First Glance at David Bentley Hart’s The Beauty of the Infinite


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It would be great if we didn't have to pay attention to clocks. When all the kids are home with homeschooling, we can keep pretty well any schedule we like. (But, sadly, we've had to send three to school this term, so we're dictated to by the clock now).

We're still on daylight savings time here. I think we come off in a couple of weeks. (Better make sure we don't miss our sleep-in).

But in any case, why is the writer getting up at the ungodly hour of 6.30 (really 5.30) anyhow? Surely there's a 10am Mass he can get to somewhere.

We're getting an Indian summer here, which is just as well. We didn't have much of a summer at all and the beginning of March brought very wintry weather, which I thought was pretty insulting as we haven't even reached the Autumnal Equinox!

I wouldn't assume so. I can't offhand think of a regularly scheduled daily Mass in this area between 8 or so and noon, and this is a fairly Catholic area. Many early ones are at 7 or 7:30, the latest at 8. And maybe he has to be at work, or children at school, or something.

The only thing good thing about it to me is coming off it--the sleep-in you mention.

Your backward seasons never fail to make my head spin. I don't know why I have such a hard time with it. My mind wants to envision it as time going backwards or something.

Wow! You Americans really are Puritanical, aren't you! I am -really - amazed that you don't have such things as 10am Mass! They are everywhere here in Oz, although we do also have earlier Masses.

In the greater Hobart area, I think the earliest Sunday Mass might be at about 7am and the latest morning Mass will be at about 11am. Then the late Masses are kicked off at about 4.30, near where my Mum lives, but most are at about 6pm and there was one in town at 7pm, but I don't know if they still have that.

You know, I think that not being able to have a decent sleep-in on a Sunday may well be evil!

I cannot speak for all Australians, but this Aussie is getting a possibly perverse delight in making people's heads spin re: the seasons!

Although, I must beware, for I will no doubt reap what I sow. Given that a move to the Northern hemisphere seems very likely (Edinburgh is the current favourite), my own head may be spinning quite wildly soon.

I was wondering if moving was still a possibility for you. I guess Edinburgh might be less of a culture shock for you than Texas. Or maybe not...

Americans puritanical? I almost wish it were true. No, the Mass times are merely pragmatic, working around work and school times. Noon Masses are not uncommon, and if I had gone to work on Ash Wednesday I would have gone to one. As it was my choices were 8am and 7pm. A lot of retired people go to daily Mass and they might like a 10am Mass, but then they seem to get up early anyway.

Oh, I assumed we were talking about Sunday Mass b/c the daylight savings time here always ends on a Sat night/Sun morning. It's our Sunday Mass which is at 10am. Although our parish is pretty slack and has a 9am weekday Mass! Hobart workers have to go up to town for their early morning Mass if they want to go during the week.

I have no idea if Edinburgh or Austin would be more of a culture shock. There will be culture shock either way - I even found it a little bit when we moved interstate! Anyway, until Nick actually gets another job, it's a bit academic. But this job in Edinburgh looks fairly likely. We should know next week. He'll be at the company in Edinburgh on Monday.

I was annoyed by the banner on my toolbar which advertises links to various websites. Links to such things as "online dating" kept popping up. I think it was because I have been reading articles on marriage. Anyway, I didn't want to see these any more, so I typed "no dating online" into my google bar and searched for the term in the hope that my 'puter would get the idea! It seems to have worked b/c now I'm getting advertising for dinnerware (after looking at IKEA dinnerware last night).

Well, good luck. I'll sort of miss having an Australian correspondent (though we'll still have a New Zealander).

I never install anybody's "helpful" toolbar on my computer. That kind of stuff drives me crazy.

The idea of moving that far must be a bit scary.

Actually, I don't know how the "helpful" tool came to be there! This is one of the difficulties associated with having to share a computer with kids!

Yes, the thought of moving so far is pretty scary... and kind of exciting.

I guess you'll have an Australian correspondent living in Scotland.

But that's not half as exciting as conversing with someone whose seasons are all upside down!

We used to have a Scotland correspondent, but she moved to Indiana, so you can take over from her if you end up there.

Hey, Francesca’s got a piece on Lenten fasting over at the On the Square section on First Things today: The First Rung of the Ascent ( So that’s where she’s been. : )

Oh, and I'm not really a New Zealander, you know, just an American living here, at least for now.

Excellent piece by Francesca--thank you, I hadn't seen it, as I don't read FT's blog regularly. There is just way too much stuff out there.

Right, I knew you were not a native, but you can still be a correspondent. :-) Like the old "foreign correspondent" idea--I suppose that's a disfavored term nowadays, as "foreign" seems to be frowned upon.

And btw that's an excellent point she makes about not skipping the first rung on the ladder. I think the disdain for fasting, sexual restraint, etc. is often very gnostic: it's one thing to say those things can be superficial and effect no real change, another to say they don't matter because it's "only" the body involved.

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