Judge a tree by it's fruits, man!
I got an e-mail last night from a friend of mine. We had been discussing the current LCWR review. He was under the impression (as so many are) that the Vatican was trying to stamp out the personal freedoms of poor, innocent nuns just trying to live our their vocation serving their communities.I admit I got rather heated at the thought of these women being pitied as a result of the media's false stories of heroism in the face of the big, bad Vatican. These women should never - EVER - be held up as the gold standard for Catholicism. The women in question shouldn't even be held up as a bad example of Catholicism. Many have given up being Catholic long, long ago and just haven't 'fessed up to it yet. Thus, use them as a bad example of Protestantism. Please leave the word "Catholic" out of their mess.Anyway, this friend chided me for my harsh words. He quoted the oft repeated (and incredibly misunderstood) line from Matthew 7: "Judge not lest you be judged."*Sigh*I've already sent this friend an e-mail detailing my feelings on the matter (candidly as I'm apt to do). However, I felt this a topic very necessary to broach with the general population as this quote is so often used by people in an attempt to bow out to political correctness. In my opinion, it's nothing more than an excuse to hide one's insecurities behind a veil of false nicety. Let's say my mother is driving a car. We're about to take a curve too harshly. Considering there's a canyon to the left of us, if she continues speeding, we're likely to tumble into the abyss.
Do I refrain from telling her to slow down because I'm afraid I might hurt her feelings for criticizing her driving?
No. I like my life.
Instead, I'd say, "Hey Mom, you need to apply the brakes because if you don't, we're likely to take a tumble neither one of us will enjoy."
Would I be judging my mother to be a bad driver? No.
Would I be judging her behavior to be bad? Yes.
Might she feel as though I'd judged her to be a bad driver? Yes, it's a possibility.If she feels as though I've passed a negative judgement on her, does that mean I have? No.Even knowing that she might have her feelings hurt as a result of my criticism, should I refrain from suggesting she slow down? NO.As I've said in previous entries, I simply do not have the personality to sit on the sidelines while someone is acting in a way that is either harmful to self or others. I can't. I automatically put a familiar face on these folks and my decision is made - political correctness be damned. That is exactly what we are asked to do as Catholics. The quote "Judge not, lest ye be judged" is often given as a means to stifle this responsibility. However, if we read juuust a little bit further, we'll come to understand that this misrepresented quote (found on everything from billboards to memes to T-shirts) means something much different than the sound byte it's utilized as.Here is the quote in its entirety (from the New American Bible, so the wording is slightly changed):
Jesus said to His disciples: “Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.” Matt 7:1-5In other words, use your God-given intellect to discern judgement. It isn't necessarily meaning we should condemn, but it's certainly charging us with the responsibility of properly judging all things with equality. In fact, there are quotes all over the Bible specifically commanding this of us.In the gospels, Luke echoes Matthew in Chapter 6 with "Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven... For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you."John (7:24) relays Jesus saying "Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteously."In Proverbs (3:21), "Preserve sound judgement and discernment."In the Letter of St. Paul to the Phillipians (1:9-11), "And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God."And my favorite (also from Luke 6) stating, "A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For people do not pick figs from thorn bushes, nor do they gather grapes from brambles. A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks."
"See the good that we do and give glory to God."
That being said, we have a Christian responsibility to judge that which is presented to us in this world... ESPECIALLY when that which is presented wreaks of evil. We must not allow such evil to continue spreading as a cancer. The Body of Christ - OUR spiritual body - must be protected. If we remain silent as these "religious" continue to misinform, polarize and confuse the general population, we commit a sin of commission. We allow a greater evil to exist both within our ranks, and within ourselves through our silence.
This is exactly how the atrocities of WWII were accomplished. Sure there were plenty of folks who disagreed with the Nazi ideals. However, too many were silent for too long.
First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
I, for one, cannot endure such silence. I cannot wither away behind a false veil of "live and let live" when that includes allowing misinformation to fester and spread to my friends, family and children. No. It is my duty as a Christian to call evil out where it is and shed the light of truth upon the dishonesty and willful desecration of the Faith.
And those Christians among you who read this (be you Catholic or otherwise), this is your duty as well. We must work together to bring the light of Truth to others. We must not allow the lies, the half-truths, the confusion to tear souls away from Christ.
This lil guy knows what's up!
So apparently Twitter, Facebook and the blogosphere are all aflame because of Time's new cover
. It pictures an attractive, young blonde standing against her adorable and well-nourished 3 year old son. Both of them are staring straight into the camera with an almost "What are you gonna do about it?" look. The catch?The little boy is standing on a chair that sets him at the perfect level to have his lips clamped around Mommy's nipple in a suggestive manner. The suggestion? Breastfeeding.The giant, flame-inciting caption reads: ARE YOU MOM ENOUGH? ("Mom Enough" being bolded in red, of course, just to hit home the flame-factor). The subtext goes on with: Why attachment parenting drives some mothers to extremes - and how Dr. Bill Sears became their guru.Apparently Time's been hurting for readership, because this is a blatant attempt to solicit a very venomous response from people from every angle of the issue.This image and caption immediately polarize Moms. Those who breastfeed, those who don't. Those who breastfeed for 6 months, those who breastfeed for 5 years. Those who recoil in horror at the thought of a child breastfeeding in public, those who think breastfeeding is the most natural, beautiful thing in the world. Those who think breasts are nothing but sexual objects to be kept private, to those still looking to burn the bras of yesteryear and go topless around the world. Heck, you can even throw in those who CAN'T breastfeed into the mix, or those who choose to use breast milk, just not from the breast, in daily food (cereal and such).Seriously - there is NO other reason to choose to create an image like this. This is SPECIFICALLY for shock value and it serves its purpose well. Everyone and their mother is now talking about it.Unfortunately, they're also delving into the awful area of judging others for their parenting choices (and that never ends well).My Opinion / Experience I believe that breastfeeding is a wonderful, beautiful thing that gave both Vincent and myself a chance to bond in a way that nothing else could. Even though I had a rough start, it proved to be the most rewarding part of motherhood for me. In fact, courtesy of my dedication to breastfeeding, my risk for certain cancers has dropped, my risk for cardiovascular disease has dropped, and I my baby dropped weight faster than my non-breastfeeding friends. Seriously. I was fitting into my jeans within a month. But all the health benefits for Vince were great, too! Chance for higher IQ, stronger immune system, greater sense of security... all that fun stuff. Plus, all the money I saved on formula could be spent on things like a college fund, toys, diapers, or trips to the zoo. Win win for everyone, right? Now I realize that not all women are as blessed as I've been with breastfeeding. I had the time and ability to do it. I stayed at home with Vince for the entire first year. I produced milk - and a lot of it - without trouble. Sure Vince had trouble latching for the first few weeks, but thanks to a kind nurse, I was given a shield which helped him figure it out. I sometimes wonder if I'd've been able to nurse at all if it weren't for her giving me that little stepping stone of help.I was also lucky enough to have a willing breastfeeder for 2 years (a little over two years, actually). Vincent loved "the bobies" as he used to call them (BOB + EES was his pronunciation - ha). He was never more content than when he was in my arms nursing. However, when it came time to wean, he pretty much did it himself. He simply stopped asking when I stopped offering. He was much more interested in grapes or pork chops or pasta. Mommy's "bobies" didn't offer that, and his little body knew it was time to give up the comfort of nursing. For Vincent, that was the right time for him. I was shy for a while when people would ask me about how long Vince breastfed for. Even while I was still nursing, I'd get sideways looks from folks (especially because Vincent always looked about a year ahead of his actual age). I got some mean comments about being selfish... being a poor mother... being foolish because I'd screw up his idea of breasts because he'd remember nursing as he got older. I responded by keeping quiet. I would just do my best to hide the fact that I still breast-fed Vincent because I didn't want to deal with the negative judgements I'd get. However, I soon got over it. The people who scoffed at my nursing habits usually didn't have kids themselves. So what right did they have to belittle MY choices? I started responding to their negativity with Vincent himself."Do you see how happy Vincent is? Do you see how well-adjusted, secure and trusting he is? He is a direct result of my parenting choices. Obviously I know a little better than you do about raising my son."That has shut them up every single time. BTW, that works for the Negative Nancys who complain about the schedule I try to keep him on, too. When it comes to things like this, you'd think everyone knew how to parent your kid better than you do... *shakes head*Anyway, back to the article (and the frenzy it has caused). I'm not a fan of them choosing this picture to startle folks into reading about Dr. Sears. The woman and her child have little to NOTHING to do with him. Also, the 3 year old (while a product of long-term breastfeeding) isn't even the typical child Dr. Sears mentors on. So again, this was a very specific, underhanded PR move to sell print. That irritates the heck out of me, especially since it's now got people going for the jugular. Crazy! There are enough myths floating around about breastfeeding. Let's not add to the foolishness, k?So let's remember our heads in this one, ladies. Try not to be judgemental or overly-critical. We all try to do what's best for our own children. Let's be supportive and instead of turning our anger on each other, let's turn it on Time for stooping so low as to attempt this charade of a cover in order to sell magazines. Humpf!