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Friday, March 25, 2011

For Sarah

“Let her cry/Let the tears fall down like rain…”
And this is right.
You cry with all you have,
Just like He did,
Though his power
Reigned in the next breath.
What mystery this:
That this moment ever brief
Should cause Him grief.
And yet it did.

If the Lord of Heaven and Earth should declare
Such a wrenching loss an affront to his rule
By His tears,
Let your many more tears
Be your testimony of Him.
I join mine to yours,
So great a gift it is.
Amen, my sister.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

OOOH, look everyone, dueling pieces on the Libyan War! This reminds me of the paper I wrote on the Iraq War. Bush almost lost the presidency over that, and it was only 1+ years on when he faced re-election (and it got way worse). My take: Even if Congress is ceding their war-making authority to the executive, it doesn't make it constitutional, correct, or prudent. The case law Goldsmith cites relies heavily on accepted tradition. [Kinda Catholic, eh?--ed.] But in this case, wrong. We really need to take the electoral motive mostly out of war decisions for Congress. They're acquiescing to the president for 50 years because they (correctly) think that the blame for a bad war will go to him. I've written about this before: "The Electoral Biases Against Foreign Policy Expertise In Congress." ("Uncle Bryan," feel free to send that back over, so I don't lose it forever.) Repeal the 17th Amendment! Restore the Senate to its intended function! For the word "Expertise" you could sub in "Statesmanship." Congress isn't any more spineless than when it started; we're just the morons who reward them structurally for doing the opposite of what we need them to do.
Note to women: If your profile on Facebook in the "Books" section says, "I don't read books," don't worry, I won't bother you. It may be that I don't read the right books; that said, the worst offense in "the game" to me is a certain uncuriosity. Even if it were a kind of sliding scale...wait, wow, that would have to be...no, nevermind. That level of attractiveness (to balance out the uncuriosity) cannot be reached.
I started a fracas (yes, a fracas) on my Facebook page. It concerns our old friend, the phrase "common grace" in Reformed theology. This is one of the most problematic ideas anywhere in theology. It's not like "actual grace" in Catholic theology, a grace that moves a person toward sanctifying [that is, justifying] grace. In fact, if you were one of the "vessels prepared in advance for destruction," this would be horrible, because in Reformed theology, common grace doesn't of necessity lead to saving grace. In fact, I don't think there's a connection at all. This strikes me as the divine equivalent of healing Westley so he's strong enough to be started on "The Machine." There's a huge difference between being beneficent and providential toward those who hate you, and being gracious in the systematic sense. God is either giving utterly useless graces on purpose to the damned (if that Reformed predestination hoo-ha is true) or grace can be resisted. And another thing, Reformed theology: it's pretty dumb to call the gifts and talents of natural people the fruit of "common grace" because you'd be indirectly saying that grace was necessary to recover the image of God in people, which would make us not human, forget saved. But this confusion happens when you conflate natural and supernatural.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

They couldn't stop the ball. That's the way it seemed, anyway. On this night, when basketball legend Coach Pat Summitt notched her 1,070th victory against only 198 losses, the very day the university fired her friend Bruce Pearl, Angel Robinson and her Marquette Golden Eagles teammates were quick off the dribble, and in the paint all night long. It was the easy buckets set up by penetration that made this game much closer than the 79-70 score. Tennessee rebounded well, and it's a good thing; the single opportunities and missed shots in the first half and in the final 3 minutes by Marquette were the difference in the game. This was a beautiful game to watch, as both teams had shooting percentages above 50 for most of the game. There was a flow, there was a cleanliness about it. Even if this tournament, indeed, this game is a product of an ill-conceived and unconstitutional attempt at social engineering, heck, I still like to watch it. It's good basketball. And anyone who says different probably doesn't understand basketball. I would have to admit that I haven't seen many games this year, but if the remaining teams have quick guards, the Vols could have problems.