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Friday, August 19, 2016

There You Go Again

We were invaded by nuns today. Old ones. God love one nun in a wheelchair; she moved over so I could sit in my normal spot. Not that she knew that. This other nun told me her birthday was Sunday, and that she'd be 99. She was so happy to tell me that, as if she'd won the lottery.

I found the perfect love. It was right there all the time.

Father Details clearly knew the nuns, so he glad-handed the high-rollers for a few minutes. And then the caretakers asked if anyone had to use the bathroom, which of course, everyone did. I did, too. But this train wasn't moving very fast. It was hilarious. If you don't have the patience to be inconvenienced by an army of old nuns, start over.

I hope they come back.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

I'm Just Here

I don't feel up, I don't feel down, I'm just here. On the one hand, I feel this great desire to get closer to God. I heard this tour guide at the Cathedral asking for quiet, because we wouldn't to interrupt people while they were talking with their best friend, Jesus. Is Jesus my best friend? It's probably more right to say that he's done the most for me. I've had moments. Anything else I say is a half-truth.

And yet, I could not hold back the desire for what the celebrant called, "joy without end." And the desire not to be left without a wedding garment. Indeed, it seems my life is marked by failure, or at least the fear of it. Yes, I know fear.

Where is the perfect love that drives out fear?

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

I Guess I Believe Nonsense

Someone on my social media feed said that the alleged evidence for the Catholic Church being the Church Christ founded was "nonsense." I guess I can say in reply that if one refuses to admit the possibility, it's hardly news that one denies it.

It got me thinking, though: What were the highlights of considering that possibility? I think the moment I realized that an invisible Church could only exist as a mental abstraction. And further that one wouldn't be able to hold any kind of center, if any person could define the universal Church and its dogmas any way they liked. Realizing that the New Covenant is supposed to be bigger and greater than the Old, so you're not going to get rid of sacrifice without calling the God of Abraham crazy. Realizing it's safer to be in the same Church with Augustine, instead of calling him a papist toadie.

In the end, realizing that Jesus won't leave me, or lead me astray. Realizing this is still true, even if I or my brothers and sisters become a stumbling block to others. Realizing that people who refuse to enter may be afraid of things they don't understand. Realizing that I was afraid. Realizing I should do it anyway, because God loves me.

Realizing that the God of the Bible is the God of hesed, faithfulness, steadfast love, and has been so to His Church, though variously, we are not so to Him.




Once

It's a movie I just saw, about an aspiring singer in Dublin who befriends a girl, and they make a record together. [You were going to say, "make music together," beautiful music, but then people would think you meant sex.--ed.] They don't actually have sex, which is part of the intrigue.

On the other hand, I don't want to laud this as some wonderful example of friendship, because he sure wanted to. [Then you've never have been a friend to any woman.--ed.] You know, you're a real pal. [I learn from the best.--ed.] On the one hand, I was glad she didn't betray her marriage vows to do what they both wanted to do. On the other, I could understand the guy's tension, and what he thinks is pure luck of the bad variety. The writer messes with you a little, because he puts in the woman's mouth some fairly unflattering statements about the husband, and whether her family would survive.

It seems like what we might call an "emotional affair," though I find that phrase evangelical and weird, but I repeat myself. It stars Glen Hansard, and Marketa Irglova as the main characters, who are oddly not given names.

It's oddly compelling, as I might say, and I really like the music. I wonder what Greydanus thinks? [You know if you like it, he'll vomit all over it.--ed.] True. He doesn't know me, though. I can't take it personally. Maybe when he conceded that Interstellar had "genuinely affective character development" or whatever he said, that's Dutch heritage-speak for, "I adore this movie, but I cannot say that, as a Dutch person." I want him to admit that he was on the edge of sobbing in the movie theater, but he wouldn't say that, even if it were true. I digress.

Good film, good music.

Monday, August 15, 2016

A Few Brief Common Core Thoughts

I am most sensitive that some of the recommendations in the liberal arts, if you will, go against the moral law. I am not overly upset by the mathematics, which is trying to teach inductive and deductive reasoning, among other things. We are obsessed with "practicality" and utility, and that is pathetic, on either side of the political spectrum. True knowledge is a good in itself, and should be sought. If a thing is also materially beneficial, so much the better. Yet our society has too many people who don't know what they don't know, and aren't too interested in finding out.

Let the teachers teach. And if there is some moral or religious objection to something in the curriculum, let parents and teachers modify the curriculum as they see fit, together. We're not saying that word enough. Or we say it, and we don't mean it. We mean "together" as "the people who already think like I do."

Anyway, I think I understand the purpose of Common Core is to give students a baseline knowledge in the various subjects, no matter where they are. Surely we recognize that much of our inability to improve student performance relative to others is the highly variable quality of the learning experience itself, largely because of socioeconomic factors. Anything that can be done to positively address that problem should be encouraged.

We cannot abandon the public school system, as Christians. Every child has a right to knowledge, and we all have a stake in that process, even if we ourselves are not served by the public schools.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Not A Trump Toadie

I'll be brief: Everything in National Review's "Against Trump" issue is undeniably true. It hasn't changed. The specter of Hillary Clinton doesn't somehow make it go away. He is not, as some would have it, a good candidate (or man) with flaws; he is a bad man, who adds willful ignorance to his witches' brew of racism, xenophobia, and resentment. Quite simply, he has no earthly idea what he's talking about, and he countenances, supports, or outright endorses the worst elements of the "alt-right." The man's biggest advocate in the conservative media is Ann Coulter. That tells me all I need to know. Namely, that maybe racism and paranoia were a bigger part of the "conservative movement" than passionate contrarians of good will were ready to face.

"Judges" is the main argument that good people use to justify their vote for Trump. You know, I have been chasing the phantasm of overturning Roe my whole adult life. It won't happen in 4 years, or 8, or 40. This is a man who was pro-abortion 18 months ago, before running for president. I'm not selling my soul for a "maybe." If Clinton is otherwise qualified, perhaps I can't vote for her, but I won't shed a tear when she wins. The Clintons may be as corrupt as advertised, but lacking basic knowledge and governing competence they are not.

Bottom lines: Don't vote for people less competent than yourself, and don't vote for someone who reminds you of Mussolini. The fact that so many Catholics are ready to wave away his toxicity so easily is appalling to me. Call it virtue signaling if you like, but I don't trust people who don't get queasy at the thought of supporting such a man. If he resonates with you, and you feel judged, good. We have too easily become acclimated to evil.

Clinton will win, make no mistake. I find it more important to re-build a party and its philosophy than to cast my lot with someone I don't respect. Pretty simple.