It has been a busy week for me, so lets all kick back and enjoy some slow motion video of burning gasoline being thrown through the air.
Meanwhile, around the internet, some of my college chums had some great essays this month. Helen Rittelmeyer has a great piece on the Leopold half of Leopold and Loeb:
We know that Leopold was seduced by Nietzsche and then saved from death by Clarence Darrow’s closing statement, and it’s possible that he found faith, in his own way, by the end. Damned by romantic nihilism, rescued by liberal humanitarianism, redeemed by belief—it certainly would have gratified Leopold’s outsize ego to learn that he could plausibly claim to have lived the 20th century in miniature.
And over at Super Flumina, Eliot Milco is talking about the theological possessiveness of converts and reverts:
Most of us go through a period of inquiry that marks the transition between the thoughtless practice of our parents’ faith and the adoption of faith as a living force in our own lives. This period of inquiry is sparked by different events in different people. Sometimes, as our friends shift toward the comfortable agnosticism of the age, we pause and look back and ask what we’re leaving behind. For others, after a period of rejection or doubt, some merit in the old ideas is revealed, or the tassels of popular theology brush up against us and alleviate our sorrows. Whatever it is that strikes us while we are ungrounded and brings us gracefully back to earth, we tend to see those first intimations of eternal glory as the touchstone and key to our theological lives. In my generation many people are touched this way by the Theology of the Body, or by the works of Chesterton and Lewis and their descendants. A spark of grace and hope leaps from these fringes of the Christian Tradition into the lives of young people and they hold fast to it.
Once we grab hold of faith, we tend to enshrine the voices that first called us to it, and, in accord with our delight and satisfaction with the gifts received, we tend to take these first hints of meaning and insight as fundamental: the most important, the most wonderful, the most accessible and upbuilding and beautiful. This tendency springs from our longing to have finished, to have understood once and for all what’s in store for us, not to need to strive for further transformation and development as participants in the divine truth handed down to us from the Apostles.
This week I shared my Chicago talk on Ideological Turing Tests with you all, and I’ve since discovered that there is an Ideological Turing Test Wikipedia page as well as an Ideological Turing Test subreddit. The latter is a bit more interesting, since it’s meant to help people set up their own tests, but the former is a bit more personally useful to me, as it decreases the proportion of Wikipedia cites to me that are about Glee.
I’m out of Les Mis posts this week, but, luckily, I’ve got an interesting Hobbit link to sub in instead. Novelist Drew Bowling has written a two part series for Aleteia on how Tolkein’s Catholicism influences his books.
And in other Hobbit-related links, Oh my tweedy steed (a fashion tumblr I follow), caused me to find this audio track of Tolkien singing.
No transition for this awesome story about a long-running game of tag, but it would be a shame to leave it out for want of a segue:
The game they play is fundamentally the same as the schoolyard version: One player is “It” until he tags someone else. But men in their 40s can’t easily chase each other around the playground, at least not without making people nervous, so this tag has a twist. There are no geographic restrictions and the game is live for the entire month of February. The last guy tagged stays “It” for the year.
That means players get tagged at work and in bed. They form alliances and fly around the country. Wives are enlisted as spies and assistants are ordered to bar players from the office.
“You’re like a deer or elk in hunting season,” says Joe Tombari, a high-school teacher in Spokane, who sometimes locks the door of his classroom during off-periods and checks under his car before he gets near it.
One February day in the mid-1990s, Mr. Tombari and his wife, then living in California, got a knock on the door from a friend. “Hey, Joe, you’ve got to check this out. You wouldn’t believe what I just bought,” he said, as he led the two out to his car.
What they didn’t know was Sean Raftis, who was “It,” had flown in from Seattle and was folded in the trunk of the Honda Accord. When the trunk was opened he leapt out and tagged Mr. Tombari, whose wife was so startled she fell backward off the curb and tore a ligament in her knee.
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!