Laughing at the Death of our Republic

A Theology of Martyrdom

Profilic: Anthony Trollope wrote more than 40 novels but The Way We Live Now surpasses them all.

We all like to spend money. Unfortunately most of us don’t have as much money as we’d like to spend. This isn’t merely true for individuals. Nations can spend too much money as well.

Greece has decided that it can’t handle the austerity measures necessary to put it on the path to financial stability. They’ve elected a new leftist government that’s got back to the serious business of spending money they don’t have. The Greeks can breathe easily again. Life is back to normal.

Sometimes life imitates art.

I’ve been reading Anthony Trollope’s Doctor Thorne lately. In the novel, the local squire, Mr. Gresham, has some financial difficulties. He’s got an immense income of £14,000 a year, but he’s got even more immense debts. He owes £80,000, and he’s just had to borrow another £10,000. Trollope describes Mr. Gresham’s reaction to the new loan this way.

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Collin Garbarino:

Posted over at Reflection and Choice

Originally posted on Reflection and Choice:

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

There he goes again. Pope Francis is confusing the point.

He condemned religious violence in response to the attack in Paris. Westerners tend to applaud the condemnation of religious violence. All well and good.

But the New York Daily News believes that Francis made “a rare rhetorical misstep.”

But then the Pope confused the point by saying, “You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”

While the sentiment is understandable coming from a man of the cloth, it conflicts with Western traditions of free expression, while enabling repressive religious zealots around the world to claim the Pope is in their corner.

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Reading Saint Augustine in 2015

Belin Chapel at Houston Baptist University

Belin Chapel at Houston Baptist University

 

When I was young we attended a fairly typical Southern Baptist church with fairly typical Baptist-church architecture. That architecture included stained glass windows. We were a small congregation, and our stained glass wasn’t fancy. Even so, the beauty of the windows charged my inchoate theological imagination in a way that I think was beneficial.

When I was in high school we started attending another Baptist church which met in a more modern building. This building had stained glass too, but I can only describe it as brutalist stained glass. My teenaged self mourned the absence of visual beauty in my Sunday worship.

Twenty years later, it’s hard to even find some brutalist stained glass. After more than a thousand years, stained glass has fallen out of fashion.

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Collin Garbarino:

A post I did for HBU’s School of Humanities blog.

Originally posted on Reflection and Choice:

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This week marks the hundredth anniversary of the Christmas truce of the First World War.

In the summer of 1914, the German army advanced into French territory, but after initial success, the Germans found themselves being pushed back by the French and the British who had come to their aid. The Germans dug trenches to keep from getting pushed back farther, and the British and French dug their own trenches parallel to the German ones.

In December of 1914, the two sides were still sitting in their trenches, which in some places were less than a hundred yards apart.

Neither side wanted to fight on Christmas Day, so the guns went silent for a while. And in the silence, someone started singing “Silent Night.” “Silent Night” is pretty much the same song in both English and German, and the two sides together started singing hymns celebrating the birth of the…

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