Monday, August 25, 2008

worth repeating for the masses

On society:
"I really don't think society is deteriorating. It's status-quo retardation all around with some rare sparks of brilliance." -- some random commenter I know
Pretty hard to argue with that, when you think about it...

so, so tempting

As some know, I've been playing with the idea of moving from the boring 'burbs out here into Boston to be closer to church especially and also the other cool stuff that a city offers to a (still kinda) young single dude like me. I'd really like to pull it off, actually, it's just that finding a place that's decent--not too crappy but not too high-class for the likes of me, and okay-sounding roommates--and doesn't have the prohibitive-to-me lease requirement attached has been a challenge. And I'm also finding that few places downtown include parking, which makes sense but hadn't occurred to me before.

Well, just to scare the heck out of anyone who bothers to read this, check out this gem I just found, and then realize that my first thought was that I should check it out. Not only is that place posh, but believe it or not, for Beacon Hill that's actually not bad at all for a furnished place with all bills paid, Beacon Hill being undoubtedly one of the most expensive (and nicest) city locales in the nation to live in. Yeah, that'd take a kinda HUGE bite out of the ol' paycheck every month, but methinks Boston living arrangements don't get much better than that. I mean, on top of Beacon Hill, two blocks from the Common? I can't think of anything comparable in any other downtown I'm familiar with--Georgetown in D.C. or the lake shore in Chicago maybe.

If I thought it had parking (guaranteed it doesn't) then I'd probably look into it. Part of me says that'd be irresponsible as heck, and that part's probably right, yet still, another part of me says why not live the life while I'm able to, at least for a little while. Oh well, for better or for worse, an opportunity missed...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

welcoming our own destruction

The Elusive Wapiti speaks:
[Europeans] are being voluntarily assimilated by a culture that does not value Western civilization, has not had its own enlightenment, and is a modern instantiation of an 8th century bronze age religion. If anything, the ruling leftist elite should be running like hell from this culture, but strangely they have embraced the very thing that will result in their own destruction.

But it's not just Europe. We Americans are experiencing this effect too, not so much from Islamization (that's there too) but from Mexifornication. Our rulers have apparently concluded that our culture is irredeemably racist and should therefore be replaced by another culture that is demonstrably racist and ethnocentrist and doesn't really care all that much about "white" values such as liberty, individual rights, and the rule of law...
He's absolutely right, of course. Sometimes I wonder why I post this stuff though. It's as if our society is already too far gone for anyone to bother trying to save, as the Wapiti alludes to. Trouble is, it's not just that the leftards won't do anything, it's that nobody seems to want to do anything. The same crap keeps happening unabated. I mean, look at our rulers. And to add insult to injury, whoever our next president is will have a very real chance of being even worse than the current one.

Those foreign shores just keep looking better with every article I read. It would be nice to at least feel like people are unspoiled enough to care about their own future enough to stand up for it. Such a place MUST exist in the world somewhere...I know it...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

fred on the rat race

Here I was, just about to pack it in for the night, and I come across this awesome new Fred column that touches on a topic of interest that I've rambled about before (here and here, for example) and will now ramble about once more. Fred adds a lot of insight that I hadn't delved into. It seems that the pace in our society precludes us even being able to desire some of the finer things in life, much less having time to enjoy them. Here's the basic gist of what Sir Fred has to say:
In all things technological the United States is magnificent, the Athens of solid-state physics. Yet the great orchestras die unlistened to, we have no Shakespeare or Dante nor notion why we might want them, and religious expression grows mute, or crabbed and hostile. Why?

I think the answer is that our surroundings determine not just what we think, but what we can think. We live in cities urban but not urbane, among screaming sirens, in air grayed by exhaust and wracked by the blattings of buses. The complaint is not invalid for being trite. I cannot imagine a Whitman composing in a shopping mall.

The rush and complexity of everything take their toll. As a people we might well be called The Unrelaxed. And, therefore, the Uncontemplative.


The Milnes and Donnes and Marlowes don’t exist because they can’t, and we don’t want them because we can’t want them.
The emphasis is added, of course. He really hits on something there. It's not that we just don't have time to appreciate things. We are, due to the pace of our lives and the state of our minds, unable to appreciate things. We only know what is right in front of us or whatever comparatively miniscule task or topic is at the forefront of our thoughts at any time, and this prevents us from focusing on the bigger things beyond that. But I'm reiterating myself here so I'll leave it at that for now.

Fred has a way of describing people that applies to our society: "Scientists take things apart but, except for the greats, do not notice the whole." Methinks that is profound. In this context, America has become a nation of scientists. We understand great details about small things but are woefully ignorant of greater concepts. Worse, we often don't realize our ignorance. And still worse, even when we realize it we don't care. We understand the intricacies of life at a molecular level, but we don't why it exists or how it started and we don't care to know. We know how sound waves work and how to manipulate them in seemingly endless ways, but we can't understand or appreciate some of the most challenging and greatest compositions of all time. (Or worse yet, bands like System of a Down and Radiohead come along and create cacophonous dins of noise, and the masses call it "music" and lap it up! God help us all.)

I can't help but think about modern Christianity here. People often decry the decreasing influence of the faith over the years in the West and carry on at great length about how the trend ought to be slowed and reversed. I agree that its reversal would do wonders for the health of society. But how should we approach this issue?

I'm not sure it's possible for such a reversal--a revival, if you will, as it's been understood historically--can happen (at least not by human efforts, but you get the idea) without a "slowing down" of society. For one to seek and know spiritual things in any depth, one must first "know the questions," as Fred puts it. That's not just being aware that such questions can be asked, but knowing their significance and implications. For one to even begin to grasp the greater ideas of spirituality--things like origin, destiny, and so on--one must be able to contemplate such things. Such contemplation requires a relaxed state of mind that is free from the burdens of everyday life as we know it, the "tyranny of the urgent," time to just ponder things and take in the world without any specific purpose in mind. This sort of mindset requires being able to put aside other thoughts and just be "at peace," for lack of a better way to put it. (I sincerely apologize for the hippie-esque bent here, but I'm failing to come up with a better way to put it.) It's like the tenets of Christianity--to understand salvation one must first understand sin.* To understand Christianity one must first know the questions.

The trouble is, society prevents us from doing that. The pace of society does not lend itself to pondering things of depth. Moreover, our minds, having been conditioned by society for so long, are not (often) capable of that. Something that used to come naturally during times of rest or even throughout the day now takes great effort to "achieve," and I wonder if just the necessity of the effort makes it impossible.

So while many continue to bemoan the shrinking influence of such big-picture things in our lives, perhaps they ought to focus not on the results but the causes. Rather than continually repackage Christianity into forms that fit the cultural norm, maybe we should ask why such repackaging is necessary. What would happen if, instead of trying to change Christianity to fit society, people tried to change society? And that not just on a surface level of "vote for this" or "boycott that," but on a fundamental level of what drives us to think we can or should do what we do.

To paraphrase my closing line from a previous and favorite post of mine, in our society we are fortunate to have a lot of things, but do they make up for what we don't have?

* I don't mean fully understand sin, but enough to appreciate its magnitude and consequences on more than a worldly scale.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Great clip from a comment thread at Dr. Helen's:
The American Republic will endure until the politicians realize that the people can be bribed with their own money.
-- Alexis de Tocqueville
Yup, add him to the prophet list. He was 150 or so years ahead on that one, too...impressive. I think a corollary ought to be added, to the effect of, "...until the people become incapable of putting the common good above their own self-interest."

Saturday, August 02, 2008


Anyone who thinks the American legal system is remotely close to fair or reliable when it comes to punishing women for their actions, you just ran out of ammo. Read it and weep, folks. And let this be another exhibit of why marriage to an American is...well, a risk, to put it in the nicest terms I can dream up right now.

more where that came from

Today is a bad day for the church (note the little "c") in my blog posts. What can I say, I'm just reading a lot of stuff that brings to mind how the church is failing in its role as cornerstone of society. And here's more, taken from this excellent post by a blogger who's about to get added to the blogroll.
Unfortunately, in the West today, we are harvesting the rotten fruit of this grave misinterpretation of Scripture. Dads weep bitterly at the loss of their children before dying at a premature age. Moms groan under the burden of both providing and keeping the home. Children wonder why everyone is so unhappy and reject both marriage and the Church. And those concerned about liberty grow increasingly alarmed at the scope and size of the government Hydra that grows more and more heads when the atomistic family disintegrates.
Tell me that's not a dead-on description of what we see in the West today. And the culprit may just be the church itself, in ways you might not suspect.

singles and the church

Some good discussion here about being single in the church and some of the issues faced, though it doesn't add a whole lot to the discussion that I and other singles I've known aren't already aware of. But it does remind me that I really, really ought to write one of those tediously long posts about it sometime. I can relate firsthand to a lot of the experiences and frustrations shared by commenters.

I think someone summed it up well with the "singles are invisible" comment. We're there physically and involved in church activities and all, but oftentimes that's about where the connection to "the body" ends. The emotional and spiritual ties--i.e. the more meaningful ones--just aren't very deep. The modern church, at least the prevailing examples I've seen of it, really doesn't know what to do with singles, especially this burgeoning, never-seen-before demographic of older Christian singles, and especially since many of them aren't all-out intent on getting married. Compounding the problem is the fact that a lot of singles don't know too well how to integrate with a church, or at least (especially?) a church culture, that seems (to them) to be designed and run for married folks. Not that either side is at fault necessarily, it's just one of those weird things where there's a gap between people at different stations in life and nobody knows how to bridge it. But, for better or for worse, it does have huge implications for the future of the church and its ability to both care for its own and reach out to those outside its ranks, especially in our society. And by extension, it has huge implications for the future of the society as a whole.

Anyway, further discussion is for another time. I'm hungry for a decent, good-size meal--and me being a single guy with minimal cooking skills, that obviously means I need to leave the house to forage for some good eats...

what did we expect?

Great Vox post here. As the title says, what else would we expect from atheists? Should we be the least bit surprised at their apathy? They're plenty willing to scream and whine and cry and generally throw a fit about what others are doing, but actually giving money to support such ranting and purposeful offending? Well now, that requires such fuzzy things as convictions and a desire to do well in the world for folks other than oneself, sensibilities atheists have not shown themselves to possess large quantities of these days.

Also, how on the mark is the following bit from the comment thread?
AIDS is already preventable, simply by an exercise of choice. The liberal do-gooders of the world just don't like the IMPLICATIONS of that fact, so instead they want to erase the consequence of that choice. And they want the world to spend billions, trillions even, on efforts to do such. It's about removal of consequences, more than about saving lives.

If saving lives were really the prime objective, logic suggests a much better possibility of success by funding missionaries to go to AIDS-heavy parts of the world and convert people to Christianity. That is a proven method, and doesn't even require giant donations to GlaxoSmithKline, which has no proven method.

But of course that just wouldn't do. Why, we can't have those poor people become Christians, and maybe learn to live together without tribal genocides, dictators, voodoo medicine, and bad agriculture. It simply isn't ... uh... politically savory.
What an excellent take. Whether or not one is a Christian, facts are facts. By far the most progress in stopping the spread of AIDS in Africa has been made via abstinence-only education and that mostly (if not entirely) at the hands of Christians. So to restate what the guy says in different words, if it were truly the saving of lives that were of primary concern, we would put or prejudices aside and wholly support missionary efforts in the area that already have a proven track record in not only stopping the spread of AIDS but in combating other societal ills as well. The fact that we (as a nation/culture) don't suggests that there is a higher priority in our minds than saving lives of people in far off lands. Ultimately, we want to feel good, free, and empowered, far more than we actually want to exercise the humility necessary to do the best thing for others. Yay, go Western culture...