5 Quick Things #288 🏡
audiobooks, third cities, smartphones, & movie recs
I just got in from the backyard... anyone need any green beans? Last week it was cucumbers (I still have a stack of 20+ on my kitchen counter, even after canning five quarts of pickles), but this week it's green beans' turn. I just filled two one-gallon bags full of beans and now they're hanging out in the freezer. I'm seeing tons of green tomatoes on the vine, so they should be heading inside in the next few weeks... This is my favorite time in the garden.1
This afternoon it looks like I’ll be making more pickles, and we’ve also got more basil than we know what to do with, so pesto it is. Anyone have any ideas on what to do with bolted cilantro? I don’t really use much coriander, so let me know if you have any other ideas.
5 Quick Things ☕️
1. Amen, amen, and amen: there’s a strong case to be made for smartphone-free schools. I see it as a parent, a teacher, and a cultural observer… Jonathan Haidt is right: these sorts of phones are messing with our kids’ emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual health too much for the benefits to offset all the negatives. Parents, we don’t “need” to get hold of our kids during the day. What did our parents do when they needed us at school? They called the front office. Let kids go smartphone-free. Or at minimum, go with a dumbphone.
2. In the third century, Tertullian asked, “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” — meaning, what does pagan Greek philosophy have to do with Judeo-Christian religion? Those of us not Sola Scriptura rest in the wisdom of smart people who later more-or-less said, “Actually, a lot.” But Luke Burgis makes a solid case that in our modern culture, we actually have a third city to contend with: Silicon Valley. “Never before have the questions of Athens and the questions of Jerusalem been mediated to us by such a great variety of things that vie for our attention and our desires. Silicon Valley, this third city, has altered the nature of the problem that Tertullian was wrestling with. The questions of what is true and what is good for the soul are now mostly subordinated to technological progress—or, at the very least, the questions of Athens and Jerusalem are now so bound up with this progress that it’s creating confusion.”2
3. An interesting exploration + helpful tips from Joel Miller on the pros and cons of audiobooks… I, for one, love them and they help me read more than I would otherwise (walking, cooking, driving, chores, etc.). But there is definitely a trade-off—I’ve had more than a few occasions when I realize a whole chapter’s gone by and I’ve barely listened. “The more involved the argument and evidence, or the more extensive the storyline and characters, the more engaged the mind needs to be to properly understand what’s being said.”
4. Okay, fine, I’ll link to Bishop Barron two weeks in a row3… Right now, his video series called The Mass is currently free. This resource was hugely helpful when I was discerning my path from Protestantism to Catholicism—I had a million questions, some dealing with the whys and hows of the ritual of it all. If you have similar curiosities, you may appreciate this series. I love how he describes the Mass as the ultimate form of play!
5. And finally, here’s 25 movie recommendations from Joshua Gibbs, the last episode’s guest on A Drink With a Friend. If you value his way of thinking, as I do, I think you’ll appreciate most on this list.
Currently Reading, Watching, Listening 📚
The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett
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“Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth.”
— Pope St. John Paul II #
What's your ideal? 🏡
This week's poll question was a hard one for me, and I heard it was hard for more than a few of you, too. Since the options were long, here they are in writing, as a reminder:
living on a bit of land in a farmhouse outside town with a few animals and crops
living on a sprawling estate in a historic manor tucked in the woods
living in an urban highrise surrounded by tons to do via public transport
living in walkable, quiet suburbs bordered by a few parks, shops, & neighbors
I'm ultimately not surprised by the results, but I definitely see the appeal to all the options. I'm grateful to live in such a walkable town; it definitely seems pretty conducive to a flourishing life.
Find this week’s poll here.
Quick Links 🔗
📔 Releasing August 29, 2023: First Light & Eventide
Question(s) For You to Ponder… 🤔
Who could you encourage this weekend?
Have a good one,
Don't be envious, northerners—a month from now and things will be shriveling up from the heat and I'll mostly be indoors for all of August and September, aka Scorched Earth Season. It's a-comin'.
At minimum, I'll link to Wired anytime they publish a quote from The Abolition of Man.
It’s because he does really good work.