March 02, 2010

Spanning the Globe to Bring You the Constant Variety of Posts

One of the things that surprised me when I first read the New Testament seriously was that it talked so much about a Dark Power in the universe—a mighty evil spirit who was held to be the Power behind death and disease, and sin. The difference [between Christianity and Dualism] is that Christianity thinks this Dark Power was created by God, and was good when he was created, and went wrong. Christianity agrees with Dualism that this universe is at war. But it does not think this is a war between independent powers. It thinks it is a civil war, a rebellion, and that we are living in a part of the universe occupied by the rebel. Enemy-occupied territory—that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage. - C.S. Lewis in "Mere Christianity"

I think it significant that the Office of Readings for the Season of Easter (after the Octave) consists, for the most part of reading the entire Book of Revelation. The fact that it occupies the entirety of a season of joy is indicative of the meaning that the Church gives it. The meaning I think I limned when I pointed out the key nature of chapter 21. After the dread darkness of night, then comes the dawn. - Steven of "Momentary Taste"

I suppose it takes an egregious sinner to sneak up in among the righteous and see how very, very many of them take the stance of the Pharisee in the temple, and yet do not see themselves reflected in that parable. (This is true in a special way in the pro-life movement, which is full of post-abortive women who hesitate to speak openly the joyful news that they have been forgiven, for fear of the poorly-concealed horror in which they are held by some of their less-egregiously-sinful comrades.) I myself have incurred scorn in the comboxes on this blog from virtuous Catholics, who appear to believe that I don't deserve to call myself a penitent, penitence being reserved, perhaps, for those who sin but lightly. Well, wake up, people: man is fallen, and we're all naked under our clothes, and not in a pretty, Renoir sort of way, either. - Pentimento

Socialism like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialist concludes that we object to it being done at all. - Frederic Bastiat French economist 1801-1850

I feel an instant bond with people who find it hard to fall and stay asleep. It suggests things get to them, as they do to me. - Alain de Bottontweet

The more "green" a store is, the more that shopping there embodies some kind of lifestyle, the worse the parking will be. All the eco-conscious people with their SUVS or silly clown cars jockeying for the limited amount of spaces. These spaces are laid out in some whimsical design which may resemble yin and yang from overhead, but from the ground recalls nothing so much as the Circle of the Lustful. The lousy thing about shopping at these lifestyle stores is that everyone seems to dress up just to pick up a quart of sustainable borscht and some organic lemonade. - Mrs. Darwin of "Darwin Catholic"

When first the giraffe was described by travelers it was treated as a lie. Now it is in the Zoological Gardens; but it still looks like a lie." - GK Chesterton

I was in a coffee shop the other day with my fat Fagles translation of The Iliad. I got confused on the change, and apologized. The server excused me since I was reading an “intense book”. Yes. It is as intense as anything I’ve read, this war story. There is no ideological blunting on the glory of the cause. Young flesh is shredded page by page. Doomed heroes play out their fate. Rereading this story after my first time thirty years ago, I am surprised that the story and the language is as beautiful and compelling as any literature I’ve read in the meantime. The hidden comforts of family intimacy (Hector and his wife and son), the pleasures of hard work and comradeship, and the trials of suffering and death are as vivid in Homer as anywhere. The metaphors of the rhythms of daily life are juxtaposed with war. They love and party; they delight in food, drink, friendship, sex.... Apparently, when Virgil’s Aeneas goes to visit Achilles there, the hero would trade his afterlife for the poorest farmer’s on earth. There is an intense desire for life, and death is a true tragedy. Heroism doesn’t assauge the bitterness. The worst calamity was for fathers who would lose all their sons in the war. It was an incalculable loss, to not have the consolation of a son to continue the line...We seem to worry more about retirement accounts than continuing a family line. We grieve, of course, for loss. But we also have a cold resignation toward death. Either it is accompanied by a presumption of vague post-death happiness, or being snuffed out is no big deal, as in the atheist billboard campaign: ”There’s probably no God… now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” I’m not sure we still have this taste for life. I wonder why not. - blogger at "Clairity on Culture"

Why respect & bury the dead? “If the dead are garbage, then the living are walking garbage.” - Kevin Jones tweet

One of the best exercises in meekness we can perform is when the subject is ourselves. We must not fret over our own imperfections. Although reason requires that we must be displeased and sorry whenever we commit a fault, we must refrain from bitter, gloomy, spiteful, and emotional displeasure. Many people are greatly at fault in this way. When overcome by anger they become angry at being angry, disturbed at being disturbed, and vexed at being vexed. By such means they keep their hearts drenched and steeped in passion. - St. Francis DeSales via the blogger at Psalm 46:11


Tom said...

We must not fret over our own imperfections.

Doctor's orders!

HokiePundit said...

One of the most interesting books I've read (well, listened, as I had the audiobook version) has been The War That Killed Achilles. Page by page, the author dissects the Iliad, explaining subtexts lost to our common understanding today, relating it to outside myths, and connecting it with themes both present and absent today.

Perhaps the most shocking thing to me was that until fairly recently, the hero/protagonist of the Iliad was considered to be Hector, with the pre-eminence of Achilles being a Romantic idea.

mrsdarwin said...

My sister-in-law gave me a fascinating book on giraffes for Christmas. Giraffes require willing suspension of disbelief, as do elephants, I think.

A few months ago, we listened to the Iliad on CD and were blown away by the raw storytelling power of hearing a trained actor making the words come alive. The opening section with Achilles and Agamemnon arguing over status seemed ripped from the headlines.