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Showing posts from June 30, 2013

The Stupid, "Troi Almost Gets Married" Episode (Again)

5 Trek-Inspired Thoughts 5. They can fix heart disease and cirrhosis, but good luck with that Terrelian plague. 4. I won't make a blanket statement here, but Riker puts his most toolish qualities on display here. 3. Wyatt Miller? What a jerk! (Desert holodeck scene) 2. Troi, or face certain death attempting to cure a plague? Good luck with that plague. 1. Ian Andrew Troi should be ashamed for arranging the marriage of his daughter to this tool in the first place.

Are You Serious?

5 Thoughts For Today 5. Really feeling the firm but loving, Church-edifying love of the Smalcald Articles (not). You were trying to defend the Reformation? Really? 4. The Bishop of Rome can sense your heartfelt, Christ-loving obedience from here. 3. I'm sure he is gratified to know that Dr. Melancthon will submit to his lawful authority when he admits the Gospel [as determined by Melancthon]. 2. Augsburg could have been worse. But alas, it was before the Council. 1. Sheesh, the original text of the Thirty-Nine Articles is a chore to read.

These Are The Dudes We Should Follow

Let me back up a step. It always seemed like during my journey ["Streetlight...people, livin' just to find emotion..."--ed.] that theological discussions would quickly move to, "Calvin said..." or the Westminster Confession of Faith says..." and while that is not inherently problematic, even under a Sola Scriptura paradigm, it presumes that whomever we cite should be listened to and followed. One thing we always ignored was the fact that many of the people we cited as authorities worshipped God in different Christian communions separated from one another! And if we cited those people from the Reformed tradition, it still assumed that the Reformed tradition was correct. Intellectual honesty demanded that I not assume anything. There was a powerful instinct and desire to get to the question behind the question: "Who sent you?" Why should I believe doctrine x and not doctrine y? I do charitably assume that any man or woman who proposes something I

Dogma, Discussion, And Ecumenism

As fundamental a question as, "What did God say?" is, "To whom has the word of God been entrusted?" The Catholic/Protestant divide is about the second, and somewhat about the first. Sola Scriptura pretty much murders all hope of actually answering the first question. We're not making a cheap apologetic point; I'd like an answer. Which ecclesiological consensus is, "what the Bible says"? And if the tools of exegesis can help a man form an opinion apart from a community, why does the community exist at all? Because the prevailing ecclesiology permits many opinions on matters of dogma to coexist, it by necessity relativizes them. Ecumenism is the process of dialogue for the purpose of achieving doctrinal agreement and unity; merely desiring unity or even encouraging it is not ecumenism. Real ecumenism is about identifying the principled means to know both the orthodox faith, and the Church through which it comes to the world. I have been told that

A Few Words

5 Thoughts For Today 5. The precise doctrinal content of a system proposed for belief is a secondary concern to the  question of the authority of those who propose it. 4. The development of Christian doctrine rests upon the fundamental assumption of continuity; that is, a hermeneutic of rupture is not consistent with the promises of God. 3. The claim that immorality vitiates jurisdiction is an implicit concession that the jurisdiction is real. 2. A need for moral renewal does not require doctrinal innovation. 1. No apostolic succession, no Eucharist. No Eucharist, no Church. No Church, no gospel.

This Just In: Cold Pizza Rules

It was from Cecil Whittaker's, or "Cecil's," for short. Extra-large pepperoni and sausage. I always add a large chef salad; I eat the salad, and keep the pizza for later. [Didn't you just eat pizza with the guys?--ed.] Different restaurant. But yes. I am Johnny Pizza right now. We need to talk about this chef salad. This thing is incredible. It's loaded down with ham and salami, so much that it's a slur against doctors and gardeners to call it a salad. It is a Man-Salad. With loads of cheese. I don't really like cheese, but it is necessary and welcome here. I really don't need pizza after this, but I eat a couple pieces to show a mystic solidarity with the person who made it for me. Cold pizza is magical. As a person who appreciates what time does to cheese, I find an old pizza most pleasurable. Texture is much more vital than taste to me. The only gripe you could have is cost. But then, no one eats pizza every night. Unless you are Johnny Pi

If You Say So

You don't choose the things that happen to you, for the most part. They just happen. I can't say that  one particular suffering is terribly spiritual, either. It's stupid, and senseless, and frustrating. So if I believe I'm sharing in the sufferings of Christ, it's not as some hero or martyr; it's as someone who has no other choice. Where else would I put my life, but bound up with his? If somehow it is good for someone that my name is a reproach, then let it be the foulest name ever spoken. I know myself, and so does He. I will not stop loving and praying; I know that even this has been a battle; I've taken some wrong steps. But I am Jason Kettinger, and that's a good person to be. He says that the sufferings of this life are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us; I want that. He says there will be no more tears; I can't even fathom that, but OK. This is just a little thing; others struggle with much greater things. But

Pizza, Beer, And Dudes

My cronies and I got together for some theological discussion. It was a little more directed than in past weeks, and I think that was helpful. In general, the topic was holiness and detachment. I don't really know about either one of those 2 things, but we agreed that the Rosary was good. Actually, better than good. Ironically, though, we prayed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy instead of the Rosary. Word to the Wise: Unless it would mean loving someone concretely that you have been neglecting, or were unaware of, the Holy Spirit will never tell you to pray less. If you hear this or think this, it's almost certainly Satan. I think he uses our awareness of mixed motives to discourage us. But I have realized that even if I pray with a smallish vision, or even somewhat selfishly, God can use that. If my intent is truly God-ward at all, I do a good thing. The truth is, most people (if not all) don't pray enough. I know it is true of myself. How I wish I had never listened! I s

The Loss Of Dogma And An Invisible Church

The false opinion that the Church is fundamentally invisible is an implicit concession that the individual is the arbiter of his own dogmas, because the visible community to which he "submits" only gains it by his consent, which can be given and withdrawn at any time, for any reason. In like manner, he is the arbiter of history, because he can select--without a coherent principle--those episodes, people, and ideas which are most amenable to his own opinion. Does he believe he escapes the pity he heaps upon the Biblicist, because he decorates his cell ornately, while the fundamentalist prefers to sit alone among the drab cinders? But they are both in the prison of private judgment. And many do not even consider what havoc this private judgment wreaks upon systems of doctrine in their particularity. They are known in that specificity by the communities from which they emerge. But those communities have been rendered inert by the prior decision that the true "Church&quo

It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

Famous last words. I suppose I'm still here. Heh. Some errors hurt worse than others; some words definitely do. Love is stronger than even death; if we really believed this, we would be different. I'm not sure about tomorrow, and neither are you. We lose sight of it in our vitality and passion, but this could be it. Today. If you could reset your whole life,--blank slate--and make one choice to decide your destiny, what choice would you make? That's another way of asking, "Who are you?" Who is your living test today? If this is the moment that defines you, what would it say? O God, please don't remember all my failures. Please heal those I have hurt, and let them not remember, either. Thank you for the joy of this life, and the good of this moment. I choose Love. Amen.

So There I Was...

There's something otherworldly about Mass. I guess that's the obvious spiritual thing to say. On the other hand, I'm not saying that I always have some kind of amazing experience, or that I pray well. But what I sensed today was that God is bigger than all my problems. It was not a feeling; it was simply a known fact. If I have a problem, I should go to Mass. Beggars plead for rescue; people of true faith expect good to come from evil. I was really tired today; I wasn't sure how meaningful my participation would be. But I wanted to sing the Gloria for all it's worth. I've always been chagrined that I sing better in karaoke bars than I do in church. So that was my one thing today. Good homily today, I'd say. It was about how true discipleship demands everything we have. As I said before, I don't know whether I am truly detached from earthly wants, but it's worth a try.

A Grace

I was reflecting on what I wrote last night--mine in a certain sense is a battle for self-acceptance--in the aftermath of some family troubles (please pray for us) when I believe the Lord gave me this insight: I have David's heart. When I thought it, my next thought was, "Don't kid yourself, buddy." But David was far from monolithic in his time here; he had great highs in his walk with the Lord, and great lows. But always the strongest desire in the core of his being to be with God. Have you ever felt this tension, between what you know of yourself in your sinfulness, and yet that your strongest desire is to be loved and accepted by Him? Back when, at the Old School, I took some training in preaching. (Yes; try not to faint.) When they taught us, they said: "Avoid 'be like' sermons." As in, be like David, or be like the other heroes in the biblical story. As an aside, so-called "expository preaching" involves unfolding a particular biblic

The Rooftop Party

My friend Nick invited a bunch of us to the roof of his apartment. It was a cool night, but it was awesome. I rode with my buddy--we'll call him Johnny Irish--and we ate beforehand. We chose burgers and pancakes. That'll play. It was nice to see so many friends. As is my custom, songs mark the time. As soon as I got up there, this popped in. This version kicks the mess out of even the recorded version James finally did in 1991. If I may turn this into an official aside, James Taylor is a legend not only because he is a great songwriter who made his bones before I was born, but also because he is gifted with a certain profound musicality. Not just anyone can do cover songs for 25 years, and get away with it. But he understands music in its essence. Masters make the best improvisers. I did what I always do: tell stories. I like to make people laugh. It's not a time for crying. I'd like to think I'm pretty funny. But here is a profound mystery: The funniest people