So another book I’ve started to read is Remi Brague, ON THE GOD OF THE CHRISTIANS (St. Augustine’s Press–thanks, again, to Bruce Fingerhut!). It was expertly translated by our Paul Seaton. This Brague seems to have read everything, and you have to read him to see why the God who IS love is a relational being marked by fullest kind of unity. “God is freely united to himself. To be united to God is therefore to unite one’s liberty to God’s freedom. Two freedoms cannot unite as do material objects, by means of fusion or agglomeration. The highest union is the union of wills, in which there is not a mixture but accord, a union that, far from dissolving the identity of its terms, enhances it.”
“[T]he doctrine of the Trinity is nothing else than the stubborn effort to get to the bottom of this sentence of St. John [God is love]….Everything said of the three Persons [in one God]…is rooted in the logic of charity. It is thus the promotion–undreamt of by the philosophers–of the concept of relation.”
So Brague is all about helping us see who we are–what personal identity is–for free and relational beings made in the image of God. That doesn’t mean, obviously, that everything we do is governed by the logic of charity. But it is true that charity is the most personal of the virtues.
You can also learn from Brague why God is characterized by paternity without being a male. But I’ll save that for later.
Speaking of charity, Bob, Kate, and John Lewis have some good stuff to say in the thread below about THE GOODWILL STORE and similar thrift shops. They are well stocked by the rich who care about their tax rate more than the logic of charity; I know the local GOODWILL STORE pretty much lets you determine what your charitable gift is worth for IRS purposes. We who shop at THE GOODWILL STORE might be understood to be animated by PORCHER or ECOLOGICAL PURPOSES. As Kate said, in our prosperous country with mass-produced clothes at reasonable prices, there’s no need for our garments to be preserved by one generation for the next. Hand-me-downs don’t make much sense any more. We shoppers find at THE GOODWILL STORE many quality items that are no longer produced, and we have the option of wearing the best brands of yesterday without wasting money on the pretense of caring about brands or quality craftsmanship. We preserve excellence for another generation. Bob, as you will read below, is particularly excited by how well he dresses, and I could tell similar stories.