Tuesday, November 13, 2012; Repose of St. John Chrysostom

    1. Spoken like a true lawyer.
    2. The Goodness of God.
    3. Big Girl Panties.
    4. The Language of Citizenship.


JRSo what is it that disturbs you more—the fraud or the nature of the fraud?

CF: As a lawyer and writer, the fraud. I loathe sophistical and disingenuous arguments and the hoary myths that modernity tells about itself. They keep me up at night. I feel driven to destroy them. As a “citizen”, it is the nature of the fraud, which is the life we must endure under the heavy secular yokes of the state and federal governments that “we the People”—meaning, “we the revolutionary elites”—supposedly “conceived in Liberty,” which wield powers and make demands on ordinary people that no mere Christian king could even dream of.

JRIf Liberty is the God that failed, how is it that many people, neo-conservatives and libertarians prominent among them, seem to think that the religion of American liberty is on the verge of worldwide triumph?

CF: That was the delusion of the Roman Republic just before its fall.

(John Rao, interviewing Christpher Ferrara, author of Liberty: The God that Failed)

I’m not endorsing the book, by the way. It has merely gone onto my long Amazon wish list. What I share is the impulse to point out the Emperor’s nakedness, though Ferrara’s got it bad enough to write a whole book.


There really is too little time to comment much, but Fr. Stephen Freeman has a wonderful, personal reflection on God’s goodness and how it elicits thanksgiving:

I do not believe it is possible to exhaust this topic. I have set forth a few suggestions of how we might build and maintain a life of thanksgiving. Particular thought is given to those times when giving thanks is difficult.

1. I must believe that God is good.

I struggled with this for many years …

2. I must believe that His will for me is good.

This moves the question away from what could, for some, be a philosophical statement (“God is good”) to the much more specific, “His will for me is good.” Years ago, when my son was a child, he encountered a difficulty in his life. As a parent I was frustrated (secretly mad at God) and my faith shaken. I had already decided what “good” was to look like in my son’s life and reality was undermining my fantasy …

My father-in-law had a favorite Bible story (among several): the story of Joseph and his brothers. In the final disclosure in Egypt, when Joseph reveals himself to his brothers – those who had sold him into slavery – Joseph says, “You meant it to me for evil, but the Lord meant it to me for good.” It is an Old Testament confession of Romans 8:28. The world may give us many situations, and the situations on their surface may indeed be evil. But our God is a good God and He means all things for our good. I may confess His goodness at all times.

3. I must believe that the goodness of God is without limit.

4. I must believe that God is good and know this on the deepest personal level ….


During the middle of the last century, Marshall McLuhan came up with the term “media ecology” to describe the fact that when a new medium comes on the scene, it changes the existing culture not simply by adding to it, but by changing its nature fundamentally. A forest plus a wolf is a different forest.

He was focusing on media—the printing press, television, the radio—not ideas expressed in a medium, but—as I was turning the phrase over in my thoughts—I decided that the metaphor works for ideas as well. The American conversation without cultural conservatives would be a fundamentally different thing. Simply by being part of the conversation, even if our voices are not loud, even if we feel drowned out, we change the nature of that conversation.

(Susannah Black, On Writing in Dark Times, Distributist Review.)

It’s important to remember this as some of the barbarians at the gate have a conscious strategy of shouting down and labeling as mentally diseased anyone who voices dissent.

Pull on your big girl panties and voice dissent anyway. The worst they can do is kill you.


James Matthew Wilson, frequently a Front Porch Republic contributor, links there to his Crisis Magazine analysis of how Obama, however content-free the plea may have been, appealed to the “language of citizenship” while Romney didn’t. This seems very congruent with the surprising, out-of-left-field analysis of a new blogger Priest, which I’ve cited before several times now.

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Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.