Happy Wednesday! Here’s what we have for you today.
Here at First Thoughts, Mark Barrett has a post on Catholics and the working class.
Happy Wednesday! Here’s what we have for you today.
Here at First Thoughts, Mark Barrett has a post on Catholics and the working class.
It’s Tuesday! Otherwise known as . . . Black Tuesday. Moving on.
Here at First Thoughts, Leroy Huizenga highlights Cardinal Dolan’s speech at the Diocese of Bismarck.
And, last but not least, check out junior fellow Tristyn K. Bloom’s article over at The Federalist, “The Surprising Ingredient To Creating A Pro-Life Culture.”
Happy Monday again! I spent much of my weekend walking in a giant circle, so probably nobody had a more exciting weekend than I did.
Peter Leithart is reading the Times Literary Supplement (so should we all), and highlights, in turn, a few of their pieces from the most recent issue: Ian Ground’s review of Arthur C. Danto’s What Art Is, Noah Isenberg’s review of Thomas Doherty’s Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-1939, and J. Mordaunt Crook’s review of James W. P. Campbell’s The Library: A World History.
The devil makes a bad world, but pretty good literature. Do people have any favorite literary devils? I have one.
It’s Friday! This week is going by awfully fast. Just yesterday, it seemed to be Wednesday. . . .
At Postmodern Conservative, John Presnall defends himself. (Quoth Presnall: “Whenever someone you don’t really know tells you that you must not do such and such, it often provokes a desire to do that very same such and such.” True enough!) Peter Lawler welcomes some new contributors to the blog (and defends Presnall along the way).
More posts about Robert W. Jenson’s Systematic Theology over at Peter Leithart’s blog. Two of them focus on Jenson’s relationship to Karl Barth, and one is a more straight-forward discussion of the book itself. He also has a post up on Augustine and the Trinity. And a post about porches (not front ones).
Meanwhile, here on First Thoughts, Mark Movsesian has some more information about that New Jersey rabbi who kidnapped men in order to force them to divorce their wives, Matthew J. Franck thinks it’s not all that hard being left handed, and David Mills highlights an article over at The New Atlantis about philanthropy’s original sin.
Over at On the Square, Russ Saltzman informs us it is that hard being left handed, Ralph Hancock returns to clarify his thoughts on Mormon progressives, Ryan T. Anderson points out that social and fiscal conservatism depend on each other, and Peter J. Leithart points out that orthodoxy is harder than heterodoxy.
It’s Wednesday! What happened to Tuesday, you ask? Well, Tuesday was canceled. Perhaps next week we’ll have two Tuesdays.
At Postmodern Conservative, the apparent Japanese disdain for sex, written on by Peter Lawler elsewhere, is disputed by Carl. Lawler responds here. (A concerned commenter writes: “I might suggest that this Japanese sex thing is probably not going to end well.”) Carl also points out that we have many embarrassments of our own. Meanwhile, James Caesar turns to the great books to understand the healthcare website fiasco and Pete Spiliakos is still thinking about Republicans and the working class.
Peter Leithart is still thinking and writing about modernity. He’s also thinking about humility and Weberian Kantian Pietists. He’s also reading Robert W. Jenson’s book, Systematic Theology: Volume 1: The Triune God. He has a number of smaller posts on the subject, so here I’ll just highlight the longer and more thorough post on the subject: “By and With Revisited.”
Note: as I was about to post this, Leithart slipped in a new post about Augustine’s Trinity. Here it is.
Here at First Thoughts, we have blog posts for you on Martha Stewart; William Faulkner, “cruel deity”; planes and electronic cigarettes; and, finally, the kind of people who “deserve all the disappointment a cruel world can strew in [their] path.”
Over at On the Square, we’ve got Elizabeth Scalia on the Japanese sex thing, Richard J. Mouw on Halloween, and George Weigel on surrogacy. And Michael P. Orsi reviews Maciej Zięba’s new book, Papal Economics. (Fr. Zięba will be speaking here at the First Things office on November 13—RSVP here.)
Hello, hello—it’s Monday once again, and here we are, and here’s a bunch of reading just for you:
At Postmodern Conservative, John Presnall is crying tears of blood, Pete Spiliakos is watching action movies, and Carl Scott has a new political interpretation of the Wizard of Oz. Kate Pitrone reminds us of beauty and wonders how to speak to the young.
Peter Leithart takes note of Stephen King’s review of Donna Tartt’s new novel, pays homage to the brilliant Frank Ramsey, is still reading a book about moderns, and mines N.T. Wright’s new book for “juicy little polemics.”
Here at First Thoughts, Greg Forster writes on the Common Core and Catholic education, and Sandra Laguerta draws attention to Fr. Maciej Zięba (who will be speaking at the First Things office in November).
We featured James D. Conley’s remarks from the “Life, Dignity, and Disability: A Faith That Welcomes” conference as rare Saturday On the Square. Today, you can read R.R. Reno on affirmative action, and then Timothy George on Hell Houses.
And that’s it! Welcome to the working week.
It’s Friday! Here’s your weekend reading list:
At Postmodern Conservative: why conservatives need new words (well, new old words); a discussion of Yuval Levin’s take on the ACA exchanges, and some highlights from the American Conservative‘s piece on Marilynne Robinson.
The painting’s narrative—or literary—impulse has undeniable historic interest. But the splendor of it has nothing at all to do with subject matter that might constitute an essay. The splendor is all in the paint. Conquest of the Air is an astonishing act of painting. When it was on permanent view at the Modern, painters of all stripes stopped in to “make a visit,” as Catholics used to do when passing a church.
We’ll see you Monday! Have a good weekend and a good rest of your day. And if you liked the American Conservative’s piece on Marilynne Robinson, there’s no time like the present to check out her work. (I just finished Home and The Death of Adam and highly recommend them both.)
It’s Thursday! Here’s what we have for you today.
It’s Wednesday! Celebrate with the following blog posts:
Peter Leithart takes on David Bentley Hart, and has three posts on Augustine’s work on the Trinity—one, two, three. Our detectives have yet to turn up whether or not this was a coincidence, but I am sure a fourth post will come along this afternoon to ruin the joke.
Here at First Thoughts, David Mills introduces us to two new bloggers, Dr. Trueman and Mr. Barrett. (You can read Barrett today on gambling.) And J. David Nolan, noted good human being, writes about animals.
Today you should also go check out the free articles from our November issue: David Bentley Hart’s review of Clive James’ Divine Comedy, Brian Doyle’s remembering of his first ordination, and Reinhard Hütter’s polemic for liberal education. Then you can come back here and discuss Hart’s apparent disdain for the Paradiso (wrong), Doyle’s story (charming), and Hütter’s rhetoric (awe-inspiring).
It’s Tuesday! The sun rose, and here we are. And here these blog posts are:
Stephen H. Webb thinks pacifism is silly.
Today is also the feast day of St. Theresa of Avila. You should probably go read some of her work. In honor of St. Theresa, I also suggest reading Middlemarch, which opens with the following words: “Who that cares much to know the history of man, and how the mysterious mixture behaves under the varying experiments of Time, has not dwelt, at least briefly, on the life of Saint Theresa . . . ?”
Hope you’re enjoying your long weekend (if you have one). I’ve been spending my own long weekend on very important business, such as catching up on The Good Wife, so I hope that everybody else has been spending their time equally well. And here’s some Monday reading for you.
This time, it’s actually Friday! Here’s what we have for you today.
It’s Thursday—that day that is, for some reason, not a Friday, but which will sometimes let you bumble along believing it to be a Friday until about 3:00 in the afternoon. I am, of course, not speaking from experience. Anyway, here’s what we have for you to read:
Peter Leithart, still steadily chewing through this book, talks about what’s wrong with Martin Buber and Plato. Meanwhile, author Kevin Hector drops by to tell us what’s wrong with essentialist-correspondentist metaphysics.
As an aside: I got pretty confused while reading Saltzman’s piece, because I distinctly remembered Dives attacking Lazarus with dogs and such, something present nowhere in the Saltzman’s version of the tale.
It turned out I was thinking of the English folk song, “Dives and Lazarus,” which embellishes somewhat on the original story. You can hear it here, as arranged by Gustav Holst; or you can listen to Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus here. (The tune is also familiar as “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say” and “The Star of the County Down.”)
Anyway, initially I gathered up this music as a “weekend listening” kind of thing, but then it turned out it was Thursday. So it’s your Thursday listening. Is that better or worse?
It’s Wednesday! Let’s all take a nap.
Peter Leithart is reading Wayne Cristaudo’s book, Religion, Redemption and Revolution: The New Speech Thinking Revolution of Franz Rozenzweig and Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy. To that end, he’s written up several posts about it: “Living God,” “Bound for freedom,” “Moralist and Creator,” “Where Philosophy Comes From,” and, finally, “Love Your Enemies.”
George Weigel wants us to stop misreading John Courtney Murray, while Richard Antall wants us to stop oversimplifying Oscar Romero. And Nathaniel Peters wants us to stop doing both of those things to John Henry Newman.
(And from yesterday: “Where stories come from.”)
It’s Monday! I hope we all had perfectly relaxing, yet productive weekends. Here’s what we talked about over the weekend (and today):
At Postmodern Conservative, we’re still trying to replace George Will. Carl Scott counsels Americans not to become like “Tolkien’s Denethor,” but rather “Solzhentisyn’s Vorotyntsev” (in other words, let us not be FATALISTS). Kate Pitrone talks about the things we hate in common, John Presnall rants about Obamacare, and, finally, Pete Spiliakos has some suggestions for Presidential debates.
Peter Leithart takes on Alan Badiou’s book on Paul, not once but twice. He also expresses a certain regret for cross-Christian conversions (and expands upon that regret here). Other, briefer, Leithart subjects include: Moshe Halbertal’s review of Ronald Dworkin’s book, Jeremy MyNott’s review of Mark Cocker’s book, Malise Ruthven’s review of Akbar Ahmed’s book, Raymond van Dam’s book, Pius X’s encyclical, and Dante.
Happy Friday! Here’s what we’ve been talking about today. . . .
That’s all for today. See you Monday! Kick back, relax, enjoy your weekend, have a drink, and don’t eat dogs.
Recently, fellow junior fellow Tristyn K. Bloom got into an argument on Twitter about eating dogs. She is pro-equality, as I understand it: we eat non-humans, dogs are not-human, therefore, it is not wrong to eat a dog. QED. Go forth ye and eat a dog.
It’s a position many people hold—including, weirdly, many vegetarians that I have met over the course of my life, who view “would you eat a dog?” as a kind of ultimate argument winning trump card. Most people say “no,” their opinion is irrational, if it’s irrational it’s wrong, and so forth. Most people don’t have a good reason for not eating a dog or a horse or what have you.
As someone who eats no meat at all, I think the all-or-nothing approach to eating meat has a logical consistency that is appealing. On the other hand, I think the proper response to recognizing that we accord a degree of respect to some animals and not to others is to begin extending that respect further, not to retract it to the simply human.
One way of putting my position is that I am not sure consistency is the greatest standard in these matters, since it often becomes consistency in vice, not consistency in virtue, i.e., “would you kill a baby?” asked of someone who is pro-choice is a question that can (and has) gone terribly awry.
But that would be an argument for another time. I speak of more pressing matters. It is wrong to eat a dog. And that position is not irrational in the slightest. In the service of truth, I can’t really let that argument stand. Don’t eat dogs. (more…)
Pretty quiet day today, but here’s what we have.
Finally, for your two On the Square posts of the day: Pete Spiliakos is still pondering the end of Breaking Bad, and John Leslie and Robert Lawrence Kuhn respond to Edward Feser’s review of their book, The Mystery of Existence: Why Is There Anything At All?
And that’s it! See you tomorrow.
We’ve decided to experiment with extending our reposting of On the Square pieces to reposting items from our hosted blogs. Usually this should only include posts from that day; today, however, I’ll also highlight some pieces from a few days ago. Let’s start:
Over at Postmodern Conservative, Pete Spiliakos is not happy with the ending of Breaking Bad, Carl Scott wonders if Young People represent a dramatic turn leftward (Peter Lawler thinks not), and, finally, PETER LAWLER argues that the GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN is POINTLESS.
“Who baptized Constantine?” asks Peter Leithart. He also ponders Being, modernly understood and reads a book on Joshua. While admiring it, he believes the book to be “powerful evidence of the confusions of critical scholarship, and the enormous energies that have to be expended to prove the obvious.” There’s also a brief consideration of math and the Simpsons. (No discussion of that last is complete without this video.)
Since Pope Francis keeps on giving interviews, there’s nothing to be done but to write about them. Charles J. Chaput writes about Francis’ interview with La Civilta Cattolica, and Nathaniel Peters takes on Francis’ new interview with La Repubblica. George Weigel, meanwhile, is reading about the Middle East.
And that’s it! We’ll meet again . . . tomorrow.
John D. Carlson talks about just war in today’s On the Square; a just war, he argues, is not separate from the idea of punishment:
The United States and many other nations have forgotten if not deliberately abandoned the idea of using military force to punish—just as Americans and many Westerners have grown uncomfortable with the concept of punishment altogether. We do well to remember, though, that Aquinas’ articulation of just war rests on the notion of punishment: for a war to be just, “a just cause is required, namely that those who are attacked, should be attacked because they deserve it on some account.” The primary reason for using force is because someone has wrought some wrong to deserve it.
Calvinists get a bad rap, but how many of the critics really understand him? James R. Rogers points out how few of us read the Institutes or bother to think seriously about Calvin in today’s On the Square. Instead, we rely on easy stereotypes:
Some of the answer certainly derives from misunderstandings of Calvinism. I recall in elementary school my teacher instructing the class that when the Puritans sailed to America on ships, if someone fell off the ship into the water, the others would not attempt to save him, because they believed that God had predestined that person to drown. In trying to save that person from drowning, she said, the Puritans thought they would be opposing God’s will.
Read the rest here. Searching for some kind of definitive statement on this “letting people drown” business, I uncovered a Puritans subreddit. So, Puritan enthusiasts, there’s your link for the day. (Dorothy Bradford fell off the Mayflower and drowned, but so far I have not encountered an account of her fellow Puritans standing around and shrugging. The search continues.)
Sometimes, of course, people aren’t really reading Calvin even when they’re reading Calvin. Once in a seminar on the Institutes, I heard someone assert that Calvin’s thinking was based in a hatred of life. Calvin, he thought, wanted us to stew in self-hatred until we died. In response, someone read him this passage from “Of Christian Liberty”:
Certainly ivory and gold, and riches, are the good creatures of God, permitted, nay destined, by divine providence for the use of man; nor was it ever forbidden to laugh, or to be full, or to add new to old and hereditary possessions, or to be delighted with music, or to drink wine.
“Well,” said the critic, after a moment’s thought, “there’s just no way he could possibly mean that.”
In today’s On the Square, James D. Conley is also interested in moral courage:
Increasingly, Catholics are told that if they cannot conform to secular morality, they should leave the secular sphere. That Catholic hospitals must compromise, or be exiled. But we cannot abandon our flocks. Like the Irish of St. Plunkett’s time, the unborn need the loving protection of the Church.
Watch a film with William Doino in today’s On the Square, where he talks about Serpico and doing the right thing:
Most of us will never be in a situation anywhere near as perilous as Serpico was, and yet most of us have likely witnessed wrongdoing of some kind, and tried—or been challenged—to correct it. Anyone who has ever done so, only to run into a brick wall, can identify with the frustration, the fury and sheer agony Frank Serpico experiences when trying to act out his conscience.
The Church of Our Saviour has stopped offering the Tridentine Mass. Nicholas Frankovich comments on its passing in today’s On the Square:
Mass according to the 1962 missal demands a knowledge of the Latin texts and of some fairly intricate rubrics. It requires training that most priests now lack. Fr. Rutler didn’t, and Father Robbins apparently does. Since August 1, when Fr. Robbins took over at Our Saviour, the parish has been recruiting priests to say Mass in the extraordinary form but has not been able to find one “willing to do this on a regular basis,” according to the church bulletin.
Read the rest here.