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From the Dean

News items, published articles, and reading recommendations from Dean Timothy George

Page 3 of 181

The Dean Recommends: Rock-ribbed vs. Faint-hearted Liberalism

By Francis J. Beckwith
September 1, 2016

I miss liberalism. Real liberalism. Not this namby-pamby, afraid-of-your-own-shadow faint-hearted liberalism. What I miss is the rock-ribbed, truth-seeking, justice-pursuing, rights-defending, I-don’t-agree-with-you-but-I’ll-defend-your-right-to-say-it liberalism. It was the liberalism that defeated Nazism and Communism.

It was your daddy’s liberalism, the sort whose champions would say something like this:

If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. (John Stuart Mill, 1859)

Or this:

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us. (Justice Robert Jackson, 1943)

Or even this:

But what I am suggesting is this – secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Williams Jennings Bryant, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King – indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history – were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. So to say that men and women should not inject their “personal morality” into public policy debates is a practical absurdity. Our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition. (Senator Barack Obama, 2006)

Driving this liberalism was true tolerance, not the faux tolerance that is really just the old moralistic intolerance with a better marketing team, anti-religious inclinations, and far more political and bureaucratic power. (Is it a coincidence that the Moral Majority and Media Matters have the same abbreviation, MM? I don’t think so.) Read the rest at The Catholic Thing.

Posted by Kristen Padilla at Friday, September 16, 2016
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The Dean Recommends: My Same-Sex Attraction and My Brother’s Disease - On Suffering and Serenity

By Jean C. Lloyd
September 1, 2016

My brother and I are as different as night and day. He has an olive complexion with deep brown eyes, while I have lighter tones and eyes of blue. Whereas I am passionate and can be easily ignitable, he has a calm and even keel to his demeanor that I’ve come to admire. These and countless other differences I could list should come as no surprise because we are not biologically related. My brother was adopted as an infant, and sixteen months later, I was welcomed into the same family.

Our parents were generous and loving, and they provided a stable home for us. We grew up in an idyllic middle-class neighborhood in a 1950s-era two-story house. We walked to our elementary school, memories of which I cherish to this day. While we both had experienced the tragedy of being separated from our birth families, our adoption was a beautiful redemption. My brother and I are forever grateful for the gift of our wonderful mom and dad. But tragedies, no matter how lovingly responded to, can still produce wounds that eventually must be attended to. Both my brother and I were thus wounded from the beginning. As with most other things, we dealt with our wounds very differently. I began asking questions in search of my birth mother as soon as I understood what being adopted meant. These were questions my brother resented and would not himself ask for twenty more years.

My brother was also born with a physical deformity. A surgery performed in early childhood only served to provide painful memories and later complications. Whereas I was physically healthy, my brother always seemed to have health struggles. While this wasn’t “fair,” we didn’t think about it. We simply lived our lives, walking to school together, teasing and fighting with each other, and spending more time in our backyard pool than out of it during the summer. This continued until one summer when I went for an extended stay with relatives, including a sexually predatory uncle. Never to be the same, I returned home and withdrew into my room. I did not laugh with my brother any more, and my strong propensity toward depression began to manifest itself. I was ten. Read the rest at Public Discourse.

Posted by Kristen Padilla at Tuesday, September 13, 2016
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The Dean Recommends: 10 Public Speaking Tips from Charles Spurgeon

By Christian George
August 30, 2016

Have you ever wondered what Charles Spurgeon’s voice sounded like?

After Spurgeon’s death, Edison-Bell Record Company recorded a two-minute audio clip of his son, Thomas, reading an excerpt of his father’s sermon. But Thomas’s voice was was “not quite that of Charles Spurgeon, not quite so strong and not quite so musical” (Fullerton, 167). Besides, Thomas took after his mother in countenance; his brother, Charles Jr., favored their father.

Charles Spurgeon spoke more quickly, too – 140 words per minute. His voice was described as “a silver bell” (The Eclectic Review, January-June, 1867) and “sweet and musical; with a rich under-current that always reminds us of the roll of the organ” (Falkirk Herald, February 6, 1868).

James Sheridan Knowles, an Irish actor who would have been Spurgeon’s elocution teacher at Stepney College, told his students:

[Spurgeon] is only a boy, but he is the most wonderful preacher in the world. He is absolutely perfect in his oratory; and, beside that, a master in the art of acting. He has nothing to learn from me, or anyone else. He is simply perfect. He knows everything. He can do anything. . . . Why, boys, he can do anything he pleases with his audience! He can make them laugh, and cry, and laugh again, in five minutes (Autobiography 1:354).

The actor was not exaggerating. In 1855, 21-year-old Spurgeon wrote in a letter to his brother, “I believe I could secure a crowded audience at dead of night in a deep snow”(Autobiography 2:99). The very next year, a biography was published in New York comparing the young preacher to George Whitefield. He was also compared to Sims Reeves – one of the most popular opera singers of the century.

So what was Spurgeon’s secret? How did the “Prince of Preachers” master the art of public speaking? Here are ten tips from Spurgeon’s lecture “On the Voice” (Lectures to My Students 11:117-135). Read the rest at The Spurgeon Center's blog.

Posted by Hunter Upton at Monday, September 12, 2016
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