The great danger that bedevils any powerful heuristic or interpretive discipline is the tendency to mistake method for ontology

Quote of the Day for Friday, September 30th, 2011: David Bentley Hart, from an On The Square article today over at First Things, on the inherently epistemologically-limiting nature of intellectual methodology, and the dangers of ignoring that fact: The great danger that bedevils any powerful heuristic or interpretive discipline is the tendency to mistake method for ontology, and so to mistake a partial perspective on particular truths for a comprehensive vision of truth as such. In the modern world, this is an especially pronounced danger in the sciences...

It is by their gods that human beings are shaped and known

Quote of the Day for Monday, May 9th, 2011: A second helping from the wonderful essay by David Bentley Hart: John Paul II Against the Nihilists: For the late pope, divine humanity is not something that in a simple sense lies beyond the human; it does not reside in some future, post-human race to which the good of the present must be offered up; it is instead a glory hidden in the depths of every person, even the least of us – even "defectives" and "morons" and "genetic inferiors," if you will – waiting to be rev...

Mobilizing Useful Idiots Around the World to Take Up the Cause

Quote of the Day for Wednesday, January 5th, 2011: Stephen Kinzer, writing in The Guardian on December 31, on the professional Human Rights movement’s loss of direction since its emergence some 40 years ago or so: The actions of human rights do-gooders is craziest in Darfur, where they show themselves not only dangerously naive but also unwilling to learn lessons from their past misjudgments. By their well-intentioned activism, they have given murderous rebel militias – not only in Darfur but around the world – the idea that even if they have no h...

Not the Sort of Divinity One Would Sketch

Quote of the Day for Thursday, December 9th, 2010: Mark T. Coppenger, from the article The Perennial Challenge to Inerrancy in the Fall 2010 issue of Southern Seminary Magazine: Whenever I read that someone like Freud or Feuerbach says that God’s a comforting figment or projection of our imagination, I wonder if they’ve ever read the Bible. For our God is not prone to indulge earthly conceits and agendas. Rather, He is insulting, intrusive, inconvenient and insistent – not the sort of divinity one would sketch if left to his own devices. Amen to that! ...

Reconciling the World

Quote of the Day for Tuesday, Nov. 30: Hans Urs von Balthasar, from “The Sacrament of the Brother,” in The God Question & Modern Man, 1958: The opposition between what is profane and what is sacred is indeed fully justified in its place, else there could be no movement. Yet in this openness and this reciprocally flowing movement the opposition is transcended by the unity of him in whom and for whom all things have been created, and who has therefore been charged by the Father to bring them home. Nevertheless, a man will find God in all worldly thing...

Yet by the Goodness of God, We Are So Far from Want

Quote of the Day for Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, 2010: Mayflower Pilgrim  Edward Winslow, from A Relation or Journal of the Beginning and Proceedings of the English Plantation Settled at Plimoth in New England (aka Mourt’s Relation), published in England by George Morton (aka Mourt) in 1622: [O]ur governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a more special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruit of our labors; they four in one day killed as much fowl, as with a little help beside, served the company almost a week,  at ...

God’s Treasure

A few years ago, I started teaching a unit called "Biblical Themes" in the parish Confirmation Prep program. I was given six 90-minute sessions to work with, and no curricula whatsoever. Since I was recruited for the task a mere week before classes were to begin, I didn’t have a lot of time to plan out the program, but I relished the idea of having such free reign to come up with six Biblical lessons for the high school kids. I quickly sketched out a plan of study that I can only describe now as grossly optimistic. It involved touching ea...