Feminism and Frankenstein

The Daily Mail posted an article on Mary Shelley, the author of “Frankenstein,” today. The article reflects on her life and work in response to a soon to be published book by Fiona Sampson, “In Search of Mary Shelley.”

Some time ago I read “Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley,” by Charlotte Gordon, who presented her work at the Boston Book Festival. I was glad to be in the audience.

I knew of Mary Wollonstonecraft (d. 1797) and had read her work, “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.” Christopher Hitchens was a fan of her work and based on his recommendation of it, I got a copy. It was a very good read, sensible, reasoned, and, of course, ahead of its time. She died giving birth to her daughter Mary, dying from an infection caught through the dirty and unwashed hands of her doctor, not an uncommon event in those days.

Mary grew up to be the author of “Frankenstein” and many other works. She was also the wife of the poet Percy Shelley, was one of the major English Romantic poets, and is regarded as among the finest lyric poets in the English language. His bohemian lifestyle brought them into much misery, both financial and maritally. She endured many of his infidelities and lost three of her children to death through their itinerant living. Shelly drowned in a boating accident at age 29. She went on to a life of writing and a guardian of Percy Shelley’s literary estate and legacy.

Life was never easy for her, but she carved out her place both as an entertaining author and a thought leader for feminism. 

Winsome Words 1/3/2017

“It is the nature of all hypocrites and false prophets to create a conscience where there is none, and to cause conscience to disappear where it does exist.” Martin Luther

Translated, this means that we feel bad about things we shouldn’t feel bad about and don’t feel bad about the things that should offend us and which do offend God. False religion gives us new rules to bind our conscience but leaves the weightier matter of God’s Law overlooked, or even denied.

The Golden Age Politicians and Rhetoricians Promise Is Dust

This Prager video is an example of what we mean when we say that conservatism isn’t utopian. It integrates the truth that evil is real, that it will not go away, and that evil has its foothold in human nature. Through the grace of God evil can be restrained, if only for a time and in seasons, but it emerges again, only to require good people to once more wage the battle against it. THIS NEVER CHANGES.

The golden age promised to us by political charlatans is a chimera. Wise people do not chase schemes and promises that do not take this into account. Utopian dreams have lead to the most destructive episodes on planet earth, whether it be the French Revolution and its product Napoleon, Marx and is dialectical materialism submerging Russian and China into a dystopian bloodbath, Mussolini and Hitler’s Fascism and their World War, or Islamic dreams of a worldwide caliphate that will once for all rid the world of idolatry.

Our US Constitution system of checks and balances, distrust of government as a means to human fulfillment, belief in the liberty of the individual man left alone to fulfill his own dreams without interference from the meta-narratives of emperors and empires, is the great ballast against the rolling and boiling seas of human imaginations untethered to the tectonic plates of our fallen world.

The good we do matters. Christ will use it and include it in the world that shall be. But it is a world that he shall bring with the help of no man. It is his trumpet that shall sound, and then the End will come. The Books will then be opened and the Great Division shall be made. Evil and lovers of evil will be banished forever. Our eyes shall see it.

Make The Costs Too High To Pay

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I have posted this pic several times. I have it in a special folder on my computer. It is the pic of a woman who has just escaped East Germany to the West, and the only stopping her from being harmed are good men with guns.

This reminds me that this is the kind of world we live in. Yes, there is more to this world than force and violence. The love of God is a power that will one day redeem it all. But while we live in this world, the light of civilization is sheltered by those who see the nature of the conflict and are willing to front the tide of evil that would sweep all else away.

Reinhold Niebuhr in the 1950s reminded us of this truth even as utopian philosophies drifted through the church blinding it to deep darkness marshaled against the good. Ronald Reagan saw this, and though mocked and derided as a neanderthal and cretan, restored America’s military power to resist. The drama of the Cold War evaporated. And now with our military degraded again due in large measure to Obama’s blindness and George W. Bush’s military blunders, it is time again to restore the necessary power to good people to resist those who mean harm.

I am thankful for realists who daily see the risks and lift a voice to cry out a warning. Be strong, America, even while you adhere to the good. You are being watched, and the calculations are being made about the costs of resisting you.

Make those costs too high to pay.

God Wanted It Darker – An Appreciation For Leonard Cohen

I can’t number the times I have laid awake at night listening to the music of Leonard Cohen in my earbuds. His Jewish background made him a constant reflector on the biblical story and its insights into what it means to be human. His years as a Buddhist priest quieted him and gave him the aura of man who was in touch with awful truths.

He came onto the music scene when I was in college in ’67 after years as a poet and novelist. Dylan-like in his music, unlike Dylan he never did leverage his music into the top echelons of the industry yet he was constantly there. His most famous song is “Hallelujah.” 

He died in November, 2016, and his final album, “You Want It Darker,” brought it all together. The album is named after its central song. It is the story of God’s call to Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, and the truth that the promise of God led him into a darkness Abraham could not have imagined, to be stripped by his own hand of the life of his only son. God wanted it darker. Abraham saw that and accepted it. It was the only way to the light. Joel Osteen Cohen is not!

The album was released six weeks before Cohen died at age 82. The New Yorker Radio hour has an interview with Cohen shortly before he did die. Intriguing. I commend it to you.