Tasty Tidbits 10/21/11

  1. Mormon Potpourri.
  2. Return of Distributism.
  3. What holds us together?
  4. Are Architects blind?!
  5. An aging poem.
  6. David Pogue belatedly discovers Dropbox.
  7. Cutting God down to size.


I recently found a Podcast called Crossroads, which is the Podcast equivalent of GetReligion.org. Listening to some back releases, I came across one from last Spring where it was suggested that Evangelical criticism of Mitt Romney’s Mormonism might be a sort of Brand Management. I can’t decide whether the suggestion was (a) an instance of the press seeking secularized explanations for religious behavior or (b) an instance of the press recognizing that Evangelicals tend to use rather secularized management and marketing techniques.

And I believe it was Richard Land, with audio played on the same podcast, who called Mormonism (with Judism, Christianity and Islam) “The Fourth Abrahamic Faith.” Considering the repute of the Third Abrahamic Faith of late, this may have been the slyest “dog whistle” yet.

At the Wall Street Journal, two solid political scientists speculate on why adherents of the first Abrahamic faith have positive views of adherents of the fourth, and why Evangelicals don’t. My $0.02 on why Evangelicals don’t is that they think they have kept just enough of the historic Christian baby (while discarding bathwater) to remain legitimately Christian whereas the Mormons haven’t – and on this, I agree with the Evangelicals while thinking it’s a closer call than they might think.


I think OWS’s “message” is still up for grabs, lacking any even semi-coherence yet (contra a young friend who seizes elements and brands them “smelly commies”), with many contenders to provide that vision.

I’m rooting for Distributism, though that’s got to be the darkest of dark horses. Rod Dreher seems to be rooting for it to get a hearing, at least, as he features Phillip Blond’s current American visit again.


Presumably, you know that Pat Buchanan thinks the nation is disintegrating (though he frames his assertion as a question).

“What glue holds us together?” is a perennial question for me, yet Pat never makes me so uncomfortable as when he broaches the topic. Let me pose the question to my valued little cadre of readers: What glue holds America together?


An article in Guenica opens:

Have you ever looked at a bizarre building design and wondered, “What were the architects thinking?” Have you looked at a supposedly “ecological” industrial-looking building, and questioned how it could be truly ecological? Or have you simply felt frustrated by a building that made you uncomfortable, or felt anger when a beautiful old building was razed and replaced with a contemporary eyesore? You might be forgiven for thinking “these architects must be blind!” New research shows that in a real sense, you might actually be right.

I’ve always been partial to James Howard Kunstler’s explanation: a team of architects works late into the night, trying to achieve beauty, the tabletop strewn with the paper carcasses of Chines carry-out dinner. About 2 am, one of them slams the table-top, says “F*** it!,” and they all go home.

If you want a more scientific explanation, here’s the link to Guernica.


I tend to notice poems about aging, and meant to link this a few days ago when it was fresh (but I wasn’t).


Steve Jobs wanted to buy it. iCloud may be his effort to kill it. I still love it and am surprised that someone as savvy as David Pogue is just getting on board with Dropbox.


Father Stephen hits another one out of the park in “The Geography of Heaven and Hell.” After he notes the tendency (I won’t even say “of some,” because I think it may be universal) to make God manageable by reducing things to rules and “maps,” he declares:

Important, and please note carefully: no matter how much some may want the world – particularly God’s world –  to be describable in clearly defined rules, boundaries and unbending laws – it’s just not the case. If there is a “rule” of any sort – it is God Himself – it is Personal – and is defined only by mercy, love and kindness.

It has been said, and I think with some truth, that when the Orthodox (and Catholics) are accused of worshipping Mary or the Saints, it may be because the accuser venerates God (for His awesome rules?) and worships nothing – so veneration looks like worship in his eyes.

* * * * *

Bon appetit!

Having become tedious even to myself, I’m Tweeting more, blogging less. View this in a browser instead of an RSS feeder to see Tweets at upper right.

I also have some succinct standing advice on recurring themes. Maybe if I link to it, I’ll blog less obsessively about it.