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Posts tagged "China"


John Donne’s "Batter My Heart" in John Adams’ Dr. Atomic

Mockingbird’s resident opera aficionado Ken Wilson offers forth a truly breathtaking moment of beauty:

John Donne’s plea in Holy Sonnet XIV that grace will break his captive will, set to necessarily inadequate but characteristically gorgeous music by John Adams and sung by bass-baritone Gerald Finley in the Adams opera Dr. Atomic (about Robert Oppenheimer and the setting off of the first atomic bomb):

Batter my heart, three-person’d God ; for youAs yet but knock ; breathe, shine, and seek to mend ;That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow me, and bendYour force, to break, blow, burn, and…

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Honor Thy Father And Mother... Or Else

Honor Thy Father And Mother… Or Else

As reported in Saturday’s NY Times, a characteristically are-they-serious take on the 5th Commandment out of Beijing. Clearly ministry officials aren’t reading much Gerhard Forde (ht BJG):

On the eve of the Lunar New Year festival, when Chinese flood train stations, bus terminals and airports to reunite with loved ones, one Chinese ministry is proposing that the government mandate closer families.

Under a proposal submitted last Monday by the Civil Affairs Ministry to China’s State Council, adult children would be required by law to regularly visit their elderly parents. If they do not, parents can sue them. “Before, the courts did not…

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Demand, Achievement and Chinese Mothers

Demand, Achievement and Chinese Mothers

A fascinating, challenging, and dare-I-say slightly horrifying article about the superiority of Chinese Mothers in The Wall Street Journal, doubling as a critique of today’s self-esteem-obsessed culture. Enough to make one feel like a dyed-in-the-wool Occidental. The unapologetic emphasis on achievement, while clearly exaggerated here, is congruent with some of the first-generation kids that I grew up with, begging a few questions:

1. Since parental demand/Law is going to be articulated whether we/they like it or not, is such a blunt approach actually preferable to the Western doublespeak that leaves so many of us psychologically deformed? 2. While love is clearly…

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Obesity and the Bound Will

Obesity and the Bound Will

NEWS FLASH: there’s a really interesting Mockingbird thread going on right now, started by Jeff Dean and Dave Browder, on a proposed tax on sugar sweetened drinks like Coke. It’s already quite long — take a look!

The thoughtful comments started by Herr Browder made me think of an extraordinary cover article in THE ATLANTIC a couple months ago called Beating Obesity. It touches on a huge number of things, including all the different public health strategies being considered — one of which is the soda tax. But even more important it is written almost in the form of a personal…

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Chinese Weather and the War Between CONTROL and CHAOS

Chinese Weather and the War Between CONTROL and CHAOS

It was big news last summer, when through strategic “cloud-seeding” the Chinese were able to hold an Olympics without rain and Olympic marathoners were able to run without smog. This week, the “Beijing Weather Modification Office” has failed to control the weather on a major scale that has resulted in November snow across the typically arid north of China. The consequences have been 40 deaths, a few building collapses, and major delays at the airport.

As far as its relevance to Mockingbird, I am reminded that our own efforts also fail to produce the desired results in relation…

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Quite Apart From The Holy Ghost – Adrian Mitchell

Many thanks to John Halton for forwarding this devastating poem along, from the recently deceased British beat poet Adrian Mitchell. Talk about (the right kind of) theology from the bottom up! As John points out in his post, the final couplet is a particular killer:

I remember God as an eccentric millionaire,Locked in his workshop, beard a cloud of foggy-coloured hair,Making the stones all different, each flower and disease,Putting the Laps in Lapland, making China for the Chinese,Laying down the Lake of Lucerne as smooth as blue-grey lino,Wearily inventing the appendix and the rhino,Making the fine fur for the mink, fine…

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The Rage of Virtue

The Rage of Virtue

This article popped up in the L.A. Times this morning, much to my surprise. That exploding ethnic tensions in China are just now hitting the news is testament to that particular government’s ability to (at least mostly) control the message coming out of the country. How amazing (tragic?)!
Anyway, the politics of the free society is not what I am interested in right now. What interests me are the ideas of virtue, ethnicity, culture, and what Christianity has to say about it.
Human beings are always trying to claim some sort of inherent virtue for purposes of self-justification. It doesn’t matter what…

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WSJ - What would Martin Luther Do?

WSJ – What would Martin Luther Do?

“Issues, Etc,” the nationally syndicated radio program of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) has been shut down! Dubbed “talk radio for the thinking Christian”, the show, which is based in St. Louis and boasts a wide podcast following, has been canceled, its website terminated, and its hosts killed. Actually, that last part isn’t true, but the way this thing happened is pretty outrageous. The Wall Street Journal (of all places!) reports:

“The program was in all likelihood a pawn in a larger battle for the soul of the Missouri Synod. The church is divided between, one the one hand, traditional…

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