Temptations, Beans, and Molasses


I am perplexed by how much my fellow people are letting the culture of our times pervade their thoughts and ways of life.  Currently it is much in vogue to accept people for “who they are,” manifested (certainly in Colorado, where I live) as making marijuana legal and highly visible; to market the mass consumption of commercial drones; to let people choose to end their own lives by doctor-allocated poison, as long as two physicians sign off that they are indeed helpless cases.  We are creating a culture of acquiescing to base desires because we have been traumatized by the fear of the other side that wants to destroy all personal freedom.  But is it wise to fashion a world based on antithesis to what we hate or do not want, akin to a wild teenager doing that which his parents told him not to do for the sole reason of defying authority?  I’m afraid that will not lead us to a more balanced spiritual existence — and thus a happier one — but will just give us loads of self-diagnosed “good people.”

Carl Sandburg asks the question in the poignant poem ‘Why Did the Children Put Beans in their Ears?’  And, why did the children pour molasses on the cat when the one thing we told the children they must not do was pour molasses on the cat?  Well, figures society, maybe God or whoever our authority figure is, is giving us too many orders.  Sandburg addresses this fallacy too, addressing two directives that both contain the stipulation, “the one thing we told the children they must not do…”  So we adolescent-like Americans are simply destined to do that which we were told not to do, as exemplified by Eve and Adam and then all through the course of human history.  But I believe the question (or questions) Sandburg asks sheds light on the black hole no one seems to be facing: our souls.  For if we take this, albeit terrifying, journey into those depths and discover the underlying truth there, then we might find a stark contrast to what our fleeting emotions and whimsical desires have been declaring to be true.  If we learn to be led by the incontestable soul, then we will obey it no matter what society (at the moment) thinks.  And because it is true, we will follow its lead with such acquiescence and fluidity that it will not even occur to our minds to draw attention to the action, either by garnering public opinion in self-doubt or by pridefully flaunting our lifestyle choices.  Or making sure we are complying with current laws (of government and science.)

As teachers, we would be much better off as a people of integrity to guide the youth, and any others capable of becoming mature adults, to discovering the truth within them rather than herding them down information superhighways lined with partisan billboards straight into the voting booths for a fleeting moment of ‘exercising their voices.’ Praising them all along for doing their part.  If we intend to become the individuals, the nation, the human race that we are meant to become, we must not keep making reactionary decisions and policing our fellow neighbors, citizens, and humans; but we can give each other breathing space to grow our souls, not evade them by reinforcing temptations.  Provided we are growing our own, we will not feel threatened by the spiritual state of others.  We don’t have to remain being the precarious and vulnerable tugboat tossed to and fro by the bellows and swells of the sea.  We can be more like the water itself.

© 2016, Amaya Engleking



  1. Saturated In Seattle · June 3, 2016

    I love your last line!!!! Being the water implies we have movement and depth, as well as strength and sound. We have a role to play– and it’s fiercely vital!
    I fear we are leaving behind a time of innocence and morality in an attempt to be “gracious” by accepting any and all things. The thing is, this acceptance has acted more like a license (law) to continue on in these behaviors and encouraged others to follow suit. I want to live graciously and accepting of all people, but I cannot condone anything contrary to God’s Word. If Christians are not already the minority, we will be. I think Paul’s words about being persecuted for our beliefs will become more and more applicable to us. Sigh!
    Another great and thought provoking post!

    • Gospel Isosceles · June 13, 2016

      I’m glad you like that last line, as I was unsure of it within the context of this piece, but your interpretation gives it worth. I try to write concretely (sometimes) but floated into the abstract with the water metaphor. You are right. Our role is fiercely vital and elemental, as a person who acts with integrity is as healing and quenching to others as a drink of water to a parched body.

  2. domainofshane23 · June 3, 2016

    I agree. Everything and everyone is so “PC”. I’m actually ok with a lot of things such as homosexuality and religious freedom, but I think a lot of people can end up being hurt by the population literally accepting EVERYTHING and being afraid to speak out about suspicious things for fear of being insensitive.

  3. Pingback: Alibi | Gospel Isosceles

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