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Showing posts from July 12, 2015

5 Thoughts For Today

5. Whilst frankly acknowledging that Celine Dion's remake of Eric Carmen's "All By Myself" is deservedly a career highlight, am I the only one who thinks Celine just isn't believable singing a song about being a lonely fornicator? 4. "Because You Loved Me" is a terrible song. Diane Warren. That figures. I don't hate every song she writes by any stretch, but if I say you're too mushy, you are. 3. I don't like Robert Redford, either. Can we just have a moratorium on selling our pop songs of fairly recent vintage to movies? 2. Your art will never be just itself; if that other thing becomes iconic, and you don't really mind, or you wrote it for that, well and good. Otherwise, way to go, dummy. Every time I hear that song, I'm like, "Gah! Robert Redford!" Sorry. 1. Original scores for movies should therefore be mandated by law, and soundtracks for movies, if including pop songs, should only be those songs which cannot po

Rosary Adventures, Continued

The truth is that a large segment of my audience that is Christian is Protestant, so this whole post will freak most of you out, and for the moment, I don't care. Catholic brethren, you're just going to have to trust me: If you get an intuition to stop praying the Rosary, or that you don't need to, it's from Satan. End of discussion. You can do as many other devotions as you like, but this is your best weapon against every flaming dart. If you want to find out, try it. If you are a fool like me, you'll make it optional, and find out just how powerless you are. Once you've been to Confession seemingly 42 times in a month, you'll re-think the whole decision. All Christians can agree with this: the evil one's greatest trick is to convince you that you're doing well, that prayer is nice, but not strictly necessary. As Thomas Aquinas might say, "On the contrary, for the Apostle says, "For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and

Mark Shea, Call Your Office!

Yesterday, Mark Shea saw something that the OK GOP posted, that a sign in a zoo said, "Please don't feed the animals. They will become dependent on handouts, and not learn to feed themselves." Shea tends to get emotional, so his response was, "The OK GOP thinks poor people are animals!" Um, no. It's an a fortiori argument, essentially: "If dependency is beneath the dignity of an animal, how much more is it beneath the dignity of a person!" A few thoughts, of course: Dependency has been a theme of GOP criticism of welfare for 60 years, give or take , so if I at all want to listen sympathetically, I keep this in mind. Moreover, I don't have a duty to find merit in the argument, in order to understand it, to read with charity. In case anybody cares, I don't find the "dependency" argument compelling, broadly speaking, with respect to food stamps and such, because what we are spending are drops in buckets compared to the depth of t

Worst-Case Scenario: War

Every time I hear someone say, "Obama made a red line on Iran, they crossed it, and he's still talking!" I hear, "I want to go to war, and the president won't go along with it!" Granted, in certain extreme circumstances, it might be necessary. Even then, it would be a tragedy. Aren't we supposed to believe war is a failure? That only unjustified aggression would sanction it? We've got it all twisted. We had been so convinced of America's rightness that we could ignore basic principles of justice to do a "greater good". This reeks of consequentialism. Anyway, so far, so good, Mr. President and Secretary Kerry. Ever and always, talking is better than killing.

Politics As Self-Indentification

I can remember how profoundly the two books shaped me, one from the left, and one from the right. One was "The Religious Right and Christian Faith" by Gabriel Fackre, and the other was "Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey" by David Horowitz. They are very different books. But great in their own ways. There's another Fackre book whose subtitle is, "Essays Evangelical and Ecumenical," but the first part, I can't recall. You can definitely tell Fackre is a "liberal" theologian, whatever that means. He inspired me, though, undoubtedly. I understood why the founders of the Presbyterian Church in America feared ecumenism: some of it is the legitimate fear of relativism; some of it is the fear that the ecclesio-political fusion that seemed so natural to them would be found out, and condemned. The mainlines may indeed be the theater for all manner of libertinism, but to the discredit of their more "faithful" brethren, they are the o

Truth Is Truth, Volume 7000

Another steaming pile of excuses for why Trueman can't be Catholic.  It's dogma that matters, and it was the contrary dogmas which I had no basis for holding that opened me to the call of Jesus in the Catholic Church. Orthopraxy matters, too, obviously, but if I don't have a basis for dogma at all, the practical weakness of the average Catholic parish is irrelevant. That's what Trueman is saying here, you know. "Clean your own house, and then we'll talk." But some subjective assessment of my own solidity in discipleship, or that of my fellows, does not answer the question of whether God is commanding me to hold doctrine x, or doctrine y. Frankly, if I had made the decision based on who lived more in accord with the truth, my PCA church or Trueman's OPC one wins easily. Again, irrelevant. He's cloaking it all in talk of cultural engagement, but he's feeling The Pull, as are the other non-Catholics at First Things. Blessed Newman, pray for

Deep Breath

So you've hit a rough patch; all your pretended piety, it seems, is a big fat lie. It could be said in one moment or another that you neither love the truth, nor obey it. What now? But God demonstrated his great love for us in this, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. You know, the grave flaw in certain ideas about salvation is that it's so much about God that it can't speak to struggling people without encouraging them to presume upon his mercy. Somebody yells, "It is finished" a bunch of times, and you're just supposed to ignore St. John, St. James, St. Peter, and actually, some pretty big chunks of St. Paul. But then, OK, what do you do? I used to get jumpy when critics of our theology would say, "You kill Christ again and again!" Well, no. It really is finished. But...yes. The Cross is brought into the present. Not back a long time ago, where it's only a memory. What is Christ saying to the struggling person? Look! I