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Home is a concept that holds deep meaning for many of us. It is where we feel safe, loved, and accepted for who we are. Home is not just a physical house, but a gathering of family who loves us unconditionally. In the book series “The Theology of Home” by Carrie Gress and Noelle Mering, the authors explore the idea of home and its significance in our lives.
What is Home?
Home, on earth, is where our family is or was. It is a place where we feel seen and understood, where our strengths and weaknesses, habits and ways of living and speaking are embraced. While real estate agents may define home as a physical structure, it is much more than that. Home is a space created by a family that loves us unconditionally.
The Value of Home
Even for those who did not have a traditional upbringing, the desire for home is still strong. My mother-in-law, who was moved from foster care to foster care and even slept in a bathtub at one point, understood the importance of home. Despite her difficult past, she created a loving home for her family. She extended her home to her church and school communities through volunteer work and leadership. Her faith in God also shaped her understanding of home, as she believed that her ultimate home was in heaven.
Fahrenheit 451 and the Loss of Home
In the movie “Fahrenheit 451,” home and family are portrayed as enemies of the state. The story is set in a world where the written word is banned and anything that encourages critical thinking or debate is burned. The rationale behind this suppression of speech is that it disrupts the peace and happiness of society. The citizens are drugged with eye drops to maintain a sense of tranquility.
While peace is something we all desire, the movie raises important questions about the price we are willing to pay for it. Many already use drugs to numb their emotions and avoid suffering. Allowing people to speak, write, and debate comes with challenges, but in democracies or republics, rules and respect can create a framework for productive discourse. The Founders understood the importance of checks and balances, free elections, and goodwill in maintaining a just and peaceful society.
The Importance of Civility and Respect
Maintaining civility and respect is essential for meaningful conversations and the preservation of freedom of speech. Without these values, we find ourselves at war with each other instead of at peace. The movie portrays a world where civility between speakers has been abandoned, leading to the silencing of speech. However, there is an underground group of book lovers who resist this suppression. They not only save books but also memorize their contents.
Memory plays a crucial role in preserving history and reminding us of the consequences of losing freedom and silencing voices. We do not have to reinvent civilization or our homes if we remember the lessons of the past. Today, there is a conscious effort to divide families and communities of faith. These institutions nurture personal choice, responsibility, and civility through a list of virtues and vices.
The Theological Virtues
The theological virtues are rooted in our belief in God and His love for us. These virtues provide a path to love and understand our fellow human beings. The three theological virtues are:
- Faith: Belief in God and His love for us.
- Hope: Belief that God works out all things for good.
- Charity (Love): Love of God and our fellow human beings.
The Cardinal Virtues
The cardinal virtues are considered essential virtues that guide our actions and interactions with others. These virtues help us maintain fairness, prudence, temperance, and fortitude. The four cardinal virtues are:
- Justice: Being fair to others.
- Prudence: Thinking before acting.
- Temperance: Exercising self-control and moderation.
- Fortitude: Courage and endurance in the face of challenges.
These virtues provide a framework for living together in harmony and fostering freedom of speech. The Ten Commandments, which are etched in stone on Mount Sinai, also offer guidance on how to love one another civilly.
The Role of Churches and Families
Churches and families play a vital role in teaching and cultivating virtues. They provide opportunities for confession, repentance, and forgiveness, which are essential for personal growth and the development of a just and peaceful society. Through rituals, hymns, and shared experiences, these institutions teach us how to love one another, form families, bear children, and gather together in faith communities.
In a world that is moving closer to suppressing freedom of speech, it is crucial to remember the teachings of our faith and the importance of maintaining our homes and communities. The movie “Fahrenheit 451” serves as a stark reminder of what can happen when we silence voices and disregard civility. We must not forget the lessons of history and the power that comes from preserving memory.
The Music of the Mountain
In my novel, “The Music of the Mountain,” I explore the challenges our world faces today, similar to those depicted in “Fahrenheit 451.” Our society is becoming more inclined to shun and silence those who express differing opinions. We must not turn a blind eye, as was done in Hitler’s Germany. Our nation is at risk of losing its freedom and resorting to silencing by force.
In the underground world of book lovers in the movie, each person has memorized a book and become the embodiment of that book. Similarly, we must not forget the importance of virtues and vices in our lives of freedom. We must engrave them upon our hearts and pass them on to future generations. The teachings of our faith, the creeds, the psalms, and the Scriptures light the path for all of humanity.
We must cherish our ability to love one another, form families, and gather in faith communities. These are not things to be ignored or silenced. They are the foundation of a just and peaceful society, rooted in a Judeo-Christian tradition that teaches us to honor all mankind, born and unborn.
As we move forward, let us remember the 75 Christian virtues in 2023 and their importance in preserving our homes, communities, and freedom of speech. Let us strive to cultivate these virtues in our lives and pass them on to future generations. In doing so, we can create a world where civility, respect, and love prevail.