Without a Shepherd

Shortly after escaping from slavery, Frederick Douglass found himself in New Bedford, Massachusetts. As a “lukewarm” Methodist, he felt it his duty to seek the “spiritual advantage of public worship,” and “therefore resolved to join” the local congregation. Though Massachusetts was a free state, Douglass was denied a “seat in the body of the house”Continue reading “Without a Shepherd”

Encouraging our Elites

Writing to Alexander Dubček, would-be communist reformer in 1960s Czechoslovakia, Václav Havel has this to say about the importance of political leadership: A politician—and any social elite, for that matter—is not merely a “function” of society. Society is also, to a certain extent, a “function” of its politicians and its elites. These elites act onContinue reading “Encouraging our Elites”

Singing What’s True

In my dazed and confused youth, listening to classic rock as I traversed the rural roads of New England, several of Van Morrison’s ubiquitous hits were etched into my soul. Apart from that, I never gave the fellow a second thought, until reading several years ago that the title of his popular tune, “Domino,” isContinue reading “Singing What’s True”

Scientific Moonshine

In 1854, Frederick Douglass addressed the Philozetian Society of Western Reserve College, Ohio on the then-contentious question of whether “negroes” are human beings. As those denying the “claims of the negro” readily admitted, humanity is accompanied by certain inalienable rights and liberties, the denial of which constitutes “the greatest wrong and robbery” on the partContinue reading “Scientific Moonshine”

Unmasking the Man of Sin

The man of sin [shall] be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes, and is lifted up above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he sits in the temple of God showing himself as if he were God. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 St. Paul prefaces this announcement of the Antichrist withContinue reading “Unmasking the Man of Sin”

Purifying Practice

In his most famous work, Leisure, the Basis of Culture, Josef Pieper famously contends that the modern elevation of work over contemplation cuts us off from the meaning of our existence. If allowed to fester any further, he warns, this tendency will transform Western liberal democracy into a realm of “total work” analogous to theContinue reading “Purifying Practice”

Freedom in Action

Whenever someone contemplates reality in pure pursuit of knowledge and without regard for immediate practical purposes; Whenever someone, oblivious of possible usefulness, disadvantages, danger, or even death, is able to say, “So it is; this is the truth!” (e.g. “The Emperor has no clothes!”)— Then we witness, in an eminent degree, human freedom in action.Continue reading “Freedom in Action”