Stoic News

By Dave Kelly

Monday, August 28, 2006

Sin, Theodicy & Politics

"In fairness, it must be conceded that modern American conservatism has little of the Niebuhrian spirit itself. Ronald Reagan, the most successful conservative the country has ever known, was at heart a cockeyed optimist, and his untroubled confidence in the limitless possibilities of American civilization was untouched by Niebuhrian reservations. The fact that Niebuhrians fare badly at either end of the political spectrum suggests that, for most Americans, the politics of original sin is an alien notion.

"Maybe that offers a useful lesson. Maybe all Augustinian Christians—which Niebuhr certainly was—need periodically to remind themselves that even in the (relatively) good earthly dwelling that America provides, we have here no abiding city."

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Excerpt from Addiction and Grace by Gerald G. May

"For generations, psychologists thought that virtually all self-defeating behavior was caused by repression. I have now come to believe that addiction is a separate and even more self-defeating force that abuses our freedom and makes us do things we really do not want to do. While repression stifles desire, addiction attaches desire, bonds and enslaves the energy of desire to certain specific behaviors, things, or people. These objects of attachment then become preoccupations and obsessions; they come to rule our lives."

Monday, August 21, 2006

In Memoriam: Dr. Gerald May 1940-2005

"Dr. Gerald May, Shalem's Senior Fellow in Contemplative Theology and Psychology died in April 2005 at the age of 64 after a lengthy illness. Well-known for his writings on psychology and spirituality, Jerry authored numerous articles and books over the span of 35 years, including Addiction & Grace, Will & Spirit, The Awakened Heart, and most recently, Dark Night of the Soul."

I just read Gerald May's last book, The Dark Night of the Soul: A Psychiatrist Explores the Connection Between Darkness and Spiritual Growth. It touched me deeply and was of great benefit.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Sin (Augustine)

"Augustine shows clearly the religious character of sin. Sin for him is not a moral failure; it is not even disobedience. Disobedience is a consequence but not the cause. The cause is: turning away from God, and from God as the highest good, as the love with which God loves Himself, through us. For this reason, since sin has this character -- if you say "sins", it is easily dissolved into moral sins; but sin is first of all basically the power of turning away from God. For this very reason, no moral remedy is possible. Only one remedy is possible: return to God. But this of course is possible only in the power of God, and this power is lost. This is the state of man under the conditions of existence. ... Paul Tillich, A History of Christian Thought"

John Mark Ministries