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Friday, November 30, 2012

Trade Policy

No, I will not buy American. That's stupid protectionist nonsense. I'll buy whatever I happen to need at an agreeable price, regardless of the origin. If there are ethical concerns about it, well OK then. But I won't fail to notice that everyone is better off when nations trade freely.

Free-flowing international commerce creates economic interdependence, and that is one protection against war. Trade wars create actual wars, and war is never desirable.

It's amazing how stupid people can be.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

"List"-less

5 Thoughts For Today

5. I love college basketball, despite it being a big corporate blight on our system of higher education.

4. The Civil War was about slavery for the South. Whatever lessons we may draw in terms of limited government from that episode, the CSA will not be our teachers. Despite the plethora of undoubtedly virtuous and interesting men from that side of the conflict, I am glad EVERY SINGLE DAY that they lost.

3. I want a tax credit for my sugary, fizzy beverages.

2. Replacing Susan Rice with John Kerry is like replacing low batteries with dead ones.

1. Duke.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Friends

OK, it bothers me, I admit it. I know exactly how many Facebook friends I have at any one time. I've lost 6 in the last 2 weeks. Could be people closing their accounts. Fair enough. But it bugs me to think someone is mad at me or something, and unfriended me.

Even with 864 friends, you must know that I don't take such things lightly. I have never seriously contemplated unfriending someone. There are people I met once, and maybe will never talk to again, but you never know. I feel bad when I can't remember someone's name, but I know that no encounter with another human being is a light matter.

It stings a little when you see a profile of someone you were friends with, and it gives you the option to add them. Since I know I wasn't the one to drop them, I'm not going to add them again. On the other hand, it might make the person tell you why they dropped you in the first place. Remarkably, I've had people drop me and add me again, twice, without explanation. Well, if they don't want to share, I won't pry.

What does "cleaning out your friends list" mean, anyway? It sounds like another excuse to be callous, if you ask me. But no one ever does.

Some of my friends are outright communists, or something close, and as mad as their mindless idiocy makes me, I won't unfriend them, either. You'd have to do something way more heinous than be a moron to have me not call you a friend any more, either virtually or really. [Not exactly politically magnanimous of you.--ed.] Well, 'moron' is pretty tame compared to "vicious, poor-hating, racist, religious nut-case." I digress.

Anyway, things to think about. A little button with a check-mark means more to people than you think it does.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Invisible Church?

Thank you, Pope Pius XII: "Hence they err in a matter of divine truth, who imagine the Church to be invisible, intangible, a something merely 'pneumatological' as they say, by which many Christian communities, though they differ from each other in their profession of faith, are united by an invisible bond."

Those of you with a more mathematical, precise bent may benefit from a longer exposition here on the "Catholics are divided, too" objection.

For my part, I had a few comments. First, the mere fact of disagreement between people tells us nothing about the nature of the disagreement, or the potential basis for reunion, because we don't have a baseline to measure it against. But in Catholicism, there is a baseline, so that whether the error is heresy or schism, those terms have objective meaning.

This is the basic flaw in an old, "The Council cannot be authoritative, because it did not include x group" argument. It would allow dissenters to define orthodoxy, and not the other way around. The fundamental heart of being a son of the Catholic Church is to give unqualified assent to that which has been revealed, worshipping Christ in visible unity with the bishops and the successor of Peter. That's real, even if I were the only one to do it. The truth of a doctrine is not defined by majority opinion. The ardence with which some dissent (and a non-negligible amount of sympathy any one may garner in it) is not pertinent to the question of truth.

In fact, that's the whole point: There is a discernible body of truth that itself gives meaning to the term "heresy," and a visible Body of Christ that gives meaning to the word, "schism." Because of this, paradigmatically, the Catholic paradigm would be preferable to the Protestant, even if it were not true. (But it is, so it works out.)

As I've written dozens of times, the fatal blow to perpiscuity and Sola Scriptura isn't some emotional judgment on the sometimes fractious nature of theological discussions under the paradigm; in fact, the opposite is the case. Because charity requires me to assume good faith, I must explain the fact of our disagreement in terms other than, "I am right, and you must be wrong," given that 1) we are using the same hermeneutical process, and 2) We (presumably) both have access to the Father by the same Spirit, and, consequently, 3) God cannot lie. And so, that leads one to examine the relationship between God, myself, and the supposed mediating influence of the ecclesial community. It cannot be real, if Pius XII's quote is an accurate reflection of Protestant ecclesiology (it is) and/or the basis for dissent inside Catholicism, because the extent of external authority over the doctrine and life of an individual is nil when he alone is the arbiter of the justice, and the terms of its exercise.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Wants

It's kinda cold here. Not bitter, but it's cold enough that I don't want to go outside. [You never want to go outside.--ed.] OK. There's much work ahead. I don't want to do it. But most of the time, like the weather, the clouds are not as dark as they appear.

I've been lax in my prayers recently, but I was literally inspired to pray a whole bunch. It was finding out about people's trials and reading the Catechism. My favorite passage from the past couple of weeks is paragraph 278. It's in the context of whether God is omnipotent. Now, the answer to this is an easy 'yes,' if one is thinking clearly about the definitions of the words, but people's spiritual problems are rarely intellectual.

Doesn't that paragraph just sound like a priest or Jesus admonishing you with rhetorical questions? At least it inspires me to make my "I'm sorry I asked" Face. Isn't it odd that although most people can't think their way out of a wet paper bag, at the same time, we're cultivating this slavish technocratic deference to supposed "experts"? The joke's on us, because they don't know any more than we do, least of all the things that matter. [What's with you and wet paper bags?--ed.] My gift is stupidly humorous, non-sensical metaphors and catch-phrases; if I don't use my gifts, then what am I here for? [Wow. Just wow.--ed.]

Tomorrow will not be a good day, I fear. On the other hand, I generally hate this entire month on account of that day now, and I'm doing OK now. Still, never forget that there are things much worse than the separation of death. I'd give back a hundred friends to heal this gulf caused by sharp words. There isn't a single day I don't think about it.

I guess you could say it's been a good year, even if it has been...uneven. I'm not on a fast track to Hell, though I deserve to be the doorman at best in the Kingdom. I'm not just pulling your chain; I read about this "indifference" we're supposed to have, and I just think, "That's not me." There are lots of worldly goods I prefer to others; I doubt I could say that any of them is just a means to my final end with God.

If I couldn't hear music, I'm not sure I could handle that. That's why I sort of chuckle when people think CP is such a huge burden. It isn't. It's just different. I can't run or ride a bike, but I enjoy watching you do it, by the way. I'm insanely competitive. The reason guys watch sports a lot is because something in us resonates deeply with triumph after a great struggle. Sports is a little picture of that without all the suffering (at least for the rest of us). Maybe in that sense, it isn't so good. How good is a thing if it's not hard to obtain? And who are we to make judgments about some guy in a game, when we can't do 1% of what athletes do?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Christ The King

It was a "set your hair on fire" kind of homily. Or more appropriately, your heart. Father spoke about Calles and his persecution of the Catholic Church in Mexico in the 1920s. He said that the world, the flesh, and the devil were really behind the whole thing, and ultimately, Satan is in a battle with Heaven for your heart and mine. In the little things, in the big things, in all things. He asked us to whom our hearts belonged, reminding us that they cannot belong to both. And he concluded with "Viva Cristo Rey!" or, "Long live Christ the King!," the words the martyrs shouted as they gave their lives.

Might I add that you need to see the film, "For Greater Glory" if you haven't. It tells this story, and does it well. It was easily the movie of the year.

I couldn't help but think yesterday--as I had my very own Thanksgiving, Part II (Mexican Style)--that my worlds are merging. Any good Christian you read will say that we must learn to see the ordinary in the light of the extraordinary, the commonplace in the light of the divine. I sensed that yesterday, that I was doing it. We were not a family eating turkey and watching football as ends in themselves; we were preparing for today, and celebrating Christ as the flock of his pasture. It is not for me to speculate about whether everyone saw it that way; the plain fact is, God's grace had reached down to open the way for that day to occur, and it is incumbent upon us who see it to give thanks.

It's good to say that not only are you not compartmentalizing your life, but there are no compartments. If we can begin to say that, we certainly are not far from the Kingdom of God.

Happy Feast of Christ the King!