Friday, January 28, 2011

Transcendent, Immanent or Evanescent?

Faith, Reason and the War against Jihadism: A Call to Action,
by George Weigel (Kindle edition)

A dear friend of mine recently conned/duped/tricked me into reading the second George Weigel book of my life. As it was the case with the first, so also this time I could hardly put the book down. It truly read well. George is indeed a wordsmith and as I could cheer him on in that first book I read as an apologist for the role which soon-to-be Blessed John Paul II played in bringing down the Berlin Wall, so this time I can identify with George as he holds up our present Holy Father’s Regensburg Lecture as beacon and prophecy for the demands of reasoned discourse and not only in the dialogue between Christianity and Islam.

Nonetheless, don’t expect me to pick up another one of Weigel’s books anytime soon. It is not that I disagree with him; it is not that I do not admire his command of the sources. As a say, he’s quite the wordsmith. Although I was a bit distracted by his repeated (at least twice) use of the word “fecklessness”. It is a word I understand, just like I understand many words in foreign languages which are not part of my active speaking vocabulary:
feck·less         adj \ˈfek-ləs\
Definition of FECKLESS
feck·less·ly adverb
feck·less·ness noun
Examples of FECKLESS
1.      She can't rely on her feckless son.

I have never heard with my ears the word “feckless”. Maybe it is everyday in Scotland or on the eastern seaboard of the U.S… in Canada or Australia, perhaps?

At any rate, this “Call to Action” lauding world-changing interventions by Winston Churchill or Harry Truman in the past, full of confidence that we’re still capable of “one more for the Gipper” seems more a recipe for nightmares. Mind you, I agree wholeheartedly that George is at his best arguing that nuclear disarmament has never been a more urgent need, but he seems to gloss over countless reasons beyond two hundred years of Islamic heresies underpinning the desperate acts of people who have more reason that Britney Spears to hate the “Great Satan”. There are countless reasons for the mad rage which comes flying at us, innocent or not. “Self-imposed dhimmitude” may not always be the best description for why a Western European might react with genuine contrition for crimes committed against humanity in the Arabic world and elsewhere.

The book is indeed masterful; it is a great piece of work. I think the movers and shakers of society could profit immensely from not only skimming this book but reading and reflecting upon it. It is however, and hats off to the master, a series of variations on a theme. 

A no less important question to be faced is really, I mean really, “What can I do about it?” George very aptly describes an “Unhinged Left” and an “Unhinged Right”. In the almost four years since he wrote the dedication to the book these two camps have drifted even farther apart and are even less willing to carry on civil discourse with one another. What is one to do from an armchair far from the corridors of power populated by the very same persons who run rough-shod over our basic civil liberties, like the right to life?

George’s book will nonetheless be treasured by me for his introductory remarks concerning the otherness of Islam. While I have on more than one occasion been preached to by those who wished to make it clear to me that my faith in the Living God as revealed in Jesus Christ had been superseded by the teaching of the Koran, I had never really appropriated as well as I could thanks to this book the notion of a God so totally apart and transcendent. The Mystery of the Incarnation, of God become Man, and of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the life of the world become for me more so good news and more urgent to proclaim. 

The hastening of the coming of the Day of God through my conformity to His Will for the sake of the establishment of His Reign becomes all the more urgent. The Love which has come to dwell in our hearts must be better known! Thank you, George, and thank you, Mike, for the book suggestion!  

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