Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ditch "Friend Zone"

Look, man. I like girls. Women. You know, that way. It's the way things (usually) are. It's perfectly natural, and good, as far as it goes. And some of us guys really have not taken to singleness terribly well. I'm the worst. Ever. I hate it, in a certain sense. It's hard. And not just in your teens and twenties.

But we've got to stop buying the lie that we're not alive without sex and marriage. This culture feeds it to us constantly. But it's crap. Total malarkey. I put "sex" first, because most dudes are thinking it first, even if we've learned to phrase it differently.

If you have something good to give, then give it, even if you get nothing in return. This is love. We all fall short. And simply saying it doesn't make a certain emptiness go away. A cross is a cross. But a cross carried in Christ is a wonderful burden.

If you need me in the Friend Zone, I'm there. There are worse things, like the Enemy Zone, the I Don't Exist Zone, and The I'm Calling The Cops Zone.

Just a thought, from a guy who doesn't (yet) have that "Significant Other" (another awful phrase) who nonetheless is not dead.

On The Record

5. We used to have a generalized respect for the office of the president and other officials, even when we thought they were witless buffoons. Gone is this baseline patriotism, along with substantive criticism, and the good faith that pushes these conversations toward good and workable policy.

4. I shouldn't even have to say this, but I'd rather take harm myself than have any harm come to the President of the United States.

3. I don't think he was born in Kenya. I may have doubts whether he lives in reality, but I believe he legitimately holds his office. I shouldn't have to say that, either.

2. There is no defensible reason to comment unkindly on the physical appearance of the First Lady of the United States, ever. The holders of said office may well subject themselves to more criticism than less politically-engaged predecessors, but the fact remains that it is a ceremonial position, one of the few we permit ourselves, and we should keep it that way.

1. If you must know, I don't believe our president is closeted Muslim; I believe he is a not very well-closeted secularist, or, if you like, one whose religious professions do not have a meaningful impact on his manner of governing, and this is far worse. Let me add that I rather like the idea of a black president in the abstract, so rich and positive in general has been the black/African-American contribution to the nation. Often, I may add, with no help or outright hostility from the rest of us. What's Will Smith doing in 12 years? Gotta get his head straight on abortion and the like, but so does half the Republican Party, mind you.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

What That Guy Said

Something about throwing wrenches in other peoples' gears makes me happy. [You just aren't terribly impressed with Kevin DeYoung.--ed.] No comment.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Pardon Me While I Wretch

This is not manly. I'm sorry. How did this ever become acceptable?

Pray Right Through It

Satan is more clever than we realize, and we much weaker. One thing I've learned is that he likes to discourage us. Even if you do something dumb--even "grave matter" dumb--you've got to do what you know to do. If you've committed to pray the Rosary every day, or a novena, do it. God loves us more than we love ourselves. Sticking with things even so is sort of the proof that we're not just saying that.

God will not relent in his mercy, unless we demand he do so. If we seek mercy, even if we are yet too weak to understand what we seek, we will find it.

That's the gospel.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

World Vision, Part II: If It Happens Slow Enough...

You could easily convince yourself that the real issue is not the individualism at the heart of Sola Scriptura and its conception of the invisible Church. People in large groups don't change their minds that fast. But without divine preservation (which this ecclesiology doesn't allow) it's just a matter of time. I believe my old community will be sanctioning gay unions within 20 years. Regardless if it's faith or morals, though, communities do change. But if "real" Christians do not approve of x, y, and z, and if those norms have a reality as something more than the political preferences of the people in question, the dogmatic epistemology in a specific ecclesial context will be relevant. Frankly, you can only go one of two directions: You can forthrightly pursue the means by which the real classic Christian orthodoxy was forged, unwilling to believe that the Council of Nicea just happened to get it right and agree with your reading of Scripture--and, God-willing, you're not ready to discard it--(become Catholic) or, you may be just intelligent enough and arrogant enough to believe that the whole of Christian orthodoxy and the contours of the still-invisible Church depend on you and your intellect. I won't name any names, but it rhymes with "Peter Leithart."

Sola Scriptura is a failure, mainly because in the end, there is no way to distinguish my opinion from divine revelation. There is no way to take our fundamental posture as Christians in response to divine revelation: that of a receiver. I'm sure Fr. Ryland enjoyed arguing everything under the sun in those younger days as a Protestant at Union Theological Seminary, but even a genius asks the question: "Surely what has been revealed by Jesus Christ is not at the mercy of clever theologians?"

Food for thought.

World Vision Is Not The Problem

Read. And then frankly ask yourself, "Who ultimately decides what Scripture says, given Sola Scriptura?" Isn't it the individual? Aren't entire denominations of "conservative" Christians holding whatever line on doctrine or morals on the sheer inertia of their agreement with each other? It's time to face these hard questions. If the "Church" is fundamentally invisible, no visible body's decision has to be respected. And it isn't. That's the real story. Doctrine and practice WILL be sacrificed for the unity of the "Church." It's old hat to me. But if there is "classic Christian orthodoxy," it came from somewhere. You seek it out, examining the context in which it was forged, you abandon your ad hoc tendencies to presume to fashion it to taste...and then you enter RCIA. Don't say I didn't warn you.