Read: The Household & The War For The Cosmos

My friend Barnaby recommended this book (so far, all of his book recommendations have scratched an itch, including Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life and The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober). As anticipated, this one didn’t disappoint.

I especially appreciate how the author, C.R. Wiley, stays clear of any sort of “self-help” style approach on the topic of the importance of the household, and its relation to the created order (i,e., cosmos). Instead, a thoughtful exploration unfolds, featuring provocative insights on piety, the natural family, and the economy of the household.

“The household is not just a shelter from a war zone; it is the command center from which we launch our attacks. It’s this vision of the world, with the Christian family at the heart, that modern parents desperately need to recover.”

READING NOTES:

  • Historically, the household has been the basis for the formation of all other social institutions — school, church, business enterprise, city, nation. As the household goes, so go all other institutions of society [from the Foreword via Nancy Pearcey]
  • Paradoxically, many of the other institutions in our society that once relied upon the household have turned against it. Everything from multi-national corporations to public schools now dismiss traditional household norms as retrograde and even oppressive.
  • If I were to sum up this book with a single idea it would be this: household piety is as big as the cosmos. It connects you to everything because it is at the center of everything else.
  • Essentially [historically] a household was an authority structure. The reason that authority was essential is because a household was an economy. The etymology of that word tells a story. It derived from two Greek words, oikos, meaning house, and nomos, meaning law; an economy was the law of the house.
  • Households produced food, clothing, and nearly else worth having. And on top of that, they were social welfare agencies, educating the young, and caring for the elderly. People depended on them for almost everything.
  • Today we largely think of our homes as recreation centers. That’s because in the Industrial Revolution most of the productive economy moved out of the house. Because of this, some people have wondered, just what is a father for? But in the first century a father’s authority was unquestioned.
  • This is why [now] fatherhood itself has been repurposed. Now dad is a buddy, or second mommy. The goal of the friendship and nurture is the happiness of the child, as in, “I just want him/her/it to be happy.”
  • It is hard to see how duty can apply to the modern family. Duty impresses a structured hierarchy onto our lives. Duty never says, “You be you,” or “Go ahead and do what makes you happy.” Duty says, “This is who you are; do what is required.”
  • [On honor] Honor bound the members of a household together so that what brought honor to one brought honor to all, and what caused dishonor for one brought the whole family into disrepute.
  • What we really need is a recovery of a way of life. The codes outlined a way to order our households so that they can serve as microcosms of the largest order of them all.
  • Once you know what a household looks like you can see that the Bible is a kind of handbook for the household.
  • For people in the first century the world was a cosmos, a sacred order; and it was filled with other beings, some of whom were people, while others were gods. And you owned them, piety paid its debts.
  • The thing about pietas that you can’t miss is its social character. It didn’t isolate you; instead it bound you to everything else. It was the glue of the world: things divine and human things, matter and spirit, the past and the future…and, the generations.
  • Being remembered is more important than you may suppose. It means that your story doesn’t come to an end when you do. People can get so bound up in your story that they hope for the same things that you hoped for, and live for the same things you lived for.
  • That a war could be pious is incomprehensible to many people. One of the reasons for this is that we don’t feel a compelling need to provide for our heirs. Modern life is more regulated and prosperous than ancient people could have imagined.
  • Our inability to understand this has something to do with the fact that people no longer see themselves as part of a line. Instead, we think of ourselves as points — disconnected, isolated, and seemingly self-contained points.
  • A valuable insight that is reflected in Latin is the word for house: the word domus. Not only is that the root of domestic, it is also the root of the word dominion. In the same way, the cosmos is like a great house, one that is divinely ordered.
  • A conjugal union is just the beginning; one flesh also refers to the natural issue of that of children. And it goes even beyond that: it is a union of interests, of goods, and a common future. It means that what goes for one, goes for the other.
  • It means that, in a real way, conjugal marriage is the end of the world. It connects this world to the next, it unites Heaven and earth, and it is a sign that reads, “This is the way the world will end, not with a bang, not with a whimper, but with wedding bells.”
  • [From the Epilogue] That little tune that your household sings is in harmony with the music of the spheres, and that harmony restores many things that the enemy has perverted.
  • [From the Epilogue] There was another garden to tend to. And there still is. Every household should hold something that husbands and wives can tend together so that they can be fruitful in every way. What they tend to should be theirs, otherwise they work for someone else.
  • [From the Epilogue] So fight the good fight. Go home, build a house, and if you do it in the right way, you will give the world a glimpse of things to come. There is nothing more terrifying to the principalities than this.

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Disclaimer: These Reading Notes are not a replacement for reading the book — just a sampling of my personal notes (copyright to the author), and potentially out of context.

Read: Interior Freedom by Jacques Philippe

This book quickly became the most scribbled-in, highlighted, earmarked, among my collection of recent books read. Marginalia galore! I’ll be referring back to this tiny paperback often, and only wish I had discovered it earlier on (if so, I’m convinced many of the mistakes of my past, struggles and strongholds would never have taken root). Fortunately, letting go and practicing the virtues of faith, hope and love, have helped narrow my path and resulted in a much-welcomed interior freedom (this book holds the keys for those seeking such).

The topic of Interior Growth has been a focus of my reading over the course of the past year, and Jacques Philippe’s Interior Freedom has scratched the itch, and then some. It’s a challenging task to pull together Reading Notes for this one, as there are so many highlights, from nearly every page. With that said, here are a few:

Reading Notes:

  • We need to accept our limitations, but without ever resigning ourselves to mediocrity.
  • To lock ourselves in the past would only add another sin to those already committed.
  • The worst thing that could happen would be for everything to go exactly as we wanted it, for that would be the end of any growth.
  • Human beings were created for love, and they can only find happiness in loving & being loved.
  • Only love, then, can satisfy us; and there is no love without freedom. The kind of love that is the result of constraint, or self-interest, or the mere satisfaction of a need, does not deserve the name love.
  • Think how badly we react to our falls, mistakes, and failures, how demoralized and upset we become, how guilty they make us feel. Only under the gaze of God can we fully and truly accept ourselves.
  • There is no better form of “relaxation” than to rest like little children in the tenderness of a Father who loves us just as we are.
  • Modern culture doesn’t rate forgiveness very highly. More often it justifies resentment & revenge. But does that reduce the amount of evil in the world? The only way to diminish the suffering that burdens mankind is by forgiveness.
  • When we concentrate too much on something that isn’t right, and make it our main topic of conversation, we end up giving evil more substance than it has. Deploring evil sometimes only strengthens it.
  • Hope means trusting. When we hope we are not passive; we are acting.
  • Love is always a decision.
  • The people who are supremely free desire nothing, and are afraid of nothing.
  • Faith is the root of our cure and our liberation, the start of a life-giving process that heals the death engendered by sin.
  • Our chief weapons are prayer, patience, and hope.

Read reviews or buy this book on Amazon

Disclaimer: These Reading Notes are not a replacement for reading the book — just a sampling of my personal notes, and potentially out of context.

Fortnightly Dispatch No. 05

No. 05 of the Fortnightly Dispatch has been “dispatched.” Highlights from this edition include video footage of a murmuration of starlings that (for a split second) look like a huge bird; some commentary and highlights re: a WWI notebook; Thoughts and reporting on the topic of stepping away from social media; an inspiring quote from Mary Oliver; and the usual “Journal” round-up of family fodder (including Disney World!).

I hope you consider subscribing and following along HERE.

Disney Springs, Orlando Fla. (image via iPhone)

Fortnightly Dispatch No. 04

No. 04 of the Fortnightly Dispatch has been “dispatched.” Highlights from this edition include video footage of a mesmerizing tadpole migration, a bit of prose from a French philosopher and journalist you may be familiar with, an inspiring 540-mile bike trek along the Colorado Trail, a compelling piece of writing about the history of sweatpants (yup, your read that correctly, sweatpants!)…and a few other bits of fodder.

I hope you consider subscribing and following along HERE.

G.K. Chesterton Once Said…

This quote pulled me into the work of G.K. Chesterton. I’m now looking forward to diving deeper into the rabbit hole…and very likely adding to the growing pile of books on my nightstand:

“People are more themselves when joy is the fundamental thing in them, and grief the superficial. Melancholy should be an innocent interlude, a tender and figurative frame of mind; praise should be the permanent pulsation of the soul. Pessimism is at best an emotional half-holiday; joy is the uproarious labor by which all things live.”