While a consumerist society may have given Americans a better selection of beer and cheese to choose from, it has done our sense of the sacred no favors. Most Americans, myself included, maintain a certain taste in piety. I like 20th century Catholic fiction, and I like Baptist preaching, and I think no one has bested the Anglicans so far as hymns are concerned, especially Christmas hymns. I say this not exactly as a confession, for I do not know if I really had a choice in the matter, growing up where and how I did.
Taken from "Split," a short story.
A great many chapters had passed in Sylvia’s life between the last time she described herself as a Lutheran and the first time she described herself as “agnostic” on a Minnesota census form— the latter event, wherein Sylvia blackened a circle scarcely bigger than an ovum, prefaced by nearly an hour of pacing barefoot and refilling a wine glass.
While attending conferences this summer, there are two very particular kinds of teachers you are likely to meet around the coffee carafes and book tables. While there are far more than just two kinds of teachers, I want to talk about just two. Let us call them Glad Man and Sad Man. Here is what either of these teachers will say as you are looking for the creamer.
Many rookie teachers are tempted to hold a hardline view on some theological issue which “the average Christian just can’t handle.” The rookie teacher believes the average American Christian is too intellectually weak to handle the real truth about pacifism, spanking, total war, double predestination, liberalism, Catholicism, monarchy, eschatology, socialism, race relations, wealth and poverty, slavery, liturgy, prayer for the dead, God’s exhaustive sovereignty, universalism, apostolic succession, nuclear war, taxation (is theft!), the Crusades, democracy, and so forth.
Step 1. One week prior to final exam, inform students the final exam will be profoundly difficult and very long.
Step 2. Five days prior to exam, purchase fifteen pounds of flour, jar of yeast, pink sea salt. Add water. Mix together. Let bread dough sit in fridge three days.
Step 3. Remind students again of how difficult the final exam will be. “You may bring all the books you read this year, though you will not know until the day of the test which of the books will be useful to you.”
Yesterday, I said this:
"What I have to say, I have to say to the fellows. But ladies, you should eavesdrop.
At noon, during lunch, the friends of a certain high school junior extend an invitation to do something wicked together after school. The junior in question responds, “I don’t know. Let me think about it,” and his friends, who are intent on wickedness, reply, “Let us know after school if you are coming.” For the next three hours, a certain junior will undergo temptation.
In the ongoing series of events which constitute The End of Western Civilization®, mankind’s latest dare for the Almighty to have done with us is nowhere as brazen as smart phones or reality television, though it still needs to be stamped out post-haste. Now joining the ranks of bottle flipping and dabbing, fidget spinners are officially a 2016-2017 school year hot annoying trend.
Do “people in general” actually exist? In Book XIV, chapter 2 of the City of God, Augustine discusses “the carnal life” and mentions, on one extreme end, the Epicureans, who believes man’s chief good is found in his body, and, on the other extreme end, the Stoics, who place man’s chief good in the spirit. However, between these two extremes, Augustine mentions, “people in general, who are not attached to any philosophical doctrine, who hold no sort of theory, but, [have] a natural propensity toward sensuality...”
If the wages of sin is death, why do forgiven people still die? Augustine does not say, “Because even forgiven people are still guilty.” Rather, Augustine suggests death looms for the forgiven man so that he may gain in righteousness.