I just read Ready-Player One on the recommendation of a cop friend. Really, it recommended itself. A story about an eccentric genius game designer, obsessed with 1980s trivia, who leaves his vast fortune to whoever can solve the online riddles and games the designed has larded around a massive virtual universe? I expected to be entertained. (more…)
A biblical scholar argues that Adam’s rib may have been a baculum.
Impossible to prove, of course, but pretty interesting considering the weight that the creation story carries, especially for Mormons, especially for the light it sheds on the sexes.
In the Mormon context, the fact that male potency is purely dependent on blood, i.e, mortality, is something to ponder.
Christmas seems to bring out the child in all of us.
So perhaps it should not have surprised me to find His Majesty playing with Tinker toys this morning.
Christmas can lose something in translation.
Yesterday my son walked around the house singing, over and over,
Bring me flesh and bring me wine,
bring me pirate liver!
Good King Wenceslas, we hope, would have been appalled.
Like the Christmas Star, a light hangs in the firmament unnoticed except by the Wise; the rest see darkness. But for them as can see it shines out. As Lewis put it: “be confident small immortals. You are not the only voice that all things utter, nor is there eternal silence in the places where you cannot come.
-thus Richard Fernandez
The Metaphysics of The Family is the principle that discourse of family is the best, primary, most literally true way of conceptualizing ultimate reality.
Reality is conceptualised in abstracted ideal terms derived-from the type of relationship characteristic of Family: the reality and distinctness of men and women, parents and children, marriage and procreation, and the structural primacy of loving relationships.
I am, of course, talking here about the (often implicit) metaphysical theology associated with Mormonism and ‘the Restoration’ — and emphasising how on the one hand it represents a massive departure from the tradition of intellectual and philosophical theology going back to Greek and Roman times; and how on the other hand it is an abstract and systematic crystallisation of what has probably been the mainstream and most common understanding of Christianity among ordinary, simple people whose conceptualisation derived from the abundant Biblical discourse of family relationships.
I personally find the Metaphysics of The Family to be a deep, revealed truth of reality.
For me, ‘The Family’ is therefore not merely an important moral value (e.g. ‘family values’ which Christians might promote as one of several moral values); but the fundamental principle that holds within it nothing less than the secret of the underlying pattern of the whole of the manifested universe.
On the dangers of mass movements:
… In fact Gandhi’s own ashram, with his own very expensive ‘simple’ tastes and innumerable ‘secretaries’ and handmaidens, had to be heavily subsidized by three merchant princes. As one of his circle observed: ‘It costs a great deal of money to keep Gandhiji living in poverty.’
… The events of 1920-1 indicated that though he could bring a mass-movement into existence, he could not control it. Yet he continued to play the sorcerer’s apprentice, while the casualty bill mounted into hundreds ,then thousands, then tens of thousands and the risks of a gigantic sectarian and racial explosion accumulated. This blindness to the law of probability in a bitterly divided sub-continent made nonsense of Gandhi’s professions that he would not take life in any circumstances.
— Paul Johnson, Modern Times
Each holiday has its own character and its own image. Our American 4th of July is about sun, noise, grilling, healthy flesh. The image of Thanksgiving is a good appetite and the stuffed extended family lolling about afterwards, desultorily playing at games. Christmas is unusual–it has two main images
The first theme is the happy, domestic one. It’s the family gathered around the tree. Lights are dim. There’s probably a fire and a fireplace. People are happy and smiling.
The other image is the spiritual feeling of the clear, cold night sky with the remote and beautiful stars. Christmas spirituality is the spirituality of looking up at the night sky when everything is still.
Our normal image of the birth of Jesus combines the two. We see the cozy stable, warmly and dimly lit by a lamp, with the small family gathered in around, and the animals gathered in, and the shepherds and such. Then around them the night and the stars, especially the one bright star.
Easter is a morning holiday. Christmas is perhaps more about Christmas Eve than Christmas morning. Certainly there are more rituals associated with Christmas Eve then there are our Christmas morning. Christmas Eve is when the candles are lit, when the children act out the nativity, when we dig dirt to fill our paper bags for luminarias, when we set up the stockings and put out milk for Santa.
The other night holiday is spooky. Christmas Eve isn’t. But the night, the clear, cold night, still takes the holiday out of the ordinary.
Sunrise and sunset are great for casual glancing enjoyment in passing. But if you really look at them they seem to demand something more. You see that there is a glory about them that approaches the transcendent. You want to have an appreciation that is worthy of the site. You want to commune. And you can’t. If you try–when I try–frustration results.
For many people, Christmas is a pretty frustrating holiday. I love Christmas, personally, but I understand the frustration. Christmas isn’t only a time to have a shindy. There is a spiritual element there, a grandeur, and it demands that you reach out for it, and your reaching always never quite succeeds. You never fully commune.
Today I told my family that I had had a dream. When they were grown, I said, and I and their mother were gone, I dreamed that on Christmas Eve when all was quiet and still, when the only light was from the tree and the dying fire, I would be permitted to return. I would be permitted to sit by the tree and remember when they were young. Perhaps, I told them, if they briefly awoke they might hear the sound of rocking, and know that the old ties were still there.
The truth is that I already spend part of Christmas Eve night that way. After the children are all gone to bed and I’ve finished wrapping and bustling, I usually sit by the dying fire for awhile. I contemplate the lights, and think of Christmases that have gone, and the Christmases to come when my children will be grown. My wife says I puzzle her. For someone who loves Christmas so much, she says, I can get remarkably melancholic about it.
Remembering old days, my childhood days and my children’s, that will not come again, is part of the melancholy. Another part is my inability to fully penetrate into the heart of Christmas. I have never fully gone inside.
But I keep trying. Because there is a voice that whispers. It promises that someday I will be at the very manger, and all the old Christmases will be one.
On Sunday morning of the April 1971 General Conference Richard L Evans gave a highly quotable talk, titled Where are You Really Going? I could quote pretty much the whole thing. John Ruskin’s dream you won’t want to miss, of course, and there’s the wonderful aphorism that today is part of eternity.
So naturally I’m going to talk about a different talk all together. (more…)
The Devil invented lies to turn the power of speech into a weapon of falsehood. And God invented the parable, the poem, the epic, the song, and the sonnet in order to turn the power of lies into fables, myths, types and shadows, to turn fiction into a weapon of truth.
I know more people who were converted by Aslan than by Aquinas. What does that tell you about the power of fiction?
Thus John C Wright