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Showing posts from August 25, 2013

Incarnational Exegesis

I'm sure no one is shocked, but a pretty lady asked me "the Question" last night: "Why'd you become Catholic?" And of course, I was babbling like an idiot, whether because I'm actually an idiot, or, well, you know. But it's a great question. And it got me to thinking. Because I never seem to tell this story the same way twice. But let me go for it again. [Everyone is sick of reading the same posts over and over.--ed.] Yeah, well, too bad. When you look at the Sacred Scriptures, when you read them, you quickly get a sense that there is a distance between us and them. All these crazy metaphors, unpronounceable names, cryptic wisdom that makes you say, "What in Tarshish does that mean?" and loads of other things. You almost instinctively realize, "Hey, I'm gonna need some help to understand this" or, "I'm gonna need some book-learnin' right soon." We also realize and confess that the simplest person on Earth

Thanks A Lot

5 Thoughts For Today 5. James Blake is now a retired noted black American tennis player. He lost a nail-biter in his final match at the US Open. For a certainty, he'll be mentioned at least in the same article as Arthur Ashe until he's dead. Harvard was his fall-back plan if this whole tennis thing hadn't worked out in 1999. He beat the world no. 1 in 2002. Living the Dream. 4. Thanks for the ear-worm, Kevin Twit or whoever it was. I just spent 15 minutes in my bathroom singing "Psalm 62" from the RUF hymnbook, circa 1999, from memory. 3. Speaking of that book, can't we just steal that? I'm sure the CDF could correct any theological errors in like what, an afternoon? And Life Teen would never again annoy traditionalists. Just trust me on this. 2. Cardinals off days. Oy! 1. Happy Belated Birthday, Captain Jack!

5 Thoughts For Tonight

5. What an awful Cardinals game! Let's just move on. 4. Dude, Babyface, sir. You'll always be my favorite. But I think Johnny Mathis has more Mack Appeal than you. Just sayin.' 3. When you trail off like that, it makes me nervous. 2. I still need to shave. 1. The Deb was listening to Alice Cooper. Maybe I should, too.

Good Outside the Church?

It's usually not long into some conversation or other, after I've been humorously direct about something theological or otherwise, that someone asks the question, "Do you like anything non-Catholic?" To which I can only reply with equal befuddlement, "Um, do you read my blog?" Most posts here link something which is of interest to my almost entirely Christian audience, most of whom, I daresay, are non-Catholic Christians. If I link it and don't critique it, that means I like it. It means I think you can read this with great profit, regardless. If I have occasion to say that a certain theologian-commentator makes me want to scream and steal toys from small children, (for example) it either means he is in no wise speaking truth, (rare) or he is in Catholic denial. That means if we were face-to-face, and we had become friends, I would say, "You know that God is calling you into the Catholic Church, and you need to do it. Right now." I wouldn'

Detachment Means...

Not checking the baseball start-times and wishing it was 7:15. At 11 AM. On a perfectly noble day that the Lord has made. Oh, but how I love baseball! Give me an inning or two to watch the starting pitchers, and I can tell you probably how it will go. Adam is pitching for the Cardinals tonight. That's Adam Wainwright to you uninitiated. He might be the best pitcher in the National League. (15-7, 2.58 ERA this season) For a certainty, though, he is the Cardinals' "ace." It's a semi-formal term to identify the starting pitcher with a track record of winning, the one who stops losing streaks, the one everybody counts on in a special way. If Adam were here in this room, he'd say, "Hold on, buddy. 'Carp' [Chris Carpenter] is still the ace of this staff, until he hangs 'em up." Fair enough, Adam, fair enough. We've been without him for awhile, though. I still hope he makes it back for 2014. Even if only for one game. Wouldn't that be po

Roger, Roger

5 Statements As Silly As "Roger Federer doesn't deserve a top 4 US Open Seed" 5. "I hate kittens." 4. "I hate rainbows." 3. "I hate George Washington." 2. "The Land Before Time is a horrible movie." 1. "Christianity is about a relationship, not religion." 

Miley, Redux

Before I get to the point, let me remind you that I have a *NEW, SHINY POLL!* and I would covet your giggly responses to my utterly impertinent silliness. Now, I have a little more to say on this thing. Or this guy does. I would love to be one of those people who is morally outraged by the whole thing. Frankly, I'd love to be "saddened" by the whole thing, and have you believe me. Because I believe God is, insofar as it makes sense to say that. But I'm not, at least not entirely. Because the plain fact is, I've been part of the problem, and so have you. I don't know your sins, and I may not know you, depending on who is reading this. But I know mine. I am a double-minded man. We all are. If we weren't, Hugh Hefner would be a penniless wretch, begging for a priest. You know how people we call "liberals" like to catch the "family values" army in a transgression? You know how they say the most "anti-gay" ranter is in the clo

By The Way, We're Not Feeneyites Here

Well, unless you mean that you're a huge Boy Meets World/Knight Rider/St. Elsewhere fan, and/or a fan of Grey's Anatomy, who knows that "Christina Yang" would be entirely unlikable without the esteemed William Daniels as "Dr. Thomas" as a friend and mentor for 5 episodes. Seriously, has William Daniels acted in anything that wasn't awesome ? I digress. Take your time. I'll wait. This blog is always (God willing) a celebration of His grace. Life with God's leading is never all-or-nothing; to paraphrase George W. Bush, Heaven is going to be a gathering of the "haves" and the "have-mores". (Yes, it was hilarious in context; look up "Al Smith Dinner, 2000"; you're welcome.) So, why insist that the Catholic Church is the Church Christ founded? Well, because it is. It was like following breadcrumbs. [I'll take "Bad Eucharist Allusions" for $1000, Alex.--ed.] I can pretty much say that every Christian

That's "Admiral" Obvious To You, Sparky!

Why the dude even has to write such truth is a commentary in itself. She's not the first, and she won't be the last. I don't even toy with this stuff any more. I've told all my guy friends that the Disney Channel is the most evil thing on TV. Maybe you're better than me, more "discerning," as they say. But I doubt it. Do what you like; I know what we call "a near occasion of sin" when I see one. And it isn't just that one channel, as I'm sure you know. The faux-outrage is as comical as it is tragic. "Purity" is not simply the avoidance of evil; the virtues of all kinds represent stable habits that are affirmative choices for the good. If you are virtuous, it means you choose the good with ease, in the simplest terms. All of us have to battle something; it's never a walk in the park. And that's OK, if you avoid sin. And even if not, grace is never far. God loves us! The Holy Spirit not only gives us forgiveness, but He

Sometimes, I Take It Personally

I would love to be that guy who understands. "Yeah, man. You get married, stuff happens, it doesn't work out. But I tried again, and I found him/her." The truth is, though, I don't. It doesn't mean I hate you, and it doesn't mean I will hope for your eternal worst, obviously. But someone should say it: there is no divorce. Not to God. There could be all sorts of reasons why you may not live with the person you married. No one should be in danger, if they can avoid it. I can imagine a few scenarios where you might even obtain a civil divorce. But there isn't supposed to be "starting over." Even though I don't believe in Sola Scriptura, the Scripture is clear on what God thinks. Once we understand that even if you leave because of adultery, there is no do-over. Yes, I'm Catholic. Today, I'm grateful for what the Church teaches, because it put words to what I have lived through as a child of all this lunacy: God hates divorce. Dec

Intellectual Growth As A Function Of Friendship

It's hard to see your biases; it's hard also to take criticism, sometimes. Still, I think the hardest thing in the entire world is to watch a friend get criticized by people who are not his friends. Even if they are right. Friendship helps you to feel safe to explore new ideas, even if the risk is there that you'll get locked in old ones. Part of friendship is trust; if you trust someone, you have less fear that his questions and insights will lead you where you can't go. Isn't that interesting? If some crypto-Marxist says, "We are the servants of our military-industrial complex" I roll my eyes, and move on. If my friend Jacob says the same thing, I don't roll my eyes. Ideally, we'd like to be the sort of people not committing informal ad hominems all over the place like this, but I suppose that is the point: the idea under discussion has not changed; its merit or demerit hasn't changed either. But I am now more open to considering the questio

5 Thoughts For Today

5. Go Cards! 4. When Fred Noltie blogs, the people benefit. All too brief and infrequent, my friend! I shall pray that other mindless toils are destroyed, as God wills. 3. We're observing a Feast of St. Louis IX, King of France. If I were half as good as King Louis, everyone I know would be better off. 2. Pope Leo XIII=Awesome. 1. New pick-up line: "I read Rerum Novarum, and it changed my life." No, seriously.

Controversial Opinion For The Day

Homosexuality. It is the socio-political concern of the day. And not because, I don't think, it's our most pressing problem. Not even close. But those who matter, the opinion-makers and shapers want it to be. That's the truth. Why? Well, I can't answer that. I do know that the way we are permitted to discuss the issue (and not) points politically to a certain illiberal tendency on the part of those who advocate for its normalization. I am well aware that we live in a pluralistic society. Are they? Should I be marginalized and silenced because I think homosexual acts are immoral? Because, by consequence, I believe that the State cannot justly recognize them? Do you really believe I am no better than the thugs who murdered Matthew Shepard? Does that even make sense? Have we become so closed-minded that we are all just our tribes, our separate sub-cultures? Look, I'm just as guilty as anyone; there are "others" that I fear and dislike, at least sometimes.

I Don't Often Agree With Mark Shea

But when I do, it makes a sweet spoof of a faux-Mexican hawking faux-Mexican beer. But seriously, has Mark Shea ever been this right? I say, "Nyet." I'll run, I swear. It'll be either The Greatest Thing Ever that will alter America forever for the better, or I will be the pseudo-conservative Eugene McCarthy, who winds up heroically ignored. Bet on option 2. Er, "Dos".