Sunday, June 14, 2015

Don't be a Ball Bearing.

If you are bewildered or even frightened about the lightning speed at which the western world seems to be accepting the most nonsensical, sinful beliefs and throwing off any and all notions of traditional, Judeo-Christian, natural law values, take a deep breath. It's not as surprising or alarming as it seems, if you consider the predictable movement of the Ball Bearings in every culture.

What or who are the Ball Bearings?

They are the citizens who will -- with little or no resistance -- go along with the trend, the fad, the popular opinion, or the peer pressure of the day. The Ball Bearings consist of most of your neighbors, your co-workers, some of your friends, and yes, members of your own family. And you yourself may be, as I once was, a Ball Bearing.

As soon as an opinion or a cultural trend becomes the "right" or "acceptable" one (regardless of its veracity or its connection to anything that came before), and especially as soon as there is a real price to pay (socially or legally) for not accepting or embracing it, the Ball Bearings begin to roll.

I imagine a flat plane, maybe like a massive metal tray, with the free-rolling Ball Bearings headed this way or that, depending on how the tray is tipped at the moment. So, for example, when gay "marriage" was unthinkable in this society, the Ball Bearings were huddled snugly and comfortably on the side of authentic, heterosexual marriage. Believing that man + woman = marriage was clearly "approved thought" -- heck, it was axiomatic -- and there was no price to pay, socially or otherwise, for holding that universal belief.

But watch the tray as public opinion changes. First slowly, and then more quickly, the tray begins to tip towards acceptance of gay "marriage". Sure enough, the Ball Bearings start rolling down until they've landed on the other side and are now wedged firmly in the camp that they had previously, and quite recently, disavowed.

Oh, sure, there are some hold-outs among the Ball Bearings, but by the act of holding out, they have joined the minority that I call the True Believers. True Believers (and they come in all stripes and hold all spectrum of opinions, from devout Catholic to radical secularist) do not change their principles based on the winds of change in the culture. They don't follow polls or trends, and they are willing to pay any social or legal price for holding firm to their beliefs.

Right now, it is tempting for those of us who are True Believers in Christ and His Church to wail and lament the tipping tray that is the post-Christian western world.

"Oh, those wonderful societies of old when everyone was Catholic!" we cry. "When the Cathedral was the heart of the town, when there was a Catholic culture and religious processions, when folks never missed mass and knew that the goal was sanctity.... Oh, those were the days of courage and strength!"

But maybe when an entire society is Catholic it's not because of courage and strength, but rather because the tray was tipped in our direction. Maybe -- no certainly! -- the Ball Bearings of those societies did back then what they do now, namely, they went with what was popular and expected and acceptable. There is nothing courageous about going with the flow, even when the flow is fully Catholic. The Ball Bearings in the "golden days" were going to mass and processing and practicing sexual restraint precisely because that's what everyone else was doing. There was a price to pay for doing otherwise, and Ball Bearings never want to (or cannot cope with) paying the price.

The marker for courage in those Catholic cultures would come (as it always does) when the spirit of the age turned from being Catholic to, let's say, Protestant, or Muslim, or secular. At that point, as we see the cultural axis tilt away from the previous Catholic norm, as soon as it becomes uncomfortable or even dangerous to hold the Catholic Faith, we see the Ball Bearings sliiiiiiding down to the new cultural norms. We see the minority True Believers at the top of the tilt, clinging to the Faith. Those are the courageous ones, the ones who won't let themselves take that wide and easy path of least resistance, even as the Ball Bearings roll past all around them.

[And in defense of the Ball Bearings, it's not always true that they roll because they have no convictions. Some of them have convictions, but they do not have the courage of their convictions when the price of stating or living those convictions gets too high.]

Even though (or perhaps because) the Ball Bearings go in whichever direction is safest and easiest, there is a benefit to having a robust Catholic or Judeo-Christian culture. In fact, having such a culture is ideal, as there will be greater human flourishing in such a society. The Ball Bearings themselves benefit greatly when a society is strong in virtue and love of God. As a former Ball Bearing myself, I can assure you that had I been a teen in the 1950s, I would have gone with the expected morals of the day, and I would have spared myself many of the heartaches and sins I took on as a teenager in the '80s M-TV generation. The Ball Bearings end up rolling with the crowd, and when the crowd is pushing virtue, that's a benefit for all; when the crowd isn't pushing virtue, that's a detriment for all.

All this to say that if you find yourself panicked or despairing at America's swift decline into chaos, wondering when we entered the Twilight Zone, relax and remember that this is nothing new. Remember that it's fallen human nature for people to go with the spirit of the age, because being on the "right side of history" is infinitely easier than being on the right side of Truth. Remember that going along with groupthink is how folks protect their livelihoods, their homes, their families, their reputations, their lives. We can understand why it happens, and we can even sympathize and have pity on those who roll into error.

After all, no one wants to go against the popular opinions of the day (including me!). No one wants to give up his own security, be targeted, mocked, ostracized, or persecuted, but we may be called to do so. Heck, Christians are called to be prepared to give up our very lives for Christ and His Truth, so surely we are also called to give up our security and reputations if need be. But it is hard, at least in the early stages of our Christian path to holiness, to give up our comfort and walk in His ways, not the world's ways.

While it's been comfortable to live in an America based on Judeo-Christian values, True Believers should recognize that comfort is not our mission. Truth is our mission. Love is our Mission. Sanctity is our mission. Heaven is our goal. And any comfort we feel (or felt) in a society here on earth can only last until the next "tide of history" or "enlightened ideology" tips the tray and the Ball Bearings slide right down the slope to join it.

Don't be a Ball Bearing. Be the one who helps the Ball Bearings become True Believers.

"In the world you will have troubles, but take courage;
I have overcome the world."  John 16:33


  1. Ha, IOW, be a ball bearing with proper purpose.

    When a ball bearing is inside the cage of a bearing set, one has great value. The purpose of ball bearings is to decrease friction and support various loads (think large wheels and even smaller roller-blade wheels).

    When operating as they should, ball bearings are very valuable. Sliding around on a tray as a mindless metal sphere as you mention above … yea, not so much. Trust in your load capacity for which you were created ;)

    It all ties to proper purpose.

    We always end up with logical explanations and conclusions, don’t we …

  2. Nubby, yes!! And you always bring in the hard science which I love (since I am lame at that). What you said goes back to the question we use to ascertain right order: "What is the nature of a thing?" When a thing is used according to its nature, there is flourishing. When a thing is used against its nature, there is destruction and chaos.

    The nature of a human being is to be a truth-seeking thing, a God-seeking thing. One cannot be that if one rolls with the spirit of the age, as this is opposed to the very truth one is made to seek.

    I love it! I want to be a good ball bearing! A ball bearing that Truly Believes in my own nature and my own purpose!

  3. Indeed, and any structural engineer could wax eloquent all day long on some pretty marvelous innovations and inventions as far as mechanics are concerned (have you seen what goes into the structural engineering of blimps?? No joke, that’s incredible).

    Same goes for physical therapists and their knowledge of the mechanics of the human body. It’s pretty remarkable. I’ve gotten so much out of physical therapy when I’ve needed it, because the therapist took his time in teaching me about the mechanics involved.

    All mechanical and structural engineering changes and innovations come about because there is a design of a concept to begin with. “I want the thing to look like this, to sell”, says the executive purse. “Ok, we can make it look like this”, says Design. “Well, no you can’t quite make it look like that, because you have to add a clip here, or round this part there, for fit, form, and purpose. But we can get close to that idea”, says the Engineer.

    They put their collective heads together and get an end product that answers the original concept. I always see God as all three: Executive, Designer, and Engineer Extraordinaire. Lol. Nerdism at its best.

  4. * typos -- put the commas inside the quotes

    Have you seen parts of the new encyclical yet? It seems to have people sliding all over the tray, if you catch my drift.

  5. No, I haven't! Where can I find these snippets??

  6. I have only read what's being reported ahead of the release of the encyclical. In his Angelus address today, Pope Francis touched a bit on what will be included in terms of how we care for the earth, just a renewed focus of how we should pay attention to that. Some are rolling with the idea that this is going to feature some type of crunchy morality... Idk I don't see it lol

    1. Ah, gotcha! I can't wait for the encyclical! I'll be all over it!

  7. You've called me out :( I know truth and yet I don't have the courage to speak up for fear of public stoning. It boils inside of me, yet, I'm quiet. I know I need to change this about me.

  8. Rochelle, there is a GREAT FREEDOM that comes with no longer being afraid of speaking the unpopular truths. Living without the fear is amazing, and it will throw you forward in your spiritual life like you wouldn't believe! I will pray for you!

  9. I think my greatest worry is that I, A) am not confident enough and would trip over my words and B) that my message wouldn't come across as love and truth, as Jesus would want. I've noticed that when others do speak the truth, they come across as hatful bigots.

  10. Rochelle,
    Could I speak some encouragement to your concerns?

    Don’t worry about how your words sound. People (usually women) will misconstrue your tone or assign you motives until the cows come home, especially the more emotional, opinionated, and illogical type of people. Don’t let that sway that interior inspiration to speak even casually about the Church or her teachings when you feel a prompting. That emotional reaction is on them, not you. Speak your mind, even if it’s not completely polished and shiny.

    Seeds fall when you speak truth and you know how humans are – we all mull things over quietly after the conversation has taken place, and that’s when truth takes root. At the time of the brief conversation the person might disagree with you out of ignorance, but after she considers the reasoning a while, she might revisit those thoughts with you again.

    I got a few surprises (IRL) recently, after interacting very casually with a lapsed Catholic friend – I say friend even though the friendship is ‘new’ – a year or more, maybe? Something she said to my spouse at a recent BBQ about me (I was right next to them as she spoke), specifically, and about our female to female relationship, generally, was a real eye-opening affirmation to me that God was certainly present even though I wasn’t really even “witnessing” openly. It was a friendly elbow nudge from God. These are constant reminders to me of just how creative and “casual” God is with his grace. As long as you’re talking off the cuff, keeping it real and even light in terms of content, the truth will always inspire others in some way.

    You’ll be pleasantly surprised when you see that great cosmic wink from God that will surface and show itself through a certain someone you’ve been interacting with. It’ll happen when you least expect it, at least in my experiences. Just keep talking, be brief, be casual, but strong, and trust in the Divine Presence. He’ll see to the cultivation.

  11. Nubby, great advice!!

    One of my favorite lines: "Truth comes with graces attached."

  12. I have been thinking about this a lot since the whole Bruce Jenner thing went so crazy, how in order to be elevated in this culture you have to be the ultimate conformist. To be a transgendered person (man--woman) you have to take what you are physically, ignore it, hate it, despise it, then take what society TELLS you a woman is and apply that, many times by mutilating your healthy body to ape what it isn't. Apparently a woman is a thick frosting of makeup, a tight waistline and a huge rack complimented by generous photoshopping and expensive dresses. I could almost respect a man who wore typical women's attire just because he liked it with no claim to be a woman. That would be revolutionary. But no, they have to be sexy, made up and toting the latest purses and high heels, because that is what makes a woman apparently. It makes me so sad that they don't know their dignity. And I won't have my gender reduced to nothing, because when anyone can be male or female on the whim of "want" then nothing means anything. I can make life, I can sustain it in my body, I can nurture it when it is born. I have two x chromosomes. I am female. I am beautiful. My God made me this way.

  13. in order to be elevated in this culture you have to be the ultimate conformist.

    And yet, the cultural maxim is also, “Just be yourself! Be original!”
    Well, which is it? Conform because “everybody’s doing it”?
    Or “be unique” and go against the grain?
    What if being unique is really now just conformity?
    Well, for derpness’ sake, now I’m all twisted intellectually.

    Dear Modern American Culture, please tag your confused self as “inane” so that we can archive you accordingly.

    Sidenote: Leila – I invoked the Sacred Heart over your family. Hope your father is resting well after surgery.

  14. Nubby,

    No need to be twisted intellectually. I've learned that once I accepted the nonsensical paradox of Modern American Culture (MAC), I wasn't as bothered by it (ok, that's a lie, it still bothers me, but at least I have accepted that I cannot understand it because it doesn't make sense).

    On one hand, MAC preaches the "virtue" of tolerance (isn't tolerance almost equal to lack of virtue?), but on the other hand, tolerance only applies if you are tolerating certain things. Which is actually the opposite of tolerance.

    MAC also has espoused self-ism as the greatest ideology of our day, as you have suggested. Be yourself, whatever feels good, if it makes you happy, etc. But again, only if "being yourself" involves complete acceptance of those ideologies that MAC has deemed to be sacrosanct.

    It's all quite maddening sometimes, and I don't claim to have an explanation other than to say that MAC doesn't make much sense. But again, as I have accepted that, it becomes easier make sense of something if I accept that it doesn't make sense. Make sense? Haha, ok, now I'm twisted intellectually!

  15. I think the rapid explosion of social media into the world has played a role in this. The existence of mega-celebrities who have too much influence (looking at you, Miley Cyrus) means that young people have instant access to opinions formed by people who really should not have so much influence.

    It also means that dissenters (or "True Believers") are quickly dealt with in a manner that can only be described as mob-ish. Consider the backlash experienced by the Duggar family, or anyone who claims to be "pro-police". It is not favorable to have a position that goes against the grain, and, thanks to social media, dissent is sure to be met with much more of a firestorm than was previously possible.

    Sometimes I wonder if we have tipped the tray so far that we are all just going to start falling off the edge.

  16. Yeeeeaaap.
    The culture is so beyond reality that 'dismal' cannot begin to describe it. Everything endorsed and promoted by the culture must be sanctioned, even when it’s obvious that our culture is an intellectual abomination.
    It’s like we are at the point where anything against virtue is hailed as great and honest and so original. Like showing up for a job interview and saying to the interviewer, “A fun and interesting fact you should know about me is that I’m a stupid idiot.” “Congrats! The job is yours!” Whaaaa!?

    Don't even get me started on the topic of social media.

    Note to culture: Shock value does not equal brilliance or individuality or strength of character. It = boring and insulting to those of us who like our culture ... um, smart and reflective of virtue.

    1. Unfortunately, shock value does sell magazines and "force" people to tune in. To me, watching our culture is like driving by a car wreck every day. We can't turn away, even if we know we should. Eventually, what happens is that I come to expect a car wreck every day. After a while, the absence of a car wreck seems foreign and I can no longer associate "lack of a car wreck" with "this is how it should be".

      And I understand about intellectual abomination. The other day I was having a conversation about transgenderism, and I brought up the point that a person cannot be both a man and a woman at the same time. The response I got was "Why not?" Quickly recovering from this jolt of senselessness, I managed to stammer out an explanation of mutual exclusivity, only to be met with "Why are the 'concepts' of man and woman mutually exclusive?" It seems that we are so divorced from reality that even self-evident truths are no longer self-evident.

  17. Speaking of sin on a cultural/national scale:

    Holy fire. Those demons just got their collective spiritual asses handed back to them by the power of Christ. And as the good Cardinal put his spiritual military boot firmly into the duffs of those evil parasites, I hope he yelled, “And stay out!”

    I wish they’d do that here in the US. Yearly. No, seasonally. Seriously. We might see some great tidal shift back toward decency.

  18. I agree that ball bearings have been in existence from day one but am I wrong to believe that this is the first time that all these 'nonsensical and sinful beliefs' are now falling under the protection of the law? It seems to me that not even ancient Rome endorsed by law ssm, transgenders, trans (add your own here) and what not. Our own courts seem to side with the ball bearings while admonishing those of us that are not. When in human history have court systems defined delusions as reality? This is what I find very different today than any other time in our history. That's one major ball bearing.


  19. Hi Bobby! Well, I don't know the historical/legal facts on gender denial and such, but it's not the first time that evil has been enshrined into law and seen as a social good, with those opposed being ostracized (and even imprisoned or executed). So, to me, it's the same problem, just with different sins.

  20. Cullen, this:

    "It seems that we are so divorced from reality that even self-evident truths are no longer self-evident."

    Oh, yes. I hear you. When I debate people who cannot even see that there is a difference between men and women (or between the nature of gay sex acts and conjugal union), then we have ceased to be able to communicate. Axioms are axiomatic for a reason. But when they are not "understood", we have gone into the Twilight Zone.

    Nubby, YES! Bring on the exorcisms! America can use some major deliverance....

  21. I used to be very shy, introverted, and so afraid to speak up and stand up for what I believe in, but recently found the courage to post more on Facebook about my faith, pro-life issues, the Planned Parenthood Scandal, ect. As a result, I am now getting unfriended by several long time friends. One "friend" after unfriending me, made a comment on her facebook page about me which wasn't kind at all. It hurt me very much. You see, my whole life (after being bullied for most of my school years), I've had this fear of losing friends and being rejected. It seems my fears are now coming true. I'm getting rejected by a lot of people and getting unfriended left to right. Leila, I'm trying very hard, but I don't know if I can keep doing this. I want to, but it's so hard losing people you thought were friends. I'm so sad. I actually thought about taking a break from Facebook for awhile. Prayers for courage, please? I believe sticking up for the unborn babies is part of my mission in life and what God has called me to do (A Christian author and speaker prayed for me one time and told me that pro-life is my mission from God), but it's not easy. I'm very sensitive and when I see posts from atheists or pro-choice people saying an unborn baby isn't really a baby until it's born or other nonsense, I either cry or get very frustrated. I don't know how to answer them. I admire you Leila and your courage. Wish I could be like you! By the way, if we ever get an invite by my brother in law to visit him in AZ again, we have to meet okay? You and your family are always in my prayers! By the way, one of my dreams is to write a pro-life Catholic fiction book. I wonder if you and your daughters would like to read it someday when I finish it? :) I so want to save the unborn babies and all souls. I LOVE LOVE LOVE to pray for people. May God Bless you, Leila! XO


PLEASE, when commenting, do not hit "reply" (which is the thread option). Instead, please put your comment at the bottom of the others.

To ensure that you don't miss any comments, click the "subscribe by email" link, above. If you do not subscribe and a post exceeds 200 comments, you must hit "load more" to get to the rest.