Tuesday, 8/25/15

  1. This is a Church?!
  2. Drama of Democracy
  3. Entering the Minefield
  4. “What do I admire?”
  5. Revelation meets the “prediction test”
  6. #SeamlessGarmentsMatter
  7. Jefferson-Jackson gives way to Fluke-Sharpton


Rock ‘n Roll in Church seems normal, while incense demands Scriptural proof.

But the entire democratization of knowledge is a false consciousness. There are any number of activities that all people engage in that involve a tradition, most often not recognized by the participants. The simple act of attending a movie in a theater involves actions and decisions that we know through our participation in a cultural tradition. We understand how to line up for tickets and wait our turn (something that is not as obvious as one might think). We understand making our way into the theater and how to find a seat. Those who ignore the social rules that are commonly practiced are seen as disruptive. No one is sorry to see them removed. And only the most alien stranger would need to ask for directions or help.

Such a mundane thing may seem obvious to us – but it is nothing of the sort. I recall a Romanian friend who told me of his first visit to an American Protestant Church. He had never been to anything other than an Orthodox Church. He said (with amazement), “Their narthex looked like the foyer of a hotel!” He understood, to a small degree that he was to follow others making their way into the “sanctuary,” and managed to find a seat. But he was greatly disturbed. He saw no altar, no icons, nothing that indicated for him that he was in a Church. He had something of the same experience for the entire Sunday.

(Fr. Stephen Freeman)


I got an invitation into a WayBack Machine and ended up in April 1992:

Although Marxism itself is inevitably in retreat, a rainbow of parallel ideologies has emerged to take its place. The new paradigms are built on gender and race instead of class, but at their core is the same old Utopian project: to create a world of perfect equality and human unity. At a moment when the wounds of whole continents lie open and bleeding in the East, in the West the Utopian passion is being born again.

In a Los Angeles Times essay appearing one month after the dissolution of Communism in the Soviet Union, Jeffrey C. Alexander, chairman of the Sociology Department at UCLA, joined with a colleague to propose this revised version of the socialist myth: “This grand social narrative of American life is what we might call the Drama of Democracy: a messianic, at times apocalyptic, struggle to secure a world where all people will be free, equal, independent, and without want.” In this way the same Utopian fantasy that has filled the world with so much treachery and unhappiness in our time is being revived as a patriotic vision.

(David Horowitz, who knows first-hand about the Left) It might be a good idea to remember the retrospective on Communism, source uncertain but with Boris Yeltsin suggested: It’s a pity that Marxists did not triumph in some smaller country, so they would not have had to kill so many people to demonstrate that Utopia does not work.


It is impossible to discuss sexuality today from a Christian perspective without hitting one or more tripwires. This is clear from reading Rachel Lu.

But if Freud taught us anything, it’s that sex is a big deal – big enough to hazard the minefield and apologize if one really does trigger legitimate grievance rather than just mau-mauing efforts amounting to “STFU!”


These days we think of a lot of decisions as if they were shopping choices. When we’re shopping for something, we act as autonomous creatures who are looking for the product that will produce the most pleasure or utility. But choosing to have a child or selecting a spouse, faith or life course is not like that. It’s probably safer to ask “What do I admire?” than “What do I want?”

(David Brooks)


Interesting. Only that, and nothing more.

Coyne issues the following challenge to his readers: “Over the years, I’ve repeatedly challenged people to give me a single verified fact about reality that came from scripture or revelation alone and then was confirmed only later by science or empirical observation.” I can think of one example, which comes from the work of St. Thomas Aquinas (whose writings Coyne badly misrepresents elsewhere in his book). Based on his exposure to Aristotle and Aristotle’s Arab commentators, Aquinas argued that it is impossible to know by reason whether or not the universe had a beginning. But he argued that Christians can conclude that the universe did have a beginning on the basis of revelation (in Genesis). In most of the period of modern science, the assumption that the universe is eternal was quietly accepted by virtually all physicists and astronomers, until the Belgian Catholic priest and physicist Georges Lemaître proposed the Big Bang theory in the 1920s. Coyne does not mention Lemaître, though he does mention the data that finally confirmed the Big Bang in the 1960s. But, if the Big Bang theory is correct, our universe did indeed have a beginning, as Aquinas argued on the basis of revelation.

(Austin L. Hughes, emphasis added)



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“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.