Monday, May 12, 2008

Continuing the Conversation

This is Ben's Comment from the previous Post:


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I'm thrilled to see so many people posting on one topic. Here are my views, for what they are worth. This topic, by the way, is something that I've recently been talking to Susi about; I'd love some counterarguments/feedback on what you guys think.

First of all –perspective. I do not find the scriptures to laud the soldier. I find them to laud the widow who gives her “fortune”, and the Samaritan who helps someone that cannot repay him, etc. If others find my profession to be worthy of praise, so be it. I would like to think that I have positively influenced history –that I have done “good” over here, but I will let my opinions on this matter be my own, for now. I am honored by those of you that think me a “hero”. Thank you. But see me for what I am –a fallen man who is nothing but the “sword” of the government he promised to protect.

"Sheep" is easily condescending, especially when spoken from the mouth of one who knows the mind of his audience. Its immensely easy to share a snide smile with everyone in the room (of naval officers) when you declare the moral equivalence of those who will defend their "X" (when X = what your values declare worth defending to the point of violence) with those who choose not to. Understood. So Bennett is a bit of an ass... I, too, pop out a swishing tail and pointy ears far too often. And of course a fool might be taken in with his fool's argument: that he is on moral high ground because of his view – a kind of name calling, right J? Let me differentiate between those that choose not to be violent, and those that are willfully ignorant. I have no tolerance for those men that would stick their head in the sand and ignore the possibility of what violence may happen. I have a solid respect (and a firm disagreement with) those men that have faced violence and will not harm another. God bless them!

So, now comes my the part I get all fired up about (that, perhaps, is “my calling”). I'll quote J: "Every man has a responsibility to defend his family and his community. This is not a responsibility that can be outsourced to a professional class of 'sheepdogs'..." Absolutely. Besides physical protection, I'm going to assume (please correct my assumptions if they are wrong) that you mean a more “political” protection, too, like being active in your community and government, remaining informed on current issues, and praying for those in authority over you. But since my job directly relates strongly to the physical aspects of “defend his family and community”, and I am nothing if not a teacher to my solders, I ask the readers of this post what they intend to do, if anything, to physically fulfill that physical responsibility? Do you carry a firearm or other weapon? Do you know your state's laws governing the usage of that firearm or other weapon? Do you patrol the streets, in a literal neighborhood watch, keeping your family (and indirectly, your community) safe? If not, then do you think there should be a profession of people, from your community, that would do this for you? I'm fairly certain that the concept of specialization is an economically/practically viable one. Not everyone can teach, so lets hire teachers to influence our children. Of course, the responsibility of teaching, and ultimately raising the children is that of the parents. They must decided a suitable teacher, or be that suitable teacher. Ditto the law enforcement. I could go on, I think, but at the peril of losing anyone who has already suffered through this much reading (especially for a comment!). I leave you with this question. How will you handle the physical defense?

8 comments:

Sandra said...

Ben, I sooo agree w/you about the responsibility (and right) to protect one's family and possessions. I also know that right is being slowly taken away; just as our history is being stripped away. We are like those proverbial frogs in the kettle of water.

Nathan said...

Ben, Susi, and Voilet,
I pray for your safety and success everyday. So many of us would have , and have No way of even imagineing,what living the life you lead would be like. Thanks for your extreme Sheepdogginess,we do need more sheep in this country who know how to growl, I will never chose to be a fulfledged sheep dog, unless the days comes that it begins to be appartent that they must have call for me, I for one will enlist long before, Ok , days before they inact a draft,but none the less I will always be willing to put on sheepdogs clothing in my day to day work, and pray that God gives me the strength to rise to the occasion. But Most of All I thank God that Susi and your WHOLE FAMILY can and should glean what Susi so wisely saw in that man's Speech, ENCOURAGEMENT, Do we believe it is everyday that Susi and Voilet can rejoice and even share that with us? I praise God that He has given Your(Ben's) family the ability to find the silver lining in so much of her husband time away. who are we to mailign or challenge the Happiness She felt when she heard/read this speech, is it not our duty under God to rejoice with those who rejoice, cry when they cry, I don't see anywhere where it says argue with those who rejoice, can't we save these argue for another time and place. I Believe you have all missed the most important part of this post, and I quote,
"I have known my husband for half his life, and I think I know him pretty well by now, with our 3rd anniversary coming up. Still, I haven't been able to put into words his "Calling" until I read this article. Now, I know what he is--who he is, as defined by his passions, his standards, his God-given gifts---and boy, does it just bless me beyond words to have this man as my husband! My own beloved Sheepdog.
Praise Be To God our Father In Heaven,Who gives all Good things unto those that love Him and trust in Him.
Nathan Brown (made a better husband by the work of many sheepdogs who lay it all on the line, and the woman who stand beside them, and put up with it, with a Happy Heart)

j said...

Nathan,

Wise words. I meant no disrespect to Susi's admiration of Ben's qualities. It seems I am seeing a political message in Bennett's speech that others here do not intend. I don't doubt, though, that Bennett intends it.

So where does that leave us? Susi, I'll email you.

Herb of Grace said...

Nathan, you are right to "call us out" a bit on this. It most likely was inappropriate of me to take the topic in this direction, as Susi obviously intended the original post simply as an admiring look at Ben :) I appologise.

In my defense, it is a topic that Sue and Ben and J and I discuss often and enjoy getting one another's opinions on, so I doubt that they have taken it as an affront that we have made the comments that we have. Am I right, guys?

Ben said...

Absolutely. J, Lisi, Susi and I just had an outstanding conversation about this --one that, while it lasted about 2.5 hours, could be continued for probably the same length of time yet again (same topics, slightly different directions). I take no offense whatsoever at any of the opinions expressed so far!

Nathan: Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. I know I, and I'm sure that Susi, deeply appreciates them.

Mom: Yes, I would agree that a *lot* of our civil liberties are being eroded. That's a huge topic to discuss, though. I'll let you start the fire on that one. :) I *dare* you to pick one (and I all but guarantee a huge number of replies.)

j said...

Since I think Ben's question was largely put to me (being the only male dissenter in the other thread), I'll answer here even though we thoroughly discussed it the other day.

First of all, as Ben said, we had a great Skype discussion on these issues. I think a couple commenters were concerned that the discussion was too acrimonious. I certainly didn't intend it that way, I didn't think Susi or Ben would take it that way, and I am assured that neither of them did. I don't know all of you very well, but I know the four of us enjoy a robust discussion that ends after only a very little biting and eye-gouging.

In short, two questions: (1) how ought a man prepare to protect his family from physical harm, (2) is it not better for society to specialize: give the "protect" jobs to people who have a knack for them.

(1) I think a family ought to own a gun and be proficient in its use. I personally do not, so if you're a terrorist or robber and would like my home address, email me at tips@fbi.gov. (Honestly, my initials are FBI.) Ben's ideas, as you might imagine, are more stringent. I'll let him post those if he wants.

(2) A discussion for another day, perhaps. Short answer: a qualified "yes."

Sandra said...

Did I miss something? - - - I love you guys!

Denise said...

I hadn't read any replies in a few days, but even Jonathan and I had a discussion after reading the article!

I wanted to thank NATHAN for coming in on the conversation, as a man/husband/father, and remembering Susi's feelings specifically and for his gratefulness expressed towards Ben. I want to thank you, Nathan, for the genuine Christlike encouragemnet you gave. I know were my husband still deployed, your words would be a sweet balm to my soul. I, too, liked your reference to putting on the sheepdog clothing in your day to day work.
That's all. :) Thanks for your willingness to let us all have our opinions Susi.