by Theodore Dalrymple
One of the advantages of rehearsing your thoughts (or, more accurately, some of your thoughts) in public is that you often enter into friendly correspondence with interesting people. Of course, you also expose yourself to cranks and pedants, the latter ready to pounce upon the slightest error either of fact or grammar in what you have set down. They who have never published a word seem to read solely for the pleasure of finding something over which to pull authors up. (They would defend themselves, of course, by quoting Doctor Johnson on the right of people who never made a table nevertheless to criticise a table.) more...
M S T
RIP Harold R. Griffith 1920-2008
His life story is told here: http://www.acr.org/SecondaryMainMenuCategories/NewsPublications/FeaturedCategories/CurrentHealthCareNews/More/Practicingat87.aspx
He is what Americans call a PK (preacher's kid/ pastor's kid.) The irreverent attitude to sacredness could well have developed when he started to deny his Baptist father's faith in favour of materialism and evolution from animal ancestors; the inverse of "the bigger the sinner, the bigger the saint".
A cogent essay by Theodore Dalrymple, which reflects many of my thoughts on the subject of the aferlife. As I find the prospect of life after death unlikely, the physican referenced in the essay, who faced death in a rational way by donating his body for dissection, should be applauded. While I agree with Mr. Dalrymple that de-humanizing people has led to monstrous crimes, a cadaver is not a rotting pork chop, but an anatomical treasure. Personally, I am a whole body donor to a medical school, and would consider it an honor to be dissected by students in gross anatomy.
I wonder how his wife feels about his decision?
While appreciating Mr. Dalrymple's article about sacred things, and how we as atheists feel about them, previous commenter alfred summed it up all perfectly.
It is true that even without being religious in any form, we can and shall have a concept of sacred thing, taboos that provide a framework for our actions and also a set of values we believe in. I think that one has to have values to follow, even if they are not derived from some kind of spirituality. Otherwise the pointlessness of existence would strike too hard on us. But again, as alfred said, the hope that we can, in the distant future, understand this silly Universe, is a good foundation for it.
A physico-chemical being such as Dr. Dalrymple is sufficient argumentation for the materialist/existential creed: that the conscious, chosen purpose of living in a purposeless, random, accidental, absurd universe is the conscious creation and recognition of life-enhancing meaning--thus transfiguring the naked ape from darkness to light.
The man's thought is numinous--in the sense of spiritually elevated-- to a height unreachable by the conventionally religious, nattering on at length about this or that transcendent divinity created in their own image for the glory and aggrandizement of they themselves.
erm..(as the english go)
but there is nothing about Transfiguration in this piece at all, is there? It's in the Title, but that's about it!
Friday, August 15, 2008
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When our older son was in high school, he ate, and drank, and slept football. He was a lineman and, being descended from me, he wasn't all that big. But he played with real intensity! John was one of his teammates, and John was a pretty hard-living kid who had sampled a little of everything. And John knew that our son was one of those Christian-types. And he came to him after the first week of practice and said, "Hey, Hutch, I thought you were a holy man. How come you hit so hard?"
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Those Hard-Hitting Holy Men."
That comment from our son's teammate was about football, but it revealed what a lot of people think Christian manhood is all about. I remember one young man from Harlem said, "The Jesus in paintings doesn't look like He could last ten minutes in my neighborhood."
Well, it's definitely time for our word for today from the Word of God, John 2, beginning in verse 14. "In the temple courts Jesus found men selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So He made a whip out of cords, and He drove all of them from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; He scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves, He said, 'Get these out of here! How dare you turn My Father's house into a market!'" This is the hard-hitting Jesus! Single-handedly, He threw out the Temple Mafia. This is no wimpy Savior.
We don't have a physical description of Jesus, but we know He was a carpenter in the days before power tools, that He silently endured brutal beating, torture, and crucifixion, that He spent 40 days in the wilderness without food, and He physically expelled these crooks from the temple.
There is no doubt that Jesus was so tender that children were drawn to Him like a magnet. He was compassionate toward the outcasts, the wounded, the vulnerable. He made people feel very loved and very valuable everywhere he went. But that doesn't mean He was weak. He was every inch a man in tenderness and in strength.
There's a common misconception that Christianity is just for the ladies. And it certainly is for women; no one elevated women more than Jesus did. But look at who Jesus' first followers were - twelve men. Four of them were fishermen, for example, rugged men. And they found what millions of men have found since then: that when a man comes to Jesus, he doesn't lose his manhood, he discovers it.
A man is wired to give 110% of himself to something - like sports or business, or whatever. Every cause, though, is ultimately a letdown. It's never enough. The rush never lasts. So many of us men end up still looking for a cause that is worth everything we've got. When a man like Simon Peter encounters Christ, he says, "This is it! I have found my cause!"
As a man, you're going to be incurably restless until you find the Lord that you were built to serve. When you know you belong to the One who has everything in His control, you have an inner peace that can bring stability to every situation. You discover a better best than you have ever known. You find the power in Christ to conquer the animal inside you that has always conquered you. Plus you've got a new capacity for love and sensitivity and courage that you have never known before.
Listen to Jesus the Man - the God-Man, calling you as He did men two thousand years ago with these words. "Follow Me." He died on a cross to forgive your sin; to give you a new beginning. If you have never surrendered your life to the Man who gave His life for you, let today be your day. If you want to become a follower of Jesus Christ as so many men have over the years and discover full manhood, then I want to invite you to go to our website to follow a path there that I've tried to lay out in simple non-religious words to be sure you've begun a relationship with Jesus Christ. It's YoursForLife.net. And I hope you'll go there at your first opportunity today. Or you can send for the booklet - no charge. It's a toll free call. It's 877-741-1200.
You will find in Jesus Christ an intensity, a strength, and a passion that you have never tasted before. Jesus will make you what you were born to be.
just some dude
I have to admit a kind of sadness in reading your letter. As humans we are born to be in communion with our Lord, and if that relationship fails to see the light of day, life is a kind of dark, dreary existence devoid of meaning other than what we try and rationalize it to be.
We hold on to childhood ideals like "sacredness" because deep down we know truth exists behind them, somewhere, and we'd like to believe, but we're unable to define the face other than to say "it looks like Him, but is it really?".
Yes, Mr. Dalrymple. It really is Him. Only faith can open the door you only knew existed.