Thursday, 9/29/16

  1. Pluggers versus White Knights
  2. Good street, bad street
  3. Thomas Merton on Hell
  4. Chrstianity, Liberalism, Capitalism
  5. Who needs “doctrinal positions”?

I intended to publish Thursday but through a slip of the mouse sent it out early.


How did a small city in a disadvantaged region four hours from a major metropolis—one that had seen its signature industries atrophy or depart, that lacked so much as a branch campus of a state university—transform itself from the forgotten stepsister of the Appalachians into a formidable rival to Asheville, North Carolina? The answer has lessons for small, out-of-the-way cities everywhere: Roanoke’s people did it largely by themselves, in small steps and with an eye to assets and alliances in the wider region around them. “At some point we realized that we may never have the white knight come in with a Volkswagen auto plant and give us a quick win,” says Lisa Garst, a former city councilor in neighboring Salem who now heads Livable Roanoke Valley, a nonprofit that aims to engage citizens, governments and businesses in a regional planning process. “We realized what’s going to happen is going to come from people who are already invested here, know the value of the area and can stick it out for a 20-, 30- or 40-year time frame.”

And it all happened in what would seem the most unlikely of places: a city created, built and controlled for most of its history by the distant investors of that most controlling and rapacious of Industrial Age corporations, the railroad.

(Colin Woodard, Trains Build Roanoke. Science Saved It, at Politico. H/T American Conservative New Urbs)


Most of our streets are hostile and even dangerous for pedestrians. I don’t have time to defend that proposition, which is mostly intended to get your attention for a thoughtful discussion of an effort to reclaim some streets for humanity and an earlier piece from the same author on the butchery of a good street by Entropy In Action, a/k/a the Department of Transportation.


Hell was where no one has anything in common with anyone else except the fact that they all hate one other and cannot get away from each other and from themselves.

(Thomas Merton via Abbot Tryphon)



Baptist School Principal, visiting an Orthodox Priest to see if 3 Orthodox children should be admitted to his Baptist School: “What are you doctrinal positions?”

Orthodox Priest: “We don’t have doctrinal positions. We have the Creed.”

True story, as told by the Baptist. (The children were admitted.)

* * * * *

“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.