Speaking Against Evil Unsolicited
Common Core has done it again. My sixth grade student has requested that he stay home from school because the study of a story is frightening him. During a discussion with his teacher about my concern, she noted that the study is provided by the Common Core curriculum.
The story is “The Tell-Tale Heart,” by Edgar Allan Poe. Here are a few excerpts from Poe’s classic story that gives the writer’s account of his character's experience in killing an elderly man by suffocation.
“I heard many things in hell… once conceived, it haunted me day and night… I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult… very gradually-I made up my mind to take the life of the old man… Death, in approaching him had stalked with his black shadow before him, and enveloped the victim… the beating of the old man’s heart. It increased my fury, as the beating of a drum stimulates the soldier into courage… the hellish tattoo of the heart increased… so strange a noise as this excited me to uncontrollable terror… I dragged him to the floor, and pulled the heavy bed over him. I then smiled gaily, to find the deed so far done… I dismembered the corpse… I then took up three planks from the flooring of the chamber, and deposited all between the scantlings.”
The question I ponder is, “What kind of evil would possess a man to do such a thing?” Such spiritual forces will not be properly identified in the classroom and the young mind is left with no answer in contemplation of the action: killing to satisfy desire.
Here is what I wrote to the teacher:
“Is there a way that my son can be excused from your study of Edgar Allan Poe's short story entitled, "The Tell-Tale Heart"?
I understand that this is classical literature. However, it is the thing that we do not understand that frightens us the most.
Poe describes his character's intent and thrill in killing the old man. Yet we do not understand his motivation. As represented, it is a senseless killing.
It seems that Poe elevates the criminal act as some perverse feeling of gratification his character receives in killing another human being, violence that is unsolicited, certainly unjustified.
This kind of evil is frightening.
Perhaps the evil portrayed in Poe's story is the kind of evil possessed by the man who killed most recently at Las Vegas. What do you really believe is the source of such evil, and despite literary acclaim, should we expose innocent minds to such confusion??
Even if Poe's story is not to be taken literally, but in a poetic sense, what is his message and purpose? Is it to enlighten one to the power of the conscience? Even so, his indulgence of the dark and evil places he has described, in my opinion, is not a justified means unto this end. It is his portrayal of the darkness that leaves the lasting impression.
Perhaps the result, even if not the intent of the writer, is to expose innocence to a corrupting knowledge of the pleasures of evil?
It's got to be pretty intense for an 11-12 year old child. I would enjoy such a weighty discussion with adult friends!
These are my thoughts on the subject. Perhaps my son is not yet mature enough to consider such weighty matters.
I am also requesting that my son not be singled out in front of his class or embarrassed in any way. He does not deserve this.
He has requested that he stay home from school, and understanding the nature of his fright, I am inclined to do so if you will inform me of when the story will be discussed in class. Should I come and pick him up today before your class begins?
Thank you for your understanding!”
The teacher was very polite, respectful, and accommodating. She agreed to discretely provide another reading assignment for my son and to place him in another room to work on it while his classmates discussed Poe’s character's urging to kill.
As a father I feel a strong need to guard my son’s heart. The answers to explain such evil are in the Bible and we are encouraged in Ephesians, Chapter 6, to guard against evil powers.
Why is it that Common Core and the public school system will present a discussion of evil but not include a meaningful explanation of its source and its affect on humanity? Theirs is truly a one-sided discussion.
Furthermore, we must teach our children that the attractions of evil are vicious lies, and that the father of such lies is already defeated.
They must learn of the power to overcome evil.
This Halloween, as the world proclaims a false victory for evil, please, discuss with your children the power of God’s love, sacrificial and victorious: over sin, the temptation to sin, and the power of sin and evil.
For the sake of the True Telling Heart, the bleeding heart of our Savior Jesus Christ, we must not let the lure of evil present itself in our homes, schools, and communities unchecked.
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Additional entries: Alan's study notes.
For those who are discouraged with God - feel abandoned or rejected - I want to share with you why I am giving God another chance. Have you ever wondered what you are missing?
I've been there. And, I know that it is complicated. But what if you could find true peace, not grounded in self confidence, but in an ongoing experience with an awesome God? ! I'm not saying that I have all the answers, but I have strived personally, studied, watched and analyzed others, and came to some conclusions that you probably won't hear from your pastor - because I found God outside of the box.
Sharing and encouraging others in these truths is fellowship - the kind that I seek. So yes, I am giving God a second chance - and here's why...
Let's get connected if you feel like I do:
...relinquish your control.
When life wasn’t fair, God was calling his name.
Robert Love experienced great loss. His grandmother died under a cloud of suspicion. Memories of better times became miserable haunts as the skeletons of his past continued to rattle in the closet of deceit.
On the ropes emotionally, fate (or was it God?) intervened to bring Love a new friend, a mentor and wise sage of sorts, with provocative insights. His name is John Wright.
They were perfect strangers when they met but allowed their lives to intersect and in the end each was instrumental in saving the other. But for Love, it was complicated, much like his life.
Upon becoming better acquainted, it seemed that Wright’s credibility was sketchy at best. Once exposed, Love learned that his new friend was terminally ill. So why had he stopped fighting for his life? Wright has a mysterious past.
A spiritual battle ensues. Love is nearly killed in a grinding head-on collision and suffers debilitating injuries. And then, unbelievably, Love’s home is torched and all his possessions are turned into ashes among the smoking ruins. It is more than a soul can bear; surely he must be cursed!
But it was a greater love that truly saved him once emptied of himself. Everything changed and ultimately Love endured to discover new hope and a new life.
Is God calling you? This contemporary parable is a guide for the journey of faith that leads to true salvation.
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There have been many arrests of the clergy in recent times, the institutional church is weak, and the public is hungry for revenge. The police are ordered by the District Attorney to bring him in, to answer his accuser for the crime she alleges.
Robert Love, the clergyman accused of sexually assaulting a minor female, searches his memory for a clue. Had he mistaken the events of his life, the way he saw God working and leading him into the ministry?
His divorce and aggressive response to the false allegation of infidelity brought by legalistic Christians is in his past. More recently there was the baby’s funeral and the unexplained reason for its death, as well as the demise of the mother, to cancer. She had refused radiation treatments, sacrificing her life for another, the unborn child that didn’t survive.
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James needs absolute proof that their mother has not returned from the dead. The weight of the evidence needed rests upon a cross necklace, the one their mom gave to Steffanie at her baptism. Rejecting faith, she returned it at the funeral to be buried with all of her hopes and dreams. It was this necklace that she saw the being wearing. Now, James must find the explanation that will bring his sister back from the brink of insanity.
Rumors leak and their town goes crazy! A police report documents the sighting and the news goes viral.
A cross necklace, the mystery of resurrection, and one young man's need for answers spin into a whirlwind of controversy that has everyone waiting for the truth to be revealed.
Not science fiction or fantasy, it’s an emotional story that demonstrates the bravery of true love in the aftermath of tragedy.
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The Daniels men held their legacy in secret, preserved for future generations.
Levi Daniels was shot while Confederate soldiers invaded his southern Pennsylvania farm. In a small wooden box, he took his prized possession to California, seeking better fortune. But as history has it, trouble followed.
As a young boy, Darren is expected to carry the torch. From his hospital bed, Darren’s grandfather spoke reverently of the responsibility as he bypassed the birthright of the next person in line. It should have been given to Darren’s father, Joseph, but he is still missing.
Darren and his fraternal twin sister, Deidra, are able to avoid their ancestors’ haunts until engaged in the disaster. An earthquake strikes the U.S. and it falls into anarchy. Joseph returns, searching for the remnant of his family.
It is then that the secret of their past is revealed with a compelling message. America’s heritage, one of faith and unity, speaks to challenge the hearts of the faithful and the patriotic, stirring them to resist the enemy, natural and spiritual.
The future is predicted as the fictional account moves forward in time. This story challenges you to ponder the evidence of our fate. And here is realized a profound and compelling revelation - the greater purpose in it all.
"This book is meant to be shared." Tell your friends to visit UpdykeBooks.com.
Blessings! Alan Updyke, UpdykeBooks@gmail.com