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Saturday, December 28, 2013

5 Sports Fan Dictums

5. Keep your sports "hate" confined to the field. That guy you hate inevitably gives half his salary to a children's hospital or something.

4. Win or lose, the guy who hasn't done anything all year will be involved in the crucial play. Please just trust me on this.

3. The championship teams always face adversity. Always. If your team hasn't, they're going to lose when nobody expects them to.

2. The only thing that beats a Feel Good Story is a team of ruthless dream-killers, who hate stories like that.  The St. Louis Cardinals are quintessentially this team. Don't let the fan base, smiles, and ignorance of the Eastern media fool you. Ruthless, most years. I have come to terms with this. After all, I admire the Patriots in football. Mike Matheny and the staff have started wearing hoodies. Coincidence? I think not.

1. Momentum is real, no matter what the experts say.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Mark Shea, 1, Reductionism, 0.

I actually hate agreeing with Mark Shea. But what do you want me to do? I recognize that the cultivation of expertise in any one field must be ever and always against the backdrop and with the overriding consideration of the dignity of the human person. Just imagine you are the highest cleric in Argentina; you have spent the balance of your career among the poorest of the poor, in a society so stratified, Adam Smith himself would cry, "Outrage!" Now how do you feel about recent discussions concerning economics? The talking heads in this nation are playing a game, a word game, a game of "gotcha!" But the Vicar of Christ has bigger fish to fry, if you will pardon the pun. Yes, expertise tends to increase the tension between specialized knowledge and wise counsel. But that's the point: Great ideas are built on creative tension.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Heaven Help Me, I Agree With Tim Dukeman

I love Christ and Pop Culture. Me and Alan Noble are buddies on the interwebs. I told him I read the magazine religiously, and I mean that in the creepy Catholic sense. Even when they annoy me, I can't stop reading it. In many important ways, I'm still an evangelical. (You could legitimately argue that I'm still Reformed in some non-doctrinal, non-ecclesial ways, too, and I think that's good. That tradition holds a non-negligible influence over that expression of evangelical piety, and it will probably stay that way.) Every time Alan writes a post looking for new writers, I punch myself, because justification by faith alone is a deal-breaker over there, and I'm a bloody Catholic; I can't affirm it. But I want to write for them almost as much as I want to be on The Journey Home, which is a lot. I need you to understand that. I love what they do. Let me just get that out of the way.

But they are annoyingly temperate, at a time when we really don't need that. Technically, I'm not a Millenial; I missed it by a year. And maybe that's a tendency of the generation; I don't know. But I do know that this generation labors under the delusion that their fathers in faith were unnecessarily combative, mixed up in the culture wars. If we'd be a little nicer, we could win them for Christ like never before. Have you forgotten that Christ is a scandal? His cross is foolishness to the Greeks, etc. Respecting the dignity of the person does not mean making them happy. There is an holistic anthropology behind the saving message of the Incarnate Word; killing our children will not get us closer. Affirming people in their sexual sins will not get them closer. I am ever the optimist; I do not believe our nation is doomed to extinction, nor do I believe that Barack Obama heralds its end, as foolish and infuriating and reductionistic as he is. That said, it's time to fight, and fight hard. As much as none of us wants to be identified with some political movement or ideology, let's cut the mess; if you don't get life and death right, the niceties of trade and tax rates is pretty close to pointless. Where did we get the idea that non-partisanship meant "mainstream and acceptable?"

This dude is 1000 percent right. Today, that is. As much as Catholic Social Teaching (CST) may not line up with the economic proposals of the big elephant, (let the reader understand) as much as progressive ideology on certain issues may be theoretically harmonious with the dignity of the human person, enough to make me uneasily "conservative" at times, I know this: I'm sick of Boomer weariness, and the Millenial need to be liked; sometimes, you've just gotta shoot it straight. They aren't going to like us. The work of lawmaking requires nuance, cooperation, and compromise; setting a vision requires bluntness and courage. As long as we have some semblance of political freedom, as long as there is still a glowing ember of a culture worth saving, let's do it! After we have done so, they may call us alternately communists, and backward, moralistic reactionaries, but we will have split the middle with considered reflection, and not, quite frankly, with timidity. I may be my generation's James Dobson, or a new William Jennings Bryan. You know what? I don't mind.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

You're Right, Johnny

I've always loved this song. I'll take the risk of sounding inclusivist or Balthasarian or whatever horrible thing you want to call me. Because if you don't take the risk of sounding a little hippie-ish about the mercy of God, you don't understand it. We're on the eve of the Nativity of the Lord, but the Paschal Mystery is never far away. Jesus was born to die. For us. Because He loves us.

His love swallows up everything it touches. You just have to let it, let Him.

Merry Christmas, "'Cause tonight's the night the world begins again."

Love Wins, Part 8000

Are you sure you don't want to read Called to Communion? Ahem. I like being Jason Kettinger; it's generally awesome. But there have been days when I wanted to be Casey Chalk. Just sayin.'

Monday, December 23, 2013

Not For Me

A resonance
shaking the soul
like I have not known,
nor could have seen,
has taken place.

What sort of music
is this?
What kind of reply
must I make?
I only know
that I heard it,
and it was beautiful.

There is a song
I desire to sing,
the words come ready to mind,
but I do not sing in haste;
I do not sing
of my own accord.

I long to hear it again,
to listen closely,
that I might sing well,
that I might find my place
in the chorus.

It is not for me
to write the song.
The melody, the time
are not mine,
and they will never be.