We are physiophobes: we are afraid of, or we detest, the way things are. We take no delight in the real. We do not revel in boys being boys and girls being girls, and their coming together in marriage, the real thing, to make children, real children.
On this tenth anniversary of the birth of the first smartphone, the day of reckoning is at hand: how will we Millennials produce the next generation of great books when the smartphone has killed our capacity to concentrate?
The Heritage of the Righteous and the Calamity of the Wicked
A Psalm of David.
1 Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.
3 Trust in the LORD, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself also in the LORD,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
6 He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.
7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret—it only causes harm.
9 For evildoers shall be cut off;
But those who wait on the LORD,
They shall inherit the earth.
10 For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more;
Indeed, you will look carefully for his place,
But it shall be no more.
11 But the meek shall inherit the earth,
And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
12 The wicked plots against the just,
And gnashes at him with his teeth.
13 The Lord laughs at him,
For He sees that his day is coming.
14 The wicked have drawn the sword
And have bent their bow,
To cast down the poor and needy,
To slay those who are of upright conduct.
15 Their sword shall enter their own heart,
And their bows shall be broken.
16 A little that a righteous man has
Is better than the riches of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
But the LORD upholds the righteous.
18 The LORD knows the days of the upright,
And their inheritance shall be forever.
19 They shall not be ashamed in the evil time,
And in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
20 But the wicked shall perish;
And the enemies of the LORD,
Like the splendor of the meadows, shall vanish.
Into smoke they shall vanish away.
21 The wicked borrows and does not repay,
But the righteous shows mercy and gives.
22 For those blessed by Him shall inherit the earth,
But those cursed by Him shall be cut off.
23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD,
And He delights in his way.
24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;
For the LORD upholds him with His hand.
25 I have been young, and now am old;
Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken,
Nor his descendants begging bread.
26 He is ever merciful, and lends;
And his descendants are blessed.
27 Depart from evil, and do good;
And dwell forevermore.
28 For the LORD loves justice,
And does not forsake His saints;
They are preserved forever,
But the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off.
29 The righteous shall inherit the land,
And dwell in it forever.
30 The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom,
And his tongue talks of justice.
31 The law of his God is in his heart;
None of his steps shall slide.
32 The wicked watches the righteous,
And seeks to slay him.
33 The LORD will not leave him in his hand,
Nor condemn him when he is judged.
34 Wait on the LORD,
And keep His way,
And He shall exalt you to inherit the land;
When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.
35 I have seen the wicked in great power,
And spreading himself like a native green tree.
36 Yet he passed away, and behold, he was no more;
Indeed I sought him, but he could not be found.
37 Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright;
For the future of that man is peace.
38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together;
The future of the wicked shall be cut off.
39 But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD;
He is their strength in the time of trouble.
40 And the LORD shall help them and deliver them;
He shall deliver them from the wicked,
And save them,
Because they trust in Him.
The New King James Version. (1982). (Ps 37). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
"One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want." - Proverbs 11:24
From The Public Discourse:
We live in a society of rampant individualism and relativism, where man is the measure of all things. We hear people speak of human rights, for example, but rarely of human goods, or human nature, or nature’s Author. We hear people appeal to natural rights, but rarely to natural law, or the Natural Law-Giver.
Now, why does any of this intellectual work matter? Why did you devote the last four or so years of your lives to higher education? Universities were a creation of the Church. Christians believed that all knowledge came from God, and so using both faith and reason we could seek out unified knowledge of the truth. In the Middle Ages, Christians established some of today’s most storied institutions—Oxford and Cambridge, the Universities of Paris, and Salamanca, and Bologna—all to fulfill Christ’s command that we love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind. Precisely because God is Logos, because God is Reason itself, it is good for man to develop his mind. As a being made in the image and likeness of God, man has reason to seek out the truths about God, about man, and about nature—truths that are embedded in creation, a creation that should be understood as the outgrowth of God’s designs. And in the universities established by the Church we see the flowering of theology and philosophy, science and medicine, human rights and legal theory, economics and ethics, literature and music and art. All of these disciplines were developed and deployed at the service of the truth, the truth about God and man and nature.
Robby George was my next teacher. Here’s what I learned: Bad philosophy needs to be answered by good philosophy. Bad science needs to be responded to with good science—this is true with the science of embryology and the social science of marriage and the psychology of gender identity. We cannot allow the other side to depict these debates as ones that pit faith against reason, that force a choice between backward superstition against enlightened science. As C.S. Lewis taught, “Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered.” This takes work. Since our adversaries control the principal institutions of our culture, we have to work twice as hard as they do.
Today’s debates simply extend a faulty anthropology to a new domain: Whether it be debates about abortion or assisted suicide, same-sex marriage or gender identity, they all challenge three truths right on the first page of the Bible: That we are made in the image and likeness of God, that we are created male and female, and that male and female are created for each other.
Be generous in responding to God’s call in your life. Join a religious community. Get married. Stay married. Be a faithful spouse, knowing that adultery and divorce are always dangers that must be guarded against. Be generous in welcoming children, and be a devoted mother or father. Bear one another’s burdens, persevere through adversity, and let the family you create—the children you raise and the parents you care for—be your best long-term defense of life and marriage. Let the love you create and sustain—the holiness and beauty of your life—be what attracts others to Christ.
Book launch panel discussion:
Peter Leithart on "The Cultural Consequences of Christian Division"