Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

David Kanigan’s Monday Morning Wake-Up Call popped up this morning while pondering a reference to Jacques Ellul’s “meditation on inutility” cited in a footnote of Walter Brueggemann’s The Psalms and the Life of Faith. The sentence which leads the reader to the Ellul footnote on inutility reads, “In the end — not before, but in the end — praise is a useless act.” (p.122, footnote 21)

Thank you, David for drawing attention to this current meditation in praise of inutility by Kevin Roose in the New York Times.  Jacques Ellul and Walter Brueggemann would call it an act of praise.

Live & Learn

For the rest of the week, I became acutely aware of the bizarre phone habits I’d developed. I noticed that I reach for my phone every time I brush my teeth or step outside the front door of my apartment building, and that, for some pathological reason, I always check my email during the three-second window between when I insert my credit card into a chip reader at a store and when the card is accepted.

Mostly, I became aware of how profoundly uncomfortable I am with stillness. For years, I’ve used my phone every time I’ve had a spare moment in an elevator or a boring meeting. I listen to podcasts and write emails on the subway. I watch YouTube videos while folding laundry. I even use an app to pretend to meditate.

If I was going to repair my brain, I needed to practice doing nothing…

It’s an…

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Free Enterprise and Violence

“The competition that goes with the much-touted system of free enterprise is, in a word, an economic ‘war to the knife,’ an exercise of sheer violence that, so far, the law has not been able to regulate. In this competition ‘the best man wins’ – and the weaker, more moral, more sensitive necessarily lose. The system of free competition is a form of violence that must be absolutely condemned.

“The violence done by the superior may be physical (the most common kind, and it provokes hostile moral reaction), or it may be psychological or spiritual, as when the superior makes use of morality and even of Christianity to inculcate submission and a servile attitude; and this is the most heinous of all forms of violence.”

– Jacques Ellul, Violence: Reflections from a Christian Perspective, Seabury Press, NY, 1969)

Jacques Ellul

Jacques Ellul was active in the French Resistance Movement during World War II, a social critic, lay theologian, sociologist, Professor of Law and Government at the University of Bordeaux, and prolific author.  His legacy includes The Technological Society, Propaganda, The Political Illusion, and The Presence of the Kingdom.

Click HERE for information on Jacques Ellul from the International Jacques Ellul Society.