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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Touched

I don't like to start out anything I write with statements like, "You can't possibly understand," but you can't possibly understand. I'm a normal guy; I like stereotypical guy things. I think Tom Brady is awesome. I love his hair. I hope he never retires. I will watch any sport. I like meat; I have to make myself eat a vegetable.

Then again, I'm a cripple.

The thing you'll never understand is that it's really hard to believe your body has a goodness when no one except your helpers and your mom touches it, at least for long stretches of time. Sure, it's gotten better. But I got asked by a buddy in college what scared me the most about the women I knew in college. I didn't even hesitate: I don't like it when they touch me. I don't understand it.

Dating, romance, and sex are hard enough when you're young and scared. Let's add being different to the equation. I felt like an alien from another planet.

As much as I was anxious about physical touch, I wanted it. It's a human thing. Friendship, business, family, it's all there. Most people have a ton of it, even weirdos who say, "I'm not a hugger." Like what planet are those people from? Anyway, most people get more than they want, like the Israelites and the quail, after they got sick of manna in the desert.

Not me. Not us.

My first romantic encounter almost had to be a woman with a disability. Even if I never wanted to limit myself. Most of us don't, by the way. I couldn't and wouldn't call it a relationship, because it wasn't moving toward anything permanent. Everyone is messed up, but people with disabilities are more messed up than the rest of you. Emotionally, I mean. This is an able-bodied world; every "normal" thing people do is some part fresh and exciting, and utterly terrifying.

I can't even worry emotionally about discrimination, because if I did, I'd have gone insane at least 15 years ago. It happens, it probably explains why I don't have a wife and 6 kids, but I can't think about it. I have to live.

Oh, yeah, chastity. I'm a Christian. That happened, and continues. Fornication is a sin, along with most of the other things people think are normal to do. I firmly believe the Catholic Church is right about all of this. I firmly believe that God prohibits things that harm us because He loves us. I firmly believe all of it even when I fail. In fact, I believe even more firmly, in the times of failure, because they show me I am utterly nothing in my own strength.

Yeah, I don't know what I'm doing. You're probably gonna hold on a little tight, when some woman comes around. She's gotta be crazy. She can't possibly... Does she even...? What is this? All people--all men--think like this. Multiply it a thousand times, and you get an idea of my thought process. Does it even terminate in actual thoughts? I can't answer that.

And if there's trauma added to all this? Man alive! If I didn't believe in grace, I'd invent it, because I got here somehow.

I'll go on living with good hope, despite everything. Jesus isn't, and won't be afraid to touch me. He's not afraid of me. Jesus, the Incarnate Word, left the wounds of His suffering in his glorified body. He left them for me to see, to hide in. For what reason, what glory, have you left me this broken body, O Lord?

Monday, January 20, 2020

“Conservative” Judges?

This remains probably the most salient reason for anyone to vote for President Trump. But let’s talk about that, shall we? Let’s for the moment bracket out abortion. Besides, I think most of the enthusiasm for “originalism” is fueled by abortion opposition.

Within the brackets, let’s bear in mind that every single Democrat running for president favors no limitations on abortion at all. We could add in other things related to sex, gender, and family as well. Suffice to say, the Democrats are awful on so-called “social issues.”

But what kind of judge protects the rights of defendants? What kind of judge opposes the death penalty? What kind of judge favors generous pardon and commutation powers, granted to governors? What kind of judge will help to confront the for-profit incarceration machine?

Not ones appointed by Trump. Liberals, that’s who.

While I reiterate that my opposition to abortion, euthanasia, the re-definition of marriage, and countless other degradations is absolute, even the best case for status quo isn’t that strong.


Thursday, January 16, 2020

The Wackadoo Is Right: There Shouldn't Be Smut For Kids To Find

Here you go. Now don't hear what I'm not saying. I don't think Sally the Librarian deserves prison, even if she thinks these parents are a bunch of repressed Christianist Torquemadas. And I'm not saying necessarily that I want anything to do with actually enforcing this thing.

But.

I don't believe in pluralism for its own sake. I believe true freedom serves the true good. I believe that moral filth hurts everyone, and, if good parents can't stand up and say that Heather doesn't have two Mommies, she never did, and she never will, well, I don't really want to live in a place like that.

For those of you who think I just tied various "marginalized" communities to a stake, get over it. If you cry "Wolf!" long enough, people start ignoring you. At the end of the day, everyone will come to understand that the absolute limit of human political authority is the natural moral law, and that every human government that transgresses it in the exercise of its authority is null and void in that respect.

By the way, my liberal and progressive friends: You want to regulate huge corporations and their profits and payouts? Natural moral law. Environmental destruction? Ditto. War? You get the idea.

Sooner or later, the Christians were going to say, "You know what? Our nanny state is better than yours." And I don't blame them. Bork was right.

As We Forgive Our Trespassers

I'm the type of foolish man who thought forgiveness is easy. I don't have any enemies; I'm at least somewhat of an easygoing guy [The truth is, you're a control freak, who's good at convincing people that you're easygoing.--ed.].

And then, it hits. People wiser than me advised I wait a couple months, maybe I can discern some good in what was said. It's been 4. It's probably good I'm a cripple; I probably would have hit him in the throat by now, and only later felt bad about it.

I'm opening up about it here, because I'm honestly tired of trying to talk about it with people who are like me: Good Christians, uncomfortable with anger, obedient to authority, and ever so thankful to God for our many gifts.

Oh, yeah, the guy's a priest.

Yes, if you're wondering, I kind of hate myself right now. What good Catholic wouldn't? And this is not someone I met randomly one time at Our Lady of the Godless Suburbs parish for a sacramental check-up. We know each other, OK? I'd have used the word, "friends". Random people and their big mouths may annoy us; it's our friends and loved ones who can truly hurt us.

Actually, another friend said I was entirely too obedient to authority, in that this journey began with me simply taking all the words to heart, as though they were true. Hey man, that's me. If a priest says, "This is how it is," who am I to argue?

I have been able to pray, and it's not like I wish him true ill; Pete's sake, where would we be, without our priests? I've kind of imagined that he was Paul, and I was Barnabas. Only--and this is the part that rankles--if Barnabas was Corky from "Thirtysomething".

People always tell me I'm full of joy and optimism. I don't know, maybe I am. But I get a whiff that you're trying to patronize me, or brush me to the side, hoo boy. Don't be in the same place at the same time.

And disability complicates everything. I want to believe that nothing in this unfortunate conversation had anything to do with mine, but I don't live in that world of luxury. The naivete of blissful ignorance.

I was just trying to be a man, talking to another man. And then I felt like a three-year-old, rebuked for trying to sit in the big-boy chair with the adults at Christmas dinner. So, yeah, I'm not happy.

Lord, have mercy! There's nothing worse than the thought of going to Hell on a technicality.

Thursday, January 02, 2020

I Need Your Help

I don't think "ABs" could really understand what it actually means for me to ask you for help. At the completely practical level, it might mean, "This needs to happen urgently, and you're here." But let's say it's something non-urgent, or even something I could do, if not pressed for time. It means, "I value you, and trust you with something I'm self-conscious or anxious about." It means I want to connect with you, to be served by you. Of course, I want to serve you and others. But it's not easy to accept help. I think people mistakenly assume that if you have some severe disability, you find it easy to acknowledge your limitations, and ask for help. That's not true at all. Men don't ask for directions, and I don't like asking for help. But if I do, you ought to know that it indicates for me a high level of trust, even affection.

I think it's entirely possible that people get caught up in imagining what they would do, if they were me. But the psychology of a particular challenge or limitation is never exactly the same from person to person. You may have unfair able-bodied expectations you don't even realize.

"It's not about your disability" but it really is, and I know it, even if you don't. Disability adds an extra layer of pressure to any sort of inter-abled relationship, and if you don't talk about it, complete disaster and hurt is a live possibility.

As I've written before, I don't even like the idea of being an activist. I have a fundamentally conservative soul, even if some people in my life don't believe that. However, I've said, "Wow, they really don't get it, do they?" so many times that apparently, I'll be spending the rest of my life elaborating on what "it" is. So be it.

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Mary, Mother Of God

My gift to the Blessed Mother on her day will be the unassailable logic used against the Nestorian heresy, which essentially divided Christ the Word from Jesus the man. In contrast, the Church taught and teaches that two natures—one human, and one divine—are united in the one Person of Jesus Christ. Here’s the simple syllogism:

Mary is the mother of Jesus;
Jesus is God;
Therefore, Mary is the mother of God. (Mother of God)

It was Jesus the heretics were after, really. In like manner, the Marian dogmas safeguard us from error concerning Our Lord.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Christian Left Versus Mindless Right

I liked the Christianity Today editorial calling for Trump's impeachment and removal. I was wondering why it took Mark Galli and them so long. He's nothing if not thoughtful and deliberate, and maybe that's my answer.

On the one hand, I have my own reasons for agreeing with Galli here; I don't suddenly pronounce Trump fit and noble, after four and a half years of saying otherwise. My position won't change, just because my investments are doing well, or because sexual politics on the Left are absurd.

On the other hand, the sorts of people who celebrated this piece as a clarion call of righteousness from an evangelical leader are the same people who have ignored those sexual politics--who've almost bracketed them off from off from serious consideration in all spheres--and perhaps deserve some share of dismissal for that. Frankly, "evangelical" doesn't mean anything. If it's a sociological phenomenon that demurs on the major questions of dogma by ecclesiological necessity, bypassing the tragic reality of Christian division for a polite narrative of "just Jesus" and personal conversionism, I can't blame the Right for pouncing in just that way.

If I may dismiss Franklin Graham and Jeffress and the rest as cultic mind-slaves, I had better reckon with the horror of the certain triumph of Trump's enemies, should he be removed. I'd have plenty to temper my enthusiasm at the victory of Joe Biden, a man whose electoral virtues consist in not being as irrational or as unhinged as the other Democrats running for president.

I don't think Trump knows which end is up, in regard to any other question besides his own well being. Almost anything I could say in criticism has merit, as is proved daily. It's a personality cult, if I've ever seen one. Still, I'm not sure a civilization-destroying murder death cult is an improvement.

If I drank when I am sad, I'd be attached to a drum of whiskey right now.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

I Mull Things Over

I'm not a sudden changer of routine. I'm open to suggestions, mind you, but "my people" know I don't do anything quickly. On the other hand, once I decide to do something, I do it.

I might even say, "That's a great idea! I should do that!" Still, it's gonna be 2 weeks, minimum, before I do it. I apologize for any inconvenience or frustration this may cause. The enduring circle of associates already knows, but others of you may not. I do try to show appreciation in that moment for the suggestion, but I'm not 16. The timeline is the timeline. It won't be shorter, unless my current plan or method is actively dangerous, or immoral, or something else of gravity.

I would like to think other people are like this, too, but I don't know. I could just be crazy.

I love parties, because I love people. But whoever those people are who actively enjoy planning things--more than the thing itself--obviously should see a doctor! Ha!

I did buy a kitchen tool last week or so, and I'm pretty excited about it. I got it from our friends at Amazon. Don't worry, Bryan. I chose the slowest shipping speed possible, so that whomever is driving the truck is free to use the bathroom when he has to. Also, no, I will not join Amazon Prime. I don't want to actively know I'm degrading human society, even if I can't resist mass market paperbacks sold for a nickel.

Consider this: I love baseball, and even though the MLB Radio package is easily the best deal in professional sports, ($20 annually, to hear every radio broadcast of every team) I thought about it for an entire year. It's not a crucial decision, I suppose, but money is money.

One thing I don't have to think over is giving my heart and my whole self to Jesus. The first time, and the next time. There's nothing to debate. If there are things in the way, that may slow us down, but I have no doubt it's the best decision you will ever make.