Here’s some of these week’s most interesting & enjoyable articles, culled by the Fare Forward team. Inclusion on this list does not indicate agreement with the article’s content. Be sure to check out this week’s Fare Forward blog post for more commentary and analysis.
The truth is that there is no univocal concept of war. There are various different criteria for distinguishing between wars and other forms of armed conflict that are invoked in different contexts and for different reasons. What is notable here is that traditional just war theorists have not advanced any criterion of their own that would make it plausible to suppose that the commencement of war suspends the moral principles that govern other forms of violent conflict and brings quite different principles into effect instead.
For Williams, speaking of and to God involves pain, confusion, darkness. “God,” Williams once wrote, “is what we have not yet understood, the sign of a strange and unpredictable future.” No wonder, then, that writing that presumes to gesture towards this God would be correspondingly strange, demanding, and elusive.
Well, you know, I think that what we think of as science, or modern science, is something that puts into eclipse other forms of thinking that were also efficacious. Richard Feynman has written a — I read an essay of his in which he talks about identity. I mean, he says it’s so amazing that I experience myself as myself over a year of time, that I retain memory and so on, when every atom in my brain would have been changed. But you can find the same statement almost syllable but syllable in John Locke who was writing in the 17th century, who says exactly the same thing. Every atom in my brain would have changed. And the question is how did John Locke know that? How is it that the Islamic philosophers that Maimonides was in conversation with were able to quantize time, essentially, as a way of solving the problem of time. You know, how did they do that? How did they know? You know?
Naming is a practice connected to so many different pieces of knowledge and belief, indeed, that each individual performance of the practice might appear to be sui generis. But when we meet a name that just seems right for its person, its genre, its time and the work in which it appears, a peculiar magic happens that is related to aesthetic pleasure: the instance both modifies and validates the invisible conventions that we didn’t know we knew.
“The common good” has an awfully this-worldly ring to it. To believe we humans can achieve good on our own, even working together, without the radical intervention of God, is ultimately to deny the doctrines of Creation, Cross, Resurrection, and Second Coming, just for starters. To exchange the dramatic biblical vision of history for “the common good” might seem like trading our birthright for a bowl of lukewarm oatmeal. So, with all these weaknesses, why should Christians embrace the phrase? Because it was these very follies that prompted Christians to recover the language of “the common good” in the first place.
There’s a response here and good discussion by Crouch and others in the comments.
The local church is the crucible in which God forges us slowly—and often painfully—into the shalom of reconciliation intended for all creation. By being deeply rooted in our local churches, by seeking first the health and flourishing of our places, and by being linked with others who are doing the same in their places, our lives will bring forth the reconciling fruit of God’s Spirit.
All audio is sampled from the 1959 recording of Flannery O’Connor reading “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” at Vanderbilt University, and the 1957 recordings of the author reading the same story, as well as a lecture titled “Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction” at the University of Notre Dame in 1957.