Saturday, April 28, 2012

I can't see anything. I misplaced my glasses, which reinforces the point of my first sentence. What a vicious cycle that is! I was tempted to punch Bree the Weather Lady on Newschannel 5, because she interrupted the third and deciding period in the Capitals-Rangers hockey game to tell us about a hailstorm in bloody Illinois (no offense). When they had returned to the game, it was 3-1 Rangers with 2:30 left. Let me emphasize that it was a PLAYOFF hockey game. Tell you what: Unless the storm is on top of my house during the Blues game, I don't want to know. If the storm is truly awful, our TVs won't work anyway.
Someone died when the same hailstorm lifted up the metal patio on the roof of a sports bar downtown. It is very sad, BUT WHY ARE YOU OUTSIDE IN A HAILSTORM?!? Anyway, big sports day in town.
People might wonder why St. Louis is such a successful sports city. After all, the Cardinals have won 11 World Series titles in baseball, second only to the New York Yankees. The St. Louis Blues were established in 1967 (Yes, in fact they were named after the W.C. Handy biopic starring Nat King Cole; thanks for asking!) and though they have yet to win the Stanley Cup, they made three consecutive appearances in the Cup Finals in their first three years of existence. In addition, they had qualified for the postseason tournament every season from 1980 through 2005. The city has a proud tradition of soccer at all levels as well. Even our harried NFL team has 2 Super Bowl appearances and one victory despite being established here in only 1995. Why?
As a native, all I can say is that St. Louisans are relentlessly optimistic. In everything. Bill Simmons of ESPN wrote a column about the most tortured cities in sports, and even though the Blues have never won, he said we could never qualify, because of our limitless optimism. A lot of us are kinda stupid, but we have smiles on our faces.

Friday, April 27, 2012

She's right, you know. Women as such have nothing to do with this. Men are searching for the term that fits what they are feeling, what they are describing, and it's not enough. But they sense weakness, indecision, equivocation, compromise. And having been locked in the same cultural epistemic prison as the feminists they despise, they call the problem 'feminization.' But just as 'gender' is a stupid, imprecise word that means to undermine the very words we are trying to define, so are the terms used in this discussion. Does 'male and female' really mean something? Do these terms refer to something real? How many times have you heard, "Maleness or femaleness is a useless cultural construct"? A lot, right? Put it another way: The universal terms we might apply don't refer accurately to this thing or that; all that matters are the particulars. Ockham called; he wants his philosophy back. And when American men express frustration at the things they find in their worshipping communities, all they are doing is waging the same battle of redefining the terms, without asking and answering the first question: What does it mean to say 'I am a man'? And is that a real thing? If it is, if the terms that define us separately according to sex are real--there is a true correspondence between the universal concept "man" and me in particular--then we all have a duty to submit as individuals to the reality of that. Affirm it as true and then build upon it. We might have many interesting discussions about the particular ways we put the truth about ourselves into practice, but as it is written, "God made man in his own image; male and female he created them." That is to say, God is not an Ockhamist. When God defines and speaks, it simply is. The feminine is absolutely not a negation of me as a male. It is other in some sense, but if I were to declare it in opposition, I would be denying the image of God. It's right there in the verse. If God does not believe femaleness to be a negation of His image, why should I? Driscoll, while doubtless trying to affirm good things about males and maleness, has bought the lie that feminism uplifts women; it doesn't. It destroys, on purpose, the meaning of the words 'male' and 'female'. Then it gives us a vicious replacement of a word instead, purposely leaving it undefined, rooting for us to destroy each other: equality. I don't need to say anymore; the world-destroyers don't define it; why should I? In every discussion of sex and sexuality, they equivocate, like always. But 'equality' is a male bovine's fecal matter kind of word. My only caution to the author is not to accept undefined words and allow people to use them as clubs, as though we have agreed on what they mean. I affirm Amy in her femininity as such. We as a species have not always been so gracious to one another, which is to say, we have accepted the lie of negation. I will not; I am happy to be a man, to submit to its objective reality as a part of me.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I understand that I am a sci-fi geek. I also understand that I will never be cool. But I also understand that science fiction can function like a modern-day parable, a way to say things that might not get said in the highly contentious atmosphere that is our nation and world today. Actually, TV and movies are uniquely positioned to function like this simply as technologies. How fitting that science fiction would be so well-carried by mediums which were once the stuff of science fiction.
Anyway, this clip kind of inspires me today. Great show with thoughtful writing cancelled before its time. [It was on 5 years.--ed.] Still.
I took an exam tonight. Fundamental Theology. Welcome to the Catholic Church! You can learn an entire semester's worth of theology without touching a Bible. [Ha! I knew it!--ed.] Simmer down. There has to be a bridge between the truths of reason and the dogmas of faith. Enter Fundamental Theology. But we're not denying the Bible; we're dealing with the preambles to faith first. Duh. That's what you would do if you weren't a fundie. [Pagan.--ed.] Fideist. [Bread-worshipper.--ed.] Eucharist denier. [Ecclesiolator.--ed.] Schismatic. Anyway, I was thinking about humor. We were discussing absurdity in class not long ago, and our teacher said that two main reactions to absurdity exist: laughter and sadness. Personally, I've had too much of the sadness lately for my taste. I digress. " is a difficult concept." "We learn by doing." Oh, dear, a Trek-gression has occurred! I hate it when that happens. What is the difference between good humor and bad humor? What makes Bill Cosby funnier than say, Jackass? Well, the absurd in observational comedy is nothing less than the distance between what is, and what ought to be. If we can be aware of our mistakes without being destroyed, we don't take it personally, and we can laugh at ourselves. It's like a risk pool for guilt and shame. There isn't as fine a line between funny and mean as some people think. And slapstick is only funny when we know no one gets hurt.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

5 Thoughts For Today

5. Don't have meetings about people who offend you when they're not there. Long ago, this was called "gossip," and it's definitely on the biblical List of Things Not To Do.

4. Don't read theology in a cold house with no shoes on.

3. Don't pray in the dark; you'll lose count. (Let the Protestant understand)

2. I don't understand people who talk in cars with music on, or that change the station in the middle of the song.

1. Death doesn't care what you left unsaid.
Late-Night Haiku Somethingorother

Fundie is your name,
Need you a real good ‘ism’
Can you say ‘schism’?
A friend recently said, "I'm Protestant; can you live with it?" The only reply I can make is, "Can you?" We spent all our days arguing with fundamentalists who truncated the gospel; the God of grace had shown us more and more of his fullness; what could we do but take it? And yet, what are the Reformers, if not the truncators of the gospel, in the end? As it grew, people found more and more ways to exclude each other, while claiming to "stand for the gospel." In an open and free-wheeling time of ecumenism, it is easy and simple to forget the firm commitments our forefathers made; it was nothing like this creedal minimalism so in fashion today. In fact, it might have seemed terribly Catholic, but for the fact that its movers and shakers claimed an interpretive authority that belonged to the Church. I can't sign on to the faith vs. works dichotomy, because it's not about that. It is about charity as a theological virtue; it is about the anthropology of man; it is about precise definitions; it is about knowing the criteria for when one is wrong.

I was destined to do what I did, because it is the fullness of truth. On a more personal level, I have never sat comfortably with confession by negation. If we had ever been truthful in saying we were Christians first, it would mean an openness to lay aside the particular and idiosyncratic for the general and common. But history does not flow backward; that which is held in common--we know deep in our souls--came from ancient days. That faith once delivered, while done so with the surest of divine sanction, is as human, as dirty as Golgotha's hill. So fitting that the divine and human should intermingle seamlessly in the laying on of hands. The false prophets of the time would first deny its necessity, then when utter insanity reigned, a crude analog would appear among them. All the while, they multiplied like the sand on the seashore. But there is no covenant promise at the end of the rainbow. The folks who had nothing to do with it went on loving Jesus, somehow feeling the Simple Truth staring at them. But what was it? Unless you knew it, you'd risk being a Custer, or a lone voice in a cacophany, as before.

Just a clarifying comment, if I may, from a discussion in the comments: One cannot re-unite himself to "pre-Trent Catholicism," because that doesn't exist. The Council of Trent is an ecumenical council of Christ's Church. A child of that Church, then, submits himself to that Council unequivocally as a matter of divine faith. The later Councils (say, Vatican I and Vatican II) may express the deepening understanding of God's People (properly speaking) but the Councils cannot be placed in opposition to one another. An ecumenical council, the fullest and most solemn engagement of the Church's authority, is true as such. The bishops of the Church, united with their head, the successor of Peter, guided by the Holy Spirit, discern God's will for his people. The only proper response to the determinations of the Council is submission, to the pope, to one's bishop, and to the priests united to that bishop.