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Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Girl Who Was Saturday

This is an amazing blog. I'm continuing the tradition of linking to people who are smarter and cooler than me. You'll need a dictionary, and a shot of something strong. The Register could use a writer like her. Just a thought.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Blackness, Revisited

I can remember back in 2008, when Barack Obama first ran for president, and his ties to Jeremiah Wright became known. I listened to several sermons of Dr. Wright, and one by Fr. Michael Pfleger, (who should not have been there, as a Catholic priest) and I more deeply understood just by listening, what drives black separatism.

And I definitely wouldn't say that any of that ideology is beyond criticism. Yet I wanted to understand first, and our political culture does not encourage us to understand. It functions on outrage, both real, and manufactured. Empathy and reflexive outrage are opposites. I know for certain that I don't want any part of an ideology that considers empathy a weakness.

One day, Louis Farrakhan will face judgment, as we all will, and he'll have to answer for the murder of Malcolm X. I can also remember the day I heard him speak (on C-SPAN) at the Million Man March. I was about 15. To say that he is rhetorically gifted is an understatement. To deny that the Nation of Islam offers a compelling moral vision in some respects would be short-sighted. That's the context of Muhammad Ali's activism in the 1960s, and it was a context that was missing in some of the breathless criticism of then-Senator Barack Obama. The "conservative" political culture is relentlessly homogenizing, and though little of it is explicitly racist (though more of it is with Trump) its animating impulse is what I'd call, "whiteness," almost the mirror-image of the nastier aspects of black separatism. You can be any color you like, as long as you say things that conform to what white people of a certain age are comfortable and agree with. This is the reason why Allen West sounds ridiculous, and why progressives and moderates would question his "blackness": he uses so much of the language and narrative of whiteness that it's hard to remember that he is black.

Where does that leave me? I'll let you know when I figure it out.

If I'm Ever In Unrelenting Agony...

Remind me of the gospel, and bring me a Coke. [What if the Coke was the cause of your agony?--ed.] Well, then, bottom's up! All together now, Catholics and other Christians: "Suicide is never a morally acceptable choice!"

I'm pretty averse to physical pain, to be honest, which is sort of funny for a person with a disability. You can end up in excruciating pain by accident, so I definitely know about it. But there are other types of suffering as well, and I am absolutely certain it is better to suffer than never to live.

Some people say that people who cry are weak. Bull excrement. The strongest people I know go on fighting--whatever it is--with the tears streaming down their faces. We're talking about assisted suicide in this country because we're decadent cowards. We dress it up with words like "dignity" and "courage," because we don't know anything about either one.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

A Worthy Thought

We had the reading from Kings, where Elijah calls down the fire from Heaven in challenging the prophets of Baal. Monsignor said a thing, and almost offhandedly, which has stayed with me all day: the fire from Heaven prefigures the Holy Spirit.

Our God is a consuming fire. 

Honestly, reflecting on this makes me ashamed of most songs about the Holy Spirit. Do I have any idea the power I'm calling down? This ain't Reader's Digest. I'm lucky I don't get killed.

And yet, so tender is He, he leads us into the mystery of love that is the Blessed Trinity. In fact, by His mercy, I will not be destroyed, but I will be elevated to share in the divine Life! (Silence.)

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Jesus Claimed Divinity More Than You Think He Did

I actually have no idea why all of the English Bible translations decline to render the Greek "Ego Eimi" as "I Am". It happens all over the place, and if we are Christians, we adore Jesus as God. So, when he refers to himself with two words that are shockingly similar to the Name that God gives for himself when Moses asks in the book of Exodus, we shouldn't miss that. Is it grammatically required? No, but we shouldn't be afraid of it, either. Jesus did not say, "It is I; do not be afraid" in John 6:20. He said, "I AM; do not be afraid." Understand this: when he says this, he's walking on water.

The next time you read the Bible, Jesus may not be trying to comfort you as a brother and a friend. He might be telling you He's God, and you need to suck it up, and trust Him.

The silliest part about those so-called "Jesus is my boyfriend" songs is that, ain't nobody got a boyfriend who made the heavens and the earth.

A Passionate Abstention

Our political parties need to know that some semblance of knowledge and character is required of those seeking the highest office in the land. It's one thing to dust off, "We're not electing a pastor" in a normal election year; it's quite another to behold these leaders pretending this farce is not a farce.

I won't watch a single second, and I won't miss it.

It's never been more true to say that we get the America we deserve.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Thanks, Mr. May

Mrs. DeMille had a thing on her feed, but I didn't get to read the thread. The headline said, "The Best Teacher I Ever Had Was...?" and I thought of Mr. May, from third grade. I wasn't in his class the whole day; I was integrated into it for a few hours. I learned my multiplication tables from Mr. May, and division. And he read to us. Boy, did he read to us! I remember a weird story about a bull, and the bull had thoughts and feelings, like a person. I remember "Where The Red Fern Grows." I remember a Narnia story. (How'd he get away with that?) And I remember when I came back to his class after my father died. I don't remember exactly what he said. I remain grateful that he said it. When you're that young, you don't know how to grieve. I think I thought I had to "get over it." Mr. May knew better.

I think more than anything, I am thankful there was a man there, in the public school. I firmly believe that while we shouldn't accept the state of our public schools, we can't give up on them, either. If boys really are falling behind, maybe being taught by one of their own will help.

Ask me what I believe about feminism, and I will ask you to define your terms. Yet I know that breaking down sex stereotypes in terms of careers is a good thing. The more Mr. Mays, the better.

Thanks to all the teachers out there.