Thursday, December 23, 2004

Merry Christmas!


by G.K. Chesterton

Step softly, under snow or rain,
To find the place where men can pray;
The way is all so very plain
That we may lose the way.

Oh, we have learnt to peer and pore
On tortured puzzles from our youth,
We know all the labyrinthine lore,
We are the three wise men of yore,
And we know all things but truth.

We have gone round and round the hill
And lost the wood among the trees,
And learnt long names for every ill,
And serve the made gods, naming still
The furies the Eumenides.

The gods of violence took the veil
Of vision and philosophy,
The Serpent that brought all men bale,
He bites his own accursed tail,
And calls himself Eternity.

Go humbly…it has hailed and snowed…
With voices low and lanterns lit;
So very simple is the road,
That we may stray from it.

The world grows terrible and white,
And blinding white the breaking day;
We walk bewildered in the light,
For something is too large for sight,
And something much too plain to say.

The Child that was ere worlds begun
(…We need but walk a little way,
We need but see a latch undone…)
The Child that played with moon and sun
Is playing with a little hay.

The house from which the heavens are fed,
The old strange house that is our own,
Where trick of words are never said,
And Mercy is as plain as bread,
And Honour is as hard as stone.

Go humbly, humble are the skies,
And low and large and fierce the Star;
So very near the Manger lies
That we may travel far.

Hark! Laughter like a lion wakes
To roar to the resounding plain.
And the whole heaven shouts and shakes,
For God Himself is born again,
And we are little children walking
Through the snow and rain.

One Year In

Amen, amen I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, itself remaineth alone. But if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

-John 12:24

On December 17, 2003, my health took a turn for the worse, and has yet to recover. I've become habituated to the constant nausea and vomiting, but the fatigue is really getting to me. Fortunately, brain cancer has just been ruled out, but the doctor is otherwise stumped and it looks as though I am afflicted with an anti-miracle, a disease--and not a cure--with no known natural cause. If my doctor followed Paracelsus, perhaps he'd classify my affliction as an ens deale, an affliction sent by Providence.

Thankfully, I came to terms with human dependency long ago, and I know what to do with suffering. I'm fortunate enough to have the support of a caring family, though my future is quite uncertain. So much for law school.

Pray for me, all you saints.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Berdiaev on Dostoevsky

Berdiaev reads Dostoevsky's work in all its complexity as one continuous, spiritually intense struggle to answer Ivan's arguments. His novelistic version of theodicy, just like Berdiaev's own philosophical praxis, begins and ends with the attempt to justify the human personality in the light of Christ's mysterious gift of freedom. Berdiaev writes: "I would sum it up in a paradoxical form, thus: The existence of evil is proof of the existence of God. If the world consisted wholly and uniquely of goodness and righteousness there would be no need for God, for the world itself would be God. God is, because evil is. And that means that god is because freedom is."

Slanting the Debate

Amy Welborn notes how political television shows work:
I was once interviewed at length for an article profiling pro-life and abortions rights advocates for a 1/22 piece. My section of the article was cut in favor of an imprisoned direct-action protestor because, I was told, "They wanted someone who was more intensly committed." I once heard...I can't remember her name off the top of my head, but she's an African-American woman who was for several years the main PR person for National Right to Life. It got to the point, she said, at which the networks (this was really before cable) stopped asking her to represent the pro-life position - why? Because once they heard that she would be there, folks like Faye Wattleton and Kate Michelman would routinely cancel their end of the appearances, not wanting to argue their point with a young African-American woman, but preferring, as they ended up getting, to do so in opposition to a middle-aged white man.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Death is not the Solution, Death is the Problem

The first officially sanctioned infanticide in Germany occurred in 1939 after the father of a disabled baby, “Baby Knauer,” wrote to Chancellor Hitler seeking permission to have his son euthanized. Hitler, believing the time was ripe to begin eradicating the “defectives,” sent his physician, Dr. Karl Brandt, to inform Baby Knauer’s doctors that there would be no legal consequence for killing the infant. This was done, so pleasing Hitler that he issued a secret directive licensing doctors to kill disabled infants.

In The Nazi Doctors, Robert J. Lifton quotes a 1973 interview in which the father of Baby Knauer recalled the reasons Brandt and Hitler agreed to the killing of his son:

He [Brandt] explained to me that the Führer had personally sent him, and that my son’s case interested him very much. The Führer wanted to explore the problem of people who had no future—whose [lives were] worthless. From then on, we wouldn’t have to suffer from this terrible misfortune, because the Führer had granted us the mercy killing of our son. Later, we could have other children, handsome and healthy, of whom the Reich could be proud.
-Wesley J. Smith

The Netherlands now has the blood of four Baby Knauers on its hands. See Netherlands Hospital Euthanizes Babies

For more, see Hugh Hewitt here and here and also Dawn Eden