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Jesu, Juva

Archive for October 2017

Love language

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Adam McIntosh writes:

Self-sacrifice [is] the Bible’s love language (John 15:13).

Written by Scott Moonen

October 26, 2017 at 8:10 pm

She’s unusual

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Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy attributes to Ben Franklin and his contemporaries the great error of destroying ends by turning them into mere means. Thus, religion becomes merely a means to happiness rather than an end in itself. A walk in the woods becomes a means to greater health rather than something simply to be enjoyed. And at the end of the road, people become a means to our own ends rather than something of fundamental value (see, we struggle to express ourselves any other way!) in themselves. Fixating on “usefulness,” far from elevating the value of something, eviscerates it of any transcendent or enduring worth.

Thus, speaking of romance:

The same thing in every changing moment [is now] treated as end or as means. This is the terror of life. And Franklin has said dogmatically, and you all believe it—23 hours a day you believe it—except when you are in love, you always believe it. The only person where you say she is unusual is the girl. Now what is unusual? Something that can’t be put to any use. What is usual? Something that is in usu, that is, that we know the use for. . . A girl, you cannot. It’s certainly not a girl that counts for something. The harlot, you know her use. But a real person, you cannot. She’s absolutely useless. (Eugen Rosenstock–Huessy, Hinge of Generations, 1953)

In the best possible sense of the word; because one desires her, not what he can get from her.

Later, he comments on how the end of this is tyranny:

We are not means. Once you’ve begun to conceive of other people as means, you end with all the systems of tyranny. You can’t have it, you see. It’s too tempting. It’s too obvious. (Eugen Rosenstock–Huessy, Hinge of Generations, 1953)

He then goes on to relate this to how literature has descended to fiction, using James Fenimore Cooper as his foil. He lays on the shoulders of Cooper and the rest of the Romantic School the blame for descending, from literature as a reflection of life, to fiction as vain longing for the ends that we have lost.

Mr. Franklin is the beginning of great things. He’s certainly the beginning of Mr. Hitler. But Mr. Cooper is the beginning of the burlesque show, because man cannot live by reason, so he has to create fiction. And the fiction world is after all always the exact complementary part to the world in which we actually live. So the heroes of the fiction story are very different from the heroes of great literature. I mean, Tolstoy’s War and Peace or Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov, they are [ourselves], you see, in earnest. But this Natty Bumppo of course is not Mr. Cooper at all, you see. It’s the other half, his wish, his desire.

The heroes of great literature, gentlemen, are the undesirable: real creatures. And the heroes of so-called fiction are, you see, our wish-dreams. . .  They fill out the void. Now, the greater the void you create in your philosophy, the more distorted must be the other person. That is the price of empty philosophy. If usefulness is the criterion for the real life, then uselessness must be the criterion of the other half, of fiction, which it is. [Cooper’s] Indians are no use to anybody. They can’t even be integrated into the historical existence of society, you see. And therefore, they are so beloved. And the waterfalls, and the moonlight, and all these things are, you see, so much on the other side, that the Romantic School says, “This is for the feelings.” Can you see this? Half and half. But they are two halves that never get together. The one is therefore called “fiction.” Of course, Mr. Cooper didn’t dare to call it “fiction” in his days. This was great art. It was “the novel,” as it was called. We call it today, brutally, “fiction.” (Eugen Rosenstock–Huessy, Hinge of Generations, 1953)

Written by Scott Moonen

October 23, 2017 at 6:04 pm

Posted in Quotations


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Now, you are so much victims of modern propaganda, that you even believe that all propaganda is of the same brand, and that only those who do not propagate their faith are decent, and everybody who wants to make disciples is indecent. Gentlemen, I want to make disciples. Certainly. But it is claimed as bad taste in this college: “You mustn’t make disciples.” Gentlemen, then I couldn’t teach. And therefore you have no teaching in this college, because nobody wants to do anything but make suggestions, and perhaps it’s a good idea. Perhaps you look at it in your own way. I think that’s silly; it’s a complete waste of time. If I am not convinced, that is, if I do not think that my thought must bear fruit, I certainly am not adequate for teaching. Teaching means the propagation, you see, of the truth, and can only propagate it if you get hold of this truth, because I say so. (Eugen Rosenstock–Huessy, Hinge of Generations, 1953)

Written by Scott Moonen

October 6, 2017 at 5:37 pm


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Dogma is in the world against dogma. And you will not understand the dogma of any creed, or any faith, if you do not see that you are dogmatic. The men who talk against dogma are always the people who are the most dogmatic. And they don’t know it. The point is, gentlemen, the immersion in the spirit of your own age is unconscious. . . . The going-beyond the spirit of your age can only be achieved by breaking out, so to speak, into consciousness. You have to burst forth into full consciousness. That’s why the church, for example, has always demanded a confession. But the confession makes no sense for people who haven’t lived and haven’t found themselves to be prisoners of their own age. It is only when you have to break the prison of the dogma of your age that you discover the larger freedom. (Eugen Rosenstock–Huessy, Hinge of Generations, 1953)

Written by Scott Moonen

October 6, 2017 at 8:58 am


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In Acts 10, when God declares all food to be clean, Peter does not reach the facile conclusion that God no longer cares for his health; the laws of uncleanness were never about health. Peter realizes instead that God declares all nations to be clean (10:28), i.e., that God is fashioning a new house for himself with no distinction between Jew and Gentile (10:34; compare Paul in Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, etc.). Not that Gentiles were never saved before, but there are no longer stages of separation between priest, Levite, Hebrew, and God-fearer (consider Psalm 118:2-4).

Mark has already revealed to us the same conclusion. Mark 7 carefully juxtaposes a story about ceremonial hand washing (7:1-23) with the story of the Syrophoenician woman (7:24-30):

And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean. . . .

And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden. But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” And he said to her, “For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.” And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone. (Mark 7:18-30 ESV)

Far from perpetuating the tradition of the elders here, Jesus is both testing the woman’s faith and subverting the tradition of the elders.

Thus he declared all nations clean.

Written by Scott Moonen

October 4, 2017 at 8:08 pm

Posted in Biblical Theology