Beauty, power and humor

There are some blogs I check every day, because they are so consistently worth reading. Let me pass on some recommendations.

All Things 2 All by Catez Stevens of New Zealand is always a place for God-soaked wisdom. Yesterday, Catez posted Beauty Talk, inspired by reflections about beauty by John Schroeder and yours truly. Here’s a sample:

A few days ago I realized that I probably have a type of cancer again. I noticed it nonchalantly at first but have become very conscious of it. I know what it looks like as I’ve had it before, and then it was small and easily removed. It was everyone else that was worried about it, while I was quite matter of fact on the whole. I had some minor anxiety. This time it’s in a completely different region than before and I haven’t been able to push it aside so easily—partly because it has appeared suddenly (but will have developed over time) and is visible, and partly because removing it will very probably involve leaving me with a facial scar. My personal concept of beauty is being challenged. I’m still processing this but the one thing I do know is that I have a deeply held belief that we are made in God’s image. I understand that exterior beauty is subject to age, disease, and trauma. Interior beauty is of the spirit—and is not dependent on exterior beauty.

The A-Team Blog is a tag-team effort by a group of very sharp thinkers, usually dealing with matters of Christian apologetics and culture. Amy has written a two-part post on Relativism, Power and the Need for a Standard—Part One. (Part Two is here.) She’s discussing the difficulty of making value judgments if your world view is purely materialistic, and the tendency of materialists to say that all power, no matter how it is used, is evil.

Recently, I heard a radio talk show host cite a study showing a general increase in support for Israel (rather than the Palestinians) in the United States, but with a very large difference between the percentage of support among Republicans and that among Democrats. The host suggested this may be due to a greater acceptance of relativism on the part of the left (i.e., an inability or unwillingness to make judgments based on moral considerations in distinguishing between acts of terror targeting innocents and acts of military defense).

A woman’s call during this segment illustrated this perfectly. In answer to the question, “Why are Democrats more likely to support the Palestinians than Republicans?” she responded, “I’m a Democrat, and I can tell you why. We are concerned—and have historically been concerned–with power. Right now, Israel has the power, and the Palestinians are the oppressed, so we support them.”

There it is again! As I’ve written before, concern about power comes up over and over as the central reason for why the left (both political and religious) choose their positions. Power is discussed far more often than right, wrong, and truth. Some political leaders urge us to support the Palestinians because they have less power; some religious leaders urge us to adopt “humble beliefs” (beliefs that won’t cause one to have more power than another) rather than asking us to have a humble attitude about true beliefs.

Mere Orthodoxy is another excellent team blog that also focuses on Christian thought. A recent post on G.K. Chesterton caught my attention. Chesterton was one of those rare Christian thinkers of amazing discernment applied with a very engaging sense of humor. He has sometimes been thought of as less-than-serious because of his use of humor, and that is the subject of Jollyblogger and Chesterton.

Contra those who criticized him, Chesterton’s ability to write with humor and levity stems from his deadly seriousness. As he says later in the same chapter,

“Mr. McCabe thinks that I am not serious but only funny, because Mr. McCabe thinks that funny is the opposite of serious. Funny is the opposite of not funny, and of nothing else. The question of whether a man expresses himself in a grotesque or laughable phraseology, or in a stately and restrained phraseology, is not a question of motive or of moral state, it is a question of instinctive language and self-expression. Whether a man chooses to tell the truth in long sentences or short jokes is a problem analogous to whether he chooses to tell the truth in French or German. Whether a man preaches his gospel grotesquely or gravely is merely like the question of whether he preaches it in prose or verse… The truth is, as I have said, that in this sense the two qualities of fun and seriousness have nothing whatever to do with each other, they are no more comparable than black and triangular. Mr. Bernard Shaw is funny and not sincere. Mr. McCabe is sincere and not funny. The average Cabinet Minister is not sincere and not funny.”

I’m always looking for interesting new blogs to read. What are some of your favorites?

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  1. A new one that’s appeared on the scene recently is A Sparrow’s Home, out on Prince Edward Island. She’s a school librarian and a minister’s wife. She has four children, I think. Two are in a band that just won a big music award up north. She has beautiful photography and good writing.

  2. PS. I really like Allthings2all, too. Catez has a real gift, and should write a book or two.

  3. Charlie,

    I enjoy Chris Malott’s blog (Malott’s Blog). He’s serious and funny, often at the same time. I especially enjoy the monthly Bachelor Tips (though I suspect bachelor tips aren’t of any official value to either you or me).

  4. Charlie, I appreciate Catez’ writing too, and also Julana’s. Another of my favorite blogs is Martin LaBar’s Sun and Shield. His posts are thoughtful, varied, and off the beaten track but always relevant. He also links to lots of interesting articles, esp. on science-related issues.