Today my morning reading took me to Titus in the New Testament. Each morning I try to read one chapter of each testament, though I have been a bit lax in the past couple of months. At the end of the first chapter of this letter to one of Paul’s learnees (I won’t say student’s because I am not sure about the full status there. I really need to get enrolled in a class or two. I so need some classes on the books written by Paul.)
So the final verses of Chapter 1 are as follows: 5. “To the pure all things are pure, but to the corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure. Their very minds and consciences are corrupted. 6. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their actions. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.”
Oh my what a statement that is. When you stop and think about its message, you begin to see how very true it is. I noticed this so strongly when I was teaching and we were reading various books in class. There could be books that we read for 2 or 3 years without a problem and bang some parent would call the office to ask why I was trying to corrupt their kid. Funny, but most of the time, I had not seen or presented the book in the perverted way that the parent saw it, and most of the time they had not looked past the front or back cover, and in every case none of them had contacted me in person to discuss it.
I will give you a couple of examples. The last place I taught I was a middle school reading teacher. The school had a long tradition of reading, Hanging on to Max by Margaret Bechard, in the eighth grade. It was a story about a teenage father who ended up attending an alternative high school. We covered the hardships of his life, his love for the child, and his relationship with his father especially since his mother was gone. We talked about rights of fathers, and a big part was about how different our school system was from the one in the book. Amazingly, some mother thought I was promoting teenage “intimacy.” It also didn’t help that the principal was new and was not aware that the book was part of the curriculum long before I was the teacher.
Another issue was in a different school and a different state. I was the drama advisor. I had chosen a one-act play that was set in Salem, Mass. It of course was centered around a group of young girls who were descendants of some of the women involved in the witch trials. There a mother called in and said I was promoting Satanic worship and witchcraft. OMG! I had to explain to the superintendent that this was a historical fact, and the story was more about bullying than anything else. I mentioned to the other drama advisors at the contest how much trouble I had in getting to do the play, and they were amazed that someone would put up a fuss.
My point in bringing up these two incidents is that you can pervert almost anything by the way that you look at it. It goes very much with the theory I was studying when I was in graduate school. It was all about Reader’s Response Theory and how we interpret a story by the knowledge we bring to the book from our personal past, what we have read and learned. Paul says that “to the corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure.” So true. If you want to see evil, you can put it there in what you are observing whether it be a story, a song or a thing you are looking at. Perhaps that is why it is so easy to con a good person, they are always looking for the good in others. Yikes, this scares me because I am often a bit suspicious of the motives of others. Perhaps it is inside of me that makes me not trust them. I may have to get to work on myself some.
In the meantime, hope you have a great day, and a Merry Christmas season. For more information on how our family is preparing for Christmas, check out the posts on lucindagardens.