Hugging Is Not Compulsory
The Week is my favorite part of National Review. I love the quippy, quick way of bringing news and humor. With that said, I was aghast at the paragraph regarding the Girl Scouts and its indulgence of people your children may not want to touch them (December 18). As a parent who eschews the idea of my children receiving participation trophies, despite their prevalence in this society, I strongly stand behind my children saying no to being touched by anyone who makes them feel uncomfortable, whether it’s my parents, my grandparents, or a predator in disguise. And anyone who cares for my children will pause and acknowledge their voice. I always want a household where kids want to hug over one where kids are forced to hug and give up their own rights. But most important, I want to encourage their confidence at a young age in common sense that has them listen to the little voice inside that says something isn’t right.
A Tempting Exegesis
In regard to your take on the “temptation” rewrite of the Lord’s Prayer by the French Catholic bishops, noted in the Week (December 31), there’s no wiggle room in the translation from the Greek (peirasmos for “temptation”). All twelve times that it’s rendered “temptation” in the New Testament (as opposed to the nine times it’s rendered “testing,” “trial,” or “trials,” at least in the meticulous New American Standard Bible, 2000 edition), the context is not just a peril, such as what martyrs faced; it’s the particular lure of sin, and in the passage of interest (Matthew 6:13), it’s clearly contrasted with “but deliver us from evil.”
Those who aren’t Calvinistically inclined may not appreciate that while God never tempts anyone to sin, He also ordains all that comes to pass in that regard, yet without any ascription of wrongdoing to Himself. Thus, the Gospel writer can say, unabashedly, “Then Jesus was led up by the [Holy] Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Matthew 4:1). If the Son of God was not exempt from being impelled by the third Person of the Trinity to a place and circumstance where encounter with temptation would knowingly be entailed, it should be no surprise that His followers would be motivated to pray for a pass whenever possible, as instructed by their Lord.
So no substitute for “lead” or “temptation” should be countenanced. The non-problem needs no solution. Both the verb and the object of the preposition are fine. Stop fiddling with either.
Rick De Prisco
Twin Peaks, Calif.
The Editors respond: The semantic range of ponerou (“evil,” in the traditional English translation) is also broad. Your spiritual reading of the last two petitions of the Lord’s Prayer is fine. Just remember that it rests on a primary sense of “Bring us not into perilous trial, but deliver us from that woe.”
Buddhism Does Not Have Shareholders
Thank you for your article on “mindfulness” (“‘Buddha’ in the C-Suite,” December 18). I am an attorney practicing in Rochester, N.Y., and also the director of White Lotus Buddhist Center. I stumbled onto Buddhist teachings in college almost 50 years ago and as a result my life has been inestimably transformed. Consequently, I value this profound tradition greatly and shudder at popular attempts to dumb down its wisdom and exploit its methods.