Thursday, July 17, 2008

On the Influence of Parents, Brain Floaters, and the Hilarity of Mis-Punctuation à la Jon Stewart

A few days back, my wife, Laura, asked my seven-year-old daughter what she wanted to be when she grew up. Anna said, "I want to be a teacher. And then when I lose my job I want to be an artist."

Evangelization, St. Francis of Assisi, Evolution and Contraception have been on my mind lately - a semi-unrelated list of subjects I've been thinking about. Aimee Milburn got me thinking about Evangelization, of course, and it's been popping here and there on my radar screen since.

I'm reading Chesterton's St. Francis of Assisi and am continually floored by this saint who has always had such a phenomenal presence in my life, in my mind; I can't think of a moment in my life when I was not aware of him. It's hard to think of many who have made so great a contribution to my philosophy of life and faith, and who have been content to teach me of such things quietly from the margins.

I've been watching some videos and reading some books on evolution, and Christian thought about evolution. It's quite fascinating as I've never taken an in-depth look at evolution before in my life. (I think that's a shame, by the way. Not because evolution is all that, but because, rather than simply learning characterizations, I should have been educated, should have educated myself, about one of the most influential theories of the past millennium.) Recently I've watched a special titled Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial about the debacle just a couple of short years ago in Pennsylvania about evolution and intelligent design in the public schools. And currently I'm working through a PBS series mysteriously titled Evolution. Along with those videos I've read or am reading Cardinal Schönborn's Chance or Purpose? Creation, Evolution and a Rational Faith, and Creation and Evolution: A Conference with Pope Benedict XVI in Castel Gandolfo. I'm also reading an interesting book by a former Seventh-Day Adventist, now an agnostic, Ronald L. Numbers, titled The Creationists: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design which attempts to trace the history of the young-earth-creationist movement. I'll let you know on how well I think he did if and when I make it through the book. I've owned Darwin's On the Origin of Species for some time and will also be taking a gander at it. Let me know of other materials you know of that would be worth my while.

And on the contraception front, there's a sardonic view of the prophetic truth of Pope Paul VI's Humanae Vitae in this month's First Things. I know speaking of contraception stirs up a whole mess, but this article is an interesting look back at a now-40-year-old document, and the consequences of our ignoring it. And it's shameful for those of us who are Catholics who have not been sturdy enough defenders of the faith in respect to our sexuality - not to stir the pot or anything.

Finally, I wanted to share this clip from the Daily Show from last night. The whole clip is quite funny, but what tickled me in particular was a piece near the middle of the clip where Stewart talks about Indymac's collapse and their offer of "water" to their customers, whose line rambles down the sidewalk. It's hilarious and serves as an important reminder to use punctuation properly, or at least more properly.


Dan said...

I was reading some Chesterton last night. He's an author I've missed, to me detriment. I recently bought the combined biographies of Sts. Francis and Thomas Aquinas from Ignatius. I'll have to pick up the biography of St. Francis and do some reading. It would be fun to compare notes. How are in are you?

I've been reading Orthodoxy and I'm getting sucked into the power of his logic and the craft of his writing. I went on a GKC buying spree a month or so ago when I read that The Everlasting Man was influential in CSL's conversion. Unfortunately I bought a budget copy of the book that is fraught with grammatical errors. It's so bad I can't read it and really need to buy another version.

And speaking of contraception...Jim and Kara are expecting their tenth child! They make some great babies!

As my neighbor said the other day, "Well, THEY'RE choosing life!"

I think ten would be incredibly overwhelming, but I can't imagine their family without any of them.

Dan said...

Talk about grammatical errors: "to my detriment" and "how far in are you?"

Chad Toney said...

I really enjoyed The Creationists! I usually can't get through history works, but it was engaging enough to keep me pretty engrossed. I wish it had more about the Church's role in the last 200 years, but oh well.

Have you read Ken Miller's *Finding Darwin's God*? He's a Catholic, but his theology points are kinda lacking. But otherwise, it's a great book on the subject. Maybe a little acerbic towards the YEC's that are still so close to me in many ways, but overall he's a great writer and his arguments seemed very strong. Schoenborn's is a good one to read alongside Miller's, I'd say.

I've heard Fr. Jaki's stuff is also good, but haven't gotten to it yet.

The videos by an evangelical over at Beyond the Firmament.

Chad Toney said...

The videos by an evangelical over at Beyond the Firmament* were also helpful for me. :)