Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Matt. 18 -- woe to the man

My daughter and her husband first began encountering one another at two contrasting locations: the campus Calvinist club, and the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA). For some reason, a gauzy, fairy-tale sentiment lingers around the memories of the pre-Renaissance European culture. Young people try to recapture the sense of magic by dressing up in period costumes, affecting archaisms in their language, and fighting one another. Guys dress up in home-made plate steel armor, and bang away at each other with fiberglass swords, to the applause of spectators. Jugglers and acrobats perform, while musicians play lutes and flutes, and artisans create handicrafts.

Somehow, these people are drawn in by the external trappings of that which made the era noble, while overlooking the soul of chivalry: the solicitous care of the strong for the weak, the noblesse oblige[1] that matched matched power with duty. Again, these beautiful young people rarely give credit to the Christian faith that inspired small cities, of a few hundred thousand souls, to spend several generations building the incredible cathedrals of Europe. The faith that led to a decentralized, but continent-spanning, civilization.

The Christian message teaches that God cares for those who are unable to care for themselves: the widow, the orphan, the handicapped -- and those who are wise share this concern. This is a message with teeth it, though. Enforced with harsh language:
Mat 18:1 Bu sırada öğrencileri İsa'ya yaklaşıp, "Göklerin Egemenliği'nde en büyük kimdir?" diye sordular.
Mat 18:2 İsa, yanına küçük bir çocuk çağırdı, onu orta yere dikip şöyle dedi: "Size doğrusunu söyleyeyim, yolunuzdan dönüp küçük çocuklar gibi olmazsanız, Göklerin Egemenliği'ne asla giremezsiniz.
Mat 18:3 (SEE 18:2)
Mat 18:4 Kim bu çocuk gibi alçakgönüllü olursa, Göklerin Egemenliği'nde en büyük odur.
Mat 18:5 Böyle bir çocuğu benim adım uğruna kabul eden, beni kabul etmiş olur.
Mat 18:6 "Ama kim bana iman eden bu küçüklerden birini günaha düşürürse, boynuna kocaman bir değirmen taşı asılıp denizin dibine atılması kendisi için daha iyi olur.
Mat 18:7 İnsanı günaha düşüren tuzaklardan ötürü vay dünyanın haline! Böyle tuzakların olması kaçınılmazdır. Ama bu tuzaklara aracılık eden kişinin vay haline!
In Afghanistan, a popular proverb asserts that "a woman is for procreation, a boy is for pleasure." In America, if you merely have pictures of that transaction on your computer, you can find yourself in jail for years -- stripped of profession, status, property, liberty. Common law remembers is roots from time to time.

[1] a Latin phrase meaning "nobility obligates." High rank imposes high responsiblities.

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