Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Our church home group is studying The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis this semester. It's been a great read, full of convicting passages and rousing conversations. In particular we discussed something tonight that pertains to this blog. Well, it directly touches my parenting and friendships and, I suppose, indirectly pertains to this blog.

We were reading and discussing the tenth letter from Screwtape to his nephew, Wormtongue; the one in which Screwtape is "...delighted to hear... that (the) patient has made some very desirable new acquaintances..." Those new acquaintances turn out to be of the bad company sort that tend to corrupt good morals-- particularly those of a new Christian.

The passage that provoked my sudden return to the world of Real Blogging (as opposed to the pics and video that have been passing as "posts" here lately) is this:

No doubt he must soon realize that his own faith is in direct opposition to the assumptions on which all the conversation of his new friends is based. I don't think that matters much, provided that you can persuade him to postpone and open acknowledgment of the fact, and this, with the aid of shame, pride, modesty and vanity, will be easy to do. As long as the postponement lasts he will be in a false position. He will be silent when he ought to speak and laugh when he ought to be silent, He will assume, at first only by his manner, but presently by his words, all sorts of cynical and skeptical attitudes which are not really his, But if you play him well, they may become his. All mortals tend to turn into the thing they are pretending to be.

Take just a minute to think about that passage and the areas and way it may play out in your own life. No? Only me? Well then...

I know that this is something I struggle with often. I want to be liked. I want to fit in. I want to feel a part of whatever group I'm in at the moment. I want people to think I am whatever they think is awesome.

And here's how it applies to my parenting and, indirectly, this blog. If you've read my posts about Attachment Parenting, Babywearing, homeschooling, birth, and health, you know that I'm a pretty crunchy/hippy mama. I'm comfortable with that. Matter of fact, I really kinda like that image of myself. My friends back home are also hippy mamas, to a certain extent.

But then there are our ideas about child training. And the whole married-to-an-English-Teacher-Classical-School thing. And the tech-to-human ratio in our household. And my children eat stuff like Chicken Nuggets and cheez curls. And we've seriously considered attending an Anglican church. Or Episcopal. Or something similar also involving incense and chanting. Oh yeah, there's also now a mini van....

So, you see, I have one foot in each camp. And it's very tempting, when conversing with fellow members of either camp, to pretend that the other side of me doesn't exist. That I really am simply a dyed-in-the-wool Hippy Mama-- co-sleeping, delayed vax-ing, non-circ-ing and all. Or, on the flip side, that I'm the intellectual wife of an intellectual, who values "high" conversation, attends a high church and wouldn't dream of breastfeeding a two-year-old.

But the truth is, both sides have valuable truths. And I have good reasons for adhering to some of the various tenants of both stereotypes. Either extreme has it's problems, but a good balance of the two is exactly what I want in my life. The problem arises when I am reluctant to truthfully represent my actual beliefs out of intimidation and a desire for acceptance.

As I read that passage and pondered it, and as we discussed it tonight, I began to wonder about my new friendships here in Orlando and whether or not I've done a good job representing, unashamedly, my convictions. In particular, in the areas of mothering and... oh, wife-ing, or whatever you call it. I didn't come to any grand conclusions, but just a general sense of needing to renew my commitment to certain key issues and needing to be more bold in vocalizing my convictions when the opportunity arises.

PS. In case some of you who Know were wondering if I'm also thinking about Political Views in this conversation, you know it! But I'm totally not going there on this blog. Been there, done that. Not doing it again. No politics.


Jenny said...

When I was in college I had to take a Myers Briggs Personality Assessment test (the one that "measures" Introvert/Extrovert, Thinking/Feeling, Sensing/ Intuitive and Judging/Perceiving). At that time, I had definite tendencies towards one side or the other in each category (though I don't think they were REALLY extreme, just clear). Later, as a real adult (ie. no longer an "adolescent"), I took it and I was closer to the middle in every category -- almost split right down the middle. I've come to the conclusion that the older you get (assuming you are maturing), the more you understand that just because you have a certain opinion, doesn't mean it's the right one or the ONLY one. Maturity allows you to recognize that most things (outside of Biblical standards) are not black and white - and there is always more than one way to do something. This allows an Extrovert to become less extroverted and more thoughtful/introverted (ie less opinionated;)). It allows a "thinker" to use his "feelings" and a "judger" to be a little more "perceptive"...etc. etc. You get the idea.
It's good to have your own opinions. It's also good to recognize that others have their own, and that doesn't make them wrong and you right. So, glean the best of all situations and adopt them as your own. As long as the Bible is your STANDARD, underlying EVERYthing else, the rest is all gravy (as my husband would say;)). See, we all grow up!

Hank said...

Well said, Jenny. I also know that my relationship with the Lord has guided me to make acquaintance/or not with people I may not have otherwise, also.

Lauren Valentine said...

Elisa - I can completely relate to this. Thanks for giving me something to think about...

Sigh. Can you come to the next girls night so we can hang out please? Pretty pretty please! And bring Jamie with you, I need to kiss those cheeks before he starts to lose the chub!

Herb of Grace said...

Thanks for that insight, Jenny, good thoughts, indeed.

Lauren, if you can find someone to pay my airfare, I"m there!

Gramoni said...

We have to remember Truth is a Person, a large, good, generous, loving Person, Who has told us clearly His way is narrow. He warms and rains on the just and unjust, and wants us to be like Him, (Matt.5:c.40 or so). On the other hand we are to avoid being so broad that we travel the road that leads to destruction. It is complex, and this "opinion" is true for now and all time: without the Holy Spirit we can't discern.