I gotta have my orange juice.

Jesu, Juva

Success

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Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy points out that the transitive and intransitive forms of succeed are closely related. It is not possible to “turn out well” without reference to that which you have inherited or followed. All success is dependent on, builds upon, translates, and perhaps transcends, something that has come before.

See also: Less

Written by Scott Moonen

July 18, 2017 at 6:44 am

Posted in Miscellany

Future

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Marriage:
Isn’t founded on a proof or prediction of a good future.
Isn’t a mutual experiment in hope of a good future.
Is a risky and courageous mutual determination to create a future.
(Summarizing Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy)

Written by Scott Moonen

July 18, 2017 at 6:39 am

Posted in Marriage

Living sacrifice

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I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (Romans 12:1 ESV)

Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy points out that the first living sacrifice in scripture is Isaac:

And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. (Genesis 22:13 ESV)

This adds depth to how we understand Paul. Paul is saying that we offer our entire selves to God in worship. But we do so not simply because of God’s worthiness, or even because everything we have is from him (11:36). We do so out of the consciousness that we have been spared one kind of death by Jesus’s death, that we owe ourselves to him doubly.

[Y]ou were ransomed . . . not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. (1 Peter 1:18-19 ESV)

So we die in a different and better way, dying to ourselves not in order to repay him but in order to also give life to others (12:3ff).

Written by Scott Moonen

July 16, 2017 at 3:51 pm

Foodless

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Peter Leithart writes of weekly communion:

Foodless worship is unthinkable in the Bible and has been unthinkable through most of Christian history. . . .

The Church is not an “instrument” or “means” to achieve individual salvation. The Church is the present form of salvation in history.

Written by Scott Moonen

June 30, 2017 at 9:59 pm

Vaunting

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The concern for victims has become a paradoxical competition of mimetic rivalries, of opponents continually trying to outbid one another.

The victims most interesting to us are always those who allow us to condemn our neighbors. And our neighbors do the same. They always think first about victims for whom they hold us responsible.

We do not all have the same experience as St. Peter and St. Paul, who discovered that they themselves were guilty of persecution and confessed their own guilt rather than that of their neighbors. It’s our neighbors who kindly remind us that we should be compassionate, and we render them the same service. . . .

From now on we have our antisacrificial rituals of victimization, and they unfold in an order as unchangeable as properly religious rituals. First of all we lament the victims we admit to making or allowing to be made. Then we lament the hypocrisy of our lamentation, and finally we lament Christianity, the indispensable scapegoat, for there is no ritual without a victim, and in our day Christianity is always it, the scapegoat of last resort. As part of this last stage of the ritual, we affirm, in a nobly suffering tone, that Christianity has done nothing to “resolve the problem of violence.” (René Girard, I See Satan Fall Like Lightning, 164)

Written by Scott Moonen

June 28, 2017 at 8:49 am

Posted in Quotations

De profundis

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The book of Job is, in effect, an immense psalm. (René Girard, I See Satan Fall Like Lightning, 117)

Written by Scott Moonen

June 25, 2017 at 6:34 pm

Multiformity

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The soul has to do with the invisible, with the things that are not expressed either in dollars and cents, or in a locality. For the soul of man, . . . it doesn’t matter that you have to pack up and leave New York. It didn’t matter to my soul that I had to leave Germany and come to this country. It mattered very much to my . . . role in society, you see; it mattered very much to my mind, because I had to think new things, you see; and it mattered very much to my environment, to my natural fight for existence, to my bodily existence. It didn’t matter at all to my soul. Quite the contrary: only because I left this other space, you see, could I save my soul. . . .

Gentlemen, you have not learned to use the term “soul” right. . . . The one condition . . . attached to the use of the word “soul” is that you ascribe to the soul the power to survive change of environment, change of body, and change of mind, and change of role. . . . It is very difficult to understand that a dishonored person can have all the more soul, because society doesn’t reclaim him and doesn’t recognize him, you see. Your integrity as a soul . . . can only be tested if you can survive environmental change, mental change.

[We are given] the occasion of turning [our] experience into an asset simply by discovering that [we are] not to be identified with any external position in society. You see, this is the challenge. The soul always comes to our rescue with a new pride, and says, “If I’m humiliated, if I’m humbled . . . then I discover my real powers.”

You see, the soul thrives on the invisible, which is nothing mystical. But it is the power, Goethe has called it, . . . “to place ourselves in times into nonexistence in order to come into existence.” And take this down, because it is your best weapon against . . . modern existentialism. . . . These existentialists always say that we exist. But gentlemen, . . . the nonexistence is the experience of the soul. . . . The soul is still in being when the man doesn’t seem to exist, because “exist” is materially visible in the senses. Every one of you has to be able to live through a cocoon stage in which, in the eyes of the world, he’s somebody else. He isn’t yet the one who one day will shake the foundations of the universe by his actions. In this moment, he seems to be nonexistent. He’s out in pasture. And this nonexistence, gentlemen, is the state of the soul. . . . Any one of us at times at least has to be tested in this manner.

. . .

I wish you to understand that all these forms are purely secular forms, of passing importance: the worker, the businessman, the farmer. No one can save his soul by just being a worker, or by just being a farmer, or just being a businessman. Comes an emergency, you see, he must have another power. . . Man is only in [the] course of his life one, when he can join together the various phases of his life into oneness, you see. . . .

And therefore, . . . any one of these groups, any one of these groups carries some eternal truth about you and me into the field of their purely social passing, business activity. . . . [They] identif[y] a reflection of this real quality of you and me, you see, in the course of our lives, from child to death, with any special situation on which you can put, you see, your finger and say, “This is it.” . . . [And so] you get all the sects. Any sect, any sectarian movement, you see, identifies a partial solution of infinity with a total solution of infinity. That’s why you shouldn’t be sectarians, gentlemen. Don’t be sectarians. A sect is always confusing infinity . . . into which we are moving, that all men in a certain extent belong to each other: with . . . some relative realization. (Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, Cross of Reality, 1953)

Written by Scott Moonen

June 20, 2017 at 8:50 am

Posted in Quotations, Suffering