Saturday, January 10, 2015

Read Of The Day

For your information. A note of correction: Ted Haggard was the president of the "National Association of Evangelicals," not as written there.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Derek Rishmawy Is Awesome, As Usual, But...

Aren't you just tilting at windmills here, since Sola Scriptura doesn't allow anyone to claim hermeneutical victory, because good faith disagreement still exists? Derek might think that a certain interpreter fails to account for context, but a more "liberal" interpreter, if you will forgive the term, can make the same claim.

There is no such thing as a "Magisterial" reformer. They don't exist. They never existed. Later, you could say that an interpretation was further away from the Catholic Church than another, but everyone who believed and believes that Scripture alone is the final infallible rule of faith and practice is actually making his or her own interpretation of it the rule of faith. He does this with his so-called "derivative" authorities, too. To make them binding would be to--even in his mind--repeat the alleged Catholic error. To appeal to them derivatively allows him the conceit of historical/theological continuity (especially against certain interpreters who disagree with that "consensus") without ceding his interpretive authority/asking whether the distinction is real.

Well, it isn't, even if the powerful desire not to be Catholic would like it to be.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

I Don't Know, But The Body Count Is Too %^%! High

There was a terrorist attack in France today; Georgia is about to execute a decorated, mentally-ill veteran; countless children will be murdered in their mothers' wombs today. Something is clearly wrong with us, as a whole. We invent new ways to kill each other, and then we come up with clever euphemisms to hide it, like that first fig leaf.

I took my title from that guy who ran for mayor of New York. He'd answer every question with, "I don't know, but the rent is too [expletive] high!" Good for a chuckle, for sure.

Maybe one big part of the gospel is that, like these others, I am too quick to de-humanize and de-personalize the one who is not like me, who doesn't look like me, think like me, or live like me. Bodies die; souls are eternal.

We are too fond of famous people, but isn't it just technology that shows us some person's special gift, something to marvel at, and appreciate? It makes us friends with people we haven't met. If you knew Robin Williams wasn't very sure about his own inestimable worth, you'd have said something. He was just "Robin" to somebody. Everybody is just Robin to somebody. Even if they drastically fail to see that humanity in others. We all fail, at one time or another, to one degree or another.

I need to start saying, "I'm angry about that injustice" instead of calling somebody a name. That's how it starts. If someone is "scum," or "trash," or a "thug," then we are less reflective about what we owe them. I've got a cause that has become more important, or so I think.

For your consideration.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Justice And Private Charity Are Not The Same Thing

Justice may be a thing that is practiced or not by individuals, but in regard to temporal goods, justice is a primary concern for governments. In other words, if a system fundamentally denies justice, that is, structurally, it does not matter how many or how pronounced the material successes are.

Conservatives cannot confuse justice and charity, out of a fear of socialism. The very reason for federalism is to minimize the possibility of undue interference in economic self-determination in the pursuit of solidarity and the common good.

It seems to me therefore that the progressive case for just wages is an eminently winnable one, and cannot be defeated merely by citing negative outcomes resulting from increasing the minimum wage.

It Just Is

The right moment for a prayer. The moment when sins become who you are is the moment you stop recognizing this moment, when your life becomes an endless stretch of Whatever. The "fallen away" Catholics aren't some weird species of leper; they are the people whose Grave Something became a whole series of them, and it's easier to kill the love inside than to face the shame.

You don't stop existing, you know. And most people know that they want to like themselves, and even that they're supposed to. So they have to construct a reality where they are happy, and where they are good. That's why the public space is so absurd: some people are trying really hard, and they have a lot of shame.

Anywhere there is self-made anything, Satan is behind it. You can't make yourself good; you can't try hard enough, or please God or anyone else in your own power. When you stop to pray, you are rhetorically answering the question, "Is this my reality, or God's?"

You have only one Friend in this entire universe who can deal with your guilt and shame. And by the way, point out when your guilt and shame is misguided. You may gather other friends around you, but chances are, they are in the same boat. Great. You can commiserate; all the way to Hell.

Just pick up the phone, as they say. Break the cycle.

Monday, January 05, 2015

As Cool As The Other Side Of The Pillow (Rest In Peace, Stuart Scott)

I have read a few things about this man since he died Sunday; I recall the ESPN The Magazine piece about his maniacal workouts since the cancer diagnosis. I knew he had teenage daughters; I might speculate that he was the most popular anchor on ESPN's flagship program even before all these things took place. Why?

I think it's because he understood what a beautiful contradiction sports is: We pay people money to watch other people play childhood games. On the face of it, it's absurd. But we know that because it's human, it goes much deeper. It's a thing that demands a little levity, and at least potentially, the utmost seriousness. I think Stuart Scott could move between those poles better than almost anybody.

It might be an exaggeration to say that my attention to the post-Jordan NBA as a fan increased because of Stuart Scott, but not much of one. He made the viewer passionate about whatever he happened to be talking about. You meet people like that from time to time. It just so happens that he was on our TVs every day for close to 20 years.

I'm not surprised to learn that he was a beloved colleague and a good friend, too. The only way to live is memorably and passionately, and the only way to foul it up completely is to be passionate about the wrong things. If we could ask him, I'm sure he had many mistakes and sins, but it sure seems like he got a few things right.

I read that he was a churchgoing man, and I hope they said good things, about repentance and hope, resurrection in Christ, and glory, and I hope he believed them. As for me, I believe in (among other things) the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting, so I hope to meet him then.

Will there be anything more fitting than his trademark "Booyah!" at the sight of the new heavens and new earth? At the moment, I can't think of it.