September 20, 2005


I find it very tedious myself. I shudder to think about the arguments culture warriors would get into over a documentary about black widow spiders.

-Patrick Rothwell, on the film "March of the Penguins" being used in the culture war to defend either homosexuality or the goodness of familial devotion

All I remember for certain is that Mom very suddenly decided that she wanted to follow Jesus. She had followed so many different spiritual leaders and New Age paths over the years since the divorce that one could be forgiven for thinking Jesus was just the next in line. I think that everyone else in the family thought that—at least, everyone she told about it; she kept it at first from relatives who might get angry. (In Jewish families, saying one has found Jesus is often looked upon as the equivalent of saying, "Hitler didn't need to finish the job—I've finished it for him.") I never doubted the sincerity of Mom's conversion, because I knew that Christianity was qualitatively different from any of the other paths she had followed. It allowed for only one truth—not many. I also knew from being acquainted with the Gospels that there was a there there, a complete design for living that could fulfill a person—if one had faith. Whether Mom could be fulfilled by Christianity any more than she had been by other forms of spirituality was an open question. But if this didn't do it, I doubted she would return to her old, peripatetic existence. Besides, she was running out of options—there was no way Islam would suit her personality, and she'd already been less than wowed by the Book of Mormon and the Bhagavad-Gita.

-Dawn Eden

If everybody sold all he had and gave the money to the poor, then no one would be left to be a good steward, and creation would fail to express the good stewardship aspect of God.

-Tom of Disputations

There is a tendency on the part of some to deride orthodoxy--to see it as the strict domain of the ultra-Catholic. Not many, but some. I thought I'd spell out why Orthodoxy is so important to me and why I do try to toe the line, if not always successfully. I became a Catholic principally because I wanted a guide to what was beautiful and true. In my other faith life, I was told to read the Bible and it would tell me all I needed to know. There was really no reason for someone else to help you understand the Bible because it really was a "priesthood of the believer." In a sense, everyone was to fashion his or her own reality, and hence, in my estimation, his or her own perfectly suited God. This is an unfair representation of the reality and comlexity of Baptist thought, but it is what I finally made of it. Orthodoxy is valuable to me because I want to believe what is true rather than what is comfortable. My strongest desire is to grab onto the truth and hold on for all I'm worth, because the Truth, ultimately is Jesus, who told us, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." If so, then to believe the Truth is the believe Jesus and to do anything else is to miss the mark.

-Steven Riddle

Should my end come while I am in flight,
Whether brightest day or darkest night;
Spare me your pity and shrug off the pain,
Secure in the knowledge that I'd do it again;
For each of us is created to die,
And within me I know,
I was born to fly.

— Gary Claud Stokor, via "Ever So Humble", ode to pilots published on 9/11 anniversary

The Senate Judiciary Committee represents only about one-fifth of the U.S. Senate, but it's pretty depressing to consider what the committee membership says about the quality of the Senate as a whole. I can barely think of a single senator on that panel who hasn't behaved like a horse's patoot this week...Oh! for a Senate of Pat Moynihan, Phil Hart, Scoop Jackson, Everett Dirksen, Howard Baker, Mike Mansfield, Barry Goldwater, Richard Russell, Paul Douglas, Hubert Humphrey....when giants walked the Earth, then shared a good whiskey at the end of the day, win or lose. Alas, I show my age.

-commeter on Amy Welborn's blog

I think it's crucial to avoid responding to anger with equal and opposite anger. There are a lot of vices that, when seen in action, tempt you to join in, but anger is one of the vices that tempt you by suggesting indulging in them will virtuously counter another person's sin....What I have to remind myself of time and again, since ill temper is one of the vices that triggers a choleric reaction in me, is that it is not the unforgivable sin, nor a mark of utter depravity. Why a person has this vice and not another isn't generally for me to worry about. Everyone is fighting a great battle, as the saying goes, and clucking over how poorly someone else is doing on one front helps no one.

-Tom of Disputations

Dorothy Day was orthodox, meaning she took her commitment to Church doctrine on morality, ecclesiology and Christology as seriously as her commitment to the poor. Now, you and I may quibble with the particulars of various anti-poverty government programs she supported. And as Catholics faced with a teaching that permits broad discretion, we are free to suggest other, potentially more effective alternatives so long as we too are committed to assisting the poor in their plight. As Archbishop Charles Chaput said, 'if you don't help the poor, you go to hell'.

- Rich Leonardi

Encourage and praise priests and deacons who have the guts to say "no" to sacramental weddings to people who shouldn't be getting married. Stop the largely unquestioned practice of marrying couples who are cohabitating unless they agree to separate and be chaste for six months. (I am just throwing this off the top of my head). What pre-marital sexual activity and cohabitation does is, in too many case, trick a person (especially younger people) into thinking that they are intimate when in actuality they are just sleeping together. That type of pretening to be married before you're married also traps more people than we can count - people who have doubts, but have built up lives together, as well as expectations. I call it the Matrimonial Express. It's damn hard to stop, and contributes nothing to helping men and women make halfway objective decisions. (Halfway, because you know, if we were all objective...who would get married? Okay, I would have, but still. It's a balance, and I don't think contemporary culture helps. The Church should shake that dust from its feet and be bold.)

- Amy Welborn

Last night I was to get back to some serious BLOGGING!!! Serious blogging? Sure, right after I drink my alcohol-free vodka, have my solemn somber meditations on the Three Stooges and... Anyway, something happened. I did not blog, serious or otherwise. I painted. And painted. And painted. I should be asleep right now, but I am still on post painting mind-weird. I have been working on a theme, a glance of North Beach, in my usual custom: realist drawings, various abstractions in pencil and pen, color pencil work.

- Renaissance man Erik, of Erik's Rant and Recipes

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