I was born in Texas in 1966. The “Women’s Movement” (on the heels of “Civil Rights’ Movement, as Suffrage followed Abolition) was a fetus. “Girl Power” was something only my children would hear as children. My mother and grandmothers didn’t have all the power and opportunities I did, my daughters have more than I. I’m in a better position to take advantage than my foremothers and better position to not “take for granted” than my daughters. I like my life on the edge.
I was born in Texas on the 31st, at 1:34am. This puts my moon sign right on a cusp. One Moon Sign description starts, “It’s as if you were born wise.” The other begins with, “Even those closest to you can be shocked by how cold you can be.” My best friend suggested I can pick my moon sign (seeing how being born a couple of time zones away would change my birthday) and of course I picked the former. But the truth is both have truth. Wisdom is not synonymous with kindness–I can be really cool (“cold” even)–indifferent (unbiased, rational and unemotional), but my reasons for being cool are based on my insights.
My grandmother was born before electricity, my parents before TV. I was born before VCRs, microwaves, personal computers (my dad was a computer engineer so I grew up very aware of how computers shrunk in size and grew in capacity), internet, cellphones… . I watched the world move from analog to digital. I’ve felt how heavy a record collection can be and appreciate how vast a cloudy music library can be.
I remember being asked what I would be when I grow up and being exasperated by the question. All the women I knew were only three things: stay-at-home mothers, teachers or nurses. Being married to a house as “career” was very unappealing. Nursing is gross and it’s mean to stick needles in people. So I said “teacher.” I might have been a good one, but I decided I didn’t want to do that either once my opportunities expanded to “secretary” which I also rejected (and to prove my rejection, I never took typing and now peck out an impressive ~21-words/minute–on my best day), “interior decorator” or “designer” which never filled me with passion because I don’t want to just make the world prettier/shallower and psychiatrist (which I rejected after a few boring classes). I ended up doing not much of anything. I have a genius brother who has obsessed on many things. He’s a jack-of-all-trades and master of most. I’m a lethargic dabbler who has mastered nothing. But that’s okay with me. It may be selfish–I’m sure it’s immature, but I just can’t make myself groove out as a cog in a system I see as inherently flawed. In another age, maybe I would’ve flourished rather than floundered. In yet another, I would’ve killed myself.
Here I sit on the edge, approaching my 49th year. I feel good. Not great. Not bad. I feel good. Omne bene. Recent medical studies state a healthy person should live 120 years. I could be ENTERING midlife (rather than exiting it, as I feel is the case). Another cusp. What will I do with the second half? It’s going to be more spiritual. I’m long past living it worrying what others will think about how I’m living it. And I want to leave echos for my kids because listening to my cousin’s CDs has been so meaningful for me.
Almost a year ago I decided to do _Three Years of Three Wills_ (Williams Downing, Shakespeare and Blake). It was supposed to start back in January. I have three recording of _All’s Well That Ends Well_ but haven’t been able to get them uploaded. I’ll post an introduction at the end of this month and start the series in September.
Every seven years, all the cells in the human body renew (even brain cells). I won’t be 49. I’ll be 7. I’m also changing my name to Jitk7.0. 🙂
Peace and love to all my readers. (Both of you–if that many.) And to the billions who don’t read me.
We spend over a BILLION HOURS a year figuring and filing our damned “income tax.” Setting aside the sound logic that taxing labor is the state’s assertion that you and the labor you exert are its property (pretty clear definition of slavery), what if that time were spent on something positive and productive? A billion hours is 115,200 YEARS (no holidays, weekends, lunch or potty breaks). What if we used that time connecting to children, telling them stories and listening to their stories? What if used that time to plant flowers and fruiting trees? What if we used that time to solve homelessness, hunger, poverty, depression…? What if we just stopped “voluntary” relinquishment of our time and money to a system unconstitutionally contrived to fund warmongering banksters?
On YouTube (jitko42), I’m going to analyze all 38 Shakespeare plays, one month at a time. I’ll go in alphabetical order. Henry IV parts 1 & 2, will be done in one month and the three parts of Henry VI (which cover the War of the Roses) will be done over two months, making my total 36. As a bonus, I’m going to add a song from William Downing and art and/or poetry from William Blake.
The first play is All’s Well That Ends Well. I knew nothing about this play until about three years ago when I watched BBC’s production. It’s considered a “Problem Play,” and I agree that it’s not among the best, but for different reasons than I’ve read and heard. The “fairy tale” quality, the appeal to Shakespeare’s contemporary audience, is likely the reason the play is making a comeback. Fairy Tales are making a big comeback, and they’re all grown up and Grimm. An annotated publication of the Grimm Fairy Tales recently spent time on the bestsellers’ list. Two television series tackled the darker side of fairy tales. We no longer demand realism from our fiction, as was also the case in Shakespeare’s day. For me, the “problem” is that not one character has enough depth for me to emotionally invest in their journeys. This seems to be a defining characteristic of fairy tale characters. And it’s all good, and all well. It’s not really a problem. There’s plenty to like and enjoy.
This play is compared to Measure for Measure because both have the heroine convincing another female to switch unmaid beds but similarities end there. In the first scene there are echoes of Hamlet. Peppered throughout the play, are R&J‘s symbol of the rose and how qualities, not labels, define people.
There are two delightful fools in this play: Parolles and Levatch. For centuries, Parolles’ “virginity speech” was excised from productions, which is a shame of shame. It’s very funny, and it presents a very serious feminist issue. All verbs assigned feminine are passive (Naomi Wolfe wrote that the most active word women can muster is “swallow”). Helena demands, “But he assails; and our virginity, though valiant,/in the defence yet is weak: unfold to us some/warlike resistance.” This is Shakespeare’s most feminist play and we can see the power of ovarian and gestational energy in the female characters of the play. Levatch is the clever (not wise) fool. He makes a great case for the merits of being a cuckold.
This is the only play where a forced marriage is indeed forced. Even Juliet, who is told she will be kicked into street to starve if she doesn’t marry her father’s chosen son-in-law, escapes the arrangement. But Bertram is told he must marry Helena, and very shortly thereafter (that same evening), he is married. Helena goes after what she wants and she doesn’t dress as a man to do it. I wish she were more likable. Perhaps she would be if Bertram, the object of her affection, weren’t such an intolerable cad. His only “noble” qualities are 1.) he is titled and 2.) he performed well in war. I’m unimpressed with 1, and (as a pacifist) consider 2 a con. Rosalind in As You Like It connives to get her man, but she does it almost solely as sport. When cousin and BFF Celia advises Rosalind to be merry, Rosalind replies, “From henceforth I will, coz, and devise sports. Let me see; what think you of falling in love?” Then when she has captured Orlando’s heart and he posts love poems throughout the forest, Rosalind must be reminded who it is that is so in love with her. We can have far more hope for Rosalind and Orlando than we have for Helena and Bertram. Rosalind is guided by wit and does as she likes. She likes the freedom men take for granted, so she dresses as a man and outmans men. Helena shoots for a star and, for her, the end justifies the means.
Other feminist notes are found in Countess of Rousillon. She speaks the first line. No other play opens with a female speaker. Also, the king, though recently on his deathbed, travels to Rousillon for the final scene. Christaine Northrup, MD introduced me to the concept of “ovarian energy.” In patriarchy, fast-swimming sperm are to be emulated. But what drives those actively swimming millions? A single, attractive and “passive” egg. When my eldest daughter was almost four, she announced, “Women have magic, men have power.” Is it really important which would win in battle of magic and power? Is not the better question what magical and powerful creation can we make together?
No other play that is a phrase repeats that phrase more often. In fact, Twelfth Night is not mentioned even one time but “All’s Well” is spoken many times, many ways. And how all will end well is in the stars–but more importantly, in our initiative.
The monosyllabic key words “aim,” “miss,” and “hit” sprinkle almost every scene. Even “scope” clues us to Aristotle’s “Telos.” This is the main theme, aim for the stars and hit or miss, All’s Well That Ends Well.
Someone I’ve known since the 80s when he was one of my high school teachers has become a local facebook star. He’s a Christian and a wit. His statuses are often very entertaining, like “I have a blackbelt in leather.” Sometimes the stati are religious. Very rarely are they political but about a week ago he posted this gem, “Ebola meet ISIS.” There are health workers who have died trying to fight this disease. And they’ve gone into harm’s way fully knowing they will likely pay with their lives. Our trillions of dollars, thousands of soldiers, drones, covert missions, unconstitutional actions… aren’t enough for the latest US-created “threat.” Let’s wish a disease on them. I was disgusted and very disappointed with the post and, hands shaking, initiated a fb chat. To post a comment would open me to attack from the 45 “Like”rs. Been there. Done that. Burned the T-shirt.
Chat Conversation Start
ME: I don’t dare post this in comments but I think wishing a deadly disease on anyone is hatemongering, pandering and beneath you. Didn’t Jesus cmand us to love our enemies?
HIM: My apologies, Dawn, that you were offended. War is a tool of God.
There are many unacceptable reasons for war. Imperialism. Financial gain. Religion. Family feuds. Racial arrogance. There are many unacceptable motives for war. But there is one time when war is condoned and used by God: wickedness. When calling the Israelites into battle. Moses carefully instructed them:
“After the Lord your God has done this for you, don’t say to yourselves, ‘The Lord has given us this land because we are so righteous!’ No, it is because of the wickedness of the other nations that he is doing it.” (Deut. 9:4)
Can people grow so wicked, so pagan, so vile that God justifiably destroys them? Can leaders be so evil and cruel that God, knowing the hardness of their hearts, righteously removes them from the earth? Apparently so. He did so with Sodom and Gomorrah. He did so with the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites.
“As for the towns of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as a special possession, destroy every living thing in them. You must completely destroy the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, just as the Lord your God has commanded you. This will keep the people of the land from teaching you their detestable customs in the worship of their gods, which would cause you to sin deeply against the Lord your God.”(Deut. 20:16-18)
God has used warfare as a form of judgment against the enemies of God. In fact, He uses warfare as judgment against his own people when they become enemies of God.
“O Israel, I will bring a distant nation against you,” says the Lord. “It is a mighty nation, an ancient nation, a people whose language you do not know, whose speech you cannot understand. Their weapons are deadly; their warriors are mighty. They will eat your harvests and your children’s bread, your flocks of sheep and your herds of cattle. Yes, they will eat your grapes and figs. And they will destroy your fortified cities, which you think are so safe.” (Jeremiah 5:15-17)
God’s priority is the salvation of souls. When a people-group blockades his plan, does he not have the right to remove them? He is the God who knows “the end from the beginning” (Isa. 46:10). He knows the hearts of men and protects his people by punishing the evil of their wicked neighbors. Is it not God’s right to punish evil? Is it not appropriate for the one who tells us to hate that which is evil to punish that which is evil? Of course it is.
Unpunished evil is, itself, evil.
But what of the teachings of Jesus? What about a passage like Luke 6:27-31:
“But if you are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Pray for the happiness of those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn the other cheek. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give what you have to anyone who asks you for it; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Do for others as you would like them to do for you.”(Luke 6:27-31)
Have we stumbled upon an inconsistency? Do we find God calling for war one time and “cheek-turning” another? Is this a double standard? I don’t think so.
The government is called to turn the other cheek. We call this diplomacy, negotiation, and compromise. If such efforts prove fruitless, and if the leaders feel their constituency is under threat, they can then take steps to protect the innocent.
Consider this truth from a personal standpoint. If someone criticizes me, I am called to “turn the other cheek.” I forgive. But what if they criticize my wife and daughters. What if they threaten them? What if a perpetrator tells me he is coming after my family? What do I do?
Simple, I protect the innocent. I take steps to insure their safety.
But, aren’t you called to love your enemies? Absolutely. And I will love him to the point of removing him from being a threat to those I’m called to protect.
Why? Because, to leave my family unprotected would be to abdicate my responsibility as family leader. It is a higher evil to let evil go unpunished than to punish those who would harm innocents.
Has the United States reached such a point with ISIS? Only the authorities of a nation can answer that question. But if they perceive a real and present danger, their godly response is to protect the country.
I agree with the view of C.S. Lewis:
Does loving your enemy mean not punishing him? No, for loving myself does not mean that I ought not to subject myself to punishment—even to death. If you had committed a murder, the right Christian thing to do would be to give yourself up to the police and be hanged. It is, therefore, in my opinion, perfectly right for a Christian judge to sentence a man to death or a Christian soldier to kill an enemy. I always have thought so, ever since I became a Christian, and long before the war, and I still think so now that we are at peace. It is no good quoting ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ There are two Greek words: the ordinary word to kill and the word to murder. And when Christ quotes that commandment he uses the murder one in all three accounts, Matthew, Mark, and Luke. And I am told there is the same distinction in Hebrew. All killing is not murder any more than all sexual intercourse is adultery. When soldiers came to St. John the Baptist asking what to do, he never remotely suggested that they ought to leave the army: nor did Christ when he met a Roman sergeant-major—what they called a centurion. The idea of the knight—the Christian in arms for the defense of a good cause—is one of the great Christian ideas. War is a dreadful thing, and I can respect an honest pacifist, though I think he is entirely mistaken.”4
Again, the purpose of war is to punish the wicked and protect the innocent. Where does that leave us? That leaves us on our knees.
“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. As you make your requests, plead for God’s mercy upon them, and give thanks. Pray this way for kings and all others who are in authority, so that we can live in peace and quietness, in godliness and dignity. …So wherever you assemble, I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy.” (1 Tim. 2:1-2, 8)
If ever we need to trust the promise of Romans 8:28, it is times like these:
“ And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28)
Remember these key thoughts:
1. War is always dreadful—while never God’s ideal, war has been God’s idea.
2. War is justifiable only when other alternatives to protect the innocent have been exhausted. War is God’s righteous last resort.
3. War is divinely delegated to the government, God’s ministers who are called to protect the innocent and punish the evil.
4. A moral war is limited, not universal; national, not personal; defensive, not aggressive.
The role of a Christian, in such a time, is prayer:
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:12)
Let us pray for our President and those in authority. Let us give thanks for our President who begins his day on his knees with an open Bible in his lap. And, let us pray for a speedy end to this conflict.
ME: Do you not think our imperialism and wickedness are factors in this ongoing “war on terror” that has so greatly benefited a few corporations. Many of the weapons ISIS has are American-made and were paid for with our tax dollars. Al quida and Sadaam were originally backed and funded by us and now we are again allied with al quida bc blowback has has made them the lesser evil. There may be a time for war as Solomon says in Ecclesiastes, but I don’t think God has had much of a role in anything since WWII.
thank you for your thoughtful reply. I wasn’t “offended.” If I were offended by every jingoistic chant I hear, I couldn’t experience any other feeling. Just seems to me that those who are war’s loudest cheerleaders are the Christians. Jesus was called “Prince of Peace,” right? When is the “time for peace”? When will Christians show more compassion than anger?
HIM: My apologies for further offenses.
Our Hope in Christ is the substance of the coming peace which shall endure for all eternity.
ME: “Further offences”? I don’t know what that means. I truly wasn’t offended. I fought against saying anything. I just know many people listen to you, and I decided you might want to consider why one of them didn’t “Like” that status. If I offended you, it wasn’t my intention. And there is no reason for you to apologize to me. I appreciate you taking the time to consider and reply to me.
HIM: No offense here, either. We will continue our FB fun, but will have to disagree agreeably on this issue. Gal. 6:9
I wasn’t offended. Just disgusted and disappointed. I’m sure he felt the same about me and maybe he hoped I would be convinced by all his scripture-backed reasoning that God approves of the flippant post and our soul-crushing imperialistic warmongering.
I’ve seen this facebook post several times and commented on a high school friend’s share. I’ve had this debate just a few times and I really ruffle feathers. Why is hitting children considered sacred and questioning it heresy? Did you know “heresy” means “to choose”? THAT was my only point. We can choose to be better.
I paste it here because no one is going to see this and I want to vent.
Y___ is my friend from high school.
W___ is a guy who was active in local Assembly of God church until he decided he was tired of being married after giving it a good two decade trial.
THE FACEBOOK POST WITH COMMENTS:
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6 people like this.
W___: Yes ma’am. Yes sir.
August 2 at 8:11pm · Like · 1
Me (Dawn): Respect can be taught without hitting. In fact, it’s more easily taught by example than by the three-fold message of corporal punishment: 1) might makes right, 2) your body/pain is MY “teaching” tool and 3) conflicts can resolved by hitting. I respect my children and they reciprocate. Think maybe that’s what Jesus meant with the Golden Rule? Or maybe “Suffer the children to come unto me,” was a plea to have kids lined up for some good old-fashioned spanking with the bible belt?
3 hrs · Like
Y___: I didn’t choose how my parents raised me…..
2 hrs · Unlike · 1
W___: Dawn, that’s your opinion & you’re intitled to it.
2 hrs · Like · 1
Me: I know, Y___. Nor did I. And in a way, our parents didn’t choose how to raise us. My rant was to suggest we can choose how to raise our children, and contrary to some conventional “wisdom,” that choice can exclude hitting. And now that I have grown kids who survived not being spanked, I’ve gotten more vocal about suggesting there is a choice. I am often told my kids are very well-behaved and respectful. I don’t tolerate disrespect or bullying, from my kids or self. I’m sorry if my rant offended you. I’ve seen this post several times and just wanted to suggest it may require some scrutiny. No offense was intended.
2 hrs · Like
Me: I know I’m entitled to have an opinion (maybe even allowed to not hit my kids in the misguided guise of good parenting?) but thanks for the snarky and dismissive permission to express an opinion not condoned by the majority of my neighbors.
1 hr · Edited · Like
Y___: Interesting Dawn I did choose to raise mine different. But you didn’t ask that…
1 hr · Like
Me: I didn’t ask because I wasn’t making a judgement on YOU–just this oft-shared post and the prevailing wisdom behind it. I assure you, I meant no ill-will. (Well, except for my third comment.) Not for a second did I think you are a bad parent, or even that your parents are bad. I just want to suggest we can all be a little better by questioning the cliches and dictates we inherited. I accept any animosity thrown my way because my “opinion” is dismissed as unworthy of consideration, much less agreement.
Just now · Like
Y___: Good grief Dawn, the way your posting not many people will listen to you. Ranting is not usually the preferred method of communication or the way to get people’s attention about a subject. I personally have mentors that I call upon to help me with child rearing and that has helped me through this journey of Motherhood…