Archives For January 2014

From my recent article in the Old Gold and Black newspaper at Wake Forest (http://oldgoldandblack.com/?p=38052):

“Political Narrative Angles”

An emotive and authentic story is the most effective yet disheartening political weapon in post-modern America.

On Jan. 28 citizens of this country witnessed two well-crafted narrative performances from the political left and from the political right. President Obama’s State of the Union Address consisted of a series of meditations on the lives of specific individuals from the American public.

The President focused on the stories of these people because he felt that they demonstrate what it means to be an American, particularly a Democratic American. Obama presented these stories as representative of the essence of America herself.

Equally, the Republican response by Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers was essentially the narrative of her life as expressed in the rhetorical language of an American conservative.

She is America because she rose from rags to riches against all odds. As a citizen of this nation, I take issue with both President Obama and Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers not because of their particular political ideologies but rather because of the method by which they articulate these very ideologies.

Let me offer a possible alternative: the narrative acknowledgment of failure. Let the Republican Party tell the story of someone upon whom it has objectively inflicted deep pain and hardship. Give that person the opportunity to tell his or her tale of suffering.

Afterwards, the Republican Party ought to express empathy for that person, and may that expression be public.

Similarly, how radical would it be for President Obama to give an account of those people who have experienced an increase in the amount they pay for health insurance as a result of his policies? Subsequently, how radical would it be for the President to acknowledge that he has failed these individuals?

I do not offer this alternative to bemoan the immorality of the current state of affairs in our country — not in the slightest. I offer this alternative because I stand for restorative justice.

May reconciliation be the first step towards true righteousness! May the recognition of radical imperfection be the path towards true freedom!

Truth and Descartes

January 17, 2014 — 2 Comments

Truth and Descartes

“The power of judging aright and of distinguishing truth from error, which is properly what is called good sense or reason, is by nature equal in all men; and the diversity of our opinions, consequently, does not arise from some being endowed with a larger share of reason than others, but solely from this, that we conduct our thoughts along different ways, and do not fix our attention on the same objects. For to be possessed of a vigorous mind is not enough; the prime requisite is rightly to apply it. The greatest minds, as they are capable of the highest excellences, are open likewise to the greatest aberrations; and those who travel very slowly may yet make far greater progress, provided they keep always to the straight road, than those who, while they run, forsake it.” –Rene Descartes

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There is nothing more intellectually dissatisfying than bracketing the truth in an academic discussion, yet the American Academy of Religion continues to mandate this limited, relativistic, empirical, polarizing, and totalitarian agenda. Why? Well, I’m not entirely sure, but I have a hunch. Truth is scary for two reasons: (1) truth necessitates the rigorous and time-consuming task of logical reasoning, and (2) truth may necessitate the partaker of that truth to change his or her life in accordance with the truth. There may be a third reason that has to do with the influence of postmodern philosophy, but I am not entirely sure that anyone, in good faith, can thoroughly adhere to postmodern doctrine given its internal incoherence and its logical implications. After all, by saying, “There is no truth,” one is admitting a truth–namely, that there is no truth. I challenge a postmodern feminist to live in a culture that practices female, adolescent genital mutilation and to raise her children, if she has any, in that cultural context, which naturally, is just as valid a construction of society as our own. No one has taken me up on that offer yet. Morals are not mere preferences, as if choosing to kill a man were equivalent to selecting a flavor of ice cream at a local Baskin Robbins. Innately, humanity is not relativistic, so the imposition of relativism is the imposition of a system akin to the systems that relativists expressly condemn. Irony. (If you reject my claim that humanity is not innately relativistic, then I encourage you to find a place where it is common practice for one to commit mass murder for fun with no retribution.) It is no wonder that Pope Benedict XVI spoke against the dictatorship of relativism, a tyranny in which the adherents of moral absolutism and objectivity are systematically silenced for their desire to pursue truth, even within the context of a university. We could use a dosage of Descartes, who correctly maintained that a commitment to reason–the distinction of truth from error–is necessary for the thriving of humankind. We are in bondage to relativism. Only the truth can set us free.

Societas Iesu

January 13, 2014 — 2 Comments

“Acceptance into the Novitiate of the Society of Jesus”

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Yesterday, I received the good news that I have been accepted into the novitiate of the Society of Jesus. I’d like to take a moment to reflect in writing on the significance of this offer, especially on how our Lord has led me to this incredible moment. 

My generation is characterized by a sense of restlessness, and I am certain that this sense of restlessness is a result of our lack of connectivity with God. I do not mean to say that God has forgotten us; rather, we have largely forgotten about God. He continually calls us to Himself, yet we are reluctant to respond. This reluctance is the product of a culture that values material wealth, independence, and moral decadence over spiritual riches, community, and holiness. Ours is a culture that says, “We can and should do what we want to.” Liberty is appealing to us, so much so that we have traded truth for liberty and justice for freedom. 

Contrary to this culture stands the Society of Jesus with its vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, with its commitment to philosophical and theological rigor, and with its unwavering trust in the power of prayer and God’s presence in the world. Its name comes directly from the source of our salvation: Jesus Christ. The popular name for a member of the Society is a Jesuit, which comes from the Society’s opponents who were astounded by how frequently its members invoked the name of Jesus. After all, without Jesus, life is impossible, whether material or spiritual. God made everything through Him, and there is no salvation apart from Him.

With an overwhelming sense of peace and joy, I say, “Yes,” to Christ’s offer to me through the Society of Jesus. Apart from God’s will, I can do nothing.

Please pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood.

For the greater glory of God,

David J.W. Inczauskis

Back to School

January 10, 2014 — Leave a comment

“Back to School”

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Yesterday marked my return to Wake Forest University for one final semester. Thanks be to God, I drove safely from Illinois to North Carolina despite the icy roads. Bad weather–and good weather, for that matter–always reminds me of how subject we are to the will of God. Through Job 37:6, the biblical narrator tells us, “For He saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength.” Our Lord is the author of the world and everything within it, except for sin, so it surely follows that He is the one who controls the forecast. Since our God is a God of meaning and purpose, we might ask ourselves, “What is God communicating to me through the weather today?”