Strangers in a Strange Land by Charles J. Chaput

(New York: Henry Holt/Macmillan, 2017), 288

!Ex-02

  • Benedict quote, 3
  • 2020-11-27-Lord of the World by Robert Hugh Benson (Francis has read this multiple times), 10
  • Discussion of 2017-01-03-The City of God, 12-16
  • Outline:

    • Chapter 2 is history of America

    • Chapters 3-7 outline where we are now and how we got there

    • Chapters 8-12 speak to our reasons for hope and how we can live as Christians with joy

  • Chapter 2 - History

    • Kraynak's themes of the Founders' vision:



      • Republicanism: balance of power; division of power; class representation; ensure sovereignty but moderate majority rule


      • Constitutionalism: single document created new; can change but difficult to lint passions


      • Natural law: moral order


      • Cultural tradition: greater narrative, humility about our place in the world



    • America is a Protestant nation from the beginning without a previous catholic culture. G.K. Chesterton: "America has always been a nation that thinks it's a church." (34)

    • Rise of Catholics though the world wars mixing patriotism and church, culminating in the rise of JFK

    • Closes with American idealism and stating that America can only endure with its structure as long as there are leaders who embody the philosophy of the founders

  • Chapter 3

    • It is important to catalog the ways our culture is changing to understand if we need to fix it or if it's healthy

    • "The surest way to transform a culture is from the inside out. And the sheer path to doing it isn't through reasoned debate or violence but by colonizing and reshaping the culture's appetites and behaviors" (46)

    • 52, discussion of the far reaching implications of the pill

  • Chapter 4 - Beauty in Nature

    • Bottom of 66: recognizing beauty is against modern thinking because it recognizes power beyond our control and reminds us of our weakness

    • Discussion of technological development, its origins in Christianity, and importance of keeping a proper understanding of the human person at the center

  • Chapter 5 - marriage

    • American individualism sets the stage for instability in romantic relationships

    • Discussion of relativism and transgenderism

    • Marital intimacy, and the separation of sexual expression from childbearing

    • Throwaway culture vs culture of encounter (Francis) > the family is where we build culture of encounter

    • As traditional authority and structure disintegrates (family, church), it is replaced with government, which is less human (100-101)

  • Chapter 6 - Truth

    • Democracy leads to over importance of public opinion where we are more comfortable with lies or half truths to fit in than seeking truth but risking social harm

    • So we have two powerful forces that drive our lives: public opinion (wanting to not stick out) and the market economy

    • We grow in truth by seeking it continually (if not, it fades from view) (113)

    • We can't just blame "the culture" because we are the culture (117)

    • "Caring for language is a moral issue" - Marilyn chandler McEntyre (120)

  • Chapter 7 -

    • Thought experiment from After Virtue...we use the same words for morality but they have lost their meaning (126-127)

    • "The enlightenment tried to keep the more content of Christianity while eliminating its religious base. But it doesn't work. The biblical grounding can't be cut away without undermining the whole moral system. Every attempt to build a substitute system has suffered from incoherence, no matter how reasonable sounding." (130)

    • After Virtue in American culture:



      • Social sciences:





        • More atheistic than other disciplines and has social agenda



        • Objectify the human person by subjecting them to scientific study



        • Social sciences function as a means of social control to maintain bureaucratic authority





      • Education





        • Econ professor whose favorite quality of prospective PhDs is a undergrad degree in classics: to ennobling the soul



        • Strauss: "liberal education is the counter-poison to the corroding effects of mass culture" (135, "Liberal education and mass democracy")



        • Liberal education names to know: Anthony Esolen, Allan Bloom, Neil Postman, Matthew Crawford, Alastair MacIntyre



        • Liberal education is important to move beyond cogs in STEM machine, and because we need educated people for democracy to work





      • Law, courts, legal profession





        • We have a passion for justice but loss of confidence in the foundations of justice



        • Obama administration use of executive orders as a primary means of enacting agenda skirts the intention of the constitution





      • Character





        • Brooks observation of lacking moral system among Ivy League elite



        • Colleges providing a therapy of success, but lack a morally coherent vision of what a university is





      • Malice wrapped in the language of tolerance





        • Novels to read include. It can't happen here and darkness at noon






  • Chapter 8 - Hope

    • Hope is a gift of the home spirit, is opposed to presumption and despair and faith in the inevitability of progress 148)

  • Chapter 9 -

    • Jesus is the new radical, in giving us the beatitudes

    • "mercy is the musical key in which God's justice is played" (178)

    • "purity of heart isn't limited to matters of sex. It's about not letting lesser loves or sins distract us from the Lord… Purity, then, comes from having our bodies, minds, hearts, and souls conformed to Jesus Christ, united in purpose by his love. (180-181)

  • Chapter 10 - The Church

    • Cults that hurt the church



      • Individualism - we can find God on our own


      • Institutionalism -


      • Clericalism -



    • Ways to live out our baptismal calling



      • Works of charity


      • Christian friendship


      • Christian marriage



  • Chapter 11 - A Letter to Diogenetus

    • It's good, read it

  • Chapter 12 - Beauty

    • The most powerful kind of witness comes from ordinary people

    • Nature is sacramental

    • Real beauty leads us to the three virtues of humility, love, and hope

    • "But sexuality-related issues are not a separate, idiosyncratic corner of Catholic thought. They're deeply connected to much broader issues of personal and social morality and the organization of society." (238)


Created: 2017-03-15
Updated: 2022-02-24-Thu