I gotta have my orange juice.

Jesu, Juva

Authentic

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Modern society tends to deprecate cultural modes of expression such as ritual, ceremony, and formal signs of affection and respect because they appear “arbitrary.” Of course, each individual cultural expression, like all symbols, is arbitrary, but the existence of some cultural expression is not arbitrary. It is humanly essential. The meaning of a cultural expression may be determined by tradition rather than by the rationally calculated requirements of the situation. But in language, art, and other matters of cultural expression, much of the symbol’s effectiveness in strengthening a community derives from the community’s tradition. To reject a language because the meaning assigned to each sound is arbitrary misses the point. All languages are arbitrary, and there is no workable substitute for a common set of meanings passed on by a human tradition.

Likewise, people in modern society can often deprecate cultural expressions as “inauthentic.” This objection also ignores an important human truth. If each individual or grouping is expected to develop independently an “authentic” and rich system of symbolic expression, then such systems will never come to be. Instead, human life will be gradually impoverished of its means of expression, and the human realities that need regular expression will be left unprovided for. Cultural expressions are shared meanings, not unique creations.

(Stephen B. Clark, Man and Woman in Christ, 607–608)

Written by Scott Moonen

March 27, 2019 at 6:50 pm

Discretion

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“Don’t keep coughing so, Kitty, for heaven’s sake! Have a little compassion on my nerves. You tear them to pieces.”

“Kitty has no discretion in her coughs,” said her father; “she times them ill.”

“I do not cough for my own amusement,” replied Kitty fretfully.

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Written by Scott Moonen

March 27, 2019 at 6:34 pm

Posted in Humor, Quotations

The Wild Rose (Wendell Berry)

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Sometimes hidden from me
in daily custom and in trust,
so that I live by you unaware
as by the beating of my heart,

suddenly you flare in my sight,
a wild rose blooming at the edge
of thicket, grace and light
where yesterday was only a shade,

and once more I am blessed, choosing
again what I chose before.

Wendell Berry, Selected Poems of Wendell Berry, 153, originally from Entries

Written by Scott Moonen

March 27, 2019 at 6:30 pm

Posted in Poetry

Inescapable

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Everyone tithes. You tithe to something, just like everybody worships. There are no atheists: everybody worships something; everybody has a god.

In the same way, tithing is an inescapable concept, since the first fruits . . . is either going to go to God or it’s going to go to somebody else. You can give it to yourself, or your creditor, or your vacation savings account, or your recreation. but you’re going to give it to somebody. . . .

The one who gets the fruit of our labor is the one we call god. We give the tithe to the person who we believe has blessed us. And that belongs to no other than our Creator.

Duane Garner, Performing Our Vows

Written by Scott Moonen

March 25, 2019 at 5:11 pm

Life-giving bonds

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The covenant is the happiest place on earth.

Duane Garner, Performing Our Vows

Written by Scott Moonen

March 25, 2019 at 5:03 pm

Moral appeal

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[M]odern ideologies involve definite ethical positions. Though an ideology may actually represent the interests of a particular group in society, it does not function as an expression of desire but as an expression of conscience. The slogan “liberty, equality, fraternity” may have originated in the bourgeoisie’s attempt to gain power at the expense of the privileged noble and clerical classes, but the slogan nonetheless rang out as a moral watchword. It struck men with all the force of an “ought,” an ethical imperative. Modern ideologies appeal to people’s consciences, and those who reject an ideology must rely upon the force of an alternate ideological or moral position or contend with the guilt which results from rejecting the ideological appeal. This is why it is so important for Christians to be able to recognize non–Christian ideologies. If they cannot, they are defenseless against their moral appeal. Christians are among those most susceptible to ideological influence, precisely because of their high level of moral sensitivity.

(Stephen B. Clark, Man and Woman in Christ, 522)

Written by Scott Moonen

March 22, 2019 at 5:32 pm

Truth

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Also, many Communists have interpreted the dialectic as giving them freedom to lie and propagandize with little concern for “truth.” Their ethics are not based on absolute norms, but are historically conditioned. Marxists feel free to do whatever is necessary to advance the Communist society—the society in which justice will prevail. What is true at one stage of the dialectical process or from one perspective in the dialectical conflict is not necessarily true at another stage or from another perspective. Marxists do not entirely reject the concept of objective “truth,” but they define and apply the term in a way that differs drastically from its definition and application in Christian morality. For a Marxist, lying can be permissible—even necessary.

(Stephen B. Clark, Man and Woman in Christ, 516)

Written by Scott Moonen

March 22, 2019 at 5:26 pm