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Showing posts from April, 2017

Bad Sociological Writing

It's a pitiful truth that most prose from the court of sociology reads as if it were the transcript of a forlorn jester - unenthused, serious, opaque - or worse yet, like a document from the judge's desk in the supreme court! Filled with political, legalistic jargon that is "too sophisticated" for the normal man or woman to understand, the document was to never leave the judge's locked drawer. But alas, a key has been found, provided by libraries who spend too much on the indulgent nonsense of the intelligentsia (no more Foucault references, please!).

Condescending remarks aside, sociology articles certainly can differ in their prose style. Some articles read like quantitative research papers, others like personal stories - or, "people sharing their narrative" as postmodernists might put it, and still others may utilize ethnographic fieldwork and interviews, which are explicitly on the qualitative side of social science town. What is interesting about th…

God: as a question, as an answer

God is a question that I don't have the answer to, and yet, its importance demands my utmost attention. God is an answer that all the questions in the world bow down before, and still, my utmost attention remains ignorant.

Christian churches and denominations have been a worry for me this past year or so; which one is most right in the eyes of God? Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism all have their questionable characteristics to me. I suppose that's bound to happen with any and all human institutions, that is to say, they are necessarily imperfect. Churches have the rare ability of having their feet in two worlds: the natural and the supernatural.

At what point does ruminating over these problems become an idol? Surely the realness of God exists wholly apart from any institution of this world, or else, we're merely building some anthropomorphic construct. But if it's the polar opposite of being socially related, you run into a Kierkegaardian individu…

Art as a Practice of Honesty or Beauty

Art may be defined as: "the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power" (emphasis mine). There seems to be a lot of talk these days about how some artists are so 'real' and 'honest,' which I take to be within 'emotional power,' but my question is, where have the artists making beautiful things wandered off to? The honest artist is stuck in the quagmires of this world, thundering grumbles and groans while no one is there to help them - at least, so they think. To borrow an idea attributed to Kierkegaard, you can't see clearly when you have tears in your eyes. The honest artist has mud on their eyes, is unable to see their comrade's hand of help, and so, they look pitiful and confused. They are confused from the inside. But from the outside, why, they look so naive and silly you'd t…

Christian Mysticism is for the Commoner

It is a truism that Christian mysticism is difficult to define, and furthermore, that it renders mixed responses. A conservative, Protestant website like Got Questions Ministries deem the theology an oxymoron, while there is less hostility among Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians. This becomes apparent when considering some of the prominent mystics, people like Augustine, Saint John of the Cross, Bernard of Clairvaux, Teresa of Ávila, Thomas Merton, and Fr. Stephen Freeman. Most of these people were Catholics, save for Fr. Stephen Freeman who is an Orthodox Christian. Still yet, Christian mysticism has not been entirely separated from Protestantism, as made evident through the work of A. W. Tozer. In his introduction for The Christian Book of Mystical Verse, he defines 'mystic' as: "...that personal spiritual experience common to the saints of Bible times and well known to multitudes of persons in the post-biblical era ... [who is] aware of the Presence of God in his…

A Rotten Stroke Spoils the Whole Artwork: My Critique of Banksy

I was recently thinking about how I used to enjoy Banksy's artwork. If you're having trouble putting the art to the artist, they stenciled this image of a man with a bouquet in his hand, instead of a grenade, presumably. A few years back, I made a photo album on Facebook that included some of their art works. Most of the photos in the collection were of the political variety, those maudlin works of art that are usually tainted by some iota of hypocrisy and always tainted with evil aggression. I really liked their art style a few years back, but nowadays it leaves me feeling sick to my stomach. It's as if I retain that it's objectively good, that Banksy has an objective skill or set of skills, but that I can no longer enjoy it.

I suppose the first thing that bugs me is how Banksy uses art to convey political messages. The first problem I see here is that art can never properly convey political messages. A batch of spray paint on some grimy wall in England simply cannot p…

Grotto

Alone in a grotto and I have no complaints to echo. History is a dentist - no tooth, no claw, no lilting. The quiet can make no mark. This void, so beautiful; it is for me, just as I am for it. This can't be the vanity of halcyon days. How long will emptiness remain? I don't mind. When do the waves come?

Lifesavers Underground - Shaded Pain

L.S.U. haven't received much play from me recently, but for whatever reason I was thinking about them the other day, and decided to listen to "Shaded Pain" again. I thought I had overplayed that song so as to no longer enjoy it, but a break from it proved to keep my interest in tact. Melancholic songs are a dime a dozen but there's something special about "Shaded Pain," methinks.