Finishing the Imago Dei

A_Sunday_on_La_Grande_Jatte,_Georges_Seurat,_1884

So, apparently if I host an installment of the Stephen Sondheim film festival the night before a silent retreat, I end up spending a lot of time meditating on Seurat instead of Scripture.  A few weekends ago, I invited friends over to watch Sunday in the Park with George, Stephen Sondheim's musical about Georges Seurat's creation of A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.  (It's on Amazon instant streaming, go enjoy!).In the first act, Georges struggles to express himself to his … [Read more...]

I see your trilemma, and raise you a tetralemma!

The Pharisees Question Jesus

Over at Cross Examined, Bob Seidensticker has an objection to C.S. Lewis's Trilemma, and John E_o raised the same question over here.  Bob says, why stay stuck in Lewis's framework that Jesus Christ must be either a lunatic, a liar, or the Lord of all Creation?  Can't we just pick 'legend?' We have no problem with wisdom taken from the Koran or the story of Gilgamesh or the Upanishads or any other book of religion or mythology despite its being wrong about the supernatural stuff. Assuming that t … [Read more...]

For C.S. Lewis, Deo Gratias!

Lewis-C.S.-as-young-man

Patheos invited religious bloggers to share stories about people we're thankful for who've supported us in our faith.  Technically, they asked us to do this for Thanksgiving, but as I was late to the faith, it's thematically appropriate that I be late to the prompt as well.I turned out to be embarrassingly easy to snare.When I was coming out of Commons (the big dining hall on campus), Yale Students for Christ were tabling outside, and they'd put up a sign reading FREE BOOKS.  I was ov … [Read more...]

Teaching Fish the Word for Water

In the last Sondheim Symposium post, I talked about Giorgio struggling with Fosca's implacable love.  If his reluctance to accept her unconditional love parallels the flinch away from grace, does it follow that Fosca is a Christ-like figure?Probably not.  For a while after I saw the show, I suspected her of ostentatious humility.  In fact, I hoped that some of her prostrations were insincere.  She was starting to remind me of the awful, self-abnegating image of love on display in "Unworthy of … [Read more...]

“Nobody human can stand all that everlasting affection!”

The quote is from Company, the subject is Passion, as the Sondheim Symposium goes on. This installment includes spoilers for 1984.At the climax of 1984, Winston is broken by the tortures in room 101. The moment that anihilates him and represents victory for Big Brother is the moment where he cries out: Do it to her! Do it to Julia! I don’t care what you do to her, but do it to her! Tear her face off! Do it to Julia, not to me! Do it to Julia! Not me! If this is betrayal, we might assume tha … [Read more...]

Morality in Multiple Dimensions

In college, I got into a lot of debates about moral relativism, cultural imperialism, and epistemological modesty.  When we were picking fights, it was useful to be able to get a quick sense of your sparring partner's positions, and my friends and I had an easy way to do triage: During the British occupation of India, were the British imperialists right to condemn sati (the practise of burning widows alive on their husbands pyres)?  Were they right to want to eliminate it?  Were the women wrong … [Read more...]

Well, you asked for me to blockquote things I agreed with…

Mere Christianity

People who commented on this post last week might want to be careful what they wish for.   I'm going to keep an eye out for blogposts where I can highlight a pull-quote and have something positive to add, but I figured I could practice by blogging through a book that I agree with quite a bit.  (I already enjoyed doing this with Granny Weatherwax from Discworld).So here comes a series of posts (probably one a week) on a book that made me feel just as this quote from The History Boys puts i … [Read more...]


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