Tuesday, April 15, 2014

5 Thoughts For Today

5. I'm grumpy today. Perhaps tomorrow's trip to The Box is well-timed.

4. [Isn't it a little flippant to refer to the Sacrament of Penance with a thinly-veiled sports analogy?--ed.] No, and I'll tell you why. A huge part of the renewal that we need is convincing others and ourselves (by grace) that God absolutely loves us! How many Catholics are "fallen away," simply because they have irrational notions and fears about what we do as Catholics, and why? Actually, it's the perfect analogy. Hockey players don't have an existential crisis every time they commit an infraction. Most of the spectators don't think even the troll on the opposing team who just tripped their guy is at his core irredeemable or inhuman. And yet, no one would argue that infractions should be ignored, despite some variance in the enforcement or application of said rules. Most sinners need to think like hockey players: You are not unworthy to play just because you screw up.

3. Your conscience needs to be like a well-trained referee, who lets you know when you have gone wrong, and leads you to The Box.

2. Fred Noltie (yes, that Fred Noltie) is in my comments section. I'm humbled and honored, seriously. And yes, it is a Mutual Admiration Society, but it's also real. I marvel at his clarity and charity. I'm staying out of it, and letting the man work.

1. I hope and pray that God is making a way for Fred and his family to live on what he does in the way of apologetics and the like. I feel that strongly about it.

Heaven Is For Real, And I'm Catholic

Which means we can think about things other than the Scriptures. Not contradict them, mind you. But the last line here just annoys me. I don't think anyone confuses a book--an admittedly fallible human product--with divine revelation. I think evangelicals say, "But it's not the Bible" once again to avoid thinking about, or even enjoying, anything. Also, this is why Jesus gave us the Magisterium in the first place: so we know whether something is in accord with what he taught us. We of Christ and Peter's flock do indeed find stupid things to fight about, but our being petty is generally known on all sides. Anyway, Catholics definitely are not averse to visions and things; we were into God doing weird things well before they inspired reactionary conferences from John MacAurthur. [Zing.--ed.]

In fact, I'm such an anti-rationalist that I'm more inclined to believe a vision than not believe it, provided it is not obviously contrary to the faith on the face of it.

Being Catholic is nothing less than the freedom to rest in unchanging Truth, but it is also the freedom to embrace the weird. I have to wonder if some of the caution is because biblicism circles back around to kiss rationalism in the end. Which is not to say the book is good or true. It is to say that, more than likely, the verdict on this book will vary, according to judgments of prudence and personal sanctification.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

He Deserves A Real Answer, Part III

If this is not clear, this is the argument:

Here's the argument:

(1) All my sins (past, present, and future) were already forgiven.

(2) My sanctification will be accomplished immediately and painlessly at the moment of my death.

(3) Given the sufficiency of the work of Christ, nothing can make God any more or less pleased with me than He is right now.

(4) Heaven is unimaginably better than here.

(5) At death I instantly enter heaven.


(6) Suicide is better than waiting around to die.

Against the charge that no Reformed person experiences life this way, Bryan helpfully adds: 

Of course I agree. I'm pointing out a contradiction between that experience of the meaningfulness of our post-salvation temporal life, and a theology that entails post-salvation temporal meaninglessness. That contradiction ought to concern anyone who cares about truth and therefore wishes to eliminate contradictions from his set of beliefs.

So my (temporal nihilism) argument is intended to reveal the contradiction, and then show that the contradiction is a reductio ad absurdum of monergism.

Same thread. And this site is Bryan's personal blog, in case that was unclear.

He Deserves A Real Answer, Part II, Starring Ralph Macchio (No, Not Really)

Go back to the previous post if you need a refresher, but Dr. Bryan Cross is not, as I understand it, making the syllogism/dilemma to say that any current Reformed person thinks suicide is good; rather, he is asking whether that is a viable conclusion to reach, given the premises. He knows well the conclusion is undesirable, and altogether not good. That's why it's a dilemma. He's definitely saying that Reformed people are inconsistent with their principles, and in this case, that's a very good thing. As Dr. Feingold says, "It is better to be inconsistent with good principles, than to be consistent with bad ones."

It seemed to me all over the place that various heretical radical individualists were being very consistent in the application of Sola Scriptura. If a principle well applied (consistently, that is) leads inoxerably and unavoidably to a bad end, most especially for those who do not intend it, that's a good clue it's a bad principle.

Overall, "conservative Protestants" (the phrase is quickly losing meaning) are inconsistent in their application of both good and bad principles. The opposite of ecclesial deism is God's faithfulness, which becomes expressed visibly in the Church, which, more than metaphorically, draws its reality from the Incarnate Word Himself.

Friday, April 11, 2014

He Deserves A Real Answer

Monergism is a cruel mistress. It's fun to stay at the RCIA! [Terrible. Just terrible.--ed.]

Kate Upton Has A Soul

Duh. Right? But she does. I saw her on one of the late-night talk shows last night, and I was curious how she would dress. (Trust me, you can find her in any state of undress on the internet in short order.) But she was dressed very tastefully, actually. And since the guy was going to actually talk with her, and my soul was safe, (so it seemed) I settled in to listen for a spell.

She's a very likable person. Believe this or not, but she has an innocence about her that is very real. She talked about going to photo shoots in Germany when she was just a teen. Can you believe that? I certainly believe you can be a chaste model, but isn't it also true that children who are way too young are sexualized and made into objects of lust? Child pornographers aren't aliens; they're us, with the veneer of respectability stripped away.

I promise you, I saw past it all. I saw that she's just a little girl. Frankly, she looked like she needed a hug. I'm not sure; I have nothing to back that up. But just for a second, she wasn't just a chick with all the curves in all the right places. If you have a moment like that, hold on to it. It comes from God.

Remember, any insights you gain from me are not from very high horses; they are hard-won, the triumphs of the lowly. On the one hand, I don't believe the same man can be both a saint and a sinner at one time. On the other, it is His glory and right to make enemies into friends.

What if we saw everyone as they were meant to be? What if we loved them as God does? I can hardly fathom it, much less write it. But the thought has a piece of glory in it.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Marriage Is...

Ready? It's a definition, real simple. Marriage is a permanent, unbreakable sexual union between a man and a woman. Anything else is...something else. Any other definitions are clouded with pointless emotional baggage about feelings and the like. The State doesn't care about your feelings, and neither do I. (Ha!)

Once Again

5. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

4. If we're going to have a War On Drugs, we need a war on Kenny Loggins. Honestly.

3. Tiger Woods does need to relax if he's going to get to 19 majors. He needs real joy, but it won't happen unless he moves toward Jesus Christ. Yeah, I said it. His dad was his Cus D'Amato; unfortunately, his life path is very similar to the other athlete in this parallel. Rick Reilly is right.

2. Yes, I'm rooting for Notre Dame tonight, but not for Catholic reasons, because ND isn't Catholic. Yeah, I said it. It's for Pat. Pat Summitt, for the uninitiated. The greatest basketball coach of all time, who deserves her name mentioned alongside Snarky Geno, not after. Yeah, I said it.

1. The Lady Vols had only 227 losses in Summitt's 38 year tenure. In basketball. It's normal even for national champions in the NCAA to lose 5 games. 6 losses per year; that's it. Just let that sit for a minute. [Does it bother you that this sport you enjoy came about because of a feminist revolution?--ed.] Yes. [What's your response?--ed.] I like basketball? [You're supporting a liberal fantasy-land.--ed.] I like basketball, not feminism, or any of its nasty fruits.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

On Being A "Bigot"

Forgive me if this sounds defiant, but you may call me whatever name you wish, owing to my unwillingness to smile and tell you that of course you can re-define marriage, or that homosexual conduct is right and good. I don't care. Because the only thing that matters to me is my conscience. If 99 percent of the public believed it was acceptable to put cute household pets in blenders, (pardon the example) I still wouldn't do it, because it's wrong. But you, homosexuality advocate, seem to think it matters that half or almost half of people don't seem to mind. The morality under which I operate doesn't shift based on what most people say. Most people can't be trusted to find Missouri on a map; I'm not getting life advice from most people.

And part of your mistake may be due to the fact that great movements for true justice made use of democratic means. But don't mistake it; we do not make justice by our majoritarian consensus; the best we can say is that we have conformed the workings of our polity to the demands of justice. Indeed, that is what we should say.

I think down deep, you know that the "equality" you fight for is a lie, a shadow. You press on, because being disapproved is far worse to you than telling someone they are advocating the absurd. You need those people to say hard words. Hard words can be loving words, and soft words can be words of hidden hate.

I'm perfectly happy being scorned, because I know when I'm right. This is one of those times.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Today's Gospel: John 7:1-2, 10, 20-25

This entire Gospel according to John is my favorite. This chapter is what I like to call "the lost chapter," because when I reflect on it, there has been gaps in my memory. I guess even now, John 7 is a little foggy, like London.

Anyway, it strikes me that Jesus is both elusive, and powerful. No matter what we expect of him, and try to use him for, he's greater. At once he is saying, as he will say later, "I lay down my life, and take it up again; no one takes it from me; I lay it down of my own accord." But I hear Him also saying, "Who do you say that I am?" It's a challenge, but it surely is the tenderest invitation: "Trust in God; trust also in Me."

I don't want to silence Him, to make him go away. Something my eyes of faith see is that he's the furthest thing from ordinary, though he is humble. He has come from the Father, full of grace and truth.

You Can't Probably Hold A Dogma

Again, this is why Newbigin's "Proper Confidence" is, with all due respect, a load of mess. "If God didn't say it, it doesn't matter." If humility leads one to say, "I cannot be absolutely certain of doctrine x, as opposed to doctrine y," the only reasonable course is to say, "I ought not assert doctrine x as religious dogma." In effect, this is what the Protestant world has effectively done by saying, "We're all united in the essentials" without saying what those essentials are: relativized doctrine for the sake of unity, caused by the cognitive dissonance of not being able--in good faith--to come to an agreement concerning the truths of faith under the oppressive regime of Sola Scriptura. In fact, someone like Rachel Held Evans isn't being dishonest in rejecting the theo-political Rightist Industrial Complex, because, as much sympathy as it may still garner over here, there is no mechanism, no God in the machine, to tell Rachel she's sold Christian doctrine for a bunch of cheap progressive boilerplate. There is no one holding the trump-card over her as she decides "what the Scripture says." It may be that she'd be less annoying if she'd simply say, "I hold these 21st century progressive political stances to be more important than some "traditional" view of x." (OK, she definitely would be.) But the point is, what if she doesn't know? "If it happens slow enough..." indeed. The political is all you have left, if you can't figure out what God said. You can deconstruct anything. And the maintenance of some semblance of recognizable Christian orthodoxy in the Protestant world relies on the inertia of previous consensus, and the Catholic Church.

As soon as you reject the fundamentalist/postmodernist assertion that say, the First Ecumenical Council was "tainted" by whatever, (N.B. Notice, they have different agendas, but the result is the same.) you are immediately confronted with the ad hoc-ness of accepting Nicea and Chalcedon, but rejecting Trent. Here's the particularly troubling thing: the charge of being arbitrary comes from several directions, not all of which lead to Christian faith, obviously. The atheist and the biblicist are very consistent in their principles. The trouble is, at best, the biblicist will be a Church of one, fortunate if he unwittingly adopts large portions of what we call the Sacred Tradition (like orthodox Christology, for example) on his quest through the Scriptures. He could just as soon end up like poor Ehrman: continuing down the decidedly Protestant path with its method, but having despaired of any notion that the God of Israel has anything to do with it.

So, if you're going to believe anything Christian, you need certainty, and you need a visible, infallible Church. And the truth is, brethren, you've been relying on her the whole time. Why not love the mother who has fed you the whole way?

Thursday, April 03, 2014


The San Antonio Spurs of the NBA have won 19 consecutive games, a team record. They also own the league's best record. They look poised to make another run at a championship.

I love the Spurs. They've been underrated the entire time Gregg Popovich has been the head coach. He took over in 1996. The Spurs have managed to win 4 NBA titles without anyone noticing. They are business-like, reserved, fundamentally sound, and all the other things winning teams do, without being despised. "Universally respected" is more like it. You'd like their fans: passionate, loyal, positive, die-hard. In fact, these fans and this team remind me of someone else.

The St. Louis Cardinals. Yes, those Cardinals. Despite some recent noise that the Cardinals don't deserve their unofficial moniker as the best fans in baseball, and that their "aw shucks" persona is a pretense, it isn't. It's not for the Spurs, either. They are the quintessential middle-market Everyman kind of team, and as much as they've played the dream-crushers to teams with new-found postseason success, most people would like the Spurs, as long as the Miami Heat are there to play the heel.

As a proud fan of the Cardinals, and "doing it the right way," I'm here to announce that I'm a fan of the Spurs. This isn't a shock to some of you, but I'm putting it out there. GO, SPURS, GO!