outward injustice. Something beyond youthful angst and a quest for identity within a school setting.

Well educated people understand the past. They understand the conflicts of people who came before them. They understand life beyond the First World issues of our day.

They know the struggles of pioneering America from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books.

They know the hunger of famine and how watching the society around you can push you into bad decisions from Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth.

They know the pain of living through the resolve not to sell yourself short in a society that doesn’t see your value from Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. They know the victory that resolve brings.

They know the dangers of not paying attention to the past and to truth from George Orwell’s 1984.

They understand that, in order to love our neighbors, we must first look through a window to see them.

To limit our viewpoint to the mirror is to propel ourselves into our own destruction.

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Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Finding a Vision

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29: 18, KJV~

“People speak with incredible contempt about–depending on their views–the rich, the poor, the educated, the foreign-born, the president, or the entire US government. It’s a level of contempt that is usually reserved for enemies in wartime, except that it’s applied to our fellow citizens. Unlike criticism, contempt is particularly toxic because it assumes a moral superiority in the speaker. . . . People who speak with contempt for one another will probably not remain united long.” (Sebastian Junger 126)

We are a divided people–a people in many ways at war with each other. Sebastian Junger examines the reasons in Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging. I picked the book up because it was the common read one fall on the campus where I taught freshman composition. All incoming freshmen receive a copy of the chosen book each year.

I hadn’t participated in the common read before and never again did. Other books didn’t fit with my course plan. I refused even to bring one home to investigate beyond the cover, which featured a naked woman. (Really!?)

At times, students indicated great relief that I wasn’t making them read the books.

This one was different.

When I read the description of Junger’s book, I couldn’t wait to get ahold of it. It deals substantively with the division of our society and with PTSD–Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Junger explores why PTSD is a larger problem for us today even with a military much smaller than those of the World War II, Korea, and Vietnam eras. 

The book fit well into class discussions that frequently included seasoned vets, some who confided in me that they suffered from PTSD because of their combat experiences.

When the number of vets in the room dropped, I quit using the book. Now I realize it might have been better for me to have kept it.

Now retired from the college classroom, I picked the book off my shelf this summer with an eye toward making it available for one of my high school students (with parental approval) to select for an Advanced Placement rhetoric project this year.

None of the students in my high school class will have experienced combat. Some of them have acquired, or know someone who has, PTSD.

All of us witness daily the division our society inhabits.

The compelling details of Junger’s text include discussion of factors we don’t often consider–our degree of comfort, our freedom from threat, and our lack of a shared experience. Those factors alienate us from each other.

I remember my mother telling me what it was like during World War II. Everyone knew the country was at war. Everyone’s life changed because we were at war. Everyone sacrificed.

Nearly everyone wanted to be part of the war effort–to contribute something, volunteering, donating a bicycle tire, buying a war bond.

Throughout the first two decades of the new century, most of America did not felt the pinch of war in the least. We did without nothing. Most of our lives didn’t changed–except for our awareness and fear of terrorism. We made an effort when soldiers returned, unlike the one those returning from Viet Nam sometimes suffered, that of public abuse.

But even though we are no longer officially at war, our society lives out no “shared public meaning.”

“Such public meaning is probably not generated by the kinds of formulaic phrases such as “Thank you for your service,” that many Americans now feel compelled to offer soldiers and vets [and sometimes police and firefighters]. . . . If anything, these token acts only deepen the chasm between the military and civilian populations by highlighting the fact that some people serve their country but the vast majority don’t” (97).

Veterans from our Middle East wars have settled back into life in the US. Many still deal with PTSD. Many are homeless. They seem to have vanished into the crowd.

But PTSD and its affects don’t just hit combat veterans. I know some of my students deal with situations, past and current, that cause them to feel divided from others.

Even without our young men and women going off to war, we are a divided country suffering from a lack of vision.

Junger presents our momentary unity after 9/11, but that cohesiveness was so short lived because of our lack of a common experience, a common vision. Instead Junger describes a moral superiority that replaced the unity of a nation attacked.

Now we have to ask ourselves: What kind of attack will unify us in a long lasting, significant way?

And is there no other way?

Note: Some Christians will find Junger’s continual assumption of evolution to be off-putting. But it’s not a big leap for readers of faith for readers to see sin as a contributing factor in today’s troubled society. There is rare inappropriate language in the book.


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Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”