Now we come to the fourth of the Owl’s principal terms:
Freedom. The sequence of these terms, Faith then Covenant then Love then
Freedom, is intentional: Faith, God’s gift to us; the Covenant under which it
is lived in God’s steadfastness; Love, the power that keeps us turning toward
God and each other; then Freedom, the
sine qua non of Love.
Love is what turns a man’s wheels homeward at the end of the
work day, simply because he belongs with the people there rather than wherever
else. He is actually free to turn or not, or it is no love that drives him.
Love has to be freely given, or it is not love but something else; fear,
coercion, deception, but not love.
Continue reading “The Owl on Freedom”
The Owl continues unfolding What
the Owl Is Trying to Say, using five main terms for the outline. Now we are
up to the word “Covenant.”
The valiant reader may recall our saying the covenant
between God and humankind is really a series of covenants, each with a specific
sign and promise, all given on God’s initiative: the Noachic Covenant, with the
sign of the rainbow and the promise that God will never again destroy all life
on earth with a flood. There follow covenants with Abraham, making him the
patriarch of a numerous people; then the covenant with Moses at Sinai, giving
Israel the law of Jhwh and making
himself their God and them his people. Without ever calling that into question,
we have the New Covenant established in Jesus Christ.
Continue reading “God’s Covenant With Us”
We are now about five months into writing An Owl Among
Ruins. It would be understandable that our few readers don’t find much logical
consistency in the thing so far. We may have created more frustration than clarity.
That’s not good for one who is still trying, at 73, to get control his mother
tongue. He knows all the best advisors on the subject say Keep It Simple; no
extravagant turns of phrase, no complex compound sentences—you learned it in
grade school. I’m slow. By now it’s fair to ask, What Is the Owl Trying to Say?
Put it down in as few words and as plainly as possible.
OK, here goes. It will help to start with the key terms.
Luckily they are few, but unluckily, from the first they don’t mean what people
think they mean. Here they are: Faith, Covenant, Love, Freedom, Obedience.
These are things already alive in human hearts, maybe in all human hearts.
Let’s take them one at a time, then see how they fit into a whole.
Continue reading “What the Owl Is Trying to Say”
In From Dawn to
Decadence (2000), Jacques Barzun discusses the scientific revolution that
occurred between the seventeenth century and the present. In his description,
this is not just a matter of learning to observe natural phenomena. Our
medieval forebears were meticulous observers of their world—it takes only a
look at their exquisite engravings of plants to convince oneself of this. But
until a certain intellectual shift they could not derive general laws from what
they saw. We moderns do this every day, rising from raw observation to
abstraction. Then we treat the abstractions as things in their own right. Note
the word rise.
Scientific language is equipped to treat of geometry, physics,
chemistry, biology, and more. Finding meaning in the world is another matter. That
belongs to poetry, morality, belief, and faith. Its operant language is not
merely descriptive, but constitutive of reality. The two things do not operate
wholly independently, which is why we have a postmodern debate about how much
of science, especially the studies of human being, is comprised of social
constructs. However that may be, when western culture developed a scientific
world view, we found ourselves in a world divorced from many of its previous meanings.
Continue reading “Science and Religion”