Tuesday, October 27, 2015

God's Finger, My Forehead, and Her Intricate, Perfect Ears

[More than 10 years ago, in a seminary workshop outside of Greenville, SC, I heard a speaker read this passage.  Since then I've ruminated on it scores of times, though never remembering its author.  This morning, in a Ken Myers interview of Mary Eberstadt, I was delighted to hear it referred to again - with the author's name attached - Whittaker Chambers!  Enjoy.]

“It was shortly before we moved to Alger Hiss's apartment in Washington. My daughter was in her high chair. I was watching her eat. She was the most miraculous thing that had ever happened in my life. I liked to watch her even when she smeared porridge on her face or dropped it meditatively on the floor. My eye came to rest on the delicate convolutions of her ear — those intricate, perfect ears.

The thought passed through my mind: 'No, those ears were not created by any chance coming together of atoms in nature. They could have been created only by immense design.'

The thought was involuntary and unwanted. I crowded it out of my mind. But I never wholly forgot it or the occasion. I had to crowd it out of my mind. If I had completed it, I should have had to say: Design presupposes God. I did not then know that, at that moment, the finger of God was first laid upon my forehead.”

- Whittaker Chambers, Introduction, Witness

Friday, October 23, 2015

Book List

You are what your mind eats …

Thursday, October 22, 2015

As the Angels in Heaven: A Theological Reflection on the Plight of Bruce Jenner

Long after his sordid story broke, we are still talking about Bruce Jenner.  His sad state fascinates us and brings many of our societal failures and follies to the surface.  Chief among them is our destructive devotion to the ultimacy of personal choice.  Devotion that borders on idolatry.
In this man's fractured life, we see the folly of making the subjective will ultimate. 

When a full-grown man says something like, "as far back as i can remember, i have felt like and identified as a woman," and we are unable to respond with anything but, "well, then you must really be a woman," we are in deep trouble.
Certain fundamental things precede memory.  Certain truths are objectively true about us - whether we prefer and identify with them or not.  Several of these objective truths of reality come by way of the body we're given. We receive our bodies, and therefore our genders, long before we possess anything like memory or feeling or a sense of identity or even any self awareness at all.
You show up at conception and there it is - already right there in your DNA from the first second of your life.  And centuries after you die, if archaeologists happen to dig up your bones, one of the first things they will determine by the most basic testing is whether you were male or female.

When we hear ourselves asking questions like - "Can you imagine being trapped in a body you don't belong in?" ... as if you could be switched at birth into a foreign body by accident or trickery... as if - because of its gender - your body were something you could be "trapped inside of" like an elevator in a blackout.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Grave Importance of Church Funerals and Cemetery Yards

"[The problem is] not that our culture doesn't believe in God.  It's that our culture doesn't believe in death ... really.  And as a result, [we] don't really get the point.  Our culture is dedicated to distracting us from this inconvenient truth.  We are dedicated to being distracted from distraction by distraction."

- David Bentley Hart