Another Week Ends

1. On the off chance that you didn’t see William McGurn’s powerful editorial in last […]

David Zahl / 10.26.09

1. On the off chance that you didn’t see William McGurn’s powerful editorial in last week’s Wall Street Journal, “God vs. Science isn’t the issue”, here’s a few lines from it:

Here’s the problem: Almost no one really believes [that human beings do not possess some form of “special dignity” in comparison to other life forms]. Not, at least, when it comes to how we behave. And the dichotomy between scientific theory and human action may itself have something to tell us about truth.

Many Americans who are indifferent to faith will confess they find themselves challenged as they try to raise good and decent children without the religious confidence their parents had. The result may not be a return to religion but a healthy agnosticism about agnosticism itself.

[On a somewhat-related note – the discussion revolving around the Dawkins craze – check out Caleb Maskell’s excellent recent post, “Terry Eagleton on Performatives and Propositions”.]

2. Renowned/infamous underground comic artist R.Crumb published his long-awaited The Book Of Genesis Illustrated last week. Not a huge Crumb fan myself, but this project has my interest for obvious reasons. A particularly priceless portion of the review in the Washington Post (ht PW):

Crumb himself has written: “I am constantly disgusted by reality, horrified and afraid. I cling desperately to the few things that give me some solace, that make me feel good. For me to be human is, for the most part, to hate what I am. When I suddenly realize I am one of them, I want to scream in horror.”

Not unlike the God of Genesis beholding the depravity of his children, even his greatest servants. Abraham pimps his wife, Sarah, Jacob cheats his brother, Esau.

3. Anyone interested in the free will/obesity/health care discussion would do well to read Daniel Engber’s highly insightful (and often irritatingly smug) assessment over at Slate. The latest installment, “Is Chris Christie too fat to win an election in New Jersey?” contained a number of gems about identity and self-righteousness and the bound will (ht J. Stamper). The final two paragraphs read:

A couple of months ago, I asked [Esther Rothblum, editor of the Fat Studies Reader] why she thought the fat rights movement aroused so much ire from across the political spectrum. Thin people tend to think they’ve controlled their weight through hard work and strength of character, she said. That makes the idea of size acceptance seem like a personal affront to anyone who’s not severely obese. If we’re all OK with being fat, then there’s no pride in being thin.

So what does this mean for Chris Christie? Most of the country is overweight or obese, according to government standards, yet there’s no constituency for a fat politician. Conservatives see excess weight as a sign of moral failing or a breach of personal responsibility. Liberals sneer at the bloated American lifestyle, even while imagining the war on obesity as a fight for social justice. A size-blind culture is clearly a long way off. Until we get there, it’s the thin candidates who will be throwing their weight around.

4. An interesting and very personal account from author Chris Rice about the sometimes tense relationship between grace and social justice [just ask this man], aptly titled “From Trying Harder and Doing More to a Culture of Grace” (ht AZ):

For us, “telling the truth” had so much become telling the church and each other how you need to change and be more radical. But now we saw that the greatest truth was telling and showing each other how much God loves us. Our paradigm for daily life had shifted to John’s mantra, “Caring for each other, forgiving each other, and keeping the dishes washed. We are forgiven. All the rest is details.”

5. Blogroll: Over at Andy Whitman’s fantastic blog, Razing The Bar, check out “The Jerk Factory”, a brief look at contemporary evangelicalism through the lens of… The Amazing Race. Then, in anticipation of the return on Wednesday night of the best show on (direct)TV – besides Mad Men of course – be sure to read “Now Go Out There And Take It!” on Heather Gregorio’s 15 Shekels.

6. Here in NYC, Christ Church’s ministry conference kicks off tomorrow night (10/27) at 6pm with a talk on Thomas Cranmer from Mbird favorite Dr. Ashley Null. Highly recommended! For more details, go here.