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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Right-Wing Talksters Are People, Too

I have no idea if Glenn Beck advances the national conversation in a meaningful way. I only saw one show on TV, his very first. So honest, I really don't know. And frankly, I liked it. There was a guy who had written a book about the European fascist roots of contemporary progressivism. It was one of those "I need to read that" moments, but never wrote down the title.

Anyway, I'm at least aware enough to notice that progressives dislike most, if not all, conservative radio hosts. But frankly, that doesn't tell us much, given the fact that most progressives defend the constitutionally, morally, and logically indefensible in deeply personal, hostile ways. I can say with a clear conscience that I have never been personally angry at an opposing politician like they have. Mitt Romney is one of the kindest, most personally generous, and intelligent men to ever run for president. Ever. And I don't even like his policies, generally. But you saw what they did to him.

Anyway, I'm not going to be in a rush to throw anybody under the bus at the behest of progressives and their media buddies. It doesn't mean that I agree with whomever; it means that he or she is a person, entitled to say whatever it is he or she want to say. I don't make arbitrary pre-emptive decisions about what counts as "civil" or "extreme" at the suggestion of those who wouldn't know civility if it walked up and said, "Hello."

Thank you.

I'm Tryin' To Tell Ya

5 Thoughts For Today

5. Dude, this Tradition stuff is deep. Yours truly is routinely reduced to a quivering pile of, "What does that mean?" I'm told this is perfectly normal.

4. Catholic apologist: A unique evangelist whose principal task is exhorting sinners, non-Christians, non-Catholics, and whoever else to join the supernatural society of the Catholic Church, despite the fact that her principal mysteries reduce the most brilliant men to stammering fools. This is good, they tell us.

3. Catholic Church: The only place where the French lead the battle, and no one laughs.

2. Catholic Church: We worship our food. No, really.

1. Catholic Church: Where "It's a mystery!" means, "I don't know" and "I do know" at the same time.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Mists

The light is low
As it was that sleepless morning
But this light is not the Sun
It is my soul.

That gray was the gray of hope
A train rushing toward the station
Toward family, joy, and laughter
This is a fog.

I do not want to hear it
What was once a song to me
Fills me with bitterness
And stilted prayers.

Keep your blessing
Keep your comfort
Do not answer
When you are not asked.

I shed tears for death
For friends departed
And hopes dashed
But not for the truth.

I will do no penance now
Not to please you
To bring myself low
To make you happy.

I am who I was then
Exactly the same
I hope one day your happy lies
Will be lost in the mists.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Boston

Honestly, I don't have anything to say. My prayers are with the dead and injured, as well as their families. Various whispers of reports seem to indicate that it was a terror attack, but precisely by whom is unclear. I had seen somewhere that a 20-year-old Saudi had been apprehended, but I never saw that anywhere else.

I hope you are safe if you live nearby. Cherish the small moments, and seek the good, because we cannot take moments for granted. Certainly not when evil people take already fragile life by force.

Lord, have mercy!

Conviction Of The Heart

We live on a knife's edge oftentimes. The secret of the Christian life is that I'm not at all strong, and neither are you. We could smack around the Reformed all day long for their contention that the absolute necessity of grace implies soteriological monergism, (one of the biggest, unnecessary jumps in theology) but let's definitely recall that Jesus said, "Apart from me, you can do nothing."
Prayer is the means of co-operation with God. We will NOT be holy if we do not pray. It is also the means of communion with God, which is synonymous with holiness. God is holiness. It is that quality of otherness in which all other things find their intended ends.

Say what you will about the Protestant theologian Karl Barth; he was (unless he was the greatest liar I have ever seen) a man of prayer. That's why God is merciful: He's not into knee-capping those who seek Him with everything they have. Prayer is a communion of Love. Therefore, I was more right than I could have hoped when I said that liturgy speaks a language that bridges traditional hostilities. It must. The purpose of that "reasonable service" is adoration and communion with God. Theology cannot be limited to propositions to which men give assent, but they are useful because they give order to that which flows from prayer and loving communion. To do theology is to be willfully co-operating with God in our prayer, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done."

Christian unity is an impulse that flows from the divine love. Don't be surprised if Love impels and therefore compels the discarding of propositions contrary to that impulse. We cannot love what we do not know, and so, we cannot do theology--whose ultimate purpose is to love God--from a place of skepticism. And the fullness of God's revelation to Man is the Incarnation. It happened in real history. Therefore, the study of history is and ought to be the study of the outworkings of the Incarnation.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Derek Rishmawy Is Still Awesome

Derek wrote a post about a question he asked Tim Keller, and it led to this from Rachel Held Evans. You all probably know that RHE riles me up. You end up some kind of "liberal" if you listen to her. But on the good side, she does help us find the limits of hermeneutics under the oppressive regime of Sola Scriptura. See, I believe RHE doesn't identify as a theological progressive. That's true. But for one, there is no way to know where you are in relation to some "center" if there isn't one. I digress.

But I read Derek's post and Keller's general comments in a different way: through the lens of virtue and vice. If you sin gravely (like say, sexual sin) and you repeat it, it gets harder and harder to think and act in the right way. You need a lot more grace to get back going straight. And that, I think, is the context which would lead Dr. Keller to ask a young person "Who are you sleeping with?"

Augustine's a rather excellent example, no?

Most of Rachel's questions most of the time illustrate that the Bible (interpreted by people, absent a charism) does not answer second and third and whatever order questions. A method cannot guarantee that you ask the right questions or get the right answers. What is "right" when the final arbiter of "what the Bible says" is me? I don't think every Episcopalian wakes up and says, "I'm going to disobey Jesus' word in favor of my socio-political commitments." I doubt I would even notice something amiss, if it happened slowly enough.

Being Catholic is great. I don't have to fear evolution, (to a point) and the Magisterium and the Tradition guide us in thinking about the great issues of the day. It's the Church, and aside from that, when she uses her gifts, it has innumerable practical benefits.

I should note that I do not have to say that Anne Frank or any other person who did not arrive at explicit knowledge or faith in Jesus Christ is necessarily in Hell. God knows, and rewards or punishes as He determines. That's liberating, as well. Would Rachel Held Evans be teetering on the edge of "liberal" Protestantism if she knew what the true Church has always taught?