1. Pinterest – the front site is very pretty if in a way-too-unreal sort of way. I’m sure I’m way behind a curve here but it appears to be a visual orientation social networking site. You “pin” up things you like. It also appears to be populated primarily by women. First thought, can you imagine if this was populated only by guys, or even if guys started to be a significant minority? That is going to be a problem for them. But the second thought is with my first impression: lots of glossy mag, vaguely inspirational, way too cute visuals that are deeply seductive but not real in any sense of the word. Still, an interesting visual view of the current zeitgeist. A romantic movement in a non-romantic age? (HT)
2. David Brooks’ Life Reports – One, Two – Number Two is the payoff. If you want the actual data its on his new blog. He’s been reading the life reports of 70+ year olds that he requested. There is a lot of stuff to mentally chew on. There is one line that I’m not sure he backed up. (It also could be selection bias).
Metaphysics is dead; very few of the writers hewed to a specific theology or had any definite conception of a divine order, though vague but uplifting spiritual experiences pepper their reflections.
Christianity isn’t a philosophy. It isn’t a metaphysics completely in the way Brooks uses the term. But I can understand what he means. The bible says things like Psalm 90:12 or Ecclesiastes 3:1ff or Luke 8:4ff. Jesus (or the Bible) has some good thing to say about evaluating a life. The Americans Brooks is tapping sound like they majored too much in psychological jargon and self-actualization hierarchies to examine themselves. They would be better with an old form Roman preparation for confession or even just a reading of Sermon on the Mount. I sometimes wonder how many of my physical countrymen will be saying Lord, Lord…(Matt 25:11-12)
3. Better Living Through Pharmacology – A fascinating post (and the comments are insightful and raw as well) about anti-depressants and the Christian life. The question is a good one and something that I’ve spent time thinking about. I’m pretty sure that most of the “saints” and by that I mean the big ones that inspire us all went through serious dark nights. Luther found the gospel in the midst of his Anfechtung. Wesley was there. Francis. Loyola. Even Aquinas whose writing is so clear and logic so profound you wouldn’t think it possible. I’m not sure there is a place where Theology contrasts more with the reigning psychological therapeutic regime then around what today is called depression. It used to be called accidie or the noon-day demon or a dark night and it was all about spiritual struggle. (We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the power and principalities of this dark realm…Eph 6:12). Today it is all flesh and blood. It is all chemical imbalances to be treated with medication. Neither is correct.
3b/4. The problems with a simplistic numbers = God’s will equation. – This is an outgrowth of number 3. Those dark nights are often what throw you onto the Lord. I’m a numbers type guy. This is a constant temptation of mine to look at numerical failure as spiritual failure. Likewise to look at numerical success as spiritual success. It’s not that easy. I’d tie it back to Brooks even. Brooks extrapolates lessons for a “good life”, but it reads like a self-help book. Are self-help books read 50 years after they are written? 1 year? But St. Paul’s prison letters are read 2000 years later. The Freedom of a Christian is still read. I’m not sure what of our modern age might even survive 100 years even though we publish vast amounts more. The failure of our age has yet to be written.