The Evil of Hoarded Gold

The Evil of Hoarded Gold ThumbnailI’ll be the first to admit that I am not a fan of The Hobbit film trilogy directed by Peter Jackson. In fact, many of my friends will poke at me with the topic (in good-natured fun) just to see me bristle up in ire.

Whereas Jackson (or at least the people working alongside him who reined in some of his more madcap suggestions) made a very valiant attempt in the Lord of the Rings films to stay as true to the books as possible, with one or two notably disappointing exceptions, it seemed as though he decided that The Hobbit as written by Tolkien wasn’t good enough Continue reading

First They Came for Kim Davis

2015-11-2 Davis img01When Kim Davis served jail time for refusing to sign gay marriage licenses, it boded ill for religious liberty in America.

One of GoodTrueBeautiful’s authors analyzes the legal implications of Kim Davis’s plight in an article published by The Harvard Law Record:

As Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito correctly predicted in their dissents, the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges has not, in fact, brought closure to questions regarding marriage in the United States. That case has instead opened up a Pandora’s box of new controversies as the newly-articulated right to same-sex marriage comes into conflict with the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion.

Read more: Same-Sex Marriage, Religious Freedom & Kim Davis

Why Know?

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I came across the following cartoon on Facebook not too long ago:

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This cartoon makes a number of points: That history, for instance, is memorized only because children are forced to do so. That memorizing takes forever. That knowledge pooled from memory and from Google are “technically” indistinguishable. That, given that paradigm, school is futile and even cruel. (In “But torture builds character,” one also hears an echo of Calvin’s father and his outdoor excursions.) Also, given that paradigm, that by memorizing facts rather than searching Google whenever one is curious, one gains nothing.

I hope that recently I’ve answered that second complaint, the erroneous belief that memorizing is laborious and time-consuming. In that same post, I also mentioned that “the purpose of knowing countless facts off the top of one’s head is a question for another day.”

Today is that day. Continue reading

Pursuing Truth, Part 3: The Garden is Dead, Cultivation Lives On

2015-10-22 Natural img02In certain subsets of our culture, there is a common assumption that “natural” is better than “artificial”, leading to waves of rejection of anything seen as “unnatural”. For example, consider Chipotle’s controversial rejection of GMO ingredients, Aldi’s decision to not use synthetic food dyes, or any number of food or “back to nature” blogs. If the appeal to nature is taken as an absolute, it is easily disproven to all but the most stubborn. It should be self-evident that eating dirt or manure (even if it is free range and certified organic) is inferior to eating Cheez-its. Continue reading

Parnassus

2015-10-15 Parnassus img01I didn’t look upward, but I was going that way. The air was damp. The cold, rough rungs were all I saw, all I dared see. I was afraid, too afraid to tremble—afraid that if I stopped to rest or to look for the walls of the shaft in the darkness, the rungs would crumble loose, their anchors give way.

I climbed for hours. Weary. I kept climbing. I didn’t know why. I couldn’t even remember where I’d started, when I’d started, any time before I’d started. Always climbing, and that was all. All that existed for me was one steel rung, then the next, and the next. Maybe I would see stars again, if I would just keep going. Continue reading

Songs About Nothing: Rachel Platten and Postmodern Art

2015-10-12 Platten img01What do Rachel Platten, Marianas Trench, and avant-garde sculpture have in common?  Postmodernist tendencies to self-referential exposition.

One of GoodTrueBeautiful’s authors exposes the dangers of postmodern art and its hidden moral claims in an article published recently by The Federalist:

[“Fight Song”] is [Rachel Platten’s] “take back my life song” and “prove I’m alright song,” but the song does not do these things. It only claims it is doing them. As much as I enjoy “Fight Song,” I have to recognize it for what it is: not a song, but the idea of a song.

Read more: Like All Postmodern Artists, Rachel Platten Makes A ‘Fight Song’ About Nothing

Word Choice

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A word is a form blessed with the breath of life
Pregnant with meaning, the gifting-syllables
Shaping minds, scribing thoughts, and shifting hearts
In air, in ink, in ether

One word is not another, nor cannot be
How else to know the thing signified?
Then mind you the flavor, the texture, and taste
Words frame the deed, so speak in accord

Say sorrowful, not sad
Longing, not pining
Wistful, not down
Pensive, not quiet

A rose by any other name a rose may be
But Rose is the name we know from old
Storied, rich, bursting in glory
Choose not a lesser title for a greater flower

Say joyful, not happy
Charmed, not pleased
Enchanted, not interested
Delighted, not glad

What pedestrian measures should tread the tongue
When grander, lusher, still sweeter verba will serve?
Settle not for stale in all your speech
But have a care for plenty, euphony, and spirit in truth

Concerning Hobbits: Narrative and The Shire

2015-9-24 Hobbits img01Perhaps one of the most delightful holidays of the year (for members of the Tolkien fandom) is September 22. This particular day is the birthday of two of the most important hobbits in Tolkien’s works: Bilbo Baggins and his nephew Frodo Baggins. Dedicated Tolkien fans all over the world remove their shoes and eat a second breakfast in honor of the beloved shire-folk. For that reason, a post concerning hobbits (even one sadly posted two days after the actual date) seems rather fitting. Continue reading

God is Not Your Passive Aggressive Girlfriend

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My senior year of high school, I wrote a letter to the administrator, who was also a pastor. Our teachers tell us to ‘think, don’t feel’ in direct contradiction to Obi-wan Kenobi’s advice in Star Wars, I said. But then we’re told ‘where do you feel God leading you?’ How can we say both? What are we supposed to do? Think, or feel? Continue reading