Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Children Say The Darnest Things About "Beasts" and Bring Wisdom to Light

Today, while swinging my grand-daughter on the swing, I asked her questions about why she was afraid to go higher. What was she afraid of, etc. And, then, I asked her about this afternoon's movie that we watched while she "rested". The movie was Disney's "Beauty and the Beast".

She kept saying after it was intially over that the beast changed into a boy, as if that surprised her. While swinging I asked her about whether she thought she could over-come her fear of the "beast". She said, "No". When I asked her "why?": she answered because I would be afraid of the beast. When I suggested to her that Belle was also afraid but that she also was couregeous, she still emphatically said she would still be afraid. I told her that Belle overcame her fear and her love for the beast changed the beast into a man. (It reminded me of "Phantom of the Opera".) I continued to ask her if she thought if love could make a beast a man, but she did not think so.

Then I asked her about "Cinderella", which we watched last night. I asked her about the wicked step-mother and if Cinderella's service to her step-mother made her step-mother change. "Of course not" Hannah said matter of factly. It was obvious to Hanah, that the step-mother proceeded to try to exclude, but lost in the end.

There is a commercial about "hood-winking" children that suggests that even children understand when they have been lied to. And it suggests that this is not the "character" of this advertised insurance company (I think it was an insurance company).

Happy endings happened in both the fairy tales, but real life is not as happily ended. So I told Hannah that not always do people change, no matter what we do. It is really up to us to discern when we are dealing with "evil" or those that will not be changed.

I think this is what fundamentalism is about. Fundamentalists claim absolutes about the larger issues of life, without stopping to think that possibly their worldview is a limited one. Fundamentalism is simplistic theologizing and it leaves real answers for the real world a little less than desired.

We cannot battle evil in one way, only in the way that seems appropriate to us, at a particular time. Evil is personal because it is controlling, manipulative and all consuming. Evil is not satisfied with bits and pieces, but wants to consume the whole of a person.

Evil does not value liberty. This is what some believe discipleship or holiness is about. But, then these would defend their claims based on views of scripture, which are ancient passages about transcendence that was attempting to explain reality the only way they knew how at a particular historical time. God was representative of history within the believing community. It was a interpretive frame that created the community's understanding and "world".

Evil also exists in governmental authority that doesn't limit power, by disrepect of privacy and the right of autonomy. Therefore, do not let your good be evil spoken of and have the heart of a child, to fear that which is to be feared. Stay away from things that are beyond one's ability to understand. That is wisdom in the heart of the child.

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