Treasure of the Heart

What do you own? And what sort of stuff do you possess?

Ordinarily we think that people own material things like land, houses, automobiles, and jewelry. People also own pledges or contracts – in the form of money, bank accounts, stock funds, insurance etc. – that support basic needs and interests beyond basic needs.

However, a few voices at either end of a spectrum, the most radical on one side and the most religious on the other, have asserted that we do not own those things and those pledges. Continue reading “Treasure of the Heart”

Connecting with the East

At age 11 Ruth Weigle wrote, “I pause now to look back over my childhood days before passing into the dim, shadowy regions of the future.” She composed those words in 1933, little aware that within a decade the entire world would descend into total war. She herself would face unimagined challenges as a young adult.

But there was still some time to make the transition from youthful freedom to responsibility. Growing up in New Haven in the 20s and 30s, she had many advantages: excellent schools, a safe neighborhood, the intellectual climate surrounding Yale University and particularly the Divinity School.

Ruth would later recall an impressive visitor to her childhood home on Cold Spring Street – the great poet-sage of Bengal and India, Rabindranath Tagore. At the funeral of a loved one she would reflect long upon these words which he wrote: Continue reading “Connecting with the East”

Sonya or Leo Tolstoy – Whose Side Are You On?

In October 1910 the world-renowned author and Christian reformer Leo Tolstoy, age 82, fled his ancestral home at Yasnaya Polyana south of Moscow and boarded a train headed toward the Caucasas Mountains. He did not travel far. What happened next transfixed the attention of the world.

It’s a story mainly about two good, virtuous persons – Leo and his wife Sonya – and a third good, virtuous person named Vladimir Chertkov. The 8 Tolstoy children had their roles to play also, taking largely but not unanimously their mother’s side because of her concern for their welfare. Continue reading “Sonya or Leo Tolstoy – Whose Side Are You On?”

Schopenhauer. 5. An Atheist Seeks Immortality

In Arthur Schopenhauer we meet the paradox of an atheist who believed in immortality.

A quick reflex would be to declare Schopenhauer hopelessly confused and dismiss him out of hand. That’s difficult for me, however, because he developed the concept of will so decisively.

I believe that the concept of will marks a path, an intellectual path at least, that makes belief in God reasonable. Let me try to explain. Continue reading “Schopenhauer. 5. An Atheist Seeks Immortality”