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Showing posts from August 11, 2013

5 Poker-Related Thoughts

5. That was a depressing outcome. 4. Maybe I'm not as good as I thought. 3. [It's just one tournament. Relax.--ed.] Yeah. 2. I can't complain; I robbed that one guy earlier. 1. It's a fun but frustrating hobby. At least it's free.

Monergism vs. Synergism

"Monergism" means "only one working." "Synergism" means, "working with, or working together." "Soteriology" is, at the risk of being overly literal, is "the study or science of being saved." So if one is committed to "soteriological monergism," this means there is only one actor. If that one actor is God, it doesn't matter if that action causes an ontological change in the recipient or not; whatever the man experiences in terms of acting, it's not real, in the sense of participation. It's a sophisticated form of fatalism, because if there's only one actor (God) then God alone is responsible for the outcome. At least the Reformed separating justification and sanctification attempts to give the man freedom in sanctification, even if it ends up being fictitious, being ultimately rooted in the immutable will of God. They (Lutheran and Reformed) both quite unintentionally but truly make God the author of s

5 Blurbs

5 Brief Thoughts 5. I don't want to ride the Jake Westbrook Experience anymore; the line is long, and it doesn't pay off. 4. If salvation is " entirely God's business" it is not man's. That's what monergism means. If you say that grace is always necessary, fine. That was never in dispute anyway. 3. I'm not disputing the necessity of sanctification as described by you. I'm inquiring as to the necessary connection between justification and sanctification, given that the first is not a cooperative effort, and the second is. 2. I should have stayed with the Little League game. 1. Bacon.

Justification By Faith Alone And Participation

We hear in recent days that justification by faith alone is really about emphasis rather than exclusion; that is, the co-operative life of sanctification is no less important than the recognition and celebration of Christ's work for us . Once again, I grant without hesitation that most Christian commentators will agree with the Bible and the Catholic Church that a holy life is important and even necessary. My point has always been that it is absent dogmatically and systemically because it has to be. If the damage inflicted by the Fall is so grave that man by nature is depraved in every part of himself, if he is totally unable to do any good for himself spiritually apart from God's unitary intervention, if in fact Fr. Luther's entire contention was that the Catholic theologians of the day had undersold the damage of the Fall, then by definition, any participation by such a being is ancillary at best, and is not necessary. The man's redemption was accomplished in this vi

I Thought It, So Now You Read It

5 Thoughts For Today 5. From the Disability Files: "I haven't fallen, but I can't get up, either." 4. And again: "Can you help me out of bed? I have to go, and I'm not sure what will happen." 3. I reserve the right to use demeaning phrases like "wheelchair kid" to describe myself, or anyone else under the age of 60. 2. No, Carlos Beltran is not a Hall Of Fame-caliber baseball player. That said, there are few as talented. 1. Being a non-Catholic at Mass is a lot like making out when you're not married. It's exciting at first, but then you realize, "Wait, this is stupid (and wrong)." [You sicken me.--ed.]

Why The Lion King?

People are often surprised when I tell them it's my favorite movie. They suspect me of some kind of silliness, which I grant, is not a huge leap. But it's legitimately a great movie. When we begin, we are witnesses to either a baptism, or an anointing, and it isn't clear which. We see the ray of sunlight fall upon the boy who would be king, and we are invited to draw the obvious conclusions from what is left of our religious heritage. We meet King Mufasa, who remains the moral center of the film throughout, and from whom all the good characters derive their authority and example. As I like to say, the morality play is straight up; we identify with the good characters, and are repulsed by the bad ones. When Simba gets in trouble, his father calls to him in the darkness; he steps into the huge footprint left by his father. There's a whole commentary about fathers and sons written into those wordless seconds. The problem of the film is gut-wrenching; if you have never

Gospel Meditation

It's from Luke 11:27-28. I found it humorous that the Church gives us these 2 verses on the day we celebrate the Assumption of Mary, body and soul, into Heaven. Then again, even Mary always says it's not about her. She's all too happy to receive our prayers and songs, because it magnifies Him. Notice how the Lord speaks to the woman who calls out; Mary is nothing; Christ is everything. Like us, everything she has, she received. When God makes a promise, it's done. One day, our souls will be reunited with our bodies in the resurrection. The greatest victory we can have is total triumph over death. And Mary's triumph is a further pledge of our triumph in Him. Hard to argue with that.

Thanks For The Heads-Up

You're one of those people. Now I know. I probably should have known. I understand a little bit of why you have so much else to do; if you wrote all the time, we we'd be quivering sob-monsters for the rest of our lives. A fair warning, dear audience: You don't just bounce back from stories like this . Death is a great teacher, but it gives rise to a lie that Satan likes to use: that we didn't do enough or say enough. It's possible we didn't in any one case, but it's also possible that we did. Friends know; they hear "I love you" in the oddest moments and phrases. Some of us need to hear the words, but some of us hear the words in all the little moments that make us friends. Mourn, but don't let the pain tell a different story. Remember: There can never be enough words when we're not supposed to die in the first place.


5 More Thoughts 5. That awkward Republican moment when you read something in Salon and say, "That was pretty good." 4. Slate really is annoyingly liberal now, without Mickey Kaus. Is that ironic, that a former writer for The New Republic and author of The End Of Equality should be appreciated by conservatives? 3. But then, I read The Atlantic, too. 2. Someone bring back Newsweek! I promise, not long ago, it was really good! 1. I used to read, but it has too much of a personal edge. [You're not conservative at all, are you?--ed.] Yes, I am. But I love information. I love it.

Just Win, Baby!

5 Thoughts For Today 5. Behind every great man are scores of gentle mockers. 4. Deal-breaker for seeing someone: "She spells things wrong. A lot." 3. Well, actually, Johnny Irish, I don't think a third pint would be prudent. 2. I don't like it when people profess their love for old music by comparing it positively to something they hate from today. Can't whatever you happen to like just be what it is? 1. Just think, people: When Columbo was always going on about his wife, he was referring to Kate Mulgrew. Well played, Lieutenant, well played.

"Then The Subjects Are Exempt."

This was the verse that stuck out in meditation tonight. I suppose it's ironic, given the fact that much of the criticism of Protestant theology is due to its denial that there is such a thing as meritorious works, but it really can't be stressed enough: We cannot earn our keep with God. It is both necessary and biblical to speak of merit, but it really is like borrowing Dad's wallet to buy the clay to make him an ugly ashtray. The challenge of what the Church does say to us regarding grace and salvation is that, knowing we have gone from enemies to sons, a son or daughter doesn't punch Daddy in the face just to make him prove his love. On the other hand, we're pretty broken in general; we may continue to need convincing. The reason he adopted us is because that other man hurt us on purpose, and laughed as others beat and battered us, leaving us to die. So, I tend to think of the treasury of merits in light of that other verse: "And they had everything in c

How "Union with Christ" made me a Catholic

It's one of the most popular buzzwords in evangelical theology today, and for good reason. One cannot help but notice how tightly intertwined God's work in redemption is with man's expected response in the life of sanctification. We have to credit the good commentators in the evangelical world with this: not many are explicitly antinomian, or intend to say that the justified sinner has no need to pursue holiness. That would be a strawman. But the problem with the bifurcation between justification and sanctification is a theological one. There is a reason why the debate in the 16th century turned on imputation versus infusion, and it is not because the reformers restored the priority of grace, as much as evangelical pastors and theologians would like it to be so. The debate turned not on grace, but on the freedom of the will or the lack of it in the life of grace. The very heart of the Reformation is the contention that by grace alone through faith alone, the r

Leithart, Again

"The Reformation was not a triumph of word over sacrament; it was a triumph of sacraments." --Peter Leithart 5 Snarky Thoughts About That 5. Going from 7 to 2 hardly sounds like a triumph. 4. The Apostles are gratified to know that they died so you could believe the same thing as the patriarchs of the Old Covenant about the sacraments. 3. Zwingli called; he says you're wrong. 2. As does Menno Simons, and every other "reformer" who is not invested emotionally in being a pretend Catholic. 1. Your compatriots celebrate the triumph of sacraments by observing the Supper every quarter.

Show Me 5

5 Thoughts For Today 5. Could we win today please, Cardinals? 4. I'm going to see West Side Story! 3. Pop standards. The end. 2. I probably will buy popcorn, because I have no self-control. 1. "Small world, isn't it?"