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Saturday, December 27, 2014

C'mon Will, You're Better Than This

Dude, Bryan wasn't even a literalist, as he admits in his own unquestionably heroic testimony. Just read it. No, the teaching of evolution in the state of Tennessee had far more insidious purposes for Bryan. The textbook embraced social Darwinism, of the kind we fear, but progressives knowingly or not, routinely advance.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Weary World Rejoices

I got in the car to go to my brother's on Christmas afternoon, and the radio was on. We chose 106.5, the one adult format station that doesn't cave to seasonal pressure. If I want Christmas music, I'll go to church. They were playing "Locked Out Of Heaven," by Bruno Mars. It worked somehow.

It's a sketchy song, but it tells us something important. Even when people are doing the most selfish things, like using each other for sexual gratification, they are thinking of and hoping for Heaven. That's how much of a claim God has over us.

The power of Christmas and Jesus Christ is this: You don't know many people completely unaffected by the "magic" of Christmas. The worst person you know can't fail to notice that these days are different. That vague intuition, no matter how poorly articulated, is the work of grace. It's grace that can lead all the way to salvation in Christ, if one remains open to God's promptings.

The weary world rejoices, because frankly, we've cried enough tears to fill the desert lately. We don't have a choice. Maybe that's a good place to be, emptied of all pretense of ability and strength. As it is written, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom."

Let Christ in this Christmas. Don't stop at the faintest desire for goodness and joy. Chase him, and you will find he has really been chasing you.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

I'm Not "Super-Religious," I'm Christian

It's only weirdly counter-cultural to be an unmarried virgin because we have forgotten that fornication, or sex between an unmarried man and woman, is a sin. Our culture does two things very well: 1. It denies truth, which ultimately comes from God, who is Truth; and 2. It twists truth, so that which was once true contextually (like the fact that God loves you, even if you sin) swallows the rest of the truth (that sin is bad, and it separates us from God).

It's not all wine and roses, trying to be obedient to God. But we do it, because we believe that friendship with God is our highest end. Any real Christian you meet could tell you of his sins, even knowing, willful ones. Forgiveness of sins is a huge part of the story. Depending on what part of it you're looking at, it's the defining part of the Christian story. "You are to name him 'Jesus', because he will save his people from their sins."

I think evangelical culture has done a weird thing, too: the way that we talk about conversion and salvation makes people think that they have to pretend that things of this world have no real appeal. Of course they do. I could say one word, or one name, and completely distract the lot of you, myself included. There is a goodness in almost everything. Even intrinsic evils tend to cloak themselves euphemistically in an apparent good. Catholics are better equipped (or ought to be) to realize this than others may be. Anyway, to say this is to acknowledge the goodness of creation, as such.

The reason Christian subculture is often so weird is that it lies. We attempt to convince others and ourselves that the spiritual life is not a war, that we are not in fact fighting against ourselves in the fight against sin and Satan.

Beware the cult of "authenticity," though. Those Christians who make a big fuss about being "real" are sort of hoping they can trick you into the fold before they have to tell you how hard it is. For all we know, he or she is hiding something really huge, which his own lack of trust and surrender to God has morphed a flaw into a giant pus-bomb of wickedness which will be someone else's problem when they are long gone. I digress.

Anyway, I'm holding my "V-Card" (let the reader understand) not because the alternative holds no appeal, but because I have enough experience chasing Satan's shadow-puppets to know it's a bad deal. Satan is like a guy who takes you out for steak on your birthday, and skips out when the check comes.

5 Thoughts For Today

5. Is there anyone who actually hates trees?

4. On the other hand, whatever benefits may accord from commoditizing literally everything, the unfettered exchange of goods and services via contract is not necessarily in accord with the common good.

3. There are real cases to made on both "sides" for a robust articulation of what Professor Cole Williams calls "economic self-determination." The Right absolutizes the self, to the exclusion of the whole; the Left obliterates the self for the sake of the whole.

2. We do not have a healthy economic ecosystem, for two reasons: 1. We have believed that people are mere economic instruments; and 2. We have degraded and stifled the moral intuitions of those same people, in pursuit of merely economic and material ends. In short, we lack the virtue to create wealth in sustainable, humane, and purposeful ways.

1. The "common good" is the sum of all conditions necessary for every person to reach the end for which they have been made. A purely materialistic end, pursued via either capitalism or socialism, degrades the dignity of the human person.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

It's Very Simple

Someone in my family posted a picture of the Twin Towers smoldering, with the meme, "This is why I don't care how the terrorists are interrogated!" It has all the finesse of a kick to the groin. Well, I do. And the reason I do is justice. It's not just or right to treat people's humanity like trash. It wasn't right the first time when they did it; you can spangle it with stars, and adorn it with country song lyrics, and it's still wrong. That's why the Enemy laughs whenever there's a war, because he knows that injustice will often be met with wounded, angry, passionate retaliation.

They are still people.

It's so simple, but it's so hard, because we think no one else is watching, that vengeance is OURS, we will repay. Maybe it's that simple atheism right there. It makes all the difference, doesn't it?

It's possible and very likely that these people have merited a thousand Hells by what they have done. But ask yourself this: do you want to join them? See, I think people roll their eyes at "turn the other cheek" and the like because they have no idea how real Hell is. (Or Heaven, for that matter.) They think Jesus was a pansy, if you will forgive me. No, my friends. Jesus understands the true weight of everything. The Buddhists were right about this: it all comes back. If nothing is forgotten, and if all debts will be paid, one way or the other, let's just say, that changes things.

Besides, wasn't Mom right when she said, "Two wrongs don't make a right"?

Lord, have mercy.