August 05, 2008


I work diligently not to cheat, not to make him something that the gospels don’t say he is. For example, I cannot dream of having him approve of things we approve of today. But I can emphasize his mercy and compassion as revealed in the Sermon on the Mount. I also have tools earlier novelists did not have. They didn’t know a lot about first-century life. Hence portraits in ink, oil, and words of the Holy Family often show them isolated in a dreamy rural setting. We now know people in the first century lived in big clans, prized cousins and other relatives, that life was communal even for the very rich (people just didn’t get time to be alone unless they went into the wilderness to do so), we know that travel was common, and that news traveled fast. Even biblical scholars are often uninformed about this. - novelist Anne Rice on "First Things"

Some feminists think that [St.] Therese was oppressed, because she had a brief longing to become a priest. A goal which soon changed back to her primary dream of being a nun...Apparently in the same spirit, one of my listeners has decided that St. Therese’s brief longing to do great deeds like Joan of Arc was quashed by cruel sexism...Nobody ever seems to believe that St. Therese’s desire to become a girl hermit in the wilderness was quashed by cruel, cruel eeeeeevil sexism. But that one lasted for several years of structured make-believe play and was shared by someone else! Much more credibility than the priest or the Joan of Arc thing...You’ll notice that nobody ever seems supportive of St. Teresa of Avila’s desire to go on crusade as a missionary as a kid, with her brother as a knight or a missionary, and convert all the Muslims. And Jews too, which is interesting since her family were Converso Jews...Hello? Hasn’t anyone here been a kid? Is sexism the only reason any female ever reconsiders a potential career? Isn’t it sexist to assume that sexism was the problem, when all the evidence is against it? - Maureen of "Aliens in this World"

Accidental orthodoxy - phrase invented by "Sancta Sanctis" to describe "Duran Duran" hit

There was much more hate than love, poor man, in his make-up. Can you hate something you don't believe in? And yet he called himself a free-thinker. What an impossible paradox, to be free and to be so obsessed…."'What's the fuss? It's only a bit of bread' [Blacker said,] looking so longingly and pleadingly up at me that even as a child I wondered whether he could really think that, and yet desire it so much." - from Graham Greene short story via Kevin of Philokia

"[Meredith's friend] thinks that Thomas Aquinus should make Christian Bale the sixth way." It's better than the Ontological Argument, anyway... - Meredith of "For Keats' Sake"; I would nominate Yvonne Strahovski

If I was writing a romance novel, even if I was not a "humanae vitae" fan, I can't imagine writing a sex that mentions birth-control techniques. The whole conceit of a romance novel is that you're supposed to be swept away. These details seem like they would just "harsh the vibe". Are visits to the ob/gyn included in romance novels? Somehow, I doubt it, unless it is critical to the plot. - Commenter on "Sancta Sanctis"

How on earth can anyone make a movie that winds up with me skipping past a scene a guy being eaten by multiple huge tapeworms not because I'm horrified but because I'm numbed by the preceding interminable action sequences? The mind boggles. - the inimitable MrsDarwin reviewing the latest "King Kong"

Continuing my walk to the end of Wall Street on Broadway, I saw a plaque. I love historical markers. I take pictures of nearly all that I see and then read them when I get home. This marker announced the location of the fortified wall that protected early New Amsterdam--certainly an important one for NYC and the United States. So, naturally I wanted to take a picture. Raising my camera, and very obvious focused on an otherwise completely blank piece of wall, I apparently alarmed a security person who informed me that no picture were allowed. I pointed to the plaque. He said, "No even of the plaque. It's stupid if you ask me, but that's the rule." Well the rule was made by the Bank of New York on which the plaque resides, and it struck me then, as it does now that in all senses of the world, a business does not own the exterior view of that business...We have grown so security conscious and so frightened of our own shadows, that we have begun to sacrifice some of our liberty and some of our freedom to our fear. - Steven of Flos Carmeli

I was in college when the film of "One Day" came out. I watched it in an auditorium full of coddled American students, who for once were dead silent as the movie played. When it was over my roommate murmured, "Remind me the next time I start to complain." It's important to remember things like that. It's important to remember Alexander Solzhenitsyn and the countless prisoners Ivan Denisovich represented. - Desperate Irish Housewife on death Sunday of Alexander Solzhenitsyn

To the person who searched for “vestments in plaid” …Please. Don’t. - Amy Welborn

Books saved my life — literally kept me from killing myself– and now I know it was because so many people were willing to burn out their lives in front of a page trying to get it right. People whose goal wasn’t to sound smarter or more profound than the rest of us, but to show us what it means to be human. People who set out not to sensationalize their pain, but to shed light on ours. People who didn’t set themselves above the world, but were part of the world, and loved the world and suffered for it, and made art of their suffering. These are the heroes I look up to, whose feet I hope to sit at one day, whom I hope to have a chance to thank for their stories that sustained and comforted me, their hard work, their example. - Excerpt from Heather King's book "Redeemed"

Any allusion to right and wrong, any attempt to acknowledge the existence of gray areas instead of blindly insisting on black-and-white, any suggestion that the other side had a certain point, or that our own client was not entirely innocent — and reference, in other words, to the truth - was the ultimate taboo. In fact the entire legal profession was so driven by the fear of not winning enough money, so intent on covering its ass, so inured to the meaninglessness of the whole enterprise, that if the truth had stood up from the jury box and waved, we would have stared for a moment in shock, then made a motion in limine to rule it inadmissable. - Heather King, on her years practicing law in a personal injury firm in Los Angeles

I was never a big Annie Lamott fan - she seems too self-absorbed, to invested in her own “difference” - the dreadlocked, politically liberal Jesus-lover! The white chick worshipping with the minorities! Interestingly enough, Heather King shares some of Lamott’s profile. She’s counter-cultural, she was a prisoner to destructive behavior, she lives in an area in which she is a minority, she hangs out at the edges of society and culture - in her case, with recovering and struggling addicts and others at the margins. But even as her story is about her, I found her writing to take me far beyond Heather King in a way that Annie Lamott’s writing does not take me beyond Annie Lamott. Like Lamott, like all of us, King wants to feel okay, but the okay-ness she finds points her beyond herself, and so we, too, look with her to the rest of a suffering imprisoned world in need of being…redeemed. - Amy Welborn, whole post here

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