You Should Take Latin

“You should take Latin.” I bombard every student I meet on campus with this phrase. So much so that normally students see me coming and instead of running away turn to meet me and see how long it takes for me to turn any conversation into an apologia for the Latin language. They think they are impervious to my wiles. They think they wont be the ones to give in. But they are wrong. Eventually many relent. Frequently it’s the ones who put up the biggest fights up front that tap out first. But what is my secret? How do I persuade? Here is favorite approach. I tackle head on most people’s chief complaint.
Continue reading

Anfractuosity: The Case against Christianity as Wish Fulfillment

200px-TheProblemOfPainA common criticism levied against religion generally and Christianity specifically is that it is simply wish fulfillment, a human invention to help us manage our anxiety in the face of a chaotic world and eventual death.  Wanting something to be true doesn’t make it true.  And Christianity is just whistling in the dark to keep our hopes alive.

Some answer such arguments by saying that just because we desire it to be true, doesn’t mean we are inventing it.  Starving people didn’t invent the idea of food.  Human longing could be an indicator of truth as opposed to falsehood.

Others counter that advocates of wish fulfillment desire Christianity to be untrue and therefore, using the same criteria, their position can equally be falsified as wish fulfillment.

To my mind, the most satisfying answer to this objection, an answer that honestly deals with the objection rather than obfuscate or accuse, comes from C.S. Lewis’s work The Problem of Pain.  Continue reading

10 Commandments of the Internet Hobo

Free-WifiI love and frequent establishments with free wi-fi.  I can transform just about any place into an office in no time flat.  Starbucks, Barnes &Noble, or Panera may be the cliché paradigms for this, but there are other establishments with comfortable environments and available internet…and I am a sucker for eating breakfast out…especially anything involving biscuits or breakfast tacos.  So for me there is something refreshing and therapeutic and productive about setting up at Chick-fil-a, or Taco Cabana, or Rudy’s BBQ.  All of these places also have superb free-flowing Dr. Pepper on tap.

But I have recently become aware the certain establishments are “cracking down” on internet hobos… people who squat at places, consume free wi-fi, buy nothing, take up space, and never-ever leave.  Restaurants have started metering their wi-fi, providing login codes on receipts, even covering outlets in order to limit your stay to your available battery life.

Free Wi-Fi is a privilege not a right.  It is one of our great natural resources and we must preserve it not just for ourselves but for our children and our children’s children….and by then there should be something better that the internet.  So, as a free wi-fi conservationist, I offer these 10 commandments to be obeyed by all who enter into habitats where it exists.

Continue reading

Thoughts on Providence from Robinson Crusoe

thRobinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe isnt read much anymore.  When asked, most people muster a vague recollection of a story involving a man shipwrecked on an island, learning to live in a primitive wilderness all by himself . Many who attempt to read it either lose interest because Crusoe doesn’t even get shipwrecked on the island for several chapters (much like Moby Dick, which takes a hundred pages to get Ishmael out to sea).  Those that persevere frequently lament that the book becomes a tedious literary version of a survival guide, a “what to do if you are ever stranded on a desert island” kind of book.  Most people, not needing such a manual, pass on the opportunity to read this work…to their loss.  Continue reading

God and the Art of Lawn Mower Maintenance

mowingSummer in Houston can border on unbearable.  As a friend of mine once said, “It’s like living on the surface of the sun…under water.”  One result is that mowing one’s lawn becomes a dreaded ordeal to be avoided at all costs.  One additional obstacle for me has been the lawn mower itself: slow to start, running rough, and in general disagreeable all summer.  I initially thought it was aping the attitude of its owner like a pet.  But I became convinced that the lawn mower was on its last leg and would need to be replaced.  Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: