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Showing posts from June 23, 2013

If It Makes You Happy

Actually, there's nothing wrong with the statement, "If it makes you happy, do it." My only quibble is with your definition of happiness, as a great man would say. There might be tons of things that give me pleasure of a sort, but they are not my blessedness or yours. When we're talking about happiness or blessedness, we are talking about our best and fullest selves, the most integrated with ourselves, others, and God as we can be. There is a social dimension to everything, good and bad. That's why "public policy" is a real thing, not just a tag after someone's name. You hear people say, "You can't legislate morality." Bovine feces. We do it all the time. The only questions are, "Whose morality, and to what end?" Merits or demerits aside, the unstated minor premise of say, libertarian arguments against drug laws seems to be, "There is no social dimension to the use of drugs." Or, I suppose you could say, "The

Let Down

It was the quick double-buzz of the Facebook Mobile app, indicating that a message had been sent. Even though it was early in the morning, I was pumped. It meant that someone was trying to communicate with me. You probably have no idea what that actually means, but that's OK. I'm always expecting one or two; I was hoping it was one of those. I used to get annoyed when my phone would ring; now, I'm not sure what I feel. I still don't like talking on it that much, but sometimes The Deb calls, and I don't mind. Anyway, it wasn't a personal message; it was one of those group messages, and it had nothing to do with me. What a huge waste! It's probably part of my sanctification process, these long stretches of silence. But I hate silence. At least people-silence. I will take sound-silence any time, with the notable exception of music. One thing I know about Hell is that there is no music. Profound Thought: Hell is the complete absence of Love, so if I'm

Blathering Randomly

5 Completely Pointless, Haphazard Observations 5. If I eat sausage and/or watch Star Trek: The Next Generation in the evening, I will fall asleep. We call those, "old people." 4. I didn't go outside today. 3. I would like to thank myself for mostly avoiding any discussions relating to the destruction of our society by the heathen. I say "mostly" because, well, you know how it is... 2. I say, "Hi, how are you?" but I really mean, "I wouldn't mind hanging out with you for 50 or 60 years." 1. "Have we grown so old, so inflexible, that we have outlived our usefulness? Does that constitute...a joke?"

I Was Thinking

5 Thoughts For Today 5. One thing grace does sometimes is give you an extra moment to reflect. Clearly, I need much more grace. 4. It's a simple equation, really: Teach the Catholic faith, or button your face. This is not one of those times when dissent is patriotic. 3. I'd take a jobby at Hobby Lobby, 'cause the elites are kinda snobby, and contraception is worse than eating wasabi. 2. Compliment Of The Week: "J-5, [That's me; please don't ask] you rep legit intelligence. When you speak people shut up and listen. The world needs that. You can rep that in this small brigade of ragamuffins."--Nathan Folkemer 1. Define your terms.

The Rosary

I've started a daily Rosary again after stopping in September or so. I was convinced that I was doing it for the wrong reasons. Maybe I was, in some way. On the other hand, the evil one wants us to stop praying. Being an ex-Protestant, I have an ingrained suspicion of formal and repetitious prayers. Yet what I have found is that the mental and spiritual effort required to place oneself in the presence of God is the context for my disposition to change, and allow the true love that flows from the Spirit to come out. That's the same love that animates so many of the less formal prayers of which we are so fond. There is something about going back to the mysteries of Christ's life, to speaking with God and his saints, that makes the common life less common. Is not the story of redemption the breaking of God into the all-too-common, sin-riddled world that he had made? Are not his saints the living stories of that redemption and grace? So here we are. I should just say here

Federer: The Legend Continues

I watched Roger Federer lose to a Ukrainian from outside the top 100 in the world rankings, in tennis' premier tournament, Wimbledon. That is an event that the 32-year-old has won a record seven times, a substantial chunk of the 17 'major' championships he has won, also a record. The thing that is mind-blowing is that Federer is 3 clear of Hall of Famer Pete Sampras, who also won Wimbledon 7 times. Greater still is Federer, who entered this year as the defending champion. Never before has anyone seen a fading champion who was still such a threat even now to win the biggest contests in the sport. If it is indeed true that another major triumph would be pleasantly and mildly surprising, it must be admitted that we are witnessing the greatest sunset in the history of sports. He has indeed earned the deference given to all legends, but not only that. His still prodigious skill merits respect and awe. Today, for the first time in 36 major tournaments and 10 years, Federer exit

An Argument

Civil Law vs. Moral Law Rather than rant and rave, I thought I'd break this down mathematically: 1. The civil law pertains to the natural good of all who are in the jurisdiction of a competent authority (or, "the common good") 2. In this society, the civil law obtains its authority (as does the competent authority) by the consent of the governed. 3. The competent authority may rule in accord with the common good, or he may not. 4. Likewise, the consent of the governed may be in accord with the common good, or it may not. 5. The morality of any action--at a minimum--is defined by the common good. 6. Therefore, the consent of the governed is not sufficient to establish the morality of any action.

Here's The Bad News

5 Thoughts For Today 5. Two men (or two women) are not "married," no matter how much they want to be. 4. Before we start rejoicing in the supposed wisdom of our august Supreme Court, I have a few words: Plessy v. Ferguson. 3. The State could declare me a toaster tomorrow; it doesn't mean I am. 2. Ironically, gay marriage advocates are in the same boat as the people who opposed the Civil Rights Movement. Wasn't Dr. King basically arguing that a higher Law trumped the civil laws that were in place at the time? 1. "Let's leave our morality and rights subject to the whims of a majoritarian consensus!" said no clear-thinking person ever.

I've Got To Take A Moment

Would you believe that I have gotten some questions privately as to why I've become Catholic? I really appreciate the ones that start out like this: "Not trying to trap you, but what were the reasons?" I love that one, honestly. Because all I have to do is tell the story. I'm not at all interested in combat when it's just an honest question. I know that I'm not due to win any prizes for winsomeness and charitable dialogue (Lord, have mercy!) and frankly, dialogue is not the purpose of this blog, in the first place. This blog is Draft 1.37 of whatever comes into my head. I'm straight-up opining here, hopefully intelligently. Also, I totally understand that some ex-Catholics would feel a little bit threatened by me; it's entirely possible that you lived an entire Catholic life without getting the memo on Jesus. That makes me cry. It makes me cry with joy that God in His mercy found you where you are. BELIEVE ME, we are all thrilled that the message of


I was thinking about all the things I've written here. On the one hand, I like my writing; if I didn't, I wouldn't do it. On the other hand, writing is an almost unwinnable quest to capture the essence of a moment, to give order to a chaotic and beautiful thing. I'll bet you didn't think of your life that way: a series of chaotic and beautiful things that tell a story. I noticed a funny thing I do: I start sentences with conjunctions. And I do it with impunity. [That was gratuitous; you'll do anything for a cheap laugh.--ed.] I have to be the sorriest excuse for a grammar fascist there is. I'm like a grammar Pharisee, placing heavy burdens on the people that I am unwilling to carry. If an editor went through the blog, I'm sure I would be shamed into silence forever. If God wills it, I would like to marry a girl who appreciates a good sentence. Is that weird? [Yeah, that's weird.--ed.] Some guy said that writing was tasting life twice. It must be

I Guess I'll Mention Twitter Again

It's a shameless ploy for page views. Or is it "pageviews" or "page-views"? The counter doesn't even make sense; it starts a new day at 6 PM, meaning it's set for GMT. Bob suggested I change it, but I've grown to love it. Except that there's no rhyme or reason to how many people show up. But if I mention Twitter, dating, or sex, I'll bet the views go through the roof. Ha! I could use all three in a sentence, and even (mostly) tell the truth: "I don't believe in Twitter, dating, or sex before marriage." Well, it's not entirely true that I don't believe in dating. I don't believe in randomly hanging out with people you find attractive for no reason. Isn't that what it really is? Oh, people might have reasons, but they have to hide them, in order to seem normal. Somehow, a series of dinners or activities with one person is supposed to tell you who he or she is. And the heathen make even less sense; they just hav

JK's Greatest Hits

I was going to pull some memorable or funny quotes to share, but I don't really remember them. But one thing I value, a truth that leads to Catholic truth, is this: One cannot be the arbiter of divine truth and a humble receiver at the same time. In the end, this truth signals the death of creedal Protestantism, and Protestantism in general, at least as a coherent system. All the arguments boil down to it. If you ask me why it makes more sense to be a child of the Catholic Church, this is the reason. If God didn't say it, it doesn't really matter, at least not in theology. I appreciate the fundamentalist that much more, because he sees clearly that a man cannot assert things about God without God; he is distasteful to the others because what he concludes in any one case may be unpalatable; he is pitiable because he is a Church of one. More to be pitied is the churchman, who in his supposed refinement would never do anything so wild as assert that he alone had the truth,

It's The Little Things

It doesn't matter what I feel; if I can pray for someone who has hurt me, if I can ask for a blessing there, I can do almost anything. I know that if anyone had a right to feel angry about alienation, the betrayal, and whatever else, it was Jesus. So I gave it to him. We shared it together. I fell asleep angry; I woke up angry. Sometimes, I'm angry at people who have nothing to do with it. Today at least, I was able to grab it and talk about it with God. Satan likes to use these feelings to do his evil works in us. There are all these triggers; I wish they weren't there. I wish I felt differently. But I just feel the way I feel. I don't know or care if I have the right. I simply cannot believe that I wasted my life. That's the hardest part. I can't erase 3 years of my life, and pretend that it didn't happen. The gift of myself, while surely imperfect, was real. I cannot change the big things; perhaps what has been spoken of me is true; perhaps the resu

Say It Again

5 More Thoughts 5. Adam is mad; good luck, Texas. 4. Roger and Rafa in the quarters? C'mon, guys. Wimbledon Bracket Fail. 3. I want to hear Gus Johnson announce tennis. 2. Nevermind; I want to hear Ken Wilson announce tennis: "What a drop shot! OHHH, BABY!!!" 1. He wants to know what love is. He wants you to show him.

Thus Spake JK

5 Thoughts For Today 5. A brand new time-suck? No thanks; I'm not Pinterested. 4. College Buddy Love: "I hope you marry a tree-hugging liberal, who will drive you nuts the rest of your life. :)".--Josh Bergsten, 2005. 3. I will listen to my shamelessly mainstream music, vote Republican, and live in the godless suburbs. I'll like it, and you can deal. 2. When Madonna starts making sense, we've lost our way. 1. I like my tennis players arrogant, Swiss, and not named Martina Hingis.

The Kenney Wedding

I was honored to attend. I cannot help but note the biggest lesson from the last few weddings I attended: It's not really about the couple. It is a sacramental witness to the goodness and grace of God, and God gives that grace to everyone who is there (and even those who are not). I both needed and received grace, so it was a good day. I was glad it was in English. Don't judge me. I love Latin; I love what many Catholics aim to reaffirm when they pray in the Extraordinary Form. I've had several years of Latin. That's just it, though: I don't want to feel like I'm taking a Latin test when I go to Mass. I'm sure I'd get better if I did it more often. But I'll never understand how it got to be a test of orthodoxy. Repeat after me, kids: There is nothing wrong with the Novus Ordo. Frankly, the biggest problem is that we have a few too many people in high places who just don't believe the gospel. Who is it we aim to serve? And what do we know abou