- What alarms are for
- The Flight 93 health-care debate
- Trying to inhabit the world
- Choose one: hijab or hooker-dress
- Call for an apology
I was at an event not long ago, comprised of highly educated Christian movers and shakers. At one discussion, pornography came up as an example. When a sweet woman with a PhD chimed in to make a point she said, “Well I don’t have enough experience with porn to speak authoritatively, but I would think…” the Evangelical next to me turned to me in shock to whisper, “Did she just admit to using pornography?”
Really? That’s what you’re paying attention to? And that’s a shock to you? Or an egregious breach of decency? To me that signaled a profound disconnect between this guy—a college professor—and reality. Does he not realize how popular Game of Thrones is? Or that there are salacious ads on nearly every Facebook quiz these teens take? Will he be shocked to realize that teens use the internet to watch TV and movies illegally?
Of course he knows. He just doesn’t want to put 2 and 2 together to make 4.
Which brings me to one last point of encouragement. Whatever flak you get for the Benedict Option is worth it. This discussion needs to happen. I think it can be implied in your interview with Al Mohler that Evangelicalism is not ready for this discussion, but it’s overdue. I spoke last year to a high school headmaster, a man with decades of Christian private school experience. After hearing him pontificate of what he thought education was, how he saw Christian schools preparing, forming, and challenging the students spiritually, I asked him why he thought so many young adults these days did not remain in the church. He replied, “I haven’t really thought about it.”
Something needs to wake these people up. I think that’s what alarms are for.
The most frustrating thing about this entire misadventure has been that it’s perfectly possible to write a bill that does many things traditional conservatives want (knock down a bunch of regulations that hold back health-care innovation and inflate costs) while still delivering what Trump voters want (cover everyone). Write a bill that gives everyone a credit for catastrophic health-care insurance, gives everyone a tax-free health savings account, tops up those who can’t afford health-care expenses on their own, phases us out of the awful employer-provided coverage paradigm, and strikes down as many of the worst health-care regulations as possible.
… Well, welcome to the Flight 93 health-care debate. Pushing a good bill might be like playing Russian roulette with a revolver; the AHCA is like playing Russian roulette with a semi-automatic.
Jason Peters is not a fan of technology:
I don’t just hate the mobile device. I hate the phone that hangs on the wall. I feel no compulsion whatsoever to obey a noisy contraption and hold it to my head just because someone else–or, worse yet, some goddamned automated machine–has decided that I should stop what I’m doing and hear what he or she or it has decided I must, at this moment, listen to. For the record: I’m busy right now. I’m trying to be an inhabitant of the world. The world.
To all you defenders of the little tyrant I say may God be with you. But if I were God, I’d keep other company. You know: tax collectors, harlots, that sort.
That’s the conclusion (of the essay; not of a syllogism), but he does remind the reader of the real cost of technology before getting to the conclusion.
Unfortunately, a lot of people act as though there are only two possible outcomes: the hijab or the hooker-dress. The middle way of manners isn’t even thought of, but it should be. After all, if a Catholic school is hosting a party then they, as good hosts, ought to give the expected guests some idea what to wear; it is terribly frustrating to be invited to a party and have no idea whatsoever what kind of party it is or what clothing is appropriate, such that half the guests show up in torn jeans and the other half in three piece suits or silk dupioni sundresses with pearls. By letting the guests know what is expected the Catholic high school is making a sort of “first move” in the game of manners; now it is up to the guests to be well-mannered guests and dress accordingly. That this very ordinary display of manners inspires any kind of a freak-out, let alone an Internet one, is just a reminder that we live in a time when the concept of good manners is itself seen as some sort of intrusion on one’s theoretical right to a radical individualism that feels oppressed any time it must put the good of others ahead of its own whims and desires.
Will James K.A. Smith apologize to Rod Dreher, or will he go the way of Franky Schaeffer, publishing kiss-and-tell books and leftist screeds?
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“Liberal education is concerned with the souls of men, and therefore has little or no use for machines … [it] consists in learning to listen to still and small voices and therefore in becoming deaf to loudspeakers.” (Leo Strauss)