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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ah, the life of a writer. On the other hand, if I'm gonna make a go at this writer thing, maybe I should go outside sometimes. [That would require you to put on a clean shirt.--ed.] And various other things. [Like stop listening to Audrey Assad for 5 seconds.--ed.] I know; it's out of control. We're all so lucky I can't find any of my portable music players right now. [For being tech-aware, (if not savvy) you sure are stodgy.--ed.] Thank you. I delight in being behind the times, because the times suck. Jesus would be behind the times, too, but he's always making himself present in His merciful love everywhere. [Ahem.--ed.] Fine, it's not an altar. Julia Roberts got left at the table. It's not an altar call; it's a table call. Jesus told us to leave our gifts at the table. Right. Maybe instead of making such an unnecessary and unwarranted fuss about the Mass as a sacrifice, you might explore how it could be one, given that Christ's sacrifice on the Cross can't be repeated. Creative tension, people. That's when good theology gets done. Some people try to pretend the seeming contradictions aren't there; others leave them there; still others take one of the forks, and then wonder why no one thinks they make any sense.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

This is that. Maybe people retreat to numbers, and drums, and feelings because they don't have anything else left. "Church" is what you make it if she doesn't have you. I can appreciate the confessionalists, and their zealous quest for the truth, but if the individual retains final interpretive authority over what the Scriptures say, then every ecclesial mechanism of authority imposed externally is only provisional, insofar as that community agrees its authority is not finally binding. In other words, if they embrace Sola Scriptura, they're finished. Done. Down a pit of irrecoverable subjectivism. More than that, divine truth and your ecclesiology collapse down the same hole. On the other hand, merely claiming your community has a charism of infallibility is much different than having it. But let's just say for sure we can rule out the Reformation-produced communities. I only know two left, (not having fundamentally changed the way truth is discerned or found without an historically compelling reason, or a workable method) and having both suitably destroyed the rival claimants with the same argument--the lack of a physical, sacramental succession of ordination from the Apostles--the discussion turns to the dispute between them. A visible Church with no visible principium unitatis is not one, obviously. And if one had been granted to be him previously, no amount of malfeasance on his part would change that. To put it in the common tongue, Papa is still Papa, even if he leaves the toilet seat up. If father and son have a quibble about how he is father, fair enough. But Papa is still Papa.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

All I can do is mock, seriously. I lack the patience to deal with these people. Forgive me, Lord, for any lack of charity I have shown today. Amen.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Welcome to the program, everyone. I'll bet Rush Limbaugh says that a lot. I don't know; I'm not a loyal listener. My friend Deb thinks I'd do a great radio show. It would be fun. I think I have the voice...to be left alone. To write books. A voice for books, yes. I got the giggles the other week at Mass, and there was no stopping it. I felt awful, and yet, amused, of course.
The key to making others laugh is being able to make yourself laugh. If you think it's funny, well, you might be a sociopath, but odds are good other ordinary people will, too. Those times when we are glad no one can read our thoughts, aside from the evil things, a lot of the stuff is really funny. I think anxiety in the end is the inability to laugh. [I dunno; that anxious lady we know laughs a ton.--ed.] She doesn't laugh at life; she laughs at her escapes from it. Life is absurd as we find it often. Laughing or crying are often good choices. Drugs are not. Doctors can and should help many of us with mental things beyond our control. But the sheer number of people on medication for all sorts of things--a lot in recent times--suggests something is amiss. Rather than live our lives, we're content to survive them. I don't trust people who don't laugh or cry.
I have a friend I talk to fairly often. It amazes me every time how we can move seamlessly from funny things to serious things and back again. Christians who are funny are that way because they know God is in control, and yet they are not, in some sense. It's a freedom to know that not knowing is far from the worst case. To be unknown and unloved, that may be.
I was thinking that I am more than a part of me. My sexuality, for instance. Such as it is, really. As a single man taking up the adventure of chastity, it's nothing if not interesting. I think there's a 65.4% chance you should shut up if you are married and a single friend expresses his or her desire to be married, and you proceed to lecture them on patience and contentment. Odds are, you yourself were neither, and God gave you that vocation to the praise of His glorious grace. If you're 50, and/or my godparents or spiritual director, feel free to opine. Protestants are worse, though. Way worse.
On the other hand, I can think of hundreds of times where I said, "Unless this happens, I won't be happy." Which is by far the dumbest thing I have either thought or said. If I had been doing theology, I could spot that mistake on paper from 30 miles away. Funny thing about life, though: you find out what you really believe. At the moment, what I really believe is that (if you will pardon the bluntness) I don't need sex to be happy. I need to be loved, and to love in return. How that happens precisely is not for me--who spiritually and otherwise cannot see 6 inches in front of my face--to decide.
I know what you are thinking. Really, I do. "This all sounds noble and pious, but you don't know me or my struggle." True, not exactly. But I certainly do. Whatever detours or emotions are possible here, I've seen them all, if not directly, then close enough. You will never meet a person more ill-suited to this apprenticeship in loneliness than me. Don't even bother trying to tell me otherwise; I don't believe you. But the fact remains that God is Love, and He calls each one of us to be his sons and daughters. Really, what is greater than that? If I have a family and a wife, I think the secret is that this Love is for them, too. None of this is about me or you at all. We all forget sometimes. But it's still true.