Tuesday, 7/22/14

  1. Salt of the Earth
  2. Those Poor Middle East Christians
  3. Enough already!
  4. Every silver lining has a cloud
  5. A bad bet we keep making
  6. Love ain’t love
  7. The Wisdom of Bodies
  8. 1 for 806

1

Whether it wants to or not, the Church in the West is on its way to becoming a counterculture, and its future now depends chiefly on whether it is able, as the salt of the earth, to keep its savor and not be trampled underfoot by men.

(Robert Spaemann in First Things)

2

Persecuted Christians in the middle east are “‘too Christian’ to excite the Left, ‘too foreign’ to interest the Right.” (Régis DeBray via Samuel Tadros in First Things)

3

What would “enough” look like? (Daniel M. Bell, Jr. on Mars Hill Audio Journal)

4

The recent storm against GMOs are enough to make me think that if birth control didn’t fall within the boundaries of “women’s reproductive rights,” it would have gotten banned long ago. Women would write letters until “Pharma” (birth control makes up 2.8 billion dollar slice of the pharmaceutical pie) stopped making poison meant to be consumed by unsuspecting women. There is in fact a big label on any birth control, stating its synthetic nature and chemical name, along with its laundry list of side effects: weight gain, breast cancer, depression, blood clots, heart attacks, strokes … oh, and possible death. In fact, as I write this, there are several class action law suits against brands of birth control that have been out for years and have been consumed by millions of women.

The Paradox of Crunchy Women and Chemical Birth Control.

Citing some studies, the author (Chrissy Wing) suggests “that chemical birth control seems to make women less capable of choosing a compatible mate” and “that chemical contraception makes women less attractive to men” (inferred from monkey studies):

The two effects work together to create chaos: Women are chasing the wrong men, while the right men are not attracted to them.

The science may (or may not; that’s not an easy call from a shortish essay) be flawed, but high dudgeon has arisen from weaker evidence.

5

In the Middle East, secular dictatorships can be very brutal. But they are often the only thing that stands in the way of the absolute destruction of minority religious communities. Toppling such dictatorships and hoping for their replacement by “moderate” elements is not a good bet. Incredibly, this seems to be a lesson the United States still has to learn.

(Mark L. Movsesian)

6

My local newpaper today will have a Guest Column that condescendingly utters an attempted truism: “Sadly, there are those who have not yet come to understand that love is love.” But the truism is not true.

C.S. Lewis wrote of four different Greek words for four different kinds of love. There’s Storge, Philia, Eros & Agape. The stultifying falsehood that love is love (it’s tempting to reduce that to “eros is eros,” but I think that would be unfair to the full humanity of same sex relationships) threatens to deprecate, of particular concern, Philia, better known as friendship. It might be some slight improvement to replace atomistic individualism with dyadal individualism, but

Lewis explains that true friendships, like the friendship between David and Jonathan in the Bible, are almost a lost art. He expresses a strong distaste for the way modern society ignores friendship. He notes that he cannot remember any poem that celebrated true friendship like that between David and JonathanOrestes and PyladesRoland and OliverAmis and Amiles. Lewis goes on to say, “to the Ancients, Friendship seemed the happiest and most fully human of all loves; the crown of life and the school of virtue. The modern world, in comparison, ignores it”.

Growing out of Companionship, friendship for Lewis was a deeply Appreciative love, though one which he felt few people in modern society could value at its worth, because so few actually experienced true friendship.

(Wikipedia) So the Guest columnist’s false truism dumbs down love and flattens life.

7

I might eventually have reasoned my way into truths about life, death, and human dignity—perhaps, given the right information and friends and graces, but probably not. A jumble of allegiances, caricatures, arguments, and fears dictated my opinions. But bodies speak a different language; they teach in different terms. The images and touch memories of the small body of that severely damaged baby boy whom I held as he died only minutes after being born could not be explained away, caricatured, ignored, or debated.

I have now spent a lot of time with other people’s bodies—very old bodies and very new bodies, severely disabled, sick, or just plain worn-out bodies, bodies in labor, bodies that are well and strong, and the bodies left behind by death. Looking back, I realize that changing my mind about abortion was actually one of the least significant steps toward becoming truly pro-life. There are things that can be learned—can be said—only in the language of bodies. There is a specific wisdom to be gained through the experience of being with actual people: their actual pregnancies, illnesses, births, and deaths. And many of the lessons that bodies teach can barely be translated into words.

(Nora Calhoun)

8

Someone with too much time on his hands has earned his 15 minutes of gratitude by analyzing Krustian Megacherch Paster (okay, it’s juvenile; so sue me) Joel O’Steen’s Twitter feed to see just how into Jesus Mr. Smarm is.

* * * * *

“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.

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