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Showing posts from May 24, 2015

I Love The Pope, Volume 5000, Continued

Well, the discussion continues, and after what could only be considered a firm rebuke by me for speaking uncharitably about Protestants, (some of you may find that ironic) and with a lack of proper filial deference to our Pope Francis, my interlocutor got around to saying that, well, the pope should be "demanding" the conversions of the Protestants, (Pentecostals in this case) and that they'd get the idea that they were part of the Body of Christ. (Well...) I followed up, saying: " There are some who would make that presumption; these guys would not. They eschew all hierarchy amongst themselves. They are neither seeking nor purporting to gain some pretense of authority. As for Pope Francis, I do not assiduously follow his every pronouncement, nor should I. If he speaks in a manner contrary to the ecclesiology we've been given (or could easily be construed so), ignore it. But I have a feeling that he knows exactly the Church's self-understanding, and her mi

I Love The Pope, Volume 5000

And let me clarify that I'm not talking about the general affection and deference that we owe him as Catholics. I actually love how the Holy Father conducts his pastoral ministry. [There is some kind of transition coming.--ed.] [Helpful note for the stupid: This paragraph can be read straightforwardly.] The smart readers are getting wise: "What hideous crime against mother Church has the pope committed, in the eyes of some alleged traditionalists, today?" That's the ticket, laddie. I hope you're sitting down. The unspeakable horror, from which we shall never recover, that has countless dozens of the "faithful remnant" praying for the end of his pontificate... He let some Protestants pray for him. I know! The horror of it all. I mean, they openly and explicitly adore the one true God in three Persons, and have received a Trinitarian baptism for the forgiveness of sins, but you know, other than that, they're not like us at all! People might get

5 Pointed Thoughts For Today

5. My vague awareness that some Christian somewhere has been mean or judgy does not affect my willingness to affirm traditional Christian teaching. 4. You will not see heartfelt apologies here, with me purporting to speak on behalf of the "Church," whatever someone means by that. 3. If you say, "I'm inclined toward a certain sin with a stigma, and frankly, I fail more than I succeed, but I want to live in accord with God's will," that  begins to elicit my compassion. 2. I am shocked! Shocked that a sinner who made peace with a sin found a "home" in the Episcopal communion. 1. Sinners always say they want to find a place that's "welcoming." Just once, I want to look at them and say, "You know where else is welcoming? Hell."

Go, Bernie, Go?

Sen. Bernie Sanders, the independent from Vermont, has recently announced a run for president. I have seen him on TV a few times. One thing you can say about him: he's one of the most earnest, ardent ideologues you will ever find. I mean "ideologue" in the best possible sense: a deeply principled person, who generally views most calls to compromise as a capitulation to the powers arrayed against the weakest and most disenfranchised. He's the kind of progressive you'd like, if he didn't think you were evil. There are three kinds of progressives: 1. Committed, passionate, deeply misguided, and otherwise misinformed. 2. committed, passionate, deeply misguided, who can't possibly believe that one's political adversaries don't agree with him or her. This kind may even hate them, because 1) OMG, these people are so stupid! or 2) these people seem to win more elections than us. And 3. Smug, arrogant jerks, who don't actually care about anything or a

Read Of The Day

Like a beacon cutting through a dense fog off the Atlantic coast. [These are the Days Of Our Lives!--ed.] Shut up! [Oh, come on! That was hilarious!--ed.] I think you have an exaggerated view of your own talents. [You should know.--ed.] Bah!

No, Seriously: I Love The Movie "Independence Day"

It's the quintessential action movie; it's the quintessential "don't think too hard" sci-fi movie; it's vintage Will Smith, for good or ill, I suppose. It's underrated for its heart. Maybe that's why I'm writing this. If you add up the slew of really good acting performances--Smith, Pullman, Goldblum, Judd Hirsch, and on and on, you get a good movie, no matter what critics say, or the prevailing belief that you're not allowed to appreciate a mega-blockbuster as a good movie. Did you know this movie grossed over 847 million dollars, worldwide? At the time, it was the second-highest total of all time. Somebody liked it. We have coined the unfortunate phrase, "disaster porn" since this film to talk about the tendency to destroy everything to make the point that whatever has happened is really, really, bad, but it was legitimately impressive and new in 1996. I just keep thinking that the relationships between the characters are believ

I Figured It Out

I figured out why Christian Contemporary Music sounds cheesy, as it were. Actually, that Gungor dude nailed it, but I'm not chasing that link down. It's very simple: Loving God is too big for this. The music can't handle it. I just sensed it while I listened to, aptly enough, "Love Song For A Savior" by Jars Of Clay. It's a great song for what it is. It's almost great pop music. Here's reality, though: Jesus will never be popular. He will never be cool. He's Lord and God; he doesn't need you or me. The fact that he chooses us, to need us, as it were, tells us only about our need. I digress. This is why I'm not a musical relativist. If I want to love God with all my heart in song, I need sacred music. It doesn't mean that it has to be from one culture or time; don't get in a huff. It does mean there actually is a sacred/secular distinction, and that's OK. If I may, I'm tired of hearing there isn't one. That was among t

5 Thoughts For Tonight

5. I can't be the only person who has thought, ""Grey's Anatomy" is one of the best shows I've ever seen" whilst also thinking, "I want to punch Shonda Rhimes (the creator) right in the face." 4. I have always loved that Snow Patrol song, "Chasing Cars," even if it's a little co-dependent. I don't feel like the sort of guy who likes Snow Patrol, but hey, that song works. 3. "ER" is still the greatest hospital drama ever, but "St. Elsewhere" is lurking close behind. 2. I think hospital dramas are pretty hard to foul up, really. Life and death are freighted with an indelible significance. Just give us characters we like, and you're set for at least half a decade. 1. I'd love to be one of those pious people who doesn't watch TV or movies, but I'm not. I love people and their stories. Our reflection of ourselves in entertainment may be realistic or less so, but there is something of us i

Memorial Day

I always feel conflicting things on this day. America is really good at taking personal virtue and using it as a shield against criticism of itself. We do not have the right to fail to inquire whether the deaths of honorable men have taken place in the service of just causes, undertaken by just means. And yet there is something undeniably moving about the courage of those who die for the sake of others. Even in the most absurdly ill-conceived military endeavor, when warriors fight for each other, seeking only to survive, it is praiseworthy. Nationalism is so insidious, precisely because by means of war, it mimics martyrdom, our greatest example of love and self-sacrifice, given by Our Lord and his disciples after him. Freedom isn't free, but what is freedom? Would you do anything to keep it? That's a good question to ponder today. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

5 Astonishing Sports Facts

5. No team in the NBA has ever won a best-of-7 playoff series after trailing 3-0. Both conference finals series are 3-0. 4. Greg Maddux won at least 15 games every MLB season for 17 consecutive years. 3. If you took away every one of Wayne Gretzky's 894 goals (most all time), he would still be the NHL's all-time leader in total points (goals and assists). 2. Recently, the NHL's all-time leader in wins by a goaltender, Martin Brodeur, shut out (no goals allowed) the opposing team for the 125th time in his illustrious career. He filled in for Brian Elliott of the St. Louis Blues, who, as of that night, had 124 wins. 1. In 2009, a writer for ESPN predicted that in Roger Federer, we were about to witness the greatest twilight of a career in the history of tennis. Roger Federer is currently the #2 player in the world.

Love Came Down

Never forget the Cross. That's an axiom. Upon it, the Lamb of God took away all the sins of the world. There is more we could say, but I won't, for prudence and clarity. I realized the other day that we should not forget the Incarnation. He would be Priest and Victim at Calvary, but his willingness to do it was plain when he became one of us. God isn't some ogre in the sky, waiting to smack you with a clipboard; he came to take away your guilt, your shame, all of the things that make you (and me) less us than we are supposed to be. The fear of Hell won't make you love with any love worth sharing. The heart-knowledge that, on that day, we got a fresh start that will never be undone, that will change the world. Feels a bit odd writing about this on Pentecost Sunday, but really, the Holy Spirit pours the love into our hearts, by which we know and see that we are loved. There is no more waiting, no more "How long, O Lord?," in a certain sense, because God an