New Sherwood

Friday evening

The latest post by Jim Curley at Bethune Catholic is titled “Normalcy, Complacency, and Manhood”. It is well worth reading. Young men, do pay attention. If you act on this knowledge early you will prevent lots of problems in your future. Mr. Curley quotes from an article titled “Are The Suburbs Killing Your Manhood”:

Think about every man you looked up to as a kid. Chances are they continually faced environments outside their complete control. Environments in which there was no guarantee of safety or success. Where one can only hope to influence rather than rule. Firefighters dueling with fire, soldiers battling the fog and friction of war, explorers traversing foreign territories, pilot’s pushing the boundaries of flight, or even the missionary working in inner-city New York. Each learning to thrive without being in control.

I know what you’re saying at this point. “Great, but I am a web designer and father of twins, not GI Joe or Vasco de Gama.” But, placing yourself in an environment outside your control does not necessarily mean changing jobs or even leaving the suburbs. It could be as simple as mentoring a troubled youth, working a few weekends each month at a homeless shelter, learning a hobby that has always seemed daunting to you, or starting the business you’ve been secretly planning during your work breaks for the past 6 years. Something that requires you to leave your comfort zone and step into unexplored territory. No guarantees of success. The hard way.

The suburbs convince us that the pinnacle of life consists of comfort, safety, and control. And the man that finally succumbs to this deadly logic is a miserable creature forced to live off the exhilaration of other men’s feats.

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The blogmistress at Catholic Family Vignettes has written a marvelous post about her conversion – to Catholicism, and to the Traditional Latin Mass. An excerpt:

Breathtakingly beautiful…the heady scent of incense filled the air. We were a bit late and had to sit in the back of the Church. No missal, no expectations…just the extraordinary beauty, the exquisitely lovely words that transcend time and space, the “smells and bells” as some would call them.

I wept. I needed no missal. I knew these words. I had heard them in my heart. This was the song, the beautiful love song that time had woven. “Organic development” is so unromantic, but that was exactly what this Mass was. Something natural, something that had grown, developed and yet still maintained the roots of its origin. There were no words necessary. Roger and I shared a single glance and we both knew, we had heard that Voice.

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Jim Kalb of Turnabout – a tireless and incisive critic of liberalism – has returned with another series of posts ( here, here, and here ) on the crisis of modernity and some thoughts towards a solution.

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The “rural brain drain” is real. But is it a problem? I think so. It wasn’t always the case that the best educated rural and small town dwellers felt compelled to leave for the big city. Orland, for example, once had an opera house and its own college. It is obvious from reading an Orland newspaper of 50 or 60 years ago that the assumed level of readers’ education was much higher than it is today. What happened? There is a brain drain from rural areas because there is a money drain from rural areas. Industrialization, commercialized agriculture, and other factors have combined to create an economy in which wealth is necessarily concentrated in large cities. I’m not sure how to reverse this trend. “Buy local” and similar campaigns are fine and good, but limited in their effectiveness – especially if a town happens to be 30 minutes from a metropolitan area of 100,000 people. It would be nice if small town folks would stay home on principle, but that isn’t likely to happen without better economic prospects.

On the other hand, the “brain drain” has undoubtedly protected rural areas and small towns from the more radical advances of liberalism. For that we can be extremely grateful.

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The Church has long reminded us that war destroys souls. The Western Confucian reminds us that war also destroys families. Indeed a strong case can be made that WW-II, for a variety of reasons, was a significant contributing cause of the sexual revolution.

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July 26, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

4 Comments »

  1. Don’t forget that the assumed intellectual level of the audience for _city_ papers was also much higher 50 years ago than it is today. The changes in educational philosophy and the dumbing down of schools constitute a brain drain all their own, and due to the widespread acceptance of public schooling in the U.S. (more widely accepted even 30 years ago than today, when there are more alternatives), the virus spread like a plague. We could even start with the replacement of phonics with non-phonics-based reading methods in the school, which dumbed down generations all by itself. (And not to be nasty, but Jim Curley has a misplaced apostrophe in the quotation at the beginning of the entry.)

    I’m not at all sure that the brain-drain is more from country to city than it is from the country as a whole to…nowhere. The education is just gone. Not happening.

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    Comment by Lydia | July 26, 2008 | Reply

  2. Not sure if Curley mentioned it in his post, but there is a wonderful book called “Wild at Heart” which makes a similar point about men needing to act outside the sphere of where things are totally in control, to take chances, etc., to be fulfilled as men — and how much the suburbs and other aspects of modernity smother this. Written from a Christian perspective, and emphasizes that this does NOT mean “ditching one’s family to follow one’s dreams.” Excellent read, and I bet your local library has a copy.

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    Comment by Chris | July 27, 2008 | Reply

  3. Jeff:

    Thank you so much for your kind attention to my recent blogpost on the TLM! The links you’ve provided in this post are quite excellent. I’ve already forwarded the Jim Curley article to several male friends. As per Chris’ comment, it is very reminiscent of “Wild At Heart.” Eldredge is not Catholic, but he certainly writes like one…definitely worth reading!

    Like

    Comment by Kimberly | July 27, 2008 | Reply

  4. When my 4th child was born I suspected that I was living in an environment that was not entirely in my control,when the 7th was born, I knew it for certain.

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    Comment by ben | July 28, 2008 | Reply


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