Friday, July 24, 2009

Novak on Friday at Chautauqua

Michael Novak was the morning lecturer. I couldn't decide whether to go or not. He was advertized as a 'theologian' here at Chautauqua; but I dispute that. He does refer to and write in a style that utilizes theology and philosophy, but I think that he is more interested in espousing and defending capitalist ideology. He is cofounder with the now deceased Neuhaus of First Things. Most recently he caused quite a furor on the blogosphere with his critique of the Pope Benedicts latest encyclical. One can often learn a lot through disagreeing and so I thought that the challenge of Novak might help me clarify my own thought. But, I didn't really want to hear another pep rally for unfettered capitalism, especially with Bible quotes. I went shopping instead to get the obligatory souvenirs for the family... which I quite enjoy really. The boys get Chautauqua caps and t-shirts, Roberta a roomy, fluffy pink Chautauqua hoody, and I gave myself a chautauqua pen and baseball hat.
Anyway, I wandered back and Novak was delivering his lecture. Luckily (for me I suppose) he didn't seem to have a clear point or objective in mind. Instead he seemed to be thinking outloud, wandering a bit cognitively searching for a thread or stream of an cogent idea... and not discovering it frankly. I was a bit disappointed on one hand, because I thought a theological defense of capitalism would be a useful foil for sharpening my own thoughts... and a bit relieved that I could go do something else. Which is what I did... Novak wasn't making any sense so Malone and I wandered off.
Finishing a sermon instead of attending the afternoon lecture. It is thundering and raining and so I'd have to stand in the rain to hear the lecture anyway.

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