"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Timing is Everything



The Midwest Political Science Association is having its annual conference this weekend and I was looking over the program to see what folks are presenting. Taking a gander over at Section 47, the section on Religion and Politics, I notice that they have a panel on the "Religious Foundations of Political Liberalism" on Sunday morning at 8:30-10:15 followed by a panel from 10:30-12:15 on "Theological and Philosophical Solutions to the Culture War." Presumably, no one thought it ironic that both panels would be on a Sunday morning. Though perhaps I'm wrong; perhaps there's some esoteric message in the structure of the program. Perhaps it's MPSA's way of saying that political liberalism really does depend on a kind of secularization and that the best (philosophical or theological) way to solve the culture war is to have little get-togethers on Sunday mornings instead of, oh, I don't know, whatever those "other" people do on Sunday mornings...or maybe it's just a coincidence. Yep, just like Calvin would have said...

8 comments:

Tlaloc said...

well the conference runs thurs-sun. Between the big three monotheistic religions fri, sat, and sun are all days of rest. Cramming everything into thursday sort of defeats the point of a four day conference.

So unless the various big religions want to be excluded from the debate or want to exclude someone else they have to be a teensy bit flexible.

Hunter Baker said...

I think you should take the opportunity to make this a Chariots of Fire moment and "refuse to run on the Sabbath."

Seriously, I've been thinking more and more about Sabbath observance. I'm wondering whether this is an area where we've yielded too much even within our various confessions.

Kathy Hutchins said...

This kind of thing always bugged me a little too, but one time it actually saved me a heap of embarrassment. I was running a seminar late one Sunday morning at an APHA conference in Atlanta, and I just had time beforehand to walk to a downtown church for Mass. Ordinarily I'm a fairly casual church dresser, but since I didn't have time to change afterwards, I went in my business suit. Good thing too; it was a predominantly African-American parish, and blacks today dress for church the way my grandmother did fifty years ago. I would have been mortified if I'd shown in my usual get-up.

I make a concerted effort during Lent to treat the Sabbath as it should be treated, but to try to do it 52 Sundays a year would require a streak of counterculturalism I don't naturally possess.

Michael Simpson said...

Oh, I'm not going at all - Midwest is a desert for political theory, usually.

The sabbath question is an interesting one. I had a friend in college who adamantly refused to study on Sundays, and so I would see him headed to the library on Friday nights - with his girlfriend - to work. He said that it was a wonderful way to live. Unlike the rest of us, who started sweating away on Sunday around 2:00 because we hadn't done anything all weekend, he got to relax, enjoy the day, and start the week refreshed. When I was in grad school, I tried to do something similar and found that it was great for my marriage. My wife didn't get so bent out of shape if I couldn't do stuff on Saturday because she knew that I would be free on Sundays.

James Elliott said...

"Seriously, I've been thinking more and more about Sabbath observance. I'm wondering whether this is an area where we've yielded too much even within our various confessions."

So you'll all go back to the mandated Saturday observance, like the Jews and the Adventists? You'll start singing "Sunrise, Sunset" from Fiddler on the Roof? And the year of rest every seventh year, you'll observe that? And the wealth redistribution every forty or so?

Seems to me that traditions are the teensiest bit malleable.

Michael Simpson said...

reductio ad absurdum just the teensiest bit?

James Elliott said...

Probably. I just can't pass up opportunities to point out the absurdities (and malleability) of certain "inviolate" traditions. Plus the image of Hunter singing "If I were a rich man... Yabba bibba bibba bibba bibbba bibba bum..." is too good to pass up.

The Classic Liberal Anonymous said...

My interpretation of Romans 14 is that its not that big of a deal; I could be wrong of course.

John 4 talks about "where" we worship, and Jesus himself says "worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him."

We do not go to chuch on Sunday because we *have* to, but because we *want* to.

Futher, if we don't, thats OK.