Thursday, March 29, 2018

Random Thoughts About "The View" And The People On It (And Other Stuff)

Let me start by saying that I generally like celebrities. You'll notice this if you've read this blog for any length of time. I love pop music, TV, movies, sports. In a certain way, I'm the stereotype guy, and I like that about myself. You probably don't know as much about William Jennings Bryan, or military aircraft, or any number of other things, as I do. I like that also. Anyway, I've seen "The View" from time to time. It seems like it's the usual "midday mommy" programming, and that's fine, as far as it goes.

You may have noticed that they like to talk politics on there. It's been a while since I watched, but you'll notice this. For the longest time, they only had what you might call stridently liberal views represented. This is TV, after all, and artists in the general sense...well, you know. If I'm honest, Whoopi Goldberg has never bothered me. I like Whoopi. She was on Star Trek: The Next Generation--my favorite show maybe ever--as "Guinan," a wise listener with unique abilities. And she was the star of Holywood Squares, a trivia game show for several years. Her stand-up comedy is often funny, even if a little crass at times.

And Barbara Walters started the show. There are like 3 people on Earth who don't like Barbara Walters, and they probably work for some propagandist somewhere. Anyway, I am not affronted by the existence of liberals as such, so long as they aren't affronted by me. That could be a big ask these days, but we can hope. Whoopi, or Joy Behar, or other people, surely said dumb things, even offensive things. That's almost inevitable. You know, we non-liberals (I have no idea what a "conservative" even is anymore) used to accept that our philosophies were counter-intuitive, even boring, after a fashion. It was our job to check those foolish progressive impulses, to ruin those utopian dreams. We were the people of The Facts. That isn't true these days. If you think liberals are the emotional ones, living a fact-free existence, I should let you read my social media news feed. And if that sentence offends you, good. That's my point. Somewhere along the line, people decided that they were so beleaguered, that they had to leave the mainstream behind. "Mainstream media" was not a slur when I was young. A different view, even a contrarian one, is one thing; creating a cocoon is quite another. And that's what talk radio started to do. And the internet? Forget it. Now, any buffoon with a computer thinks he's got "the truth" you've never heard.

It scares me way more than Joy Behar ever could.

And why? Because if you can't discern what is true from what is false, no great expanding flow of information will help you. And the tribalism really bothers me. It's like anyone who isn't "us" must be destroyed. How many times will you read "Ben Shapiro DESTROYS Liberal Snowflake" before you say, "Wait, I thought we were trying to persuade them"?

I'm actually glad that "liberals" control the media, the arts, and academia. If we can't make an argument (remember those?) in that crucible, maybe there isn't one to be made. What if--for all the gaping holes in the philosophy of "The Left"--the contrarians never had good arguments?  Just stop and think on that. It may be overstated, but arguments have not been required or even offered for some time now. That scares me, too.

You can't really have a discussion in the true sense without granting something your interlocutor says has moral value or truth value on the face of it. You cannot despise someone, and truly win an argument.

Even if "The View" is default liberalism, we need it. We need them. They are us, and we are them. I think we forgot somewhere that we're in this together. We're in this together. I said it twice, because you might have missed it, between scanning Drudge and the Daily Wire. I don't know if I have changed, but I have a strong desire to know things I had not known, to listen to voices of people I had tried to silence.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

King Of Endless Mercy

During Lent, the acclamation is, "Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory!" I confess that it takes me a couple of weeks to get it right in my head. I want to say "mercy" every time. Then again, it's the same thing, if you think about it.

The fundamental awareness or consciousness of a disciple of Christ is that of being drawn into Him, and into the Father's love. "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws Him" and, "After I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself." "In him we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins." "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation..." "There is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus." We could go on.

He is Savior and Redeemer in every moment, not only in the high moments. He never stops being willing to die for our sins. This is a great mystery. The truth is that we are Peter, in every denial we are reminded. But how much does Jesus love Peter? We stop the thought process many times. Some of us are so proud, we enjoy dwelling on our failure. We create stern theologies of failure. On the one hand, holy mother Church always tells us that our sins are never inevitable or required. On the other, a good many people could use some thinking of themselves a little less, myself included.

Jesus loves you, full stop. Not theoretically or generally, like a beauty queen that wishes for world peace. You. You as you actually are, not how you want to be. If someone says this too often, people in the family get jumpy, like we're going to give the Eucharist to axe-murderers and pagans. But seriously, though, have you stopped to think about this? Recently? "God shows his love for us in this: that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." If you take a detour into "still sinner," Jesus is still your Redeemer. I can't get over it. I don't want to.

The thing that makes me chuckle nearly every day is this crazy idea that we've got to clean ourselves up somehow. This is how people think. Good people go to church. Good people do churchy things. I need a game show buzzer. News flash: Scumbags and thieves and losers and drunkards and perverts go to church, if they've heard the good news right. Because this is our last shot, our only shot at something better.

I just need to let Him look at me with that tenderness, as he must have looked at Peter, or the rich young ruler. That look--you almost get used to it--is powerful. You'll sell your whole life just to know someone loves you and knows you that way.

His glory is his mercy, and his mercy is his glory. Let it sound silly in your ears. Let it put laughter in your mouth, for then upon reflection, it will put laughter in your soul.