Meme Watch: The Fruit was Good for Food


A FaceBook friend shared this meme on FaceBook a couple of days ago, coupled with shouts of great confusion. He spent some time trying to track it down to its source, evidently successfully, but was still no wiser as to what the author was after. Me, I don't care where it came from; it's a meme, and needs to be taken as it is.So we've got a picture of Eve making bedroom eyes with Adam after having just taken a bite from the fruit of the tree of good and evil. And Eve is quoted as saying, … [Read more...]

Review: Outwitting History


The delightful Outwitting History is the story of Aaron Lansky's seemingly quixotic but ultimately successful attempt to rescue an entire body of literature: the vast body of works written in Yiddish that were in danger of being simply thrown away in last part of the 20th century.The Jews have always been people of the Book, have always been literate; and starting in the mid-19th century the language in which European Jews wrote books (and especially secular books) was Yiddish. This … [Read more...]

Today’s Aquinas: Ascending to Heaven’s Door with Peter and PEG


Last week, Pascal-Emanuel Gobry posted a delightful discussion of Thomas Aquinas and his works; and in it he puts his finger on the exact reason why I write about Thomas and his theology on Mondays. He says,Nowhere is this clearer than in the much-maligned Quinque Viae. These are not “proofs”, they are ways. (Or rather, not only proofs–they are also proofs, and they work as proofs. But they are not merely proofs.) Thomas is much maligned for putting philosophical discussion de Deo uno befor … [Read more...]

April Smith Gets Snarky—And You Can Too!

A few weeks ago I posted a video of April Smith singing a happy, upbeat song called "A Movie Loves a Screen." Since then I've plugged April Smith into Pandora to see what pops out; and among the various bits were two more songs by Smith about relationships that just weren't ever going to work out.In the first, Smith laments that her lover is "Drop Dead Gorgeous", but though he's pretty she needs 'em "quick and witty"; he'll just be a pretty face to her from now on:And the second is … [Read more...]

Aaron Lansky on Being like Moses


We are who we are, where we are, when we are. And in that sense I prefer to compare us not to Chone Shmeruk, a twentieth-century Yiddish scholar, but to Zushya, a nineteenth-century Hasidic rabbi. “When I die,” Zushya foretold, “God will not ask me, ‘Zushya, why weren’t you more like Moses?’ God will ask, ‘Zushya, why were you not more like Zushya?’”— Aaron Lansky, Outwitting HistoryI like this. The Christian life isn't about becoming more like this or that particular saint; the Christia … [Read more...]

You Are Not an Agent of Karma

I found the above title in my idea notebook yesterday, and thought, well, yes, this is true. Unfortunately I didn't capture any of the reflections that went along with the title, so I've no real idea what I was planning on saying about it. It's too good a title to waste, though, so there it is.If I recall correctly, it had to do with making the bad behavior of others an excuse for bad behavior of one's own. I have an image of an expensive car parked across two parking spaces, and an … [Read more...]

Review: The Incrementalists


Despite being a long-time Steven Brust fan, I had somehow missed his collaboration with Skyler White, The Incrementalists. I've now rectified that, and I'm glad I did. I found it entertaining; and on the intellectual level I found it fascinating both for what it is and for what it isn't.The "Incrementalists" of the title are a group of around two-hundred extremely long-lived men and women who are dedicated to the art of "meddling": manipulating others by means of "switches": emotional and … [Read more...]

Today’s Aquinas: The Many Names of God


We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.Up until now, Thomas has mostly been working from Aristotle’s playbook.  He has shown us that:There is a First Cause That it is metaphysically simple That it is infinite That it is the Creator of all other beings and the source of all of their perfectionsAt this point, then, we have a divine creator, but Thomas has not yet shown that this divine cre … [Read more...]

New Book: Slubgrip Instructs

Slubgrip-single with shadow

My fellow Patheos blogger Fr. Dwight Longenecker has a new book out, a sequel to his 2009 book, The Gargoyle Code. It's called Slubgrip Instructs: Fifty Days with the Devil; it's a reflection on popular culture and the faith in the mode of C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters.Fr. Dwight has a knack for writing in character, as witness the many alter egos that have populated his blog over the years; and like Uncle Screwtape many of them are intended ironically: by having them say one thing on … [Read more...]