What’s Religion Good For?


Recently Patheos had a forum on what Religion is good for, which I did not have time to participate in. But it's an important question, and since I have Views I wanted to write about it anyway."What is Religion good for?" is an important question because it's entirely the wrong question.The word "religion" stems from a Latin word meaning "binding", and in its most narrow sense refers to those practices and actions we are "bound" to undertake in service and worship of the Divine.  In its … [Read more...]

Julian May: The Saga of the Pliocene Exile

The Many-Colored Land

Julian May's Saga of the Pliocene Exile is a collection of four books: The Many Colored Land, The Golden Torc, The Non-Born King, and The Adversary.  It was first published back in the 1980's; I remember reading positive reviews of it in Analog Science Fiction and thinking it sounded rather uninteresting. The reviews, as I remember them, conveyed something like this to me: A hundred years or so in our future, a French physicist named Guderian has invented a time machine that only works one way: i … [Read more...]

Today’s Aquinas: The Will is in the Willing


We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.Thomas has shown that God has a divine will, and that His will is the same as His intellect.  His next move is more of the same:Hence it is also clear that the divine will is the very act of willing in God. As has been pointed out, God’s will is identical with the good willed by Him. But this would be impossible if His willing were not the same as His will; fo … [Read more...]

Ray Manzarek: Carmina Burana

Last week I posted that video of misheard lyrics to "O Fortuna", from Carl Orff's playful (and occasionally disturbing) music set to poems and lyrics written by medieval monks who were no better than they should be.The "Gopher Tuna" video uses a fairly standard interpretation of "O Fortuna"; but back in the early '80's Ray Manzarek, keyboard player for The Doors, recorded his own arrangement of the entire Carmina Burana on modern instruments. The vocals are traditional, but the music … [Read more...]

Ngaio Marsh on Stoic French Ladies

Typewriter Keys

She was fifty and tall for a Frenchwoman. Her figure was impressive, her hair rigidly groomed, her dress admirable. She had the air of being encased in a transparent, closely-fitting film that covered her head as well as her clothes and permitted no disturbance of her surface. Her voice had edge. She used the faultless diction and balanced phraseology of the foreigner who has perfect command but no love of the English language.— Ngaio Marsh, Swing, Brother, SwingThe "She" in question is a … [Read more...]

We Are Promises of Goodness

Jacob's ladder

Have you ever gotten stuck while reading a book? I don't mean "stuck" as in "unable to read another word"; I mean "stuck" as in "this paragraph has grabbed me and won't let go."While preparing to lead the formation group for my Lay Dominican chapter this year, I came across this odd little book, published in the 1950's, that identifies itself on the spine as My Way of Life by St. Thomas. The title page proclaims it as My Way of Life: Pocket Edition of St. Thomas, The Summa Simplified for … [Read more...]

Ngaio Marsh: Death in a White Tie


I’ve been re-reading Ngaio Marsh’s “Roderick Alleyn” mysteries in publication order; and one of my favorites so far in this read-through is Death in a White Tie, which is set in 1938 or thereabouts but still manages to evoke Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances.   You have the young debutantes, and the various balls and other events associated with their “coming out”; you have the ambitious mamas, on the look out for noble suitors for their young ladies; you have the fathers, stuffy or otherwise; y … [Read more...]

Today’s Aquinas: Do Humans and Animals Think in the Same Way?


Last week’s discussion of “nobler beings” predictably started a comment thread about the nature of intelligence and the intelligence of animals, with excursions on language and tool use.  Thomas believed (as did Aristotle before him) that human intelligence is qualitatively different than animal intelligence—that human beings are defined as being the kind of animal that reasons.  I might add that reason, to Thomas, encompassed more than logical argumentation.  Human reason encompasses three thing … [Read more...]

Gopher Tuna!

Gopher Tuna! Bring More Tuna! Statue of Big Dog with Fleas!I've posted this one before, but it's been that kind of a week, and I decided this would go down well. … [Read more...]