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Fahrenheit 451

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Fellow Residents of Cyberspace,

451° F: “The temperature at which book paper catches fire and burns.”

Ray Bradbury‘s classic Fahrenheit 451 is proving to have been prophetic. The following excerpt is from a scene in which the Captain is explaining the importance of their role to a questioning fireman (pages 54-60):

“Once, books appealed to a few people, here, there, everywhere. They could afford to be different. The world was roomy. But then the world got full of eyes and elbows and mouths…Life is immediate, the job counts, pleasure lies all about after work. Why learn anything save pressing buttons, pulling switches, fitting nuts and bolts?…Bigger the population, the more minorities. Don’t step on the toes of the dog lovers, the cat lovers, doctors, lawyers, merchants, chiefs, Mormons, Baptists, Unitarians, second-generation Chinese, Swedes, Italians, Germans, Texans, Brooklynites, Irishmen, people from Oregon or Mexico…The bigger your market, Montag, the less you handle controversy, remember that! All the minor minor minorities with their navels to be kept clean…Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against. So! A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon. Breach man’s mind. Who knows who might be the target of the well-read man?…You must understand that our civilization is so vast that we can’t have our minorities upset or stirred. Ask yourself, What do we want in this country, above all? People want to be happy, isn’t that right? Haven’t you heard it all your life? I want to be happy, people say. Well, aren’t they? Don’t we keep them moving, don’t we give them fun? That’s all we live for, isn’t it? For pleasure, for titillation? And you must admit our culture provides plenty of these…Colored people don’t like Little Black Sambo. Burn it. White people don’t feel good about Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Burn it. Someone’s written a book on tobacco and cancer of the lungs? The cigarette people are weeping? Burn the book. Serenity, Montag. Peace, Montag. Take your fight outside. Better yet, into the incinerator…Forget them. Burn all, burn everything. Fire is bright and fire is clean.”

With the current secularization of America, I believe our country is one step closer to becoming one with this fictional world that Bradbury painted.

On a smaller scale, I believe that Christianity has fallen prey to a certain level of censorship as well, and is being softened into unrealistic bite-sized chunks and spoon fed to this younger generation. It’s Christianese run amuck. If it’s not sunshine and rainbows the Christian community as a whole is not talking about it. And if they are, it is often from a position of judgement, whether intentional or otherwise. I do not mean to make a blanket statement here (I know there are those brave souls who dare tread these uncomfortable waters for the healing of others) but this has been my personal experience.

Two such brave souls are Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz, and Wally from The Wally Show on Way-FM. Here are two men who do not hesitate to tackle subjects of a sensitive nature. And while some may call them crass at times, I find them refreshingly honest. The truth of the matter is that brokenness plagues all of humanity, believers and unbelievers alike.

I have spent many years in youth ministry and it never fails, every time I share my struggles through my testimony a line of teens forms waiting to open up. They have been desperately waiting for someone to start the conversation. For someone to say that these fears and struggles don’t make you less Christian, they just make you human. For once not to feel judged or looked down upon or weak.

For too long, too many of these issues have been neglected due to their grim reality. In the light of society’s inevitable spiral downward, it’s about time we open our eyes. It’s time we stopped shying away and tackle head-on these issues afflicting so many. For all of you who have been waiting, I’m adding my voice to the equation. I’m starting the conversation. You will meet no judgement here, only an open and empathetic heart.

Next week I’ll discuss love’s many disguises.

Until Next Week,

May You Live Each Moment As If It’s Your Last,

Mandy

Weekly Reflections: (Disclaimer: The great depths of my sorrow can only be justly compared to the impressive heights of my joy. If you stay tuned in long enough you’ll begin to see the silver ray of hope in even the darkest of my reflections.)

False Hope Betrays

A false display of hope betrays the heart.

A single brilliant, fleeting, ray of light,

It coughs its bitter laugh and tears apart.

It splits the air in two in lonesome flight.

In little time at all – a soul’s undone.

It’s left alone and broken, lost and weak.

The darkest night is home – it hides from sun,

And dwells with shadows, drinking all that’s bleak.

It’s left without an ounce of love to spare.

It’s empty, hollow, so forever lost.

This soul remains in such a chilling lair.

Consumed by bitter cold, encroaching frost.

Despair ascends and buries truth too deep,

As pain begins to swell and reaches peak.

The edge so close I’m tempted just to leap,

In hopes to find at last these things I seek.

To truly undergo some peace of mind,

To revel much in such a timely end.

To say farewell and part a world unkind,

To leave this place behind without a friend.

Verse Of The Week:

But Jesus said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9

What I’m Reading:

Eldest – Book Two In the Inheritance Cycle – By Christopher Paolini

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