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Showing posts from November 12, 2017

A Conversion In Two Distinct Stages

I had a theological and intellectual problem in 2008: What is true about God, and how do I know whatever I find is true? The thing I kept running into, the thing that cannot be overstated, is that there are too many good, holy, smart people to dismiss them all as heathen, or morons, when you happen upon an impasse or a disagreement. This is even harder to do when we share some fundamental agreements of deep conviction and methodology, such as the inerrancy of Scripture, and that Scripture alone is the only infallible rule for faith and practice. If you hand the Scriptures to someone like me, and say, "Learn these. Study these. Learn how to teach and preach the Scriptures to others" that's exactly what I'm going to do. By all means, give me commentaries. I want as much background information as I can get, so that when I begin to prayerfully prepare to exposit them, I can rightly handle the word of truth. I don't really think it's shocking that we read books a

Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken: The Paradoxical Joy Of The Cross

Suffering and joy are not the same. When I tell you that I felt great joy right after the car hit me, it's not in spite of the suffering; it's not after the suffering, either. "In the midst of" is about right, if you will pardon the cliche. The suffering is its own thing. You can hurt and sorrow in it while being joyful. Why? Well, we've always heard that joy is deeper than a feeling; it's true. Joy is a habit, a permanent disposition of confidence in Christ's victory over death and Hell. Joy is living faith, weaponized. I've got to hand it to the Lord for the timing: shortly after Holy Mass on an Easter Friday. I had half a thought on the ground there that this wasn't what I was planning today. Imagine that. I was mostly annoyed that I wouldn't be using the free slider coupon I'd just gotten for adding $1 to my order, to feed hungry kids. A trusted guide said to me, "After all this, you don't hate!" I understood what h

Adventures In Chastity: Practical Advice For Men

I'm inspired to write this post because the news is a steady drumbeat now of some powerful man who acted sinfully, inappropriately, or downright criminally toward a woman. Plenty of Christians right now are struggling with the virtue of chastity, or bearing the burden of their sins against that virtue. As a man who has been "that guy," (more than you have, I'm pretty sure) I have found a few things that helped practically. [Oh, crap, this is about to be a listicle.--ed.] Sorry, man. 1. Decide to stop hating yourself. God actually loves you more than you do, infinitely, and especially when you have failed spectacularly. Your destiny is not Hell, ultimately. God's "desire" for you is Heaven, seeing Him and sharing His friendship forever. So the first step is to want what God wants, and to reject any thoughts you might have that sound like, "I'm a failure and a freak, who will never be able to obey the commandments." That's a lie, straig

Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken: The Time Of Darkness

I have written before about the accident that nearly claimed my life. Some parts of the struggle can't be seen or described up close. You need distance and time to see what's really taking place. Many months later, I can describe it. Right after the accident, and for four days afterward, I felt almost unimaginable joy. I know it sounds crazy, but I won't lie to you. I could say I've never understood real love until then, and in some sense it would be true. I knew that God loved me, as the only reality that exists, as if it were air, or food. If you were there, I don't know what you saw, but that's what I knew. The physical suffering was there, but it was completely irrelevant. My most difficult moment, if that is the right thing to call it, was consoling my mother when she first saw me. No one can touch your heart like your mother. I don't remember praying for myself at all. I remember praying for a man dying of cancer, who somehow got hurt physically. I