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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Process Of Elimination

I don't think that it's a terribly big jump to say that I had to deny Scripture's formal sufficiency, (Sola Scriptura) because if it were true, we would not see all these earnest Christians debating each other about what it says. I was ready to listen to an alternate accounting of the rule of faith, precisely because it would be unreasonable to believe my invocation of the Holy Spirit had been any more dispositive than the guy next to me, who would go to another church, profess other doctrines, all the while believing Sola Scriptura and inerrancy, et cetera. You can't hector the Catholic Church from "Scripture" without knowing, or at least asserting, that the interpretation you have is divine.

But recall, even with the window-dressing of "derivative authority"--which is actually the mechanism which admits creeds, confessions, and the like--there is no mechanism within the system that makes the interpretation I hold more true than any other one. You'd have to beg the question, or, in less philosophical terms, accept the reality of Christian disunity and doctrinal plurality as God's intention, and go on professing whatever you are holding. Some take a further step, and assert that there was and is some happy "center" that unites everybody, but no one has been able to say what it is. Unless, of course, it was and is the Catholic Church. No, that can't be right.

Let's remember what Fred Noltie asked: "What if my "unbiblical" presupposition was Sola Scriptura?"

I had a friend recently say he wasn't comfortable with the notion that the very definition of catholicity is the Catholic Church. I can see that, to a certain extent. But what's left? Sola Scriptura doesn't work--remembering that a fundamentally invisible Church was the result of supposing Sola Scriptura--and holy mother Church is pretty gracious about being the Church Christ founded, anyway.

Is there any evidence to believe any of this? Or is it just some "professional apologists" in their pajamas? "Yes, man!" Happy reading, Mr. Wright. I should say "unhappy reading," at first, because no one likes to hear some version of, "You and all your heroes have been wrong your whole life." Trust me, I know. It sucks worse when you hear it in your own voice.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

With These Our Hells And Our Heavens

In a way, we're not all that different. The most wicked person you know and the best have nothing between them but this: the good man correctly apprehends his situation. He knows that he is but dust; he seeks God's mercy continually; he responds to the graces given him as he becomes aware. The wicked are not so.

They think their good name is written in the stars; they think they owe nothing to anyone; they think they have been put upon, that people owe them affection and accolades, respect and deference.

The just man sees the distance between himself and true holiness, and, by God's grace, strives to make tomorrow better than today.

Have you ever dreamed of your children, if you have yet to have any? I have. I know some truly great men; I have watched their children praise them at the city gates; the emotion of the thing will melt you into a puddle.

But you can't get there in a day. I learn each day that those fathers and mothers made a thousand little choices each day. They humbled themselves, they prayed, they asked for forgiveness; they gave it.

You can't take anything for granted, if you want to be a saint, if you want to be holy. There is no autopilot for justice, for goodness. I cannot make myself good, in my own power. But I can unmake myself. I can destroy what divine mercy and love has built. I can treat those gifts as rubbish to be discarded.

Please, O Lord, let me not think I deserve what you have given, from the smallest good, to eternal life. Don't let me go too far from You; may Your mercy be ever new. May you make me a blessing to others, as a praise to Your Name. Amen.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

It's Not Strong To Hold It In

There are people in this world governed by their passions, even if not the obvious ones. I might even say I could use, or could have used, some balance and decorum at times. A man without reason is dangerous indeed.

The truth is, though, I don't trust people who don't feel, who don't express something sometimes. I shouldn't, and neither should you. Physical and moral evil is not theoretical, it's as real as you or me, in a certain sense, and we know that we are flawed if we fail to notice. Some are more Spock than Kirk, and that's fine. If we are healthy though, we weep when we should weep, and we laugh when we should laugh.

You don't "get over" losing a parent. (I don't know about losing a child, but I trust that's true as well.) You don't "heal" from those things; the mercy is greater and more painful than that. You carry it around with you. You can't simply endure it, either; it's a thing that is part of who you are. Yes, you get the strength to go forward, and you should. But I am always the son of Rick, the nephew of Jim, et cetera. I am the one who lives with them absent. That's how irreplaceable we are: we leave holes that can never be filled. Not here.

Weep in your own way, but weep. Rejoice in your own way, but rejoice. One of the glories of the gospel is the promise that all which is not right will be set right again, even if it is in our own hearts. I pray for the grace to feel, if and when necessary.

Monday, March 09, 2015

5 Thoughts On Politics

5. I just realized that unless we are friends, or you have written a scholarly book, I don't care what you have to say on this subject.

4. What's with leftists and comedians from whom they get political "news?" I could elaborate the flaws of conservative talk radio all day long, but say this for most of them: they don't confuse satire with argument.

3. I haven't read the president's Selma speech yet, but I'm sure it was great. No, really. The president has a disease I like to abbreviate KPFNGR, or, "Killing People For No Good Reason." Aside from that, and a cynical bet that nobody really takes religion all that seriously, he says the reasonable thing 32.7 percent of the time. What he does rarely matches what he says, but there you go.

2. I still don't think Brian Williams did anything wrong.

1. I don't think saying, "Homosexuality is a choice" should make you a pariah, either. I think the GOP advocating the rest of us just give in and embrace the whole movement are spineless cowards, who deserve to be retired. We don't have to be haters to say, "I think this deserves conversation, and you can't just shame people into silence." We don't do that here.