George Bailey and Mary Hatch For those who enjoy the classic film "It's a Wonderful Life": Have you ever wondered about how Mary is portrayed in the alternate world in which George Bailey never existed? Bizarrely perhaps, she winds up an "old maid" - closing the library on Christmas Eve. Wouldn't she have married someone else and lived a great life? This essay examines that question, showing that Mary is the greatest hero in this story. Intentional, purposeful, and wise throughout, she makes George into the man he becomes. In his darkest moment, she’s what makes him want to live again. … [Read more...] about Mary’s Heroism in “It’s a Wonderful Life”
Zechariah, Mary, and Trust
For those of us following the Christmas story, we see an amazing pair of dialogues in Luke 1. Zechariah and Mary are each visited by the angel Gabriel. Each is told of a miraculous birth to occur. One will be John the Baptist, the other Jesus Christ. Each asks what sounds like a similar question. But Zechariah receives a rebuke and Mary sings a Magnificat. What's the difference? Z's question stems from a posture of distrust and Mary's from a posture of trust. There's a world of difference between How shall I know this? (Zechariah) and How will this be? (Mary). One says "I don't believe … [Read more...] about Zechariah, Mary, and Trust
Live Not By Lies
Dreher's thesis in Live Not By Lies is that Western society, and America in particular, is sliding towards a soft totalitarianism. A totalitarian state is "one that aspires to nothing less than defining and controlling reality." Soft totalitarianism appeals to pleasure and comfort more than threats of pain and punishment. It's more Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and less George Orwell's 1984. This soft totalitarianism, argues Dreher, will be supported by a nexus of big business (Fortune 500 companies and others), big tech - social media, and consumer habit data collection mechanisms in … [Read more...] about Live Not By Lies
Isaac Newton on Intelligent Design
"But though these bodies may indeed persevere in their orbits by the mere laws of gravity, yet they could by no means have at first deriv'd the regular position of the orbits themselves from those laws...This most beautiful System of the Sun, Planets and Comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful being." Isaac Newton, General Scholium from the Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (1729) More in this great lecture: https://youtu.be/64WpGhpjkHg … [Read more...] about Isaac Newton on Intelligent Design
Is Specialization Hurting the Liberal Arts?
The University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point is experiencing a budget shortfall to the tune of $7.9 million. A year ago they cut $12 million from their budget. But with enrollment continuing to fall, six liberal arts majors are now on the chopping block. Including history. Students in these majors would be allowed to complete their programs. Many of the faculty would stay to teach liberal arts courses to students in other disciplines. But some layoffs are expected. The proposal has caused alarm. In 2015, Governor Walker supposedly tried to remove the phrase “search for truth” from the … [Read more...] about Is Specialization Hurting the Liberal Arts?
More Students Seeking Help for Anxiety & Depression
Katie Reilly, for Time magazine, writes that "Record Numbers of College Students Are Seeking Treatment for Depression and Anxiety — But Schools Can't Keep Up." An excerpt: "Between 2009 and 2015, the number of students visiting counseling centers increased by about 30% on average, while enrollment grew by less than 6%, the Center for Collegiate Mental Health found in a 2015 report. Students seeking help are increasingly likely to have attempted suicide or engaged in self-harm, the center found. In spring 2017, nearly 40% of college students said they had felt so depressed in the prior year … [Read more...] about More Students Seeking Help for Anxiety & Depression