Posts tagged "FREEDOM"
A Wheelchair Assassin Argues About Freedom

A Wheelchair Assassin Argues About Freedom

We promised there would be more excerpts from David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest! This one comes from a clandestine mountain-top conversation between a Quebecois nationalist/”Wheelchair Assassin” named Marathe and the US undercover agent Hugh/Helen Steeply. Some people consider their (lengthy) sparring matches to be the lowpoints of book, real momentum killers (pun intended), and I’m not sure I’d disagree. Still, taken out of context, DFW packed quite a bit of beauty and weight and humor into them. Their standing disagreement about the nature of freedom sticks out as particularly quotable–and lest you think DFW is being overly didactic, be sure…

Read More »

Hopelessly Devoted: John Chapter Four Verse Thirty Nine

Hopelessly Devoted: John Chapter Four Verse Thirty Nine

This comes from Devotional co-editor Sean Norris.

He told me all that I ever did. (John 4:39, ESV)

What do I really want? What would make me feel better? How would I even know when I had it? In the midst of an aching feeling that there’s something missing, that I want something and don’t know what it is, I ask myself these kinds of questions.

Sometimes I think it’s an Audi R8. I know it wouldn’t solve my problems, but it might help. Other times I know it’s something more profound like freedom. While it is definitely true that freedom is something…

Read More »

The Beautiful Nonsensicality of The Way, Way Back

The Beautiful Nonsensicality of The Way, Way Back

The summer movie season has had its highlights for me (Much Ado About Nothing, The Great Gatsby, and – admittedly – Despicable Me 2). But it’s been the blockbusters that have often been biggest letdowns. Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, and The Wolverine were all pretty underwhelming, each reaping as much destruction on their worlds as possible (and then some). Maybe I’m just tired of all of the buildings collapsing.

Yesterday, I found the perfect antidote in The Way Way Back, which tells the story of the 14-year-old Duncan (Liam James) who is forced to spend the summer with his…

Read More »

Uncoerced Love in Chaos and Grace

Uncoerced Love in Chaos and Grace

An excerpt from Mark Galli’s Chaos and Grace: Discovering the Liberating Work of the Holy Spirit:

Freedom is not some abstract concept about the ability of the human will. It is nothing less than a way to talk about love. When writing about love, I’m often tempted to add an adjective to it and talk about uncoerced love. True love is always uncoerced, always freely given. But we live in an age in which love is often construed as an obligation or a quid pro quo. We love our spouses because they love us. Or we are required to love the poor….

Read More »

The Most Harmful Fiction That’s Ever Been Promoted Anywhere (According to John Gray)

The Most Harmful Fiction That’s Ever Been Promoted Anywhere (According to John Gray)

The philosopher Roger Scruton wrote something a couple years ago that’s really stuck with me. He said, “in order to see human beings as they are, therefore, and to school oneself in the art of loving them, it is necessary to apply a dose of pessimism to all one’s plans and aspirations.” It’s very similar to what a certain colleague meant when he observed that, as a Christian minister, he’s had a lot more compassion and patience for “his flock” since he realized that everyone, himself included, is pretty much insane. “That’s so dark”, you say. “It’s not the whole…

Read More »

The Dark Knight Dies and Rises: Sacrifice and Freedom in Gotham

The Dark Knight Dies and Rises: Sacrifice and Freedom in Gotham

[Spoiler Alert - those who haven't seen it, run don't walk...it's fantastic!]

“All their days are full of pain, and their work is a vexation; even at night their minds do not rest.”   -Ecclesiastes 2:23

“Put your sword back in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.”   -Matthew 26.52

Nolan has now traced the Dark Knight’s journey from streetfighter to hero, from hero to villain, and from villain to…recluse. Wayne has died to the world and only holds on to the shadow-life of mourning for Rachel, and Alfred drops more than a few hints that…

Read More »

Mockingbird at the Movies: The American Bondage of an Easy Rider

Mockingbird at the Movies: The American Bondage of an Easy Rider

Flow, river, flow
Let your waters wash down
Take me from this road
To some other town

It is a disservice to lump Easy Rider into the slews of “counterculture” or “indie” filmscapes of the late 1960s and early 70s. It’s not that these descriptors aren’t accurate–both are quite true–or that it wasn’t a hippie-handed film, standing against those “scissor-happy, beautify America” typesetters that George Hanson (Jack Nicholson) could still so aptly classify. What makes it different, though, and thus limited by such descriptors, is that it so inclusively sups with the whole (“All walks of life!”) far too…

Read More »

Freedom and Control According to Rudolf Bultmann

Freedom and Control According to Rudolf Bultmann

It is my contention that the ever-contentious 20th century theologian, Rudolf Bultmann, was nothing less than a committed Lutheran. To those somewhat familiar with him, this statement will come as a bit of a surprise. Especially within the English-speaking world, Bultmann is famous for being the father of de-mythologizing and form criticism! But it was one of the chief accomplishments in his career that he placed the present preaching of the Word at the heart of theology. While this took many different (and controversial!) forms within his scholarly life, this also indicates that it is within his sermons that Bultmann’s…

Read More »

Everything That Is Deep Loves the Mask: Jonathan Franzen in The Paris Review

Everything That Is Deep Loves the Mask: Jonathan Franzen in The Paris Review

I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of author Jonathan Franzen’s recent interviews. He not only advocates consistently and compassionately for a “somewhat more tragic view” of human nature, he puts the toxicity of the American growth imperative into words. So how I missed his lengthy discussion with The Paris Review following the release of Freedom last year beats me. Franzen speaks at length about his process and evolution, about the task of the novelist, about growing up, and most significantly, about the “maskless self.”

People tend to criticize Franzen for what they perceive as his self-involvement and/or superiority, claiming that…

Read More »

Angsty (Everyone) and Walker Percy (Part 3 of 3)

Angsty (Everyone) and Walker Percy (Part 3 of 3)

Earlier in the week we explored the loss of sovereignty over one’s experiences that occurs when we make the opinions of “experts” into a sort of Law, such that they have to certify our experiences as genuine. I can watch Midnight in Paris by myself and love it, but on my second showing with the film buff friends I do not enjoy the movie as something for me to watch. Rather, my highest satisfaction would be a positive review by my friend, which would certify my first experience as valid and authentic.

Not only do we surrender our opinions and experiences…

Read More »

Dullness, Freedom, Children and Fathers in David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King

Dullness, Freedom, Children and Fathers in David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King

In honor of what would have been 50th birthday (2/21/12), we thought we’d rerun a post of passages from David Foster Wallace’s unfinished opus The Pale King. If the first one sounds familiar, that’s because part of it was reproduced here. FYI, the second two come from the same character, the one who dropped this bomb this as well:

To me, at least in retrospect, the really interesting question is why dullness proves to be such a powerful impediment to attention. Why we recoil from the dull. Maybe it’s because dullness is intrinsically painful; maybe that’s where phrases like ‘deadly dull’…

Read More »

Bondage in Autonomy: Gerhard Forde on the Will

Bondage in Autonomy: Gerhard Forde on the Will

An excellent passage on the bound will by Gerhard Forde from his classic Where God Meets Man.  If we take Forde at face value, he seems to be suggesting more of a “binding” will and a “bound” sinner:

“It is because we do not really know God that we must, in the second place, construct a theology that enables us basically to place our trust in ourselves.  The point of Luther’s writing On the Bondage of the Will is that as sinners we are bound by our own will to do this.  The bondage of the will does not stem from…

Read More »

FREEDOM (part 2): Chrysostom

“God allowed His Son to suffer as if a condemned sinner, so that we might be delivered from the penalty of our sins. This is God’s righteousness, that we are not justified by works (for then they would have to be perfect, which is impossible), but by grace, in which case all our sin is removed.” (John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Epistles of Paul to the Corinthians)

FREEDOM (Part 1): Luther

FREEDOM (Part 1): Luther

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (Gal. 5:1)

This the freedom with which Christ has set us free, not from some human slavery of tyrannical authority but from the eternal wrath of God. Where? In the conscience. This is where our freedom comes to a halt; it goes no further. For Christ has set us free, not for a political freedom or a freedom of the flesh but for a theological or spiritual freedom, that is to make our conscience free and joyful, unafraid of the wrath…

Read More »