“The smartest human being” on sin and grace

More from  David Brooks, two interviews in which he talks about what he learned from St. Augustine, “the smartest human being I’ve ever encountered in any form.”  Specifically, that would his concept of sin as disordered love and the Christian concept of grace.

St. Augustine is, indeed, a brilliant thinker.  You don’t have to agree with him on every point–though he is one of the few theologians claimed both by Catholics and Protestants–but his writings have a magisterial logic, a psychological sensitivity,  and a startling depth of spiritual insight.  Luther, remember, was an Augustinian monk, and Augustine is noted for his emphasis, like that of the Reformers, on the grace of God.  In my view, he is more Platonic and thus ascetic than he should be.  Can any of you address the points on which Lutherans–as well as other traditions–agree and disagree with this church father?

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St. Augustine’s friend at an NFL game

Our discussion of the brutality of the NFL reminded me of the good friend of St. Augustine, Alypius, who was a fan of the gladiator games.  In his efforts to pursue virtue, he knew that taking pleasure in other men’s suffering and inflicting suffering was wrong, so he resolved not to go to them anymore.  Until. . .well, let’s let the Bishop of Hippo tell the story after the jump. [Read more...]