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Posts tagged "Leo Tolstoy"

Not Made for These Times: Looking for Answers in 4 O'Clock Moments

Not Made for These Times: Looking for Answers in 4 O’Clock Moments

Every winter in the seasonal slump of dismal gray, I find myself turning to the same source of hope—the sunny sound walls of the Beach Boys.

Growing up in the millennial generation, I was the only one who considered Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson’s voices to be the harmonies of my childhood. Don’t get me wrong, my sister and I did our fair share of self-choreographed dancing to NSYNC’s harmonies (yes, you read that right, self-choreographed dancing), but I always loved the music my dad played for us more than the music of my own generation. Which of course never made me very…

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Another Week Ends: Trigger Warnings, Performance Bias, More Tinder, More True Detective, Plus Donald Trump, J.R.R. Tolkien, Gandhi and Tolstoy

Another Week Ends: Trigger Warnings, Performance Bias, More Tinder, More True Detective, Plus Donald Trump, J.R.R. Tolkien, Gandhi and Tolstoy

1. The Atlantic’s cover story this month comes from social science favorite Jonathan Haidt. His topic is the apprehension-du-jour, the ever-growing problem of P.C., especially in the realm of college classrooms and student learning. Haidt, a professor himself at NYU, sees the trend of “trigger warnings” and “vindictive protectiveness,” different from the political correctness interest of the 80s and 90s, mainly because this wave stems from emotional reasoning more than it does from objective reasoning. And he sees this as a danger to the learning of students, precisely because it prioritizes evasion of conflict rather than the confrontation of it.

Haidt…

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The Difference Between Regret and Remorse

The Difference Between Regret and Remorse

I hate shopping for toothpaste. You probably know what I’m talking about. There’s the kind that’s good on cavities but doesn’t whiten. There’s the environmentally friendly brand that cleans well but doesn’t do much for the breath. There’s the all-in-one variety that looks promising but only comes in a small (expensive) tube. And then there’s every possible variation thereof. The hours I’ve killed in that brightly colored aisle are more than embarrassing, they’re borderline irresponsible.

Like you, I’ve read about the paradox of choice (the more options, the harder it is to choose), but truth be told, it has yet to…

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Leo Tolstoy on the Difference Between Our Way and God's Way

Leo Tolstoy on the Difference Between Our Way and God’s Way

A beautiful episode of intervening grace and its, er, fruit in Leo Tolstoy’s “Where Love Is, God Is”, found in the collection How Much Land Does a Man Need? and Other Stories and discussed in Paul Zahl’s presentation on Grace in Literature at our 2009 NYC Conference. An especially big hat-tip to GW for the incredibly heartwarming video at the end:

….When
 she 
was
 gone Martin
 ate 
some 
soup,
 cleared
 the 
table 
and 
sat 
down 
to 
work. 
As 
he
 worked
 he
 kept
 watching
 that
 window
 and
 every
 time
 a
 shadow
 fell
 across
 it
 he
 would
 immediately
 look 
up 
to 
see 
who…

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Holiness is Being a Vagabond: Reflections on Tolstoy's "Father Sergius"

Holiness is Being a Vagabond: Reflections on Tolstoy’s “Father Sergius”

To read along, go here.

The possibility for man to come to God lies precisely in the fact that he is a sinner… As he was pursued by desire and fear, so he was pursued by God.

-Rudolf Bultmann, “The Problem of ‘Natural Theology’”

Leo Tolstoy’s short story “Father Sergius” is a parable of conversion and sanctification unmatched in anything modern I’ve read, except perhaps Flaubert. To summarize: an up-and-coming, well-educated Russian military officer is gradually breaking into the highest society; he wins promotions quickly and finds the Tsar’s favor. He becomes engaged to a high-class woman whom he loves, but when he…

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Six Best Books on Clergy (That Are Also Sympathetic to Them)

Six Best Books on Clergy (That Are Also Sympathetic to Them)

Another year-end list from PZ:

1) Father Sergius by Leo Tolstoy. This is the grand-daddy of them all, in my opinion. Father Sergius begins his ministry, within the Russian Orthodox Church, with all the right ingredients: a broken disappointed heart, an excellent education, and an appealing personality. He then becomes a saint! (But for all the wrong pelagian reasons) Later, he trips himself up, very badly, and flees his calling. Even later, however, most unusually, he finds it again.

I taught this once and first-time readers fell tumbled over into the snow. We all exist in this book, which is actually a…

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Brooks on Franzen, Tolstoy, and Quiet Desperation

Brooks on Franzen, Tolstoy, and Quiet Desperation

Having just cracked Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, I find myself enjoying it immensely. The characterizations are just so darn funny, the diagnostic thrust so piercing and the prose so delightful. Perhaps, then, I should have avoided David Brooks’ editorial from yesterday about the book. It’s admiring but also pretty qualified, some excerpts of which are worth reprinting:

Very few novels make clear and provocative arguments about American life anymore, but Jonathan Franzen’s important new book, “Freedom,” makes at least two. First, he argues that American culture is overobsessed with personal freedom. Second, he portrays an America where people are…

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Leo Tolstoy, Part Two

Leo Tolstoy, Part Two

A couple of choice quotes from Tolstoy’s non-fiction writings:

“There is no other love than this, that a man should lay down his life for his friend. Love is love only when it is the sacrifice of one’s self. Only when a man gives to another, not merely his time and his strength, but when he spends his body for the beloved object, gives up his life for him- only this do we all acknowledge as love; and only in such love do we all find happiness, the reward of love. And only in virtue of the fact that there is…

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Grace, Love and Justice in Tolstoy's The Forged Coupon

Grace, Love and Justice in Tolstoy’s The Forged Coupon

Christianity uniquely believes in the power of love and forgiveness to free captive sinners from the bonds of sin and death. Consequently the law (quid-pro-quo justice, conditional love, and punishment) does not fix the problem, but only makes matters worse. But is not the law necessary sometimes? Aren’t there times when justice must be served? For Tolstoy, the answer must be an unequivocal NO! In “The Forged Coupon” – the last novella he ever wrote- Tolstoy challenges the basic assumption that there is a realm of God’s creation where the power of grace is excluded and justice, punishment, and law…

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Slightly Expanded And Significantly More Organized Conference Book Table List

Slightly Expanded And Significantly More Organized Conference Book Table List

Here’s the full list plus a couple of relevant additions, linked to sites where they can be purchased. Although everything comes highly recommended, this is by no means meant to be a definitive list (stay tuned…). For the sake of newcomers we have divided the non-fiction into three itunes-inspired categories: Basics, Next Steps and Deep Cuts. In other words, the books are organized according to accessibility rather than importance.

NON-FICTION
Basics
1. Alcoholics Anonymous. The Big Book.
3. Manning, Brennan. The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News For the Bedraggled, Beat-up and Burnt Out
3. Martyn, Dorothy. Beyond Deserving: Children, Parents And Responsibility Revisited.
4. Norris, Sean….

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