In the jungles of Brazil, some tribes kill children who are disabled, who were born to single mothers, and who are twins.  The Brazilian legislature is considering a bill outlawing these practices.  But anthropologists and other postmodernists are opposing the bill on the grounds that child-killing is part of these tribes’ culture. So reports the new Patheos blogger John Ehrett, who explores the conflict between human rights, as liberal democracies have understood them, and the new ideology of cultural relativism. … Read more

Tom Wolfe, 88, has died. The pioneer of “New Journalism,” which uses fictional techniques–an interior point of view, dialogue, thoughts, action, description, and a creative style–to write non-fiction, Wolfe later turned to fiction.  At a time when most novelists were writing interior narratives of consciousness, Wolfe made the case for big, sweeping novels about the outside social world, in the vein of Dickens.  Wolfe’s novels were, in effect, portraits of whole cities:  New York, Atlanta, Miami. Wolfe got his start chronicling… Read more

The medical profession enjoys some of the highest level of respect in the country, and rightly so.  Physicians, nurses, and other health-care workers do amazing work in healing our afflictions and saving our lives.  But they are human beings, susceptible to cultural pressures like everyone else.  So I hope we can ask without ingratitude whether the medical profession, as a whole, is abdicating its responsibilities when it comes to certain culturally-charged issues. Wired Magazine has published an article by Matt… Read more

The always-interesting Peter Leithart, a fellow Patheos blogger, discusses Systematic Theology, II: The Works of God (2001) by the late Lutheran theologian Robert Jenson. one of a series of posts on the Ten Commandments.  Leithart doesn’t always agree with him, nor would we more conservative Lutherans, Jenson being of the ELCA variety. However, I was struck by a quotation from Jenson in which he explains how the Commandments not only summarize the Natural Law, but define the foundations of any civil society. … Read more

Normally, the leadership of important government agencies like the CIA goes to politicians, campaign allies, or career bureaucrats.  This spoils system approach is not always bad, resulting in some effective leadership as well as some that is less effective.  This time, though, the president has nominated to head the nation’s spy agency an actual spy. Gina Haspel was not only a long-time CIA employee.  She was a clandestine field officer, working undercover in the most dangerous places in the world,… Read more

More on the Ascension of Christ. . . .I keep reading on evangelical sites that with His Ascension, Jesus says goodbye, that He left at the most inopportune time, that the disciples now must carry on after Jesus is gone, that Jesus isn’t with us anymore until He returns.  Such laments about the absence of Jesus completely miss the point about the true meaning of His Ascension. As an antidote to these misunderstandings and to further celebrate Ascension Day and… Read more

Last month a man in Toronto drove his car into a crowd of people, killing 10.  His self-described motive?  To strike out against women, none of whom will have sex with him.  His Facebook page proclaimed the advent of “the Incel Rebellion.” The term derives from “Involuntary Celibate.”  Another Incel terrorist struck in 2014, in a shooting in Santa Barbara that killed 6 and wounded 14. It turns out, there is an “Incel Community”–consisting pretty much exclusively of men gathering… Read more

The resurrected Jesus was with His disciples for 40 days, and then He returned to His Father.  So on the 40th day after Easter, making it always fall on a Thursday, we celebrate Ascension Day.  Today is that day. This is one of the most significant and yet strangely neglected observances of the Church Year.  Part of the problem is that it is so misunderstood today. Christ’s Ascension does not mean that He goes away and is no longer with… Read more

Over half of the money that Americans spend on food goes for eating out in restaurants.  And what we pay for the actual production of food by farmers is only 7.8 cents for every dollar we spend. Caitlin Dewey, writing in the Washington Post, draws on data from the U. S. Department of Agriculture to give a fascinating breakdown of the American food dollar: 36.3 cents goes for food services (that is, the preparation of food in restaurants, fast food… Read more

  Eric Voegelin (1901-1985) is a thinker I want to look into more, writing as he does about civilizational change and the dire influence of gnosticism.  In this quotation, he says that the “worldly success” of a religion brings on its decline.  This is because a religion of power is incompatible with a religion of faith. From The New Science of Politics: An Introduction, pp. 122-123:  The life of the soul in openness toward God, the waiting, the periods of aridity and… Read more

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