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Heaven and Earth: Jesus and John the Baptist (John 3:22-36)

 This particular situation might be confusing: two unique people, who seem to have truth from God are both preaching and baptizing. John the Baptist notices that people seem to be more drawn to Jesus. John's disciples notice, too. John the Baptist reminds them and us that he is not the Messiah, but that he was given the task of proclaiming His coming. He uses the analogy of a wedding. In our terms, John the Baptist is saying that he is the best man. The best man's job is to celebrate his friend, the groom, and to do whatever he can to help the guests celebrate and enjoy the wedding. Our culture isn't much different than theirs in this. The best man is usually the closest friend that the man getting married has in the world. Any solid best man will be thrilled for his buddy, and once it's over, his job is done. That's exactly what John the Baptist is saying. There is a fair amount of discussion about whether verses 31 through 36 is still John the Baptist talking, or
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My Thoughts On The Harrison Butker Commencement Speech

Update: I read the whole thing. I’m sorry, but what a weirdo. I thought you [Tom Darrow, of Denver, CO] made a trenchant case for why lockdowns are bad, and I definitely appreciated it. But a graduation speech is *not* the place for that. Secondly, this is an august event. It always is. I would never address the President of the United States in this manner. Never. Even the previous president, though he deserves it, if anyone does. Thirdly, the affirmations of Catholic identity should be more general. He has no authority to propound with specificity on all matters of great consequence. It has all the hallmarks of a culture war broadside, and again, a layman shouldn’t speak like this. The respect and reverence due the clergy is *always due,* even if they are weak, and outright wrong. We just don’t brush them aside like corrupt Mafia dons, to make a point. Fourthly, I don’t know where anyone gets the idea that the TLM is how God demands to be worshipped. The Church doesn’t teach that.

A Friend I Once Had, And The Dogmatic Principle

 I once had a friend, a dear friend, who helped me with personal care needs in college. Reformed Presbyterian to the core. When I was a Reformed Presbyterian, I visited their church many times. We were close. I still consider his siblings my friends. (And siblings in the Lord.) Nevertheless, when I began to consider the claims of the Catholic Church to be the Church Christ founded, he took me out to breakfast. He implied--but never quite stated--that we would not be brothers, if I sought full communion with the Catholic Church. That came true; a couple years later, I called him on his birthday, as I'd done every year for close to ten of them. He didn't recognize my number, and it was the most strained, awkward phone call I have ever had. We haven't spoken since. We were close enough that I attended the rehearsal dinner for his wedding. His wife's uncle is a Catholic priest. I remember reading a blog post of theirs, that early in their relationship, she told him of the p

Jesus's Skin Color (Again)

 Someone shut down a discussion--and potential veneration--by stating, "Jesus wasn't White." Which I could easily grant, especially for the sake of argument. But what does "White" mean? How dark would He have to be, before this Marxist-adjacent person would adore Him as God? Or at least allow the discussion to progress? Was it simply a way to invalidate all White perspectives? It seems to me that the universality of Jesus and the gospel message is a threat to certain kinds of essentialism. If there were value in say, "de-centering Whiteness," it would have to be in drawing out the richness of a cultural expression, and adding it to that which is universal. If there is therefore no access to the universals, or no relationship between the universal and the particular, then nominalism, solipsism, and relativism has won. On the other hand, part of the offense of Jesus is that he dared to take on a particular human nature, in a particular place, at a partic

Integralism's Fatal Flaw

 I'm no expert on these questions, or related issues, but as a theologian and a person wanting to understand and submit to the Catholic Church on the questions of religious liberty and conscience, I think that the Church has decided that, while a free conscience in error in questions of faith or morals isn't completely free, in light of the soul's true end, the possibility of error is preferable to compliance by compulsion. That is, assent compelled--either to the dictates of right reason, or to those of revealed truth--is itself contrary to charity. The existence of error, and the willingness to tolerate it in some sense, is not to say that truth and error are indistinguishable. Also, "Ultimate truth does not exist" is a statement expressing epistemic skepticism, and is not equivalent to, "People are free to make their own decisions and moral choices." Acknowledging the plain reality of misused freedom is not the same as endorsing freedom that has been

Waino, Yadi, Albert

 Today was the final home game for the St. Louis Cardinals. Accordingly, it was the final regular season home game for Yadier Molina, and Albert Pujols, who have both made it clear that this season is their last. As you may or may not know, Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina now have the all-time MLB record for most starts as pitcher and catcher. It's possible that, given the great caution with which those players are handled, this record is completely unreachable. We will see. I do know that Wainwright is the best pitcher never to win a Cy Young Award as the league's best pitcher, and that he's within hailing distance of consideration for baseball's Hall of Fame. (In point of fact, he has carried the Cardinals this season, and has for several years now, despite celebrating his 41st birthday about 2 months ago.) You can't say enough about Yadier Molina. Once considered a light-hitting catcher, he's just finished his regular season career with a batting mark of .2

I'm "Non-Affirming": An Explanation

 This covers homosexuality/gender non-conformity, and anything related you can think of. Why? It starts with this simple assertion: Our bodies and our organs are for something, and that something is not exhausted in personal pleasure.  Sex is for creation. To be more specific, procreation. That's what it's for. To create new people is the reason we've been given this gift. To be sure, it gives pleasure. Most likely because people will not always do the things we ought to do, if none of it was pleasant. Why does it matter? If we were to say that "parents" were any two people, and that a "family" is whatever we say it is, we necessarily say   that the traditional view is wrong. Suppose we all chose to believe this, and acted accordingly. The human race would cease to exist. It's no longer about being tolerant of a rare variation; if various radicals are correct, everything we ever believed in is wrong. But we know better. We are seeing that transgender

I Love The Diverse Re-Boots

 I had to stop watching the Twitter thread of the little Black girls, watching the trailer for next year's re-boot of "The Little Mermaid." It really does matter, and you can see it in their faces. I had to stop, because I had to teach; I can't be crying in the middle of the school day. (And if we are honest, "The Little Mermaid" could benefit the most from a re-imagining. Be honest with us, and yourself.) It got me thinking back to high school, when Disney re-did "Cinderella," live-action, with a predominantly Black cast, including my first celebrity crush, Brandy Norwood--noted R&B singer and actress generally known simply as, "Brandy." I watched it less than 2 years ago; it was like I was 17 again. I love her. The End. Anyway, in those simpler times,--before everything folks didn't like was "woke,"-- most people went, "Wait, what? We've never had a Black Cinderella?" And it was pretty great. Pete's s