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9. April 2014

Symbolism and society

I haven’t seen any pictures, but I’ve been told that when my grandpa was a baby, he used to wear a fluffy dress.  Now, my grandpa wasn’t a sissy; he actually turned out to be a very muscular, very virile, very rugged machinist, and he happened to get a woman pregnant before he was even married to her (this woman became my grandma).  But the reason that I mention his wearing a dress as a boy, is because nobody was ever concerned during those days that making him wear a little dress was going to in any way make him effeminate or give him gender confusion.  Today, making a baby boy wear a dress would either arouse a healthy amount of laughter or a deep sense of concern; yesterday, that is how we dressed a good portion, if not all, of our soon-to-be warriors, machinists, preachers, and neighborhood grocers. (more…)

30. March 2014

To love being American

Filed under: cultural/racial,multiculturalism,worldview — admin @ 16:28

Being an American is a messy business.  Nobody watches mediocrity or the boring; the whole world has better things to do than sing about Scotland, and none of the African states are quite as deplorable as Somalia.  It seems that the more power and prestige a nation has, the more attention it gets, and even the worst of nations at least is forgotten from time to time unless a man is living in it, or it happens to be disrupting the price of oil.  The greater something is, the more it inspires our admiration and invites our censure; and if we may be certain about two things, it is that great power produces great corruptions, and that men have always been envious of power.  And therefore, whether one lives within or without a great nation, we are frequently more likely to hear complaints rather than praise. (more…)

29. March 2014

Bill Nye

Filed under: Letters,Theology — admin @ 20:29

Dear H—–,

There really isn’t any way to keep myself from getting into trouble with this letter, so I’ll begin it in the most straightforward manner possible: if anyone tells you we must take the Bible literally, it’s important that you question that person’s teaching seriously. (more…)

25. March 2014

On happiness

Filed under: Letters,philosophy — admin @ 19:51

Dear H—–,

It’s four o’clock on Sunday morning, and I’m sitting down to write you about happiness.  I don’t know why, but the UN has decided to have an International Day of Happiness, and I can’t sleep because I keep thinking about it.  Maybe having a day about happiness makes them happy; writing about why they shouldn’t works much better for me. (more…)

19. March 2014

The bossy feminist

Filed under: natural law and rights,sex — admin @ 16:32

Nobody should ever suggest that leadership and assertiveness are mutually exclusive: all sensible people must agree that in order to lead, someone must give directions, and when the time comes for it, that those directions must be given strongly.  A great leader, like Germanicus Caesar, knows that at certain times even mutinous soldiers must be courted, and that at others they must be executed, and that only wisdom can discern which is more appropriate.  But I would never agree with Cheryl Sandberg, that we should teach all bossy little girls not that they’re bossy, but that they’re natural leaders.  I have heard plenty of women say that bossy women make great leaders; all of them have made their fellow women miserable. (more…)

17. March 2014

On a personal library

Filed under: Letters,Personal,philosophy — admin @ 17:43

Dear H—–,

As I’m thinking about my library, I have no other thought but that it will belong to you at some point.  I’ve spent plenty of time thinking about who’s going to get it; most of the time has been depressing.  There isn’t a single person in the world I could give these to after I die, without thinking my gift was a waste.  Nobody pursues knowledge anymore: nearly everyone thinks he knows everything.  I’m afraid they simply won’t be read.  I’m hoping you will be different. (more…)

13. March 2014

Fame and loneliness and local music

Filed under: Letters to Hannah,Random thoughts — admin @ 20:23

Dear H—–,

Before I was a Christian, if anyone was interested in finding the fastest and surest way to misery and isolation, I would have recommended to them casual sex.  Now that I’m a Christian, the most viable alternative would be to take writing seriously. (more…)

3. March 2014

Cheerful and sour workers

Filed under: philosophy,Random thoughts — admin @ 18:25

I don’t care what people say — I refuse to believe that a man who’s a drag at work is a good man in whole.  Eight hours a day are spent at work, at the very least; eight hours are spent at home, and eight hours are spent sleeping — at least, if a man is sensible enough to get himself some sleep.  Work may only be a third of a man’s entire day, but it is half of his waking hours, and if a man’s a drag to be around for half a day, I say he’s entirely bad — especially if that’s the only portion of the day I see him. (more…)

27. February 2014

Eskimos and the new genders (or: 50 Shades of Gay)

Filed under: natural law and rights,philosophy,sex — admin @ 17:44

I remember hearing about ten years ago, from my professor of biological and cultural anthropology, that people had many names for the things which were most important to them.  She was specifically talking about Inuits, and how survival in the Alaskan wilderness brought them to recognize many different kinds of snow — there were maybe fifty terms, if I remember correctly — and how recognizing the different kinds of snow was useful to them.  I suppose it would be useful to anyone trapped in snow.  Perhaps it allows them to read the weather and expect certain changes; perhaps they are bored, and tired of telling stories, and so they looked for anything to talk about.  What I do know is that when you are surrounded by something and live within it, it is what you know: to the Eskimo, the snow is a matter of life and death, and so snow is too broad a term for him to use.  He knows it better than us, because snow is a great part of his existence. (more…)

4. February 2014

Respect your college graduate

Filed under: philosophy — admin @ 18:17

I have yet to meet a philosophy major who knows anything about being wise, but I have always been impressed that college students are well-educated in the sentiments of the indebted.  Of course, the majority of college students know nothing about how to get out of debt.  They also know nothing about the moral limits of debt.  They usually know nothing more about the economy and business (in other words, a civilized survival) than non-graduates.  But they know how it feels to be in debt, which I feel is a real and tangible lesson in itself; far more useful than repeatedly learning not to abuse Indians like Columbus did, and far more practical than all the lessons professors teach about Jim Crow laws.  There is nobody to enslave these days; it’s far easier to learn how it feels to be one. (more…)

3. February 2014

In defense of my brother the charismatic: random thoughts on prayer

Filed under: Theology,worldview — admin @ 21:48

It seems strange, at least to me, that anyone could pray for a specific country about which they know nothing, and to which they have never been.  And I bring this up because I recently encountered a postcard in my house, asking me to pray for a certain country which I have never prayed for, despite the fact that the postcard has been in my house for several months now.  It’s not that I am against this country’s well-being: I have never had a negative thought about the country in my life.  I have also never had a positive thought about the country in my life.  But I have also never had an intention of praying for this country in my life, something which (at least, one would assume) is something someone would do only if he was apathetic about something’s well-being, especially when he is being asked to pray. (more…)

30. January 2014

The (in)significance of the Jewish nation

Almost halfway through Herodotus’ historical masterpiece, The Histories, and I have yet to encounter a single mention of the Jews.  That a Greek may have happened to ignore such an important people may result from his national bias, and the fact that up until this point, Greece may have had little contact with the Jews.  But if his silence admits any particular fact, it is that of all the kingdoms mentioned — of nations and empires and tyrants, of races large and small — Israel had little if anything to do with shaping their history. (more…)

28. January 2014

On tattoos

Filed under: cultural/racial,philosophy,Random thoughts — admin @ 19:31

I remember a time, right about the time I became a Christian, in which I found myself at a burlesque show.  Now, I had never intended to be at a burlesque show; I had actually intended to attend some kind of a circus, at which an acquaintance of mine was the ringmaster.  Even in my promiscuous days, I’ve always been too embarrassed of expressing sexuality openly — being a romantic man, I preferred a romantic approach, and always thought an open and forthright admission of sexual desire to be not only barbaric, but unattractive.  This kept me away from all strip clubs and a good portion of the dirtiest girls, even though I was constantly hindered from getting a quality girlfriend.  Thus I constantly found myself getting pretty girl-next-door types (and by pretty I mean, innocent upon first impression), while what I wanted from the very beginning was a princess.  But princesses require princes, and I was nothing more than a dog. (more…)

16. January 2014

Thaddeus

Filed under: Theology — admin @ 22:57

Editor’s note: this essay is dedicated to my dear friend and brother, a great encouragement to me and my fellow Thaddeus, John Anders.

Of all the apostles, I’ve heard most Christians claim to be like Peter.  The reason is obvious and natural enough: to claim likeness with Paul is to claim a share in his sufferings and idealism and wisdom which borders on the comically narcissistic; and to claim likeness with John is to say that we are the disciple whom Jesus loved.  We know little more of Matthew than that he was a tax collector, and of certain other apostles, our understanding goes little further than a business of fishing.  But Peter is far different: he’s brash and rude and mistaken and forgetful — cowardly and silly and short-sighted: in other words, a perfect match for nearly every Christian in existence.  The other apostles are Apostles; Peter is human. (more…)

4. January 2014

On exaggeration

Filed under: philosophy,Theology — admin @ 21:32

The other day I heard a preacher ask if Jesus Christ ever exaggerated.  This question was rhetorical, of course, and he was expecting us to answer no, simply on the basis of our believing Jesus Christ to be a true teacher.  But upon second thought, there is nobody I can think of in the entire Bible who’s given more to hyperbole, which is extremely similar to exaggeration. (more…)

2. January 2014

On untimely deaths

Filed under: philosophy,Random thoughts,Theology — admin @ 19:21

One of the most strange and pagan things a person could say is that another person’s death was untimely.  Of course, there is only one timely time for a person to die, and that is when he does.  All other times are incredibly out of place. (more…)

26. December 2013

The most interesting man in the world

Filed under: philosophy,Poetry,Random thoughts — admin @ 17:39

After spending a good amount of time thinking about The Most Interesting Man in the World, I have come to the conclusion that he is far less interesting than Dos Equis proposes.  That he is accomplished (by worldly standards) is beyond dispute; but accomplished does not always equal interesting.  He may go parasailing and hunting and warring and traveling, but the majority of these qualities are simply covetable, not interesting. (more…)

18. December 2013

On gluttony

Filed under: philosophy,Random thoughts — admin @ 21:58

Whoever keeps the law is a discerning son,
But a companion of gluttons shames his father.

Gluttony — why gluttony?  Isn’t it strange that of all the sins and injustices mentioned by Moses, Solomon chooses gluttony as the antithesis of righteousness?  That of murder and adultery and theft and everything abominable and unfair, he chooses something which hadn’t even been mentioned in the Ten Commandments?  (more…)

3. December 2013

On family dinners and miracle cures

Filed under: Random thoughts — admin @ 18:58

If there is anything more ridiculous than the commonly-held idea, that families who eat together are more likely to be healthy and stay together, I would honestly like to know what it is.  To believe that by eating together once a day, by making uncomfortable small-talk for maybe half an hour, that any parent could have played a significant role in his child’s life is ridiculous.  But if it is ridiculous, it is at least instructive, being extremely indicative of a much larger problem: that Americans in particular are so incredibly dissociated from serious values — from Godly parenting, serious education, and the principles of cause and effect — that they believe by dining together, they can create strong families. (more…)

29. November 2013

That moral failures are oftentimes surprising

Filed under: philosophy,Theology — admin @ 23:20

Well known to the seasoned Christian warrior is the tendency to read his Bible, meditate upon some moral commandment for some good time, in perfectly good faith and with a perfectly good intent, and then walk away and immediately violate his good intention. (more…)

24. November 2013

On the image of God

Filed under: natural law and rights,philosophy,Theology — admin @ 15:58

I’ve never really been able to pinpoint what the image of God actually is, but if I had to venture a guess, it would be something between our desire and our imagination.  And I say this because the image never really begins with moral laws; the Bible says children exist before they know right and wrong.  And we can also safely say that the image isn’t some other kind of knowledge, because experience teaches that youth and ignorance are perfectly correlated.  But if the human begins with anything, and we have to say he’s born with the image, and that image makes him different than all the animals, and more like the divine, it would have to be an innate capacity to dream, and a drive to take him to places animals have never been and cannot be. (more…)

12. November 2013

On reincarnation

Filed under: philosophy,Theology — admin @ 06:24

I don’t believe in the Hindu idea of reincarnation, but I have to admit, it is very easy for me to understand how someone else could.  Certain children have tendencies almost upon birth that seem impossible: tastes for certain kinds of music, and irrational aversions bordering on the bizarre, though almost nothing in the child’s life seems to hint at any kind of experience leading to particular tastes and inclinations; yet the tastes and inclinations are undeniable. (more…)

22. October 2013

In defense of MacArthur (an essay on Charismatics)

Filed under: Christian Post,philosophy,Theology — admin @ 00:49

A lot of people seem to be angry with John MacArthur; it would be more comforting to me, and a greater testimony to American sensibility, if Christians were more concerned about Pat Robertson.  That the former can openly state his opposition to what he believes the falsified expression of spiritual power, is far less offensive than a man who has openly and repeatedly claimed to be speaking the words of God, but whose failed prophesies have proven him heretical.  Yet the former man is almost universally condemned as hateful and divisive, while the latter maintains his audience for what? — not one, but multiple generations, despite a televised broadcast in which he said that Jesus told him President Obama would lose the last election. (more…)

9. October 2013

The impoverishment of American conversation

Filed under: philosophy — admin @ 16:37

I’ve become convinced that if there ever were a manly and profitable use of social networking, it would rarely be to post information about where the user is, or what he’s doing, or how he’s feeling, but always about what he’s thinking.  And if this appears strange to most Americans, it proves something very backward about the way they think: that by sharing the contents of a person’s ideas and beliefs, he would be rudely sharing something personal; and that if he were to be more polite, instead of speaking openly about what he sees as truth, he would share more information about things that really concern nobody else. (more…)

3. October 2013

A defense of the sovereignty of God in evil circumstances

Filed under: philosophy,Theology — admin @ 18:28

However forcefully I oppose them, I can’t entirely blame the advocates of an unBiblical notion of the sovereignty of God.  It seems more pious, at first glance, to deny that God and Satan both moved David to census Israel (2 Samuel 24:1; 1 Chronicles 21:1), that God and Satan both crushed Jesus on Calvary, to believe that it is Satan, and not God, who authors every death and disease, and ordains every national calamity.   And looking beyond Scripture itself, we oftentimes find people willing to claim that

If sickness is the will of God, then every physician is a lawbreaker, every trained nurse is defying the Almighty, every hospital is a house of rebellion instead of a house of mercy, and instead of supporting hospitals, we ought to do our utmost to close every one; -F.F. Bosworth

thus implying that although God is sovereign over creation, that He only is sovereign over blessings, taking retaliatory measures like a man in a tennis match against the evils caused and maintained solely by His opposition.  And if we are to be fair to these misguided believers, human reason suggests that to be the cause of something evil infers moral culpability; but if Scriptural evidence is a testament to anything, it is first that God is most certainly dictating the totality of human history (1 Samuel 2:6-10; Isaiah 45:7; Matthew 10:29; Lamentations 3:38; Prov 16:4; Amos 3:6; Jer 33:5); second, that God is righteous; and third, that the paths of human and divine reason oftentimes greatly diverge (Isaiah 55:8-9). (more…)

27. September 2013

The humanity of hypocrisy: in defense of Thomas Jefferson

Filed under: philosophy,worldview — admin @ 16:40

I can’t recall the exact number of times I’ve heard that Thomas Jefferson’s opinions are irrelevant because he owned slaves, but if I could make an estimate, it would have to be about several dozen.  And if Jefferson were alone the subject of such an unjust and ridiculous opinion, I would leave the matter alone, but I have heard it sincerely professed about Martin Luther because he didn’t have an unChristian and Evangelical obsession with the Jews, and about John Calvin because he burned a heretic at the stake.  And the more I examine the matter, it seems that everyone feels perfectly comfortable finding a characteristic of a great or genius man insufferable, when what they really mean to do is ignore other ideas which, perhaps if not perfect, are worth serious consideration. (more…)

15. September 2013

The myth of the incorrigible American genius

Filed under: philosophy — admin @ 15:24

If I’m to concede a point to the advocates of diversity, it is that having multiple perspectives on certain practical matters is greatly beneficial.  Men, oftentimes confusing custom for righteousness, are frequently so blind to the unreasonableness of their own traditions and the possibility of better paths, that they frequently ostracize and persecute the greatest of visionaries and prophets, and stagnate in cesspools of their own willful ignorance. (more…)

13. September 2013

Our obnoxious Christianity

Filed under: philosophy,Theology — admin @ 16:59

Throughout my short existence, I have learned that whether I am chivalrous or a man-pig, a good worker or a layabout, a wise man or a fool, people are going to hate me for what I choose.  And if I am to live a meaningful life, I have decided that if I am to be hated, it is best to be hated by all the worst kinds of people. (more…)

1. September 2013

Thoughts on the Seattle Slutwalk

Filed under: philosophy,sex — admin @ 15:44

If there exists a more undeniable testament to the mindlessness of modern women than the Seattle Slutwalk, I would honestly like to know what it is.  The belief that after laws have been passed against rape, that after hefty penalties exist for its punishment, that after unjust laws give women a very publicly known advantage in rape’s prosecution — in other words, that the very guns of the state have been turned against even questionably alleged rapists — that women can somehow by debasing themselves and chanting slogans curb such sinister acts, is so ridiculously absurd, that I wonder whether a comedian could have invented it. (more…)

11. August 2013

The myth of the Mexican work ethic

Filed under: multiculturalism,natural law and rights,philosophy — admin @ 16:49

There are two kinds of men that this article will necessarily offend.  The first, and most obvious, is the kind of man who honestly believes in an exceptional Mexican work ethic, the man who attempts to befriend or utilize the Mexican population to either prove himself not to be a racist, to acquire their votes, or to unfairly associate himself with qualities belonging to others.  But the second kind of man, in my opinion, deserves to be offended far more than the rest: for, hoping to find an essay about the laziness of Mexicans, what he is actually going to find is an essay about the foolishness of white Americans. (more…)

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