Sunday before Nativity, 2021

I have no particular Advent or Nativity content, should the title have drawn you in looking for some such.

Rights? Shouldn’t it be truths and obligations?

Modern society, no longer looking to churches and communities to detail what is and what ought to be, relies on the social contract to parcel out what is owed and not owed—we speak of “rights” more than truths and obligations. Language of a child’s “right to life” only fits insofar as life has become a political and legal concept.

Sarah Soltis, ‌Membership in Grace: Reflecting on Dobbs and Gifts


Making friends with "the modern world"

For Barth, and for us, Nazi Germany was the supreme test for modern theology. There we experienced the “modern world,” which we had so labored to understand and to become credible to, as the world, not only of the Copernican world view, computers, and the dynamo, but also of the Nazis.

Stanley Hauerwas, Resident Aliens

See today’s last item, too.


Baggage

[H]uman beings never enter this world without baggage. The baggage is an inheritance, both cultural and biological that shapes the ground we walk on and the challenges we will inevitably confront. Fr. Alexander Schmemann is reported to have said that the spiritual life consists in “how we deal with what we’ve been dealt.” In some families, it seems that no matter how many times the deck is shuffled, the same hand (or close to it) appears.

Fr. Stephen Freeman, ‌Mary: The Blessing of All Generations


"Religious" news

The New York Times (1) has very little religious news (though there’s a religion "ghost" in many of its stories) and (2) has some odd ideas on what qualifies as religious news.

On the second point, consider Linda Greenhouse, Trump Weaponized the Supreme Court, apparently thinking there’s no explanation for the opinions of Trump’s three SCOTUS nominees except … religion, I guess.

This reminds me of a quote that unfortunately doesn’t qualify as aphoristic:

[T]he noun religion is an unhelpful reification of what does not as such exist.

William T. Cavanaugh, The Myth of Religious Violence


Reminder to intellectualoids like me

We were created for communion with God—it is our very life. Thinking about communion with God is not a substitute for that communion. Theology as abstraction has no life within it.

Fr. Stephen Freeman, Everywhere Present


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