These may just be the most hopeful and powerful theological words I’ve ever read

Fr. James Alison from The Joy of Being Wrong: Original Sin Through Easter Eyes

It is (perhaps) the central aim of this essay to show that original sin, precisely as understood from the standpoint of the ecclesial hypostasis, is not foundational at all. It is the revelation of a failed, futile foundation. There is nothing solid about original sin, nothing on which anything can be based. The doctrine is above all not an exercise in culpabilization, not a seeking to attribute some foundational guilt, but a parting glance at the drastic nature and the futility of a condition out of which we are being empowered to move. If I have insisted up till now on referring to the way in which Jesus founded a new people, this is because of the difficulty experienced in current ecclesiology in imagining the internal coherence between Jesus’ teaching, life, death, and resurrection and the coming into being of the Church. However, at this stage it becomes possible to take a step back from the language of “foundation.” The language is too dialectic, too involved in the human business of appropriating an identity over against some other, to reflect faithfully the reality of what Jesus was about. The sense in which Jesus was founding anything at all can be understood only as a subversion from within of any notion of foundation, because it was really an efficacious and constructive revelation of a purely gratuitous project that existed even before the human capacity for foundational distortion had come into being.

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Kurt Vonnegut on How to Write a Good Short Story

  1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
  2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
  3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
  4. Every sentence must do one of two things — reveal character or advance the action.
  5. Start as close to the end as possible.
  6. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them-in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
  7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
  8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

Jordan Peterson on standing up straight

To stand up straight with your shoulders back is to accept the terrible responsibility of life, with eyes wide open. It means deciding to voluntarily transform the chaos of potential into the realities of habitable order. It means adopting the burden of self-conscious vulnerability, and accepting the end of the unconscious paradise of childhood, where finitude and mortality are only dimly comprehended. It means willingly undertaking the sacrifices necessary to generate a productive and meaningful reality (it means acting to please God, in the ancient language). To stand up straight with your shoulders back means building the ark that protects the world from the flood, guiding your people through the desert after they have escaped tyranny, making your way away from comfortable home and country, and speaking the prophetic word to those who ignore the widows and children. It means shouldering the cross that marks the X, the place where you and Being intersect so terribly. It means casting dead, rigid and too tyrannical order back into the chaos in which it was generated; it means withstanding the ensuing uncertainty, and establishing, in consequence, a better, more meaningful and more productive order.