George Inness: The Rainbow

Inness George (825 – 1894) Rainbow (1877 - 78)

George Inness (May 1, 1825 – August 3, 1894) belonged to the second generation of the so-called Hudson River or Hudson River Valley School, the first distinctively American school of painting.  In his early work, Inness advances the “luminist” tendency of his precursors (Thomas Cole, Asher Durand, Frederic Church, Albert Bierstadt, and others); and like them, he is almost exclusively a landscape painter, interested in the effects of light on mountain, valley, plain, lake, ocean, and sky.  In his later work, Inness innovates in the direction of Impressionism.  The Hudson River painters were American Romantics, steeped in the nature-philosophy of Ralph Waldo Emerson and his followers, but also conversant with the late-medieval tradition of reading nature as the outward sign of the supernatural (think Jakob Boehme), a tendency that culminates in the strange but influential writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.  Inness occasionally identified himself as a Swedenborgian.

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Two Christianities (and Islam)

Constantine the Great

From The Edict of Milan (February 313 AD): “Perceiving long ago that religious liberty ought not to be denied, but that it ought to be granted to the judgment and desire of each individual to perform his religious duties according to his own choice, we had given orders that every man, Christians as well as others, should preserve the faith of his own sect and religion.

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Liberalism and Islam

I have been thinking about the coziness between Liberalism and Islam, which became evident about twenty seconds after the jihad attack on the World Trade Center, and now drives policy in the USA, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Scandinavia.  A pair of complementary questions put themselves that I propose for a general discussion.

Does Liberalism embrace Islam, knowing that Islam is a religion and despite its active hostile attitude towards religion, as conceived by it categorically, solely because Liberalism has more animus against Christianity than it does towards Islam and therefore sees Islam as an ally in its campaign against Christianity?

Or…

Does Liberalism ally itself with Islam because it senses that Islam is not a religion, but is rather a secular ideology, utterly hostile to anything transcendent,  just like itself, and is therefore its perfect ally in the campaign against Christianity?

A message for nice guys

I

Meet the late Elliot Rodger, 22-year-old serial murderer and self-proclaimed “supreme gentleman,” who blamed his killing spree on his inability to attract a lover.

There’s a lot that can be said about Mr. Rodger from a sociological perspective — from whence his narcissism, his self-entitlement, his will-to-power? — but regular readers of the Orthosphere could likely anticipate such an analysis or produce a better one on their own, so I don’t feel the need to write one. Instead, this post is aimed at those in a similar situation as his (on the off-chance that any might read it), those who have ever asked themselves, “I’m a nice guy; why can’t I get a girlfriend?”

If you have ever uttered these words, you are almost certainly a beta male.

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Open discussion: Teaching the faith

Evangelizing — making converts — is one thing; educating them is quite another. Catholic converts often have bad things to say about RCIA, the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, a lengthy period of instruction in the Catholic faith preceding full entry into the Church, the quality of which varies from parish to parish but which is often shot through with nonsense, sentimentality, and occasionally heresy. Having spent a few weeks now in the shoes of an instructor, I regret my own bitterness toward those who instructed me, who I now see are thrust into the impossible position of having to abstract roughly two thousand years’ worth of Christian insight into approximately three dozen 45-minute chunks and relaying them to people who are so often products of their time and culture — that is, aggressively ignorant and Philistine almost to the point of being ineducable. Worse still, so many are functionally illiterate that a return to the historically normative (and superior) model of catechism-based education would probably be counterproductive.

I’m sure Protestants and Orthodox have their own horror stories to share, but I’m more interested in the success stories. How, having won potential converts, do we proceed to educate them effectively, and turn them out into the world ready to live authentically Christian lives?

Open Thread: What are you reading?

The current number of The University Bookman devotes some of its space to a symposium on the “summer reading” of its contributors.  (R. J. Stove points out that it is winter in Australia, but he participates anyway.)  It occurs to me that The Orthosphere could do worse than to imitate The Bookman. I therefore invite “Orthospherians” to say something informally about their summertime reading projects.  Continue reading

Open Thread: the Sufficient Conditions of Justice

Skeggy Thorson points out that the monstrous Aztecs had patriarchy, monarchy, an aristocracy, an ancient, venerable and sophisticated state religion, a highly evolved patrimony of arts and crafts, and I suppose many other characteristics of a traditional society. The same could be said of the formidable and revolting Canaanites, Carthaginians, and Phoenicians.

More than that is needed for a just society, or a good society, and especially for a noble society.

What then, are the de minimis characteristics of a traditional society *that is also good* – and that, therefore, has a shot at nobility?

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