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Showing posts from March 10, 2013

Everyone Gets A Nickname

Everyone I care about gets a nickname. I try to make them flattering names that they'd enjoy if they heard them. Sparky, Junior, Lucy, Comrade, (we gave each other that one) Confirmation Sponsor Guy. They might start out as gentle tweaks, but I notice that each one fits better as we share more of life together. I can't help it. I subsist as a creative force on catchphrases, and nicknames. Who am I kidding? I'm not a creative force. [You beat me to it.--ed.] On the other hand, some of you I care deeply about don't have one yet. That's OK. I'm working on it. It has to work. It has to fit. What does it mean, to have a nickname? Well, I can tell you what it means to me. It means that you are unique. It means that my life has flavor because of you. When you get the name, it means that my soul laughs a little at the thought of you, and when I share it, it means I want us to laugh together. I'm discovering that parents do this a lot. God does it a lot. Of cou

Why I Love Star Trek

I was coming home after dinner with friends, and I couldn't get it out of my head. It was a melody composed by Jay Chattaway, written for what would become the most popular episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Both the episode and the piece are called, "The Inner Light." It's a simple, haunting melody, and it's the sort of thing you hear, and immediately want to hear again. The emotional power of the episode has something to do with it. I'll not tell it here. Let's just say that it's the epitome of Star Trek in its relentless optimism, and its abiding humanism. That was Roddenberry's vision. Star Trek has room and the creative forces to go beyond that vision to a point, but not to repudiate it. And I think that if there was a criticism I could level with those who carry on the tradition of Star Trek, it's that it flirts with being too gritty, too present-day. I'm the furthest thing from a secularist, so it could always rub me wrong, a

Listen To Dr. Liccione, Children!

"The main reason I'm Catholic: If nobody since Christ is infallible under any conditions, then religion is a matter of opinion. That makes divine revelation *as such* epistemically inaccessible. But divine revelation as such is epistemically accessible. Ergo..." --Michael Liccione If divine revelation is epistemically accessible, it must be accessible by certain means. What are those means? They would be the basis of the agreement between Catholics and Protestants, in this case. The Ecumenical Councils of Nicea and Chalcedon. There are two roads we can take with this: 1) The Council has authority as such; or 2) the Council's conclusion is correct, but it has no authority as such. Interesting question: How do we assert its veracity over against alternatives, if it is not an authority in itself? What is the principled basis upon which to do this? Can we account for this becoming the orthodox position without, quite frankly, the bald imposition of ecclesiastical fiat?

Back To 2002

5 Thoughts For Tonight 5. Remember when George W. Bush was a guy we all liked? 4. Remember when Jason Mraz released his debut album? 3. Remember when I was 22? 2. Remember when Pete Sampras beat Andre Agassi at the US Open for his then-record 14th Grand Slam title? 1. Remember when Daniel Pearl died?

My Dogs: The Idiot, The Bully, And The Tool

I love dogs. For our family, dogs (and cats) are like our brothers and sisters. I don't mind the charge that we are too close to them, because we probably are. My mom called The Idiot "her favorite son" today, and I had to yell at her. Well, I didn't yell. I protested. His real name is not The Idiot, but this is a story; just go with it. Anyway, my mother would probably kill you if you restated the long-standing Christian teaching that animal souls are not eternal; they are completely dependent on the survival of the animal's body. When that body dies, that dog soul ceases. I'm not a philosopher; if you are, fill in the terms yourself. You may also send the angry letters to Dr. Lawrence Feingold, and St. Thomas Aquinas. I digress. I want to tell you about my dogs. The Idiot is not an idiot at all; he just thinks you are. Or evil. He won't come when you call him, at least not when he's outside the house. We think some evil person abused and neglected

Habemus Papam!

We have a Pope! The 76-year-old former Cardinal-Archbishop of Buenos Aires. He has taken the name "Francis." He's the first Latin American Bishop of Rome, and the first member of the Jesuit order elected to this office. It was a complete surprise. I'm really happy. Honestly, it was harder than I thought it would be, the Inter-Regnum. He is the principium unitatis for the entire People of God. When all who are united to Christ are reconciled to one another, they will also be united to the Successor of Peter. I have always understood my conversion most in terms of my union with my bishop, Archbishop Carlson, and his union with the Bishop of Rome. That's as Catholic as the doctrine of the Trinity, or the Bible. I was surprised by his age, but the Cardinals and God know what they are doing. O God, be with our shepherd. Bless him with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Help us to be obedient children, trusting him, and so, trusting

The New Atheism and Open Minds

I took a shot at Richard Dawkins last night on Facebook, because there was a photo meme depicting women's suffrage being opposed, racial equality being opposed, and gay marriage being opposed--in that case, with really offensive names for those who are same-sex attracted--and then it said, "When will you realize you're on the wrong side of history?" It richly noted that it was sponsored by The Dawkins Institute For Science and Reason. Let me be impolite here: When did a bunch of atheists corner the market on those two things? First off, let me be direct and get the personal stuff out of the way. New Atheist Guy I Know, I'm calling you out, buddy. If you want to believe whatever, fine. But you're not half as smart as you think you are, and if you put aside your anger and try to think clearly, you might begin to see that one can make arguments against a whole lot of popular political things you like (gay marriage, abortion, whatever) without ever picking up a

I Have Something To Say

5 Thoughts For Today 5. There is room for the recovery of a robust awareness of the divine election among the descendants of the Hebrews. And insofar as an ongoing practice of those traditions facilitates a greater awareness of God's work in history, and a thankfulness for the New Covenant in Our Lord Jesus Christ, it is good. There is not room, however, for boasting. I would refer you to Deut. 7:6-8 if you doubt it. 4. I learned a lot from my time among Chinese here in St. Louis. There is a deep reverence for family, probably unrivaled by another culture. Shame is sometimes a bigger problem than guilt. And you work hard, and you don't complain. But it will not do to tar an entire culture as "pagan." God desires to transform every culture through the Son. But make no mistake: He's left the fingerprints of his goodness on every single one, just as he has with every single one of us. 3. There isn't even a thesis for this Master's, and I still feel like

Welcome to Rome, Comrades

Five Thoughts For Today 5. Fr. Barron got some good press from his Catholicism series, though I haven't seen it yet. The word is that Colleen Carroll Campbell will be reporting from Rome each day until we have a new Pope. Speaking of video series, how come no one ever thought of the idea of Colleen Carroll Campbell reading the Catechism from interesting locales? We could call it, "CCC reads the CCC." We could make millions. 4. You may be judging me right now for that last joke, but don't you forget: good fun for the whole family is made from bad puns and wordplay. 3. I read some article from the National Catholic Register like, "Nine Things You Need to Know about the Conclave." Now, I'm a faithful Catholic, but their description as to how this is all going to work made it seem a little tacky. It could've been worse, however. The National Catholic Reporter would have a piece saying that Obama should be the next Pope. 2. Here in St. Louis, Mike Bush is

Paper, Write Thyself

I have a paper due. I believe it will be about the Eucharist. [Everything's about the Eucharist.--ed.] Well, everything's about Jesus. And so it goes. I'm not good at papers. I usually wait until the last minute, waiting for the lightning of inspiration to strike. I agree that this is not good. But you have to understand me: something has to come together, I have to see the big picture, or it's not going to work. With this beautiful new software from Dragon NaturallySpeaking, I believe it will really help me. I'm enjoying composing this very post with that program. The first time I did it, it was a bit difficult. When it messes up, it can be difficult to fix mistakes. I've been doing that manually since I began. Anyway, I think I learned something last night. I have so many interests that perhaps I am an expert in absolutely nothing, except maybe blathering randomly. I suppose I'm going to be a theologian, which will make it important for me to come up with

Weird Night At Mass

I went at 5:30 with Mr. Ackerman and Cam. We sprung forward last night, so the light was high. It really is magical when you know spring is upon us, and it's balmy. The priest was passionate and memorable. I sort of ignored the music, because it didn't really help anything. The readings were about reconciliation, and I realized that I needed it to be Laetare Sunday. I don't really think it's been much of a pious Lent for me, but the penitence of the season is wearing on me. We've been through a lot. There is no such thing as mere formality in the Church of Jesus Christ; the people who say this have never been truly Catholic in their lives. We are knitted together on every level, and I almost wish I was being sentimental. I was fine until he said, "For these prayers--and the ones unspoken that well up in our minds and hearts..." That wasn't the only thing that was welling up. I have never felt such a yearning sadness in my whole life. It almost knoc

Step Into The Daylight

5 Daylight Savings Thoughts 5. The whole idea of this preposterous. 4. Falling back is indeed better, but I always stay up an hour later, thus defeating the purpose. 3. And it being fall ruins it usually, too. 2. I don't believe those of you who say you love fall. I don't know what your angle is, but I'll find out. 1. Yes, I will set my clock so it's an hour ahead in any season. I am JK. Deal with it.