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5 Quick Things #299 🏛
Do good work, beautiful education, true self-care, & YES, the Roman Empire
Okay, hear me out… The Roman Empire is interesting. Not only do we still feel the ramifications of their inventions, philosophies, and worldview two thousand years later, but there are also so many parallels to their rise and ultimate demise and our current post-modern situation (at least here in the States). Never before in history did we have such a unifying common thread of many of our current Western countries’ individual histories, the Roman Empire also was the doula of much of the Western civilization we still live in and benefit from.
Y’all, the Roman Empire is fascinating, and I don’t want to be in the minority here. Women! Consider reading Virgil’s Aeneid or Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations (I promise they’re accessible), and St. Augustine wrote his City of God with the looming and present attacks on Rome at the forefront of his mind. For a more modern, sweeping view try Mary Beard’s SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome.1 Likewise, this past summer I took Hillsdale College’s (free!) online class The Rise and Fall of the Roman Republic, and it was fascinating. Very accessible.
And if the idea of dipping your toes into this topic doesn’t pull you in, consider something else: another time period in history, some sort of science, theology, or philosophy… We have so many resources available to us now. Always be learning.
5 Quick Things ☕️
1. This week I wrote about the magnetic draw and genuine need for third places in our neighborhoods, as well as what we can do to make our neighborhoods more of what we want them to be. There seems to be a universal yearning for a more humane-sized way of communal living, as well as a longing to live on land. Why do these two seemingly disparate ideas point to something similar? (I wrote this for paying subscribers of The Commonplace, but I just made it available for reading to everyone.)
2. If you’re feeling discouraged about the reality that Substack is becoming more and more saturated, my pal and podcast co-host in crimehas encouraging words for us—in short: keep doing the work and stay authentic. Your readers will find you.
3. I love this insight fromin his newsletter, The Blue Scholar (such a great name): “It turns out that work, manual labor in particular, had been sitting right under my nose as perhaps the most direct route to learning the skills needed by those who desire to lead the church. I suspect I’m not alone. Any of us can become better at following Jesus by focusing on the demands and spiritual realities of our work.”
4. Education ordered toward true leisure, participating in the Great Conversation, a lack of screen-based work, and more—these are a few reasons I’m a big fan of (and why our kids learn via) a truly classical, liberal education. The stories they learn matter because they’ll either point to truth or lies—it’s essential that their education is rife with truth, good, and beautiful stories. Stories lead us on an educational pilgrimage.
5. And finally,knocks it out of the park (again) with her thoughts on true self-care. (I watch everything she puts out without hesitation, so imagine my surprise when she held up my journal in this one!)
Currently Reading, Watching, Listening 📚
Catholics and Protestants: What Can We Learn from Each Other?, by Peter Kreeft
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“There is divine beauty in learning. To learn means to accept the postulate that life did not begin at my birth. Others have been here before me, and I walk in their footsteps.”
- Elie Wiesel
How many books do you read at a time? 📚
I want to be someone who reads only one book at a time, but alas, I suffer from Something Shiny Syndrome with my reading... I will say, though, that for the past few years I've found a good rhythm of non-fiction in the morning, fiction in the evening—so, two books at a time—and that seems to work for me. But then there's often an ongoing audiobook tossed in there for good measure, so if I'm honest, I'm a three-booker.
chronic book hopping: 8%
Find this week’s poll here.
See You in a Few Weeks! 🗓
Fabled Bookshop in Waco, Texas is hosting an evening with me on Thursday, October 5 at 7 p.m. to celebrate First Light & Eventide. Enjoy drinks and an evening among kindred spirits as we welcome autumn with a spirit of gratitude. It's a fantastic shop!
Bring your friends and family — it’s free!
Quick Links 🔗
Question(s) For You to Ponder… 🤔
What was my job like a hundred years ago? Two hundred years ago? A thousand years ago?
Have a great weekend,