Reading

Sarah Willard, “Come Ye Sinners,” Blind Mule Blog (Aug. 11, 2022) [link]:

What is endlessly comforting to me as a Christian is that the first step in God’s provision is emptiness. What qualifies you for Christ? Need, lack, want. These are things I have, so this is good news. A lack of love and strength is exactly what I can bring to Christ.

In her winsome, humble way, Sarah writes about on why feeling tired and empty is not necessarily bad place to be. A wise young woman.


Freddie DeBoer, “Hard Work is Only Sometimes Necessary and Never Sufficient, But What Else Can You Do? (yes, the system is rigged, but you’re in it all the same),” FdB (Aug. 15, 2022) [link]:

Life’s not fair. But that doesn’t mean that you get to just opt out of it. And you know what? Congrats to that guy who doesn’t work hard and enjoys more success, seriously. Te salut. Bottom line: hard work can’t ensure your success but a lack of hard work can ensure your failure. 
                             * * * 
[B]eing a socialist never entailed a belief that nothing we do matters or that we were exempt from the need to work. The fact that so many people have come to believe that the only options before us are a witless rise-and-grind work fetishism or an utterly fatalistic belief that nothing we do matters… it doesn’t say good things about our culture. Personally, I blame capitalism. 

That last bit is tongue-in-cheek, if the post title didn’t give it away.


Alan Jacobs, “Tolerance,” Snakes and Ladders (Aug. 15, 2022) [link]:

[Washington is saying] I . . . do not offer “toleration” to you and people like you, because it is not in the power of some Americans merely to tolerate the exercise of other Americans’ rights. To be an American is to be on the same footing with every other American. This is the view that Yenor rejects: he’s explicitly pursuing an America in which Protestant Christians have the power to tolerate of others, and the liberties of those others depend upon the sufferance of their Protestant rulers.

If I may take this one more (theological) step, those who believe in the Imago Dei should not view others with toleration (as those who are permitted to be wrong) but almost with reverence (as those who are called to choose). C.S. Lewis has something to say about this, too. [link]

And finally, one more from ayjay if you are at all interested in the technical aspects of music recording: Alan Jacobs, “untitled,” Snakes and Ladders (Aug. 12, 2022). [link]

Essay questions from the Primer

Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age: or A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer (1995):

  • “[He] began to develop an opinion that was to shape his political views in later years, namely, that while people were not genetically different, they were culturally as different as could be, and that some cultures were better than others. This was not a subjective value judgment, merely an observation that some cultures thrived and expanded while others failed. It was a view implicitly shared by nearly everyone but, in those days, never voiced.” pp. 16-17
  • “[A]s many first-time fathers had realized in the delivery room, there was something about the sight of an actual baby that focused the mind. In a world of abstractions, nothing was more concrete than a baby.” p. 150
  • “[T]he difference between ignorant and educated people is that the latter know more facts. But that has nothing to do with whether they are stupid or intelligent. The difference between stupid and intelligent people—and this is true whether or not they are well-educated—is that intelligent people can handle subtlety. They are not baffled by ambiguous or even contradictory situations—in fact they expect them and are apt to become suspicious when things seem overly straightforward.” p. 256

Each of these is thought or voiced by one of the father figures in this novel. Discuss among yourselves.

October reading

We all know that it is the worst of times . . .

If I vote for Biden, I will be complicit in abortions on a mass scale.

If I vote for Trump, I will be complicit in cementing a worldview in which the ends justify the means, power replaces truth, and thus the very truths by which we define and understand ourselves as human are at stake.

Karen Swallow Prior, “Voting for Neither,” Christianity Today (Oct. 28, 2020) [link].

Here’s your semi-regular reminder: You don’t have to be there. You can quit Twitter and Facebook and never go back.

Alan Jacobs, “it’s time,” Snakes and Ladders (Oct. 28, 2020) [link].

but it is also the best of times:

There have been many men on the court who seemed deep and were celebrated for their scholarly musings but were essentially, as individuals and in their conception of life, immature. But this is not a child, a sentimentalist, an ideological warrior. This is a thinker who thinks about reality.

Peggy Noonan, “Everyone Has Gone Crazy in Washington,” The Wall Street Journal (Oct. 15, 2020) [link].

Sad tales are generally accepted, but when you share joy it is likely that someone somewhere might be hurt by it, especially in a year marked by such sweeping stress. We are all secretly afraid that there might not be enough happiness to go around, and that we will perpetually be that kid that gets left behind.

Sarah Willard, “Reader, I Married Him,” Blind Mule Blog (Oct. 27, 2020) [link].

and indeed, it is like all times:

And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flames are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one

T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding,” The Four Quartets [link].

It is not how we vote, or what we read, or who we support or oppose, or even how well we love. We live in a comedy, not a tragedy, for there is One to rescue us from ourselves.

There is One who does good, and the world is certainly in his hand. He will judge and he will redeem.