Friday, April 07, 2006

If I were going to write books...

One of my dreams is to be able to write books with popular appeal. I don't know if I'll be able to do that, but to even write a single book (popular or not) would permit me to die a happy man. Maybe that's nothing more than my instinctive appetite to perpetuate memes... but I wouldn't want to write anything if I didn't think it could maybe maybe maybe help someone find some peace or to satisfy their hunger for knowledge. It isn't like I've forgotten that "there's nothing new under the sun." But, like the guide I wrote for an old video game, the usefulness of a book can be less in its new ideas and more in it's comprehensive, accurate, and helpful information.

Here are some ideas I've had for books I might consider writing some day.

  • To Flatten the World - My goal here would be to trace the trends and patterns of what could be called liberal Catholicism (as well as other contemporary movements and philosophies) to their philosophical and historical roots; not to dismiss them for being historical, but rather to illumine their common direction. That direction, I argue, is the ultimate dissolution of difference in an ideological quest for identity. Such philosophies are doomed to terminate, when taken to extremes, in either futility or totalitarianism. The key, I would argue, resides in the transcendence of the One God, the hypostatic union, and the work of the Spirit in the Church. (Predictable, I know).
  • The Virtue of Understanding - The goal here would be to explore and define what I believe is a much maligned intellectual virtue, and to argue against the notion that highly "sensate" (detail or fact oriented) people can validly dismiss the conclusions of "intuitives" (pattern oriented) as merely a different perspective. Sensates must defer to the intuitives' recognition of patterns and meanings just as much as intuitives must defer to the keen observations of sensates. I want to demonstrate that it is epistemologically irresponsible for sensates to dismiss understanding.
  • What Does it Mean? - Similar, if not identical to the previous idea. Recognizing the concrete impossibility of endless interpretation and analysis, still, this book would be a prophetic accusation against a world which has failed to sufficiently ask this question about its most cherished idols of thought and action.
  • Pattern of the Liturgy - A synthesis and dialogue between great liturgical theorists, contemporary trends, ancient liturgical history, and revelation, with a view toward answering the following questions: What is the most important standard? What is allowable, and what is not, within the framework of pastoral possibilities? Can one possibly claim a mandate for concrete liturgical reform in a pluralistic diocese, persuasively defend it from opponents, and enact it?
  • A Book About Freedom - Basically a longer and more tradition-soaked exposition on my writings on freedom and God here on NN. I want to discuss Freedom as the other name for God (the first being Love). But I want to clarify certain common Christian language regarding freedom, as well as demolish not only brazenly simplistic concepts of freedom, but more sophisticated errors about freedom.
  • The Choice to Love - A reflection on love (caritas) as an act of the will and how it subsists in spite of the absence of corresponding feeling and even in times of supreme anger.
  • A Systematic Introduction to Christianity - An introduction to the faith according to the four headings I outlined in NN: (1) Creation and her Creator, (2) Freedom and Salvation, (3) Analogy and Being,(4) Caritas and kenosis.
  • Consolations - An elongated sermon and love letter to those who suffer from guilt, anxiety, and depression, inspired by Henry Suso.
  • Three Logics - A book placing classical logic (non-contradiction), Hegelian logic (contradiction), and aesthetic logic (analogy, fittingness) in dialogue with one another, giving priority to the last.
  • Gender and Salvation - Really just a companion to John Paul II's Theology of the Body: a top-down (revelation and systematics-based) reflection on the ultimate meanings of gender and sex, and how male and female pervade salvation history; and as always with a view to concrete questions in everyday life and politics.
  • Convert to Catholicism? - A bald series of books targetted to atypical but undeniable contemporary groups: different volumes for agnostics, for atheists, for pluralists, for right-wing/left-wing schismatics, for Jews, Muslims, etc. A little bit out-there of an idea, I know, but fun to keep on the backburner.
  • Straw Compared to What I Have Seen - A book in praise of simple faith; and in praise of a tradition which allows itself to be simple for all in spite of its inexhaustible depth. It would be a self-referential warning to intellectualists; consolations for the anxious; and perhaps even a venture into writing a Theresian Rule of the Little Way for the laity.

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