The Efficient Cause

Here is a small poem I wrote. I am pretty proud of it as I think it might be my first good poem.

Earthen hope.
A roughness of right
A foggy glass besmeared.
             extended ego

   Oh what a bar set,
   To miss the rung.
   Potential incomplete.
   The Actual beyond reach.

A Hope of Stability: The Avett Brothers, Rabbit Run, and a Benedictine Vow

I think it is important to recognize how aesthetic experiences, like listening to well crafted music, can intersect with our intellectual life. So when these spheres happen to intersect nicely in my life, I feel I should share them with you! After all, if we only pursued intellectual endeavors, life would get pretty boring.

As I was listening to the Avett Brothers the other day, this song really gripped me. Partly because it ties in really well with some of the literature I am currently reading and also with some writing I did last spring for my Ethics class in Philosophy. Give it a good listen here.

The Weight of Lies:

In my philosophy class in Ethics last semester, I wrote a paper on a chapter of a book called Monk Habits for Everyday People, by Dennis Okholm. The book is a study of some of the practices of the Benedictine monks and attempts to show how these practices might be needed and useful tools for the church at large. In this chapter, Okholm is concerned with a rather interesting vow that the Benedictine monks take–a vow of stability. For Benedictine monks, this means that they commit to stay with the same community for the rest of their lives. Continue reading

Innovation in Secondary Education:

Joel Spolsky over at Joel on Software gives a bit of detail about how New York City is opening a new high school that will attempt to both prepare students academically for a four year college environment and teach them how to engineer computer software.

Ambitious eh?

I think that this is a fantastic idea, and I think that this sort of project, and projects similar to it (if they can be shown to be successful) will flourish given the current educational environment in the United States. A bit of the context surrounding the current educational environment is necessary though to realize the potential of such a project. Continue reading

A poem I wrote

The feeling it brings
Is unclear you see
A sense of satisfaction or self-pity?
Is melancholia the needed term?

The heart knocks, like love
But to no answer
A loss or lack is what greets
Opening that small apartment door
To a blank wall, white and unadorned

Technological Befuddlement and Modernity

Some things are just odd about the technological wonder world that we inhabit. I am inclined to think that whatever contributions technology has made to society, those contributions don’t include assisting us become better people. For that hope, we must turn elsewhere. Instead, technology just seems to exacerbate many of the problems that were already a part of the nature of modernity

Our lives are littered with technology. It makes modern life, convenient, efficient, and glamorous. We all are dazzled by it, myself included. I am just as eager to get my hands on the latest Apple product as the next guy. In addition, technology frees us from some of the annoyances of life, giving us more time to do as we please. And with that free time that technology has so graciously afforded us, we pour a good bit of it right back into the same technology that given us such leisure time in the first place. Does this not strike you as, at the very least, a bit strange? Continue reading

The mystery of God…in things?

Brothers, do not be afraid of men’s sin, love man also in his sin, for this likeness of God’s love is the height of love on earth. Love all of God’s creation, both the whole of it and every grain of sand. Love very leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love animals, love plants, love each thing. If you love each thing, you will perceive the mystery of God in things. –Elder Zosima, The Brothers Karamazov1

Currently, I am in the middle of reading The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky. It is quite a large work, but so far it has been utterly satisfying. The previous quote is an excerpt of one of the Elder’s sermons that the main character Alyosha has recorded. To be blunt, it took my breath away when I first read it.

This single quote succinctly captures what I hope to be the aim and purpose of this blog. Expounding on what Dostoevsky really means here, I think, is unnecessary. The prose is beautiful and elegant enough without any of my efforts mucking it up. That said, I don’t think I can resist saying something about it here. Continue reading

Participating in Santification

Over this past school semester, and through these beginning summer months, I have been reflecting frequently about my own upbringing in the Christian faith, and some of the strengths and weaknesses in the general message that I perceive is being communicated to Protestant Christians.

In this post, I will be making certain judgments and generalizations about the tone and attitude of mainstream evangelicals and Protestants. I can only hope that, the broad strokes that I use to describe the intellectual and theological landscape will capture some truthful kernels that bear upon the situation that the Christian finds herself in today.

In this post I will argue that because the message of God’s grace for the sinner is so closely tied historically to the identity of Protestantism, that this has resulted in the message of God’s grace being overemphasized, both in liturgy of the Protestant Church and in the message preached to the congregation. Specifically, this overemphasis has caused the necessity of personal effort and participation in the sanctification process to dwindle in the mind of the typical protestant or evangelical Christian. Continue reading