Saturday, November 02, 2013

5 Saucy Thoughts For Today

5. I'll see your "Images are idolatry!" and raise you an ecumenical council that says they're not.

4. There's an historic term for those who think they know better than mother Church assembled in ecumenical council: heretics.

3. "Councils may err," you say? Who says? Those alleged "prophets" over there?

2. John 20:23. Interesting verse, don't you think? Isn't it also interesting that John's picture of Jesus is a bit like Howard Dean? I mean this in a good way. Just says what he thinks, and lets the chips fall where they may. Jesus doesn't stop to qualify things. See John 6:51-58.

1. The only thing I don't despise about Boston right now--with apologies of course to its people--is James Taylor.

Friday, November 01, 2013

5 Things That Should Never, Ever, Be The First Thing A Catholic Says To A Calvinist

5. "Mary is Co-Redemptrix." True? Yes, undoubtedly. Helpful? Not so much.

4. "I wish I knew the Bible better!" Again, who couldn't say this? But to a good Calvinist, this cements his worst fears about you and the Church.

3. "I'll have my fun now, and then go to Confession." Smooth move, Ex-Lax. He's already inclined to believe you care nothing for Jesus, and you just proved it. (And Father shouldn't absolve you, either.)

2. "Contraception is wrong." Once again, totally true. But the truth of it is an implication of Church teaching on the dignity of persons and their bodies. The rule without the context is not life-giving.

1. "Human nature is basically good." Within a thoroughly Catholic anthropology, this is fully true. To a Calvinist, at a minimum, this sounds like a denial of original sin, or the sure triumph of Pelagianism. You should talk about this at some point, but not now.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Don't Try To Console Me

This. 1000 times, this.

5 Piquant Thoughts

5. We'll be back. Count on it.

4. I wish I could say, "There's no principled difference" in like 37 languages. Besides, where does it actually say, "Everything you need to know is in Scripture"? I keep looking.

3. I hate Reformation Day. It's like celebrating a divorce.

2. I've seen good things on Upworthy, but I can't shake the feeling that when I click, I'm supporting abortionists, 'marriage equality' advocates, and Democrats. But I repeat myself.

1. Frankly, every time we are exhorted to "honor our servicemen," I get the feeling we are living in a dystopian Heinlein novel. And no, Denise Richards, circa 1997 does not make it better. No offense, my friends.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

5 Humorous Thoughts

5. I say, "...if memory serves" a lot. I wonder if my associates think, "Of course it serves, you encyclopedic, vainglorious toad."

 4. Spock says, "if memory serves," which is the real reason I say it.

3. The Avett Brothers blew me away today. In spite of the fact that I listen to way more popular music than most of you, I hadn't heard them. Oops.

2. Sufjan is OK. He's obviously profoundly talented. But "pretentious" comes to mind. Popular music is for the populace.

1. "Father, the hipster has awakened!" [chortle]

Is It Echoing In Here?

What she said. I think I just said this yesterday. With the usual blah-blah about how we shouldn't generalize to all people (which actually functions among certain Evangelical tribes as a way to prevent anyone from saying anything about anything), I really resonated with it. On the other hand, I feel socio-culturally like a woman, sometimes. I don't have any problem sharing my feelings. At all. Interrupting me will not cause me to withdraw. Anyway, I'm pretty wounded. No news there.

In other news, let me point out that this is yet another link to something written by a non-Catholic Christian of some sort, and I am not going to critique it at all. Furthermore, this is exactly what happens 94.7 percent of the time. The next person who says I don't respect non-Catholic Christians, I'm just going to laugh in your face, in the most loving way possible.

I also feel compelled to mention to Comrade Butler and The Durrwachter that whatever else I might say, you two guys are my guides for whatever "heresy" I'll be reading. Ahem. Boy, I don't think any of us thought life would go this way, eh? Thy will be done, thy Kingdom come.

Seriously, though, love to all the brethren. Please do not judge me by my Facebook posts. I feel worse about a few than you ever will. But not as many as you think.

World Series

Well, I was wrong. Boston has been great the last two games, largely due to David Ortiz, and the incredible pitching of Jon Lester. I loathe the Red Sox and the fair weather fandom of Red Sox Nation, but as a baseball fan who watches the pitchers closely, it has been an honor to watch Jon Lester pitch. I thought the Cards had chances against him in Game 1, and just missed them. Yes, they were down by 5 after 2 innings that night, but Lester was missing fastball location repeatedly, which is why he had trouble in the third and fourth innings. That game was much tighter than the 8-1 score shows, because the Cardinals are the kind of team that functions on momentum. Last night was different. Lester is making his case to be a Red Sox legend. He didn't miss at all. The Cardinals still had their chances, but it didn't feel like the same sort of game. He's now 4-0 career in the World Series, having only surrendered 1 run, total.

Cards ace Adam Wainwright, for his part, deserved better. Back-to-back doubles in the first rendered a score of 1-0 for the Sox. But he found a groove, recording his first six outs by strikeout. Ironically, it was the inefficient first, followed by his swing-and-miss dominance following (he struck out 10 Sox) that cost him the game. He didn't have a quick inning. He was up over 100 pitches when he surrendered the winning runs in the 7th. Sandy Koufax and Jim Bunning, two Hall of Fame pitchers, were talking (as relayed by Tim McCarver) about pitching inside. Koufax reportedly said, "Show me a guy who pitches inside, and I'll show you a loser." This seems wrong, because if he doesn't pitch inside, the hitter will lock in on the outside of the plate. McCarver--who, God bless him, is a nut-bar--went on to explain that Koufax said that throwing your "out" pitch for a strike on the inside was doing the batter a favor. As Jacoby Ellsbury hit a broken-bat single into center field for the third Boston run after being jammed on the inside, I thought, "Good point."

The series shifts back to Boston with the Red Sox up 3-2, with a chance to win it all. To do it, they'll have to beat young phenom Michael Wacha, who has surrendered only 3 runs in 27 postseason innings. That's an ERA of 1.00. What's even more absurd is that it went up to that number after he gave up a two-run homer to David Ortiz in Game 2. Aside from the obvious Fozzie Bear jokes, his nickname should be "Video Game." Mark it down: Barring injury, this kid might become the greatest pitcher you'll ever see. My respect and hat's off to the Red Sox if they win.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Obama Drives Me Crazy, But...

I get him. I understand his intellectual universe, because I kinda sorta live there, too. I'll probably be a professor at some point, if God lets me hang out on this rock for awhile longer. Obama really is like a professor, for good, and for ill. Take a moment to live in the world of the intellectual, if you would. Intellectuals read books. They have conversations about stuff that ordinary people just don't think about most of the time. Not to say they are better or worse; they just are who they are. We absolutely need those people. Our leaders need them. And this is not to say that intellectuals can't make dire errors, because they can. They do, all the time. But let's take a moment to appreciate what we still do have in terms of intellectualism here, and realize that our president is a product of that. Considered by itself, this is absolutely a good thing.

His speeches felt like essays, in the early days. I could almost see the footnotes at the end of his sentences. I could tell that there were massive bibliographies behind the deceptively simple words of campaign speeches. We should expect this, no? The intellectuals don't just sit around and do nothing at our elite universities. Once again, this doesn't mean that Obama is right about any particular thing; in fact, we're on a very dangerous trajectory, and we have been for some time, in morality, in economics, in foreign policy. But it does mean that at some point, someone should say to the GOP, "You know what? It's time to stop taking the affectations of populism from the campaign trail into the policy drafting room." Any of us who would be leaders OWES it to the people to explain the complex issues at play for the average intelligent person. The Republican strategic problem has been that instead of doing this, they attack the intelligentsia itself, which is doubly stupid, because 1) progressives and Democrats don't have a monopoly on smart people in the first place, and 2) this allows them to portray conservatives/Republicans at best as well-meaning but stupid, and that quite successfully.

No, the real weakness of progressives and Democrats is that their intellectuals are arrogant and rigid. The patterns of politics have worn into the academy, such that, in many respects, the university is not really the place where the great matters of the day are discussed freely and truth sought; it's a place where progressive dogma is taught and perpetuated. But here's the kicker: We can still learn from them, as arrogant as they tend to be. That's the thing about intellectuals: When they are wrong, it affects everybody. Obama is hurting us because he stopped being curious, if he ever was. He is the product of a culture that believes it is right, and can't imagine any other way of thinking. You've had professors like that, I'm sure. You hit a wall, and you can't benefit any more, because your teacher refuses to himself be taught.

Well, Actually, Nicole...

I happen to think Columbo is the greatest show and character of all time, so you are cool. Furthermore, Janet Leigh...well, let's just say, I'm a guy, and she wasn't exactly plain-looking in the '50s. Ahem.

But I almost mixed her up with Vivien Leigh, which reminded me of Gone With The Wind. Warning: This is about to be a digression.

Vivien Leigh of course played Scarlett O'Hara. Scarlett is the epitome of the kind of girl I dislike being attracted to, because while she is--how would the average guy say it?--"mind-blowingly hot," she's silly, and she's a tease. When I saw that movie, all I could think was, "Rhett, I get it, man. But if you choose her, you're stupid." She lacks character; she has charm, but in that bad, biblical sense in Proverbs 31. Please tell me I'm not alone.

I don't date a lot, and I would have liked to be married already. God's will be done. But I will tell you flatly: a woman's sexiness is pretty far down the list at this point. I will marry a woman who makes me feel safe to be myself in those things that are good, allows me the space and safety to be wrong and admit it, and guides me toward the Lord.

I should rephrase: It's not that attractiveness is unimportant; it's rather that it's not determinative when you are attracted to (almost) all women.