Thursday, July 26, 2007

David Preus and Sara Butler

In the last week attended a talk given by LCMS theologian Daniel Preus on the JDDJ. I am grateful to have had the chance to hear a Missouri theologian make informed comment on the JDDJ. In due course I'll put up a post on aspects of the talk (and my own response to it).

In the last week I've also been reading Sara Butler's 'The Catholic Priesthood and Women: A Guide to the Teaching of the Church'. This is a very impressive (and wonderfully concise) book that gives a clear presentation of magisterial teaching on this controversial issue. Since Schutz has done a great post on this (and since I can't be bothered writing any more tonight), if you're interested check out what he says

This isn't much of a post, is it?


Last week we had some great weather 'round here. More ice and frost in Bendigo, but down the road was snow, and miles of it (I should know since I drove through it). Beautiful.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Muggeridge and Virtue

I've been having a great time reading Malcolm Muggeridge's 3 volume autobiography 'Chronicles of Wasted Time'. It's a wonderfully cynical and humorous work, and is an invitation to deepen one's own cynicism about politicians and, especially, journalists (the way he writes about his time as a journalist at the Guardian is as illuminating as it is wicked). I'm just coming to the end of the second volume which deals, among other things, with his time in the secret service in Africa during the Second World War. He makes this observation:

"As so often happens, Afrikaners tend to combine a tolerance of collective wickedness, as is embodied in the vile doctrine of apartheid, with particular squeamishness in matters of personal behaviour. Similarly, the privately immoral are often the loudest in protestations of public virtue. Hence the insistence of the New Testament that a balance must be struck and maintained between our duty to God and to our neighhbour."

As a Lutheran I would prefer to say that we must distinguish but never separate our duty to God and to our neighbour. But still, an interesting observation that seems to hold good today.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

From Popper to Pearson

Last night I sat in front of the telly reading through some newspaper articles from The Weekend Australian (June 30-July 31). Included was an article by Noel Pearson headed ‘Needless Misery’. In the article he said: "[W]hat policies do we need so that all avoidable suffering is avoided in our society? We cannot remove evil from the world and I am not basing our hopes of escaping avoidable suffering on supra-human powers. I am asking us to use our considerable human powers to escape avoidable suffering. This is a question for our social policy: are our policies maximising the avoidance of such suffering? The answer is no. There is too much misery – chiefly endured by the disadvantaged in our society, the lowest classes – that is avoidable. And we do not need to achieve a socialist nirvana to relieve this suffering. I suggest that we can and must aim to hold a capitalist democracy to account to be consistent with the eradication of avoidable suffering."
When I read this I immediately recalled the teaching of Karl Popper in his classic ‘The Open Society and Its Enemies’. Get a load of this summary by Magee in his brilliant and brief survey of Popper’s philosophy:
"The general guiding principle for public policy put forward in The Open Society is: ‘Minimize avoidable suffering’….The Popperian approach has this consequence right across the board: instead of encouraging one to think about building Utopia it makes one seek out, and try to remove, the specific social evils under which human beings are suffering. In this way it is above all a practical approach, and yet one devoted to change. It starts from a concern with human beings, and involves a permanent, active willingness to remould institutions." (Popper Bryan Magee’ 84-85)
Maybe one the many reasons I like Pearson’s writing is that I find it to be so Popperian (and also so Christian, in that in focuses on the good of individual human beings without ignoring the fact that human beings always live in community).
Anyhow, in this post I have got to mention Popper, Magee, and Pearson (and the teaching of the Lord). Just the sort of post I like to present for the consideration of the multitudes of you who read my blog.