Christmas Carol (Postlude): AIG and Literary Humbug

This year I supersaturated in Charles Dickens to celebrate his bicentennial and used his Christmas Carol as part of my jollification. Whatever the state of Dickens’ soul, and no man can judge, he lived in a pervasively Christian country. His books are shot through with references to the Faith and he assumes the Christianity of all but his [Read More...]

Christmas Carol (X): Jollification

Scrooge repents. He repents even though he is unsure of salvation. He is sorry for his misdoings and no longer attempts to bargain with Justice. He accepts that he is wretched and does not just retreat from selfishness, but to positive charity. C.S. Lewis made the point that too many of us confused unselfishness with [Read More...]

Christmas Carol (IX): Ghost of Christmas Future

We discount Scrooge’s sins too steeply if we make him merely stingy. Scrooge’s stinginess made him a bad neighbor and subject of the Crown. This was his chief sin and the Ghost of Christmas Future reveals that the City is better off without him. His story is the reverse of that of George Bailey: it [Read More...]

Christmas Carol (VIII): Ignorance and Want

Christmas Carol has targets in mind and it isn’t Ebenezer Scrooge. Charles Dickens is after Ignorance and Want. Nobody, even Mr. Scrooge, is in the Ignorance and Want Lobby, but Dickens knows that many of us support both without intending to do so. My vices, small in themselves, added to the vices of my neighbors, can [Read More...]

Christmas Carol (VII): The Ghost of Christmas Present

Ebenezer Scrooge has refused to make merry on Christmas and so Christmas jests with him. Sinners are always serious when they should be merry, and trivial when they should be serious. Christmas Past reminded Scrooge of chances missed and Christmas Present will teach him of opportunities about to be squandered. The Ghost of Christmas Present [Read More...]

Christmas Carol (VI): Ghosts of Christmas Past

Unlike Ebenezer Scrooge, the memories of my Christmas past are happy. My parents worked hard to give us a holiday centered in Jesus and full of jollification. We went to Church, watched Christmas specials on television before video gave us even more control of our media lives, and practiced the American rituals of the season. [Read More...]

Guns, Football, and Fornication

The murder, abuse, and suicide of a NFL player has brought all kinds of emotions into our national discourse. Some blame the “violent game of football,” but studies don’t seem to confirm that players are made more violent off the field. Some blame our “gun culture,” but the increasing rates of violence in the United [Read More...]

Christmas Carol (V): On Marley’s Message

He is a ghost, not a musician, old Jacob Marley, but his message, though less prominent on Google is more important to our times. Jacob Marley confronts a materialist comforted by his materialism. Scrooge lives in little world, one where death ends everything. Nobody is keeping score and so if Scrooge believes he is winner, [Read More...]

Hope and No Change

Recently, I have been asked why I do not just admit my “views” on any number of sexual issues are doomed. My short response is that morality always seems doomed, but prevails. Fortunately,  “my” views are not based on my preference, desires, or convenience. When discussing the slavery issue, Abraham Lincoln argued that the heart [Read More...]

I don’t want to be a Misfit Toy

The Christmas classic Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer invents an Island of Misfit Toys. These rejects garner sympathy and eventually Rudolph prevails on Santa to give them to children. This was cruel of Rudolph. The “misfit” toys are in toy classes: some are just different, but others are broken. A “jelly squirt gun” might be clever, but a [Read More...]