Translate

Saturday, November 08, 2014

I Have No Idea

Can you deeply appreciate a film if it fails to accomplish its purpose as a film? That's what I keep asking myself after seeing "Interstellar" last night. Is it worth it? Yes. Emphatically yes. Will you leave feeling satisfied? Probably not.

I'm not going to tell you anything else about it, because I don't know where to start. If you're a Christian and you like philosophy or theology, you should definitely see it. Heck, if you appreciate the Questions of Life, you'll appreciate it.

I have to put something like a Dad Warning on this. If you're a Dad, or you could be one, you'd better see this with people who will not mock you if you get emotional.

It's a weird feeling: to know the filmmakers didn't quite do what they set out to do, but that you should thank them anyway.

Friday, November 07, 2014

5 Thoughts For Today

5. The quickest way to improve the conversation on body image is to stop showing your body.

4. We men are rational animals, who will indeed be held accountable for our sins. But the key word is "animals."

3. Apart from grace and prayer, the best guy you know is a breath away from Super-Creepy Rob Lowe.

2. Still not Lent. But it is Friday. Fare thee well, Candy Bag.

1. I have concluded in half-seriousness that "Stand Beside Me" by Jo Dee Messina is an egalitarian anthem. I blame Tim Dukeman.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

O Holy Night

I feel Advent coming. I heard the hymn in my head today, and I nearly cried. It's not enough to say that it is powerful, moving, and reverent. Let the song be whatever it is. But don't let its subject escape your heart. There is something about the Incarnation that vibrates the soul with the generosity of God; His Law is love, and his gospel is peace.

People are quick to say that good feelings and intent don't make everything alright, but with God, this truism does not apply. His love and mercy swallows every lack, every evil. I only know that I hear the knock at the door of my heart, and I must answer. Don't stand in the way; don't hold it back; there is no penalty for an excess of emotion here.

'Til He appeared, and the soul felt its worth.

A Weekly Shot Of Fred

Good stuff, buddy. Nor do I disdain using Obama catchphrases in other contexts. [You're such a commie.--ed.] I am not. Anyway, this gives rise to a fascinating intra-Catholic discussion with regard to just how much of Catholic teaching is "in the Scriptures," explicitly or implicitly. In any case, one reason why good Catholics tend to reject a reformational "Scripture vs. Tradition" dichotomy is that the Sacred Scriptures were once oral, and we still receive them orally in the liturgy. We preserve that "whether by word or by letter" attitude every day of our faithful lives.

Let that blow your mind.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Read Of The Day

Read this. Maybe we should talk about the fear of death, instead of pretending we don't have it. But then, it's like Fr. Whatshisname said the other day: how you live is how you die.

At the moment, the pleasures of life are useless to me, if people do not know that I tried to love them for God's sake. Easy to say, I guess, for me. And yet, how you live is how you die. Get started now, because I don't want bitterness and hatred stamped on the folder of my life, and neither do you.

Christ, have mercy!

5 Thoughts For Today

5. That was a butt-kicking of the highest order. It seems like some semblance of political order has been restored to my universe.

4. Did you hear about Iowa? As the House seats in that state went more and more Republican, Democratic supporters "re-located to the cash bar." I had to laugh at that one.

3. Harry Reid is so bad, he made me happy to see Mitch McConnell. There should be a t-shirt that says, "The days were so dark, we were happy to see McConnell."

2. How did a (once) pro-life Mormon become the second-most important guy in the Baby Murder Party? You wince, but you know it's true.

1. I'm happy for Cory Booker. Don't judge me. Obama has probably prevented a black man from becoming president for a century, but seriously, I can listen to him for like 5 whole minutes.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Man, That Button Is Hot! (CCC, 2357-2359)

This is a hard teaching. But what else is new? It presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, and that's an important distinction. We may wonder why a little "harmless" sex of any kind seems to concern God, and our eternal destiny. But look around: Does our free and easy attitude really seem harmless?

What does it mean when it says, "disordered" a couple of times? Realize that every gift from God has an end or purpose. Sin is usually taking a good thing, and using it for the wrong end. Some things are by their nature disordered, which means that circumstances or ignorance don't change the bad character of the act. The tendency or inclination of homosexuality is not personally sinful as such, but it is part of the imperfection that results from original sin, from the Fall.

2358 reminds us that carrying the cross of these tendencies is not easy, and we shouldn't have a different attitude toward these temptations than we do toward our own.

We are all called to holiness, and each of us has a mountain to climb. Every once in a while, come alongside a brother or sister, instead of standing in the way.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Checking In On The "Drunk Ex-Pastors" (Podcast 14)

Jason (Stellman) and Christian had a re-hash of their discussion about what exactly constitutes "indoctrination." I still believe that the negative connotation it carries (which Christian takes as the real definition) is wrong. I would grant that some conceptions of "Christianity" are simply fideism, that is, claims without reason, with no basis in reason, as naked appeals to authority or the threat of punishment. But Christian should simply say that. That is, it does not follow that rejecting a set of beliefs proposed because the reason to believe is "because I said so" requires the rejection of anything that purports to be supernatural (agnosticism/atheism). All that is to say, I'm looking forward to more of Christian explaining his story.

Jason basically made that exact point in the first 15 minutes or so, and brilliantly, at that.

I agree with Jason on almost every point usually, but I have a growing appreciation of Christian. Frankly, it had been hard to imagine that someone who is not crazy or stupid could be on the "Left" (as both of these guys are). He would probably say the same of me.

I could have a beer with Obama, if I ignored everything substantive about him or his policies. And actually, that's pretty much what Obama has asked America to do. He's gotten an assist from the media, and from crazy people, who truly despise him. Obama can point to them and quasi-convincingly believe that everyone who opposes him is insane. That's a fairly easy move for a narcissist. Just sayin.'

Oh, You Mean Like Pastoral Theology

I think Mark is right (again). Feel free to read it all. I also think Cardinal Burke's approach of speaking directly and plainly works, too. It depends on the person. Or, in fancier words, "What is received is received according to the mode of the receiver."

It's one thing to be genuinely concerned that people will continue sinning when in the Church, because someone has never told them; it's quite another to simply decide that certain undesirables will never repent, and any show of affection or friendship betrays "the gospel". This is where Calvinism is truly insidious, actually, because it gives those who make such a determination theological cover for doing so. Catholics, however, have no such excuse.

Only you can know (and God) whether you have gone soft out of fear. Pray about it; pray for genuine and welcome opportunities to share your faith. As for me, I welcome anything that allows sinners to meet Jesus, even if it is their deception that makes the occasion.