Monthly Archives June 2023

Notes on “The Most Pro-Life President in Modern American History”

History just keeps confounding us—both as we look back upon it with modern sensibilities (“How could they have???”) and how it unfolds in front of us in real time. (“Could this really be happening?”)

But there’s also an in-between take on history that is the recent past. Viewed more from the vantage point of years rather than decades or centuries, it follows upon daily journalism’s “first draft of history” with enough data and perspective to weave together a more complete picture of issues that have vexed or misled us in the whirlwind of everyday life.

Early this past week, “New York Times” columnist David French, a conservative  evangelical Christian, anti-abortion advocate and former attorney who specialized in cases defending religious liberty, did something unusual in the largely partisan world of opinion-mongering. He examined actual data about abortion trends since Roe v...

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Brilliant Songs #39: Hayes Carll and Josh Morningstar’s “Help Me Remember”

I’ve become ever more convinced with age that It’s not so much the plain fact of death that people fear as they face the downslope of their allotted years on earth. It’s not death but the nature of the dying that furrows their brows during conversations about the end of life.

At least that’s how it is for me and most every aged peer I talk to when conversations—not all of them, but many—at least touch on who’s in the hospital now, who’s going in soon, who’s getting out, and whether the getting out is to go home, go to the nursing home, or go to the morgue.

And the last of those is the least of most everyone’s worries.

The thought of death is dwarfed first by the fear of unrelieved physical pain, though modern methods and attitudes toward pain management have significantly reduced the incidence and concern that one’s end may be accompanied by acute bodily suffering.

It’s another fear that strikes the mo...

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All Is Flux, Change Happens, Everything Passes–Grudgingly

Sixth century B.C. Greek philosopher Heraclitus, like many who came before and after him, noted the endless flux of existence, he with a particularly rich metaphor that ensured his name would be etched forevermore into the canon of universal wisdom: “You can’t step into the same river twice.”

True enough. The sun rises, the sun sets, and before it rises again, however placid the intervening hours may have seemed, nothing and nobody is exactly as it was the day before.

We’re a day older, a dollar richer or poorer, and, inconveniently enough, our planet a day closer to the exploding fireball it will inevitably become in the course of geologic time. (Whereupon all its parts will change into something else.)

Out of all this comes a synthesis: new knowledge, insights, accommodations and compromises that come together in a fresh and life-giving new reality that honors humans’ dual needs for both tradition/securi...

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Poetic Hymn to Incarnation: Rebecca Lindenberg’s “The Splendid Body”

Poet Rebecca Lindenberg is a self-proclaimed “maximalist.” Not that she’s doing drunken cartwheels across the page or in her life, risking artistic coherence, her dignity or her health in a doomed effort to defy the laws of gravity and decorum.

Lindenberg’s maximalism is instead her response to the reality that despite how often we go about our lives half-ready to explode with joy, grief, confusion, wonder, regret, curiosity and sudden outbursts of love for all creatures and the creation great and small, we too often opt for restraint instead—for fear the world will think us crazy. (Or we will ourselves fear it is so.)

Nothing to see or hear here, let’s move it along now…

Not on your life, says Lindenberg.

The trick is to see and hear as much and as closely as you can, accepting at obvious face value the enormity of the world and your Self’s sometimes perilous navigation within it...

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