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Mere Links. August 27, 2015
Thursday, August 27, 2015, 9:59 AM

What abortion rhetoric says about the state of our souls
by Joel J. Miller, Ancient Faith

If you want to understand how people justify their behavior, look at the language they use. The less emotional the words, the easier it is to rationalize the actions. We’re watching this play out with Center for Medical Progress’s ongoing Planned Parenthood exposé. But we’ve already seen where it’s going in the larger abortion debate—and the trajectory should give us pause. . . .

Learning to Love American Literature
by Joseph Pearce, The Imaginative Conservative

When I arrived in the United States, four days before the 9-11 attacks thirteen years ago, I was woefully ignorant of American literature. I had read very little and, it must be said, had little desire to read much more. In fact, it must also be said and, yes, confessed, that I had an ingrained prejudice against anything the New World might have to offer. Mea culpa! Indeed, mea maxima culpa! . . .

The Joys of Parenting
by Shannon Roberts, MercatorNet.com

Apparently parenthood makes a person more unhappy than divorce, unemployment and even the death of a partner, according to a study published this month in the journal Demography. If this is what journals and papers around the world are headlining, it doesn’t bode well for future birth rates. . . .

Kullervo: Tolkien’s fascination with Finland
by Hannah Sander, BBC

On Thursday JRR Tolkien’s early story The Story of Kullervo will be published for the first time. The dark tale reveals that Tolkien’s Middle Earth was inspired not only by England and Wales… but also by Finland.

Mere Links. August 25th, 2015
Tuesday, August 25, 2015, 10:37 AM

Embracing The Colson Way
Reviewed by Nathan Finn, Canon & Culture
. . . I’ve become convinced that many of these jaded millennial evangelicals think the way they do because they aren’t aware of some of the most thoughtful and winsome role models they could draw upon, especially from the previous generation. This is why Owen Strachan’s new book is so important. The Colson Way: Loving Your Neighbor and Living with Faith in a Hostile World (Nelson, 2015) is an appreciative biography of Charles “Chuck” Colson (1931–2012), one of the leading evangelical public intellectuals from the mid-1970s to his death in 2012. I believe this is a timely book for a kairos moment among evangelicals navigating American culture. . . .

Human Dignity in a World of Abortion Clinics
by Russell D. Moore, russellmoore.com
On a Sunday this January, probably of whatever year it is when you read this (at least as long as I’m living), I will probably be preaching somewhere in a church on “Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.” Here’s a confession: I hate it. . . .

The Pope’s Visit
by William Doino Jr., First Things
When Pope Francis arrives in America next month, he will undoubtedly find a very different country than did Paul VI, John Paul II, or Benedict XVI. In the past decade, the culture of death has gained momentum (even as pro-life marches and valiant efforts to chip away at it continue), the sexual revolution has expanded into runaway legal and popular support for same-sex marriage and gender ideology, and religious liberty, once regarded as our country’s “first freedom,” has come under sustained attack. . . .

Mere Links. August 20, 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015, 10:05 AM

Today from Anno Domini 2015, the St. James Calendar of the Christian Year*:

august 20 300x216 Mere Links. August 20, 2015

Be Like Ryan (Broyles): Good News from an NFL Player
by John Stonestreet, Breakpoint

. . . While his NFL career hasn’t gone as well as he would have liked, he’s doing just fine in the example department. Chuck Colson would say that Ryan and Mary Beth are examples of one of the rarest and most counter-cultural virtues: the ability to delay gratification. And his character is the reason that one Washington Post commenter called Broyles his “new favorite wide receiver.” . . .

Science Contra Hubris
by  Edward R. Dougherty, Public Discourse

Good scientific training is strenuous and humbling, because science is unforgiving. To spare society from the imposition of subjective pipe dreams, the prudence characteristic of valid scientific thinking needs to permeate the entire intellectual order.

Is Cleanliness Next To Godliness?
by Brian Miller, The Imaginative Conservative

. . . The great philosopher says he does the household chores because it is an aesthetic undertaking. Bringing order brings about beauty. And so it does. But not because order is being done for the sake of order. . . .

* 2016 Calendars are now available.

Mere Links. August 13, 2015
Thursday, August 13, 2015, 9:34 AM

Lord of the Rings actor John Rhys-Davies decried Islamic terrorism and political correctness
by Daniel Nussbaum, Breitbart
“This is a unique age,” Rhys-Davies explained. “We don’t want to be judgmental. Every other age that’s come before us has believed exactly the opposite. I mean, T.S. Eliot referred to ‘the common pursuit of true judgement.’ Yes, that’s what it’s about. Getting our judgments right, getting them accurate.”

The Washington Post Is Super Confused About Where Babies Come From
By Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist
Last week, Sen. Marco Rubio took some heat for saying that he was skeptical of global warming activism. He was asked about the reaction to some of his comments and he noted some hypocrisy he’s witnessed on scientific consensus: …

The Coddling of the American Mind
by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, The Atlantic
In the name of emotional well-being, college students are increasingly demanding protection from words and ideas they don’t like. Here’s why that’s disastrous for education—and mental health.

Mere Links. August 7, 2015
Friday, August 7, 2015, 9:33 AM

Doing Injustice to the Just Price
by  John B. Shannon, Public Discourse

An article in the Journal of Clinical Oncology on the just price of cancer drugs in the United States contains an odd reference to a nonexistent book by Aristotle. Unraveling the origins of this error reveals an almost farcical series of misinterpretations.

Jon Stewart, Avatar of Progressive Culture
By Dorothy Rabinowitz, The Wall Street Journal

There was never any mistaking the aura of confident superiority from the host of ‘The Daily Show.’

The Rise of the Victim Bully
by Dwight Longenecker, The Imaginative Conservative

One of Christianity’s contributions to civilization has been a startling compassion for the victim. As René Girard has pointed out, from the beginning of time primitive peoples focused their animus on the outsider, the oddball, or the eccentric in their midst. It was the disabled, the alien, the poor, and the weak who most often took the blame for society’s ills.

Mere Links. August 5, 2015
Wednesday, August 5, 2015, 9:31 AM

What would the American culture wars look like if they were less about “values” and more about Jesus?
by Emma Green, The Atlantic

“Like any good Southern Baptist preacher, Moore knows how to unleash some spiritual whoop-ass, though that probably wouldn’t be his preferred choice of words. The straitlaced, suit-wearing preacher from Biloxi, Mississippi, included a whole passage in his book about how much he hates tattoos; he is studiously polite and clean-cut. Yet he rails against people who merely perform their Christianity, who assume that following Jesus is the same as being a ‘shiny, happy Republican.'”

Goliath Gates: Entrance to Famous Biblical Metropolis Uncovered
by Tia Ghose, livescience.com

A massive gate unearthed in Israel may have marked the entrance to a biblical city that, at its heyday, was the biggest metropolis in the region. The town, called Gath, was occupied until the ninth century B.C. In biblical accounts, the Philistines — the mortal enemies of the Israelites — ruled the city. The Old Testament also describes Gath as the home of Goliath, the giant warrior whom the Israelite King David felled with a slingshot.

Dr. Krauthammer’s Divided Soul
by Matthew J. Franck, First Things

There are few more gifted conservative columnists working in journalism today than Charles Krauthammer. On so many issues, from executive power to foreign policy to limited government, Krauthammer is reliable, insightful, and employs a gleefully sharp pen to eviscerate his adversaries. But every now and then he delivers himself of frustratingly ill-informed opinions, and this happens most often on the “social” issues such as the sanctity of life and the preservation of marriage.

Mere Links. July 29, 2015
Wednesday, July 29, 2015, 11:40 AM

Engaging Today’s Culture With the Gospel (Part 1 of 2)
Focus on the Family Podcast

Dr. Russell Moore discusses the challenges of living in a culture that doesn’t understand or embrace Christian values and suggests new methods for followers of Christ to engage the world around them.

LGBT grant-maker wants to win religious liberty fight within three years
by Kevin Jones, Catholic News Agency

A CNA investigation has found that millions of dollars have been poured into efforts to combat religious freedom exemptions in the United States.

Israel’s Choice: Conventional War Now, or Nuclear War Later
by Norman Podhoretz, The Wall Street Journal

There was no ‘better deal’ with Iran to be had. Now this calamitous one offers Tehran two paths to the bomb.

Mere Links. July 24, 2015
Thursday, July 23, 2015, 11:59 AM

The Coming of the Age of Gibberish
by Carl R. Trueman, First Things
Some white people now identify as African Americans. Somewhere out there someone who did not die on St. Helena in 1821 might nevertheless still identify as Napoleon. Is it now the case that we will not be able to talk about race or about the history of nineteenth century France without some equivalent caveat?

Ireland, Same-Sex Marriage, And Surrogacy: Connecting The Dots
By Elise Hilton, Acton Institute Power Blog
At first blush, the issues of same-sex marriage and surrogacy don’t seem to have too great a connection. However, in Ireland, a public debate illustrates how closely these issues are related, and it isn’t good.

The Escriva Option: An Alternative to St. Benedict
by Austin Ruse, Crisis
. . . Escriva said laymen need not remove themselves to monasteries to achieve perfection and that the places they would find Christ were precisely in the home and in the workplace. And it was there they would bring others to the Gospel. . . .

Men, Machines, and Mystery
Wednesday, July 22, 2015, 11:07 AM

cover 28 03 233x300 Men, Machines, and MysteryTouchstone subscribers will remember reading this article by senior editor Anthony Esolen from the May/June 2015 issue. I am making it available to our online readers as well. In this piece, Tony writes, “If abortion were made illegal tomorrow, as in justice it ought to be, we would still be a terribly sick people, because we are still a people for whom abortion is conceivable and even desirable. What kind of people are we?”

To help answer the question, he refers to Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Gabriel Marcel’s Reflection and Mystery, Dickens’s Hard Times, and even Jan Vermeer’s painting View of Delft to contrast a human culture with a mechanical one.

No Country for Young Children
What Kind of Society Can Countenance Such Evil? by Anthony Esolen

An excerpt:

. . . To wonder, to admire is already “to be receptive in an active, alert manner.” But “beings incapable of admiration are always at bottom sterile beings, perhaps sterile because exhausted, because the springs of life are dried or choked in them.”

That insight may explain to us why the actual science of human embryology does not matter to the politicians, judges, doctors, patients, and scientists who want to do away with the unwanted child. Their sickness is not ignorance of fact, but numbness to mystery. . . .

Mere Links. July 21, 2015
Tuesday, July 21, 2015, 11:36 AM

Why We’re Hosting the Evangelicals For Life Conference
by Russell D. Moore, russellmoore.com
As many Christians yesterday sat at their computer and watched a casual dinner conversation over the price of dismembered children, a lot of us probably thought: “But what can I do about this?” This is a question I hear often from pro-life evangelicals. Many Christians are utterly convinced in their heart of the personhood and dignity of the unborn, yet don’t know how to faithfully effectively advocate for life.

Reform and Renewal Starts with Us
Anthony Esolen, Crisis
Let’s get straight to the point. We no longer live in a culturally Christian state. We do not live in a robust pagan state, such as Rome was during the Pax Romana. We live in a sickly sub-pagan state, or metastate, a monstrous thing, all-meddlesome, all-ambitious. The natural virtues are scorned. Temperance is for prigs, prudence for sticks in the mud who worry about people who don’t yet exist. A man who fathers six children upon three women and now wants to turn himself into a “woman” attracted to other women—he is praised for his courage. Justice means that a handful of narrowly educated and egotistical judges get to overturn human culture and biology, at their caprice.

Europe Is Partying Like It’s 1939
by Kurt Schlichter, The Federalist
The world is preparing for war, but not in Europe, where Daft Punk’s beat goes on.

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