May 12, 2009

Spanning the Globe to Bring You the Constant Variety of Posts

There are, perhaps, two main and very different intellectual fears. The first is a fear of opportunities squandered, of truths unnecessarily missed. The second is a fear of deception, of falsehoods wrongly cherished. It is crushingly obvious that the present dictatorship of relativism is profoundly motivated by the second fear. Aside from the natural sciences, we give students little more than training in critique. Loyal to our critical principles, we can barely squeak out the slenderest of affirmations. Fearful of living in dreams and falling under the sway of ideologies, we have committed ourselves to disenchantment... No philosophy or faith worth its salt endorses a witting love of illusions. It’s the truth we want, not fantasies. Yet, there is something desperate and loveless in the triumph of suspicion. Love falls. As the urgent, searching bridge in the Song of Songs reminds us, love risks the dangers of deception and betrayal. We cannot fall into the embrace of truth by way of cool, dispassionate critique. If we fear that truth will elude us, then we must search and seek with reckless desire... A pedagogy dominated by the critical spirit of our age will invariably make faith seem scandalously committed. What we need, therefore, is to rethink our educational self-image and subordinate the critical moment to a pedagogy that encourages the risks of love’s desire. - R. R. Reno on First Things

I prefer to call it the Holy Flu......if it causes changes like this: "Jenky also suggested that the Sign of Peace should temporarily take on a new expression. Instead of a handshake or an embrace, parishioners are advised to interact with a 'nod of the head or a smile.'" LET THERE BE SUNG TE DEUM! - Bill of Summa Minutiae

One of the major problems with cancer treatment is that the treatment itself is generally harmful to at least some extent. That changes the whole complexion of the case, to my mind. The term "side effects" can begin to sound like a euphemism if we're talking about chemo with a very high level of toxicity. More like, "Am I obligated to take poison--real poison--in the hope that it will kill the disease before it kills me?" I can think of plenty of cases where the answer would be clearly, no, though it might not be wrong to accept the highly toxic treatment, either. - Lydia McGrew on Apologia concerning the moral obligation of treatments

For me, frankly, it depends on how much the treatment is going to cost. If it is expensive cancer treatment that is going to leave my husband tens of thousands of dollars in debt - then no. I don't think so. Give me the pain meds though! - Elena of "My Domestic Church" on the topic above

"I'm just asking, and I'm not equating this with choosing torture, but when we sin, aren't we by definition choosing evil that some good may come?" Yes. My impression is that this fact is what motivates comments like the Anchoress's. "I risk hell every day for paltry goods, and I'm supposed to feel bad about saving the lives of millions?" - Q & A on Tom of Disputations

Right -- we have all sinned, and need to work to repair our relationship with God afterwards. That is one thing. It is another thing to sit comfortably here at my computer and declare that should a certain circumstance arise, I WILL sin, and to oppose legal restritcions against that sin on that basis. Sin is a human failing, and we trust that God will forgive us our sins. We profess that every week. That doesn't mean we plan to sin. - commenter responding to previous Tom K comment

I've read a number of secular commentators say that "Islam needs a Martin Luther" -- though I suspect that what they actually mean is, "Islam needs a Bishop Spong" -- and it is certainly the case that both for political stability in the Middle East and for Christian missionaries to have more of a chance to reach that part of the world, it would be of great help to us as outsiders if a much more "liberal" and "moderate" form of Islam were to take hold. And yet it grates against me to wish against others modernizing trends which I oppose when applied to my own faith. Though I do not think that the Koran is the word of God, it hardly seems right to encourage people to take what they believe to be the word of God and change it in order to make it fit the spirit of the age. - Darwin Cathlic

If the President really wanted to reduce the abortion rate, while keeping the thing in question legal, he could take a lesson from success in reducing the rate of cigarette smoking: massive taxes on it at the federal, state and local levels...combined with carpet-bombing media outlets with PSAs demonizing the product. If you tax something, you get less of it. If you subsidize it, you get more. But guess which is the actual policy of this administration? - commenter on Amy Welborn's blog

Who the hell pays any attention to Michelle Obama's arms and are these people going to get an actual life any time soon?... And the caption to the photograph - in the Washington Post: "The first lady's much-discussed preference for bare arms has proved to be a transformational cultural symbol." Show of hands. Are you guys discussing Michelle's preference for bare arms? As you walk about the culture these days, are you detecting the transformation? I'm up for noting any transformative cultural symbolism of an African-American First Couple, or the generational shift and such, (although I'd rather talk about policy) but really. This is embarrassing. Or should be. - Amy Welborn

I was working hard, hard, hard on confronting myself with this faith, with the whole thing, and asking myself over and over, "Do you believe this?" and answering myself yes and then answering myself back again, "Well, then..." The pastor preached powerfully about the love of God. He wandered a bit before he got there, but when he arrived, he would not let us turn from it. How much God loves us. Do you know? Do you see? Look at the Cross. Look at this gift he gives of himself in the Eucharist. Let the Good Shepherd love you and care for you.Let him. - Amy of "Via Media"

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