Around Y2K, the not-so-cataclysmic millennial turn, both of my parents moved past their 80th birthdays. In January 2003 Susan and I visited them at the big concrete house in Jackson, Mississippi. Shortly afterward I wrote a letter to her parents in Texas describing that visit: Continue reading “Freedom”
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”
Newly married in a time of war, Ruth gave attention to formidable questions of individuality and togetherness, trying to develop a workable Christian interpretation. Her husband Arthur joined the Navy. They moved to Maryland, where he entered a secret laboratory program at Fort Detrick. Continue reading “Social-mindedness in World War II”
During his first year in Boston at Harvard Med, Arthur Guyton met Ruth Weigle. He and a fellow student had ridden bicycles 15 miles as far as Wellesley College to take advantage of a pleasant day. Ruth was walking with a friend whom the young men had met at a party. They talked a while. Nothing came of it, but she impressed him enough that she stuck somehow in his memory. Continue reading “A China Connection”
The age of modernity is ending. For all its trademark confidence, even its name suggesting an endless run, the modern age falters now. Soon it will stagger into the grey mist of history.
What comes next for us? Modernity overreached, and we inherit not confidence, but suspicion. Postmodern is a worthless label, signifying only hiatus and transition.
Can we hope to see a renaissance of human will? If we can somehow join in common purpose, then yes. But what would that involve? Continue reading “Welcome Back, Sin”
Since the dawn of human intelligence two things have evoked puzzlement and wonder: the physical universe and the inner testimony of will that connects existence with responsibility.
Placing these apprehensions side by side, I cannot help repeating an age-old question: Is the physical world connected somehow with responsibility? Has the world been created? Has some kind of super-intelligence – God – brought all of this into being? Continue reading “The Anthropic Principle”
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?”
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”
The beginning years of the 1960s marked the end of my childhood and disclosed an outside world looming with conflict. I really didn’t want to face that world directly during my teen years. Continue reading “Growing Up – the Sixties in Mississippi”