Over the years I’ve heard or read about the idea of “redeeming” music or literature or education or government…you get the picture. If it exists and functions in society as an institution of some sort, there’s always someone in the Church that wants to sound the call to redeem it. What they really mean is that they want to sanitize it in order to make it palatable or useful according to whatever manner of constructs that their pietistic sensibilities have conjured up. (more…)
Modernity’s insistence upon the quantifiable and its suspicion of anything that existentially intrudes upon the clean lines it believes are necessary to achieve the life well–lived is unsettled by the beautiful; it strikes a challenge to the utilitarian nature of the secular. Beauty is an affront to the natural recoil that is experienced when one is confronted by beauty amidst tragedy and like modernity’s rejection of the very idea of a loving God in the face of evil, beauty is rejected as a brutal and empty promise placed upon the wounds that experience in the world inflicts upon the soul. (more…)
…the Christian infinite belongs to an ontology of original and ultimate peace, and as a consequence allows a construal of beauty and peace inconceivable in terms of the ontology that Christian thought encountered first in various schools of pagan metaphysics, and encounters again in the thought of Nietzsche and his heirs.”
Both the charismatic Evangelical and the Eastern Orthodox have a mutual tilt, that is, a bent toward disenchantment. Either seeking more concrete and direct revelation by an ecstatic oracle or a room filled with wood, stone and canvas as instruments both liturgical and pedantic, the outcome is the same. And what it displays seems to be a dissatisfaction with the mundane appearance and nature of the simple Word and Sacrament, which is more mystical and incarnational than either the charismatic or the iconologue may claim to be. (more…)
Color drained away in a monochromatic assault upon my perception. The great tragedy lay in the fact that it was my mind mounting the assault. And it isn’t the sadness or the madness which pierces the deepest, it’s the regret. The regret that the inertial nature of all that unhinges a man is not daunted by the knowledge of it’s coming. It need not gather any resolve nor steel itself against resistance because it is like time; it will come whether we will it or not and move on without a thought. (more…)
There has developed in effect a kind of corpus which practically all Christian groups accept but which has nothing in common with the biblical message, whether in the Hebrew Bible that we call the Old Testament or the Gospels and Epistles of the New Testament. All the churches have scrupulously respected and often supported state authorities. They have made of conformity a major virtue. They have tolerated social injustices and the exploitation of some people by others, explaining that it is God’s will that some should be masters and others servants, and that socioeconomic success is an outward sign of divine blessing. They have transformed the free and liberating Word into morality, the most astonishing thing being that there can be no Christian morality if we truly follow evangelical thinking. The fact is that it is much easier to judge faults according to an established morality than to view people as living wholes and to understand why they act as they do.
~ Jacques Ellul, Anarchy and Christianity
What is terrorism in the 21st Century? What is terrorism in a world of Hamas, the Taliban, Al Qaeda, Israel and a renewed emerging ultra-nationalism around the world?
Here are a few thoughts that I think would be good places to start.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” (more…)
We stand upon the scorched and crushed ashes of cultures and societies and call it civilization. We call it progress and cherish it. We glory in the sanitation of our surroundings. The identification, segregation and ultimate elimination of the OTHER is the inertial and celebrated goal of civilization, our’s being simply the latest iteration. And nothing good will come of it. All of our potential good offerings to the world will ultimately come to naught as we breathe our last breath of defiance against the wickedness that lays at the heart of humanity. (more…)