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Jesu, Juva

Archive for January 2022

Metábasis eis állo génos (3-4)

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Snow!

I wrote last week about households. A corollary of this is that any work a wife does outside of her home is a gift that she brings to her husband and places under his direction.

But if her husband overrules her on the day that he hears it, he shall make void her vow which she took and what she uttered with her lips, by which she bound herself, and Yahweh will release her. (Numbers 30:8)

This does not mean that he does not give her great freedom in it. It is the nature of authority to beget and to multiply authority.

The heart of her husband safely trusts her;​​
So he will have no lack of gain.
​​She does him good and not evil​​
All the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax,
​​And willingly works with her hands.
​​She is like the merchant ships,​​
She brings her food from afar.
​​She also rises while it is yet night,
​​And provides food for her household,​​
And a portion for her maidservants.
​She considers a field and buys it;
​​From her profits she plants a vineyard. (Proverbs 31:11–16)

I always look for Wolfe when I go to the used book store:

I was tempted to form a trifecta, but I think it will be a long time before I can work in The Bonfire of the Vanities.

But whenever we are dealing with symbolic language, we must remember that the symbol is always less than the reality. The wedding ring is less than the marriage. The flag is less than the country it represents. This means that if the lake of fire is a literal lake of fire, then it must be really bad. But if the lake of fire is merely symbolic, then that means that the reality it represents is far worse . . . Saying that the fire and brimstone are symbolic does not fix our dilemma. Symbolic of what? — Douglas Wilson

But what if the essence of a place is that it is defenseless? What if its ability to welcome others, to be hospitable to strangers, is its identity? What if vulnerability is its unstated mission? . . . . A synagogue is not like an airport or a stadium. When it becomes a fortress, something immeasurable is lost. — Juliette Kayyem

My state and county Republican leadership is a little too eager to commemorate 9/11 and MLKJ.

Fruits of the Spirit are to be practiced, cultivated:

Hatred is a fruit of the Spirit:

Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God!​​
Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men.
​​For they speak against You wickedly;​​
Your enemies take Your name in vain.
Do I not hate them, O Yahweh, who hate You?
​​And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
​​I hate them with perfect hatred;​​
I count them my enemies. (Psalm 139:19–22)

Written by Scott Moonen

January 22, 2022 at 3:21 pm

Posted in Miscellany

Metábasis eis állo génos (3-3)

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Charlotte and Asher competed in an NCFCA tournament last week and did well. Ivy volunteered with judging. I really enjoyed witnessing so many young folks engaging in good speech and debate, and I greatly appreciate the home school speech club we’ve been able to participate in this year.

One student made the striking statement that “the good is the enemy of the best.” I’m familiar with the converse expression, but there are cases as well where this is true: we must offer our best, our first fruits, to God.

The tournament forced us to miss our church’s twelfth night feast, but we lit our own Epiphany light upon our return, combining our tree with three that we collected from the neighborhood:

Then he shall put his hand on the head of the ascension offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him. (Lev. 1:4)

This leads to a profound irony:

Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands, saying, “Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck You?” (Matt. 26:67–68)

Therefore your sin remains. Thomas makes better use of his hands:

Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” (John 20:27)

May we be his heirs:

Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)

We set our sights too low if we merely train our daughters to “love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed” (Titus 2). We have received many blessings from the global economy, but it also represents an ever-increasing dislocation from a healthy oiko-nomos, that is, healthy household management. Our sons as well must be oriented towards their household, though they will naturally have a more outward-facing posture than their wives.

With Rosenstock-Huessy, I believe that the day of the big things—the big countries, the big economies, the big banks, the big companies, the big denominations—is coming to an end. Right now we must and do find ways to walk in this world of great giants and beasts, but we do so with a hopeful eye to the future. Our children will likely walk in a different world, and our grand-children almost certainly will. C. R. Wiley’s books Man of the House and The Household and the War for the Cosmos are both helpful introductions to thinking differently. I recall Nassim Taleb writing about Italian doctors and lawyers, how their practices tend to be much smaller and how they place a high value on individual accomplishment. I cannot find the quote but it was a compelling idea, especially in the male world.

It also strikes me that we do not see the hidden tradeoffs we have made. Aaron Renn’s reflections on “Beyond Economic Piety” underscore this well. What if we could abolish abortion in exchange for half of our GDP? Or abolish abortion in exchange for half of our pharmaceutical formulary being put out of reach of the average person? Wouldn’t you make that exchange without hesitation? We have received great wealth but at unbearable cost. Rich Lusk rightly observes that, “Of all the revolutions of the last several centuries that have rocked the world (the French Revolution, the Russian revolution, the Chinese revolution), it is the sexual revolution that has been the bloodiest of them all.” Miserere nobis.

Mark Horne recognizes the voice of Aslan:

So sometimes you know things and sometimes you really know things. I knew Jesus was YHWH but, when I came to the messages to the seven churches (Revelation 2-3), having read through the Bible from the beginning to that point, I really knew it.

His voice was unmistakable.

Mark Horne also passes along this article on what you might call a “best is the enemy of the good” strength training regimen. I appreciate the observations here; right now a one-hour workout twice a week is the best balance for me. I’m squatting twice, deadlifting twice, curling twice, pressing once, and bench pressing once. I’m never sore while I maintain this pace, though I only have to miss a single workout in order for the next one to leave me sore! I’ve also been influenced by the Barbell Medicine team to conduct my work sets around 70-80% of my estimated 1RM, rather than trying to negotiate complex patterns in an attempt to experience further progression. Maybe things will be different ten years from now, but I’m content with how things are going now.

Alan Jacobs plans to “repair something every day, even if it’s something insignificant, and even if the repair is just a bit of cleaning. I want each night to be able to say: Today, instead of acquiring something new, I took something already known to me and made it a little better.”

It is true that each little victory is hardly a victory thanks to the fact that the Overton window has moved so far. We should not even be entertaining the idea of the things that are being half-heartedly struck down.

Written by Scott Moonen

January 15, 2022 at 8:08 am

Metábasis eis állo génos (3-2)

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Wendell Berry’s “A Standing Ground”—

However just and anxious I have been,
I will stop and step back
from the crowd of those who may agree
with what I say, and be apart.
There is no earthly promise of life or peace
but where the roots branch and weave
their patient silent passages in the dark;
uprooted, I have been furious without an aim.
I am not bound for any public place,
but for ground of my own
where I have planted vines and orchard trees,
and in the heat of the day climbed up
into the healing shadow of the woods.
Better than any argument is to rise at dawn
and pick dew–wet red berries in a cup.

Mark Horne writes that “people who read the whole Bible every four years are better off than people who read less than half the Pentateuch in the first quarter of every year.” Read the whole thing.

Written by Scott Moonen

January 9, 2022 at 2:49 pm

Posted in Miscellany, Poetry

Metábasis eis állo génos (3-1)

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Happy ninth day of Christmas!

I love this phrase by Frost: “the earnest love that laid the swale in rows.”

And I love this evocative picture of a kind of New Jerusalem by Berry, from “The Morning’s News”—

. . . Though the river floods
and the spring is cold, my heart goes on,
faithful to a mystery in a cloud,
and the summer’s garden continues its descent
through me, toward the ground.

Those are richly blessed who find a place where they are completely out of breath trying to keep up:

Written by Scott Moonen

January 2, 2022 at 9:24 pm

Posted in Miscellany