Munro Leaf's Ferdinand was the pre kids go downstairs story. I like Ferdinand, even tho as an adult I recognize it as a bit of a pacifist fantasy. The person relating a summary of the story questioned whether you could still buy the book. Ha! Of course you can. We have a copy. It's a rare instance of pacifist advocacy that I like so much I'll keep it around.
A. and R. went downstairs to do the kids' program, which involved a duck hunter who had a dog that didn't want to bring wounded ducks back to the hunter. So the hunter gave up duck hunting and nurse the dogs back to health. R. said this made him uncomfortable. After I heard the deets, I said there was a decent chance that I would have walked out on that. What's next? Ahimsa? I mean, R. still catches bugs in the house and puts them outside. I kill them. I don't believe in nonviolence towards all living things. That is Not Me. Also, I question any perspective taking exercise that accepts a story in which a duck hunter gives up duck hunting because he has a dog that won't hunt. In my experience, the dog is given to a young relative or friend's kid, and a new dog that will hunt is acquired. You know, I say this as someone who comes from an anti-gun, pacifist background. I got over it.
Anyway. Meanwhile, upstairs the sermon was about integrity, which was nice. I, personally, think that asserting blithely that lying is incompatible with integrity is an overly simplistic view of the moral universe that further blames the oppressed for the limitations they experience in how they express their integrity. Let's make this simple: is it a lack of integrity that causes a resistance fighter to hide Jews in Nazi occupied territory and lie about it? No, no it is not. This isn't even all that hard to imagine. I'm sure we could all work up a few more examples if we took a moment or two.
The lies we tell and the truths we tell (or conceal) are ways in which we express our values. Integrity is when our internal sense of right and wrong aligns well with what we do and say. If you believe that the lie you tell is a lie that you should be telling, that your cause is righteous, that it is in the service of good, or at least balance, then you've got all the integrity anyone could possibly want or need. But I can definitely see that that would be a pretty complicated sermon to deliver. The sermon that was delivered focused instead on lies that people tell for less clear reasons, reasons that are not actually our own, and the resulting damage to our Selves. So, it was good, more or less. There was a bit about oath breaking, which I had very ambiguous feelings about. I think there are oaths that really, really, really shouldn't be kept, and no one needs forgiveness for breaking those, and that was a category that was sort of left out. (The older I get, the more I believe that the people who think oaths of any sort are morally reprehensible are probably onto something. And I don't mean cursing.) But of course a forgiving community that is willing to provide support even to oath breakers is a pretty good thing. And folding under pressure in doing something that you committed to do and really believe in -- that's a problem. A really huge problem of integrity. Do that too much and you won't have much you left.
Nice group of people, very white but with some other kinds of diversity that made me happy. T. says we are going to go to St Matthews next, which should be fun.
We went to the sub shoppe/pub on the common for lunch. The home fries there are amazing! I asked for chips to go with A.'s grilled cheese because she keeps giving me her french fries and honestly it's not that exciting any more. We got a bag of Wachusett chips which were really good, so R. went to the store to get more. And some jam, because being out of jam is the Worst.
I think T. and R. are off to Townsend to go walking in the woods.