Friday, October 17, 2008

Monasticism and modernity

A short, pithy yet surprisingly sympathetic account of the Clear Creek Benedictine monastery in Oklahoma appears in the online Slate magazine recently. I'm not sold on the theological urgency of the Latin rite liturgy, to which this new monastic community takes a shining. Though aesthetically, I see the appeal straight away. And because of the aesthetic appeal, there are spiritual benefits that outweigh the benefits of the post Vatican II Catholic mass celebrated in the vernacular.

The intriguing reference in this article to groups of families uprooting themselves to go and live near the monastery is fairly instructive. With all the doom and gloom associated with the so-called economic "crisis" (Note: if you want to see what economic crisis really looks like, go visit the Gaza strip or a Lima, Peru shantytown), this development of a virtual mini-economy that is self-sufficient and centered on the manufacture of crafted goods is very important. What many people instinctively think of as an ideal way of life never-to-be realized is in fact very real, once the discipline of self-sacrifice and the limits of an agricultural (and therefore cyclical) way of life is embraced.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Richard Dawkins' Intolerance

Yet more evidence, and it's looking more authoritarian than ever. Robert Boyle and the other founders of the Royal Society are spinning in their graves.

Down with "Wall St." - Up with Adam Smith localism

Here is an interesting piece by Philip Blond (not Bond as the newspaper website has it) on why there are theological and moral roots to the current economic turmoil. The focus on what is happening in the United States hides the fact that in Europe too, there are serious economic imbalances owing to huge debts taken on by governments and households alike. I am looking forward to reading more of Blond's radical toryism in his forthcoming book. Here, his insistence on localism, as the logical tie-in with the Judaeo-Christian moral framework, consists of an important antidote to the mess into which globalization is leading us.