Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Dinky doodlings

I’ve never had an original thought in my life – including the thought that I’ve never had an original thought in my life.

Do you ever feel that something is missing from your life? If you do, you are.

“Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.” Well, Gramsci was half right.

“From dust you came, and to dust you shall return.” Stardust, actually.

Lent launches an assault against disordered desire through fasting and prayer: in fasting you pray with your body, in praying you fast with your mind.

Apart from the Bible, theological reflection is propaganda, and apart from theological reflection, the Bible is propaganda.

In criminal law there is GBH, the equivalent of which in theological polemics is DBH (i.e., David Bentley Hart).

What are Charlie Craig and David Mullins doing in the Masterpiece Cakeshop Case? Speaking truth to flour.

As the recent service featuring Andy Savage at Highpoint Church confirms, there is nothing like praise music du jour as an aperitif for the junk food that follows.

I hear that the Vatican is now marketing Donald Trump tee shirts for his fan base. Emblazoned on the front is a picture of the president, encircled by a Latin translation of “Make America Great Again”: Populus Americae Vult Decipi, Ergo Decipiatur.

Imagine Trump with his circle of family and friends worked into a novel by Jane Austen. It would make all his critics’ diatribes look like encomia.

American exceptionalism: some nations may be shitholes, but they are bog-standard shitholes; only the United States is (to re-coin Madeleine Albright’s famous phrase) “the indispensable shithole”.

In an interview at Religion Dispatches, Professor Russell Jeung opines that “the white evangelical church is dead.” “Dead”? Worse than dead: undead.

What has caused the demise of the white evangelical church in the US? The classic hubristic military miscalculation of opening a second front: to their perennial asinine atonement wars, they started a series of mephitic culture wars.

Prayer is not just an inherently political activity, it is an act of resistance and protest. To pray “Thy Kingdom come” on a hassock is truly to take-the-knee.

Who are America’s greatest comic writers? “Self-Reliance” alone puts Ralph Emerson right up there.

There is a word for someone who has been argued into faith: sucker. Because (a) he doubtlessly has failed to detect some rather poor apologetic reasoning, and (b) because even if he hasn’t, whatever he has been argued into, it isn’t faith.

“If we have to use a single word here, it would have to be ‘concreteness’ – their world is vivid, intense, detailed, yet simple, precisely because it is concrete: neither complicated, diluted, nor unified, by abstraction.” That’s Oliver Sacks (in The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat) describing the world of the “retardate”. Of clinical interest, it is also a perfect fit for Jesus the Идио́т (Idiot) (Dostoevsky).

If you read without a dictionary to hand you insult the author; if you write without a thesaurus at hand you insult yourself. Not to mention you’re a lazy bastard.

Not talking is a necessary but not sufficient condition for being silent; in addition you need the act of humility called listening.

The worst thing about retirement is not that you are no longer necessary, it is the realisation that you never were. And the best thing about retirement? The same as the worst.

I look at my grandchildren, 5 and 2, and of course I want them to be happy, but not too happy and not only happy. I pray also for a seasoning of anger and a soupçon of anguish.

Pity the devil: the loveless bastard is scared to death.

Life makes one promise, and keeps it: Death. God also makes one promise, and keeps it: Jesus.

Pitiable is the person who approaches death saying, “I have had enough”, but blessed is the person who approaches death saying, “I want nothing more.”

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