The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary

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On Second Thought II:  September 6-12 2015

Pope Francis has been instructing Europeans to open their homes to Syrian migrants.  Obviously, many Europeans, Christian and secularist alike, might feel some reluctance about welcoming people from a country where the rule of law does not seem to exist and where it is not unusual to engage in civil war and violence against those who do not share every jot and tittle of your brand of Islam. For secularists, unless they are strict adherents to the Marxist-globalist ideology that even Bernie Sanders dissents from, practical considerations should be enough.  Christians, however, get uneasy.  Our religion, after all, teaches us...

4

On Second Thought

  Kim Davis–Saint or Sinner? At first glance, the case of Kim Davis is clear-cut:  A conscientious Christian who obeys the teaching of Scripture and refuses to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  One more piece of anti-Christianity in the courts, and Kim Davis is being thrown to the lions, or, at least, in jail. On second thought, perhaps Ms Davis’s critics are right when they point out a  major irony in her case.  While she says repeatedly things like “I feel the institution of marriage was ordained by God in the Bible,” her own practice has been decidedly post-Christian.  She is currently working...

2

Properties of Blood I B

Exiled Children of Eve, B Beatitudes, Not Platitudes It is commonly believed that, as Judas went away from the disagreement over the wasted oil, he was disgruntled over Jesus’ failure to lead a social revolution.  It is certainly true that Jesus’ answer remains a powerful rebuke to those who would confound the gospel with one or another form of state-imposed socialism.  The poor, whom we always have with us, will be taken care of properly only when we freely behave as Christians and not when Caesar, at the point of a sword, requires us to render doubly unto him so...

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Sophocles’ Antigone: Conclusion

I have probably overloaded the discussion with far too much detail.  My intention was partly to introduce readers to Sophocles’ career and mind-set and also to clear up some of the technical mysteries involved in reading a Greek tragedy.  These plays in part resemble our own classic drama but are also related to liturgy.  They are, after all, religious rituals that are put on in connection with the festival of Dionysus.  In addition, they are civic plays, not mere individual exercises in personal taste.  As such, they served to bind together the entire Athenian community and to involve them with moral actions...

7

Wednesday’s Child: Your Health, Tom

The heartbreak of Tom’s departure made me want to get drunk.  Living in Italy as I do, I rarely drink spirits – the climate is against it – and using even the cheapest wine to get plastered is a little like using the gold nib of an heirloom pen to open a bottle of Heineken. Then there is the problem of company, because downing vodka at the kitchen table, alone at three in the morning, is not how I wish my wife to remember me when I’m dead. Eventually a suitable candidate had been found, salted lard and sour pickles...

9

The New Scopes Trial Is About to Begin

We all know that USA is the dumbest country in the history of the world—just turn on the television news for five minutes, if you have any doubts.  But why, in the race to show off ignorance and stupidity, do Tennesseans have to try so hard to be in the forefront? Please do not misunderstand me.  I have many friends in Tennessee, and I have enjoyed my many trips through the state.  I like Tennessee whiskey and Tennessee music.  I admire the writings of Andrew Lytle, Romulus Linney, Madison Smart Bell, and many other Tennesseans.  I like nearly everything except...

1

P.G.Wodehouse and the Word-Warriors of WW II

When the German army overran France and Belgium in the spring of 1940, it acquired a fair number of surprised aliens, among them Mr. and Mrs. P.G. Wodehouse.  After the outbreak of war, the Wodehouses had stayed on at their home in Le Touquet, P.G. working on a book, Mrs. P.G. doing her bit for the war effort by entertaining the members of the local RAF squadron.  The British military and civil authorities in the area had assured them there was no immediate cause for fear, and so, refusing to imitate what seemed to them unworthy panic in those who...

4

Properties of Blood Chapter I, Part A

This text is for a limited time being made available without charge. Exiled Children of Eve I shall not cease from mental fight Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand Till we have built Jerusalem In England’s green and pleasant land.. William Blake was quite mad, even madder than most Swedenborgians, but many Christians (and post-Christians) less insane than Blake have dreamed of building a new Jerusalem, where the unpromising specimens of humanity they had known all their lives would live in perfect peace and uninterrupted joy.  This heavenly kingdom was not located in another dimension or in an afterlife...

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Real-life Work in the Movies by Ray Olson

Real-life Work in the Movies By Ray Olson Since my post on William Wister Haines, I’ve seen the 1937 adaptation of his novel (first and best of the four of his I’ve read), Slim (1934), about a young electric lineman; his sweetheart, Cally; his mentor, Red; his friend, Stumpy, a grunt or ground worker; and the foreman of his line crew, Pop. I’m exceedingly happy to say that it’s a minor classic. Reducing the novel to a screenplay, Haines conflates several incidents in the book; for instance, Slim is injured twice in the novel, only once on screen, and Cally nurses him...

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Sophocles’ Antigone 5

Antigone VII: Episode II The bodyguard had vowed never to return to Creon’s presence, but finding Antigone, he changes his mind.  “Afterthought (epinoia) gives the lie to/renders false an opinion.”  This thought may already have been a proverb, which was later rendered by John Dryden as “Second thoughts, they say, are the best.”   Who are the “they” that Dryden had in mind?  Perhaps Cicero and Euripides.  However, when Euripides’ Phaedra makes this observation, she refutes the statement—her second thought is to seduce her stepson.  Bishop Butler is probably closer to the mind of Euripides and Sophocles in saying, “The...