Notes on Christianity
and Ideas

Issue 2
December 1996

Published by Theodore Plantinga

In this issue ....

Robert Bly opened an interesting discussion in Iron John. Now there's a new instalment. Click here to read "All Men Are Brothers: A Chilling Prospect."

Do you need a tune-up when it comes to proper pronoun use? Does that tricky word "myself" derail you every now and then? Click here to read "Please Contact Myself."

A few years ago, John Bolt wrote about being both Christian and Reformed. Now there are churches which are both united and Reformed. What does "united" mean? Click here to read "Mission Accomplished? Some Dangers in Past Participle Thinking."

For friends and alumni of Redeemer College, an end-of-term report is offered in this issue. All the news that's fit to let out of the bag. No -- just kidding.

NEW DIGS. Man shall not live in cyberspace alone. Thus we still have addresses understood as locations in the real world. I changed mine recently, moving from the west side of Dundas to the east side. My new address is 126 York Road, postal code L9H 1M2. My phone number is unchanged: 905-628-5994. The new house is smaller but affords a better view of the external world. In this regard, especially, it is a more pleasant habitation than the Larraine Avenue townhouse which we occupied for almost 10 years.


Don't take the term literally. I don't plan to turn pages for you. If I inform you of a website, I will simply pass on the address. But for the most part I will comment here on materials in the world of the printed page -- brief book notes, observations about periodicals, and perhaps a comment on an event.

I know this land is your land; is it also my land? I'm an ethnic, although I don't come in for official government protection. Members of my tribe (the Frisians) don't seem keen on minority status. Many of us think we came to this country to be Canadians, although we're not entirely sure what that means. Discussion is needed. I'm pleased to see that another immigrant to this country of ours, Neil Bissoondath, from Trinidad, and earlier from India (at least, in terms of family roots), has initiated such discussion in a book well worth looking at. It's called Selling Illusions: The Cult of Multiculturalism in Canada (Toronto: Penguin Books, 1994). Bissoondath has good advice for immigrants. Here's a sample: "Despite the attraction of the past, the changes wrought by immigration and radically different circumstances must be recognized, assimilated and accepted. It is the only way to get on with one's life, the only way to take full advantage of the new possibilities. It is a reality multiculturalism, with its obsessively backward gaze, fails to recognize. Immigration is essentially about renewal. It is unjust, to individuals and to the communities from which they emerge, to require it to be about stasis. To do so is to legitimize marginalization; it is to turn ethnic communities into museums of exoticism." [p. 111]

Tired of the Twinkie defense? Have a look at a collection of short pieces by Alan Dershowitz, an American lawyer and law professor who likes to get involved in famous cases. His book is called The Abuse Excuse and Other Cop-Outs, Sob Stories and Evasions of Responsibility (Boston: Little, Brown, 1994). The pathetic excuses discussed in the book are entertaining, although the book is best read in short snatches. There is a serious argument made throughout, an argument which visible minority folks should take seriously, namely, that a minority-related excuse for criminal misbehavior stigmatizes all members of that minority and generally makes things more difficult for them. Is "black rage" understandable in the light of the historic suffering of black people on this continent? In that case, you'd best steer clear of black people as much as possible, for they are liable to erupt in violence and then get excused by the courts. Dershowitz is usually provocative; I can also recommend his reflections on Jewish affairs, entitled Chutzpah (Boston: Little, Brown, 1991). The latter book also contains a good deal of autobiography.

General information

Is "Myodicy" in the dictionary? So you took the trouble to look it up, and you didn't find it! Some of you got suspicious and asked me. The best answer I could come up with was that "Myodicy" sounds like a cross between theodicy (which is something Reformed folks aren't supposed to believe in) and myopia (which many of us specialize in). Perhaps you're muttering to yourself that since I'm the one who chose the name, I should be required to explain what it means. What you've forgotten is that this is the age of reader! Authors have been dethroned. Therefore, as just another reader of Myodicy, I'm offering my take on what this strange name means. And I'd be pleased to hear what you make of it.

This electronic journal is my way of keeping in touch with friends, colleagues, former students, and so forth. It does not have a regular publication schedule. Feel free to download it and pass it around. You may even wish to send me a comment; I do not guarantee a response to each communication. If you wish to repost anything in this journal, please let me know. If you care to print something in paper form, this can also be arranged, provided that I retain the copyright so that I will remain free in my use of the material.

Theodore Plantinga
E-mail: [email protected]

To read Myodicy:

Please pass on this address, or include a link to it in something you have posted yourself.