Tuesday, February 28, 2023


My introduction to Timothy Keller was through his very good apologetic, The Reason for God (2008). Since then I've read many things by and about him, including the remarkable ministry of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. This review of a new book about Keller summarizes his theological development. A small excerpt from that review:
.... Like many people raised in the 1950s, Keller grew up going to church – mostly in a mainline Lutheran denomination, but with occasional Catholic and Wesleyan influences as well.

By his own account, his knowledge of the “gospel,” as he later came to understand the term, was nearly nonexistent. If he had been asked at the time what it meant to be a Christian, he might have said “be a good person.”

When he was in middle school, one evangelically minded Lutheran minister introduced him to the Lutheran distinction between law and grace, a revelation that Keller found eye-opening and that he thinks could have led him to a saving knowledge of Jesus.

But the next year, a liberal Lutheran pastor presented a completely different form of Christianity – one that had almost nothing to do with individual salvation and everything to do with social justice. Following Jesus, he said, meant enlisting in the civil rights movement – and nothing to do with trusting in an atoning sacrifice to appease a wrathful God.

“It was almost like being instructed in two different religions,” Keller later recalled. “In the first year, we stood before a holy, just God whose wrath could only be turned aside at great effort and cost. In the second year, we heard of a spirit of love in the universe, who mainly required that we work for human rights and the liberation of the oppressed. The main question I wanted to ask our instructors was, ‘Which one of you is lying?’” ....

Then he discovered an Intervarsity Christian fellowship that led him to the writings of C.S. Lewis and a better understanding of the gospel than he had ever received. For a few months, he wrestled with the ideas that he was learning, but then surrendered his life to the Lord.

His friends noticed an immediate change. “He was a heck of a lot kinder, and you could reach him emotionally,” one of his friends later recalled. “All of a sudden he was present. He was there.” .... (much more)
Daniel K. Williams, "A Review of Collin Hansen’s Timothy Keller: His Spiritual and Intellectual Formation (Zondervan, 2023)," Anxious Bench, Feb. 28, 2023.

Monday, February 27, 2023

"Cultural" Christianity

Kevin Williamson, who writes primarily at The Dispatch, is always worth my time (and perhaps yours, subscribe here). Williamson today:
.... People who take an instrumental and political view of Christianity, however well-meaning...sometimes argue that only “Judeo-Christian religion”...provides a possible basis for a sound moral life, including the moral basis of national political life. This is, of course, what T.S. Eliot called the “dangerous inversion,” i.e., the argument that we should accept the supernatural claims of Christianity because they are useful for fortifying a moral sensibility when we should, instead, derive our moral sensibility from the truth of Christianity, if we believe it to be true, or from something else that we believe to be true rather than merely convenient. In a sense, the non-believer who sympathizes with Christianity is more of an enemy than is the frank atheist who hates Christianity—because the “cultural Christian” trivializes Christianity. The cultural Christian believes that Christianity is false and that this does not matter, while an evangelical atheist such as the late Christopher Hitchens believes that Christianity is false and that this does matter—that it matters a great deal. In that much, I am with Hitchens: Better to have a cruel and unforgiving society founded on the truth than to practice kindness based on a lie. ....

For all the talk (often fatuous) of Jesus as a “great moral teacher,” it was His supernatural claims, not His moral advice, that was distinctive: He was not crucified for saying that we should love one another, or for pointing out that the man with lust in his heart is an adulterer in spirit if not in fact, or for saying that we should forgive one another as we hope to be forgiven, or for any of that—He was crucified for claiming to be the Son of God and the Messiah of prophecy. These are religious rather than moral claims.

Of course, the religious claims of Christianity must necessarily transform its moral sensibility. And thank God it does—there is almost nothing in this world as insipid as Christian solicitousness divorced from the brutal facts of Christianity itself. ....

As Elijah did not quite put it: If the Lord is God, then follow Him, but if Baal or Ron DeSantis or good public order is what you really care about, then you know what to do. In any case, you should stop fooling yourself—you aren’t fooling anybody else. But if you are an atheist who is pro-life, who prefers a traditional model of marriage and family life, who believes that Western civilization is superior to its competitors, that hedonic consumerism is not the highest good, etc., then you might ask yourself why you believe these things and upon what basis your beliefs stand. Maybe it is because you grew up in a (still barely) Christian civilization, or in something that was one until very recently, and you think that what this has produced is good—which only leads you back to the first question. If your answer is “culture”—culture only, and not one step farther—then you’re looking at turtles all the way down.
Kevin D. Williamson, "Who Are These ‘Cultural Christians’?," The Dispatch, Feb. 27, 2023.

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Physical possession

I own so many books, DVDs, and CDs—now also available streaming or in my Kindle library—that I have wondered how many I should keep. Commenting on the question because of the Dahl controversy:
...[T]he London Times is reporting that “owners” of electronic versions of the “offending” Dahl books are having their versions retrospectively altered. This is all too credible, I fear, and a reminder that in our current era it’s a good idea to own physical CDs, DVDs, and books that might be...vulnerable. Book burnings, at least, have to be carried out in public, and we are not (the odd incident apart) there yet.
Andrew Stuttaford, "Puffin’s (Largely) Cosmetic ‘Concession’ on Roald Dahl," National Review, Feb. 26, 2023.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Angry pacifism

I loved this, perhaps because it combines a lesson from history, political cartoons, and C.S. Lewis, but also because I like the historical analogy:
On September 9, 1944, mere days after the liberation of Paris by Allied forces in World War II, one of the most revered English minds of the 20th century penned a warning that looked beyond the immediate conflict toward the unthinkable—a third world war. C.S. Lewis was concerned about a lingering public attitude of apathy that threatened to leave Great Britain ill-prepared for her own defense in the years to come, just as a similar climate had sapped its strength in the age of appeasement in the 1930s.
“We know from the experience of the last twenty years that a terrified and angry pacifism is one of the roads that lead to war. I am pointing out that hatred of those to whom war gives power over us is one of the roads to terrified and angry pacifism. … A nation convulsed with Blimpophobia will refuse to take necessary precautions and will therefore encourage her enemies to attack her.”
What did Lewis mean by Blimpophobia? It’s an allusion to a popular British political cartoon of that era....

Colonel Blimp was the creation of Sir David Low, considered one of the most influential political cartoonists of the 20th century. The colonel sported a walrus mustache, a stately paunch, and carried an air of the old British aristocracy. Blimp invariably found himself pontificating on world events while wrapped in a towel, red faced, and enjoying a good sauna or Turkish bath. He came to represent the confused, contradictory, but no less confident attitude of British officials in the 1930s: He was befuddled but well-meaning, and he consistently made bold but incoherent statements on domestic and foreign affairs. ....

Low habitually used Colonel Blimp to lampoon Britain’s confused, contradictory, and accommodating treatment of Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and other rising threats in Europe and Asia:
“If the Abyssinians don’t stop defending themselves, Mussolini will take it as an act of war … ”

“There’s only one way to stop these bullying aggressors—find out what they want us to do and then do it … ”

“Hitler only needs arms so that he can declare peace on the rest of the world.” ....
Lewis recognized that a reflexive opposition to an engaged foreign policy, rising out of a distaste for those in charge, was setting the stage for disaster. Prior to his fame as an author, theologian, and thinker, Lewis was a distinguished veteran of World War I and a keen observer of his country’s mood during the interwar period. He had seen the results of the “angry pacifism”—it had “led to Munich, and via Munich to Dunkirk.” In other words, frustrations aimed at the past had caused Britain to suffer near destruction in the present. As the war in Ukraine hits the one year mark, our nation must ask itself whether it will be led in the 21st century by a terrified and angry pacifism, buttressed by a confused and contradictory foreign policy, or whether it will stand up against stupidity in its many iterations and manifestations. People are dying. It is not the time to listen to our home-grown Colonel Blimps when they stand in solidarity with dictators who demand capitulation and call it peace. (more, but likely requiring a subscription)
C.S. Lewis's essay “Blimpophobia” appeared originally on September 9, 1944 in Time and Tide. It has been reprinted in Present Concerns.

Jacob Becker, "The Dangers of an ‘Angry Pacifism’," The Dispatch, Feb. 23, 2023.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

"The general bank and capital of nations, and of ages"

When I used this quotation from Burke in a class I had to explain that "prejudice" as used here needed to be understood as traditional wisdom rather than in the purely negative sense the word has acquired. From Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790):
We are afraid to put men to live and trade each on his own private stock of reason; because we suspect that this stock in each man is small, and that the individuals would do better to avail themselves of the general bank and capital of nations, and of ages. Many of our men of speculation, instead of exploding general prejudices, employ their sagacity to discover the latent wisdom which prevails in them. If they find what they seek, and they seldom fail, they think it more wise to continue the prejudice, with the reason involved, than to cast away the coat of prejudice, and to leave nothing but the naked reason; because prejudice, with its reason, has a motive to give action to that reason, and an affection which will give it permanence. Prejudice is of ready application in the emergency; it previously engages the mind in a steady course of wisdom and virtue, and does not leave the man hesitating in the moment of decision, sceptical, puzzled and unresolved. Prejudice renders a man's virtue his habit; and not a series of unconnected acts. Through just prejudice, his duty becomes a part of his nature. (my emphases)

Monday, February 20, 2023

Loving your neighbor

From Andrew Walker:
Few biblical phrases are as ubiquitous or have greater cultural standing than the biblical teaching to “love your neighbor” (see e.g., Matt. 19:19; 22:39). For the non-Christian, it may be the only moral truism he or she could identify as stemming from a cultural heritage informed by the Bible. No one to my awareness expresses disagreement with the principle. ....

What loving one’s neighbor foregrounds is the most basic principle necessary to sustain life in society: A reciprocal assurance that decency and kindness will be faithfully returned if given. Indeed, that America, along with so many other countries, has enjoyed this kind of civil arrangement and civic compact reflects the abundance of God’s common grace in our fallen world. This grace, perceived through general revelation, is multiplied when the light of the gospel shines into the world. Yet, even where such light is fading, there is a moral trust inhering within the imago Dei that undergirds the principle to love one’s neighbor. ....

Love is biblical insofar as love is biblically ordered to what God defines as good. Loving one’s neighbor does not mean being nice and accommodating to whatever your neighbor believes is in their best interest. Loving one’s neighbor, in other words, is not an invitation to moral relativism. ....

...[W]e are to genuinely seek after the fulfillment of our neighbor’s good, which has both positive and negative dimensions. As a positive reality, I should treat my neighbor with the dignity and respect befitting their existence. As a negative reality, I should work to restrain—by either my own agency or the political agency of the community—privations from raining down on my neighbor. I should neither personally hinder their good nor seek after policies that will result in their privation. ....

In common vernacular, the love of neighbor takes defaced expression when secondary goods such as human emotion are elevated as ultimate goods. Thus, when our neighbor insists that affirmation of one’s desires or emotional states is what constitutes his good, we must dissent. “Live your truth” and “You do you” are taken as moral entailments from secularized accounts of loving one’s neighbor. “If you affirm me, I’ll affirm you” or “If you do not object to my preference, I won’t object to your preference” is at irreconcilable odds with a biblical vision for the love of neighbor. We do not love our neighbor by omitting the truth to them. Furthering someone’s delusion or debauchery under a false account of loving them is actually to hate them. .... (more)
Andrew T. Walker, "The Moral Meaning of Loving One’s Neighbor," Christ Over All, Feb. 2023.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

"There's a voice I can hear"

Tell me, where is the road
I can call my own
That I left, that I lost
So long ago?
All these years I have wandered
Oh, when will I know
There's a way, there's a road
That will lead me home
After wind, after rain
When the dark is done
As I wake from a dream
In the gold of day
Through the air there's a calling
From far away
There's a voice I can hear
That will lead me home
Rise up, follow me
Come away, is the call
With the love in your heart
As the only song
There is no such beauty
As where you belong
Rise up, follow me
I will lead you home

Cheer up and live in the sunshine

Just came across this performance of a bluegrass standard I like a lot not least because of its message:

Friday, February 17, 2023

Abide with me

Patrick Kurp today:
.... The worthy dead are to be remembered. I take that to mean the personal dead – family, friends – and those we know only second-hand, perhaps through books or history. Memory grants a post-mortem immortality. Only when the last to remember the dead person is gone is he truly dead. Memory reanimates. The Jewish practice of observing the Yahrtzeit only makes sense. Forgetting kills. Every March 28 I remember my maternal grandmother, the kindest of my relatives, who died in 1972 at age eighty-four and whom I never saw angry. While she was alive I would never have thought to tell her that. .... In his Rambler essay published on February 17, 1751, Dr. Johnson writes:
[F]ew can review the time past without heaviness of heart. He remembers many calamities incurred by folly, many opportunities lost by negligence. The shades of the dead rise up before him; and he laments the companions of his youth, the partners of his amusements, the assistants of his labours, whom the hand of death has snatched away.”
The hymn “Abide with Me” was written by the Scottish Anglican cleric Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847). It’s a prayer imploring God to stay with the speaker throughout life and in death, and was written by Lyte as he was dying from tuberculosis. ....

Patrick Kurp, "The Shades of the Dead Rise Up," Anecdotal Evidence, Feb. 17, 2023.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

I might be an extremist

Douglas Murray has been reading the report of Britain's "Research Information and Communications Unit" (RICU), part of a governmental organization called Prevent. What is to be prevented is extremism.
...I read on and saw that these same taxpayer-funded fools provide lists of other books shared by people who have sympathies with the ‘far-right and Brexit’. Key signs that people have fallen into this abyss include watching the Kenneth Clark TV series Civilisation, The Thick of It and Great British Railway Journeys. I need to stress again that I am not making this up. This has all been done on your dime and mine in order to stop ‘extremism’ in these islands.

There is also a reading list of historical texts which produce red flags to RICU. These include Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes, John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government and Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, as well as works by Thomas Carlyle and Adam Smith. Elsewhere RICU warns that radicalisation could occur from books by authors including C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Aldous Huxley and Joseph Conrad. I kid you not, though it seems that all satire is dead, but the list of suspect books also includes 1984 by George Orwell.
Douglas Murray, "Can you really be radicalised by Great British Railway Journeys?," The Spectator, Feb. 18, 2023.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

A fool's hope

I thought Alan Jacobs' discussion of Denethor’s suicide in The Lord of the Rings interesting and found his conclusions agreeable. Toward the end he writes about the Christian conviction "not just that Good is Good, but that Good will in the end prevail," but in our time?
For the Christian, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the prefiguration and guarantor of one’s own personal resurrection and also, and more important, the renewal of the world, the eventual coming of the New Creation. Despair in this account is the loss of hope for one’s own future and for that of the world. ....

Is this understanding present in The Lord of the Rings? A question to be asked. In the great chapter called “The Last Debate,” the one in which our heroes decide to take the battle to Sauron even though his armies dwarf theirs, Aragorn says that their decision “is the last move in a great jeopardy, and for one side or the other it will bring the end of the game.” This holds out more hope for the triumph of the Good than Norse mythology does, but not much more. Gandalf had said something similar a couple of pages earlier:
“We must walk open-eyed into that trap, with courage, but small hope for ourselves. For, my lords, it may well prove that we ourselves shall perish utterly in a black battle far from the living lands; so that even if Barad-dûr be thrown down, we shall not live to see a new age. But this, I deem, is our duty. And better so than to perish nonetheless — as we surely shall, if we sit here — and know as we die that no new age shall be.”
That’s as much as to say: We have a tiny chance (“only a fool’s hope,” he says elsewhere) of prevailing, but if we do not fight, then Sauron will most certainly win — he will eventually get the Ring, and “his victory will be swift and complete: so complete that none can foresee the end of it while this world lasts.” Whether there might be something more to come after this world ends Gandalf does not say, though surely he knows something more than Aragorn and the others do.

It seems to me, though, that we’re not really invited to speculate about such things here: the whole context of the story is the life of Middle-Earth, not any other world that lies beyond it. The calculations to be made are purely this-worldly, and therefore one makes one’s decisions about which side to take not from prudential calculation but from a clear-eyed perception of the difference between good and evil [emphasis added]. When Eomer asks “How shall a man judge what to do in such times?” Aragorn briskly replies: “As he ever has judged. Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men. It is a man’s part to discern them, as much in the Golden wood as in his own house.” (more)
Alan Jacobs, "self-sacrifice and despair," The Homebound Symphony, Feb. 15, 2023.

Intelligent but irrational

From "Why Smart People Believe Stupid Things":
The prevailing view is that people adopt false beliefs because they’re too stupid or ignorant to grasp the truth. This may be true in some cases, but just as often the opposite is true: many delusions prey not on dim minds but on bright ones. And this has serious implications for education, society, and you personally. ....

What these studies show is that greater bias is found within intelligent people of all belief systems, left or right, Christian or atheist, and since these biases can’t all be correct, they’re clearly not a product of greater understanding. So what is it about intelligent people that makes them particularly prone to bias? ....

...[W]hile unintelligent people are more easily misled by other people, intelligent people are more easily misled by themselves. They’re better at convincing themselves of things they want to believe rather than things that are actually true. This is why intelligent people tend to have stronger ideological biases; being better at reasoning makes them better at rationalizing. ....

Research suggests that teaching people about misinformation often just causes them to dismiss facts they don’t like as misinformation, while teaching them logic often results in them applying that logic selectively to justify whatever they want to believe.

Such outcomes make sense; if knowledge and reasoning are the tools by which intelligent people fool themselves, then giving them more knowledge and reasoning only makes them better at fooling themselves. ....

If you define your self-worth by your ability to reason—if you cling to the identity of a master-debater—then admitting to being wrong will hurt you, and you’ll do all you can to avoid it, which will stop you learning. So instead of defining yourself by your ability to reason, define yourself by your willingness to learn. Then admitting you’re wrong, instead of feeling like an attack, will become an opportunity for growth.

Anyone who’s sure they’re humble is probably not....

Humility and curiosity, then, are what we most need to find truth. By seeking one we also seek the other: being curious makes us humble, because it shows us how little we know, and in turn, being humble makes us curious, because it helps us acknowledge that we need to learn more.

In the end, rationality is not about intelligence but about character. Without the right personal qualities, education and IQ won’t make you master of your biases, they’ll only make you a better servant of them. .... (more)
Gurwinder, "Why Smart People Believe Stupid Things," The Prism, Feb 13, 2023.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

New England neo-noir

Last night I watched Tom Selleck in one of his Jesse Stone films. He did nine as TV movies and I think they are his best work. They have been described as "neo-noir." I find them easily re-watchable. From an appreciation:
One of Tom Selleck's most acclaimed performances came from his starring role in the Jesse Stone TV movies.The character comes from a series of detective novels by late author Robert B. Parker, with Stone being a former LAPD detective fired for a drinking problem following a painful divorce. The first Jesse Stone TV movie was Stone Cold, which aired in 2005, and found the character as the police chief of a New England town with a lot of secrets. The movie proved to be a ratings hit with CBS airing another seven movies between 2006 and 2012. ....
Even if you don’t pay attention to the credits to note that Selleck is a producer of the Stone adventures as well as an occasional co-writer of them, you instinctively know the actor is in full control. .... It’s not that Selleck needs to dominate the proceedings; it’s that we want him to — we revel in the idea that he’s offering himself up to us a middle-aged man who’s both tired but still sharp, weighed down with melancholy yet buoyant with hope that he can right a few wrongs before he has to hang up his baseball cap. ....

It’s clear that Selleck connects to this character on both an intellectual and gut level. He’s made Jesse more complex at every opportunity, even at the risk [of] alienating some viewers who might find the pace slow or the themes depressing. Me, I find the deliberate pacing a luxurious pleasure, a respite from the frantic cross-cutting and end-every-scene-with-a-climax style of network storytelling. ....
I've purchased most of them on Amazon Prime because I do like to re-watch them but, of course, many can also be streamed free or rented. If you do decide to watch them, watch them in order.

Monday, February 13, 2023

"The malady of self-delusion"

Via Steven Hayward from The Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge (1929):
It is a great advantage to a President, and a major source of safety to the country, for him to know that he is not a great man. When a man begins to feel that he is the only one who can lead in this republic, he is guilty of treason to the spirit of our institutions.

It is difficult for men in high office to avoid the malady of self-delusion. They are always surrounded by worshipers. They are constantly, and for the most part sincerely, assured of their greatness. They live in an artificial atmosphere of adulation and exaltation which sooner or later impairs their judgment. They are in grave danger of becoming careless and arrogant.

A sound and wise statesmanship which recognizes and attempts to abide by its limitations will undoubtedly find itself displaced by that type of public official who promises much, talks much, legislates much, expends much, but accomplishes little.
Steven Hayward, "Thought for the Day, from the Not Silent Cal," PowerLine, Feb 13, 2023.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

The use and abuse of history

Nigel Biggar’s Colonialism: A Moral Reckoning has been published. The controversy associated with its publication is very like the issues roiling the teaching of history in the United States. Zoe Strimpel in The Telegraph (UK):
.... The central pillar of this perverse worldview is that history isn’t really a study of the past, but a weapon with which to beat the present, and more specifically, the West. History apparently has no use beyond this; and there is no statute of limitations. ....

The people who would have Britain’s history, and that of the West, limited to vengeful tales of murder, theft and slavery, are already exerting enormous influence. Most new jobs advertised in modern history in UK universities now relate to crimes of the past, and connect back, in some way, to our supposed endemic racism.

But if we let the influential activists who are busy “decolonising” curricula and universities have their way, we will, ultimately, be left with precisely nothing of a historical record at all – bar a list of crimes, taken out of context.

Less than a hundred years ago, Britain had an empire. However horrified we might be today, slavery was widely practised across the world (as, indeed, it still is in some places today). Everyone was sexist, racist, homophobic by our current standards. Are we to bin all elements of the past – namely everything until about the 1990s – that are tainted by these things? If so, we lose the good stuff as well. We lose knowledge of Britain’s world-leading and committed abolitionism, and of the foundations of culture, from the Greeks to the Vatican to Shakespeare and John Donne. We become nihilists and narcissists.

So the arrival of Biggar’s book is a corrective, a small but important one, against the desire to use and abuse history not to learn what was true, and how complex the past is, but to self-immolate and punish in the present.
Zoe Strimpel, "The woke war on history aims to abolish the West itself," The Telegraph, Feb. 11, 2023.

Dorothy Sayers' non-fiction

A friend, familiar with Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter mysteries, asked for suggestions of her non-fiction. Apart from The Mind of the Maker most of the books are collections of essays. I have in my library copies of Creed or Chaos (1949) and Unpopular Opinions (1946) and they can probably be found second hand. There are subsequent collections that include essays from those earlier books. Below, some that can be easily found at Amazon. I haven't read the contents of most of them and consequently don't know how much they overlap.

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Political converts

I only recently became aware of Andrew Tate and his considerable influence in some quarters. Shadi Hamid on the significance of Tate's "conversion" to Islam:
....[W]hen Tate explained why he chose Islam, he didn’t mention theology, salvation, the Quran, the Prophet Muhammad—or anything to do with spirituality or faith. ....

As Tate sees it, where Christianity in the West is weak, undemanding, and devoid of firm rules, Islam is exacting, masculine, and vigorous. It refuses to be mocked, and it refuses to accommodate itself to progressive norms—particularly when it comes to gender and the family. Where Christianity has, in effect, accepted defeat, Islam, Tate said in the same interview, “feels like the last religion on Earth,” the only faith that stands a chance of mounting an effective resistance to moral decay and decline. (Whether Tate himself is moral, or wishes to be, is secondary.)

It is difficult to say just how widespread “political conversions” are, but recent survey data shows they are spreading. According to a 2020 Pew poll, evangelicals, for example, were one of the few religious groups to gain members over the last four years.

But there was a catch. Many of these self-identified evangelicals don’t go to church. They identify as evangelicals because of what it means politically. As the political scientist Ryan Burge notes, “Instead of theological affinity for Jesus Christ, millions of Americans are being drawn to the evangelical label because of its association with the G.O.P.” ....

This tells us something about the all-consuming political divide in America today, which is less about politics than culture—which is to say, religion. After all, religion—or its absence—shapes our habits, norms, and attitudes. Secularization doesn’t make religion irrelevant; instead, it creates new ways of being “religious.”

All of which explains how evangelical voters flocked en masse to Donald Trump, and why some Muslims, despite everything, insist on seeing Andrew Tate as a flawed but necessary vessel. They don’t care what he believes so much as what he signifies. .... (more, but probably behind a subscription wall)
Shadi Hamid, "Embracing God to Own the Libs," The Free Press, Feb. 8, 2023.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

A light to the Gentiles

On February 2 much of the Church celebrates The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord:
And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word;
For my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
A light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”
And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. (Luke 2:22-38 ESV)