Decent and in Order

My mama was an accomplished communicator; with a raised eyebrow or disapproving glance she was able to convey paragraphs. It was she who taught me there is a right and a wrong way to do things, and woe betide me if I strayed off that path. I think her favorite scripture was “Let everything be done decently and in order.”

School Girl Carol School Girl Carol

One of the accepted activities was church attendance. Even though she did not attend religiously—she came to faith in her later years—it was good for me, and was a societal norm. So when I had children of my own, to be the best mother I could be, I took my boys to church. They were taught about obedience, authority, being law-abiding, and that work was a good and expected thing. Going to jail, taking drugs, disobeying your parents were BAD things.

But things have changed somewhat since those days. Christianity, and people who adhere to it are now looked upon as the enemy, their beliefs questioned, challenged, criminalized. Our culture today would brand me an unfit parent for taking my children to church, exposing them to an Absolute, who declares He makes the rules. Funny about that. They are all employed, tax-payers, law-abiding contributors to society. What did I do wrong?

Increasingly we read reports of parents being arrested and their children removed from the home because someone somewhere disapproved of the freedom the children displayed when they walked to the store All By Themselves! Home-schoolers are harassed even though the children consistently test better than average across the board.

It would appear that the thing feared by society in general is any independent thinking, outside the control of governmental powers. To stand up in one’s opinions is to invite serious consequences from those who have great ability to enforce compliance. Unlike my mama’s effective eyebrow, they have the machinery of a legal and legislative system to bring people to their knees. My question: will this mean things are done decently and in order, with contributing citizens as a result?

Or something far worse?

The Waters

Learning the craft of canoeing, I was thrilled by the ease we moved, gliding effortlessly across the lake, skimming the surface like dragon flies. The row boat had been fun at first; I mastered maneuvering it with the oars imprisoned in their oarlocks. With it I could plod on water; the canoe let me dance. A slight curve of the paddle blade was all that was needed to change course, turn from snag or rock, get a closer view of the heron in the reeds.
All rowboats have to yield to a passing canoe for a lumbering boat is easier to stop than a lively, freely moving craft. It is a law of the waters. In my canoe I conquer worlds, exploring the unknown around the next bend, gliding past the row boats with my queenly head held high, scarcely noticing slower, subservient vessels as I go.
But then! A sloop approaches dressed in full sail, bearing down the lane where I have been master of the waves. Superior in size and speed, it is unable to slow for an insignificant obstacle in its path. Now it is I who must give way, moving aside, stopping, yielding. It is the law of the waters.
WC-Canoe-nose2The Sunfish gives way to the yacht which yields to the ocean liner, for the behemoth is ruler of all. Too large for easy maneuverability, it plows ahead, often pushing aside or sinking lesser craft which do not heed the law of the waters. To change its course takes far more than a simple turn of paddle blade. To change its course requires reversal of engine, turning the screws, steering accurately.
In our lesser craft, we stand aside or even back paddle, submitting to the liner which will have its way lest we be pulled under, crushed, obliterated.

When the giant is on the waters, the dancing stops. It is the law.