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Friday, June 12, 2015

I Sorta Stuck Up For Matt Walsh

That could be a mistake. I still think everything I already said here. I'll just be direct: I don't like progressivism. I have a few progressive friends. Person-to-person, they are almost universally delightful; in groups, they are The Zeitgeist, and it's not a cool German band.

Unchecked progressivism is like a guy who comes to your house, breaks all your stuff, and says, "I don't know why you're so mad."

Then again, unchecked conservatism is like a guy who hosts a dinner party at his broken-down house worthy of being condemned, and all his friends come to tell him what a lovely home he has, and what a lovely time they are having. You're welcome. Good luck forgetting that.

Believe me, there is nothing that would be funnier than watching a bunch of angry hipsters trying to hide their disdain for Matt Walsh. But 1. he doesn't entirely know what he's talking about most times; 2. he hates the progressives as much as they hate him and the rest of us; but 3. he claims to be a Christian, and a Catholic, at that.

I suppose I should say that I do want a healthy, more respectful body politic. But if you're waiting for me to be Officially Concerned, to denounce the guy, you're going to be waiting a long time.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

I Will Be The Bearer Of Reasonable Bad News

I was over at Power Line blog. Every political conservative has read something good from there at some point in the last dozen years, give or take. Those are smart guys, good guys. Here's my thought, re: Freddie Gray: Can I have one human thought about a guy that died under circumstances that he shouldn't have, before I take my position on the highly-polarized battle-lines of American politics?

I mean, really. The comments. I just feel so dirty.

I'm not even averse to believing:

A. Gray was a really bad guy;

B. The prosecutor is trying to do more than the evidence warrants;

C. She is incompetent;

D. So is Obama.

But let's take a step back, because we're missing one key point. Feel free to sit down. You'll need to. Are you ready?

People aren't supposed to die in the custody of the police. Ever. If the Boston bomber now convicted died while awaiting trial, wouldn't you be alarmed? This is America, right? Let's take another example, shall we?

Atticus Finch. Let us forget a couple of things, firstly, that Atticus acted heroically in a completely righteous cause, and that he's fictional. Isn't part of Atticus' heroism not only that he'd defend the dignity of a black man in the cause of justice, but that he would do it in spite of the fact that most everyone thinks he shouldn't? He is willing to sacrifice his own name among men, because justice is more important than reputation. We're not supposed to be OK with the vigilantes that come to kill Tom Robinson, even if he were guilty as sin.

So...

What relevance does Freddie Gray's police record have for the fact that agents of the US government have killed someone in their custody? And your grievance against the relative influence of left-liberalism has no bearing on the dignity of this person. It just doesn't.

Define Your Terms, Culture Edition

I simultaneously went, "Good point!" and, "You smug jerk-face!" Here's my question: Is there some minimum bar to avoid kitsch, or is this some arbitrary standard to make a group of people who don't think Sweet Baby James should qualify as a folk album feel better about themselves? You know what I mean?

I know we should all thank God for the grandma praying us all under the table, and getting us to Heaven.

We give Thee thanks, Almighty God, for these and all Thy gifts, Thou who livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever! Amen.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Black Lives Matter (Even If It's "Liberal" To Say So)

You all are probably more than aware of the much-publicized deaths of black men in recent days, weeks, and months. We have a problem. I'll keep it brief.

If you mean by "white privilege" that white people are hopelessly, irretrievably racist, and that the only way we should allow them to live is if they never stop professing their sorrow for simply existing, and that people of color are perpetually absolved from all wrongdoing (I can hardly blame you if this is what progressives sound like on this point), then, no, I don't believe it.

If, however, you mean by "white privilege" that there is a systemic and cultural denial of basic dignity to people of color in relation to whites, then I would say yes, it is real, and it is a problem. Adopting the latter definition does not preclude me from believing:

1. that the vast majority of police intend to do and do a wonderful job in protecting their fellow citizens;

2. That police work as such is a most honorable, even heroic, profession;

3. that any number of the aforementioned black deaths could have been tragic, but justifiable. I'm thinking of Michael Brown, to be direct. And I might add that Trayvon Martin's death could be in this category, and be simultaneously a textbook example in its totality of white privilege. No, Zimmerman isn't white, and yes, Martin may have used force which required lethal force in response. But isn't the problem that we don't think black people belong in certain places, driving certain cars, etc.? This is why NBC tried to turn Zimmerman into a white person, as it were. Because he is, in those moments, sharing the unjustified, tragic, systemic assumptions that reinforce the problem. Isn't it also a little creepy that this guy would become the symbol of the resistance against the Liberal Race-Grievance Machine?

Just sayin.'

I might even think that a particular public intellectual is not someone I want to be confronting me with these facts or questions; it doesn't make him wrong. Just my thoughts. We need major justice reform now, for the sake of our nation.

Testing, Testing

"And God tested Abraham." Genesis 22:1. We basically can take the story that follows in one of two ways: 1. The Bill Hicks way, that God is crazy, and if he is omnipotent and supernatural, he's not anyone I want to be worshiping, or 2. The Abraham/St. Paul way, which is, "I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed to us."

But hang on. Is Paul crazy? Does he even understand what I've gone through? Ask him, and keep reading. Here's the mystery and the truth: God's not waiting for us beyond our suffering; he's waiting for us in it. Jesus was prophesied to be the "man of sorrows, acquainted with grief." He knows. He wants us to know that he knows.

I can imagine the face of a good friend; I often think he's suffered more than anyone deserves, if there is such a thing. Doesn't everyone think that, though? I wouldn't choose my sufferings, and neither would anybody else. But the only reason Paul can say something like this is that the very Light of the world through the Holy Spirit is burning in his heart. The very presence of the goodness of God is shining in the darkness. It's not a denial of the darkness; it's an overcoming of it.

We have an opportunity, not simply to endure, but to give back, and testify.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

That Doesn't Make Any Sense

This morning, I read a headline that an orgy was being organized in Toronto for disabled people.

I don't want to be included in everything.

Put down your magazine, turn off the TV, because it's about to get real.

At the moment, I can think of nothing worse than saying, "I love you" with my body, and then saying it again to somebody else. Everything you've heard about men is a huge lie, the worst lie ever told. You may be a man reading this, and this culture has lied about you and me.

All men want is sex, they say. No; animals want sex. Men want to connect. I'm serious. If you see some guy giving his body to scores of women, he's hiding something. Something is wrong.

I don't say this because it's the pious Christian thing to say; I say it from experience. My "I love you" is much too big to be summed up in the desire of a sex act. It may be a fitting way to say "I love you" to a particular woman at a particular time, and I won't be afraid or ashamed when that time comes. I'm telling you, though: if what's in your heart and mine can be filled by an urge, we need bigger hearts.

You and you alone are mine until I die. Only God has a stronger claim on you than I do. If I spend the rest of my days searching out the mystery of you, and us together, and how it's a sign of Christ and the Church, what a life! What a worthy life! Our children will know that they are here because I love you so much, I ran out of words. The words couldn't even make a start. All I am, all I have ever been in this life is now yours.


Monday, June 08, 2015

7:04 AM

I wish I had a profound thought to offer. Just this, I suppose. The days look different from here. I understand why early-morning people feel so pleased with themselves; I have been awake for better than two and a half hours; most people haven't done anything yet.

I have found a great truth in life: you can be successful just by giving a crap. The true leaders make whatever it is an all-consuming passion, but there is a lot of room between that, and complete failure. That's a dangerous amount of space, but it's real.

By God's grace, I am what I am. Even at 7:04 AM.