Terrified of Risk, Enslaved to Our Own Ideas

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We often hear that a problem with young people today is that we are irresponsible. We don’t have a sense of duty. We don’t have a sense of order. We’re immature. I think that the problem is actually the opposite.

I think that we are pathologically terrified of risk and I think that we have this enslavement to our own ideas of respectability, our own ideas of our life plan, our commitments, our existing duties such that something as radically changing as a new life doesn’t fit in with those existing duties. To accept that life would be the irresponsible choice, and that’s the framework from which a lot of people are operating. They see themselves as accepting consequences, as responsible. They have a semblance of a moral framework and we can’t ignore that just because it’s completely the opposite of our own. And this isn’t just about whether or not you accept a child. I think that we are so enslaved to a plan, and a routine, and a vision of our lives, we can’t embrace the unsettledness, openness, flexibility, and folly it takes to have an actually pro-life culture in every instance.

Tristyn Bloom, “Beyond the Pro-Life Pep Rally: Where Do We Go From Here?” Read the rest here.

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What is Science?

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If “science” means “indubitable,” then there is no science in science. If it means “very persuasive,” then much clear and honest thinking is scientific.

Deirdre McCloskey (1985/1998), The Rhetoric of Economics, p. 72.

h/t: Cafe Hayek

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The Green Patriarch and the Victims of Haiyan

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Source: First Things.

Dylan Pahman writes at First Things…

When Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines in early November, the nation suffered catastrophic devastation, including the tragic loss of over 10,000 lives. Patriarch Kirill of Moscow sent a letter of condolence, praying for relief for the people of the Philippines. Both the Vatican and the Dalai Lama added to their sympathies and prayers humanitarian aid, the Pope’s initial alms being $150,000. According to Reuters, the Vatican has additionally pledged three million euros.

Yet one major religious leader took a different approach. His All-Holiness Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome, and Ecumenical Patriarch has earned the title “the Green Patriarch” for his environmental activism. At the time that other religious leaders were offering their sympathies to the downtrodden people of the Philippines, His All-Holiness issued a statement on the occasion of the opening of the Warsaw Conference on Climate Change, which concluded on November 22.

Read the rest here.

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Limited Time Free eBook Offer: An Orthodox Christian Perspective on Environmentalism

A new book on Orthodox Christian theology and the environment from Acton. In the interest of full disclosure, the authors are both friends of mine!

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory

Source: Acton PowerBlog.

Beginning today, Acton is offering its first monograph on Eastern Orthodox Christian social thought at no cost through Amazon Kindle. Through Tues., Nov. 12, you can get your free digital copy of Creation and the Heart of Man: An Orthodox Christian Perspective on Environmentalism(Acton Institute, 2013). The print edition, which runs 91 pages, will be available later this month through the Acton Book Shop for $6. When the free eBook offer expires, Creation and the Heart of Man will be priced at $2.99 for the Kindle reader and free reading apps.

A summary of Creation and the Heart of Man:

Rooted in the Tradition of the Orthodox Church and its teaching on the relationship between God, humanity, and all creation, Fr. Michael Butler and Prof. Andrew Morriss offer a new contribution to Orthodox environmental theology. Too often policy recommendations from theologians and Church authorities have taken the form of pontifications, obscuring many important economic and public policy realities. The authors establish a framework for responsible engagement with environmental issues undergirded not only by Church teaching but also by sound economic analysis. Creation and the Heart of Man uniquely takes the discussion of Orthodox environmental ethics from abstract principles to thoughtful interaction with the concrete, sensitive to the inviolability of human dignity, the plight of the poor, and our common destiny of communion with God.

About the authors:

Fr. Michael Butler

Fr. Michael Butler

The Very Reverend Michael Butler is an independent scholar and an archpriest of the Orthodox Church in America and is serving a parish in Olmsted Falls, Ohio. He received his PhD in church history and patristics from Fordham University and his MA in theology and BA in psychology from the University of Dallas in Irving, Texas. He blogs on environmentalism and other subjects at FrMichaelB.com

Prof. Andrew Morriss

Prof. Andrew Morriss

Professor Andrew Morriss is D. Paul Jones, Jr., and Charlene A. Jones Chairholder in law and professor of business at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. He received his PhD in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his JD and MPA from the University of Texas in Austin, and his AB from Princeton University. He has written extensively on environmental issues and is the author or coauthor of more than 50 scholarly articles, books, and book chapters. He serves as a Research Fellow at the New York University Center for Labor and Employment Law, a Senior Fellow at the Property & Environment Research Center in Bozeman, Mont. and a Senior Scholar at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

Excerpt from the book:

Everything in creation exists by sharing in and manifesting God’s energies: created things are beautiful by sharing in and manifesting God’s beauty; true by sharing in and manifesting God’s truth; good by sharing in and manifesting God’s goodness; and so forth. This means … that every created thing can be a theophany—a revelation of God.

What does this say about nature? About any creature? It says that nothing is simply an object to be used, an inert, meaningless thing. Everything, every creature—from spotted owls to veins of coal in a mountain—shares in the energies of God. It says that somehow God is present and can be discerned there, if we can see, not only with our eyes but also with our hearts…. We must also remember that Christianity is not Jainism—we are not called to gently sweep insects from our paths for fear of inadvertently stepping on one. Rather we are called to stewardship, an active role in which we must do more than preserve what God has given to us but responsibly and prayerfully use it in pursuit of our responsibilities to God and our brothers and sisters.

Sometimes a good steward husbands a resource. Sometimes, however, a good steward makes use of a resource in pursuit of the steward’s calling. Orthodox environmentalism cannot thus be a static vision of nature as something to be preserved unaltered. A steward’s task is much harder than either digging up every last lump of coal or refraining from touching any of it. In entrusting us with responsibility for the natural world, God gave us opportunities to exercise judgment, not a simplistic recipe. While life would surely be simpler if he asked less of us, it would leave us as less than he intended us to be. (30–31)

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Vatican Social Communications Leader Encourages Catholics to Embrace Digital Media

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Source: The Catholic Voices Blog.

… the way we give the Internet a soul isn’t simply Christian presence there, but it’s by making sure that there is a “true, integral, humanity expressed on the Internet. That there is space for spirituality, for questioning, for doubt, for learning. By our receptivity to those, we create a space for the Internet to have a soul, but we’re not the soul. Every human being has deeper questions and we need to create the forum, a framework, and a lack of fear that will allow people to do that meaningfully.”

Monsignor Paul Tighe, the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, was the keynote speaker at the Catholic New Media Conference in Boston on October 19, 2013.

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