Archive for August, 2009

The Brand of Silence continues, as our heroes hold a council of war — and prepare to start fighting on two fronts.

Chapter 13: A Plan of Campaign.


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The author of The Keys of the Kingdom apparently also wrote a series of short stories about a couple of Scottish doctors and their practice. BBC 7 is currently reairing a bunch of these, under the name of Doctor Finlay – Adventures of a Black Bag and The Further Adventures of a Black Bag.

There’s only one more week to go, which with the “Listen Again” feature means you have only two episodes to listen to — the one just broadcast and the one to come. But the series will almost certainly come around again in the BBC 7 rotation.


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An Introduction to the Devout Life continues, with comments on chastity: why everybody needs to practice this virtue in a way appropriate to their state in life, and what kind of things you can do to gain or strengthen this virtue in yourself.

Yes, it’s kinda annoying when authors talk about sins without actually coming right out and saying what they are, even in the infamous “let’s break into Latin and Greek” clarifications. On the other hand, think how much utility ambiguity has, to cover a multitude of possible sins! (Sorry, no annotations in the translation I’m reading from. I’m sure some of the others will tell you their best guesses. Or you can go read St. John Cassian, who was an awesome writer and interviewer of desert monks, or Tertullian’s little book. I want breakfast more than scholarship at the moment.) Anyway, I’m sure you know what your own problems are with chastity, if any, and you’re better off concentrating on that.

Book 3, Chapters 12-13.


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An Introduction to the Devout Life continues, with throughts about sweating the small stuff and about obedience as a virtue. (Assuming you’re not ordered to do anything evil, mind you.)

Book 3, Chapters 10-11.


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Sorry it’s a bit late. Enjoy it anyway!

The City of God, a book about practically everything. Read at a brisk but quite comprehensible pace by a single reader, and totally unabridged. Very interesting, whether you like Roman mythology and folklore, politics, or theology. If Charlemagne thought it was fascinating, you’ll like it too! From our friends at Librivox.

The Enchiridion, a treatise on Christian piety, faith, hope, and love. Also from Librivox.

The Confessions, St. Augustine’s autobiography. Coming soon from Librivox.org, already available in part.

From me, of course, Of the Catechizing of the Unlearned and On Christian Doctrine. Oh, and the contemporary Life of Augustine by personal friend St. Possidius.

“The Petition of St. Augustine”, a really nice five-minute choral setting by Dr. Erik Reid Jones of something St. Augustine wrote about singing and perseverence in the Christian life. The MP3 link on the page covers the whole piece. The group singing is the choir the composer directs: The Master Singers of Virginia.

“St. Augustine’s Pears” by that old Christian Rock band, Petra. Not bad.

“I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine” by Bob Dylan.

Mike Aquilina on St. Augustine, on the Catholic Men’s Podcast.

Fr. Z discusses St. Augustine’s sermon to newly baptized Christians.

Stuff I haven’t listened to, but I’m linking to ’em because they’re there:

Fr. Kubicki on St. Augustine, at archive.org.

Theopedia: includes several audio lectures which may or may not be crazy talk. 🙂 But heck, considering this week we’ve seen someone claiming that no Christian should read the Church Fathers at all because they’re all heretics and will suck you into Rome like a giant Early Christian black hole of DOOOOM!, I’m feeling very supportive of anybody who’s into patristics today. 🙂

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“Morale” continues. Somebody doesn’t like people watching them. Not at all.

Part 2.


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“Morale” is another military sf story by Murray Leinster. This one first appeared in the December 1931 issue of Astounding, and is set ten years later than “Tanks”, though apparently in the same universe.

We’re apparently still fighting the Japanese, too, though I still doubt that anybody Asian would be using the yellow imperial color for an ordinary flag. (Well, it’s not something most people would think about, and it worked as shorthand for his audience.) But really, the identity of the enemy doesn’t seem to have been all that important to either story, which is odd for the days of the “Yellow Peril” showing up tons in sf. (And really, that’s not fair. Japan was building up its military strength all during the early twentieth century, which was why military guys worried about it. It may have fed into racist fears, but Japanese militarism and expansionist imperialism was real.) As would become characteristic of Leinster, even when you meet the enemy face-to-face in “Tanks”, the enemy is made up of ordinary guys. Whatever causes the horrific nature of war, Leinster seems pretty clear that it’s not a matter of furriners being furrin. This makes his characters’ moral outrage at the events in “Morale” more effective, I think.

This story is divided up into eight short episodic parts by Leinster, with little fake quotes from his alternate universe’s histories to head each one. (We fans eat that stuff up. At least, I do.) So I’m recording it according to his scheme. It should make a nice set of short listens for people.

Part 1.


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On Christian Doctrine ends at last: with talk about how a preacher is most believable when he lives the way he talks; why wise truth is more important than eloquent expression (if you have to choose one, which hopefully you don’t); the permissible use of speechwriters; and an apology for how long this sucker turned out to be.

My version also turned out to take longer than I planned, and I thank those of you who’ve stuck with me. For those who like less seriality and more complete books, you will now find this one under the Completed Religious Books tab, in the Pastoral section. Enjoy!

Book 4, Chapters 27-31.


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On Christian Doctrine reaches its penultimate post of chapters, with a great deal of talk about what styles preachers should use, and how they should use them.

Book 4, Chapters 22-26.


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The Brand of Silence continues, as Farland sleuths after his client’s not-so-loyal cousin.

Ch. 12: Battered Keys.


UPDATE: Broken link fixed. My only consolation is that I keep finding brand-new ways to type the filenames wrong.

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An Introduction to the Devout Life continues, with an excellent couple of chapters to remedy pride and depression.

Book 3, Chapter 8-9.


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“Tanks” concludes, with a roar.

I liked this story. It has the Leinster sense that ordinary people with their ordinary habits and ordinary weaknesses, are still strong and capable of doing big things, and what is important often goes unnoticed by the eye. This is more or less the opposite of the nastier side of sf/f’s tendency to tell stories of wish fulfillment, where one Supuh Speshul Geenyus saves all those declasse morons who laughed at him in school. Spinrad’s The Iron Dream is not particularly kindly, but he’s right that if you take elitist Speshulness too far, it’s where totalitarianism comes from. (And if you despise the football players and cheerleaders too much in print, they will not be buying your books.)

Part 3.


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“Tanks” continues, as the general waits for the infantry to report, and Sgt. Coffee and Cpl. Wallis find out some things he’d be interested to know. But they’ll have to report them first….

Part 2.


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On Christian Doctrine continues, with more examples of oratorical styles.

Book 4, Chapter 21: Examples of various styles in the doctors of the Church.


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The Brand of Silence continues, as Jim Farland investigates a woman of mystery.

Chapter 11: Concerning Kate Gilbert


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