Stranger in a Strange Land

When they were few in number, of little account, and strangers in the land”  1 Chron 16:19

I must confess that since the hellish decision from 5 lawyers last week, I have scrupulously avoided reading anything about it, except for Timshel’s excellent post a couple of days ago.  I’m not in the mood to listen to Satan speaking through his acolytes about “human rights.”  There is little of sanity left in our culture, which is why I chose instead to read from my favorite philosopher of sanity, Frank Sheed.  Below is an excerpt from his book Society and Sanity, written 62 years ago, from a chapter entitled “The Nature of Sex and Marriage.”  I have edited out substantial portions, and hope that Mr. Sheed is not too displeased with the result, as he hopefully looks upon this from the communion of saints.

“The typical modern man practically never thinks about sex.  He dreams of it, of course, by day and by night; he craves for it; he pictures it, is stimulated or depressed by it, drools over it.  But this frothing, steaming activity is not thinking.  Drooling is not thinking, picturing is not thinking, craving is not thinking.  Thinking means bringing the power of the mind to bear: thinking about sex means striving to see sex in its innermost reality and in the function it is meant to serve.

Sex is a power of the whole man, one power among many: and man is not an isolated unit, but bound to his fellows in society; and his life on earth is not the whole of life, but only a beginning.  To use the power of sex successfully we must use it in balance with the rest of our powers, for the service of the whole personality, within a social order, with eternity to come.  And all this is too complex a matter to be left to instinct or chance, to desire or mood or the heat of the blood or the line of least resistance.  It calls for hard thinking.

Upon sex, as indeed upon all our other powers, we must use reason.  Instinct is excellent for the lower animals, but we are not lower animals, we are rational; and the price we pay for our rationality is that reason is our only safe guide, to ignore it is always disaster.  The growth of a world in which men can live as men has been the growth of reason’s domination over the instincts – all the instincts, even the instinct of sex.  There is no special privilege exempting sex alone from the control of reason.  That it is more exciting than the others does not make it less in need of control but more.

If we consider sex in itself and ask what Nature had in mind in giving sex to human beings, there can be only one answer:  sex is meant for the production of children, as lungs for breathing or the digestive organs for nourishment.  That fact that man can use sex for other, sterile purposes of his own choosing does not alter the certainty that child-bearing is sex’ own purpose.  I know that to the modern reader there seems something quaint and old-world in asking what a thing is for; the modern question is always, What can I do with it?  Yet it remains a first principle of the intelligent use of anything to ask what the thing is for – indeed that is almost a first principle of the intelligent misuse of anything.  If you are going to pervert a thing, it is wise to know what you are perverting.

The new-born child has to be shaped into a fully developed member of the human race; and for this he needs both parents.  Humanity is not man or woman, but both in union.  A child brought up by a father only or a mother only is only half-educated.  He needs what the male can give him and what the female can give him.  And he needs these not as two separate influences, each pushing him its own way, so that he moves on some compromise line that is neither, but as one fused influence, wholly human, male and female affecting him as conjoined, not as competing, influences.  For that, the parents must be united – and indissolubly united.”

And when they had called in the apostles, they had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.  As they left the council, they rejoiced that they were considered worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.  And every day in the temple and at home they did not cease to teach and proclaim Jesus as the Messiah.  Acts 5:40-42

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