Apothegms and Observations XVII

  1. Charm can indeed be deceitful, but when it does not deceive, it is quite pleasant.
  2. I’ve heard it said that in politics, there occasionally comes a time when one must put aside his personal morality for the greater good. What! This is only true if my morality ignores the greater good.
  3. To be charming is to be playful, mature, and elegant. It is to be romantic, steady, and competent. It is to be adventurous, settled, and sincere. It truly longs for you to join it on an intimate outing, but gives you full freedom to accept or decline. It hints of a mysterious something, and you are drawn to discover it, but it steers the conversation gracefully towards you, precisely because it is interested in you and because you want to talk about yourself. But I exaggerate. To be charming is to have the appearance of these things.
  4. If the ability to change our nature is within our nature, can we change it?
  5. Is it true that truth is a social construct?
  6. The world is endlessly explorable.
  7. The moment we believe we do not need grace and mercy is the moment we need it the most.
  8. Charm is deceitful, but it is not true that to be charming is to be deceitful.
  9. It is easy to feel that we are the only ones who have had a certain epiphany, but later we may learn that we were the only ones who hadn’t.
  10. A personal rebuke is best given in private, with love. If we feel uncomfortable doing this but still feel it needs to be said and so we blurt it out in public, then we ought to ask ourselves why we are afraid. If another feels uncomfortable rebuking us, and blurts it out in public, then we ought to forgive, and ask ourselves how we may have made them afraid.
  11. The man who does not adapt his personality is lacking in empathy.
  12. If a culture desires to be wholly tolerant, then I ask a question. Should it tolerate intolerance?
  13. A sincere apology heals a multitude of hurts.
  14. I wish I wondered into essays more than I do apothegms, as our world lacks sustained thought more than sentimental truth. But alas, I do not.
  15. When life gets too hard to bear, I recommend weeping with a friend.
  16. The dead have a peace of nothingness, but this is not the peace we work to establish.
  17. Hollywood sorely lacks Miyazaki‘s aesthetic of Ma.
  18. The reason that the holidays are the best time of the year for some is the same reason that they are the hardest time of the year for others: family.
  19. It is a mistake to think that in all things, the Nation is an analog to the Individual.
  20. “Compassion is our compass.” How cute! But is it true?
  21. Spiritual loneliness has little to do with physical solitude.
  22. It is interesting to me that the Westminster Confession of Faith lists Holy Scripture as the first chapter and God and the Trinity as the second chapter.
  23. A man who holds to no beliefs receives no respect. A man who refuses to change his wrong beliefs keeps no friends except himself.
  24. This is perhaps a difficult, but surely an important question: what is humility?
  25. The one who sees something important appears needlessly afflicted to the one who does not see the same thing.
  26. I gain no insights when someone agrees with me.
  27. The crocodile sees no difference between leopards and cheetahs, but is angry that the leopard calls him an alligator. The leopard sees no difference between crocodiles and alligators, but is angry that the crocodile calls him a cheetah. But most of all, they are both angry that the other is inconsistent. They even make memes criticizing “Reptile Logic” and “Mammal Logic.” So, their brothers and sisters ask for the judgement of the owl. He says, “The deepest inconsistency is demanding consistency in others while ignoring it in yourself. Remove your log before speaking of the other’s speck.”
  28. The cynic who only trusts himself is to be pitied.
  29. We try to control what we cannot — others — while we ignore our responsibility to control what we can — ourselves.
  30. How silly it is to demand that others feel gratitude towards us. Gratitude cannot be coerced; it can only be gifted.
  31. “Whenever a belief is taken to its extreme, it is a mistake.” I see what you are saying, but it is a mistake to take that belief to its extreme.
  32. A society without fairy tales like Pan’s Labyrinth and The 13 Clocks is dreary indeed.
  33. Without clear borders, there can exist no nations.
  34. I am skeptical of a philosophy that does not encourage peace.
  35. I am skeptical of a philosophy that claims discontent is a sin of the individual, without exception.

3 thoughts on “Apothegms and Observations XVII

  1. About #22: If I remember correctly,the ideas is that, without Scripture, we cannot understand God fully or provide reasons for our beliefs. God is the center of Christianity, but without an accurate understanding of Scripture, we are groping in the dark.

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    1. Yeah, that sort of makes sense. The fact is that we have a limited view of the universe, so our understanding cannot be certain; it is always suspect. We need to appeal to an authority in order to have Knowledge. Our authority is Scripture, so the WCF puts it first, that we may build upon this foundation in later chapters. The thing is, section 4 of chapter 1 says that the Bible has authority because it is the words of God. So when we read chapter 1, it won’t make sense unless we assume the content of chapter 2. But chapter 2 also relies on chapter 1. It doesn’t mention Scripture in its discussion of God, but it has a whole host of citations and proof-texts from Scripture, which would be meaningless unless we have a doctrine of Scripture in place.

      The way I see it, the two chapters are self-verifying (which is another way of saying they are circular reasoning). We need Scripture to understand God, but without understanding God, Scripture doesn’t have authority. So either order would do just fine. In my head, God and the Trinity is a more foundational Truth than Scripture. God is a necessary being in all His qualities, while I don’t think it is necessary that Scripture was given to us exactly as it was given. That is, if God chose to change one word, the message would be unchanged. I can say this with confidence because it is a fact that small textual errors have crept in, yet the message is unchanged. Of course, I’m not contradicting Revelation 22:18-19; I’m not saying we can add or subtract to the canon. It’s just that the exact words of the canon do not seem to me to be necessary. They could have been slightly different. But God is not that way; He is and must be exactly who He is. Anyway, final reality is not really about the Bible, but it is about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Reality is about God, not Scripture. Scripture is there to tell us about God. Like you said, “God is the center of Christianity.” So it would seem a more sensible choice to put God in chapter 1 and Scripture in chapter 2.

      But of course, who cares. My opinion doesn’t mean much, and it is just the order of the chapters anyway. That is why I called it “interesting” rather than something slightly more harsh like “odd.” Thanks for your comment and motivating me to elaborate on my thoughts!

      P.S. All systematic thought is circular reasoning eventually. But not all circular reasoning is problematic. o.O

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    2. Also, my dad observed that if we view the WCF as a reaction to Roman Catholicism, then it makes total sense to have a doctrine of Scripture be the first chapter. That is a huge part of what the Reformation was about.

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