Joshua Pauling taught high school history for thirteen years and is now a classical educator. He also runs his own business building fine furniture and restoring vintage machinery. He studied at Messiah College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Winthrop University, and has written for Areo, FORMA, Front Porch Republic, Mere Orthodoxy, Modern Reformation, Public Discourse, Quillette, Salvo, The Imaginative Conservative, and Touchstone. He is head elder at All Saints Lutheran Church (LCMS), while he and his wife Kristi have two children who are being classically homeschooled.
Are those who question transhumanist progress or Metaverse predictions just knee-jerk Luddites whose visceral reactions are worthy of only a patronizing pat on the head for not seeing their own privilege? As might be expected of a Porcher, I don’t think so. Instead, those who are hesitant about digitality are remembering what it means to be embodied human beings and acknowledging the gravitas of reality’s bite - even when reality bites.
Stowe’s book is both timeless and timely. Our physical embodiment as human creatures is always essential, but it is especially so amid increasing digitality. The last two years of pandemic-related economic fluctuations and supply-chain instabilities have further driven home the importance of developing manual competence on a local and familial level, which adds to the book’s importance.
Christ touches. With his hands he heals the sick, opens mouths, unstops ears, blesses the children, and raises the dead. And ultimately it is the marks in Christ’s hands that fully and definitively reveal his true identity in his post-Resurrection appearance to Thomas. Christ himself, the enfleshed God, invites Thomas to put his hand into the hands that made the world and saved the world.
On the heels of a consequential election, and the accompanying commentary demonstrating the continued pervasiveness of race-thinking, Barzun’s message of honoring each human individual’s value while recognizing our shared common humanity is a timely and timeless message.
Human driving requires unending mutual predictions and constant accommodations for each other. It is in such experiences that we end up with something meaningful for life in the physical world and life in community.
Roosevelt delivered an oration he entitled “Citizenship in a Republic,” but which the world would soon come to call “The Man in the Arena.” Every fresh reading of the speech brings something new into bold relief.
The lengthy drift from family to individual as the primary social unit carries an alluring promise of autonomy and individualism which sounds so good, so freeing, but it comes up lacking in times of crisis.