Monday, July 17, 2017

Love and Reason

“And the LORD said to her, "Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples, born of you, shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the elder shall serve the younger.”
Genesis 25:23

What does she see in him?  Surely, like me, you’ve sat in the congregation at a wedding more than once, staring the couple before you.  It couldn’t be the looks or the brain power, to be sure.  Wouldn’t be the prospect for success or the pleasant disposition.  Surely, she could do better for herself. 

And yet those promises are made.  Such bold things they are to say to another person, who is surely to change, and not always for the better.  “Will you have this man, this woman?” Love which must choose, if it is to be love.  What does she see in him?  Isn’t it merely that she sees him, and that is enough. 

The blindness of love: it must be about the oldest of all jokes.  In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, when Titania awakens to fall in love with Bottom, recently turned into a donkey, he gets the best line: "And yet, to say the truth, reason and love keep little company together nowadays.[1]”  Pascal may have been mulling over higher things, but he was making the same general point when he wrote: “The heart has its reasons, which reason does not know.[2]

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Wretched man that I am

“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”  Romans 7:24-25

The Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle stories are favorites on our boys’ bookshelves.  They are set in a pleasant suburb in the mid-fifties, the sort of place where mothers have always just taken sugar cookies out of the oven and daddies are headed out after work to finish the new treehouse ladder.  The stories are populated with children—accomplished, good natured, obedient children—who just happen to be passing through unfortunate phases.

Take Nicholas Semicolon, subject of the story Philip read to all of us as we made our way across Maine last week.  Nicholas is ten, large and strong for his age, the apple of his mother’s eye.  But he also happens to have become a thoroughly rotten bully.  He hits girls and pulls dog’s tails, upsets baby carriages and speaks rudely to everyone he meets.  His parents have been blissfully ignorant about all of this until they receive a call from Mrs. Eager, whose son’s legs are covered in bandages after little Nicky’s latest attack.