Sunday, July 21, 2013

Here and There

  • The Dorothy Day Few of Us Know, by Stephen Beale. Crisis March 19, 2013:
    he lamented the encroachment of the state and the perils of the welfare system. She once compared abortion to genocide and the U.S. government to Nazi Germany. She cheered on income tax resisters, dismissed the benefits of the minimum wage, and worried about the decline of freedom in an increasingly bureaucratic society.
  • My Camille Paglia Interview: The Outtakes, by Emily Esfahani Smith. On the feminist author's playing the negro spiritual "Go Down Moses" to her students:
    ... as the students read these words, and as Paglia talked them through the spiritual, there was something wrong. The students were not connecting with the song. “It was hard going,” she explains. “There was a disconnect as I kept talking and talking. I felt I was struggling, and I didn’t know why. And then it struck me with horror that of a class of twenty-five students, only two seemed to recognize the name ‘Moses’ and understand what I was saying—and they were African-American students.” A few others had heard the name “Moses” before, but it was clear that they did not know his story of bondage in Egypt or anything about his role as the liberator of the Jews.

    “They did not know who he was,” she tells me in disbelief. "If you are an artist and you don’t recognize the name of ‘Moses,’ then the West is dead. It’s over. It has committed suicide."

  • "The Death of Facebook February 19, 2013. On one Catholic blogger's decision to abandon social media:
    I canceled my account because there was nothing about Facebook that was leading me towards Christ. I was wasting my time browsing people’s favorite quotes, judging people’s musical tastes and political views, and engaging in long-winded debates that were at times civil and beneficial, but more often than not robbed me of my inner peace. It was time to get out.
    Not that I've forsaken Facebook myself. I find it a convenient resource for keeping up with my extended family and friends from all walks of life (Boy Scouts, college, etc.). In old days my parents had what used to be called the "Round Robin", a circular package of letters that would make its way via U.S. postal mail through the entire family, everybody contributing an update of what was happening. The downside of course is that by the time you received the package, the "family updates" you were reading were dated by weeks or months. So I appreciate and prefer the immediacy of Facebook in this sense, insofar as it's confined to immediate acquaintances.

    George W. Bush is smarter than you, by Keith Hennessey, Stanford University. April 24, 2013:

    One of my students asked "How involved was President Bush with what was going on?" I smiled and responded, "What you really mean is, ‘Was President Bush smart enough to understand what was going on,’ right?"
  • The Ambiguity of Islam Homiletic and Pastoral Review. November 1, 2009. Fr. Schall's review of Samir Khalil's 111 Questions on Islam

  • "Detheologizing" Christianity Michael Kruger's review -- and demolishment -- of hipster preacher Rob Bell's What We Talk About When We Talk About God (2013):
    In the end, my overall concern about this volume is a simple one: it is not Christian. Bell's makeover of Christianity has changed it into something entirely different. It is not Christianity at all, it is modern liberalism. It is the same liberalism that Machen fought in the 1920's and the same liberalism prevalent in far too many churches today. It is the liberalism that teaches that God exists and that Jesus is the source of our happiness and our fulfillment, but all of this comes apart from any real mention of sin, judgment, and the cross. It is the liberalism that says we can know nothing for sure, except of course, that those "fundamentalists" are wrong. It is the liberalism that appeals to the Bible from time to time, but then simply ignores large portions of it.
    Little wonder, then, that Pastor Bell is a "bestselling author, international teacher, and highly sought after public speaker and New York Times' bestseller.

  • Ayn Rand: Architect of the culture of death, by Donald DeMarco. National Catholic Register "No philosopher ever proposed a more simple and straightforward view of life than the one Ayn Rand urges upon us."

  • Church as Sacrament, by John Cavadini. First Things August / September 2013. A review of George Weigel's Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st-Century Church:
    Weigel argues that the twin criteria of truth and mission, the goal of which is sanctification, are the criteria for the reform of all of the vocations in the Church. Truth and mission both bring their gifts to bear, in a spirit of continuing conversion, on missionary proclamation of the truth, building up a culture conducive to Gospel values. The “deeply reformed” Church becomes an evangelizing presence in the modern world, wherever she finds herself.

    There is much to commend in this vision of the Church. If the Catholic reader experiences some feeling of discomfort, the feeling is surely partly due to being called out of the Catholic comfort zone in which one takes one’s religion for granted, as an essentially private affair that places no particularly urgent demands for proclamation of the Gospel in word and deed.

    But it is also sometimes hard to distinguish this beneficial discomfort from the worry that, despite Weigel’s disclaimer distinguishing Evangelical Catholicism from Protestant Evangelicalism, the ecclesiology implied in his descriptions of Evangelical Catholicism threatens to leave behind fundamental features of Catholic ecclesiology. ...

  • Flannery O’Connor: A Brief Introduction to Her Themes and Symbols, by Randall Ivey. Amnesis: A Journal for the Study of Tradition, Place and "Things Divine". March 2013.

  • Courage in the Ordinary, by Tish Harrison Warren. InterVarsity's The Well Blog:
    I spent a little while in two different intentional Christian communities, hanging out with homeless teenagers, and going to a church called “Scum of the Earth” (really). I gave away a bunch of clothes, went barefoot, and wanted to be among the “least of these.” At a gathering of Christian communities, I slept in a cornfield and spent a week using composting toilets, learning to make my own cleaning supplies, and discussing Christian anarchy while listening to mewithoutyou. I went to Christian Community Development Association conferences, headed up a tutoring program for impoverished, immigrant children, and interned at some churches trying to bridge the gap between wealthier evangelicals and the poor. I was certainly not as radical as many Christian radicals — a lot of folks are doing more good than I could ever hope to and, besides, I’ve never had dreadlocks — but I did have some “ordinary radical” street cred.

    Now, I’m a thirty-something with two kids living a more or less ordinary life. And what I’m slowly realizing is that, for me, being in the house all day with a baby and a two-year-old is a lot more scary and a lot harder than being in a war-torn African village. What I need courage for is the ordinary, the daily every-dayness of life. Caring for a homeless kid is a lot more thrilling to me than listening well to the people in my home. Giving away clothes and seeking out edgy Christian communities requires less of me than being kind to my husband on an average Wednesday morning or calling my mother back when I don’t feel like it.

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