Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Adventures in Knitting and Crocheting

When my daughters expressed an interest in crocheting and knitting, little did I know how far reaching our society’s cultural illiteracy and pagan values had filtered into even the most benign of subjects! 

While scanning the library catalog for titles related to crocheting and knitting, I found two books that gave me pause to wonder about our society’s confused values and warped thinking.

Under the subject “knitting humor” I found the “catchy” title, Yarn Harlot: the secret life of a knitter. Now this book might be quite funny, and obviously the author has quite a following since she has written sequels, but does this woman really understand what a harlot is? Does anyone really want to call herself a prostitute, even in jest? Do words no longer have any authenticity?

I am sure, for whatever reason, this lady thinks she is funny. I guess I would have to read the book. Not to be a stick-in-the-mud, but “harlot” is not a “funny” word.  Women who are prostitutes aren’t engaged in their behavior because they recognize their self worth as children of God. Nor do they recognize that they have immortal souls that are precious in God’s eyes. How many have come from traumatic backgrounds of sexual and physical abuse and disturbing neglect?

It is a dangerous world we live in when we invert the meaning of words. When good things become bad or sources of ridicule or bad things are passed off as good—or “What is your problem? Why don’t you get a life?” attitude, then we live in a world of mass confusion. Is there no longer an objective moral right and wrong?

Isn’t that really what the devil wants? To create an illusion, a mirage.

Then there was the other surprise listed in the library catalog under crocheting children’s literature: Crochet: fantastic jewelry, hats, purses, pillows & more. Sounds innocuous enough until you read the book’s description.  After wading through the usual hype of why this book is so great and what you will find inside its pages, the reader is excited to learn that “From colorful shoelaces to shimmering amulet bags, these 50 crocheted creations will enchant kids” . . .  Just what I want for my child: an amulet bag, not of course, a rosary case!

What is an amulet? Merriam-Webster tells us “a charm (as an ornament) often inscribed with a magic incantation or symbol to aid the wearer or protect against evil (as disease or witchcraft).” Let’s dig a little deeper. What’s an incantation? Once again Merriam-Webster provides the meaning: “A use of spells or verbal charms spoken or sung as a part of a ritual of magic; also: a written or recited formula of words designed to produce a particular effect.” To translate, what we are talking about here is magic, witchcraft, and/or the occult. It’s not just a good luck charm or talisman (which by the way, is still problematic and not just because it is found in many pagan and other non-Christian religions). 

What does the Catholic Church have to say about this? If we go to the CCC, we find two entries. “All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one's service and have a supernatural power over others - even if this were for the sake of restoring their health - are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. . . . Wearing charms is also reprehensible. . . . Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another's credulity” (2117). “Superstition is a departure from the worship that we give to the true God. It is manifested in idolatry, as well as in various forms of divination and magic” (2138).

What does this all mean? On even the simplest levels and in the most apparently innocent appearing subjects, faulty thinking like carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas, which is deadly, is infiltrating society on all levels.

Not to be politically incorrect, but “man” is a spiritual being. We desire to fill our souls. We need to pose the question, “What are we filling our souls with?”

What should our response be? We need to recognize that words have meaning. We need to use the correct meaning of words. We need to educate our children in their faith, so they won’t grow up believing in this mumbo jumbo. It is not the responsibility of someone else. We as parents are the ones who have the day to day contact with them. Too many people have bought into the myth that I don’t need to educate my child in the faith. I will let my child decide for himself when he grows up. Do we let our children eat whatever they want? Why not let them indulge in a diet of candy and chips? After all, that is what they want. We need to recognize that we live in a post Christian era, where even many adults do not know their own faith. We need to unabashedly reclaim our Christian values. When that happens, people will think it is more “cool” to wear crosses around their necks than amulets.

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