Saturday, October 06, 2012

One day I'll stop writing posts about relationships, dating, and my lack thereof, but I was talking with "The Deb" about it--because she's my Wise Married Woman friend--and I'm getting kind of wistful. Back when doing ministry and being married wasn't a possible contradiction, I had a class with a pretty friend. Bible Content--Old Testament. She sat next to me. Even though she is one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen, I felt all silly trying to talk to her. [Don't you mean 'because'?--ed.] Maybe. Anyway, she was going to go away to do work in ministry, but it didn't work, so she came back. By then, I was thinking through "the Catholic thing" and I didn't want to jump into anything.
But I swear, that was the craziest chemistry ever. We never talked about it. I still have no idea why she isn't married. As soon as I post this to Facebook...well, I shouldn't. Tim, you certainly know who this is.
Why do I think like this? Why do I think I missed God's boat all the time? [Because you miss the 'Not Sinning' Ferry like 40 times a day.--ed.] True. I can't date a Protestant girl, anyway. It's not fair to either person. But if I had only a short time left, I'd just tell her how much I felt for her.
I feel the separation between Christians most acutely in this area of life; I am the sort of person who just loves entirely, without regard to practicality or challenges.
But I am also aware, in my pitiful way, of the greatness of the sacraments of the Church, and of communion with the bishop, and the pope. I could never forsake this, and honestly, as amorous as I am known to be, it could never be strong enough to put this at risk in any way.
I was at Mass tonight, and the Gospel reading almost made me cry. I love Jesus. I love being his friend, even though I'm a horrible friend. But even as I reflected on God's love for me, my desire for marriage came to my mind. I have no idea how it will work; I know my challenges will make it very hard. But I don't care. I gotta be me.
It's not about physical things. I can say that with a clear conscience. Once you know the fruitlessness of sexual sin on a level deeper than what you ought not to do, it never again holds serious sway. That isn't to say there is no risk of falling. But Satan's lies here only work if they are servicable imitations of true love. I've tried every cheap shortcut, short of intercourse itself, and I never got CLOSE to quelling that impetus in my heart. Not even close.
I almost laugh at the idea of pornography now. Because I can see beauty--perfect lines and shapes, and I can imagine the human body in all its functions--but I keep coming back to this one thing, whenever temptation is near: Unless she is mine and I am hers, nothing I do will be enough. I don't mean to make it sound easy. It isn't. But I want to give all of myself; I want my scars, and my twitches, and my acne, and my need for affirmation, and my suffering--all of it--in the open. It'll be hers, and no one else's. And everything she fears and hates about herself will be mine, too. Mine. But we'll give it anyway. Jesus gave us everything, and even though our lives are not worthy of Him, he takes them, and makes with them a beautiful gift to the Father. He doesn't refuse us.
Take it back, I have to share this. I doubt I have ever written anything that means this much. I hope it's not too shocking or embarrassing.

Friday, October 05, 2012

It's Wild Card Day in baseball. This is a new thing. Since I believe, 1995, when the wild card concept was implemented, there have been three division champions and one wild card team. Baseball, concerned that no advantage was given to teams that won their divisions, added a second wild card this season in each league. Thus, the two wild card teams will play one another for the right to play the top seeds in the Division Series, followed by the series for the pennant, and of course, the World Series.
The National League game features the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals (that never gets old) and the Atlanta Braves. Atlanta is favored, having won 94 games, falling just short of their upstart division mates, the Washington Nationals, who won 98. The Cardinals won 88 games, exactly the same number they won as a division champion in 1996, when they were beaten by the Atlanta Braves for the pennant in 7 games, by a combined score in the final three of 32-1.
The other game features the shocking Baltimore Orioles, picked to finish last in the East division of the American League, who narrowly missed wresting the division itself from the mighty Yankees. They did this with an astonishing 29-9 record in one-run games. Their opponent is the Texas Rangers, who have represented the American League in the World Series the past two seasons. Still seeking their first championship, Texas is primed and ready for another run. But they choked away a division title to the young Oakland Athletics in the American League West, blowing a five-game lead with 9 to play.
The pitching match-up in the National League features Kyle Lohse (16-3, 2.86 ERA) vs. Kris Medlen (10-1, 1.57 ERA). Intriguingly, the Braves have won 22 consecutive games that Medlen has started.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

There's a photo on my shelf from a wedding two years ago. Two very attractive women are posing and smiling next to me. It's the sort of picture I should get rid of. One of the women got engaged to another dude named Jason. Really can't argue with that, am I right? The other lady I'll probably never see again.
Why get rid of the photo, you ask? I can think back on several occasions where young women in a big group decided to do the Ladies' Picture With JK. Now, at the time, I was probably gratified. Now, I'm not so sure. It probably means I am A) safe, and B) pitied. Those are two things I do not want to be. Romance is supposed to be scary and a little dangerous. There's a kernel of truth in the opinion that women like "bad boys." You can't control them, or predict what will happen. That's eros, man. That's how it's supposed to be.
Now, I know that when women gain a little maturity, they think about the future. And this is good. Everything the Bible and the Church teach us about our sexuality is geared toward the future. More precisely, it is geared toward the Other. This is the nice guy's time to shine.
But let's get it straight: I don't need your pity. I'm just a guy. In fact, I'm a girlfriend-stealing, sports-watching, beer-drinking, guy. There's nothing "safe" about me. The real me is about as asexual as a rabbit. Not impure, by any means. But if you think you can share your secrets with me, ask me to share mine, and not expect some kind of romantic overture, you are out of your bloody mind. This is not "Will & Grace." And by the way, I'm a cripple, not a eunuch.
And that's what this culture in its perversion has done to us. Sexuality is divorced from emotions, so that somehow, who you have sex with and who has your heart can be two different people. Stupid.
Who we give our bodies to is EXACTLY who has our hearts, for good and for ill. Marriage is maximum friendship, I heard someone say, and that's exactly right. I know that many evangelical leaders are lamenting the loss of opposite-sex friendships; forget that. Lament the loss of marriage, REAL MARRIAGE, and work on that. Friendship takes care of itself. You've got a bunch of thrice-married adulterers running around still in the prime of life, and you're wondering why they don't want to embrace Christian friendship? Are you kidding? First off, someone should get in a dude's face and say, "Fred, I know this is a bit troublesome, but you're still married to Nancy. Yeah, I know she's remarried. THERE IS NO DIVORCE." And stop hectoring 20-somethings about Christian friendship. You know what kind of friendship they need? Marriage. Most of them. Some of them may be called to something else. It'd be easier to help them figure that out if you were all Catholic, BTW. We have categories for these things.
At the risk of sounding crass, there needs to be a lot more sex, and a lot less talking about it. Less planning, economizing, waiting, delaying, careering, and more sex. Self-giving love. We are rational animals, but we're still animals. Just sayin'.
I want to talk about something mundane. I ate a Hardee's Thickburger tonight, and while I've had them before, it was heavenly. This burger was so good, it ought to be dogmatically defined. I'm not even pulling your chain.
I guess I'm supposed to be worried about "sustainability" or some such, but the only thing I care about sustaining right now is Hardee's Restaurants and their delicious burgers. I can recall when Hardee's discontinued their fried chicken as a prelude to becoming The Den Of Freakishly Large And Life-Shortening Burgers, and I don't mind saying that I was mad. I'm not saying it rivaled KFC or anything, but I loved it. CEO Andy, I was fully ready to call that a huge mistake, but then, they came. I doubt I'll ever recover.
And a lot of places offer curly-fries, but when I think of them, it's the Hardee's fries that come to mind. And it's not to say that the regular fresh-cut fries are bad. In fact, they have that rare combination of crisp-hot-salty-soft only surpassed by the overlords at McDonald's. Yet that only demonstrates the mind-blowing perfection of said curly-fries; you have to order them.
I would be a liar if I said that I failed to notice their salacious advertising. In the first place, while I salute them for locating the impulse to reproduce and the desire for food in the appetitive power, I should say that I'm not equipped to enjoy a delicious burger and make love at the same time, so I'm not sure what the point is. And no matter what else I might say, eating is not allowed in my bed.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

WOOOO!!! Internet! The great JK is back on the interwebs after being away since I switched providers on Oct. 1.
You wouldn't believe how much you do on the internet. Specifically, we stay in touch with distant people, read news, sports, and maybe weather. I saw your e-mails but couldn't really answer them. My phone's pretty smart, but it's kinda small.
I don't think there should be so much whining about how technology separates us from each other. If we're failing each other, it doesn't matter what year it is, or what toys are around. You might be able to convince me that certain sins and vices are made worse by technology, but people are who they were before: we need God.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

You'd think I'd learn. I am A) a big sap, B) in love with Barbara Hershey, and C) a fan of music. Why did I watch "Beaches" (the end) again? At least I turned away at the climax, so I didn't cry again.

I don't care what you say; that's a good movie. I'm not a Bette Midler fan per se, but I can't hear "Wind Beneath My Wings" without thinking of the movie. By contrast, her song "From A Distance" is hideous, deistic crap. God is not in fact watching us from a distance; He's about as near as you can get. Get thee to a tabernacle, stat!

I digress. Perhaps I was in a frame to cry, because I found "For Love Of The Game" on one of the movie channels, too. I've seen this movie 4 times now. Love it. Great baseball movie. Vin Scully announcing the game. Yankee Stadium. Aging pitcher. Kevin Costner. Love story. Is there any way this could be a bad movie? Just trust me. But it got me choked up again, at the end. Confirmation Sponsor Lady says it's predictable. Well, you know what else is predictable? The story of redemption. God help me if that ever gets old. [You just compared the salvation of humanity to an overwrought baseball movie.--ed.] All I'm saying is, I live in a world where the good guys win, the bad guys lose, there's forgiveness, and everyone is happy. We need more stories like this, not less. Our culture, when it's not trying to numb us, prod us toward irony and cynicism, and otherwise ruin us, is obsessed with being "gritty" and "real." But have you noticed that our broken humanity is an end in itself? We're not supposed to rise above ourselves or the world, we're just supposed to accept ourselves, if we do any celebrating at all.

Forget that. I don't want to look any closer at the world; I know it sucks, left to itself. Frankly, there's a limit to how much introspection I should do, too. I was a Calvinist; we're experts at feeling bad about ourselves. Let's cut through it, shall we? Who's world is this? And what has He done to save it? Any place or moment that I'm not with that program, OK, I renounce that. But this is not a sad story! God is not an ogre. There is in fact a Hell, but the interesting thing is, you only go there if you want to. That's what I heard the man say. If we are open to Love, we can have as much as we want to.

How do you grow up in a pew, and not hear that? Sheesh. Not that I did. I'm just saying.