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Showing posts from December 30, 2018

A Thought Experiment

I was perusing the social media account of a philosopher friend, and there was a really long piece he posted about the development of liberation theology , and its taking hold in Latin America. It sort of freaked me out, for all the good reasons an orthodox Catholic should stand at a distance from liberation theology. Yet I was at least somewhat sympathetic, and I could not get that quote from Dom Cardinal Helder Camara from Brazil out of my mind: "As long as I asked people to help the poor, I was called a saint. But when I asked the question: why is there so much poverty? I was called a communist." You may want to take a deep breath, and have a seat. Couldn't the same thing be said about abortion? Consider this: "As long as I preached against people having abortions, I was called a saint. But when I asked the question: why are there so many abortions? I was called a betrayer of the unborn." Kinda stirs the pot, doesn't it? Again, don't hear what I

Bigotry, American Style

The Babylon Bee is a Christian satire site. Sometimes, it's even funny. Not the other day, though. One can kind of tell the proprietor is a Protestant, though, because it gets Republican and political in ways that only Protestant (white) Republicans let themselves get away with. You'd think Mitt Romney would be safe, really. Is there anyone more white and Republican than him? (Not that there's anything wrong with that!) Couple of wild cards here: Romney is a Mormon, and he's anti-Trump. Oopsie, Mitt. You can't do that. What will the Bee do? Somehow invalidate Romney's entire critique by implying he agrees with, and would defend, every bad thing Joseph Smith is alleged to have done. What? The headline was something like, "Follower of Joseph Smith Laments Trump's Lack Of Character". Sheesh. Logically, it looks like this: Mitt Romney is Mormon; Joseph Smith--a really sketchy guy--founded Mormonism; Therefore, Mitt Romney is a really sketchy gu

Next Up: Some Wild And Crazy Guys

[There's no way you told Amanda Beck that you're reviewing Dreher next.--ed.] Are you kidding? I want her to still be my friend after this! [And then Jordan Peterson.--ed.] I may regret this. [Deneen will be chagrined that he doesn't count as a wild and crazy guy.--ed.] Questioning the very foundation of modern liberal society is pretty nuts, though. [He doesn't even like "It's A Wonderful Life"!--ed.] Professors, man. Even when they're right, they're like left-handed pitchers, if you know what I mean. [Oh, yeah.--ed.] If I may be frank, I'm pretty excited about this next part. I feel a thrill somewhere in my right-wing soul. [Oh, stop. You've been perfecting Smug Moderate Sage for three years--ed.] I didn't know I wrote for The Atlantic? [You don't.--ed.] I should. [Probably.--ed.] [I thought you were doing Deneen's book next?--ed.] Well, my book took a vacation in Confirmation Sponsor Guy's car, and then an all expense

Book Review: Lovely: How I Learned to Embrace the Body God Gave Me, Amanda Martinez Beck (II)

In the first part of my review, I focused on the theological direction of the book, and now, I'd like to focus on my thoughts and reactions as an "other," a person with a disability, reading this book. It hits me hard. If you have a disability, or move differently, or look differently, and you haven't hated your body at some point, I'm overjoyed for you. There is so much frustration involved, even if it's not articulated or spoken. The axiom that all bodies are good bodies comes from the goodness of God, the goodness of creation, and the goodness of human nature as such. It's not rooted in irrational self-esteem, but in an esteem that God Himself has declared. For someone like Amanda to name it, to put it in ordinary terms, is powerful. It's an act of friendship and love, applicable to all kinds of situations. She spoke briefly about suffering abuse, though in this book, she doesn't go into great detail. That also resonates with me, and I won

Book Review: Lovely: How I Learned To Embrace the Body God Gave Me, Amanda Martinez Beck (I)

I am intending to do this in two parts; in this first part, I want to focus on theological direction, and in the second, I'm going to focus on this book's possible wider impact, beyond the most direct audience; that is, those who struggle with body acceptance due to weight fluctuation. (Or, in blunter parlance, "fat people.") Most of my readers know that I am a person with a disability who uses a wheelchair, so I think it fair to say I did not consider myself part of the target audience. I do intend to speak more personally in part II, in light of this. As always, any critiques will come and do come in the presence of glaring, heinous error, or other problems. My first task is to understand, and even appreciate. One thing that is startlingly effective right from the jump is how crisp and interesting the writing is. The reader jumps right into the lives of Hannah and Elkanah. We know that Beck has something personal she wants to say, but she starts us off in the bibl

"Get With The Times," They Said

You realize this will never happen. The point of the Catholic Church, indeed, of being a Christian, is to not "get with the times." People in every age who are "with it" are being foolish, and hurting themselves. This doesn't mean you have to stop watching the Patriots, or throw your Taylor Swift albums in the trash, per se, but if Jesus and the Holy Spirit call you to do it (for any number of reasons) you should. It does mean that if the Church says homosexual practices, fornication, adultery, and any number of things are sins, then they are. No amount of Cool Points will ever change that, and no amount of dislike for a person or people (or affection for still others) will ever invalidate the things Jesus has taught us. It's passe to believe even that God in Christ has said anything, much less definitively through the Catholic Church, but there we are. Not only does religion make no sense without this concept of revelation in general, but being a Christ