Thursday, November 05, 2015

What Will Your Verse Be?

No one plans to die when they die. A few lucky people end up suffering some kind of prolonged illness, and friends and family have the opportunity to keep vigil and wait.

What would you do if these are the last moments of your life? Is your activity at this moment consonant with what you want your story to say?

I have tended to think of sin as bumps in the road, mere blips on the radar of life, and perhaps in the grand scheme, against the backdrop of God's mercy, that's what they are. But never forget: Sin is choosing death instead of life. When death itself knocks at the door, do you want to be acting against yourself, and against the God who made you, and will raise you to life on the last day?

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Politics, Shmolitics

I saw a thing the other day that a Catholic political group "blasted" Paul Ryan for his alleged departures from Catholic social doctrine. And for all we know, he is out of harmony with the teaching. That's neither here nor there, at the moment.

My concern is that discussion about anything is being replaced by the ostentatious display of moral disdain for people. This is not the same as an argument. An argument goes like this:

A minimum wage insulates people from unforeseen difficulties, and rewards honest work, keeping people out of abject poverty.

The current minimum wage in the US does not suffice to provide for basic needs, for individuals or families.

Therefore, the minimum wage should be increased.

That's an argument. It may be a good one or a bad one, but if you wish to dispute it, dispute the premises or the conclusion. We don't do that; we dispute each other. We sort of decide in our own tribes what Good People are supposed to believe, and then we viciously attack the Other as morally defective. Rinse, repeat. It may be that some fault in reasoning or moral judgment has taken place in any one case, but I think many grow weary of having to assert their own good will in every case. We can do better.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Return From Exile

I have returned! My one reader is surely thrilled. I'm sure you missed my penetrating insights into Hall & Oates, a band who hasn't released a studio album since at least we liked Dick Cheney. [Some people have never liked him.--ed.] But those are the people who dislike Top Gun and Applebee's, and they are not my kind of people. [Did you seriously combine those things?--ed.] Yes. Unabashedly.

I guess we missed talking about a few things. The pope was here. That's seriously exciting stuff. I love that guy. Is it crass to say that? People I greatly respect think there are perfectly valid reasons to critique him that don't involve YOUAREACOMMUNISTSTOPTALKING, and I'm sure that's so. Like episcopal appointments. Whatever. Against the long view of history, criticizing episcopal appointments feels like being a huge fan of Family Feud, and nonetheless hating Richard Dawson's ties. No one will care. They will say you have an unhealthy fascination with trivialities.

Suppose Cardinal So-And-So is on a bullet-train for the most intense fires of purgation at best. What does you or I clucking about it do? I can't think of anything. Doesn't it suffice to say, "Position X with respect to re-marriage and Communion is unclear thusly" and be done with it? If we understand the true teaching, and why it is so, we will keep believing and doing as we have done. In order to fully embrace what Jesus has for us, we all need conversion. That is not a clever excuse to despise someone. The Church is not a WWE pay-per-view.

A lot of folks who are fond of shaming others want it to be a total humiliation for the arrayed forces of laxity. Only one problem: Jesus loves those people. He's saving the score-settling for the end. I guess we should, too.

I don't know, kids. I just went through another All Souls,' and it struck me that Jesus doesn't give up on the stubbornest buffoon. At least from our vantage point, not even after death! Food for thought.