Friday, July 12, 2013

7 Quick Takes Vol. 11

Still hosted by Conversion Diary

1.     I haven’t been blogging for a while. That’s partly intentional, partly just because I haven’t had the interest or energy for it lately. But, while visiting my sister in Maine she was very insistent that I take it up again, so here we are.

2.     Regardless, I’m putting a hold to Famous Catholics and other series, just because I’m a little tired of them and I want to flesh out the blog a little bit more.

3.     My current task in life is learning to accept drudgery. I don’t mean useless drudgery (but I have to accept that sometimes as well), but the small, persistent effort required to acquire new skills and knowledge. See, I’ve usually been the type of person who tries to snatch at things all at once in one great effort, and since that usually fails, I get discouraged fairly easily. I’ve known for a long time that this is a bad idea, but now I’m working on reforming my attitude into a healthier, steadier method of attack. It’s too soon to tell how successful I’m being, but I’ll keep you informed.

4.     Speaking of Maine, we were up there for my niece’s second birthday. She’s cute beyond words and extraordinarily independent. “No, I’ll do it!” was her typical response to offers of help, whether for opening coolers, walking uphill, playing on the swings, or pretty much anything that she put her mind to doing.

5.     It took me over a year to do it (mostly because I was reading in fits and starts), but I finally finished Luigi Giussani’s great theological trilogy: The Religious Sense, On the Origin of the Christian Claim, and Why the Church. It’s an incredibly dense, complete explanation of the Catholic faith which sets things out in a frank, sensible, and fairly easy-to-follow way. If I had to summarize his main point, it would be the importance of focusing on the essential questions involved in such matters and trying to understand and answer them rather than more superficial, secondary questions. An essential question would be, say, “what is unique about the Christian claim,” and a non-essential question would be “how does Genesis square with Darwin?” Of course, he says it a lot better than I do. Giussani has had a huge influence on my own philosophical and religious views, so he’s highly recommended.

6.     With Giussani finished, I’m now tackling Whittaker Chambers’s Witness about his experience in and break from the Communist Party. I started reading it while I was in college, abandoned it when I left, and have made one or two aborted attempts to resume in the meantime. Now I’m pretty well set on reading the whole monstrous thing (seriously; it’s huge). Chambers is an excellent writer, and his real-life account is as riveting and moving as any spy novel, and considerably more depressing. He makes no bones about his predictions for the future, and none of them are very cheerful.

7.     In weighing my next big purchase, I’m not sure whether it should be A). an ‘assault-rifle’ (Not sure whether I want an AR-15 or a Kalashnikov; the former has more American spirit, but the latter is insanely durable) B). a desktop computer so I can start learning 3D art and animation or C). a pickup truck to replace my aging Ford Focus and further my plans to live out of a camper for a while. In the meantime I’m enjoying the fact that I’m the kind of person for whom those are the options.

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