Amazon.com Widgets

Katie van Schaijik

Joined: Aug. 12, 2011

Bio:

Restless, melancholic soul of Irish descent. Born and raised in Connecticut, married to a Dutchman, mother of two daughters and three sons. I love books, conversation, friendship, delicious food, gardens, long walks and beautiful places. I am easily ensnared in politics and web-browsing. I crave silence, sweetness, poetry and peace. I am always wanting to write and ever-failing to write. All my hope is in God’s power and will to save; all my trust is in His promise.


Most recent posts by Katie van Schaijik:     (See all of them)


Testing for soundness in relationships

Aug. 21 at 8:44am | Comments: 5 | Most recent comment: Aug. 21 at 1:25pm

I don't know if I can call it the number one lesson of my adulthood to date, but it's up there. I have learned that individuals and groups who seem to be wonderful may actually be badly mired in dysfunction, that is to say, unsound. An unsound group or individual can't manage right interpersonal relations, just as an unsound physical structure can't support weight. No matter how noble their aim and how good and sincere their intentions, they will...

Not whether I meant to offend, but whether I did offend: that is the question

Aug. 7 at 2:28pm | Comments: 9 | Most recent comment: Aug. 16 at 6:20pm

A couple of recent articles about wrongdoing and forgiveness together with some conversations, both in person and online, have revived my ever-ready ruminating on this subject. I keep being surprised and disturbed and taken aback by how much basic misunderstanding there is out there, even among otherwise mature and thoughtful Christians. Let's take a case: person A (we'll call her Ann) is offended by person B (we'll call him Bob.) Ann says to Bob, "That offended me." And Bob responds, ...

Dietrich von Hildebrand and Victor Frankl

Aug. 4 at 10:49am | Comments: 0

Having heard somewhere that Dietrich von Hildebrand had "discovered" Victor Frankl, author of Man's Search for Meaning and founder of Logotherapy, I asked Alice von Hildebrand to tell me the story the other day. Here is her ten-minute reply. Some of her details are off. For instance, according to The Victor Frankl Institute website, he was in a concentration camp for 3, not 7 years. But the gist is true and touching. N.B. "Gogo" was von Hildebrand's nickname. Von...

Life and death in a look

Aug. 2 at 12:09pm | Comments: 1 | Most recent comment: Aug. 2 at 12:48pm

I've noticed in recent years that my favorite thinkers-about-love regularly refer to "the gaze of love." I have immediately in mind Dietrich von HIldebrand, Karol Wojtyla, Jean Vanier, and Roger Scruton. Plato, of course, called the eyes "the windows to the soul." It is in and through the eyes of someone who loves us that we feel and experience ourselves as loved, as valuable, and hence discover our reality as personal selves. Maria Fedoryka discusses the point in the talks...

Searching for community

Jul. 30 at 10:13am | Comments: 68 | Most recent comment: Aug. 19 at 7:46pm

One of my ongoing mental preoccupations is the problem of community. How do we establish it without getting it wrong? What are the sound principles of "intentional" communal living? By "intentional" I mean a kind of communal life that is deliberately adopted and cultivated, as opposed to what occurs spontaneously just from the fact of our living in society. I've been pondering it since my undergraduate days, when my discovery of philosophy coincided with the imploding of the covenant communities...


Latest comments by Katie van Schaijik:     (See all of them)


Re: Testing for soundness in relationships

Aug. 21 at 1:25pm | see this comment in context

Well, maybe you're right. It's an interesting thought. My sense of what's normal among Christians might be distorted by the fact that I've spent so much of my life around what you're calling public Christians.

Re: Testing for soundness in relationships

Aug. 21 at 12:21pm | see this comment in context

That's a beautiful story! I'm glad you tell it often. 

Kate Whittaker Cousino, Aug. 21 at 11:37am

If being able to accept correction is a sign of a trustworthy person, being able to accept correction from someone you are in a position of authority over may be the gold standard. 

I agree. At the same time, it seems to me strange that it's so rare among Christians, since it's so basic to the gospel. Humble yourself; the last shall be first and the first shall be last; let him who will be great make himself the servant of all...

This seems to me a major theme of Pope Francis' papacy too. If we want to help others, we have to present ourselves not as righteous ones, explaining to the others where they're wrong, but as sinners who have found help and grace.

Re: Searching for community

Aug. 19 at 6:14pm | see this comment in context

I'd say philosophical rather than academic, since the latter term has a negative connotation of "unrelated to life". Also, I'm not an academic. :)

Philosphical of course doesn't mean impractical. When Wojyla wrote his essays on Person and Community, he didn't intend to start a community. Same goes for von Hildebrand's Metaphysics of Community. But both texts have immense value for anyone who might like to form a community.

Then, too, think of all the debate and discussion that preceded the drafting of the U.S. Constitution. Quite a lot of thought about the principles of right governance went into that document, including the thought of men who didn't live to see their ideas realized.

Think of Peter Maurin and his call for "round table discussions" as an indispensable prerequisite for the development of new communities.

Think of the discussions and debates, not to mention all the philosophical and theological texts, that preceded the documents of Vatican II. 

The Protestant Reformation began with the 95 Theses...

Re: Searching for community

Aug. 19 at 2:52pm | see this comment in context

Anna Macdonald, Aug. 19 at 12:23pm

I was thinking that if you want to start an intentional community without those problems, it might be helpful to know the details of how the attitudes arose in the first place... 

I don't want to start an intentional community. What I want to do is help articulate and identify the sound principles for intentional community life. One way to do that is the "via negativa", i.e. examining bad and dysfunctional communities.

So, for example, if a lack of transparency and accountability in the governance of the group is hallmark of dysfunction, it follows that transparency and accountability in governance is among the desiderata for a healthy group.

If control and conformism easily creep in, we will want to find ways of maximizing freedom, and so on.

Since a stress on "roles" for men and women so easily leads to the subordination of the individual to his or her "role," we would want to take care to avoid that.

I've already got several draft posts in the works. One identifying community destroyers, one identifying several models of healthy community, one being to lay out some key principles of sound community.

Re: Searching for community

Aug. 19 at 2:36pm | see this comment in context

Anna Macdonald, Aug. 19 at 12:21pm

Since you ask, I will say that I don't think of the covenant community that I grew up in as a cult, per se, but mostly because that word brings up images in my mind of a more extreme stereotype of "cult" than I experienced. 

To my mind, one of helpful lessons we've learned in recent decades, partly thanks to the experience of the Legion and the Covenant Communities, is that not all cults or cultlike groups are extreme. Cult dynamics can be more or less subtle and more or less thorough-going.

Similiarly, we've learned that you don't have to get drunk every day to be rightly considered an alcholic. We've learned that sexual abuse and physical abuse aren't the only kinds of abuse. (There's also verbal abuse and emotional abuse.)

We've learned that cults don't have to have a whacked-out theology or a a central leader. They can even be Catholic. The key factors are things like control, conformism, and lack of transparency and accountability on the part of the leadership. The convenant communities had all those things in spades, though I agree with you that they weren't as bad as the Moonies.

Stay informed

Latest comments

  • Re: Testing for soundness in relationships
  • By: Katie van Schaijik
  • Re: Testing for soundness in relationships
  • By: Kate Whittaker Cousino
  • Re: Testing for soundness in relationships
  • By: Katie van Schaijik
  • Re: Testing for soundness in relationships
  • By: Kate Whittaker Cousino
  • Re: Testing for soundness in relationships
  • By: Kate Whittaker Cousino
  • Re: Searching for community
  • By: Anna Macdonald
  • Re: Searching for community
  • By: Katie van Schaijik
  • Re: Searching for community
  • By: Anna Macdonald
  • Re: Searching for community
  • By: Katie van Schaijik
  • Re: Searching for community
  • By: Katie van Schaijik

Latest active posts

Reading circles

Lectures