My first challenge in such a piece as this is to try to say what I intend to say as simply as I can, without bogging us down in too much philosophical jargon. On the other hand, one of the problems that Christians have faced is trying to describe their positions, or to combat harmful ideas contrary to them, whilst lacking the philosophical framework that makes various errors easier to see.
I suppose we are much more aware of the lives of celebrities and of strangers, on account of the Internet. But doesn’t it seem like a lot of suicides are happening?
Over the next few months and years, I will have the opportunity to write about faith and disability, and how those experiences connect with my personal story. I want to say that it is against my nature to embrace too heartily any set of ideas that magnifies differences and distinctions for political gain. I don’t even really want to make anyone feel guilty, at least unnecessarily, so the stories I tell are my own. If a particular feeling or experience of mine doesn’t seem fair as a criticism, you’re free to let it go, and to pay it no heed.
The St. Louis Cardinals have a defensive dynamo at third base, the perennial Gold Glove winner, who also provides middle of the order punch to the offense, and makes them a yearly threat to be world champions. His name is Scott Rolen.
We forget this all the time. Perhaps as we get older, we’re a little less oblivious and proud about it, but I don’t think we truly understand the fragility of our existence. Most people who start off essays like this have some sort of axe to grind; I don’t, at least not about this, but I was reminded by something I read.
There are special days and months that we celebrate in the secular society. Holidays for the birthdays of presidents, recognition of ethnic minorities, and days set aside to raise awareness for rare diseases and conditions. Most of this passes without notice, and much of it is unobjectionable. But I have noticed that some of it is, and that it forms a competing liturgy with the Christian one.
I don’t know what sort of regime of shame existed in American culture before I was here. In some people’s telling, everyone thought sex itself was dirty and shameful, and untold secrets were kept. I don’t want to take us back to the good old days that never actually existed, but I think sexual intercourse between unmarried people is still wrong. That’s what “fornication” refers to, if you didn’t know.
I got your attention, didn’t I? This is not to say that I am its master; I am well aware of my lack. Nevertheless, the secret is plain in front of us. The secret of a good life is thankfulness.
One of the dodges that you hear in these debates is that only women should decide what happens in a crisis pregnancy. This emotionally-satisfying stupidity presupposes that reason alone cannot establish the personhood of the nascent human, and that the difficulty of the situation determines the moral validity of choosing to abort the child. Even if we were somehow to accept this “reasoning,” it conveniently ignores all of the pro-life women, who dare to risk exile from the cool kids’ table, in order to stand up and say that killing an unborn child is not a morally praiseworthy act.
In the middle of the summer, John Mayer released this album, and it sounded like a Hall & Oates album broke out. I couldn’t help but think of the last hit from Daryl Hall and John Oates, “Everything Your Heart Desires,” as I listened to the lead track on this record, “Last Train Home.” Just as they landed in the top 10 in 1988, this album is an attempt to lovingly remind us of 1988.