I resonate with these words:
“Whoever meditates on the mystery of his own life will quickly realize why only God, the searcher of the secrets of the heart, can pass final judgment. We cannot judge what we have no access to. The self is a swirling conflict of fears, impulses, sentiments, interests, allergies, and foibles. It is a metaphysical given for which there is no easy rational explanation. Now if we cannot unveil the mystery of our own motives and affections, how much less can we unveil the mystery in others? That is, as we look into ourselves, we encounter the mystery of our own, the depths of our own selfhood. As we sing things like ‘Just as I am, though tossed about with many a conflict, many a doubt, fightings within and fears without, O Lamb of God, I come.’ And having recognized the mysteries that dwell in the very depths of our own being, how can we treat other people as if they were empty or superficial beings, without the same kind of mystery?”
The rest is here:
Our youngest son, Chris, recently finished his honors thesis in classics. It is quite technical (yes, I’ve “read” it) and about 100 pages long. That length is pretty typical. Now consider an undergraduate doing this for his thesis on Shakespeare:
In his senior year at Princeton in 1954, Daniel Seltzer, assistant professor of English, wrote a thesis that was nearly six hundred pages long…Dealing with “royal themes–the characterization of moral ideas on the stage,” the thesis was for Seltzer a “kind of catharsis,” and he now looks back with Joycean delight at the comment of his roommate who suggested that “I put the thing on casters.”
Who or what do you love enough to go overboard? Rather, take a look at the people and things you tend to go overboard with and you will discover your true loves!
Interview with the eminent philosopher, Martha Nussbaum:
Name a writer or publication you disagree with but still read.
This strikes me as the most hilarious question, given that I’m a philosopher. Philosophy is all about respectful disagreement, and learning from disagreement. No decent philosopher simply parrots some other philosopher, so there must be disagreements somewhere in every case.
I disagree less with J.S. Mill than with any other major philosopher, but I still disagree with Mill a good deal. Aristotle is insightful on some matters, not so insightful on others. As for Plato, Kant, Bentham, Sidgwick, and Rawls, my disagreements are larger, but still compatible with thinking that in some very major ways they were on the right track. I would not say that about Lord Devlin or James Fitzjames Stephen, but I still teach both, in order to learn from their arguments.
If I didn’t disagree with a philosopher it would hardly be worth engaging with him or her, because there would be nothing to learn.
The entire interview is here:
One’s proximity to someone who struggles with whatever (depression, gluttony, etc.) makes one interact in a very different way.
One may still not change their overall convictions about the problem, but the problem is no longer simply a problem. It is a person who is struggling with a problem.
Perhaps our frustration with certain problems belies the fact that we are not close enough to those who struggle with such things!
Lutzer, the longtime pastor of Moody Church in Chicago, has made an important contribution to our understanding of Nazi Germany.
Hitler’s Cross is a troubling account of how moral decay and timidity results in disaster. And the disaster, as was the case in Nazi Germany, is usually far more reaching than we could ever imagine.
I appreciated this book very much except for the author’s desire to tie Nazi ideology to a certain view of end times. For those who don’t hold to dispensational theology, they might be tempted to write the author off, and thus would sadly miss an important book.
“It takes courage to stand up against your enemies. It takes more courage to stand up against your friends.”
Social context is huge. It does not need to be determinative. It does seem however to be determinative many times.
I have been in and among many churches and Christian organizations. One question I’ve asked which shows the power/influence of social cohesion is: Name one person who has raised an issue of concern about their respective church, school, etc. and was that person marginalized, fired, or promoted? I get lots of silence.
Sad reality and it is the kind of thing which made Niebuhr cynical about groups, including the church. But the church can and must do better. And I know several pastors who do, so I stay sane!