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Dreher on the Medieval World

September 9, 2017

Medievals experienced the divine as far more present in their daily lives. As it has been for most people, Christian and otherwise, throughout history, religion was everywhere, and— this is crucial— as a matter not merely of belief but of experience. In the mind of medieval Christendom, the spirit world and the material world penetrated each other. The division between them was thin and porous. Another way to put this is that the medievals experienced everything in the world sacramentally.

Dreher, Rod. The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation (p. 24). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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The Recovery of Musical Conservatism

September 8, 2017

Robert Reilly recounts a bit of recent musical history, including the contributions of Henryk Górecki, Arvo Pärt, and John Tavener.

Blue Collar Vocations

September 8, 2017

Daniel Darling of the Ethics and Religions Liberty Commission argues that blue collar jobs need to be seen as legitimate vocations. He’s right.

Previous generations held up the trades—plumbers, electricians, line workers, factory foremen, and retail managers—as worthy vocations. Today someone who works as a bricklayer or roofer or some other blue-collar profession are often looked on as sad cases. We wonder, privately, where the wrong turn happened. How could a smart, capable person end up in such an ignoble career? Where’s the future in that?

But we forget that our society runs on the strength of those who build and maintain our infrastructure, who go to work every day and build things with their hands.

On Not Remembering Sermons

September 7, 2017

I used to fret that I could remember very few of the sermons I had heard. Now I fret that I can remember very few of the sermons I preach. Still, I remember none of the details from the Latin lessons I took in school, and yet I can still pick up a book of Latin prose or verse and read it. We may have forgotten the details of individual classes we’ve taken, but our minds are rewired by what we learned. In studying Latin I was changed from someone who saw Latin as an impenetrable code to someone who now delights in the cadences and periods of Cicero.

I believe preaching is like that. The point is not that we remember all the details and can perfectly recall them. Rather, it is the slow, incremental impact of sitting under the word week by week, year by year that makes the difference. That is how we mature as Christians. God uses this means of grace to make us into vessels of his grace. And that is why a Protestant theology of grace must place the clear, powerful, unequivocal proclamation of God’s word right at the center.

Trueman, Carl R. Grace Alone—Salvation as a Gift of God: What the Reformers Taught…and Why It Still Matters (The Five Solas Series) (p. 193). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Evangelicals and Catholics Together…on Textual Criticism

September 7, 2017

Peter Gurry elaborates on Pius XII’s Divino Afflante Spiritu and shows similarities between Evangelical and Roman views of textual criticism and inerrancy.

In the present day indeed this art, which is called textual criticism and which is used with great and praiseworthy results in the editions of profane writings, is also quite rightly employed in the case of the Sacred Books, because of that very reverence which is due to the Divine Oracles. For its very purpose is to insure that the sacred text be restored, as perfectly as possible, be purified from the corruptions due to the carelessness of the copyists and be freed, as far as may be done, from glosses and omissions, from the interchange and repetition of words and from all other kinds of mistakes, which are wont to make their way gradually into writings handed down through many centuries.

Bill Barrick’s Book of the Week

September 7, 2017

See his recommendation here.

The World’s Most Difficult Philosopher

September 7, 2017

There is very little about Hegel that I find amusing–certainly not reading him. Even less amusing are those pontificateurs who pretend to understand him and are prepared to defend him. I’ve never read a thing about Hegel that proved to be even mildly amusing.

Until now.

Roger Kimball takes Hegel and his interpreters to task in the New Criterion, and he does a masterfully amusing job of it.

What should we think of this argument? Badly, anyway. It threatens to destabilize the meaning of some perfectly good words by, so to speak, falsely existentializing them. If at noontime someone said to Hegel, “George, bring me that book now,” and he waited until night to do it because, after all, that was when he had inscribed the word “now” on a piece of paper, we wouldn’t think him clever. Part of learning language is learning the limits of language: grasping what it cannot tell us as well as what it can. On my desk at the moment is Big and Little: A Book of Opposites by Richard Scarry, a very different sort of philosopher from Hegel. It recounts in vivid detail the doings of Hilda the hippo, Squeaky the mouse, and many others. Our son, aetat. two, has absorbed the difference between big and little, up and down, now and then, this and that without once positing the negative or mediating the immediate. I asked him about what Hegel said and he just laughed. Whom would you trust?