In the interview this summer with my twin brother Patrick, I talked about the breakdown of public discourse that inevitably follows the collapse of shared meta-narratives.
In America today…the absence of shared traditions, the absence of shared meta-narratives, [leads to a] fracturing into all these micro-narratives, and then our public discourse just becomes a circus to see who can shout the loudest. So we talk past each other because we’re not really interested in understanding the other person. Understanding means being able to really listen attentively from your heart, and being able to summarize back what the other person is saying in a way that they can say, “That is fair.” We’re not interested in doing that anymore by and large, or having that type of attentive and intelligence discussion in our public discourse.
Education should thus serve the dual purpose of cultivating dispositions attuned to what is good, true and beautiful in this world, while also cultivating a sense of holy discontent that refuses to be satisfied with anything but God Himself. The manifestation of what is good, true and beautiful in creation should be seen as an icon of the Eternal Good, Truth, and Beauty, but it is only an icon; the reality towards which these qualities point can be found only in the beatific vision. That is why the most moving poetry, the most lovely music, the most beautiful literature, always leave us slightly unsatisfied. The best art points beyond itself and awaken within us deep yearnings for something more.
Earlier this month I had the privilege of speaking at the “Gold Country Gathering” that my parents organized for fans of George MacDonald. I spoke about human flourishing, George MacDonald, and my upcoming book.
Plato wasn’t just a great metaphysician, he was also one of the greatest psychologists ever to have lived. In this edition of our podcast, Dr. Phillip Cary sheds light on Plato’s psychology. You will learn how Plato’s psychology and metaphysics can help us navigate life in the modern world, including the experience of erotic love, movies, and malls.
In my article ‘Virtue and Classical Education‘, I contrast modern and ancient understandings of virtue. In the historic understanding, virtue includes actions but is rooted in attitude. And while attitude includes emotion, it also involves so much more, namely having dispositions tuned to reality in a special sort of way. To have virtuous attitudes and emotions is to instinctively recoil from what is base and disgusting. To have virtuous attitudes is to be the sort of person who is nourished by beauty instead of triviality, who instinctively has a fitting response to what is lovely and awe-inspiring. It is to be able to go out into the world with a sense of wonder towards all that is lovely and awe-inspiring, and to derive genuine enjoyment from what is good, true, and beautiful.
This article is part of my ongoing series on Gnosticism. For a complete list of these articles, see ‘Full Links to Gnosticism Series.’ God and the Problem of Creation
Camille is a sophomore in college, majoring in theater with an emphasis in dance. Earlier in the year she was introduced to Jesus through friends with Campus Crusade, leading to what she describes as her “salvation experience.” Now Camille is only interested in serving Jesus. She wonders if perhaps she should switch her major in Bible, for she is unsure how “secular” pursuits like theatre and ballet fit with her newfound faith.
Rodrigo recently became uncomfortable when a group at his church got involved in local politics to try to address issues of homelessness and poverty. Although Rodrigo does not have a problem helping homeless people, he has a strong intuition that the church should not become involved in politics. Didn’t Jesus himself say that His kingdom is not of this world?
On Tuesday, as the Ukraine scandal was breaking, Rod Dreher made some thoughtful observations about why, from a conservative perspective, it matters (and matters a lot) whether the recent allegations against the President are true. Then yesterday, after the publication of the whistle-blower’s complaint, Dreher reflected on the implications of the crazy situation America could be headed into: a situation in which an impeached president is re-elected. Both articles are worth a read.
Some of you are aware that I have been gradually republishing to this website all the articles from the Colson Center column that I maintained from 2011 to 2014. (On why this respublishing is necessary and why I stopped writing the column, see here.) I am pleased to announce that I have now finished publishing the entire series on Gnosticism that appeared in my column from February 2012 to September 2013. Here are links to these articles:
This year I began writing an entirely new series on Gnosticism and its connections with Protestant evangelicalism. Although this series has some overlaps with the Colson Center series, it goes deeper into the key issues at stake. Here’s what I’ve got so far in this new series:
In addition to the above, you can also view the Gnosticism archives on my old discontinued blog, although because I no longer maintain that website, many of the links are broken, and some of the viewpoints are more extreme than what I now advocate.
Last month James Kirchick published an article for Tablet Magazineon the recent tidal wave of left-wing racism in America. Near the beginning of the article Kirchick lays his cards on the table.
Indeed, many of Trump’s opponents on the left have turned themselves into committed ideologues with a programmatic understanding of human behavior and human differences rooted in some biological component that is impossible or nearly impossible to change. The way the left talks incessantly about “white men,” or openly puts membership in victim groups above individual rights and virtues, is the essence of what most people mean by racism. Not “reverse racism”—but real, actual, racism.
From there Kirchick goes on to chronicle a series of recent outburst of racism from high ranking spokespeople and legislators on the political left. I knew that identity politics was a problem on the political left (something I have referred to hereand here), but I had no idea of how systemic racism had become within left-wing ideology.