Sunday, April 30, 2017
For some history, consider the highly readable At the Existentialist Café by Sarah Bakewell, or simply read an online biography of philosopher Martin Heidegger.
Saturday, April 29, 2017
The Dura-Europos excavation site in Syria is still threatened by war, but the wall painting is safe in a museum at Yale.
“There is generally a sense that people are now getting screen tiredness, or fatigue, from so many devices being used, watched or looked at in their week. [Printed] books provide an opportunity to step away from that.”
But the dig site turned out to be even more revelatory—and now, with a paper in the journal Nature—controversial. See, this site wasn’t just catnip for the paleontologists, the diggers who study all fossils. It soon had archaeologists swooping in to study a number of stone tools scattered around the bones, evidence of human activity. After years of debate over the dating technology used on the mastodon, a group of researchers now believes that they can date it and the human tools to 130,000 years ago—more than 100,000 years earlier than the earliest humans are supposed to have made it to North America.This is controversial not just because of the dating techniques, but because many academic positions, grants, and reputations are based on the current notion of when humans arrived on the continent. There is also a pinch of what is sometimes called "political correctness" to the current theory, so don't expect contrary evidence to be warmly embraced.
More here from the Washington Post.
Friday, April 28, 2017
And what I am here to say is that the midwest is not an exotic place. It isn’t a benighted region of unknowable people and mysterious urges. It isn’t backward or hopelessly superstitious or hostile to learning. It is solid, familiar, ordinary America, and Democrats can have no excuse for not seeing the wave of heartland rage that swamped them last November.Please consider reading the whole thing.
Another view here: As the classical university unravels, students seek knowledge and know-how elsewhere.
Even Andrew Carnegie, one of the richest men of his time, could not prevent his mother-in-law from dying of tuberculosis. Today, people don't even get tuberculosis.
Thursday, April 27, 2017
At publishing time, Atkinson had moved on and was performing a Google search on her smartphone to find out what chapter of Luke contained the account of the little drummer boy playing his drum for Jesus.
I think if I were going to the trouble and expense of having my gender surgically "re-assigned", or even if I were simply going to dress from now on as a woman, that I would choose a forename that didn't sound like one chosen by a twelve-year-old girl.
Robert Pirsig, the author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, died recently. A beloved cousin, an old friend with whom I was a first year teacher, and various pedagogical colleagues over the years have all loved, LOVED, that book.
Not only do I find it ponderous and dull, but I think it the best example of how to take a delicate metaphor, that life is like a motorcycle journey that requires occasional tune-ups, repairs, and maintenance, and beat it to death. Really, I mean kill it with fire.
It would be one thing if the book were simply witless and overlong, but its regard for Zen was such that I lost all interest in that particular school of Buddhism simply by reading it.
Speaking of music, how come Pete Seeger could never have a hammer? They're cheap and ubiquitous. You can buy a serviceable one for less than ten bucks. I'm guessing it was because he was a Communist. He was probably waiting for someone else to buy it for him.
Now, excuse me, as I have to go yell at some kids who are on my lawn.
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
It's not Biblical, of course, but it's an old site I worked decades ago. Like most large sites, there is still much to be discovered.
In the loftier precincts of progressive journalism, higher education, and the non-profit world, those hecklers tend to be proponents of “intersectionality,” a voguish theory purporting that power is inextricably linked to aspects of identity like race, gender, religion, and sexual orientation, and that an individual’s “marginalization” is thus determined by their accumulation of various traits. Across the country, pseudo-intellectual totalitarians posing as outcasts regularly intimidate earnest but spineless liberals into capitulation. From the Oscar red carpet to Yale University quads, whoever shouts the loudest and claims victimization on account of more facets of their identity can expect to get what they demand, regardless of the quality or even logic of what they have to say.
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Writers in Hollywood have been mistreated since F. Scott Fitzgerald's day. Still, it's preferable to and more lucrative than digging a ditch. Since screenplays are largely dull-witted, plodding, unoriginal, and derivative, I'm not sure how to put a fair price on them.
Pro tip: Shark snouts are made a sturdy cartilage. It's best to use some form of blunt object, if possible, rather than a bare fist. When necessary, though, if you go Mick Fanning, do so with fists of fury.
Warning: As this deals with contemporary academics, like naughty children, they engage in occasional vulgarities.
Monday, April 24, 2017
The last of the "old school" bishops. He took the metaphor of shepherd to heart as the whole diocese and all of its people were under his spiritual protection. Together, David and I educated and conferred the sacrament of Confirmation upon 42 teenagers from non-theistic, broken, or absent families.
Saturday, April 22, 2017
We thank you, heavenly Father, that you have delivered us from the dominion of sin and death and brought us into the kingdom of your Son; and we pray that, as by his death he has recalled us to life, so by his love he may raise us to eternal joys; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
That's it for the waves. Our regular broadcasting schedule will return after we take a break. It's been a brutal quarter with returning from overseas, leaving a long-time job, moving, starting anew, meeting the new parish and my staff, Lent, hosting the bishop, and Holy Week, and all packed into twelve weeks. Also, surf's up!
Friday, April 21, 2017
Almighty Father, who gave your only Son to die for our sins and to rise for our justification: Give us grace so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness, that we may always serve you in pureness of living and truth; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Granted, the harp is less cumbersome, but it takes two hands to play properly.
Thursday, April 20, 2017
Feminism is over, the battle is won. Time to move on
It should be celebrating its triumphs. Instead it has descended into pointless attention-seeking
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Good for this kid. I became interested in archaeology when, as a child, I discovered a mess of arrow heads in our backyard. They reside still, as far as I know, in the storage rooms of the Natural History Museum in Cleveland.
It is being resurrected through a variety of recent books, meant mostly for conservative Catholics and Protestants, as Dynamic Christianity. This quotation, however, sums up the eternal truth about how we are to be in the world, but not of the world.
We need to remember that Christianity is a dynamic faith, not meant to be lived in a defensive crouch. The political and social challenges of our present moment are formidable indeed, which is precisely why Christians as a group must not withdraw. The society they live in still needs them. We need to bring to the table the vast wisdom and resources of our faith, charting a path forward for all our compatriots and not just the chosen few.Unfortunately, far too many of my ordained colleagues think that being engaged in contemporary life as a Christian means repeating Democratic Party talking points. In recent decades, that has simply left those who do not see life through the synoptic lens of a political party feeling dis-invited from the Episcopal Church. [I brought this up once at a clergy meeting and was met with the reply, "So? We don't need those people." Yeah, that may be the problem in a diocese that is 1/3 the size it was twenty years ago.]
In reality, being an engaged Christian is more complicated than being a Democrat, Republican, or Libertarian.
O God, who by the glorious resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light: Grant that we, who have been raised with him, may abide in his presence and rejoice in the hope of eternal glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be dominion and praise for ever and ever. Amen.
Monday, April 17, 2017
But this equilibrium may not last, and it may not deserve to. The campus experience of late suggests that liberal Protestantism without the Protestantism tends to gradually shed the liberalism as well, transforming into an illiberal cult of victimologies that burns heretics with vigor. The wider experience of American politics suggests that as liberalism de-churches it struggles to find a nontransactional organizing principle, a persuasive language of the common good. And the experience of American society suggests that religious impulses without institutions aren’t enough to bind communities and families, to hold atomization and despair at bay...
You say you’re spiritual but not religious because you associate “religion” with hierarchies and dogmas and strict rules about sex. But the Protestant mainline has gone well out of its way to accommodate you on all these points...
Finally, a brief word to the really hardened atheists: Oh, come on. Sure, all that beauty and ecstasy and astonishing mathematical order is because we’re part of a multiverse or a simulation or something; that’s the ticket. Sure, consciousness and free will are illusions, but human rights and gender identities are totally real. Sure, your flying spaghetti monster joke makes you a lot smarter than Aquinas, Karl Barth, Martin Luther King. Sure....
No institution or agency has done more to help the poor than Walmart.
It's remarkable how many people introduce themselves to me on Easter Sunday as members of the parish. I've been here three months and have never seen them before. The word "member" has broad meaning, apparently.
Note that if you speak to me after the liturgy that I'm only staying awake at this point out of propriety and politeness. My fatigue shut off my brain after the sermon.
On Good Friday, in the quiet of the meditative liturgy, I often notice for the first time a subtle and beautiful architectural feature in the church.
I run on so much adrenaline during Holy Week that the day after Easter Sunday [which is called Easter Monday] I feel as if I have a hangover. I'm told that's consistent with adrenaline poisoning, but that diagnosis wasn't from a physician. It was from a guy I was sitting next to on the subway.
"Now that Easter's over [it's not over for fifty days, but whatevs], are you taking some time off?"
"Sort of. I have a colonoscopy on Wednesday."
Two Blocks from My Sister's House, a Block from Where I Used to Ride my Bike on Saturday Mornings to Compete in the Junior High Bowling League
Come to think of it, when this was a Chevy dealership, I bought my 1972 Impala there.
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Those of us who have surfed the two coasts of the USA know these guys well.
About half of the people with whom I've worked don't believe in the Resurrection, and they are regular attendees at worship. Weird, isn't it? It's as if believing in such would make others think them superstitious dolts.
I have two bachelor's, three master's, and two doctoral degrees, in a mixture of disciplines both sacred and secular, and have no difficulty in understanding the meaning and power of resurrection; or of admitting it. Or of bragging, apparently.
“If I am mistaken, that means that I exist.” —
Good Friday at 7pm
Easter Sunday at 8:30am and 10:30am
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
If We've Reached the Point Where Christians are Being Beaten on the Sydney [Sydney!] Commuter Trains, It's Not Just in the Middle East
I should say, it's not just in the Middle East and among the faculties of American universities.
A line of wooden coffins borne by Boy Scouts, and marked with the word “martyr,” filed through the doors of an ancient monastery on the outskirts of Alexandria on Monday. A mournful drumbeat accompanied the procession. The coffins held the remains of some of the 17 people killed on Sunday in a blast at the gates of St. Mark’s Cathedral, the historic seat of Christendom in Egypt. It was perhaps the most ambitious of the two attacks because the Coptic patriarch, Tawadros II, had been inside the church at the time.
O God, by the passion of your blessed Son you made an instrument of shameful death to be for us the means of life: Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Monday, April 10, 2017
I'm glad I've never been the guitar guy.
Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Sunday, April 9, 2017
Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the human race you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Saturday, April 8, 2017
"There is no one so uncivilized, and of such a crude disposition, that, raising his eyes to heaven, he does not understand from the very magnitude of the objects, from their motion, arrangement, constancy, usefulness, beauty, and temperament, that there is some providence — though he does not know by what God’s providence all the visible universe is governed." —Lactantius
Friday, April 7, 2017
Thursday, April 6, 2017
I appreciate that this may be another occasion for lamentation about the younger generations and their attention span, but this has been done time and time again in popular music. The so-called "Vegas style", back when performers in the gambling lounges were paid by the song, was to drop one verse from a song and "up" its tempo in order to squeeze more songs into a 45 minute set. Pop music survived.
...The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. - from Ulysses, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
by Gerard Manley Hopkins
To Christ our Lord
I caught this morning morning’s minion, king-
dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird,—the achieve of; the mastery of the thing!
Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! and the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!
No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
I Regret to Note That Despair Over One's 'Social Inferiors' is Rather Common Even in Mainstream Protestantism
The election of Donald Trump should have been a wake-up call for the left. Instead, we have seen a doubling down on the very strategies that guaranteed his victory in the first place. Trump supporters are scorned and derided with increased vehemence, Brexit voters are still smeared as racist, and the working classes are urged to know their place and vote in accordance with the instructions of their technocratic masters. It would also appear that the word ‘Nazi’ has been redefined as ‘anyone with whom the left disagrees’. I’ve never met a Nazi, although I’m assured by many of my liberal friends that you’re never more than six feet away from one.
With Theresa May polling better than ever, and Marine Le Pen gaining ground in the run-up to the French elections, now might be a good time to reflect on where we on the left are going wrong. It seems to me that we have two options. We could return to our traditional objectives and strive to redress social inequality and thereby improve the lives of working-class people. Or we could continue this bourgeois obsession with identity politics and see where that gets us. I know which I’d prefer, but something tells me I’m not going to get my way.
Monday, April 3, 2017
Sunday, April 2, 2017
But then things got weird. Not only were the five panelists not bookish types, they weren’t even great readers, at least of novels (which is what they were discussing). Wab Kinew got the ball rolling in the prelims by announcing that while he reads “a lot” it was “mainly nonfiction.” I wonder if he was counting the internet. Then Stephen Lewis offered up his own mea culpa: “I don’t read, it’s the scourge of my life, I don’t read. I read reports from morning to night, I’m a philistine around literature.” Despite this confession of ignorance, however, Lewis still admitted to being in “awe” of Margaret Atwood, whose book, The Year of the Flood, he was promoting. Samantha Bee was next to chime in: “Let me tell you something, I’m a mother of three children and I don’t get to read.” No time, I guess. Moms have it tough. Then Olympic sprinter Donovan Bailey let us know something that we had, by now, probably already guessed: “I don’t read, or I don’t read a lot.”
By this point host Jian Ghomeshi was driven to make a joke about the situation: “I’m glad we populated the panel for Canada Reads with a bunch of people who don’t read.” What sorts of arguments, he wondered, would the panelists be making in defense of their picks? “I don’t read, ever, but just let me say this is a good book”?
"Take almost any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down in a dale, and leaves you there by a pool in the stream. There is magic in it. Let the most absent-minded of men be plunged in his deepest reveries--stand that man on his legs, set his feet a-going, and he will infallibly lead you to water, if water there be in all that region. Should you ever be athirst in the great American desert, try this experiment, if your caravan happen to be supplied with a metaphysical professor. Yes, as every one knows, meditation and water are wedded forever." -Herman Melville
Saturday, April 1, 2017
I literally defy anyone to watch this video in full and not be smiling like a big idiot by the end!!! 😂😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/MW54Qr8IIu— Stevosideways (@stevosideways) March 31, 2017
We may have just witnessed the dawn of truly commercial spaceflight
[*Obscure and obtuse reference in the headline.]