Unpopular Opinion: “Fur-babies” are not children, and pet ownership is not motherhood!

Image may contain: 3 people, text that says "THIS IG:@worth_ h_ for westernaesthetics com CAN NEVER REPLACE THIS"

I confess myself disappointed and frustrated by the number of people (in many cases, including otherwise seemingly intelligent people) who don’t seem to be able to “get” this. That some people don’t like other people as much as they like animals, and that some women, for reasons of their own, don’t want kids, is a given. That’s part of human nature, and always has been.

But the meme is still literally true and accurate, as presented, on several grounds:

First, continuation of the species. Yes, I know that the planet as a whole has an overpopulation problem. There were 2.2 billion people on earth in 1965, when I was born; there are 7.8 billion, now (it took until 1800 to reach a population of 1 billion – and only another 200 years to reach 7 billion), and the changes have not, in general, been positive ones!

A good few of our problems, I suspect, can be traced to – or at least, are exacerbated by – the fact that there are too many people, for the limited planetary real estate, and the issue is only likely to get worse, at least in the immediate future.

But I also know that in both Europe and America, the birth-rate has dropped below the replacement level. Increasingly, both are relying or will soon have to rely on immigration from people and regions who have NOT adopted the “my furbaby is equal to your human child” model to remain economically sustainable at present levels.

To the furbaby crowd, I ask: even if you think that’s a viable solution – and that is not a discussion I’m going to revisit, here, though I have posted on it before – what makes you think that it’ll remain so forever? What if the people you’re relying on to do the jobs your descendants would otherwise have been doing also decide that animals are less trouble than kids? Better hope we have effective AI by then, so robot servants can keep the diminishing human population cozy… if that’s the kind of life you want.

From a theological perspective, “be fruitful and multiply” was the very first commandment God gave to humans (Genesis 1:28). You don’t have to be literalistic in your interpretation of the Genesis narrative to understand why that should be so! No procreation? Then sooner or later, no humankind. It’s not a hard concept to grasp, or shouldn’t be. Co-creating with God the next generations of humans is both a gift and a duty that was given to us by our Creator.

And then from an individual, human, personal perspective, you may like animals more than humans, and that’s your choice; but you are never going to be able to have a deep, meaningful personal or philosophical conversation with Fido or Fluffy, you will never be able to marvel at their insight or strive to amend their errors; you will not be able to pass down to them things that you have learned in your own life-experience, or hear from them things that they have learned in theirs; you will not be able to reminisce with them over experiences you shared on a vacation trip, or share the beauty of a sunset or autumn foliage. You won’t get to share with them the important milestones on their life’s journey: first love, first car, graduation, first job, engagement and wedding, buying a new home, having a child, and so many more.

And from a more “enlightened self-interest” perspective, you won’t be able to ask them, once they’ve gotten their driver’s license, to go pick up something at the store for you; and as you get older, you certainly will not have them able to help take care of you as you get less able to take care of yourself. Yes, of course, you can hire people to do that. But will they show the caring and love of someone you have cared for and loved throughout their lives? Rhetorical question… we’ve all seen the horror stories of nursing home and home-care employees abusing their clients.

So, sure, it’s fine to not be overly-fond of people (I certainly have my doubts about some of the human race, myself, especially every four years or so…); it’s fine to like, even love, animals; it’s fine to realize that maybe you do not have the qualities it would take to be a good mother (or father) to a human child – and in that case, maybe it really is better that you don’t have children! There are too many abused, unloved, and unwanted kids out there as it is.

But it is still objectively true that cuddling your feline companion can never replace raising a child. This is not a matter of opinion or perspective – we put too much stock in unsupported opinions and preferences as it is (“I feel it so it must be true”) – but of simple fact. Sure, do your own thing! That’s the contemporary mantra anyway. But please do not pretend that your “fur-baby” is equal in any way to a human child, or that your care of them is of like significance or consequence to the raising of that human child.

It is not.

 

Ithaca Model 37s: Form and Function!

No photo description available.

Different strokes for different folks, but I think these are just pretty! I like side-by-sides best, but classic old pump-guns like these Ithaca Model 37s are a close second. True examples of “form follows function,” from a time when both form and function mattered to the makers… these, to my mind, show the perfect blend of both!

The Road to Hell is Paved With Virtue Signaling | The Stream

Many modern Christians embrace folly as long as it results in a pat on the back. Virtue signaling and vengeance are the best they can come up with.

Source: The Road to Hell is Paved With Virtue Signaling | The Stream

We need, as this essay points out, a lot less virtue-signalling, and a lot more virtue.

“At least one thing is confirmed by my news feed and the events unfolding in cities around the country: Many people who claim ‘justice!’ as their battle cry have no idea what it means. Virtue signaling and vengeance are the best they can come up with. I expect that kind of foolishness from the secular world, but it has become glaringly apparent that many modern Christians also embrace folly as long as it results in a pat on the back…

“I have a serious question for the more ‘woke’ Christians among us. Does it not trouble you that your understanding of justice is identical to those who have rejected the gospel of Jesus Christ? The fact is, most of the assertions being made about racial discrimination in policing have been empirically debunked… Is that not a compelling enough reason to stop repeating trendy falsehoods? If not, perhaps the fruits of death, destruction, and endless demands might suggest that something within this particular ‘justice’ movement is amiss…

“I realize that for some this may be shocking to realize, but there are many other injustices plaguing our nation besides police brutality. Those include but are not limited to the slaughter of the unborn, mass exploitation of human beings for sexual gratification, bloated bureaucracies that forcibly take people’s money without providing anything valuable in return, and increasing prejudice towards those who don’t affirm progressive doctrines of race or gender.

“Which begs the question, Christians — are you passive about justice-related issues except when it comes to popular ones? Why might that be?”

An excellent and thought-provoking essay.

Duke of Edinburgh: Rare new photo of Prince Philip and the Queen released to mark his 99th birthday | UK News | Sky News

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing and outdoor

Source: Duke of Edinburgh: Rare new photo of Prince Philip and the Queen released to mark his 99th birthday | UK News | Sky News

The article points out that “The picture was taken on 1 June and shows the couple standing side by side in the quadrangle at Windsor Castle,” and rather pretentiously notes, “With the duke turning 99 on Wednesday [10 June 2020] and the Queen now 94, they look remarkably well, both standing up unaided as the photograph is taken.”

“Both standing up unaided”? Really? What cheek! Her Majesty was riding her favorite Dartmoor pony, just a week or two ago, I should hope she can stand unaided! And there’s no reason to think that HRH The Duke of Edinburgh is ready for a walker or a wheelchair, either, 99 years of age or no!

At any rate, the article continues,

“Her Majesty is wearing a yellow floral-patterned dress, designed by her stylist and dresser Angela Kelly, with the Cullinan V diamond brooch.

“Prince Philip is wearing a blazer and his Household Division tie. Sky’s royal commentator Alastair Bruce [notes]: ‘The Duke of Edinburgh has frequently chosen to wear his Grenadier Guards boating jacket, which is the name given to a blazer in the Household Division.'”

God save The Queen! And God bless HRH Prince Philip. May God grant them both continued health and long life!

 

Mini Trooping the Colour 2020 will be held at Windsor for Queen’s official birthday | The Crown Chronicles

Source: Mini Trooping the Colour 2020 will be held at Windsor for Queen’s official birthday | The Crown Chronicles

“After the coronavirus pandemic put paid to this year’s Trooping the Colour, it has been confirmed a private and scaled-back version of the celebration will be held at Windsor [this] weekend.

“Trooping the Colour marks The Queen’s official birthday on the second Saturday of June, and is a parade of thousands of soldiers and hundreds of horses, marching and music. It is one of the highlights in Her Majesty’s calendar, so the mini version of the ceremony is sure to bring a smile to The Queen’s face!

‘There will be a small, brief military ceremony at Windsor Castle to mark The Queen’s official birthday,’ a palace spokesperson has said.

“The Queen cancelled the event at the end of March due to safety fears, and of course, the lockdown.”

 

Real-Food.com » Can we Survive the Green Revolution?

Organic dairy farmers vow to compete in changing industry

“In America we made a Faustian bargain regarding our food supply: We gave our food production to agribusiness in exchange for the promise of a better life.”

Source: Real-Food.com » Can we Survive the Green Revolution?

“In America we made a Faustian bargain regarding our food supply: We gave our food production to agribusiness in exchange for the promise of a better life. This arrangement has resulted in unintended consequences: the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, eroded soils, herbicide-resistant weeds, CO2 in the atmosphere, and the list goes on. It’s time to assess our bargain, determine the costs and decide whether the entities with which we contracted are going to hold up their end and go on feeding us. And if the bargain is off, what then? Then we need to support a New Green Revolution.”

[Note: Not a “Green New Deal”! The reference is to the so-called “Green Revolution” of the 1950s and following, which has caused a lot of the problems we face today, in the agricultural realm. Read the essay for more!]

A most excellent article from a very wise woman – and one I have had the pleasure of meeting, talking to, and spending time with, albeit some fifteen or more years ago, now. Joann S. Grohman, author of the splendid Keeping a Family Cow, and the thankfully now-back-in-print Real Food (not to be confused with an also-excellent book of the same name by Nina Planck), author and life-long small farmer / family-cow owner, is a woman with her head on straight.

One minor caveat: she writes that “Any system that requires plowing, which exposes soil to oxidation (the greatest source of agricultural CO2) and artificial fertilizer (second greatest source), as well as harvesting and processing using yet more fossil fuel – that system does no good to anyone but Big Food’s bottom line.”

That is certainly 100% true with regard to industrial agriculture. But “no-till” agriculture requires the kind of vast chemical inputs – herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers – which she rightly condemns, and many crops cannot be grown without one or the other. Joann is also correct that our commodity-grain-based system of commercial agriculture is vastly problematic and needs to be exchanged for more regenerative and restorative forms of agriculture, that are healthier for both consumers and the environment.

But in the context of small, diversified farms, with proper rotations of crops and animals, plowing is not necessarily the worst thing that can happen. Amish farmer, author, and philosopher David Kline discusses this question at some length in the Introduction to his excellent book, Great Possessions: An Amish Farmer’s Journal, which I also highly recommend. Otherwise, however, Joann is squarely on-target!

 

A time of great uncertainty, and a need to recharge

I can't believe it's riot season already. I still have my COVID ...

So, we segued right out of coronavirus and into race riots. Think I’m kidding? At least one television station broadcast guidelines – I’m not sure which state is represented – that stated no gatherings of more than 12 people, or protests with more than 100. Apparently there are different standards, depending on whether you are gathering for social or political purposes.

There is a lot that I could say about many of the things that have been and are going on right now, but I’m not going to say most of them. One cogent observation, however, is this: “We have reached a point where people are held responsible for things their ancestors did, or that people who look like them have done; but they are not held responsible for things they themselves are doing right now.”

For now, I’m going to leave it at that.

The reality is, I’m tired. I’m physically tired, because I’ve been stressed and I have not been sleeping well. But I am also mentally and emotionally tired by the non-stop battering of… pardon me, but crap, of various sorts, over the past few months. As I commented on Facebook, announcing that I was stepping back:

I think I need to step back from online engagement with the sociopolitical scene for a while. Getting myself all worked up over things over which I can’t change is not good for either my spiritual or my psycho-emotional health! *sigh*

That does not mean that I’ll not be speaking to specific issues if I feel called to do so. And it certainly does not mean I’m disengaging! But it does mean that I think I need to switch the primary field of my engagement from posting to praying.

This is a spiritual issue as much as (if not more than) a sociopolitical or metapolitical one, and as a man of the cloth, prayer is a fitting venue for my activity. And I pray for grace to trust in God, even as I offer Him my own fervent prayers. Lord, in thy mercy, hear my prayer!

All of the above applies here, as well. I haven’t stopped caring. Far from it. Maybe I care too much. I am running on empty, and I need to recharge.

Thank you for understanding.

 

Byzantine chant: Lament for Constantinople: Ο Θεός ήλθοσαν έθνη/ “O Lord the heathen are come” | YouTube

Source: Byzantine chant: Lament for Constantinople – Ο Θεός ήλθοσαν έθνη / “O Lord the heathen are come” | YouTube (performed by Alexander Lingas/ Liturgica)

“Fall of Constantinople, (29 May 1453). After ten centuries of wars, defeats, and victories, the Byzantine Empire came to an end when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks in May 1453. The city’s fall sent shock waves throughout Christendom. It is widely quoted as the event that marked the end of the European Middle Ages. Ο Θεός ήλθοσαν έθνη translated as ‘O God, the nations have invaded your inheritance’. Manuel Chrysaphes, the composer of this marvellous historical piece, which has been discovered at the beginning of the first world war, did not find more eloquent words than those of Psalm 78 [Psalm 79] in order to mourn in it the church of Aghia Sophia [Hagia Sophia].”

 

A short quote on the Caroline Divines

Caroline Divines – montage

Source: A Saint Study: Charles Stuart, King and Martyr | The North American Anglican

“The English School of Theology experienced a renaissance of sorts under the ‘Caroline Divines,’ the theologians who delineated the manner in which the Church of England did and did not agree with the Reformation as articulated on the Continent; these Divines number among them Blessed Lancelot Andrewes, Blessed George Herbert, Blessed John Cosin, Blessed Thomas Ken, Blessed William Laud, Blessed Jeremy Taylor, and Richard Hooker. These men were most emphatic on demonstrating their adherence to the Fathers of the Church rather than to their own reading of Scriptures.”

— from “A Saint Study: Charles Stuart, King and Martyr,” by Raymond Davidson, May 15, 2020

 

The Via Media—Between What and What? | The North American Anglican

John Whitgift (c. 1530-1604): Archbishop of Canterbury and a defender of the Elizabethan Settlement, the classic attempt to bridge the divide between Reformed Catholic Anglicans and what McDermott calls Calvinist (I would call them Reformed Protestant) Anglicans.

One could say that the argument over the Via Media is its own via media, cutting through two camps in the Anglican Communion.

Source: The Via Media—Between What and What? | The North American Anglican

Gerald McDermott – recently retired Chair of Anglican Divinity at Beeson Divinity School, the author or editor of 23 books, and teacher of courses in Anglicanism, history and doctrine, theology of world religions, and Jonathan Edwards – on the much-debated subject of the Anglican via media.

As quoted above, McDermott writes that “One could say that the argument over the Via Media is its own via media, cutting through two camps in the Anglican Communion,” and continues,

“Although there have been various ways of interpreting the term [via media], more recently its interpretation has divided two groups of Anglicans—those who insist on the Reformed character of Anglicanism and those who see Anglicanism as a way of being reformed and catholic but distinct from Rome.

The first group of Anglicans (let’s call them ‘Calvinist Anglicans’) says that the via media runs between Wittenberg and Geneva but finally ends in Geneva. The English Reformation, by its lights, was first inspired by Luther’s doctrine of justification by faith alone and grace alone. Then it turned to Calvin and his Institutes as its best expression of Christian faith purged of papist ceremonial. Cranmer and Jewell turned attention away from Catholic spectacle and back toward the preached Word. The Protestant center of Anglicanism is demonstrated by the Thirty-Nine Articles’ exaltation of biblical authority and rejection of Catholic sacramentalism.

“The other group of Anglicans (‘reformed catholic Anglicans’ might be apt) acknowledges Reformed influence on the early Anglican theologians and continued Reformation influence on Anglican soteriology and authority. For a few examples, Anglicans have always rejected Pelagianism, papism, and Mariolatry. But reformed catholic Anglicans point as well to the embrace of catholic worship—not Roman but patristic, and that of the undivided Church of the first millennium of Christianity—by its earliest reformers and continuing through the Elizabethan and Restoration eras.”

“For these and a hundred other reasons, historians such as the general editor of the Oxford History of Anglicanism have maintained that ‘[d]eveloping within Anglicanism over centuries was a creative but also divisive tension between Protestantism and Catholicism, between the Bible and tradition, between the Christian past and contemporary thought and society.'”

It will probably surprise few regular readers of this blog that The Anglophilic Anglican falls into the second of these two camps: seeing in the Anglican tradition an expression of Christianity which is both Reformed and Catholic, but not Romanist. So, it appears, does McDermott; and he spends the rest of this fairly long but interesting essay in defending that stance – or as he puts it, endeavoring to

“show in this space that the reformed catholic conception of the via media as running between Rome and Geneva more accurately depicts the Anglican story than the Calvinist one. The Reformed tradition has had an undoubted influence upon our faith and worship, but it is only part of the story” –

as well as providing some cautions for those who would behave in a manner too over-zealous, on either side. As he concludes,

“I would suggest that… we should accept our Calvinist Anglican brothers and sisters as good Anglicans whom we can invite to share more of our rich Anglican patrimony. Come not only to hear but also to taste and see.

“We ask in turn that our Calvinist brethren would accept us as genuine Anglicans [as well]. Let us say to one another, Come let us reason together and learn from each other.

A very good and useful read, in my opinion!