A Journal Entry from January 2009

Here is the bulk of the text from a journal entry I made on January 21, 2009, just over a year ago. In the hopes that it might help someone (or at least help someone understand me), I'm copying most of it here.

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My experiences so far with NSAI

Since May 2009 I've been attending the monthly meetings of the local workshop of NSAI, the Nashville Songwriters Association International.  It was a very vulnerable thing for me to do. 

For 15 years I had been writing songs that my family and friends, and even a few strangers, had liked.  But my songwriting gift, as well as the songs I had already written, had begun to feel like a burden.  I was busy with a wife and kids, being the sole breadwinner, keeping up friendships, and other minor hobbies that occupied my time.  There were times that I wanted to forget the songs, forget I had a gift, and just live a "normal" life.  But I knew better--the songs had value, my gift had value, and I bore a responsibility to "do something" with all of them.

Wild Wings and the End of Civilization

I was watching TV when I saw a familiar commercial for Buffalo Wild Wings.  In it, a football referee looks into a replay hood, and instead of the Buffalo Wild Wings crowd seeing the ref standing on the field, they suddenly see the ref's face looking straight at them.  He asks the BWW crowd what they thought about the play being reviewed.  One of the patrons says "We're not ready to go yet; is there any way you could send this thing into overtime?"  After a dramatic pause, the ref says "No problem." 

Pro-life... no religion required

One need not believe in God, or the existence of a spiritual realm, to understand the simple fact that human life begins at fertilization.  One need not be religious to believe that "all human beings are equal in worth and dignity."  These two points are at the core of pro-life convictions.  Robert George makes these arguments (and more) with depth and crystal clarity in this article, where he answers questions from the questionable Douglas Kmiec (who calls himself pro-life, but vigorously supported decidedly non-pro-life Barack Obama).

Capitalism and Christianity

From my journal last night:

It seems to me that we expect too much of capitalism if we expect it (or any other economic system that might be proposed to replace it) to keep people from being greedy, or to force people to act morally in general.  While a given economic system may provide an atmosphere that is more or less conducive than other economic systems for generally moral behavior, a society is not defined solely (or even primarily) by its predominant economic system.  There are a whole host of facets to a society; a partial list might include artistic, psychological, spiritual, cultural, etc. facets.  Each of these facets could be defined by a principle, philosophy, or system.  A healthy society will be composed of and structured by a number of different definitions, each for its associated facet.

We can't expect capitalism to provide the superstructure for general social morality any more than cubism or literary criticism would be fit to tell us how to structure our financial markets.

Unintended Consequences

This article talks about one of the (presumably) unintended consequences of the CPSIA: children's books printed before 1985 are presumed to be printed with lead-based ink, and therefore (by the logic of the law) not allowed to be read by children.  Thus, huge numbers of old children's books are being destroyed, rather than face the legal wrath of the CPSC.

The Stimulus that Won't

I'm no trained economist, but lately I've been reading through Thomas Sowell's Basic Economics.  It's been an eye-opening experience.  What I've read there resonates with the observations in this analysis of the Stimulus bill being passed by Congress.  In short, the Stimulus is an absolutely horrible piece of anti-economics, an abomination that doesn't stand a chance of achieving what is being claimed for it.

Why is This More Shocking?

This article is a good overview of a current story making the rounds.  An 18-year-old woman goes to get an abortion, but has the 23-week-old baby before the abortionist can start the procedure.  The non-medical owner of the clinic cuts the umbilical cord and throws the baby, placenta, etc. into a biohazard bag and throws the living baby away.  The doctor who was supposed to show up and do the abortion has now apparently lost his license.

I told my wife and a friend of ours, separately, about the story.  Both of them pro-life, both of them nurses, they both expressed sadness, but then said something to the effect of, "So what's the difference?" 

Towards Civil Dialogue

This is a great checklist towards more civil dialogue.

A Life Preserver

This entry in the First Things blog strikes some familiar chords for me.  Over the years I have read First Things, I too have been very thankful for the journal (and thus for the man Neuhaus) as a life preserver thrown to me in the midst of a confusing and confused culture. 

Too many of the Christians I have known have had little interest in the life of the mind, while too few of the intellectuals I have known felt any great attachment to a conservative reading of Scripture.  First Things has shown (and, God willing, will continue to show) me how one can think deeply and clearly about God and the world while remaining faithful to the Bible and the Body of Christ.

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