“Enfeebled in body and fretful and discontented in temper”

Instead of accepting the relations, friends, and neighbours that God sends us in the course of our lives, the devotee of Beauty chooses for himself, and cares to know only those people whose view of life are the same as his own. So with regard to places, he cannot tolerate for a moment things which are unsightly and unlovely, so he does not go where working people and poor people have to live. In the end, he misses the happiness to which the Beauty Sense was meant to minister. For happiness comes of effort, service, wide interests, and, last and least, of enjoyment; and when people put enjoyment, even of beautiful things, in the first place (and indeed in place of all else), they miss the very thing they seek, and become enfeebled in body and fretful and discontented in temper. […] [W]e must not let any better-than-my-neighbour notions get into our heads; and in the next, we must make it our business, as much as in us lies, to bring Beauty to places where it is not.

–Charlotte Mason, Ourselves

I wonder very much what Charlotte Mason would have made of our despicable new President-Elect and the kind of culture he is shaping for the unsightly, unlovely, poor and marginalized people in this nation.


2 thoughts on ““Enfeebled in body and fretful and discontented in temper”

  1. Hmm, interesting perspective…I’m curious to hear your thoughts on a couple points. 1) Do you think Trump’s poor character choices, rude comments, etc will have a direct impact on the culture of the poor and marginalized people of our country? 2) Do you think Clinton’s policies would have improved our culture for these people in the long run? Or any of the candidates? 3) Laying aside the “hot topics” around Trump (gay rights, the wall, mistreatment of women, etc) what do you believe the effects of his ideologies will be on the nation as a whole? Things like less gov’t interference in business, education, foreign relations, etc. And just so you know where I’m coming from…I consider myself a libertarian-leaning republican. I did vote for Trump after much deliberation and agony over the choice. I was very impressed with his acceptance speech..he seemed genuinely hopeful and generous. And I’m not being snarky with my questions…I really want to hear your perspective 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jill, thank you so very much for your respectful questions and willingness to dialogue. I have a still-tentative belief that the time for private politics is over. Things have reached such a pitch that we can no longer quietly hold our opinions to ourselves, especially in the homeschooling world, where we are passing our beliefs on to our children. If we are not willing to engage dialectically with one another on these exceedingly difficult topics, what are we teaching our children about them? I know many disagree with me, as evidenced by the way the online Christian homeschooling world is virtually silent on these topics (with the exception of a few people I have encountered)–I think it is because we fear division so much in the church. We should take division seriously, but we shouldn’t fear it. We are more than conquerors over those powers and principalities that seek to destroy us.

      To briefly answer your questions:
      1) Yes absolutely, as already evidenced by a new steady flow of public racism that was at one time becoming staunched. I have two Muslim friends and one black friend who have already told me that they are afraid.
      2) No. (I voted for Secretary Clinton in probably the same manner in which you voted for Trump, with great fear and trembling). The responsibility for improvement of life for any marginalized person lies in the hands of individual constituents, particularly the church. I voted out of concern for the tone and culture of our country, not out of any hope in policy-change. I have almost none.
      3) You may be surprised to hear that I would also describe myself as Libertarian by preference. If I could choose a type of government, in a more functional society, I would vote in a highly fiscally and civically conservative manner. Unfortunately, I no longer feel I can responsibly vote by my preference. I do not trust the people to whom I would be giving the power to handle it in a dutiful or loving way. I am more concerned about the way people are communicating, the kinds of values they are putting forth, than I am about the way they spend our money.

      I am already trying to write a blog post expressing myself and my concerns more fully. Your questions, Jill, give me hope that people are willing to listen, respond, allow dialectic to happen without fear, and then most importantly, to act.


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