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Friday, February 03, 2012

That was fast. What horrid things to stand for: the rule of law, and people's lives! For the record, eat it, Planned Parenthood. You don't save lives, you destroy them. Susan G. Komen won't get my support, ever. Congratulations.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

5 Thoughts For Today

5. Unfortunately, there is no Christian way to say, "You are a muddle-headed idiot."

4. Let me get this straight: You'll stop supporting the murder of defenseless children in the womb if I support your completely useless and harmful socialistic agenda that makes you feel morally superior for holding it? Gotcha.

3. Mitt Romney? Really? No, seriously? The other 3 Republicans should do an ad together saying, "Pick one of us, just not him." I would fund this, I'm not kidding.

2. There should be another ad mocking Romney as the superhero "Slogan-Man." Tell me this wouldn't be hilarious. Again, if I could, I'd fund this.

1. A quiet rest to the man who made "The Greatest" great.
There are two things I want to talk about. (Debated the colon right there; chose otherwise) First, a Congressman Stearns (R-FL) is investigating whether Planned Parenthood has violated the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of taxpayer funds for abortions. Many people on the anti-life side of the abortion issue (we can do it too) are pointing out the political motivation for such an investigation. To which I say: So what? It's quite irksome when those on one's political "team" are harried for political reasons. We can all say that. And of course, this investigation is the stated reason why the Susan G. Komen Foundation has pulled its grant money to Planned Parenthood, as I'm sure you've heard. It could be a witch-hunt, sure. But to sharpen the point, you'd better believe I was glad when Sen. Leahy of Vermont held hearings on Halliburton, et al. overcharging the government for services in Iraq. It doesn't alter the fact that Sen. Leahy appears to be an imbecilic partisan tool-bag 3 out of 5 days a week. [Congress only works 3 days.--ed.] Even so. If he or anyone else discovers waste or something worse, no matter the motive, it is a good, on balance, even if we deplore that. This is how "democracy" works. The competitive nature of our politics gives an incentive to uncover malfeasance. Some argue that this hyper-partisan sniping encourages the use of the appearance of impropriety to destroy opponents, and that is a valid point. But are we really terribly impressed with the character of the ruling class? [That's the point: we've pushed them out.--ed.] I doubt it is so severe. I'd run.
The other thing I want to talk about is Mark Driscoll. When you've finished rolling your eyes, hear me out. On the one hand, as a Catholic, my first best option is to completely ignore those who lack the proper faith, relation to the Church's visible principle of unity, (the pope) and a valid episcopal succession from the Apostles, at least to the extent that they purport to speak for Christianity and Christians in general. On the other, what individuals believe and share with me as a friend or even brother in Christ has value, even when in error. Add to that the fact that Driscoll has influence in truth and error; people follow him, which means that I may (and have) interact with his ideas. All the qualifications made, let me add that a disturbing trend of ad hominem dismissal (with respectful apologies to readers with whom I do not concur in specific) is on the rise in general. Driscoll may be awfully wrong about many things, and he's certainly not authentically sent, in the Catholic sense. But he's not always wrong. The commenters there who jumped on his statement (as just one more instance of his authoritarianism) that one could question sinfully were being foolish. That's true. Whatever Mark Driscoll's faults and deficiencies for gospel ministry--both personal and sacramental--the statement remains true.
And though I wish to congratulate the author on being an agnostic who is not completely insane,--for I liked his sentiments in general--I do not salute him for leaving the Catholic Church on account of the clergy sex abuse scandal. For one, that's curiously (hyper) Calvinist reasoning for one who once believed people are actually responsible for what they do. In no scenario real or imagined is it true that God is to blame for evil. The highest-ranking clergyman to the most forgotten nobody will come before God. And nothing in Catholic theology or teaching gives sanction to any such evil. If I lived under a more permissive ecclesiology, where movement from one gang of sinful Christ-professing scumbags to another caused no dissonance at all by the nature of the case, I may well be more sympathetic. But the barque of Peter is at the very feet of Christ, for one.
Believe me, those who have suffered at the hands of alleged Christians have my sympathy and a fair measure of mercy. Great suffering would not be so called if it had no chance to misdirect us. And what will follow is no doubt easier for me to say (but not easy, please note) than for others. Yet Christ has no part with evil; rejecting Him on account of his disciples is like consigning oneself to raw meat on account of a skillet burn. Abuse does not negate proper use, and I daresay, the acceptable range of successful defenses before the judgment-seat of God is likely to be pretty narrow. Though creatureliness and humility remind that those precise contours are not mine to know.
I still scoff at the easily-profferred benedictions, the false comity, the empty smiles. And I work to forgive, knowing that the Name upon those lips, while denied in any one case, is the true Name by which we are saved. May I be great enough to pray and believe the words on the lips of Christ (and St. Stephen): "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." And may I cleave to His Church, as I cleave to Him.

Note: The reader knows well that I am quite specific about the word "Church" here; he or she is quite free to disagree (and be wrong) so long as he grants my heartfelt acknowledgment of the reality of very powerful "elements of sanctification" outside the Church proper. Were I to deny these in fact, I would be invalidating a great many gifts and blessings while I myself was in such a state. Baptismal grace and Trinitarian life is no small gift, and it is no trifle, even in the face of heresy and schism. This may still strike one as insufficient. I can only say that my desire to see Christians united in truth is more powerful than my desire to pour sherry down the throats of foolhardy and incautious ecumenicists, to borrow a phrase. I am very thankful that pizza (and a modicum of creedal concurrence) transcends the major separations in Christendom.

Monday, January 30, 2012

I'm 32 today. It doesn't show. I still kind of feel like a kid. I want to thank everyone for coming out to the house the other night, especially Bryan and Carol. That's a long way to go! [He knows that, from picking you up 8000 times.--ed.] I'd also add that those cookies were/are outrageously good! [They're whole wheat.--ed.] I don't care if they're made from tree bark and plankton, they're fantastic.
Mike Jones, Chris Baer, Justin Klein, Jeff Ryan, and my family lingered after most people left. We played this game called, 'Farkle.' You can imagine that my brother and I found some creative uses for that word. Try imagining a guy saying, 'Aw, man, I Farkled!' without chuckling. You're welcome. It reminds me of Yahtzee, but you play with six dice and the rules are a little different. If you meet Jeff, whatever else you can say, you have to say that he doesn't live for this world. In any game of risk or chance, there comes a point of decision where the player must say when discretion might be the better part of valor. We informed Jeff that, after a series of amazing rolls that saw him acquire almost half the requisite winning points in only his first turn, he had reached such a point. But he'd have none of it. And just like that, the points were gone. It was horrifying in its insignificantly charming way. The whole table was like, 'Don't do it, Jeff! It's not worth it!' But Jeff Ryan is not known for an abundance of caution. Good times. I missed those who weren't there, though. Besides that, I'll say that I'm glad it wasn't only men at the party. Ahem. I'm 32, but I ain't dead, right?