by baldilocks

In a fascinating and depressing essay on his quest to give black inner city children a taste of classical education, L.E. Ikenga despairs even in the face of gains.

From the perspective of most of the [Manhattan] parents, the kids, and Rebecca, the six-week [summer] program was a great success. It introduced black elementary and middle school students to the joys of a rigorous, integrated and knowledge-centered classical Christian curriculum. Rebecca’s baldilocksLatin classes were a huge hit and her lower school students could not get enough of the children’s version of Homer’s Odyssey that was used to teach them mythology, grammar and sentence structure. The students were also offered classes in Old Testament history, informal logic, botany, arithmetic, and maps and timelines of the ancient world. They also had swimming and archery lessons. On the last day of the program, there were few dry eyes. Nevertheless, I was not as happy. I knew that the gains were short-term because in a few short weeks, these kids would be going back to terrible Department of Education schools.


Every black community in America has its own story. But the fundamental dynamic that makes each one of them tick, I would imagine, is probably the same. At best, these communities are desperately confused and inconsistent when it comes to understanding or expressing a commitment to Western Civilization as a cultural ideal or as a shared history that all Americans, regardless of race, can say that they have contributed to and therefore have a stake in. At worst, these communities are just too ignorant or angry to care. The angry ones will never be able to see themselves as anything other than casualties of the white man’s greed and his various never-ending wars. The ignorant ones, like those in my neighborhood, are just ignorant. And although, I know that a classical Christian education is a big part of the answer to all of this, I’m no longer sure that the black community, at large, is even worth it.

I bet that a few people will call Mr. Ikenga a racist for coming to this conclusion, without discovering what I suspected intuitively about him, from his last name: he is of Nigerian descent. The sad part about that is that those who would reflexively call Ikenga a racist would be demonstrating the mentality of which he laments.

I contend he is both right and wrong for reasons which have nothing to do with Ikenga’s race or heritage.

He’s right that the group is not worth saving, if he is doing his work because he previously deemed that group of children or that community to inherently deserve his efforts.

(Side note: the word deserve should be stricken from the language. There’s only one thing every single human being–with the exception of Jesus the Christ–deserves: death. Any other talk of what an individual or group deserves incites both pride and covetousness.)

If he doing it for the worth of that particular group he is wrong. He should be doing it for himself and all of the others who have transcended tribalism and embraced reason, the reason produced by Western Civilization. The more seeds he plants, the more likely it is that Ikenga and men like him will even be conceived.

Otherwise we all might as well bend over and kiss our own behinds goodbye.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2015.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects: Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!


I’m holier than thou
I’ve got the spirit now
I thank God almighty I’m holier than thou

Nunsense Holier Than Thou 1085

There are a lot of people who avoid Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular suggesting that people who follow the faith are “Holier than thou”.

what is not realized by many is that for the faithful the resolution to devote oneself to God is less Holier than thou and more like the Anchoress saying “i’m not worthy” 

To make an oblation — and to become an Oblate — means to make an offering of one’s whole self. My oblation, made before the altar of the Lord, was a “Yes” that I had looked forward to with gladness, but which suddenly became terrifying in the distinct moment that I pronounced the words:

I offer myself to Almighty God
through the Blessed Virgin Mary
and our Holy Father Benedict
as an Oblate. . .
and promise to dedicate myself
to the service of God and humanity
according to the
Rule of Saint Benedict
in so far as my state in life permits

I had been practicing prayer and service for years in preparation for the moment, and yet when it came, that was suddenly a very scary “Yes” for many reasons, mostly because within that promise I suddenly felt very small; very unable; very unworthy.

And it’s not just a fear of being unworthy, there are two sides in this fight and the enemy doesn’t take kindly such actions as A reading of the diary of St. Faustina notes the sufferings and temptations that she endured on her journey to promote Divine Mercy tells us.

After the adoration, however, when she was halfway to her cell, Sister Faustina found herself surrounded by what she thought to be a pack of huge black dogs who were jumping and howling and trying to tear her to pieces. Instantly she realized they were not dogs but demons. One of them spoke up in a rage, “Because you have snatched so many souls away from us this night, we will tear you to pieces.”

But back to the Anchoress, yeah maybe she felt unworthy the day she made those vows, but now that she’s one for the leading national Catholic bloggers, a published author and a person whose opinion on the faith is followed by thousands how does she feel now?

And I am unworthy, everyday.

Which ironically was the same reaction of St. Faustina when confronted by the situation I quoted above.

Sister Faustina answered, “If that is the will of the most merciful God, tear me to pieces, for I have justly deserved it, because I am the most miserable of all sinners, and God is ever holy, just and infinitely merciful.”

It’s not being holier than thou that is the most frightening part of Christianity, it’s becoming aware of just how unworthy of the mercy of God that we are.

I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.

Thomas Jefferson

Repentance must precede the right of pardon, and I have not repented

Jefferson Davis 1881.

What I have written is but a pale shadow of the things I saw [in Hell] . But I noticed one thing: That most of the souls there are those who disbelieved that there is a hell.

The diary of Saint. Sr. Faustina Kowalska section 741


Yesterday I wrote about Divine Mercy and the sense of frustration that I suspect Christ feels at people refusing to accept the mercy that is offered.

The concept of Mercy is something that we are all familiar with.  In culture, books movies television & song mercy is a topic.  From our childhood  when we misbehaved & asked our parents for it, to the police officer that we hope will give us the warning instead of the ticket we all know about either asking for, or being asked to show mercy.

Mercy is considered a great virtue but in all cases there is one determining factor if it is appropriate, the concept of justice.

The  various moral laws and rules exist to encourage right behavior.  It is for the sake of Justice that a price is paid for violating those laws.  If mercy is granted without acknowledging justice then it is not mercy, it is licence and moreover its licence for things that are self-destructive to the individual, and to society.

The theme of Justice vs Mercy is again one that plays often in culture.  Sometimes leaning toward Mercy:

11th Doctor: But they coming back, don’t you see? Every time I negotiate, I try to understand. Well, not today. No. Today, I honour the victims first. His, the Master’s, the Dalek’s, all the people who died because of my mercy!

Amy: You see, this is what happens when you travel alone for too long. Well, listen to me, Doctor. We can’t be like him. We have to be better than him.

Doctor Who A Town Called Mercy 2012

and sometimes Justice:

Clara: Old friend, is she? If you have ever let this creature live, everything that happened today, is on you. All of it, on you. And you’re not going to let her live again.
12th Doctor: Clara, all I’m doing is not letting you kill her. I never said I was letting her live.
Clara:  Really?
12th Doctor:  If that’s the only thing that will stop you, yes.
Missy/The Master: Seriously. Oh, Doctor. To save her soul? But who, my dear, will save yours?

Doctor Who  Death in Heaven 2014

It can be a tough call, if a kid shoplifts and he doesn’t pay a price, will he be persuaded to stop shoplifting?  If your brother blows is money wastefully & you bail him out of his hole without cost, will he just blow his dough again?  If a boyfriend or spouse cheats and you instantly forgive without even a request why would they not break faith again?  If a gang member or a person of privilege a slap on the wrist will they every change their ways?

It’s the same dynamic with God.  He gives us, as a visiting priest to our parish once put it,  laws because they are good, not the other way around and if we live that way, loving God and neighbor our lives will be better, otherwise  not only will our lives and those around us will be worse, but justice demands a price be paid.

And that’s what those who say:  “I don’t believe a just God would allow the tortures of Hell.”  have it exactly backward.  In the same way life would be meaningless if we didn’t have free will to choose the right or not so would that choice between right and wrong be meaningless without consequence.

Without hell, man has a God of licence not justice.

Yet because God is in fact a God of justice he can also offer mercy.  Since that justice is heavy so too is the price to mitigate it ad it’s to pay that price that Christ became man, suffered and died.  He did the heavy lifting giving so even the worst of us could have the opportunity to receive mercy for even the most horrible of sins.

And with the heavy lifting done, all that’s left for us is the simple acknowledgement of said sacrifice by the act of baptism augmented  by the sacrament of confession which can be repeated as necessary over and over again no matter how many times we fail to obtain the mercy offered.

Yet just like Jeff Davis after the civil war who refused to apply for pardon the simple act of repentance,  that baptism or confession,  involves the acknowledgement of a reality that’s more than their pride can bear.

So while the God of mercy offers it at an astonishingly low price and even gives man their entire life to pay it, many, in fact most will exercise the choice that comes from their freedom and reject it until the time comes when it is too late.  Then they will discover once and for all that the free rejection of God’s mercy is the free acceptance of God’s justice.

There is a reason pride is the first of the deadly sins.

And that’s why you should pray so hard, especially at the hour of mercy (3 PM) for the salvation of souls, even the smallest one will make a difference.


There are less than 60 days to the year and to say things are tight financially around here is to say the Titanic had a bit of a leak.
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Just after the election I made the point that the reason the Earned Sick Time ballot question (Question 4) passed while the Gas Tax (Question 1) & the bottle bill (Question 2) did not was because consumers didn’t see the costs of the former directly while they saw the costs of the latter.

Most voters didn’t understand what it means to supermarkets like Market Basket Restaurants like Singapore and even pizzeria’s like Espresso’s in fact all you might see if you are a bagger, a busboy or a pizza driver all you know is you’ve just got an hour of paid sicktime for every 30 hours you work up to a maximum of one paid 40 hour “sick” week a year. That’s likely why it passed by almost 400,000 votes.

Even when the supermarket inch up their prices the Restaurant cuts your hours and the pizza place decides not to hire the votes won’t make the connection that the cost of that effective 2-3% pay raise that you forced them to give is going to have to come from somewhere.

That disconnect from reality is why the same “highly educated” voters who repealed the onerous Gas tax can re-elect almost every single state senator and representative who voted to impose it upon them without batting an eyelash.

Thursday yet another Jonathan Gruber story appeared in a location other than the MSM which I suspect will give it a passing mention on Saturday for the sake of saying they mentioned it.

This post at Breitbart focused , as most such pieces have,  on the deception involved in the passage of Obamacare, but the video they embedded accidentally makes my question 4 point that is worth highlighting.

Gruber names John Kerry as one of the Heroes of Obamacare by shifting the argument from a tax on individuals insurance plans something impossible to a tax on “The Insurance Companies” (emphasis mine)

John Kerry said, No No. we’re not going to tax your health insurance we’re going to tax those evil insurance companies. Where going to impose a tax because if sell health insurance that’s too expensive we’re going to tax them and conveniently the tax rate will happen to be the marginal tax rate (inaudible). So basically it’s the same thing. We just tax the Insurance companies they pass on higher prices that offsets the tax break we get, so it ends up being the same thing. It’s a very clever, you know, basic exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American Voter.

Do you see the lesson here? Gruber is kindly explaining the point I was making least week, a point that conservatives have been trying to get through to the american people for decades.

Higher taxes on business is simply a tax on consumers

In fact it’s even worse.  It’s almost certain that any price increase will be higher than the tax.

A while back a man in the delivery business explained it.  He needed to increase his margins but didn’t want to increase his base price, the gas price spike solved that problem for him.  As gas prices soared he had to make up the price so he added a “gas surcharge” and incorporated the margin increase into the surcharge.  Since the customers knew gas prices were going up they didn’t blink an eye at the high price and viola a hidden price increase.

Do you think for one moment that insurance companies forced to increase prices because of Obamacare didn’t do the same?

If I’m a conservative leader I use this clip from every single time the left tries to increase taxes on the “Evil [insert business here]” and use it to teach the uninformed voters two things.

1.  A Tax on business is a tax on you

2.  The left has been using you as a bunch of suckers for decades.

If Jonathan Gruber’s Obamacare speeches allow us to teach that lesson to the country maybe someday a GOP leader will give a speech calling him the hero of the tax reform movement.


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