Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.
The New York Times has a story which asks if children should continue to have best friends.
But increasingly, some educators and other professionals who work with children are asking a question that might surprise their parents: Should a child really have a best friend?....But the classic best-friend bond — the two special pals who share secrets and exploits, who gravitate to each other on the playground and who head out the door together every day after school — signals potential trouble for school officials intent on discouraging anything that hints of exclusivity, in part because of concerns about cliques and bullying.A more honest way of saying this is that people are harder to control when they rely on close friends than when they rely on a mass of pre-picked "playmates" to form their social cohort. Groups are often easier to control than individuals, and the "experts" are all-too-often more about controlling than helping, though they must achieve the former under the guise of the latter. Hell's Bible asks if children should continue to have best friends. The "experts" say no. I question why we still listen to these so-called "experts.
Tip of the derby cap to Mr Michael Flynn.
With a tip of my derby cap to Darius of Echoes in Eternity, Mr Douglas Wilson takes Mr Jim Wallis to task over his--well, his general lack of understanding of how governments work. I'm not much of a subscriber to libertarian philosophy (Christian or otherwise), but they sure do like to use barbs in their arguments:
When employers rip off their employees, the righteous prince will be right there, and will enforce the demands of justice (Jas. 5:4). But when an economic illiterate demands that we destroy an inner city with minimum wage laws and rent control, what charge shall we bring against him? For my part, I would charge him with not hating evil, with not loving good, and with not maintaining justice in the courts.
Christian liberals need to get it into their heads that the prophet Amos never said, "And thou shalt be sure to maintain your charitable niceness pure and undefiled with the pixie dust of good intentions."...let us translate what Wallis is actually saying on the theological level. He is arguing that compassion cannot survive apart from coercion. Compassion comes out of the barrel of a gun. The demands of compassion require that we threaten a lot of people with hard time in chokey if they don't fork it over now. Wallis is a theocrat, as am I. But his vision of theocracy has a lot more guns, jails, and fines in it than mine does. How many guns and jails do we need? I don't know -- how far did we fall short on the compassion index this year?
Returning to more Catholic circles, Fr Dwight Longenecker has a post about the necessity of both Orthodoxy and Orthopraxis.
What is therefore required for evangelization is word and action. People want to see lives transformed, but they also need to hear why and how they have been transformed. Combined with this emphasis on word and action, it is also vital to have another pair in balance: orthodoxy and orthopraxis--that is right belief and right action. Orthodoxy without orthopraxis is dull theology. Orthopraxis without orthodoxy is a religion of sentimentality, subjectivism and good works.
On the topic of contrasts, Mr Matthew Archbold has a post up about the differences between Catholic Reform and Protestant Reform. A fitting subtitle would be: "Why there are 36,000 Protestant denominations/sects/etc but only One Catholic Church."
When rebuffed by the pope, Saint Francis could have appealed to Sacred Scripture, showing this his pattern of life was poor and lowly like that of Christ. He might even have contrasted his own "biblical life" against the extravagance of the Papal court. Francis may even have rightly rebuked the abbots, bishops, and cardinals for lacking evangelical witness. Instead, Francis followed the path of Christ. He allowed himself to be misunderstood and maligned, knowing that God would bring about his vindication...and God always does.
Contrast Saint Francis to Martin Luther. Luther did not visit Rome for confirmation of his cause, nor did he respect the structures of the Church. In fact, Cardinal Cajetan met privately with Luther and explained how Luther might modify his message so that Cajetan could have it approved by the Roman Curia. If Luther had moved more slowly and charitably, he may have become "Saint" Martin Luther.
Red Cardigan has a sadly humorous post (sad, because it's true; humorous, for the same reason) about the "Guidelines of Vatican II." I especially liked this line before the actual "guidelines" are laid out:
I can't help but wonder whether there aren't a significant number of progressive Catholics who really do believe in the "Guidelines of Vatican II," (formerly known as the "Spirit of Vatican II," until someone pointed out that believing in "spirits" was so Council of Constantinople I)
As for the actual guidelines, I liked numbers 1 and 4 the most. There is one guideline conspicuously missing, though closely linked to number 3:
Non dignitatum sacerdotalis The priest is just another member of the community, and ought not be accorded any respect. Moreover, neither priest nor monk nor nun ought to dress in a particularly dignified manner. All religious habits are hereby replaced with large floppy name tags (to be worn during important events such as conferences).
Mr Marcel LeJeune has a list of 35 saints names rarely picked for confirmation. This gives me a whole new set of name ideas, much to my wife's chagrin.
Mrs Christine Odone has an opinion piece in the Telegraph about the European Court of Human Right's ban on "religious symbols" in the classroom. The ban is patently ridiculous, especially in countries such as Italy in which the crucifix is a regular fixture in most classes:
For today’s Italians, though, it’s no laughing matter. The crucifix in the classroom risks provoking a rupture with a European bureaucracy my compatriots have come to see as invasive and intolerant.The government is appealing to the European Court of Human Rights to overturn its judgement last year that religious symbols in schools are an infringement of human rights. The crucifix, that symbol of a supreme self-sacrifice, is supposedly unacceptable in a European culture that allows schoolchildren to download homophobic rap lyrics, watch sexist (and in Italy, semi-pornographic) TV programmes, indulge in crass consumerist competitions over designer trainers, sunglasses and iPhones.
Even the most hedonistic Italians realise that tolerance for porn but not for a crucifix is wrong. The government’s appeal today sticks up two fingers to a court of so-called human rights that does not recognise the right to religious expression. Italians reject the anti-Christian culture that has infiltrated this court, and beyond it, the EU.