Thursday, May 25, 2017

Weird And Deplorable

Let me echo something said in a Catholic publication recently. Being Catholic in itself is unremarkable. Yet if you dive in with both feet, as it were, embracing all that the Church teaches, you're going to be weird. To believe firstly that a consecrated Host is the body, blood, soul, and divinity of our Savior is a leap, if we're being honest.

But I live in a world where it's absurd to doubt it.

The one thing religion does not do is provide comfort in this life. The true believers always suffer. You may have even noticed this. People ask why God allows such suffering. But God himself endured the cross. When we suffer, we are sharing in the cross. It is definitive proof that we are loved.

It's weird, I know. But I will take it. I might be crazy, but the way I see it, crazy beats boring, every time.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Primal Loss

I wanted to take a moment to plug a book. It's called, "Primal Loss: The Now-Adult Children Of Divorce Speak." It's edited by my friend, Leila Miller. I am one of the contributors. One aspect that I appreciate is that a great many of us love our parents, and we have no desire to hurt them, or judge them. Yet the truth of what we experienced must be told. Even through touching this part of my past, I have become more comfortable with the truths of natural law, one of which is that children deserve to grow up in a home with their married parents. Tragically, we recognize that this is not always possible, and the Church never commands people to remain in dangerous situations. But as with many things, the exception has become the rule. Divorce is not part of God's plan for humanity. Quite aside from various value systems between people, we are all beginning to feel the effects of broken families and the resulting chaos, as a matter of public policy. I predict that if we survive, we will be led back to these primordial truths, no matter what values we had professed. May it come quickly, and with a merciful minimum of conflict. We have become accustomed to a strident individualism, however. It won't be easy.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Back To You

I suppose it's a positive thing that I am back to being impatient, and unreasonably angry at the Cardinals playing poorly. I'm back to being the sinner that I am. The pain from the accident is less, and though it'll be awhile before things are normal, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak.

My mouth feels rather strange, as I'm still wearing something akin to braces to hold my jaw in place. It won't be that quick for biting into things, but I'm nervous about as yet undiscovered dental damage. I thought at the time of the accident that I had in fact lost much more than one tooth. I guess we'll see.

Thanks be to God, for ordinary worries, for ordinary days. Let me never again grouse about a boring day.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken: Reflections On Suffering

I am deeply humbled that my first post about the accident has been read (according to the blog) over 1500 times. I don't deserve to be in the company of a few of those who read it, and appreciated it. These further thoughts of mine intend to honor them through their ongoing challenges, much greater than my own.

You often hear advice to the effect that you shouldn't "explain" what's going on to a suffering person, and that's true. We are so committed to the fact of our loving God that this seemingly contradictory information in the form of the suffering is problematic. Some folks are just awkward or self-involved, too. Most people mean well, and that's enough.

But what about the meaning of it all? I offered some thoughts before, and I did so because it's my suffering. I don't intend to apply it to anyone else's situation, but feel free if it helps. I felt joy, and I am a witness, so it seemed right. Was it in spite of the suffering? No, not for me. It has been alongside it, like two friends.

Suffering and pain are what they are. No vision truly alters suffering in itself. But knowing who we are and what we're doing allows us to persevere, to persist. My life need not be defined by the dark valleys of my suffering, but it's part of the definition. It's part of me now. No one but you and God can define the difference between hopeless complaining, and acknowledging the reality of suffering. But if I had one thing to offer, it would be this: be your best you, as much as possible, for as long as possible. The great temptation for us now is despair, that it will join with the suffering and become some new reality.

The truth is, though, you have lived and fought and loved this far, and no one can take it away. But don't forget it yourself! Who knows what happens from here? But we burn brightly, as long as there is opportunity.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Michael Horton Has Nothing To Offer Us

When we talk about authority in matters of religion, we are talking about divine infallibility, that is, God's communications are marked by that quality of His perfection, and to communicate things about Himself that would not otherwise be known.

Contrary to the imaginings of Dr. Horton and other Reformed counter-apologists, submission to the Magisterium of the Church  is not a new answer to a new problem. The very reason why Newman could speak of an "onus probandi" is that the Church pre-dated the new methodology of Sola Scriptura, and the new doctrines which were its fruit.

It is not an emotional need for an unreasonable certainty, but that quality of communication that distinguishes God's word from that of mere men. Indeed, Horton can't and doesn't relieve that burden by re-proposing Sola Scriptura; he simply trades ecclesial infallibility for alleged personal infallibility. It's the practical fruit of the beloved Noltie Conundrum as a uniquely Protestant dilemma that brings the Reformation paradigm into question. The particular dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church do not bear on the question of certainty as such.

What Dr. Horton sees as some kind of epistemological humility, to soldier on in spite of difficulties, to say the least, is actually ignorance. No Christian should be content with ignorance of his highest end.

I'm Dreaming Of Food

The worst part of the accident (besides the tracheotomy) is not being able to eat real food. I have a feeding tube right now. You start to notice how we are deluged with food commercials when you can't eat any of it.

I can't say that everything I dream about is sustainably sourced or clean, if you will! My friends, we are going to eat when this is over. Mark my words, and mark them well.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Spare Me The Bastiat Quotes

It is indeed true that a socialist is never satisfied. It's also true that a raucous political discussion will always ensue concerning how much the government could and should spend regarding any one thing. I don't assume that a person who funds something differently--that is, less--wants children to starve in the streets. But at some point, Spock's clever dictum holds true: "What you want is irrelevant; what you've chosen is at hand."

You can't argue that a 31 percent cut in one year is a search for efficiency. It's a malicious rejection of the people who spent the money, and the purposes for which they spent it. And at such a point, you deserve whatever moral scorn your opponents heap upon you.

A true conservative might say that the federal government could operate at 95 percent of its funding level from the previous year. You could easily argue that there is always waste, and a few years of a generalized cut will come back to the people in beneficial ways.

But I'm not giving a brutal, half-cocked social Darwinist the benefit of the doubt, just because he has an "R" next to his name. Don't bring the Democrats up to me; I don't care what they do or don't do. We must ask ourselves what is necessary and important, and act accordingly.

Another View Of A Particular Objection

We Catholics say that submission to the Church is altogether different from the provisional Hobbesian submission to some body that every Protestant makes. We cannot revoke that membership in the true Body of Christ, for one. We may decide that we no longer believe something she proposes, but we know that in so doing, we threaten our souls. It's risible to suggest that any Protestant believes that his variance on a Scripture matter with Pastor Bob from First Community could cost him his soul.

In the end, the Protestant knows that Bob is fallible, and that every visible manifestation of ecclesiastical authority is likewise open to question. Why this realization doesn't send millions of people running into the arms of the Catholic Church, I'll never know. The prerequisite of believing in any Christianity at all is knowing that some things I wouldn't know at all, unless God revealed them. In light of this, one would think that a fraternal warning to the effect that you can't tell the difference between personal opinion and revelation in a particular system would be met with thanks, instead of mockery. To hear some people tell it, the whole claim of the Catholic Church is vain, because some guy on the internet was repetitive or mean.

For my part, it's very simple. Everything in Christian history prior to the Reformation is up for examination. I don't need to worry about after that, because that's a simple story; the Catholic Church asserts a thing, and someone else disagrees. Now, if Christians agree on a thing and have always agreed, it stands to reason that it has a common origin. Find the source. Be ready to submit your very being to it, if it turns out to be the Church.

To hear Ben Carmack and Triablog tell it, Catholic keyboard warriors just invented the Magisterium last decade or so, because we got bored with exegesis or something. But anybody with a few hours can find out that the history of the Roman Catholic Church demands to be accounted for. It will never be a pristine history, but the public facts must admit the possibility that Jesus Christ founded the Catholic Church. An inquiry is simply that: the forthright consideration of the possibility.

Once that consideration turns to conviction, we joyfully and henceforth submit to the Church as to Christ Himself. I need not really answer the objection that the Protestant and the Catholic functionally do the same thing, because the Protestant's dogmas, and indeed, his church, did not exist. It's a theology in reaction, and I need not fear I have failed to submit to some organ of Christ that He hasn't bothered to preserve.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken

On Easter Friday, as many of you know, I was struck by a car while crossing a busy street near my home and office. That's an almost indescribable experience. Judging by the movies, the fog of war seems similar. I don't know. What I do know is that if you're blessed enough to be alive after something like this, you know your life will change. I have broken nearly every bone in my face. My left leg is broken. Who knows when my normal life will resume?

Honestly, though, who cares?

I have known pain and suffering. I won't sugar-coat it; I've seen, and vomited, my own blood. Surgery is still to come, and there is always risk, especially with a pre-existing condition like CP.

But I have seen the glory of the cross of Christ. Only he could make so much love and joy come out of this. There's a logic, a wisdom to it that I have no right to deny. I have become a focal point of reconciliation and love. What's a few broken bones and teeth, compared with that?

Faith, hope, and love are the indestructible virtues; they are called "theological" normally, but I beg your indulgence. If by these virtues we begin to see with God's vision, then the meaning of our whole lives becomes clear. No hardship truly stands against these.

One other thing: My power wheelchair saved my life. In these days least of all do I feel "confined" to it. I hope you can understand that we are not so different. Every life longs to burn brightly, every soul. The starting hand is different, as it were, but we all play our cards as best we can 'til the dealing is done.