Wednesday, 9/2/15

  1. Factitious urgencies
  2. Word Religion
  3. Curbing my schadenfreude
  4. Hospital for sinners, I say
  5. Institutionalized dhimmitude
  6. Dementia hint

1

At 80, one can take a long view and have a vivid, lived sense of history not possible at an earlier age. I can imagine, feel in my bones, what a century is like, which I could not do when I was 40 or 60. I do not think of old age as an ever grimmer time that one must somehow endure and make the best of, but as a time of leisure and freedom, freed from the factitious urgencies of earlier days, free to explore whatever I wish, and to bind the thoughts and feelings of a lifetime together.

(Oliver Sacks via Katherine Pearson) That nicely sums up why I hope to retire from my profession, not to work at it until I drop.

2

Evangelicalism is a word religion. I’m a big fan of words, but even talking pictures aren’t fundamentally about words. It’s no accident that the hall of fame for directors has a large share of Catholics (Fellini, Hitchcock, Scorsese), Orthodox (Tarkovsky, Eisenstein), and sacramental Protestants (Bergman, Malick). This can’t be the whole story, of course, since aniconic Judaism has produced some of the world’s great filmmakers. But there’s something to it: Evangelical films over-explain, over-talk. They don’t trust the images to do the work.

(Peter Leithart, lamenting the artistic failure of another Evangelical-produced film.)

3

Ligonier Ministries has suspended R. C. Sproul Jr. until July 2016 due to his admission that he visited the adultery matchmaking website Ashley Madison.

Ligonier was founded by his father, R. C. Sproul Sr., who still serves as board chair. The younger Sproul is one of the ministry’s teaching fellows, and is rector and chair of philosophy and theology at the ministry’s Reformation Bible College. He previously edited the ministry’s magazine, Tabletalk.

In a blog post this morning, Sproul Jr. said he accessed the site “in a moment of weakness, pain, and from an unhealthy curiosity. … My goal was not to gather research for critical commentary, but to fan the flames of my imagination.

“First, I felt the grace of fear. Second, I felt the grace of shame. I was there long enough to leave an old email address. And within minutes I left, never to return,” he wrote. “I did not sign up for their service or interact with any clients. I have always remained faithful to my wife even after her passing.” (His wife died of cancer in 2011.)

(Christianity Today) The photo is of a man not that much younger than me. His father is a North American Calvinist titan.

I enjoy schadenfreude as much as the next sinner. I particularly like feeling it over Evangelicals, less so over Calvinists. But Sproul Jr.’s blog post rings true.

I’d hate to be pilloried over every dubious website I’ve visited since getting my first web browser.

4

Speaking of, for instance, a 10-month suspension for (apparently) nothing more than one visit to a nasty website:

Sometimes I’ve found that much attention has been needed to undo the terrible damage to the image of the Church done by those who have turned Her message into a mixture of political rage and self-righteousness, devoid of love, and nothing more than an institution of moral correctness.

The message of the Incarnate Son of God, Who condescended to take on our flesh and share His Divinity with our humanity, is sometimes obscured by political ideologies that are focused on what is wrong with the world, rather than what can be made whole in a humanity that is far from the place intended by our Creator. The Christ Who healed the sick, forgave the sins of the woman at the well, and sat down with tax collectors and sinners, can be shrouded in an angry, self-righteous message, devoid of love and hope, and where the Light is shrouded in darkness. Such an image obscures the notion of the Church as a hospital of the soul, where each of us, in our sinfulness and brokenness, is welcome to be made whole within the confines of this divine place of mercy and truth.

(Abbot Tryphon) No further comment, as I can’t decide if Ligonier’s action was disproportionate under all the circumstances, including those of which I have not a hint (I didn’t even know there was an R.C. Sproul Jr. until Tuesday).

5

[T]he set of ways in which Christians and other traditionalists can make a productive living is continually shrinking. What we are looking at is institutionalized dhimmitude, and if one can find a way not to be actually forced to celebrate sodomy, that is a rather somber victory if it comes at the cost of being forced into poverty and dependence when one was previously an entrepreneur and contributor to the community.

(Lydia McGrew)

6

Is Alzheimers from a mutant protein, like Mad Cow Disease? All Things Considered item caught my attention.

* * * * *

“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.