Forgiveness in the age of rage

I listened to this sermon the other day, and thought it was quite excellent. It’s more than worth hearing, and I hope you’re able to listen!

 

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Please don’t be this person.

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Glenrio is absolutely one of my favourite places along Route 66, particularly the Longhorn Cafe. The famed painted glass panels on the cafe have stood alone for nearly as long as I’ve been alive—but alas, no more:

…many Route 66 enthusiasts still were deeply disappointed to learn Monday four window panes that spelled “CAFE” at the long-abandoned Longhorn Cafe in Glenrio, Texas, recently were stolen.

Nick Gerlich noticed the missing glass during a visit to the Route 66 ghost town along the Texas-New Mexico border.

He said in a Facebook post he saw no evidence of broken glass at the scene, leading him to deduce the panes were carefully removed and pilfered.

There’s a photo of the vandalization at Route 66 News. As Ron notes, it is a small loss in the scheme of the world, particularly considering what we were all thinking about yesterday and the devastation wrought by Harvey and Irma in recent weeks.

At the same time, I wonder if things like this apparent theft in Glenrio, small though they are, sicken us not just because of the loss, that others present and future won’t be able to enjoy what we’ve enjoyed, but because they make so apparent our very much not being ‘basically good’. We are saddened by the vandalism and her sibling, looting, but perhaps we are also, and more deeply, grieved by such a blatant expression of sinfulness and selfishness, whether we recognize it as such or not.

At any rate—please don’t be the sort of person who apparently stole these panes. What are the silly but true cliches—take only pictures (unless you buy something, and by all means, when it comes to souvenirs and tasty food, buy away on the Mother Road, and support those businesses!) and leave only footprints? Let us respect our past and consider the future.

Cities, Virtue, and Corruption

A trio of reads to share with you this Eclipse Monday. (Can’t you tell how cheery they are from the post title?)

Whatever this cost...

Masonic Temple of Springfield, Ohio.

First, a review of the new book Rethinking Modernism and the Built Environment, a collection of essays edited by Almantas Samalavicius. As you likely know, I’m not a fan of modern architecture, and in fact would consider myself an enemy of its inhumanity.

As Samalavicius sees it, the challenges cities face are not only “unprecedented levels of urbanity,” but the homogenizing effects of “economic globalism” and how they have reduced or erased local and cultural diversity. Moreover, this is not a new, 21st-century phenomenon.The large-scale reconstruction of Europe after World War II, he says, “demanded cheap and functional buildings, and that was what architectural Modernism seemed to be able to offer.”

…as summed up by Nikos Salingaros, author of Principles of Urban Structureis that “By removing urban complexity, the simplistic Modernist model has destroyed our cities.”

A brief review, but worth reading. If you’d like another (less pricey) read along the same lines, Thomas Wolfe’s From Bauhaus To Our Haus is quite worthwhile indeed.

Architecture influences those living around and within it, and our own hearts, of course, influence architecture (as it is out of human hearts that building designs spring). So I can’t help but see this excellent Daniel Greenfield piece, Virtue and the Moral Fall of Civilization, as related to the modern state—and small, if increasing rebellion against—of architecture.

A civilization is not a mechanical endeavor, but a moral one. The virtues that uphold a civilization, the ability to reason, to work hard, to study how to solve a problem, to sacrifice now for future gain, to cooperate with those outside the tribe, to value truth, beauty and goodness for their own sake are individual, but they are also social. A society that cultivates these virtues in people can prosper. As society loses these virtues, it grows dysfunctional. It loses winnable wars, it squanders vast wealth, it loses its work ethics, its ability to cooperate and to plan for the long term. It slowly dies.

Barbarians are not savages because they wear loincloths or bones through their noses, or even because they lack the majority of these virtues, but because they lack the ability to appreciate them. A barbarian who appreciates civilizational virtues can become civilized, but a civilized barbarian may wear a suit and tie, but is still a savage because he cannot even appreciate the virtues of his ancestors.

As a civilization declines, it becomes barbaric.

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The Government We Deserve

Last week, I was listening to (the marvellous) Paul W. Smith broadcasting from my hometown while doing some morning work. At one point he began discussing the news that yet another Michigander, Kid Rock, was considering a run for Senate*, with (if I recall correctly) Free Press writer Kathleen Gray, and comments from still another Michigander (we’re everywhere, bwah ha ha!) political consultant Tom Shields:

…Shields said nothing surprises him about politics anymore.

…It wouldn’t matter that the rocker has a boatload of baggage, from frequent crude insults to a brief marriage to bombshell actress Pamela Anderson, to a picture he tweeted out just a few hours before his Senate tease, showing him flipping an unseen person the bird.

“Normal political baggage does not apply here. You’re not going to beat him because he dropped an F-bomb somewhere,” Shields said. “Traditional political rules don’t apply.”

Paul W. suggested the possibility—and he may not be far off the mark—that we may be entering an era in which only celebrities run for office, because normal people aren’t especially keen on having our lives aired out on every source of media 24/7. Continue reading