Monday, July 11, 2011

Telescopic Philanthropy

One of the memorable characters seen in Charles Dickens' many novels is Mrs. Jellyby. The "telescopic philanthropist" of "Bleak House" who obsessed with bettering an obscure African tribe but having little regard to her duties as wife and mother; or the notion of charity beginning at home. She spiritually abandons her family to work on philanthropic project to help people far away who she has never seen. The Borrioboola-Gha venture is in deepest darkest Africa, the project ends in a most gruesome manner when a local African chief attacks the project base and sells all the volunteers into slavery and then uses the money to acquire rum. Sadly Mrs. Jellyby leans nothing from this starts another philanthropic project.

Mrs. Jellyby seems to care little for her husband and children. Her oldest daughter is worked constantly on philanthropic projects and sits bitterly her ink-spattered dress sinking deeper into bitterness and cynicism. The younger children are left to fend for themselves. And her husband sinks into a suicidal despair. Her own family or for that matter poor of London are of little interest to her. Sadly forgetting that one's first duty is to your own kith and kin is still a problem today.

Proverbs 31
"The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil... She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life...She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens... She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy... She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness... Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her."

Titus 2
"...teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed."