Monday, November 30, 2009

Playing House (M.D.)

One television show I enjoy is House, M.D. The medical detective work fascinating. The side story of House dealing with his drug habit was refreshing as he admitted the problem; the character seems a bit more mellow. But I still find much of the side dialogue repulsive.

The most recent episode I watched ended with Dr. Cameron (Jennifer Morrison) leaving both her husband and the team seemingly forever. Television being what it is, I figured this was a ruse to be manipulated later. To my surprise, Jennifer Morrison was uncertain why she was written out. I think I know.

Dr. Cameron's character was the sole voice of ethical conduct on the series. Her righteous indignation would manifest itself at the proper moments, but sadly for all the wrong reasons. Hers were humanitarian rather than biblical ethics. Still they were statements made in order to guide with some semblance of conscience. No more. This series is now set to run onward without any moral guideline whatsoever. What happens in story lines into the foreseeable future will be guided by logical medical reasons or a perceived greater good based on selfish ends. To be sure these elements were there every season, but now it can be presented blatantly. Bio-ethics can be trashed altogether.

I hope I am wrong. This season started so well.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Decadent Western Civilization

I was reading a piece earlier this week and was struck by a section of paragraph paraphrased here.
Leaders and rulers who, fearing no reprisal, plunder and pillage bank accounts; who systematically seek the destruction of civil benefactors; who take women, married or not, for their own wanton pleasures—these men you revere and celebrate their birthdays though they deserve your contempt.  They write books assailing the public good, seek to swap wives as matter of course, engage in sexual activity with boys, and berate civil society.  They are rewarded with public adulation, their words are placed on library shelves, and their names and likenesses grace public venues.
I now ask you, dear reader: when and where was this originally written and of whom is it speaking?  Are we speaking of Hollywood elitist, politicians, community organizers, corporate directors, popular musicians?  There is no way to determine without more information.

As the post title indicates, this is from western civilization—the western Roman Empire circa A.D. 300.  The real tragedy is that one could not determine the difference in decadence level between then and now.  Men are no better than those so-called barbaric days 1700 years ago.  In some ways, we are probably worse because we cannot see how far we have fallen.

As for the quote paraphrased above, I give it here as I read it:
Tyrants and your kings, who, putting away all fear of the gods, plunder and pillage the treasuries of temples; who by proscription, banishment, and slaughter, strip the state of its nobles? who, with licentious violence, undermine and wrest away the chastity of matrons and maidens,—these men you name indigites and divi; and you worship with couches, altars, temples, and other service, and by celebrating their games and birthdays, those whom it was fitting that you should assail with keenest hatred.  And all those, too, who by writing books assail in many forms with biting reproaches public manners; who censure, brand, and tear in pieces your luxurious habits and lives; who carry down to posterity evil reports of their own times in their enduring writings; who seek to persuade men that the rights of marriage should be held in common; who lie with boys, beautiful, lustful, naked; who declare that you are beasts, runaways, exiles, and mad and frantic slaves of the most worthless character,—all these with wonder and applause you exalt to the stars of heaven, you place in the shrines of your libraries, you present with chariots and statues, and as much as in you lies, gift with a kind of immortality, as it were, by the witness which immortal titles bear to them.
Arnobius of Sicca, The Case Against the Pagans, Book I, cap. 64

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Preached Word

There is a marvelous interview at The White Horse Inn with Dr. William Willimon of Duke University entitled "The Preached Word." It is 39 minutes in length and worth the while.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Getting Christmas Wrong

Two things reminded me of how normal people can have no pickin' clue about Christmas. The first is a post here at Cyberbrethren noting how a Christian retail group warns that Christmas may not be fun because of the economy. Obviously, I am not using the correct translation of Scripture, because my Bible does not say that spending money is what gives satisfaction. Satisfaction comes in giving of yourself and being content with what you have.

The second is a comic strip that Jim VanDuzer pointed out.

Now that's calling it like it is.