We are not social atoms. Churches must stop pretending we are.

You could say that the modern world reduced things to atoms, and when it came to social life, especially politics, the modern world reduced everything to individuals. For liberals, a man's identity and his freedom were sacrosanct, and social institutions had to justify themselves to him.You could go on to say that the post-modern world has split the atom. And finding that individuals are not the stable things modern people thought they were, kings and men are working hard to hold things … [Read more...]

How do you “make a culture”?

A few years back there was a flash of enthusiasm among people who read books published by InterVarsity Press for something called "culture making". The idea, as I recall, had something to do with creativity, that and the notion that Christians shouldn't be preoccupied with politics, or even apologetics. The world could use more beautiful things, and if Christians made more of them, they'd be more attractive. If I've misrepresented this, please forgive me. But it is the impression I felt at a … [Read more...]

How Social Security Feeds on Children and Itself

I've been working my way through a marvelous book by my friend Allan C. Carlson entitled, Family Cycles.The book really should be mandatory reading in every conservative seminary in the land. When I was last with Allan I asked him why, with all the ostensible commitment to the traditional family in places like the Southern Baptist Convention, his books aren't more widely read among conservative evangelicals. He didn't know.But reading his latest book should be required for anyone … [Read more...]

Tevye was Right!

Years ago, as I was leaving a live performance of Fiddler on the Roof, I turned to my wife and said something like, "Romantic love has destroyed the family". I noticed the guy behind her giving me the evil eye. I had blasphemed.I assume the fellow had seen a different musical than I had. He had witnessed the passing away of a benighted world; I had witnessed a lament.In the opening of the musical we see a world ordered by tradition: men, women, and children all work together, serving … [Read more...]

Aristotle’s Robots, and More!

My convictions about our robot future have vacillated, from fear of robots enervating humanity even further, to respect for the genius of their makers, to now wan hope that they may help revive the household economy.Regarding the last of those swings, here's something I stumbled across in Aristotle's Politics--Book One, Chapter Four. The Philosopher, at Aquinas called him, anticipated and even hoped for a robot future. Don't believe me? This from his treatment of productive property, read … [Read more...]

Flannery O’Connor and the Meaning of the World

I've been reading essays from Flannery O'Connor's occasional prose. Since I write fiction, I'm interested in hearing what other authors of fiction have to say about the craft. The collection entitled Mystery and Manners includes an essay entitled, "The Nature and Aim of Fiction". I came across this passage and started underlining: The kind of vision the fiction writer needs to have, or to develop, in order to increase the meaning of his story is called anagogical vision, and that is the kind of … [Read more...]

Against the Recreational Household: Part 5, Bringing Productive Property Back Home

Here I am again with yet another ramble. This is the fifth and final one for material I am using for a paper I will be delivering at The Academy of Philosophy and Letters at its annual conference. You can read my first ramble here, the second you can read here, and here’s the third, and here's the fourth.(By the way, ad hominem comments will be deleted. And comments that deal with my family members are not only unwelcome, they are rude.)Bringing Productive Property Back Home.I dis … [Read more...]

Against the Recreational Household, Part 4: Signs of Hope

Here I am again with another ramble. This is the fourth in what I hope to be material I can use for a paper I will be delivering at The Academy of Philosophy and Letters at its annual conference. You can read my first ramble here, the second you can read here, and here's the third.Now onto part 4:The pessimist in me can see all the reasons this will never work just as well as you can. But the optimist in me believes that people want the good life as much as ever, and what I have in m … [Read more...]

Against the Recreational Household, Part 3: What Happened?

 Here I am again, with you another of my rambles. This is the third in what I hope to be material I can use for a paper I will be delivering at The Academy of Philosophy and Letters at its annual conference. You can read my first ramble here, and the second you can read here.Now onto today's ramble:___I think it is safe to say we wouldn’t have households at all, even in the degenerate state they’re in, if they hadn’t performed useful work for thousands of years. But t … [Read more...]