Friday, April 11, 2014

Must Read List (Among the Living)

There are only a very few living authors that I find I will try to read everything they write--even if I don't always agree with them. And of course, that is no mean feat given the fact that each of them is so astonishingly prolific:

1. R.C. Sproul
2. John Frame
3. Paul Johnson
4. Umberto Eco
5. Colin Thubron
6. Daniel Silva
7. Tim Powers
8. Jan Karon
9. Douglas Wilson
10. Witold Rybczynski
11. N.T. Wright

Must Read List (Among the Dead)

The list of authors I aspire to read across their entire canon is likewise rather spare. But as is the case with those on my living authors list, that does not necessarily mean that I will be able to achieve the feat—Chesterton, Spurgeon, Kuyper, and Belloc for instance, wrote more than 100 books apiece. But, I am working through the titles.  Thankfully, over the years I have been able to collect virtually all of their books:

1. Thomas Chalmers
2. G.K. Chesterton
3. J.R.R. Tolkien
4. Arthur Quiller-Couch
5. John Buchan
6. C.H. Spurgeon
7. Abraham Kuyper
8. Francis Schaeffer
9. Walter Scott
10. Hilaire Belloc
11. Samuel Johnson

Saturday, March 22, 2014

My Favorite Infidel: H.L. Mencken


“For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.”

“Truth would quickly cease to be stranger than fiction, once we got as used to it.”

“There are no dull subjects. There are only dull writers.” “It is the misfortune of humanity that its history is chiefly written by third‑rate men.”

“A good politician is quite as rare as an honest burglar.”

“Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.”

“Congress consists of one-third, more or less, scoundrels; two-thirds, more or less, idiots; and three-thirds, more or less, poltroons.”

“A national political campaign is better than the best circus ever heard of, with a mass baptism and a couple of hangings thrown in.”

“I am suspicious of all the things that the fashionable mob and the faddish rabble clamors for.”

“Public opinion, in its raw state, gushes out in the immemorial form of the mob's fear.”

“The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.”

“Hooey pleases fools a great deal more than sense.”

Saturday, December 21, 2013

2013 Nefariology: America's Enemies of Freedom












An Ambrose Bierce Eleventary


Politics is the strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles; the conduct of public affairs for private advantage.”

The lottery is tax on people who are bad at math.

The right to vote is the instrument and symbol of a freeman's power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.

When publicly censured our first instinct is to make everybody a codefendant.

A fool is a natural proselyte, but he must be caught young, for his convictions, unlike those of the wise, harden with age.

A cheap and easy cynicism rails at everything. The master of the art accomplishes the formidable task of discrimination.

Truth is so good a thing that falsehood cannot afford to be without it.

Justice is a commodity which in a more or less adulterated condition the State sells to the citizen as a reward for his allegiance, taxes and personal service.

To dogmatism the Spirit of Inquiry is the same as the Spirit of Evil.

We submit to the majority because we have to. But we are not compelled to call our attitude of subjection a posture of respect.

He who thinks with difficulty believes with alacrity.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Chesterton on Timeless Virtues and Vices

“The act of defending any of the cardinal virtues has today all the exhilaration of a vice.” 

“A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.”

“Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.”

“To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.”

“Progress should mean that we are always changing the world to fit the vision, instead we are always changing the vision.”

“Men invent new ideals because they dare not attempt old ideals. They look forward with enthusiasm, because they are afraid to look back.”

“Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable.”

“It’s not that we don’t have enough scoundrels to curse; it’s that we don’t have enough good men to curse them.”

“The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice.”

“It is not bigotry to be certain we are right; but it is bigotry to be unable to imagine how we might possibly have gone wrong.” 

“There are some desires that are not desirable.”

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A C.S. Lewis Eleventary

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive."

"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point."

“The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their consciences.”

“Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.”

“You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”

"There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, in the end, 'Thy will be done.' All that are in Hell chose it."

"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world."

"You cannot make men good by law: and without good men you cannot have a good society."

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
"If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair."

"We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst."

Another C.S. Lewis Eleventary

“'Safe?' said Mr. Beaver; 'don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.'”

"If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man."

“The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.”

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”

“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

“God will not be used as a convenience. Men or nations who think they can revive the Faith in order to make a good society might just as well think they can use the stairs of heaven as a shortcut to the nearest chemist’s shop.”

"A cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to Hell than a prostitute."

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”

“To enter heaven is to become more human than you ever succeeded in being on earth; to enter hell, is to be banished from humanity.”

"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word 'darkness' on the walls of his cell."

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Bum Eleventary: Bum Phillips (1923-2013)

"Winning is only half of it. Having fun is the other half." 

"The only discipline that lasts is self-discipline."

"You don't know a ladder has splinters until you slide down."

"Two kinds of ballplayers aren't worth a darn: One that never does what he's told, and one who does nothin' except what he's told."

"How do you win? By getting average players to play good and good players to play great. That's how you win."

"Football is a game of failure. You fail all the time, but you aren't a failure until you start blaming someone else."

"There's two kinds of coaches, them that's fired and them that's gonna be fired." 

"Never contradict Mama, no matter what the subject and no matter who you think's right and who you think's wrong."

Of his adversary Don Shula (and sometimes, of his mentor Bear Bryant, depending on how he told the story): "He can take his'n and beat your'n and take your'n and beat his'n."

"In the end, the only won-loss record that really matters is nailed to the cross."

After taking the Oilers to the AFC Championship Game two years in a row only to lose to the Super Bowl champion Steelers, "Last year we knocked on the door. This year we banged on the door. Next year, we're kicking the door in."

Friday, October 4, 2013

Nathan Clark George's Double Eleventary



Psalms
1. Alleluia! Sing for Joy—Psalm 33           
2. Lord, Protect Your People—Psalm 14           
3. Gently, Gently—Psalm 6           
4. I Love You Lord—Psalm 18                       
5. Bless the Lord O My Soul—Psalm 104           
6. O Lord Most High—Psalm 9                       
7. My Soul Waits—Psalm 62                       
8. Blessed Are All They—Psalm 1                       
9. Incarnate God—Psalm 91                       
10. Answer Father When I Call—Psalm 4           
11. May the Lord Respond—Psalm 20           

Hymns
1. Our Only Paschal Lamb           
2. Love Divine                       
3. Have Mercy O Lord                       
4. Holy is the Lord           
5. Kyrie           
6. Calm Content           
7. Sanctus           
8. A Debt of Love           
9. To Live is Christ           
10. Creed of Timothy           
11. Peace, Perfect Peace           

Friday, September 6, 2013

More Favorite Chestertonianisms

"There is only one thing that it requires real courage to say, and that is a truism.

"Moderate strength is shown in violence, supreme strength is shown in levity.'

"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it."

"Earnest Freethinkers need not worry themselves so much about the persecutions of the past. Before the Liberal idea is dead or triumphant we shall see wars and persecutions the like of which the world has never seen."

"The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected. Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition. Thus we have two great types—the advanced person who rushes us into ruin, and the retrospective person who admires the ruins. He admires them especially by moonlight, not to say moonshine. Each new blunder of the progressive or prig becomes instantly a legend of immemorial antiquity for the snob. This is called the balance, or mutual check, in our Constitution."

"The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man."

"Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable."

“Feminism is mixed up with a muddled idea that women are free when they serve their employers but slaves when they help their husbands.”

“Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.”

“It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It is that they can’t see the problem.”

“Drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable.”More Chesterton

Yet More Favorite Chestertonianisms

“There are those who hate Christianity and call their hatred an all-embracing love for all religions.”

“Impartiality is a pompous name for indifference which is an elegant name for ignorance.”

"A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author."

"An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered."

"Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere."

"The men who really believe in themselves are all in lunatic asylums."

"The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese."

"Though I believe in liberalism, I find it difficult to believe in liberals."

"You could compile the worst book in the world entirely out of selected passages from the best writers in the world."

“There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.”

“To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.”

Friday, June 28, 2013

June Florilegium: Gleanings from My Readings


1. "If there is no God, everything is permitted." Fyodor Dostoyevsky

2. "We do not need a censorship of the press. We already have a censorship by the press." G.K. Chesterton

3. "If I will take care of my character, my reputation will take care of itself." D.L. Moody

4. "Some theological expressions, just as some prayerful petitions, are too deep and too profound for mere words. So, the Scriptures instruct us in such cases to resort to song." Matthew Henry

5. “I have noticed that nothing I never said ever did me any harm.” Calvin Coolidge

6. “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think if only you try!” Dr. Seuss

7. “Gargantuanism and the care of souls cannot coexist.” Thomas Chalmers

8. "There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal." C.S. Lewis

9. "The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them." Mark Twain

10. "Good works do not make a man good, but a good man does good works.” Martin Luther

11. "Reading feeds the brain. It is evident that most minds are starving to death." Benjamin Franklin

Monday, June 3, 2013

Why Even Attempt the Uttermost?

Why would any sane person attempt to run 500 miles, bike 1500 miles, and swim 13 miles this summer?  Perhaps, the simplest eleventary answer is:

1. A mile more or a mile less just wouldn't add up (at least not this year).

2. A great cause warrants a great challenge.

3. It's more than a marathon, more than an ultra, more than a triathlon, even more than an ironman--it's an uttermost.

4. Where would the fun be if we just straight-up asked for money for the Chalmers Fund.

5. Risk-reward necessitates risk AND reward.

6. Our team's Latinate slogan pretty much demands it.

7. We have a whole slew of deserving, needy students for whom we need to provide scholarships.

8. What better way could we find to whip our bodies into shape?

9. These are the sorts of stunts bucket lists were designed to accommodate.

10. After all the years and all the miles there is still just a little bit of jock in us trying desperately to get out.

11. Well, perhaps it's not particularly sane after all.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Ultimately



Ultimately—is a very fine word
         For a more than rarified notion;
Ultimately—though it seems absurd,
         It might even be quaffed in a potion:
Surreptitiously with soda or nog,
Or serendipitously on someone’s blog.

Ultimately—it’s an eleventary aside,
For a band that’s not twelve or ten or seven;
It’s not either three or five—but eleven.

Mattie, Mac, and Meg; Tip and Ben; Jen and Hal
MSG and LB; NPA and GHol:

Ontolaughably, epistemaffably, ruinationably,
FCSedly, eleventarily—and yes, of course, remarkably, ultimately.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Moral Philosophy Lessons from Modernity


1. Ideas have consequences.

2. Worldviews matter.

3. Right and wrong are not adjustable in accord with clock and calendar.

4. There is no virtue in celebrating vice.

5. Just as there are no victimless crimes, there are no victimless sins.

6. Principled opposition to the reigning shibboleths is not hate or fear.

7. Advocacy is not tolerance.

8. Insults are not arguments.

9. Secularism is not neutral.

10. Scientism is not scientific.

11. Pragmatism is not pragmatic.

Monday, April 29, 2013

A Gipper Eleventary


1. The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: "I'm from the government and I'm here to help."

2. Recession is when your neighbor loses his job. Depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his.

3. I've noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.

4. I have wondered at times what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the US Congress.

5. General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.

6. Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.

7. Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.

8. We don't have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven't taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt because we spend too much.

9. If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth.

10. You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children's children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.

11. It isn't so much that liberals are ignorant. It's just that they know so many things that aren't so.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Priming the Tastebuds for Our UK Trip



1. Pret a Manger: Charing Cross
2. Nero’s Coffee: St. James Piccadilly 
3. Barbacoa: St. Paul's
4. Wagamama’s: Tower of London
5. Jamie’s Italian: Covent Garden
6. The Eagle: Cambridge
7. The Borough Market: Southwark
8. West Cornwall Pasty: Victoria
9. Nandos Peri-Peri: Brighton
10. Maoz Falafel: Leicester Square
11. Recipease: Bighton

Monday, April 8, 2013

Thus Saith the Iron Lady


"I am not a consensus politician. I'm a conviction politician."

“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.”

“Being democratic is not enough; a majority cannot turn what is wrong into right. In order to be considered truly free, countries must also have a deep love of liberty and an abiding respect for the rule of law.”

"Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't."

"Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope."

“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”

“Don't follow the crowd, let the crowd follow you.”

“Europe was created by history. America was created by philosophy.”

“Of course it's the same old story. Truth usually is the same old story.”

"Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't."

“Oh, but you know, you do not achieve anything without trouble, ever.”

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Wisdom of Chalmers



1. "The wider a man's knowledge becomes, the deeper should be his humility; for the more he knows the more he sees of what remains unknown. The wider the diameter of light, the larger the circumference of darkness."

2. “Regardless of how large, your vision is too small.”

3. "It is only through faith that we can find our way to love, and only through love that we can find our way to obedience."

4. "Live with the high aim and purpose of one who is in training for eternity."

5. “Gargantuanism and the care of souls cannot coexist.”

6. "Repentance is not one act of the mind; it is a course of acting by which we die daily unto sin."

7. "Obstacles, setbacks, and difficulties are but opportunities for courage and tenacity. Great victories demand fierce resistance. Otherwise, they would not be great."

8. "I would pray unto watching--and watch unto praying."

9. "Let us standfast and contend earnestly for the faith once delivered; let us be manly and strenuous in the vindication thereof; and yet, let all our things be done with charity."

10. "It is not by irregular efforts, however gigantic, that any great practical achievement is overtaken. It is by the constant recurrence and repetition of small efforts directed to a given object, and resolutely sustained and persevered in."

11. "Let us be neither over-sanguine nor over-melancholy of immediate results. Our perspective of time is only slowly synchronized to the clock of providence."

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Ascension


1. Prophecies and types: Ps 24:7; 68:18; Eph 4:7, 8, Lev 16:15; Heb 6:20; 9:7, 9, 12.

2. Foretold by Jesus: Jn 6:62; 7:33; 14:28; 16:5; 20:17.

3. Forty days after His resurrection fortelling His return: Acts 1:3, 1:10, 11.

4. From Mount Olivet: Lk 24:50; Mk 11:1; Acts 1:12.

5. While blessing and instructing His disciples: Lk 24:50, Acts 1:6-11.

6. After he had atoned for sin: Heb 9:12; 10:12.

7. Demonstrating His triumph: Ps 68:18, Phil 2: 9-11.

8. Unto supreme power and dignity: Lk 24:26; Eph 1:20,21; 1Pe 3:22.

9. As the forerunner of his people: Heb 6:20.

10. To intercede and send the Holy Spirit: Rom 8:34; Heb 9:24, Jn 16:7; Acts 2:33.

11. To prepare gifts and a place for his people: Jn 14:2, Ps 68:18; Eph 4:8, 11.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Rhodia Papers and Tablets













Resolved: 2013


1. Pray more. 1 Thessalonians 5:17
2. Listen first. James 1:19
3. Work harder. Colossians 3:23
4. Serve others. Galatians 6:9
5. Defend life. Proverbs 24:11-12
6. Grumble less. James 5:9
7. Do justice. Amos 5:24
8. Love mercy. Micah 6:8
9. Walk humbly. Proverbs 15:33
10. Rejoice always. 1 Thessalonians 5:16
11. Trust Jesus. Revelation 19:6

Essential Life Lessons



1.     Look before you leap.
2.     Aim before you shoot.
3.     Think before you speak.
4.     Get the facts before you judge.
5.     Verify before you crucify.
6.     Read the fine print before signing on the dotted line.
7.     Wait a day before you send the scorching e-mail.
8.     Context, context, context.
9.     Lend no credence to gossip.
10.  Get the story right from the horse’s mouth.
11.  Know what you know and who you know.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Calvinism: My Favorite Coolidge Quotes



1. “I have noticed that nothing I never said ever did me any harm.”
2. “No man ever listened himself out of a job.”
3. "The ideas expressed in progressive, big government schemes are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Founding Fathers."
4. “Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery.”
5. “Don't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong.”
6. “Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.”
7. “Duty is not just collective; it is personal.”
8. “Perhaps the most important accomplishment of my administration has been minding my own business.”
9. “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.”
10. “We cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once.”
11. “No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.”

Friday, January 25, 2013

Favorite Churchillisms


"We contend that for a nation to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle." 

"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries."

"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."

"It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."

"The whole history of the world is summed up in the fact that, when nations are strong, they are not always just, and when they wish to be just, they are no longer strong."


"All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope." 

"We rest with assurance upon the impregnable rock of the Holy Scripture."

"What is the use of living if it be not to strive for noble causes and to make this muddled world a better place to live in after we are gone?"

"The greatest advances in human civilization have come when we recovered what we had lost: when we learned the lessons of history."

"The truth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it; ignorance may deride it; malice may destroy it, but there it is."

"Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never--in nothing, great or small, large or petty--never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense."

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Favorite Architecture Sites


1. dpz.com
2. beauxartsatelier.org
3. patternlanguage.com
4. classicist.org
5. qftarchitects.com
6. fosterandpartners.com
7. hopeforarchitecture.com
8. newurbanism.org
9. michaelgraves.com
10. cnu.org
11. sacredarchitecture.org


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Bah! Humbug! As Far As the Curse Is Found


1. Humbug is an old word of indeterminate etymology meaning “spectacle” or “hoax” or “jest,” often referring to some unjustified reputation or publicity.

2. Of course, the word is most often associated with Ebenezer Scrooge, a character created by Charles Dickens in The Christmas Carol. He famously dismissed Christmas declaring, “Bah! Humbug!” Interestingly, variations of the term make appearances in any number of European languages:

3. Humbug may well be derived from the Old Norse words hum, meaning “night” or “shadow” or “dark air,” and bugges, a variant of bogey, meaning “apparition” or "ghost."

4. In Icelandic, húm means “twilight.” 

5. In Faeroese, hómi means “unclear.” 

6. Humi in Swedish means “dark suspicion.” This word may well be derived from the Old Swedish verb hymla, still in use, which means “to conceal," "to hide," or "to evade the truth.”

7. In Old English and Anglo Saxon, hum means “to deceive.” And bugges is a word that appears in Wyclif’s earliest translation of the English Bible meaning “specter.” And that may well be derived from the much older Celtic word bwg, meaning “scarecrow.” 

8. But, it could also be derived from the Early Italian, uomo bugiardo, which literally means “lying man.”

9. Uim-bog is supposed to mean “soft copper” in Ancient Gaelic—still used in Ireland as slang for “worthless money.”

10. In other words, “Bah! Humbug!” may very well be an apt declaration for Christmas (much to the chagrin of Scrooge): it is the declaration that Christ has come to expose the fraudulence, the impotence, the bugaboo nonsense of this poor fallen world; but even more, He has come to replace the dark specters, the apparitional hoaxes of sin, the evasions of the truth at the heart of sin. 

11. Thus: He has come to make His blessings flow as far as the curse is found.