January 2015

Elie Nadelman. Tango (1920-24). Whitney Museum of Art, NYC.

Beauty is my business as thoroughly as trouble is Raymond Chandler’s. Still, you will never catch me talking about “the beautiful.” I have no idea what it is or what it might look like. A transcendental is a bit like a virtual “friend”—you never get to see it. In the lived life, beauty is sensible. It resides in individual things, in matter, the stuff of the world and of man’s hands. Making things is the artist’s métier. Reflection on the appearance of particular things, and opinions on them, is within an artist’s bailiwick. Continue Reading
Jacques Ellul 2

We do live in history, and this age is hard to bear. Jacques Ellul, Hope in Time of Abandonment
To be of one’s time means to attend to the nature of the times. It means resisting the siren call of the day’s enthusiasms—zeal for environmentalism, sustainability, multiculturalism, global fixes, et alia—in order to stay mindful of the root character of those enthusiasms and their ultimate ends. In short, it means becoming a critic of one’s time. Jacques Ellul, devoted to the life of the spirit no less than the life of the mind, was a critic of the highest order. Continue Reading
The End is Nigh

There is a great temptation today to confuse sociological evolution with spiritual progress, and Christians are the first to succumb to that temptation. Nevertheless, the Bible expressly tells us that the history of mankind ends in judgment. It does not give place to the Kingdom. Jacques Ellul, False Presence of the Kingdom
Conformity to the world is expressed by the passion for politics, by the politicizing of Christian thinking, manners and action. Jacques Ellul, Hope in Time of Abandonment
In the cap and bells of Flip Wilson’s Church of What’s Happening Now, Pope Francis is readying an encyclical on climate change. Continue Reading