Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mere Christianity

My son Tim and I are nearly finished with a chapter-by-chapter book study of this Lewis classic, and I'm reminded once again why it's a classic. His manner is modest and unassuming. He never leverages his mastery of the language in order to remind you of his own brilliance, but uses it to make complex ideas about God, philosophy and apologetics simple, accessible and clear.

His friendly style doesn't prevent him from cutting to the heart of, for example, "contemporary" Theology. The double irony of the following comment on the importance of studying Theology and on Theological "novelties" (from his intro to Beyond Personality, the final section of the book) is that it was written in 1943.
In other words, Theology is practical; especially now. In the old days, when there was less education and discussion, perhaps it was possible to get on with a very few simple ideas about God. But it is is not so now. Everyone reads, everyone hears things discussed. Consequently, if you do not listen to Theology, that will not mean that you have no ideas about God. It will mean that you have a lot of wrong ones—bad, muddled out-of-date ideas. For a great many of the ideas about God which are trotted out as novelties today, are simply the ones which real theologians tried centuries ago and rejected.
The new approaches of 18th and 19th century skepticism (on the authority of the Bible and the meaning of the Cross) had only recently been embraced as new thoughts by mainline denominations when Lewis wrote this. Sadly, they are being "trotted out" as novelties again in 2007 by New Evangelicals, Post-Evangelicals and others.

These and other equally muddled notions are easily absorbed by groups and individuals who don't place a high value on Theology (or history, for that matter) generally and learn only from each other and their own experiences.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Noisome Histrionics
It's high time I posted something on this blog. With all the business and fun of the Christmas season upon us, my head is spinning like a dreidel, and there's little time for poignant posting. It seems a little impolitic in this benevolent period to comment on the noisome histrionics emanating in ever more irritating tone from some corners of the presidential race. So until the new year comes (or some irresistible turpitude erupts in political news) I will try to exude all-round good cheer in this space.

Yesterday was the traditional family shopping day, and this year it was an absolute joy from beginning to end, owing in part to his grandmother's and my assignment to push the little grandson's stroller for part of the afternoon. I'll take that duty most any time. (If I can figure out how to post a picture from my cell-phone, I will.) All the kids joined us (even the grown-up ones) and we had a ball.

The day rounded out with Beth's Christmas piano recital (she did great) and cocoa at Starbucks.

On a completely different note, favorite word of the week? Turpitude. Goes well with nugatory. Nugatory turpitude.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Peggy Noonan on a Couple of Topics

This is a pretty good one from a recent WSJ.

On the politics of abortion and the media:

I will never forget that breathtaking moment when, in the CNN/YouTube debate earlier this fall, the woman from Ohio held up a picture and said, "Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama, Mr. Edwards, this is a human fetus. Given a few more months, it will be a baby you could hold in your arms. You all say you're 'for the children.' I would ask you to look America in the eye and tell us how you can support laws to end this life. Thank you."

They were momentarily nonplussed, then awkwardly struggled to answer, to regain lost high ground. One of them, John Edwards I think, finally criticizing the woman for being "manipulative," using "hot images" and indulging in "the politics of personal destruction." The woman then stood in the audience for her follow up. "I beg your pardon, but the literal politics of personal destruction--of destroying a person--is what you stand for."

Oh, I wish I weren't about to say, "Wait, that didn't happen." For of course it did not. Who of our media masters would allow a question so piercing on such a painful and politically incorrect subject? [read all of it]

On the politics of Hillary Clinton with Obama in her rear view mirror (Warning:objects may be closer than they appear...) and how she must be feeling:

...And anger at this nobody who wasn't even in the Senate when you took the big votes, this cream puff who was a functionary in Chicago when you were getting your head beaten in by Ken Starr. What does Mrs. Clinton do when she's feeling angry? What has she done in the past? Goodness, this won't be pretty.