I might as well warn you now: I am reading a lot of theology for this term, and will probably be posting on theological topics at length. One of my classes is strictly focusing on Paul Tillich, while another is on feminist theology and theory, reading folks like Mary Daly and Simone de Beauvoir. I will post my book list soon for the latter class just to show off how awesome it is.
But today’s p0st is on Tillich. I just finished the introduction to Systematic Theology. I have many questions and quibbles and concerns, as well as many points of agreement, but I won’t focus on one of them now. But I did want to raise one foreseeable problem I have with the direction Tillich seems to be taking, and I thought I would post it here as an experiment in tracking the development of my response to a specific problem over time. More after the jump.
A reading from the Gospel according to St. Luke, chapter 4, verses 24-29 (words of Christ in red):
And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; but unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.
That was in LOST last night and I am working on puzzling it through. I know they’ve probably already done everything possible on LOSTpedia but hey you know what I like to do things FOR MYSELF. You can’t tell me what I can’t do!
Also: Jacob tells Richard that he brought him here to prove Esau wrong, and that here “your past doesn’t matter.” That brings to mind something Flannery O’Connor once said: “The meaning of the redemption is precisely that you do not have to be your history.” Given the appearance of O’Connor’s Wise Blood throughout LOST, I’m sure it’s not a coincidence.
Interestingly enough, she said it in the context of responding to Betty Hester, a woman who had corresponded with O’Connor for a while and eventually admitted to being dishonorably discharged from the military for her sexual relationship with another woman. And they started up their correspondence at first because Hester wrote to O’Connor to say that she thought the main character in A Good Man is Hard to Find was God — and O’Connor’s response was that Hester should write again, because “I would like to know who this is who understands my stories.”
So I’m reading through the University of Chicago magazine for my job, and I came across the following in an article that caught my eye. The article is on Harry Potter, and suggests that J.K. Rowling should be put “on a shelf with Stoker, Chaucer, [and] Austen.” Having been acquainted with the former only through visual media, Chaucer only through tenth grade English, and the latter only through reputation, I am in no position to judge this assessment. But the following quotation in the article caught my eye, and is what I feel like mentioning today:
Rowling’s Harry Potter novels turn on this same theme. Each book is loaded with reminders of how everyone but the long-suffering, brilliant, and saintly (Lupin, Hermione, and Dumbledore, respectively) is captive to their preconceptions about others and usually almost brutal in their unkindness to the objects of their prejudice.
I am posting this here mainly because it is a list I need to remember so I can mine it for my own reading pleasure but also because I found this blog and think I will read it more often and who knows if I do I will blogroll it.
I think one day I would rest happy if I could publish a work, any work, one work, of science fiction or fantasy. And they call them “works” because, well, you have to work at them, and as an individual far more prone to watching an episode of Star Trek than sitting down to write, I have trouble working on things that don’t involve deadlines set by other people.
But tonight I could not sleep, and I could not sleep because I’ve been tossing around some things in my head and on paper for a while now that needed expression. The results are below the jump: this is a chapter in a larger work I’m trying to put together, but it stands alone and I thought was pretty good. I would appreciate any thoughts you have. Especially you, Adam.
Well, just when you thought Rod Dreher couldn’t get more annoying, he comes out with this post. A taste:
I push back hard against well-meaning people like Harriet Brown, not because I think Fat People Are Bad, but because I want to push back against this culture that tells me I can’t overcome my own sloth and gluttony, that I ought to settle for the spiritual disorder that results in my being overweight. Weight loss really is hard, …you have to push back against this permissive, indulgent culture at every turn.
He’s referencing an article by Harriet Brown in which she basically finds that medical professionals are willing to say horrible things about fat people without hiding their biases. Furthermore, Brown outlines how this attitude among medical professionals leads them to treat fat patients with less respect, spend less time with them, work less hard on their cases, and assume that they won’t follow prescribed treatment. (And we wonder why there might be health issues associated with obesity — I’m not saying that weight has nothing to do with it, only that the cultural attitudes held by your primary care-giver might play into the quality of care received.)
But Dreher is really annoying here, and he’s annoying because his assumption is basically wrong.
This video went around the interwebs a while back:
It makes a valuable point, so watch it.
But I was thinking about another way, not always so obviously racially coded, that doesn’t get as much media play and yet still gives a good example of the problems associated with idealized notions of what humans are and the way they look and act and communicate.