For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

– 2 Cor. 4:18

The most counter-(modern)-cultural passage in the NT? It would be hard to choose, but this is my candidate for today.

Google’s search results have gotten worse. As you might expect, they’re more and more likely to feature advertising or direct you to other Google sites.

Means-to-an-end Christianity is always popular because it appeals to what seems immediate and “real.” One can see flesh; one cannot see Spirit. The law of the jungle seems verifiable, and the Sermon on the Mount seems nonsensical.

Russell Moore

I’ve been enjoying CPAC’s golden statue. I wonder if they’re referencing the golden calf (Exodus) or Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel).

Let us resolve...

“All right, wise guy. If our disorder can’t be cured by politics, what’s your big idea?” I haven’t one. But I can suggest a place to start.

Let each of us resolve, once and for all, I will not do evil so that good will result.

Think it over carefully. Consider all the things that a person must stop believing, start believing, or remember, just for the resolution to make sense.

Source. (Emphasis added)

Thanks to @ReaderJohn for the link.

One pretty obvious first observation is that resolving not to do evil so that good will result almost automatically cuts us off from the political sphere.

Vaccination opportunities a finally opening up here. My wife and I have appointments for our first stabs today. Yay!

Am I a stone, and not a sheep?

Good Friday
Christina Rossetti

Am I a stone, and not a sheep,
That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy cross,
To number drop by drop Thy blood’s slow loss,
And yet not weep?

Not so those women loved
Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;
Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;
Not so the thief was moved;

Not so the Sun and Moon
Which hid their faces in a starless sky,
A horror of great darkness at broad noon –
I, only I.

Yet give not o’er,
But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;
Greater than Moses, turn and look once more
And smite a rock.

(via the Plough newsletter)

Feeling like victims makes us more selfish.

We just cancelled our hard-to-get, coveted COVID vaccination appointments for today: going would have meant driving more than an hour through a snowstorm. Frustrating. There are no other appointments on the horizon. The “roll-out” has become more of a dribble-out.

The Machine Stops

This morning we remembered E. M. Forster’s The Machine Stops. It was first published in 1909! So eerily prescient that we decided that Forster must have had some sort of vision. Everyone lives in individual pods and communicates by, basically, Zoom, though nothing like video technology existed in 1909. And, as now, ‘Technopoly’ (the story’s term, anticipating Neil Postman’s 1992 book of that title) has become a quasi-religion. It does not end well.

Luddite Update.

I got a Hobonichi Techo A6 planner/calendar, which I’m enjoying very much. It’s part of my quest to move more and more of my life offline – in this case, to abandon my online calendar.
Maybe the biggest advantage of an online calendar is that you can enter appointments etc. on your smartphone while you’re out and about. But since I stopped carrying a smartphone around, this (small) advantage has already disappeared.
I remember the days before smartphones. Pocket “planners” were more common, and I can’t remember that they had any serious failings.
So, back to the past!

Every COVID19 particle in the world would fit inside a can of Coke. Somebody please make that happen, OK?

Rush.

I won’t say anything about Rush Limbaugh except to pass on David French’s observation about his creation of the media world that we swim in today:

If you’re reading this and you’re younger than I am (I was born in 1969 and came of age politically during the Reagan era), it’s almost impossible to conceive of the pre-Rush Limbaugh media environment. It was as if we lived on a different planet. You read your morning paper, you watched the evening news, and if you were really a political hobbyist (I was!), you subscribed to Time, Newsweek, or both. The smallest micro-slice of Americans was exposed to intellectual journals like National Review or The New Republic

Rush blew up this world. He nuked it from orbit. It wasn’t just that his show was popular (and it was phenomenally popular): He created an industry, and that industry created a lifestyle. It’s the lifestyle we see now, where a person comes home from work, turns on Fox News, and doesn’t turn it off until they sleep, or where a person never flips the dial from their favorite talk radio station, or rolls from podcast to podcast, all while the phone is in their hands, scrolling through Facebook and Twitter.

Emphasis added. That lifestyle certainly didn’t stay confined to any particular political world.

There is a natural human tendency, when things go wrong, to want to go back to the way things were five minutes before you began to realize it was all going to smash.

Robert Tracinski

Interesting thing about the plummeting COVID19 rate is that nobody offers a convincing explanation for it. Better masking & social distancing? No, obviously. A built-in winter surge coming to an end, as with the flu? Maybe.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Best rom-com ever: Punch-Drunk Love. Accept no substitutes.

It’s Zacchaeus Sunday – for the Orthodox, the first rumbling of Great Lent. Here we go!

Ban social media anonymity. I’m almost sure I think this is a great idea. The article addresses the obvious objections. At least offer an anonymity-free platform as an option.

Interviews with people who’ve quit social media (one doesn’t even shop online, which impressed me). It made me think about putting together a snapshot of my current successes, compromises, and failures in dealing with the online octopus.

One Thing.

Instead of asking yourself whether you believe or not, ask yourself whether you have this day done one thing because He said, Do it, or once abstained because He said, Do not do it. It is simply absurd to say you believe, or even want to believe, in Him, if you do not do anything He tells you.

– George MacDonald (via Alan Jacobs)

Bombs into knives. I found this oddly inspiring. It reminded me of some church bells I once saw, made from unexploded bombs.

Flu season basically hasn’t happened this year. Interesting discussion of the details and questions.

Technopoly, the human, and the natural order.

Alan Jacobs, From Tech Critique to Ways of Living. Technopoly.

every depredation of the human is also a depredation of the natural order, and vice versa.

I’m going to have to read this essay very slowly and carefully.

@ayjay

Today we celebrate the Meeting (Presentation) of the Lord, sometimes called Candlemas.
The snow is keeping us away from church, so we’ll be watching services online, which is not at all the same.