We deny to claim "any Superiority to ourself
to defyne, decyde, or determyn any Article or Poynt
of the Christian Fayth and Relligion,
or to chang any Ancient Ceremony of the Church
from the Forme before received and observed
by the Catholick and Apostolick Church."

Norman Simplicity

Norman Simplicity
Click image for original | © Vitrearum (Allan Barton)

Monday, June 22, 2015


I don't know why I torment myself by reading what other people have to say about things. A perfect example is this which is just hogwash. (Though the trouble is that the discussion on the other side isn't any good either.) I may be an amateur theologian but I am a professional philosopher and the farrago passing itself off as thought in that link (and elsewhere) simply cannot be allowed to pass.

As usual, there are no readings of texts, if what that means is trying to unpack what the text says (and not what one wants it to say). So here is an inconvenient truth everyone is free to contemplate. Ultimately the ME side makes it all about "lub" (by which they mean some sickening feeling). As this made clear, the "love" we are concerned with is the love that can be commanded: as such, it is better glossed as a proper respect of boundaries, than some subjective emotion. (And the "ethics" elaborated there has no dependence whatsoever on any human theorist, no matter how accomplished. That's enough for me -- too much, in fact -- but obviously too little for the hopelessly sophisticated.)

But anywho, on love (not "lub"), St. Paul has a decidedly peculiar take (as usual, I quote AKJ and link to NIV):

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Notice that this is no relation of total reciprocity. It says: husbands love -- spiritually "regard" -- your wives; and wives reverence -- bodily "submit to" -- your husbands. It does not imagine for a moment the other direction. In point of fact, in particular, its asymmetry demands that we acknowledge that women revere but do not (rationally) regard their spouses at all. In any event, "lub" has nothing to do with it. Now make this passage work with ME. Gad.

The Greeks understood this: there is Lover and there is Beloved.
No less but also no more.


UPDATE: Like a determined bee, I flit from flower to flower. It's hard to keep up with it all but sometimes one bloom points me in the direction of another. (And therein is another analogy: the bee and the flower. The bee has a purpose, the flower a destiny.)

It was ever thus.

Did humans never, before today, suffer from sexual temptation? Are Fornication, Adultery, Sodomy, problems only of our own unique and spectacularly sui generis age? What did the New Testament writers mean when they talked about porneia, moikheia, malakia? Is there something crashingly new about the capacity or incapacity of modern human beings (whether with or without Grace) to resist temptation? What is supposed to be so different about our groins and minds compared with the groins and minds of every other human generation since the Fall? What has so privileged us that we are (apparently) free to claim exemption from the Divine Commands, entolai, which were considered to bind former generations since the dawn of history?

La trahison des clercs.

... I will remind you of C S Lewis's fictional snapshot (1945) of an atheist 'freethinker', a Professor Churchwood, "an old dear. All his lectures were devoted to proving the impossibility of ethics, though in private life he'd walked ten miles rather than leave a penny debt unpaid. But all the same ... was there a single doctrine practised at Belbury which hadn't been preached by some lecturer at Edgestow? Oh, of course, they never thought that anyone would act on their theories! No one was more astonished than they when what they'd been talking about for years suddenly took on reality. But it was their own child coming back to them: grown up and unrecognisable, but their own. ... Trahison des clercs. None of us is quite innocent." (This theme, surely, is what That Hideous Strength is all about.)

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