Tag Archives: Wisdom

How should you go about finding God’s will for your life?

Here’s an interesting question from Tough Questions Answered. (And there’s a poll to vote in)

Excerpt:

As Christians we all agree that we want to follow God’s will for our lives, but there are two general approaches to following God’s will that I’ve seen in evangelicalism.

The first approach operates under the premise that God has a specific will for each and every one of our actions and decisions, and that we are obligated to discover what that specific will is.

The second approach operates under the premise that God only specifically wills that we obey his commands as revealed in the Bible, and on issues where the Bible does not speak, we use wisdom.

Here’s an example of what he means:

Let’s say that you are a Christian man looking for a spouse.  You have come to know three wonderful and single Christian ladies and you are wondering which one you should pursue for marriage.

If you are a follower of the first approach, you believe that God has one, and only one, of these women chosen for you.  It is your duty to discover which one of these women he has chosen in order to stay in his perfect will for your life.  If you choose wrongly, you will be outside of his will for your life.

If you are a follower of the second approach, you feel free to pursue any of these three ladies for marriage.  You believe that God will be pleased with any of the three women, as long as you choose wisely.

And you can imagine that this applies to all kinds of things – like what to study, what job to take, and so on.

So what do you guys think? Method 1 or Method 2? Anybody want to guess what my view is? I have a very strong opinion about the right answer to this question.

I’ll give you a hint about which one I like better. If I were explaining the first view to a non-Christian, I would describe it as God hiding Easter eggs for you and then you go through life reflecting on your intuitions and emotions and trying to hear God say “warmer” and “colder” in your ear when you get closer to or farther from his will, (i.e. – God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life).

On the second view, you get dropped behind enemy lines and the lines of communication are cut off. All you have left is the Army Field Manual, a map, and your fellow soldiers. Your job is to act in a way that you think will best achieve the General’s goals, (i.e. – God loves you and you should make a wonderful plan to participate in his plan).

David Warren on western civilization and the place of pleasure

ECM and I have a disagreement about David Warren. I don’t think he’s analytical and evidential enough, and ECM thinks that he’s an excellent writer of essays. Please read this short essay on the proper role of pleasure, and then leave a comment explaining which of us you agree with.

Excerpt:

The building and rebuilding forces of our society — essentially church and family — are by now almost everywhere under organized legal, legislative, and propaganda assault from the sterile vanguard of the atheist Left. The poison mist of “political correctness” swirls over our psychic landscape, and the great joyous and unifying truths which animated Western Christendom continue to be supplanted, both practically and symbolically, by the envious Big Lies of the political “activists.”

(Hope that didn’t sound too wishy-washy.)

It’s very wishy-washy – filled with mystical language and untestable assertions! How am I supposed to use all this flippant flowery flibbertigibbet to bash my atheist enemies into goo, and then steal their gold? It’s no use at all!

Anyway, Warren diagnoses the problem as being a lack of moral and spiritual education, which has been replaced by hedonism, and he illustrates his point using the example of gluttony.

But nature, in herself, cannot save us. We are not mere animals needing only nature’s call. That part of our nature which rises to the fully human requires some degree of emotional, moral, intellectual, and yes, spiritual education — which begins at home, with a mom and dad.

Let us consider this morning the perfect example for après-Christmas: “gluttony.”

I suspect you will all agree with me that David Warren’s head is filled with metaphors and feathers. So, take a look at the essay yourself and tell me what you think.

You should read Theodore Dalrymple’s “Life At The Bottom” for free online!

That’s right. I bought the book and gave it to my Dad, because Thomas Sowell endorsed it. My Dad read this book and he loved it. I read the book and I loved it. And now my co-workers are borrowing it from me.

What’s it about? Well the author is a psychologist in a hospital that deals with a lot of criminals and victims of crime. So he gets to see the worldview of the “underclass” up close, and to understand how the policies of the compassionate secular left are really working at the street level. The theme of the book is that the left advances policies in order to feel good about themselves, even though the policies actually hurt the poor and vulnerable far more than they help them. And the solution of the elites is more of the same.

The whole book is available ONLINE for free! From City Journal!

Table of Contents

The Knife Went In 5
Goodbye, Cruel World 15
Reader, She Married Him–Alas 26
Tough Love 36
It Hurts, Therefore I Am 48
Festivity, and Menace 58
We Don’t Want No Education 68
Uncouth Chic 78
The Heart of a Heartless World 89
There’s No Damned Merit in It 102
Choosing to Fail 114
Free to Choose 124
What Is Poverty? 134
Do Sties Make Pigs? 144
Lost in the Ghetto 155
And Dying Thus Around Us Every Day 167
The Rush from Judgment 181
What Causes Crime? 195
How Criminologists Foster Crime 208
Policemen in Wonderland 221
Zero Intolerance 233
Seeing Is Not Believing 244

Lots more essays are here, all from City Journal.

My favorite passage

The only bad thing about reading it online is that you miss one of the best quotes from the introduction. But I’ll type it out for you.

The disastrous pattern of human relationships that exists in the underclass is also becoming common higher up the social scale. With increasing frequency I am consulted by nurses, who for the most part come from and were themselves traditionally members of (at least after Florence Nightingale) the respectable lower middle class, who have illegitimate children by men who first abuse and then abandon them. This abuse and later abandonment is usually all too predictable from the man’s previous history and character; but the nurses who have been treated in this way say they refrained from making a judgment about him because it is wrong to make judgments. But if they do not make a judgment about the man with whom they are going to live and by whom they are going to have a child, about what are they ever going to make a judgment?

“It just didn’t work out,” they say, the “it” in question being the relationship that they conceive of having an existence independent of the two people who form it, and that exerts an influence on their on their lives rather like an astral projection. Life is fate.

This is something I run into myself. I think that young people today prefer moral relativists as mates, because they are afraid of being judged and rejected by people who are too serious about religion and morality. The problem is that if you choose someone who doesn’t take religion and morality seriously, then you can’t rely on them to behave morally and exercise spiritual leadership when raising children.

An excerpt

Here’s one of my favorite passages from “Tough Love”, in which he describes how easily he can detect whether a particular man has violent tendencies on sight, whereas female victims of domestic violence – and even the hospital nurses – cannot or will not recognize the signs.

All the more surprising is it to me, therefore, that the nurses perceive things differently. They do not see a man’s violence in his face, his gestures, his deportment, and his bodily adornments, even though they have the same experience of the patients as I. They hear the same stories, they see the same signs, but they do not make the same judgments. What’s more, they seem never to learn; for experience—like chance, in the famous dictum of Louis Pasteur—favors only the mind prepared. And when I guess at a glance that a man is an inveterate wife beater (I use the term “wife” loosely), they are appalled at the harshness of my judgment, even when it proves right once more.

This is not a matter of merely theoretical interest to the nurses, for many of them in their private lives have themselves been the compliant victims of violent men. For example, the lover of one of the senior nurses, an attractive and lively young woman, recently held her at gunpoint and threatened her with death, after having repeatedly blacked her eye during the previous months. I met him once when he came looking for her in the hospital: he was just the kind of ferocious young egotist to whom I would give a wide berth in the broadest daylight.

Why are the nurses so reluctant to come to the most inescapable of conclusions? Their training tells them, quite rightly, that it is their duty to care for everyone without regard for personal merit or deserts; but for them, there is no difference between suspending judgment for certain restricted purposes and making no judgment at all in any circumstances whatsoever. It is as if they were more afraid of passing an adverse verdict on someone than of getting a punch in the face—a likely enough consequence, incidentally, of their failure of discernment. Since it is scarcely possible to recognize a wife beater without inwardly condemning him, it is safer not to recognize him as one in the first place.

This failure of recognition is almost universal among my violently abused women patients, but its function for them is somewhat different from what it is for the nurses. The nurses need to retain a certain positive regard for their patients in order to do their job. But for the abused women, the failure to perceive in advance the violence of their chosen men serves to absolve them of all responsibility for whatever happens thereafter, allowing them to think of themselves as victims alone rather than the victims and accomplices they are. Moreover, it licenses them to obey their impulses and whims, allowing them to suppose that sexual attractiveness is the measure of all things and that prudence in the selection of a male companion is neither possible nor desirable.

Often, their imprudence would be laughable, were it not tragic: many times in my ward I’ve watched liaisons form between an abused female patient and an abusing male patient within half an hour of their striking up an acquaintance. By now, I can often predict the formation of such a liaison—and predict that it will as certainly end in violence as that the sun will rise tomorrow.

At first, of course, my female patients deny that the violence of their men was foreseeable. But when I ask them whether they think I would have recognized it in advance, the great majority—nine out of ten—reply, yes, of course. And when asked how they think I would have done so, they enumerate precisely the factors that would have led me to that conclusion. So their blindness is willful.

Go read the rest! This is pure wisdom. And by wisdom I mean an awareness and familiarity with the objective moral that binds human action.

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