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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)


Personalism and the Judeo-Christian tradition

Oct. 11 at 10:33am | Comments: 20 | Most recent comment: Oct. 18 at 8:44am

Member Peter asks a question that deserves an answer: Can someone please explain to me how the personalist project concludes that no other persons besides Jews and Christians have the spiritual resources to acknowledge unconditional worth in all human persons?  He is referring to the essay laying out our sense of personalism composed at our request by John Crosby. It includes the following paragraph: According to our personalism, this sense of personal existence has emerged in the encounter with...

A call for radical, embodied love

Oct. 6 at 7:12am | Comments: 7 | Most recent comment: Oct. 14 at 5:12pm

In remarks opening the Extraordinary Synod on marriage yesterday, Pope Francis struck several characteristically personalist notes in a few words. He called for "a fraternal exchange of views" among the bishops—a spirit of openness and receptivity. This is not a power struggle; they are not to vie for victory over one another, but to recognize the partiality of each one's perspective and the value of what others have to offer, trusting that the Lord would lead them to...

On speaking what we feel

Sep. 26 at 12:33pm | Comments: 6 | Most recent comment: Sep. 27 at 9:29pm

Jules and I saw an outstanding production of King Lear in Philadelphia the other day. As always with Shakespeare, I kept marveling over the ineffable breadth and depth and pith and poetry of his insight into human experience. But one line in particular stood out, I think because we've been reflecting so much on the emotions around here lately. It's among the concluding lines of the drama. Nearly all the principal characters have died or been killed. The Duke of...

About shaking the dust from our sandals

Sep. 25 at 12:31pm | Comments: 1 | Most recent comment: Sep. 25 at 4:03pm

In response to my post on soundness in relationships, friend Rebecca wrote a note at once encouraging and challenging, going right to the heart of things. Katie, thank you so much for posting this. It makes a lot of sense and I think it's a really valuable contribution to a discussion that needs to happen much, much, more frequently. I would really like to see a follow up (post? discussion? conversation?) about the "shaking the dust from your feet part."...

If it doesn’t feel like love, it isn’t

Sep. 19 at 9:24am | Comments: 3 | Most recent comment: Sep. 25 at 12:41pm

Some things that feel like love, aren't. Like seduction or eroticism or flattery. On the other hand, if it doesn't look like love or feel like love—if it's cold and condemning and feels like contempt —it isn't love. Love actually does feel like love.Sometimes love has to inflict pain. But it hates having to do that. It's sorry to give pain. It hastens to soothe and comfort afterwards. We shouldn't delude ourselves into imagining that "hating...


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


Re: Personalism and the Judeo-Christian tradition

Oct. 18 at 8:44am | see this comment in context

Peter, I'm sorry we don't see eye to eye. You see me throwing out red herrings and trying to prove something. I see myself explaining my reasoning and the meaning of the claim in our essay.

I'm afraid there isn't enough common ground to make the discussion fruitful.

Re: Personalism and the Judeo-Christian tradition

Oct. 15 at 8:43am | see this comment in context

Peter, as I said, the claim is not a strict logical conclusion from indubitable premises, but more like what Newman called "a convergence of probabilities"—a summing up of what I see and experience. 

If I observe that the philosophical enterprise of personalism depends on 1) a conceptural framework present in the Judeo/Christian tradition and not present in others, and 2) a lived personal relation with the Divine Person who is the ground of our being as persons, then it is not bigotry to make the claim I make in our essay.

If you want to dispute the claim, why don't you try providing evidence that other traditions do, in fact, have a conceptural framework and a mode of religious existence that supports the essential claims of personalism.

So far your disagreement is no more than an ungrounded assertion that the claim is false.

Re: Personalism and the Judeo-Christian tradition

Oct. 14 at 7:52pm | see this comment in context

I just came up this passage in Roger Scruton's Soul of the World, which seems to me apropos somehow.

Whatever we think of the evolutionary significance of religious belief, and its role in natural selection, we should recognize that there is another and far more transparent function that religion seems to perform: the maintenance of the life of the person. Every aspect of religious belief and obedience contributes to this. Religions focus and amplify the moral sense; they ring-fence those aspects of life in which personal responsibilities are rooted—notably sex, family, territory, and law. They feed into the distinctively human emotions, like hope and charity, which lift us above the motives that rule the lives of other animals, and cause us to live by culture and not by instinct.

I think it goes without saying that not all religions do this equally well. Insofar as a religious doctrine is false, for instance, it can serve to distort or constrict the moral sense, rather than amplify it.

Re: Personalism and the Judeo-Christian tradition

Oct. 14 at 9:19am | see this comment in context

Those are some of the premises, or rather, a sketch of some of the premises, on which I base the conclusion that leads me to agree with the claim I first heard from John Crosby, viz. that only Jews and Christians have the spiritual resources to grasp, appreciate and develop a personalist approach to human life.

None of this is to suggest that a non-believer can't have an individual experience of God's love that might lead him to conclude that human life is infinitely precious. But such an experience is not enough to sustain a demanding philosophical enterprise.

For that, a conceptual framework is wanted—an intellectual tradition—as well as a religious mode of nourishing the experience in the regular encounter with the God who is the ground of our being.

And not just any tradition or religious practice will do. It has to be one that maintains the particular truths in question.

Re: Personalism and the Judeo-Christian tradition

Oct. 14 at 9:10am | see this comment in context

Here is how I would express my premises:

1. Personalism emerged historically from the encounter with judeo/christian religious experience and doctrine.

2. Personalism thrives within that tradition

3. No other tradition has the conceptual framework to sustain it.

4. No other tradition centers both doctrinally and experientially on the mystery of human life as made in the Image and Likeness of God and called to a communion of love with Him.

5. The religious combination of doctrine and experience nourishes in the judeo/christian tradition, constantly deepens and sustains the personalist understanding of and approach to human life.

6. Personalists experience in themselves the necessity of that religious orientation for setting the parameters and grounding the experience of the incomparable worth of persons.

7. When we look around, we see that philoosphical personalists are all Jews or Christians.

8. We see that prime insights of personalism (such as that each individual is of incomparable worth and dignity) are rejected by the other major religions and by atheistic materialism.

9. We see that in the post-judeo/christian culture of the secular world in which we live, the sense of the incomparable dignity of the person has been lost.

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