Monday, June 30, 2014

Hysteria on the Left

As the SCOTUS deals the third consecutive blow to the Left Wing juggernaut.  They seem to forget not too long ago when the court uplifted Obama's demand that everyone purchase healthcare (a position the US Bishops didn't seem to mind), as well as upholding the court's right to trump the democratic process when it comes to gay rights.  Even though it was a split decision, it was THE LAW OF THE LAND.  Much celebrating ensued.  Now, it's this, which shows that this is simply the classic Marxist approach of 'history about us vs. them.'  In this case, those who want religious liberty are the theocrats, and those wanting to impose a secularists values system on religion are the freedom fighters.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Remembrance Day

A day to remember, reflect, and pray.  To remember the day that started it all.   Not a day to look back at those losers  who weren't as hip as we are.  Any other generation might be able to make such a judgment, but not ours.  I used to tell my boys that WWI began because a Serbian nationalist assassinated the Archduke of Austria, so naturally Germany invaded France.  It was an attempt at a humorous way of conveying the context out of which World War I emerged. The tangled web of treaties and alliances and family squabbles had finally hit the boiling point, and a generation that was busy patting itself on the back for its awesomeness and hip maturity was about to get a gruesome wake up call.  We're Marching To Zion, so the old hymn went.  We were marching there.  No need to wait for the Second Coming, we were busy doing what God Himself couldn't do.  The illusion began to fade in the icy waters of the North Atlantic a couple years earlier.  Now it was about to be demolished, and all starting with a disillusioned and disturbed young man in a far away country that few probably had heard about in the States.  Within four years, tens of millions would be dead and millions more lives forever changed.   

As we are in our own era of repeating historical mistakes because of arrogance, apathy and ignorance, may we use this day not to condemn those who went before, but to accuse ourselves as we stumble blindly ahead, ignoring the signs, and setting up the foundation for future atrocities that may make those of the last century pale in comparison.  

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.

Friday, June 27, 2014

How to be an obedient Catholic

Easy, follow everything the Church teaches through the prism of what the Church is really intending to mean.  So Pope Francis came out and pretty much smacked down this movement of legalizing illegal drugs.  Of course legalizing drugs won't solve any more problems than it creates.  So Pope Francis (who is always awesome) steps up and says the solution is elsewhere, not in saying 'just do it!'.  And how is it reported by those warming up to a more progressive manifestation of good old Catholic living?

The Pope condemns legalizing Pot, but not really.  How that wasn't condemning the movement, I don't know.  Perhaps because he didn't actually say Pot.  Maybe he didn't use the exact wording.  Perhaps because he focused on getting at the core problems that lure people into drug use in the first place.  In any event, what he obviously said is suddenly discarded for what he clearly means.  Using any one of the above options, or perhaps others.

Of course when people said Pope Benedict prayed for peace when we bombed Libya, but didn't explicitly condemn the action, the action was OK - why they were the worst.  Or the Church didn't say waterboarding, just torture, why it's heretics on the march!  But you see, there's the trick.  That's how you're always obedient.  When you agree with the Church's statements, it's always what the clear and obvious teaching in black and white happens to be.  But when you're a little uncomfortable?  Why, that's when it's to between the lines we must turn.  I always wondered how, with a living, breathing Magisterium, Catholics could so wildly disagree while insisting they're right and everyone else is wrong.  Now I know!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Farewell Tuco

Despite his many cinematic achievements, Eli Wallach will forever be Tuco, the Ugly, from the famous spaghetti western The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.  Despite starring a young Clint Eastwood in the latest of his 'man with no name' ventures, the film belongs to Wallach all the way.  True, modern PC sensitivities may chafe at his bandito characterization, and some even in the day may not have liked it.  But growing up, the movie was iconic, and it's Tuco that shows you can be evil and rotten to the core, and yet somehow still bring out the audience's sympathies.

Of course this was not his only movie, nor even his most celebrated.  Many would give that honor to the film The Magnificent Seven.  Based on the legendary Seven Samurai, he dons yet again the look of a Mexican outlaw to menace a fretful town. 

His acting career spanned decades, and I'm still shocked when I turn on a channel and see Wallach in a role completely against type, at least type as defined by Tuco.  He is more than Tuco or even Mexican bandits. Nonetheless, as must happen to everyone, he died today at the rich old age of 98.  I pray his life was as good as it was long.  And for a young many who used to sit glued to the TV when old broadcasts of Good, Bad and Ugly would play, I appreciate the memories.  May God's light shine upon you.  

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Feast of Corpus Christi

Not the one in Texas.  Though that's always a nice reminder, along with other little urban names such as San Diego, San Francisco, and San Antonio, that there was actually a dynamic Catholic presence in the New World long before the rightly celebrated Plymouth Puritans showed up to display their own awesomeness.  No, this is the Feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.  As understood by Catholics, the actual Body of Christ in the bread and the blood of Christ in the wine.

Sounds silly, right?  Well, no more silly than the son of an obscure peasant woman being executed by Rome in order to redeem the spiritual well being of all humanity.  In fact, this was also one of those things that I, former non-Sacramental minister, came full force into contact with as I reflected on our own Lord's Supper celebration in the heyday of my Protestant years.

It's odd that the famous John 6 discourse comes in the last of the Gospels. Think on that.  Unless you're really a radical progressive post-modern scholar, you accept that John's was the last Gospel penned.  Probably around the last part of the first century.  That's about 60-70 years from the events of Christ's Passion.  Meaning the Church has been around for about six decades or so (about as long ago as the 1950s are to us).

By now, the earliest Gospels were in circulation.  Within a century the four would all be accepted by the early Church as part of the scriptural witness of the New Covenant.  But John was last.  And almost all scholars know that some form of pre-gnostic Gnosticism was being addressed in the heavy handed 'Word became Flesh' emphasis of John's writings.  Unlike the Synoptic Gospels, John is focused on fleshing out (literally) the story of Jesus, especially as some must already have been suggesting, ala later Gnosticism, that Jesus could not have actually been physical. Matter being evil in itself.

Enter John.  The Word became Flesh, and dwelt among us.  It's noteworthy that it's John's Gospel that bookends Jesus' earthly ministry with accounts of Mary.  But that's for another post.  In this one, instead of hearing the tale of the Last Supper, we hear something else.  I remember being taught that John 'didn't have a Last Supper account.'  One of the things that blew my mind was hearing Steve Ray say 'yes it did, it's in John's Gospel, chapter 6.'

Just like the synoptic accounts of Jesus birth being repackaged to be the Divine Logos made Flesh, so here we have the Eucharistic meal not in a setting with Jesus and the Disciples as it happened, but with Jesus unpacking the meaning.

When Jesus said to his Disciples 'take and eat, for this is my Body', what in the world did He mean?  When Paul repeats those words in his letter to the Corinthians, what was he talking about?  Well John, written decades later, explains.  He means this:
I am the bread of life.  Your fathers did eat manna in the desert, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven; that if any man eat of it, he may not die.  I am the living bread which came down from heaven.  If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give, is my flesh, for the life of the world.  The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat?   Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.
How about that?  Yes, I'm aware that Protestants read this as a metaphorical saying, or using imagery to point to his overall Sacrificial mission, or something similar (depending on the Protestant tradition).  That's fine as far as it goes.  But there's no textual support for such a reading in the Greek, especially when set against the classic Corinthian and Synoptic quotes of Jesus pointing to the bread and wine and declaring them His Body and His Blood.  Something that the author of John would have been well aware of by the end of the first century.  That, plus the lack of a textual reason to reduce it to imagery, is a problem.  We were even taught that in Greek class.  But for the theological underpinning of clear Evangelical thought, there wouldn't be a reason to see this as anything other than meaning what the Historic Faith says it means.

And more than that, considering John's emphasis on 'it is too really flesh, real, there', it isn't hard to imagine this being an unpacked explanation of the Eucharistic meal being celebrated by that point in time.  When Christians decades later were celebrating it, some questioning the bodily presence of Christ on earth would logically question anything bodily present in a piece of bread.  And John's answer?  Not that 'well yeah, duh, of course he meant it was representative of something.'  No, just like that Word coming to tabernacle with us, so Jesus makes it clear His Body is the Bread, and we must eat it, His Flesh, to have Life in us (just like the Synoptic narratives present His statements).

I know, anything can be argued away.  And yet, like many things that dragged me kicking and screaming into the Catholic Church, I had to ask if it was the simplest thing to do, or if it was something I merely wanted to do because I didn't want to be Catholic.

Anyway, today's the Feast.  Here is the always enjoyable Fish Easters unpacking some traditional customs for this day.  We had a procession, but illness and timing brought us home (though my middle two stayed to help with the procession).  We'll see what else we can do.  There are more things to unpack about this central teaching of the Faith.  But thought I'd toss out a few thoughts off the top while waiting to pick up the boys.

Telescoping cultural history

Internet age style.  One of the odd quirks I've noticed over the last decade or so is how so much of older culture is being forgotten, or at least devalued.  Outside of certain fanboy circles, what once was held with reverence and revered is today almost entirely irrelevant.  It isn't that I'm shocked that the 80s are now as far away as the 50s were when I was growing up.  But I'm shocked at how aware we were of the 50s culture versus how little awareness there seems to be regarding the 80s, 40s, or any other decade today.

Let me explain.  The reason why Back to the Future worked for my generation is not that we were stunned by the cultural differences that Marty McFly discovers on his way back to his parents' teen years.  It's that we knew the references very well.  We knew the music, the TV, the fashion.  We were aware of those things.  We knew who the biggies were.  We even admired some of those old icons.  We knew the movies, the stars, Elvis and the other early rock stars.  We also knew the older stars they were replacing: Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, even older Bing Crosby. We knew the TV shows, the movies.  We knew how people dressed.  And we sometimes admired and even liked their craft.

Today, when I read sites dedicated to culture, like movies, it's as if there really wasn't a film industry before 1992.  Oh sure, some will have the obligatory Chaplin movie, or Duck Soup, or The Seven Samurai.  But on the whole, you'd think if it wasn't laden with CGI or featuring the latest, hippest, it just didn't exist.  And if older movies are mentioned, there is almost an apology for the lack of sophistication, or old standard styles that existed at the time.

Which brings me to Steve Graydanus.  He's every Catholic's favorite movie critic.  And yet?  He exemplifies what I mean.  Set aside the fact that when it comes to movies influenced by American Protestantism, you can expect at least a finger wagging, if not a drop of a letter grade.  That's just the Catholic coming out.

But go to his site here, and see what he praises, what he doesn't, and what he doesn't even mention, which to me represents everything I'm noticing.  Movies like The Godfather, Gone With the Wind*, Cool Hand Luke, Cape Fear, Psycho, and The Sting - movies considered revolutionary, influential, or among the greatest ever made, aren't even mentioned.  You might say it's because his is a family guide site, and those aren't family.  Yet he has R rated movies (see The Silence of the Lambs).  Why not these?

When he does rate classics, such as Snow White or Stage Coach, he often injects slights at them for various era based distinctives, or seems to say 'nothing special, but an A for reputation', even if he ends up praising  the overall films for reasons his review doesn't reflect.  Or he dismisses them outright.  Yet he gives a B- to The Phantom Menace.  A B+ to The Lego Movie!  Are you kidding me?  Sure it was cute, but Lawrence of Arabia gets an A-, while the Lego Movie gets a B+?

It's as if the Internet age has changed things.  Changed what we accept as good, quality, acceptable, unacceptable, classic, legend.  Sometimes it's as if things that once were the "Essentials" have suddenly been tossed on the trash heap.  What was once legend is now antique at best.  Once the medal standard is now a forgotten footnote.  I don't know why. I don't even have a theory.

I just know that when my friends and I watched 1933 King Kong, in the post-Star Wars era, we thought it was awesome.  We got that it was old, the special effect weren't up to Star Wars.  We got that the acting was different than modern acting.  We hadn't been influenced by Multi-cultural PC enough to look for racism and bigotry in every frame of every movie, but we got that it was of its time.  Unlike modern movie review sites, we wouldn't lament the special effects, acting, racism, or anything else.  We took it for its time and praised it accordingly.  And any young, budding movie critic would also have to grapple with such films, even if they didn't care for them, because they were part of the whole cinematic package.  It's noteworthy that Decent Films doesn't even review the original Kong, mentioning it only in the review of Jackson's 2005 remake, and then more or less dismissing it as uninteresting and not worth much more acknowledgement than setting up the basis for Jackson's B Graded remake. A movie that once garnered praise and adoration from critics, movie buffs, film historians, and youngsters of every generation, reduced to an afterthought.  Such is the fruits of the Internet Age.

Mr. Graydanus is not alone.  Like so many modern film critics, he seems to have little to say about anything old, unless it tickles his fancy for this or that reason.  Likewise, fanboy that he is, his respect is reserved for the latest fantasy/comic book laden stories with copious amounts of CGI.  Sure, he gives bad reviews to movies, often when they flagrantly assault a major part of the Catholic ethos.  This isn't to pick on Mr. Graydanus.  In fact, I enjoy reading his reviews, even if I disagree with many of his conclusions.  But he represents a trend that is far more common, even among older critics trying to appeal to the Internet age, than it is the exception.  Just look at the IMBD top movies list for examples.

It's post-modern, mixed with the Internet cubicles of a fragmenting generation. I owe nothing to anything greater than myself or the particular clique to which I belong. If I'm a movie reviewer, and don't care about or want to look at a given movie, then so be it. And woe betide anything other than a small handful of old offerings that fail to measure up to the awesomeness of Now (compare his C rating for the delightful 1977 The Hobbit animated movie with his B level rating for Jackson's 2012 cinematic version - what was better in Jackson's other than the use of CGI?).  Back in the day, a movie critic who didn't include The Godfather would be like a Revolutionary War historian who had nothing to say about Washington.  But not today.  What that says about the greater trends of our post-modern Internet age, I don't know.  But I'm 100% convinced it says something, and eventually will say it loudly.

*It's worth noting that Decent Films has few reviews of the greatest movies from 1939, considered for almost all time as the Greatest Year in Movies.  Including Gone With the Wind.  Again, it says much, IMHO.

Are you afraid of no ghost?

The always interesting Fr. Longenecker takes on the topic of ghosts and the Catholic Faith.  Here's the thing.  It's not contrary to the Faith to believe in ghosts.  In fact, it's almost logical.  Just how it works out is up to smarter minds than mine.  But to believe in a netherworld, a spiritual dimension to Creation?  Of course.  If someone doesn't, that's fine.  But there's certainly nothing wrong with believing.

Personally I was always rather cynical about such things.  As a new convert, I was a bit embarrassed by all that miracle stuff Christians seemed to jabber on about.  I accepted the Resurrection because that's what they said I had to do to be saved.  Perhaps a vague miracle here or there.  But I was pretty cynical.

Then two things happened.  First, I watched a nighttime news magazine (remember those? ) doing a special on miracles.  They talked about different ones, including the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima.  In that segment, they interviewed the president of the American Cynics, or something like it.  He dismissed the miracle saying that it could be explained a dozen ways, and was probably just a natural, albeit unusual, phenomenon.  I immediately realized that the presence of dozens of possible alternate explanations doesn't mean the original claim is false.  They could be wrong just the same (especially some of the wilder alternates).  Second, if it was a natural phenomenon, then get a couple peasant kids to predict a similar event and have it come true.  Then we can see it doesn't require divine intervention.

Not that I started believing in miracles and ghosts, but it made me realize that many who don't believe in the supernatural offer no better explanations, and that says volumes right there.  Especially since they seem to invest  so much of their efforts in disproving them.

The second event happened on my honeymoon.  Yeah, go ahead and giggle.  But we went to Jekyll Island in Georgia.  We were married in February since we lived in Florida, and Jekyll Island was close enough and yet far enough away for an early March.  Not many tourists at that time.  Being a history buff, I decided to use a day or two of our week visiting historic sites.  One of the sites we visited was Fort Frederica.  It's an actual location museum and archaeological site.  No fake reconstructions.  It has the foundations and markers of the original buildings, with only a couple examples of later structures marking original locations.

My wife and I went there one day near noontime.  It was overcast and for us Floridians, it was freezing.  There was a slight mist, enough to have made it almost devoid of visitors.  We began walking along the original main street.  There were markers explaining what each foundation would have been.  We went from one side of the street to the other, zigzagging our way down the path.

Suddenly, as we walked back from the southern side of the 'street' to the north, I got a massive feeling of, well, pressed upon.  You know that feeling you get when you know, or think you aren't alone?  And that feeling you get if you're being pressed in upon by a crowd, even if nobody is touching you?  That feeling.  Now that's not the crazy part.  When that happened, the feeling I was in a crowd was so palpable, I stopped.  I looked and my wife had also stopped.  With no prompting, she looked at me and said she had the craziest feeling.  I told her I also had a crazy feeling.  We described what we felt and it was the same.

We thought for a minute, then went on with our sightseeing. We looked at the next stone foundation, then crossed back to the other side.  Then we turned and went back again, back to the northern side, and suddenly, there it was again!  Same exact feeling.

We both stopped and looked at each other.  We glanced around just to make sure.  Nope.  Nobody else was even close by.  At that, we tried again.  But next time nothing.  No feeling of anything other than a cool, misty  breeze.  We continued our sightseeing and then came all the way back to the same spot and retraced our steps.  But again, nothing.  No feeling of pressed upon by crowds, of deja vu, of people being near, nothing.

After that, I concluded there must be something that isn't dreamt of in our modern philosophies.  I studied the history of the settlement and tried to ascertain something special about the anniversary of the date we were there, but I've found no major event for that exact time.  I've had other 'bizarre' occurrences in my life, and while some seem without a logical explanation, all seem capable of some explanation - no matter how stretched.  But not this one.  There just isn't an explanation unless someone wanted to call me and my wife liars.

So ghosts?  Sure, why not.  There's no reason not to believe.  I dare say that a bigger problem is the number of Christians - including Catholics - who don't really believe in a supernatural, miraculous creation apart from a few basics (Resurrection, maybe Virgin Birth, for Catholics the Real Presence).  Take those few away, and we approach the universe with a materialistic simplicity that would shame Richard Dawkins.  Perhaps it's time to recapture a supernatural view that includes not just a couple high and mighty miracles, but one that assumes the universe is on a regular basis more than just rocks and trees and squirrels. And maybe, as Fr. Longenecker suggests, the best place to start is a priesthood as in tune to the supernatural as it is the latest from academia or worse, pop culture, and that might start the ball rolling back in the right direction.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Jon Stewart reminds us

That he's part of the growing consensus that progressivism and legislation should never be far from one another.  Follow this link and see him loving on the Redskins verdict, wondering why it's taking the country so long to legislate the indisputable truths as understood by the Left.  Like his partner yap dog for the left Mr. Colbert, Stewart occupies an important role in reaching a growing number of people with no time for facts, and a love for bumper sticker principles that uphold the post-modern Golden Rule: Do unto others as long as you don't do unto me.  Well done Jon.  You're everything we've come to expect from the post-liberal Left.

Also, Stewart inadvertently demonstrates the disdain and contempt for minorities who don't support the Leftist call for Censorship in the name of tolerance.

As opposed to Pride Day

In case you missed it, and that would be because you get your news from the news media, there was actually a rally for traditional marriage today.  Most places, media outlets, and other organizations (including my place of employment) shamelessly fawned over Pride Parades across America, some were trying different ways to suggest that this pining for the days of Sodom and Gomorrah are not a great path to run along.  Yes, you have the typical hit pieces and naturally some who oppose the progressive juggernaut will jump on board to mock those who aren't opposing sin as awesomely as they are.  And yet others will come up with great alternatives that demand participation, respectful disregard, or outright hatred.

Non liberals continue to sleep at the wheel

Because the press isn't there to sound the alarms.  In fact, the press increasingly seems to be OK with things as long as it advances The Cause.  So here's the story.  A public school, through some strange series of coincidence, was censoring conservative and Catholic sites disproportionately compared to other sites.  No doubt unintended. 

Meanwhile Ollivia Nuzzi

Demonstrates that puritans at Plymouth don't hold a candle to the intolerant zealotry of those pushing for gay marriage.  Notice the contempt and loathing for everyone she describes who fails to conform to the dogmas of liberal tolerance.  Notice the old trick of finding the worst elements in a group in order to avoid the substance of the debate. The more hysterics and calls for hatred of non-gay friendly wrong-think, the more you just know everyone can tell gay normality is B.S.  When I was growing up, I was taught in college that the reason religious fanatics were the way they were was because deep down, they knew it was B.S.  In fact, I was often told that zealotry and intolerance were the result of not-so-deep insecurities held by the intolerant individuals in question.  So assuming those old time liberals were telling the truth, what does that say about the fanaticism and intolerance of gay activists today?

Liberal Presbyterians endorse gay marriage

And demonstrate a massive problem with Protestantism.  After all, who's to say they are wrong?  When one sees the splits away from the historic faith as practice and agreed upon almost from the time of the earliest Christian writings, the same teachings practiced by those of the orthodox confessions of the Nicene Creed, one does have to ask 'how is it you are right for ditching these teachings, but not those over there?'  It was something I pondered as an Evangelical pastor.

True, it could be argued that the Church has never been at ease in the face of new challenges from outside.  But there is something that keeps the Faith from going too far no matter how much stretching is done by its adherents.  In Protestantism, however, it can go as far as you wish. Just branch off with your own denomination.  I knew mainline Protestants who questioned the existence of a personal God, or who openly endorsed Gnostic teachings.  Why not?  Why are they wrong when Protestants who reject, say, the sacramental nature of Baptism or the Eucharistic celebration practiced for almost 2000 years are not likewise wrong?  By what authority can they say?

Sure, this is just the typical fawning over liberalism that factions in the Faith have always done.  Whenever there is a new, hip movement, there are always those who wish to conform.  For every zealot or pharisee, there are at least three Hellenists who jump on the latest.  This is simply the most recent example.  But in the end, some will have a pillar, an anchor that will eventually bring things back to balance, however briefly.  While those without a clear standard to point to will only be able to watch as one after another, split and breach will occur until endless hundreds of varieties exist, and those bearing little resemblance to the root from which they originally sprung.

Ralph Reed turns the tables

And compares the current wave of judicial overreach pushing gay marriage to the same judicial decision making that helped keep African Americans a piece of property to be bargained with.  Commence outrage from the Left* in three, two, one...

*That would be the same left that incorrectly yet so effectively compared being gay to being black, and therefore successfully compared any opposition to gay marriage to support of slavery, Nazis, segregation, etc.

Friday, June 20, 2014

George Will demonstrates

That when it comes to the Leftist Juggernaut, there is no compromise.  Mr. Will, sometimes scorned by conservatives for not being aggressive enough, and just being a token conservative on otherwise liberal programs, has been sacked by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  This is because he questioned, and even critiqued, the idea that there is a pandemic or sexual assault on our campuses.  He doesn't say there is none, but says that the definition of sexual assault has been changed, and that some might be using the problem for their own interests, even including making false accusations.  Which is all true of course.  Again, he doesn't say rape is no big deal, or that there is no problem.  He simply examines the phenomenon and says that those who are victims enjoy a special status over others who may have their own grievances.  And for that, he's canned.  Maybe he's wrong.  But should he be canned?  The man who was the kinder, gentler conservative?

My guess is it's a convenient excuse.  According to the editor of the paper, this was months in the coming.  The piece, according to him, just 'made it easier.'  Again, for those saying nothing to see, I'd point out the growing love of punishing wrong think that is making its way into the press, and slowly inching its way into our government.

UPDATE: After watching some segments on this, notice that there is no discussion about whether he is factually correct.  With Censorship through the PC Back Door, the question of facts and truth is never discussed.  You've simply blasphemed.  And as such, punishment is demanded.

UPDATE II: CNN is having a discussion.  Ben Ferguson is trying to inject facts into the discussion.  When talking of the possibility of false accusations destroying the lives of those wrongly accused, he brings up the Duke Lacrosse case.  And the host? Hey yeah, that was unfortunate, but let's not forget the woman's life was ruined, too.  She was the one who made the bleeping false accusation! It's this level of purposeful idiocy that is pushed by the left that shows how tyranny arises.  FWIW, she finishes the segment by saying PC is not a bad thing and was 'put in place to draw a line around what is unacceptable.' Not really.  But what beauty.  What terror.  This is the future of tyranny, since you can't really argue against such idiocy when the idiocy holds a hammer lock on the institutions that should be fighting it.  It reinforces my notion that propaganda is not effective on the weak minded, as I was taught growing up.  It's instead effective on the willing minded.

The press goes after a Democrat

I couldn't figure this out when I first heard about it.  Yes, the man blasphemed the gay gospel, and that will get you nailed whoever you are.  But this seemed so, well, trivial.  I know what he was saying, and it actually plays into the 'born this way' meme.  But why was I hearing multiple stories on liberal outlets about this guy? Then I heard: he was considered a possible challenger to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primaries.  If you want to see the media trash and destroy liberal Democrats, watch what happens anyone who challenges Clinton.  

Thursday, June 19, 2014


In fairness, when I was a kid, prayer had been outlawed, but  you still weren't supposed to curse in school.  According to my boys and their friends, even the teachers do it now.  PDAs are also more common.  They weren't only a few years ago.  But the good news is, at least they can't pray or mention God in a graduation speech.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Big Brother you're on in five

Yep.  My boys figured it out.  PC is now becoming legalized.  It's the government stepping in and taking over.  Sure, it's in its infancy.  But we're a stupid enough society to let it continue.  Along with those itching to punish restaurant owners for their religious beliefs, this is a case where society just isn't moving quickly enough toward making it illegal to not be liberal.  It's now time for the professionals to step up and take control.  

Monday, June 16, 2014

America is to worldwide soccer

What Jamaica is to bobsledding.  So it's pretty awesome that we settled a few scores and beat Ghana at the World Cup!  Woo Hoo!  U! S! A!  Enjoy it for now.

The Feast of the Most Holy Trinity

One thing the Catholic Faith does not lack is a day for almost any theological aspect of the Faith.  If you're from the original Reformation traditions, this isn't too far from your experience.  But if you're from your basic congregational based evangelical tradition, particularly those that grew up out of the American landscape, this may seem a strange - and if you're lucky, welcome - approach to the faith.

This is holdover from the days when the Church was the cultural canvas upon which life was painted.  Every day had to have something.  A Saint, a feast, a focus.   And so each day was its own teaching opportunity.

Yesterday was the Feast, or Solemnity, of the Most Holy Trinity.  The focus is, of course, on that particularly unique faith claim of orthodox Christianity that God is One God in Three Persons.  Not an easy concept to grasp.  Not two thousand years ago.  Not in the 21st century.  And it's not as if there haven't been alternate expressions of the Faith that decided this was too counter-intuitive, and a less convoluted understanding of God would help people sleep better at night.

Nonetheless, the Thrice Holy God of the orthodox confession became the Faith once and for all proclaimed to the nations, and it is still that claim that separates the Christian faith from all other competing Truth claims.  Yesterday's day was a chance to unpack that.  Like all things liturgical, the entire Mass was centered on this truth, and it's one of those delicious parts of the liturgical expressions that no matter how you'd like to forget some things or focus on the juicier sides of the Faith, the Church is here to bring us back to the foundations of what separates us from all others.

Farewell Casey Kasem

And keep reaching for the stars.  Casey Kasem has died.  Mr. Kasem was part of the cultural soup that I swam about in during my formative years.  By high school, he was part of that backdrop that I just assumed would always be there.  Before iPads and iTunes, America's Top 40 was how you heard the latest.  There were other genres I preferred than just Top 40, but I was always keen on keeping up with the latest.

It was a bonus to find out that Casey was none other than the voice for that tripping hipster of the Scooby Doo gang, Shaggy.  And he also had specials and came in and out of various pop culture productions, such as a brief stint as himself in 1984's Ghostbusters.

I especially remember his annual Top 10 Christmas Songs special.  They were typically the same songs, and may have actually been the same show replayed each year.  I like his telling of the classic O Holy Night the most.  He told of a break in the Franco-Prussian war, in which one soldier on one side, then another on the other side, and soon all of the soldiers stopped the fighting to sing this song.  Eventually, Kasem narrated, they would return to the fighting, and many would die.  But for a moment the light of Christ came through that horror for a brief glimpse of peace.  As only he could deliver such a tale.

Thanks for the fond memories.  Thanks for being a decent spirit in an age when culture was becoming increasingly vulgar and crass (he famously refused to speak the title of George Michael's I Want Your Sex).  And just thanks for being part of the memories of my youth.  May the perpetual Light shine upon you.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A good start to Father's day

Friday 13th, a full moon, Father's Day weekend?  How better could it get?  The boys have already said they're buying steaks (with their own funds!) and will cook them out for me.  Now that my wife is working, she has insisted I get new shoes.  I have to admit, it is pretty embarrassing being at a meeting at work and feeling my toes pop through the end of the shoe, so that's a good thing.  And my youngest says Daddy needs new socks that fit!  Good boy that. My wife has to go to the doctor to see about helping her condition.  We found out that the biopsy was negative for Cancer, and that's always good.  But we're still not sure what the problem is.  She goes in for more tests Monday, and gets the results Friday.  My Mom, meanwhile, is still needing to see about her injury and broken shoulder bone.  There's a chance I could get a new position at work.  Nothing money-wise, but a real schedule including weekends off and actually leaving early enough in the evening to eat dinner with the family!  Woohoo!  So right now, I can't complain.  Things could be a lot worse, and I'm feeling pretty happy.  

BTW, the picture was 'borrowed' from Facebook.  We went out and took pictures, but none of them came out that well.  Still, it was fun.  We watched The Most Dangerous Game from 1932, and then told scary stories after we came in.  Too late for our youngest, but then he would have been scared otherwise. Fun stuff!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Reflecting on blogger tendencies

Especially in the Catholic blogosphere.  One of my better reflections, and the more things unfold, the more I'm convinced I was onto something.  Rather than rewrite the whole thing, here's the link.  BTW, I thought the title was pretty clever too, if I do say so myself.  :)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Bill Maher demonstrates

How to make a nation of idiots.  Here he is, putting the best spin on the Bergdahl story.  I'm willing to wait to opine on that story until we know more.  But I can tell there's something that smells in all this.  But America?  Not worth caring about.  Why?  Enter Bill Maher.  Like Stewart, Colbert, and other post-modern pundits, their job is to basically attack the Right, and then say 'nothing to see folks, get back to your apps, porn, sex, whatever...'  

It works.  Apathy is the latest American pastime.  Note how the bulk of his little spiel isn't dealing with Obama or the White House at all.  It's actually mocking and attacking Conservatives.  At the end, despite the headline, he gets around to saying that Obama probably did act illegally.  Think on that.  Ask Nixon what used to happen when people got around to saying the president probably did do something illegally.  But that was then.  This is now.  

He waves it aside as an almost footnote to a screed aimed mostly at the two foundations of comedic punditry: attack Conservatives/who cares.  That's one way that the media has of dodging the bias label.  Time and again advocates of the Left will say 'Hey!  We talk about these issues!'  Yeah, like this.  Like the Clinton Perjury Scandal.  

Remember that?  To this day, advocates in the media will insist the media tore into Clinton.  Really?  Sure, they covered the scandal in four parts:

1. Shock that Clinton lied under oath to thwart a sexual harassment investigation,and the likely ramifications.
2. The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, in which the media turned it on the Republicans and tired to scientifically prove that an affair in the Oval Office was impossible.
3. The Dress, in which the press was livid at the realization that they had been played like fools by the Clinton Machine.
4. Reality, in which the press realized the man they had helped elect and reelect was in danger, and went into battle mode, attacking once again the Republicans, and convincing America that nobody believed in silly things like character, truth, morals, honesty under oath as long as the president gave us what we wanted.

Yep, they covered Clinton alright.  Just like they're covering Bergdahl now.  Not as clumsily and lamely as Maher to be sure, but the proportions, and the tactics, are about the same. 

When I see Catholics trying to salvage what they can from the victorious Left

I'm reminded that the Protestant Reformation was, ultimately, a very Catholic event.  After all, like early Christians were Jews, early Protestants were Catholics.  And the Catholic Church they grew up in was a Church trying desperately to navigate the sweeping changes in thought and scholarship and society that were taking Europe by storm, including, but not limited to, that phenomenon known as Humanism.  That was crucial for shaping the worldview that allowed for a Protestant approach to Christianity.

Of course Catholics blame the Protestants without necessarily taking responsibility for the societal milieu in which the Church existed at the time, as well as the varying degrees to which the Church allowed for and flirted with the changes taking place.  That seems to be a Catholic thing: allow for any vague level of accommodations to whatever is happening outside the walls of the Church, and then blame anything bad that happens as a result on everyone but the Church for dabbling with it in the first place.

So when I see a post on a blog praising some non-clearly defined expression of feminism, sure.  Why not.  Is everything to do with feminism bad?  No.  But nor is everything to do with Capitalism.  Yet you'd not know either of those things to hear both Pope Francis, and a growing number of Catholics scrambling to keep up with the changes going on in the world today, just like those who scrambled centuries ago to keep up with the latest, hippest in the 14th and 15th centuries.

And when Catholics run beyond these vague and invisible barriers between acceptable and not?  Well, it won't be the Church's fault, that's for sure.

The power of the Left

Is it's ability to treat Truth as here today, gone later today.  Demand the world turn on an indisputable truth, and then in five minutes when that truth is no longer convenient, brush it off and trust in an obedient media and academic world to back you up.  Hence:

When age in a presidential candidate was a major issue:

When age in a presidential candidate ceased being a major issue:

Notice a trend?

BTW, the reason GWB isn't here is because both in 2000 and 2004 he ran against candidates within his own age group, so playing the Age Card would have accomplished little.  So let's sit and see if the media makes age and issue, or do they make those trying to make age and issue the issue.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

It's Pentecost

Speaking of horse races, tomorrow is Pentecost.  The end of the Easter Season in which we pick up Ordinary time.  That's ordinary in the sense of 'ordinal numbers' used to mark the Sundays, rather than a particular season.  Not ordinary in the sense of blah.  Over at Fish Easters, there's a nice write up on Pentecost and the teachings and customs around it.  FWIW, Fish Easters, along with Catholic Exchange and Mark Shea, was one of the main sources for learning about Catholicism back when I was still a Protestant minister.  It's a traditional site (there's some irony).  And does a good job about saying 'this is why Catholics do and think and believe....'  

Man O' War will have to wait

For a new member to join of the elite club.  Oh well.  I cheered for California Chrome, but it wasn't meant to be.  Maybe next year.  Until then, it's back into the box.  Well done Tonalist.

Epic fail

So Frank Weathers posted a story about a ministry that had a billboard.  No problem.  It was promoting the importance of teaching our children.  Fine.  It had a stock picture of smiling, happy children.  Sweet.  And it had a quote.  Well, see for yourself:

That's right.  A quote about children from ... Hitler!  Hitler.  It had to be photo shopped.  Right?  Please?  No!  Because a followup story tells that the Church has removed the billboard.  My favorite quote from the story:
"Herbert Hoover would have been a far better one to quote when he said, ‘Children are our most valuable resource,’” founder James Anderegg told the Ledger-Enquirer." 
You think?  I know.  If Hitler said the world orbits the sun it's still true.  But just like many things, you can find better sources.  And while I'm perplexed over the church's decision to reference Adolph, I'm reminded that no matter how we might like it otherwise, the sources we choose to quote sometimes says to others more than the quotes themselves. 

For the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light.  Luke 16.8b

NOTE: I realize there could have been a proper, if not shocking, use of the quote.  Perhaps to warn against a culture aiming ungodliness at our children to seize them from the straight way.  But that doesn't appear to be what this was trying to do, given the alternate quote that Mr. Anderegg provides.  It appears that the gist of the billboard was to promote the importance of our children, and that is what makes it a tear producer on the hilarity meter. 

Obama the Great

“We have an amazing story to tell,” she said. “This president has brought us out of the dark and into the light.”
– Michelle Obama
“Obama is, of course, greater than Jesus.”
– Politiken (Danish newspaper)
“No one saw him coming, and Christians believe God comes at us from strange angles and places we don’t expect, like Jesus being born in a manger.”
–Lawrence Carter
“Many even see in Obama a messiah-like figure, a great soul, and some affectionately call him Mahatma Obama.”
– Dinesh Sharma
“We just like to say his name. We are considering taking it as a mantra.”
– Chicago] Sun-Times
“A Lightworker — An Attuned Being with Powerful Luminosity and High-Vibration Integrity who will actually help usher in a New Way of Being”
– Mark Morford
“What Barack Obama has accomplished is the single most extraordinary event that has occurred in the 232 years of the nation’s political history”
– Jesse Jackson, Jr.
“This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”
– Barack Obama
“Does it not feel as if some special hand is guiding Obama on his journey, I mean, as he has said, the utter improbability of it all?”
– Daily Kos
“He communicates God-like energy…”
– Steve Davis (Charleston, SC)
“Not just an ordinary human being but indeed an Advanced Soul”
– Commentator @ Chicago Sun Times
“I’ll do whatever he says to do. I’ll collect paper cups off the ground to make his pathway clear.”
– Halle Berry
“A quantum leap in American consciousness”
– Deepak Chopra
“He is not operating on the same plane as ordinary politicians. . . . the agent of transformation in an age of revolution, as a figure uniquely qualified to open the door to the 21st century.”
– Gary Hart
“Barack Obama is our collective representation of our purest hopes, our highest visions and our deepest knowings . . . He’s our product out of the all-knowing quantum field of intelligence.”
– Eve Konstantine
“This is bigger than Kennedy. . . . This is the New Testament.” | “I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don’t have that too often. No, seriously. It’s a dramatic event.”
– Chris Matthews
“[Obama is ] creative imagination which coupled with brilliance equals wisdom . . . [He is] the man for this time.”
– Toni Morrison
“Obama’s finest speeches do not excite. They do not inform. They don’t even really inspire. They elevate. . . . He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh . . . Obama is, at his best, able to call us back to our highest selves.”
– Ezra Klein
“Obama has the capacity to summon heroic forces from the spiritual depths of ordinary citizens and to unleash therefrom a symphonic chorus of unique creative acts whose common purpose is to tame the soul and alleviate the great challenges facing mankind.”
– Gerald Campbell
“We’re here to evolve to a higher plane . . . he is an evolved leader . . . [he] has an ear for eloquence and a Tongue dipped in the Unvarnished Truth.”
– Oprah Winfrey
“I would characterize the Senate race as being a race where Obama was, let’s say, blessed and highly favored. That’s not routine. There’s something else going on. I think that Obama, his election to the Senate, was divinely ordered. . . . I know that that was God’s plan.”
– Bill Rush
These and similar quotes might explain how perhaps one of the most incompetent and ineffective presidents in American history can still score a whopping 43% Approval in any poll.  Perhaps it's momentum. I mean, what are people thinking?  Well, they're not.  I get the feeling we are a nation in a stupor.  Things are bad.  Not just economically, but across the board.  For decades we've been told our nation sucks and always has sucked.  A generation has grown up not caring, not being part, not belonging. Why care about a nation with so much badness in its past? 
We're plugged to electronic media and are losing our abilities to interact with the real world.  Almost losing our abilities to understand that the real world and the internet are not one and the same - for now.  The economy remains anemic.  Our foreign policy is incoherent at best.  Obama was supposed to be the Knight in Shining Armor, the Messiah, the man who God prays to every morning.  And yet nothing.  What has he accomplished?  What is he doing?  Does anyone care?
Most media outlets handle this by no longer reporting the news, but by focusing on as many other stories round the clock as possible.  Wait for something - anything - to happen and then push everything else down to footnote status.  Anyone notice that?  There's little to no mention about the plight of our nation.  Just the latest incident that can keep focus away from the main problems. So a country filled with a growing number of people who don't care, certainly aren't going to be shocked into caring when the main source for information is doing what it can to avoid mentioning anything.  
So 43%?  Two decades ago, this stagnant and declining nation would be front page news, and poll numbers would be in the 30s at best.  It's a testament to the media strategy that they are this high, and yet perhaps there is a hope for the inner spark of humanity that despite the media's best efforts, so many are finally waking up from the embarrassing delusion. 

The essence of atheism

Is nothing.  Ultimately, we're all just molecules.  You, me, Hitler, MLK, Kennedy, John Lennon, religious conservatives, everyone.  Molecules.  All notions of morality and emotion are just illusions and nervous impulses designed to help create more molecular combinations until eventually the earth is destroyed and the entire history of humanity becomes no more relevant to the universe than the history of garden slugs.  Not much to rejoice over.  Which is why when you say it that way, atheists get pissed.  I know this for a fact by the way. 

So it shouldn't be surprising that atheism usually - usually, not always - appeals to the liberal promise of base appetites and animal pleasures, since there's not much else it can provide.  And that goes with imagination.  Has anyone come away from The Golden Compass saying, "Ah, there was a deep and profound imaginative world"?  Perhaps atheists.  Most believers I know who read the work had trouble keeping awake.

Maybe that explains, or is explained by, Richard Dawkins' recent statement that it's high time we stop exposing our kids to fairy tales and myths and fantasy stories and anything to do with the supernatural.  Say goodbye to the Tolkien, trolls, unicorns, dragons - you name it.  I mean, reading fairy stories his harmful?  What's that even mean?  And post-Christian, post-religious thought was suppose to free us!  This in a growing line of things that are harmful.  Of course that's the way secularists try to impose values, declaring something harmful.  When you don't have objective morality, you go for practically.

It makes me think of growing up.  I remember there was this radically fundamentalist family with a preacher kid.  He went about telling kids there was no Santa.  Satan Clause he called him.  A big lie.  It was quite a news story for a while.  It was framed in the liberalism of the day as that which liberalism was promising to release us from.  That close minded and intolerant view of the world that would run about telling other kids what they should and shouldn't believe.  Funny how things have come around.  But then, given what atheism ultimately promises, should we have expected anything different? 

Friday, June 6, 2014

A Just War

In the weird and strange world of the Catholic blogosphere, some contend that America has done nothing right.  Including its history of wars.  From the Revolution until now, every war ever fought was, in fact, unjust.  Not just in our bombings and A-bombs.  Just the very act of getting involved was wrong.  Some, following Ron Paul and other libertarians' who tend toward isolationism, buttress their arguments accordingly.  Here's an interesting quote from then Cardinal Ratzinger.  
If there ever was in history a bellum justum, it was certainly this one, in the engagement of the Allies, because the engagement also served the good of those against whose country war was waged. 
It's posted on a decidedly Traditionalist blog.  But it illustrates just how easily Catholics (at least on the Blogosphere) can meander in and out of what and when a Pope's writings matter, and when they miraculously don't.   So lest you wring your hands and fear that all this pomp and ceremony over the D-Day anniversary is allowing the Devil to walk with us, take comfort.  There's always that other part of the Church's paper trail that will assure you it's all OK. 

Speaking of Good Catholic Blogging

I refer you to Fr. Dwight Longenecker, asking the age old question: What Would Jesus Blog?  A reminder.  And perhaps a word of caution.

I meant it when I offered prayers

For Mark.  It's not hard to see the general trend of his blog's (and quite frankly, his writing's) quality.

Sometimes it puts me in mind of those old campus preachers who used to show up in the Oval at Ohio State University to spew venom at us sinners while ignoring any entreaties that they could be wrong in how they're presenting their message.  Again, QA in Catholicism isn't one of the Church's strong points.  So for a person who I owe much to, who not only helped me understand Catholicism in a non-offensive way, but came to our material aid when my family needed it, I offer my prayers that someone who matters to Mark will step in and stop the downward spiral.  A downward spiral not just in quality, but in other more urgent areas as well.

Prayers for the three knife victims

Perhaps the most forgotten murder victims in America, since their deaths don't help advance a particular agenda.  Not only those stabbing victims, I also mean these stabbing victims.  And countless others whose deaths don't warrant significant attention because they don't help The Way.  I mean that, by the way.  Prayers should be our first reaction. Unlike Mark, however, you're free do disagree.  In what can only be seen as a step down the credibility ladder, prayers have been offered for the individual killed in Seattle.  That's a good thing.  But not before a post laying out a screed against anyone who disagrees with Mark over gun control, and then essentially threatening anyone who doesn't just come to offer prayers (or my hunch, agree with Mark) with banishment.  There's a point where, in my ministry days, we would do what was called an intervention with fellow ministers.  This would be about the time.  The quality control of the Catholic blogosphere being what it is, however, I wouldn't hold my breath.  Prayers for all victims of violence.  Prayers that we can find real solutions to the actual problems.  And prayers for Mark.

Update: Apparently Mark meant it.  Though a couple threw out a few observations in keeping with Mark's general viewpoint, regular commenter 'Peter the Greek' came by to offer prayers, but also correct Mark's strange assertion that this murderer in Seattle was 'Exercising his 2nd Amendment Rights.'  Not sure what to make of it.  It can't be a lie, since nobody is stupid enough to think it's true.  Bombast?  Perhaps.  Post-modern style disregard for facts and truth?  Perhaps.  Anyway, ol'Pete stepped in and tried to point out that this was no more an exercise of the 2nd amendment than butchering a virgin on a pagan altar would be an exercise of the 1st amendment.  And BAM!  Pulled.  So again, pray as Mark said, or agree with Mark.  Personally, keeping it at prayer is good enough at this point.  

It was seventy years ago today

Thank you all.   To all veterans of course, not just those who fought and died for freedom on this day. In fact, this very day around the world 70 years ago, thousands would die as a result of the war.  An average of half a million died every month.  Hundreds of thousands more were wounded every month.  Or died of causes related to the war and those nations that started it.  When we wonder how anyone could bomb a city or drop an atomic bomb guaranteed to kill tends of thousands, we should remember the horrible, almost numbing toll that this war, and the war only a couple decades, had taken on the psyche of the world.  Perhaps the best thing to come from it was our reluctance to just jump out and start fighting any war, any way.  Even to the point that we'd rather lose a war than see so much carnage and death.  A half a million deaths a month.  That was the cauldron into which those young boys on June 6, and every other day that year and the years around it, were thrown.  And all so that goodness and freedom would be ours for the having.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Neo Catholics

I've seen this article, mocking those who have coined the term 'neo-Catholic' on several sites.  The obvious reference of the Seattle G.K.Chesterton is Mark Shea.  The point is to dismiss, and deride, those who have lashed out at the so-called neo-Catholics.

And who are these neo-Catholics?  Depends.  Like conservative, liberal, fundamentalist, radical - it's probably in the eye of the beholder.  But the gist is that it points to those completely loyal to the Church, now.  Wherever it goes and whatever it does.  It's now 6:39 AM, 06/03/2014, and all is Awesome in the Church.  How do we know it's awesome?  Easy, everything proves it.  And that which doesn't isn't important.

Fact is kiddies, the Church, like all of Christianity, is changing.  Post-Christian secular progressive thought has kicked serious butt in recent generations.  Many of the ideas by 19th century revolutionary thinkers has made its way into the bloodstream of the dying West.  And that includes the bloodstream of Christianity.

And the Catholic Church is no different.  In the eight years since I began my journey into the Church it has changed.  Things that were off the table eight years ago are being kicked around.  Things that were said as absolute a decade ago have moderated.  Certainly there is what the Church is on paper, and what it is in the real world.  And if the Paper Church is still as solid in the traditional Faith as it was 50 years ago, the Church in the Real World looks increasingly like it is being influenced by, and not influencing, these non-Christian ideas and forces.

So the loyal Catholic?  What can he do?  One of the foundational beliefs of Catholicism is that the Church cannot be wrong.  Liberal Catholics don't appear to hold to this, at least in terms of the Church's moral teachings.  If not its theological teachings.  But Conservatives who cling to the  belief that it is impossible for the Church to change the cores of its teachings, or ever be wrong, are faced with a dilemma in light of the obvious shifts going on.

And I think those trying to pound that square peg into the round hole of what is happening are who the term 'neo-Catholic' is applying to.  How can they say what the Church taught about something like the Death Penalty 50 years ago was right (and not just stupid and barbaric), while accepting its reasons for changing now?  How can it toy with the idea that maybe there is no Hell after all, and have any connection with the previous 2000 years?  What does it mean when the Church says homosexuality is a disordered appetite but appears to have no real concern about its ramifications outside of the marriage covenant?  Liberal Catholics can just say, like liberals in general, that the Church was wrong.  All those silly old timers who just aren't as awesome as we are.  But non-liberals who can't just dismiss so easily the Church's past as fraught with error?  I think it's those who are trying to do so who the term applies to.

I could be wrong, but that's my guess.  Again, it's a vague term probably saying more about the ones using it (people who fear the Church is changing and altering things that shouldn't be altered).  But I'll bet I'm not too far off the mark.

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Devil may care

But most hip moderns don't.  One of the strange phenomena of the recent age is that humanity emerged from the 20th century more or less rejecting the existence, or the importance, of the Devil.  Thomas McDonald, echoing Pope Francis's strange tendency to speak of Hell and the Devil as if they matter, reminds us that we follow the modern tendency at our own risk.  Complete with prayer to St. Michael, Mr. McDonald's post is a call to Catholics that our faith is more than a ceremonial wing of the post-Christian liberal Democratic party.  It also challenges those Catholics who have followed Liberal Protestantism in reducing the faith to an existential unpacking of psychological yearnings rather than something real based on what it always meant.  Read and enjoy.

Harry Reid goes after gas prices

Actually, he doesn't.  Like the media, he seems pretty much willing to focus on anything other than our anemic economy, rising gas prices, rising prices, and general unraveling in our international status.  Gay rights is always a good thing to focus on.  And in lieu of that, for instance when gay rights are steamrolling liberties and freedoms in one victory after another, turn to another old standard of the Left: Race Relations.  And so we still go after those pesky Redskins, in this case Reid all but saying if they don't change their name they'll regret it, as well as going after TCM to add censorship wishes on John Ford movies.  This is a Democrat.  A liberal.  Remember those?  The ones who wanted to be free, free your mind, live and let live, respect diversity and all that?  How much of this is just the logic of liberal hypocrisy, and how much of it is deliberate attempts to keep our mind off of perhaps one of our country's worst presidents, I don't know  But it's worth thinking about.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sane Pope Francis observations

Once again courtesy of Ross Douthat.  History will judge the effectiveness of Pope Francis.  I'm rather taken with him, and hope he goes farther than he's going in challenging the Church to stop looking at others more than ourselves.  I hope his non-European background will bring a new and radical approach to Christian discipleship.  I do wonder why so much of his condemnation is against what we might know as 'conservative' sympathies.  Unless the global Catholic Church is different, conservatives in the American Church are a minority.  I also wonder about his constant off the cuff style, and the continual need to have folks rush out and say 'the Pope didn't really mean this or that.'  Nonetheless, I'm reserving judgement and just enjoying the fact that Francis seems a decent sort trying to live out Jesus in a world ready to reject Him.  Nonetheless, there are valid Briticisms and concerns, and Mr. Douthat, as is his tendency, fairly and sensibly points to them in a way that's worth noticing.