• Superman ice cream, waffle cone with peanuts.

  • birthday cake ice cream, chocolate dip waffle cone.

  • Dreamcicle, in a rainbow sprinkle waffle cone, with extra rainbow sprinkles on top.

  • Twitter

    I recently deleted my Twitter accounts, finally. Watching the spiritual ill that social media creates, in me and others, contributed much to that decision. Alan Jacobs describes the hubris that is allows us to ignore this ill, or, more precisely, to ignore that this ill applies to ourselves.

  • Alan Jacobs:

    Why does the American church today “disapprove of Jesus”? There are many reasons, but I think the essential one, the one from which everything else flows, is this: Jesus tells us to worry about our own moral and spiritual condition rather than that of our neighbor. He tells me to attend to the log in my own eye before I worry about the speck in someone else’s. If my neighbor abuses me, I am to pray for him and bless him. Rather than thanking God that I am not like that [black person, homosexual, Trump supporter] over there, I am to pray “Lord have mercy on me a sinner.”

  • Currently reading: Personalism by Emmanuel Mounier 📚

    A thousand photographs put together will not amount to a man who walks, thinks and wills (xvii)

    There are not, then, stones, trees, animals—and persons, the last being like mobile trees or a more astute kind of animals. The person is not the most marvelous object in the world, nor anything else that we can know from the outside. It is the one reality that we know, and that we were at the same time fashioning from within. Present everywhere, it is given nowhere. (xvii)

  • Currently reading: On Human Being: Spiritual Anthropology by Olivier Clément 📚

  • Jeanne Lenzer suggests that perhaps nobody has the whole truth on COVID science:

    The debates over COVID-19 and the arguments of the past, in which different sides have failed to perceive the possibility that they might not have the whole story, may hold vitally important lessons for President-elect Biden’s COVID-19 task force. Hardened positions, which leave little room for uncertainty and nuance, undermine public trust as various assertions prove wrong.

  • concerning the recent report from the Catholic Church

    Luke 10:

    But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

    In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.

    “A priest … passed by on the other side.”

  • Both New Polity (Marc Barnes, Jacob Imam) and Liz Breunig agree: Laity are (a big part of) the necessary reform in the Catholic Church. Like Iain Provan likes to say, the Reformation is working.

  • “Roman Catholicism does not readily distinguish between public and private moral obligations”, and yet Roman Catholic institutions have worked to be exempt from this integration of the Chuch and State spheres. The institutions aim for “the exemption solution”: Catholic hospitals argue their First Ammendment rights free them from, e.g., performing or discussing abortions, and so on. Liz B sees two simultaneous outcomes:

    There are those who worry that the exemption solution won’t work forever, and those who worry that it will work too well, shrinking the role of religion in public life and reducing the ranks of the faithful. There are also those, like me (I should note that I, too, am Catholic), who suspect that both may happen at once: that religions whose ethics conflict with the broader culture will shift toward forming small, dense enclaves, where they are unlikely to encounter legal challenges to their preferred practices.

  • Liz Bruenig: “It’s just that the Catholic right is no longer recognizably Catholic. Its politics are more or less identical to those of the other members of the right-wing Christian coalition.”

  • a wide, barren, featureless liberty

    Liz Bruenig

    Which is to say that [Biden] is an ordinary Democrat — more or less his explicit pitch. Perhaps Catholics have earned the right to no distinction, the privilege of blending seamlessly into the social and political landscape of the United States, the freedom of having no special moral obligations. And what a wide, barren, featureless liberty it is.

    An “American Catholic” or a “Catholic who lives in America”?

  • group identities: the essential task

    Alan Jacobs:

    The question, for me, is whether this increasingly widespread abandonment of individualism in favor of group identities can be leveraged to argue on behalf of the kinds of group identities that individualism discarded, especially the ties of family and membership in religious communities. I have my doubts, but I can’t think of anything more essential for those of a conservative disposition or of Christian faith to think about.

  • checking email apps only every 36 hours!

    The workflow with Hey, my newly-acquired email app from the folks at Basecamp, has me in an excellent workflow. I’m actually considering that I don’t need to open my email applications but every 36 hours or so. Surreal.

    Here’s how:

    1. The app has allowed me to configure several “notify now” contacts: when these folks email, I get a notification on my phone or desktop
    2. Everything and everybody else can always wait a day and a half or so, right?

    Sure, I could have set up a workflow like this myself—I have tried several workflows in this direction—but I didn’t. I didn’t conceive of it in quite the terms that Hey does. My configurations, because they didn’t nail #1 above, never left me confident that I wasn’t leaving somebody or something important hanging by not checking frequently. (I did however dream of writing an app that would filter notifications by contact to my watch.) I’m feeling confident that the right people and the right information can get through to me when it needs to.

    And, maybe—just maybe—I may even start referring to the contents of my conversation, rather than the medium. Oh drag, I need to go do some emailing is not a great way to think about it, but we all do it, right? Better to think about the content: Nice, let me see what my close friends and family need from me or want to inform me about. Perhaps we’ll have a fruitful and joyous interaction. Too often, email kills that sense. But who cares by what medium my family or friends deliver content to me—I’m standing ready to help, listen, respond!

    Finally (and tangentially!—I couldn’t restst sharing this awesomeness), Hey does this:

  • hey

    I just became a very happy customer of 37Signal’s email app, “Hey”. You should check it out. They’ve redesigned the entire email experience.

  • Alan Jacobs:

    [Wokeness] is basically a secularized Counter-Reformation.

    It has:

    • magisterial teaching that one must hold de fide in order to belong
    • the pronouncing of anathemas upon those who dissent from that magisterial teaching
    • a distributed Inquisition devoted to unearthing and prosecuting heresy
    • an ever-growing Index of Prohibited Books
  • self-cancel culture among the moderate woke

    Jack Fencl: It’s not cancel culture (the external threat) that is the greatest threat to liberalism, or authoritarianism (the other external threat), but the internal threat of “self-cancel culture.” This self-cancelling is cultivated by the shaming of the (merely) moderately woke, rather than the radically woke:

    It is the conversations that will never be had, the research that will never be done and the ideas that will never rise to the top that should worry us most. The primary concern about a culture of self-cancellation is not that people will have great ideas, yet feel afraid to share them, but that people won’t have brilliant ideas in the first place because such a culture doesn’t appreciate the premise—and thus the process—of liberal science. This is especially pernicious, because, under moderate wokeness, there is no active or identifiable attempt to constrict the flow of debate (by contrast with the obvious censorship favoured by outright left-wing wokeness and far-right authoritarianism). Moderate wokeness only attempts to make debate responsible, which inevitably results in less debate.

  • keep it real, Bonnie

    Our local B.C. hero, Bonnie Henry, even has a “Good Times Guide.” Part of the “public health PR clinic” that she’s put on: a graphics team to bring us the trendy Bonnie. If us damn kids won’t listen to the buttoned-up Bonnie behind the podium, maybe we’ll listen to this chic version.

  • Currently reading: The Analogy of Love: Maximus the Confessor and the Foundation of Ethics by Demitrios Harper 📚

    This is a solid book. A few highlights:

    The dynamic character of human nature is not the result of a loss of an original state of being, but that which is indicative of his created status (60).

    Being or nature is not a static or “given” reality for Maximus, but is constituted “as a circulation of gifts” (61; here quoting Loudovikos).

  • come to Regent College!

    If you’re intersted in graduate theology education, Regent College is an excellent option. Email me (brian.dant@hey.com) if you’re at all interested in Regent. Here’s our Dean, Dr. Paul Spilsbury, on how he thinks about ancient texts.

  • mercy

    Alan Jacobs:

    In my judgment, it is the opportunity to receive and extend forgiveness that is the greatest possible inducement to repentance and amendment of life, and — I cannot stress this too strongly — a shared repentance and amendment of life make genuine community possible…. We will join the prophets and cry out for justice to roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. But we will also echo St. Paul and tell you that we Christians forgive others because God in Christ has forgiven us. We will tell you that your shortcomings and failures can never outpace the mercy of God, who loves his wayward children, all of them, and will someday wipe from their eyes every tear. This is the great hope of those who wound as well as those who are wounded. And all of us sometimes wound and sometimes are wounded.

    Yes, “no justice, no peace.” But also “no mercy (and repentance and ammendment of life), no peaceful community.”

  • reforming and deforming, with Chesterton

    G. K. Chesterton (The Thing, 1929):

    In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.

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