“Knowing without loving is frankly dangerous for the soul and for society. You'll critique most everything you encounter and even have the hubris to call this mode of reflexive cynicism "thinking" (whereas it's really your ego's narcissistic reaction to the moment). You'll position things to quickly as inferior or superior, "with me" or "against me," and most of the time you'll be wrong.
Richard Rohr, The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation.
It's been a pretty astonishing first few days of a new decade, and I have spent much of it reflecting deeply on the weighty issue of what happens when we get wrong what it means to be human.
A good example of this was provided yesterday in this fascinating debate between Glen Scrivener and Matt Dillahunty, which sought to explore the question of the morality of atheism via humanistic secularism. What becomes clear as you read 'between the lines' is that there is a fundamental and systemic problem here, in respect to how we see the 'us' of what is viably human (and therefore, of value) as Glen seeks to show.
Secularism drains the pool of what vitally matters about us, but fails to see (to borrow from Tom Holland's Dominion) the graveyard of tortured and crucified hosts that it erected its new regime upon to begin with, leaving us stripped of something vital.
This is, no doubt, why our culture is already loosing its ability to reference and see things which would have been 'there' a few decades ago.
This was suitably pin-pointed this week by Rod Dreher, who, instead of writing a review of Terrence Malick's new masterpiece, A Hidden Life, decided instead to examine the response of the critics, and what became immediately clear, was that they couldn't see what was truly being said in the movie, because they had no frame of reference to the scope of what Malick was seeking to say.
Another example of this also came along this week, which both surprised and delighted me.
This year marks the anniversary of the Mayflower's journey to the new world, and this is generating new interest in the men and women who made that journey, commonly known as the Puritans.
One of my favourite characters from that stable is the enigmatic and often-caricatured Oliver Cromwell, In this fascinating piece, Paul Lay touches on a number of unexpected truths about him, and particularly his love for the arts.
Jesus spoke of how when a we believe we have 'gained' our lives, by our own reckoning, we have actually lost it, because it is only when we 'lose' (invest) ourselves in the right way that we genuinely gain what is worthwhile - that's why we so need to correctly evaluate and understand what is going on and why it matters.
Let's hope this can be a year when we escape the foolishness that so often deems itself to be wise and gain the real pearl of truth.