Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Life Under Compulsion by Anthony Esolen



Last week I finished a book by one of my favorite authors of cultural commentary, Life Under Compulsion: Ten Ways to Destroy the Humanity of Your Child  by Anthony Esolen of Providence College.  It's a follow-up to his Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child.  However, it's not written in Screwtape-esque style as was the first one.  As you would expect if you've read anything by Esolen, the prose is well crafted, lucid, and fluid.  I'm looking forward to attending a conference in April in which he will be the plenary speaker.

Here are a few choice quotations from the book~

If you are not in love with beauty and goodness, you will be clutched by the drab and the listless if not worse.

What happened to this freedom-making education?  The short answer is that John Dewey happened to it.  Dewey, mild of temperament, was as narrow-minded a reformer as the world has ever been plagued withal.

Every encounter with what is good--the chivalry of General Lee, the willing poverty of Mother Theresa, the shy greathearted youth of Alyosha Karamazov--can expand the soul; it helps to set us free from the compulsions of false goods, which Christians have long grouped under the headings of the seven deadly sins.  Every encounter with beauty--the glint of a simple word in a poem by Herbert, the meditative subtleties of the late Shakespeare, the sweet charm of a ballad by Burns--can expand the soul; it helps to set us free from the heavy accretions of the drab, the dull, the mean, the spiritually sluggish, the smog of contemporary workaweek life.  Every encounter with human truth--Jane Austen deftly showing how little we know our own motives; Dickens revealing the meaning of "economy" in the cheerful and charitable housekeeping of Esther Summerson, his finest heroine; or Shakespeare offering us the foolish Lear, mad and childish and yet 'every inch a king'--can expand the soul; it helps to set us free from the common delusions of our time, the lies we believe and the lies we tell.
 That's just a taste.  Perhaps I'll post more another day.  Now, I'm off to read Esolen's latest release, Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Hannah's Birthday

Hannah's 20th birthday was yesterday and we no longer have teenagers.  I'm not exactly sure when I got old enough to have two children in their 20's.  I think it happened last week, because the week before I was still 25.  Or at least in my mind I was.

Hannah has relaunched her Etsy shop and has some lovely quilted and knitted items.  She will be adding embroidery at some point as well.  Her prices are reasonable.  Click on the picture in the sidebar to visit.

At Hannah's request, we had a quiet celebration at home with Elizabeth and her family and a big bucket of chicken from KFC (plus sides).  Our family tradition is for the birthday person to choose what's for dinner.  Some years have required a lot of preparation and cooking, and other years, like this one, I get off easy. :)  Some highlights~

A new computer!  Necessary since this 6yo one is dying. . . 


You can never have too much Tolkien.

Two candles for two decades

An excellent father and his two girls (Photo credit: Elizabeth)

Instead of cake, we had low-carb cookies and frozen yogurt.  I followed this recipe.  They were very easy to make.  Each cookie has about 1/4 teaspoon of confectioner's sugar, so they are not super sweet, but the almond flour has a good flavor and there was plenty of butter.  The texture was excellent, too.  I used sugar-free apricot preserves for the jam.  Definitely a keeper!



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