Only posts tagged with: Conversion | Display all
Jun. 19, 2012, at 4:58pm
Again, as indicated in the previous post Population Problems (even in the Islamic World), sometimes I come away from reading “the news” with the vague impression that the western world is overwhelmed with problems relating to drugs, sex, a pleasure-centered lifestyle, and a loss of religious faith while the Islamic world is filled with individuals ready to sacrifice their lives for the cause of Allah and to rid the world of these profligate western excesses. However, as in the previous discussion, such impressions do not tell the underlying story.
David Goldman, in his recent book How Civilizations Die (and Why Islam is Dying Too), offers disturbing evidence that “[t]he underside of …continue reading
Jan. 24, 2012, at 3:52pm
I just received an email from Catholics for Israel with its January line up of articles. Among them is the amazing and beautiful conversion story of friend and Personalist Project member Ronda Chervin.
I love the incipient personalism of her existential questioning even at a young age.
Junior High School English class. The assignment: write a page about what you want to be when you grow up. It had to be done on the spot. "How can I know what I want to be, if I don't know the meaning of life?" I wrote spontaneously. I don't think I would have remembered this precocious philosophical question, a prophecy of my later choice to become a philosophy professor, had the teacher not graded it A …
Carole, I read and admired your recent article on the need for a personal relationship with Jesus. I even started a post about it, but then found myself getting bogged down in the side issue of the meaning of phenomenology, which was I was afraid would overshadown my deep agreement with your gist.
I think many, if not most, of us have been raised to be deeply suspicious of the emotions. We confuse affective coldness or indifference with being "objective" and "rational", when, really, we're being out-of-touch—with ourselves, with others, and with God.
Sep. 20 at 4:53pm | See in context
Thanks Carole. I agree with you about John Paul II. He is very aware, it seems to me, of a specifically modern type of resistance to the very idea of God, which argues that a flourishing personal existence is impossible under the constant presence of an all-seeing and all-caring Being. God, in this frame of mind, is experienced as the biggest and most insufferable "Big Brother" imaginable.
It is important to show that this image of God, and of our relationship with him, is not true. God is all-powerful and all-seeing. But he does not have a "heavy hand".
Sep. 20 at 4:20pm | See in context
Thanks Katie. What you say makes me want to add that while, as I say in my post, von Hildebrand does not develop the personal persective side of the emotions very much, he does have a lot to say about the heart being in some sense the real self of the person. He corroborates philosophically what Alice Miller claims: that to suppress or stifle the emotions, is to do real damage to a person.
…our emotions should actually be increasingly trustworthy guides as we come into right relationship with truth and with others.
Exactly so, Kate. Emotions, if rightly developed, are often quicker and more sensitive than reason. The emotion of sexual shame is a good example. Wojtyla, as I'm sure you know, thinks "there is a need to to develop sexual shame by education." "In shame," he writes, "resides the genuine moral strength of the person" and "only a true and genuine shame insists upon a true and fully valid love."
Sep. 20 at 4:03pm | See in context
Amen! And well said. I couldn't agree more Devra.
Sep. 20 at 1:57pm | See in context
I very much appreciate the insights of your article, Jules and your comments Katie. I'm interested in the experience of the "personal relationship with the Lord" which comes through so clearly in the thought of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict-- and find it fascinating how many people are deeply resistant to the idea of emotions interfering with their faith experience. Pope John Paul would have been very attentive to the need to integrate the objective and subjective experience of the human person in relationship with the Lord.
Sep. 20 at 11:08am | See in context
I appreciate this:
Sure, one way of seeing something is not the only way of seeing it. Every perspective is partial and limited. But every perspective is also unique and makes a contribution to the whole. It opens another window on reality; it provides another point of access to it.
Sometimes it seems to me that modern Christianity is terribly confused about emotion--either reducing faith down to an emotional response or state of being (as you occasionally see in Charismatic circles and quite certainly see in Joel Osteen type Christians) or engaged in an active distrust of emotion as something counter-rational that will lead us astray. That the devil can use our emotional responses is taken as a given; that God might as easily use them is somewhat more suspect.
I like the reminder that emotion is not baseless—it follows upon beliefs and particular relationships between the self and the object of emotion—which suggests that our emotions should actually be increasingly trustworthy guides as we come into right relationship with truth and with others.
Sep. 20 at 10:04am | See in context
Jules, I love this insight, which coheres nicely with what I've been reading in Alice Miller and others about emotions.
They are, in a way, the true self. They are where the self "contacts" reality.
Alice Miller critiques the "poisonous pedagogy" prevalent in Germany in the 19th century that aimed at subduing individuality, which meant correcting, suppressing and controlling emotion.
In the tradition we are dealing with, it was considered obstinacy and was therefore frowned upon to have a will and mind of one’s own.
This led to confusion about reality and alienation from self.
The result of a child becoming dulled to pain is that access to the truth about himself will be denied him all his life.
And that of course created adults who were susceptible to ideologies like Naziism.
The more successfully a person was denied access to his or her feelings in childhood, the larger the arsenal of intellectual weapons and the supply of moral prostheses has to be, because morality and a sense of duty are not sources of strength or fruitful soil for genuine affection. Blood does not flow in artificial limbs; they are for sale and can serve many masters.
Sep. 20 at 8:17am | See in context
I've been reading a lot lately about alcoholism and related 12 step programs.
I few things stand out especially.
1. Addictions cripplie us in our will, our moral agency. We cease to be captains of our own souls, as Oscar Wilde put it.
2. The first step of the solution is admitting that we've lost control. That is, we stop trying to succeed with will power.
3. The rest of the solution depends on three things: Asking for the grace of God and relying on, accepting the help of others, and committing ourselves to serve others in the same condition.
Look at how personalist all this is, and how like the gospel!
We are impotent to save ourselves. We have to turn to God and entrust ourselves to Him. But His way of working with us is through and with other persons, both fellow believers and unbelievers.
Persons are both individual and community. We are selves who need others, and who are called to give ourselves to others.
Seeing all this gives me hope and joy. Addictions seem to me a major modern path to redemption and reality.
Sep. 15 at 9:07am | See in context
"I am seeing more and more how the human idea of mercy is protection from truth. True mercy [divine mercy] is an encounter with Truth—which is extremely painful."
That is very well put, Katie. it is an excellent point as well, that this is what purgatory is about. The truths about ourselves regarding our sins and weaknesses, the sufferings we were trying to escape by running away from these truths, will become our purification in the afterlife. We will have to face up to them and see them for what they are. The idols we failed to give up will have to be burnt away from us, and this will be painful.The difficulty there, of course, is that we can't take a break from this purification, which is something we can do here (and often do to the point of trying to run away from it completely).
Sep. 11 at 5:55am | See in context
Katie, I was thinking more of people who value relationships but want to claim absolute authority over how much they encroach on the self--like people who marry "as long as we both shall love" or a man who fathers a baby but reserves the right to ignore it from then on. They value relationships, but they don't grant that once you (validly) marry, from then on you are that person's spouse, or once you've procreated, you are a mother or father. It changes you ontologically. Who you are is not separate from who certain relationships have constituted you to be. Does that make sense?
Of course this is not to say that mothers may not work outside the home, or that annulmnets or separation or civil divorce may not be necessary. It's not to reduce the person to a certain, narrow understanding of what a wife or mother or father is supposed to be. It's not to deny the person's legitimate autonomy.
Sep. 7 at 1:08pm | See in context
Copyright: The Personalist Project 2014 | Contact us
519 North High Street, West Chester, PA 19380