Wednesday, 30 August 2017

A SOCIETY BASED ON SELF-INDULGENCE

'...industrial civilization is only possible when there's no self-denial. Self-indulgence up to the very limits imposed by hygiene and economics. Otherwise the wheels stop turning.'
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, p.209. 

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

LESSONS FROM THE DODO

'"Free as a bird", we say, and envy the winged creatures fore their power on unrestricted movement in all the three dimensions. But, alas, we forget the dodo. Any bird that has learned how to grub up a good living without being compelled to use its wings will soon renounce the privilege of flight and remain forever grounded. Something analogous is true of human beings. If the bread is supplied regularly and copiously three times a day, many of them will be perfectly content to live by bread alone - or at least by bread and circuses alone.' 
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited, p.152. 

THE POWER BEHIND CONSUMERISM

'Find some common desire, some widespread unconscious fear or anxiety; think about some way to relate this wish or fear to the product you have to sell; then build a bridge of verbal or pictorial symbols over which your customer can pass from fact to compensatory dream, and from the dream to the illusion that your product, when purchased, will make the dream come true. "We no longer buy oranges, we buy vitality,. We do not just buy a car, we buy prestige." And so with all the rest.'
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited, p.67. 

Monday, 28 August 2017

LOVE

'...logic is not love's pageboy...'
Elizabeth Smart, By Grand Central Station I Sat Down And Wept, p.108.

PARENTAL EXPECTATIONS

'Parents' imaginations build frameworks out of their hopes and regrets into which children seldom grow, but instead, contrary as trees, lean sideways out of the architecture, blown by a fatal wind their parents never envisaged.'
Elizabeth Smart, By Grand Central Station I Sat Down And Wept, p.53.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

SINGLENESS & SEXUALITY

'...celibacy is not a renunciation of sexuality but a pressurized form of it, a reduction of eroticism to that eros between God and his people that is the enabling archetype of all eroticism.' 
Robert W Jenson, 'Male and Female He Created Them' in Braaten & Seitz (Ed.), I am the Lord Your God,  p.186. 

WHY MARITAL FAITHFULNESS MATTERS

'If erotic love is an analogue of God and his people, then the way we shape it must in some part shape our relation to God. Just as our faulty righteousness can nonetheless be an anticipation of our eschatological sharing in the righteousness of God, so our failed erotic faithfulness can, despite its frailty, be an anticipation of our eschatological sharing in God's absolutely faithful love for his people in the Son. The deepest reason why God is concerned with monogamy and faithfulness is that our arrangements here must shape the form and intensity of our relation to him...' 
Robert W Jenson, 'Male and Female He Created Them' in Braaten & Seitz (Ed.), I am the Lord Your God,  p.184. 

WE HAVE BEEN CREATED AS COMMUNAL BEINGS

'Our creation as two kinds of bodies, paired to each other by the paired shape and function of blatant bodily phenomena, is the way God keeps our reality as communal beings from being mere mandate or ideal, and makes it to be a fact about the actual things we are.'  
Robert W Jenson, 'Male and Female He Created Them' in Braaten & Seitz (Ed.), I am the Lord Your God: Christian Reflections on the Ten Commandments,  p.180. 

Thursday, 24 August 2017

BREAKING HABITS

'Habits respond to cues that trigger them. Over time habits ossify and become encrusted in behaviour riffs because, in one way or another, they reward us. In order to break habits, we need to recognise those cues and avoid them, or force ourselves to respond to them differently, to experiment with new rewards.' 
Giovanni Frazzetto, Together, Closer, p.173. 

THE PROBLEM WITH DESIRE

'Our desire is always in excess of the object's capacity to satisfy it.' 
Sigmund Freud in Giovanni Frazzetto, Together, Closer, p.124. 

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

INTIMACY DEFINED

'Intimacy means to enact, rehearse and polish modes of connection.' 
Giovanni Frazzetto, Together, Closer, p.31. 

THE DECEITFULNESS OF LONELINESS

'Loneliness obfuscates. It becomes a deceiving filter through which we see ourselves, others, and the world. It makes us more vulnerable to rejection, and it heightens our general level of vigilance and insecurity in social situations.' 
Giovanni Frazzetto, Together, Closer, p.13. 

DEFINING INTIMACY

'Intimacy eludes singular definitions. From casual sex to life-long bonds, from marriage to betrayal, from friendships to unconditional love, or when we witness birth or death, intimacy reclothes itself constantly.' 
Giovanni Frazzetto, Together, Closer: Stories of Intimacy in Friendship, Love and Family, p.vii. 

Monday, 21 August 2017

THE DANGER OF NOSTALGIA

'If we allow ourselves to luxuriate in nostalgia, the myth of a beautiful, long-gone past will solidify, and it will weigh us down. Much as we must fight the idea that we would be happier somewhere else, in another marriage, in a bigger house, we must fight the idea that we were once at home but we never will be again.' 
Jo Swinney, Home, p.225. 

Sunday, 20 August 2017

MARRIAGE

'...home must be more than marriage. If we expect our need for belonging, stability, safety, comfort, continuity, acceptance - all those things that together make a person feel at home - to be met in just one relationship, we will make ourselves more vulnerable to homelessness than anyone ought to be.' 
Jo Swinney, Home: The Quest to Belong, p.141. 

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

TRUE FAITH

'As far back as I can remember, I had the habit of thanking God for everything I received, and asking him for everything I wanted. If I lost a book, or any of my playthings, I prayed that I might find it. I prayed walking along the streets, in school and out of school, whether playing or studying. I did this not in obedience to any prescribed rule. It seemed natural. I thought of God as an everywhere-present Being, full of kindness and love, who would not be offended if children talked to him.' 
Charles Hodge in Dale Ralph Davis, Slogging Along in the Paths of Righteousness: Psalms 13-24, p. 62. 

Sunday, 13 August 2017

OUR PROBLEMS WITH THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY

'...there was one thing he could not bring himself to believe in, and that was the resurrection of the body. Of the soul yes, of course, for he was certain he had a soul, but all that flesh of his, the fat enveloping his soul, no, that would not rise again and why should it?, Pereira asked himself. All the blubber he carted around with him day in day out, and the sweat, and the struggle of climbing the stairs, why should all that rise again? No, Pereira didn't fancy it at all, in another life, for all eternity, so he had no wish to believe in the resurrection of the body.' 
Antonio Tabucchi, Pereira Maintains, p.2. 

Sunday, 6 August 2017

BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE

'...the church has created a culture that simultaneously pressures singles to get married and makes it very difficult for them to do so.' 
Gina Dalfonzo, One by One:Welcoming the Singles in Your Church, p.85. 

Saturday, 5 August 2017

WHAT CONTEMPT REVEALS

'Contempt is one of four behaviors that, statistically, can predict divorce in married couple. People who speak with contempt for one another will probably not remain united for long.' 
Sebastian Jurgen, Tribe, p.126. 

WHY YOU SHOULDN'T PULL A SPIDER'S LEGS OFF

'My friend Ellis was once asked by a troubled young boy whether there was any compelling reason for him not to pull the legs off a spider. Ellis said there was.
"Well spiders don't feel any pain," the boy retorted.
"It's not the spider I'm worried about," Ellis said.' 
Sebastian Jurgen, Tribe, p.112. 

WHAT/WHO WOULD YOU DIE FOR?

'The beauty and the tragedy of the modern world is that it eliminates many situations that require people to demonstrate a commitment to the collective good. Protected by police and fire departments and relived of most of the challenges of survival, an urban man might go through his entire life without having to come to the aid of someone in danger - or even give up his dinner. Likewise, a woman in a society that has codified its moral behavior into a set of laws and penalties might never have to make a choice that puts her very life at risk. What would you risk dying for - and for whom - is perhaps the most profound question a person can ask themselves. The vast majority of people in modern society are able to pass their whole lives without ever having to answer that question, which is both an enormous blessing and significant loss. It is a loss because having to face that questions has, for tens of millenia, been one of the ways that we have defined ourselves as people. And it is a blessing because life has gotten far less difficult and traumatic that it was for most people even a century ago.' 
Sebastian Jurgen, Tribe, p.59. 

WEALTH & DEPRESSION

'According to a global survey by the World Health Organization, people in wealthy countries suffer depression as much as eight times the rate they do in poor countries, and people in countries with income disparities - like the United Sates - run a much higher lifelong risk of developing severe mood disorders. A 2006 study comparing depression rates in Nigeria to depression rates in North America found that across the board, women in rural areas were less likely to get depressed than their urban counterparts. And urban North American women - the most affluent demographic in the study - were the most likely to experience depression.' 
Sebastian Jurgen, Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging, p.20.