Dry Mouths

When an entire continent that is—to repeat—healthier, wealthier, and more secure than ever before ceases to produce the human future in the most elemental sense of “human future”—by refusing to have children—something is seriously awry. Something has gone dry in the soul. Whatever the economic , ideological, and cultural pressures involved, a lack of generosity toward the future is manifesting itself in willful barrenness. And that is, in the broad sense of the term “human spirit,” a spiritual problem. Indeed it is a spiritual crisis.

(source: Letter Number Ten | Xavier Rynne II, ed. | First Things)

Soldiers, Spacemen, Stone Tables and Saruman


Today, TGC carries my review of Joseph Loconte’s wonderful new book about how the religious/political cataclysm of the Great War and its aftermath shaped the fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis:

Recently I finished reading my daughter The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It was her first time hearing the story; it was my first time reading it since I read Joseph Loconte’s delightful yet sobering A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War...The highest compliment I can think of to give this book is that Loconte…has revealed to me new depths in Narnia, as well as in Middle-Earth and the Space Trilogy.

I’d been aware—who could miss it?—that all three were written in reaction against the de-Christianization of Western culture. The most delightful moment of Loconte’s book for me was this vignette: Lewis wrote the first book of the Space Trilogy in 1938 to confront readers with the biblical doctrine of the fall, and was dumbfounded when he discovered that no one who read the book saw the biblical connection. Rather than give up in despair, he concluded the public was now so theologically ignorant that, as he wrote to a friend, “Any amount of theology can now be smuggled into people’s minds under cover of romance.” The rest is history.

As I write at TGC, while the book is insightful on Tolkien and Lewis, I think its greatest service is to help recover some historical memory of the religious and political significance of the Great War – over the past few years I have become more and more convinced that the early 20th century was the great pivot that created our present historical situation. As always, your comments are welcome!

Decency Sighting, Rick Perry Edition


Ladies and gentlemen of the jury of History, let the record show that Rick Perry was something more than merely the hands-down best governor of his generation:

Early in the Republican presidential primary in 2012, there was a televised debate. The candidates were seated around a table. As the debate unfolded, many of the candidates were furiously writing down notes, to remind themselves of a point they wanted to make. One candidate, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, noticed that Perry wasn’t writing very much. Through the course of the debate, Santorum told the story of the tremendous health challenges that his daughter Bella, who suffers from a rare disease, had faced through her life. It was a touching story. As the debate ended, the candidates stood up and shook hands. Santorum walked over to Perry and glanced down at his paper and saw just three words: Pray for Bella.

The article’s written by a former rival of Perry’s in the hotbed of Texas GOP infighting. The whole thing is worth your time.

Truth Will Out (or, Never Mind the Lying Liars)

Among the 40 percent of GOP primary voters who say they are evangelical or born again, Trump only polls 25 percent compared to his 38 percent support among all other GOP primary voters. Even that overstates the amount of Trump support you would find in an evangelical pew on Sunday morning. Of those evangelical GOP primary voters who go to church at least once a month (80 percent of that subgroup), Trump polls just 21 percent. By contrast, among those attending church less frequently, Trump doubles his support.

(source: Evangelicals Don’t Love Trump)

As I’ve already commented on Facebook:

For those of you who have been looking left and right for those elusive hordes of people who support this foul imposture on account of their evangelical fervor–yes, as we’ve been telling you, this is another lie made up by people who make up stuff to deceive you for a living. Are you even surprised?

Is it OK with you to live in a culture like this?
“Oh, advertisements lie? ho hum.”
“Oh, politicians lie? of course they do.”
“Oh, the news lies? sure, but they’re invaluable props to democracy for some reason.”

It should not be. What will you do to make truth triumph in our world?

Hint: it does not start by agitating in favor of imposture and chicanery writ large.

source: Trump-Support-Age.png

Christian Resistance to Lawless Power: a brief sourcebook with pictures

It is vital that we recover an understanding of law and justice which both strengthens the rule of law with authentic moral force and recognizes that unjust, tyrannical, or self-serving law can have no such force.

And it is very important that each of us differentiate between our responsibility, insofar as we have authority to act, and any temptation to disregard authority and become mobs & petty tyrants, ourselves!

First, a recent passage with very high authority, establishing the relevance of the tradition to the current situation:

In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.

(source: Considerations Regarding Proposals To Give Legal Recognition To Unions Between Homosexual Persons)

Or, as St. Augustine puts it in a dialogue:

Even Tertullian falls in line on this one: Continue reading