May 29, 2007


Our forebears defined themselves by what they produced. Now people define themselves by what they consume. And this undermines our sense of effectiveness in the world. No matter how much you define yourself as this important, significant individual, there's a feeling that nothing you do is going to make any difference. This is even harder for Christians. We have the mandate to go out and bring the gospel to the world. And yet it often seems like nobody's listening. So we are tempted to try things we shouldn't get into, because we think nobody will find out. That's the path to disintegration-when we are so isolated, lonely, and ineffective that we start to think our lives don't matter. - Frederica Matthewes-Greene via MamaT of "Summa Mamas"

Unbelievable: The Stratford Real Ale Festival ran out of beer right in the middle of the celebration. Man, that’s like a Catholic Church running out of bread, a public library running out of books, a public school running out of condoms. - Eric of "The Daily Eudemon"

Progress and potential future progress that is out of my hands, which is a very weird feeling. Things might happen next week, they might happen in a few months - and of course, they might never happen. You never know. Which is good for one's spiritual life, and I'm not being sarcastic. - Amy Welborn of "Open Book"

I was interested by the following passage in an old New Yorker piece... that put its finger, without the author quite knowing it, on the cause of [Jerry] Falwell's success, and the thing that so many of his critics never at all grasped. The passage is speaking of Falwell's church: 'It's a laboring church,' said one of the five businessmen who had been on the committee to straighten out the church’s finances — the president of the First Colony Life Insurance Company. 'There’s no participation in it by community leaders, and that is probably why it is so successful. The nonachievers have to have something to be proud of, and they are proud of their church and contribute handsomely.' As Get Religion's Douglas LeBlanc notes, this is a very classist quotation. But it shows an insight into something that many people find utterly mysterious, namely, his widespread appeal, particularly in his heyday: he let ordinary, decent working people in on something big, in a way that gave them a personal investment and an essential role to play in it all. That has powerful draw, and for very good reason; and it gave him both a stable core of influence and a very public platform from which to speak. - Brandon of Siris

An unexpected bonus of having 2 full-time jobs, as I have now, is a renewed appreciation for life's pleasures... played golf today w/good friends... had lunch outside at Sky Galley, at Lunken Airport... after golf, smoked a cheap cigar and drank a Keystone on the back deck home... watched the squirrels chase the birds... will watch T. Soprano tonight... all this stuff used to be routine, before I added Sports Talk to my plate. Now, it's all magical, in a way I never understood until 6 weeks ago... for what it's worth... - Paul Daugherty, Cincy sports talk show host & columnist

Communio sanctorum bibentium - title of Scipio of "Intelligam" post, Latin for "Gemeinschaft der heiligen Trinker" translated by Babelfish into "Community for Holy Drunkards" (I thought Trinker was 'drinkers'?)

At Disputations, a summary of Fr. Bill Byrne's approach as chaplain during the time that, Father says, the Catholic Student Center at the University of Maryland saw Sunday Mass attendace triple: 'God loves us, and His Son is here in the tabernacle.' Can he turn and point to it when he says this? It would have to be somewhat different at St. Al's: '...His Son is out the exit of the church, make two lefts, and go the the far side of the new chapel, in the tabernacle. On your way, please pick up your pledge card to help reduce the mortgage that built this.' Reminds me of a homilist who, for emphasis, turned around to point to the Crucifix, then realized there wasn't one. - Terrence Berres of "Provincial Emails"

Praying for the intercessions of the Saints is just one example of this. Authentic Catholic mysticism frightens most Protestants because they've been given a very rational, egalitarian, materialistic, and therapuetic view of salvation. While that view isn't neccesairily wrong, it puts severe limits on Christ's Revelation. - commenter on "Open Book"

- daughters of Elena of "My Domestic Church", after a First Communion

You know, there’s a reason why “spirituality” is so popular in the United States today and religion is so criticized. Private spirituality can be quite satisfying. But it can also become a designer experience. In fact, the word spirituality can mean just about anything a person wants it to mean. It’s private, it’s personal, and, ultimately, it doesn’t place any more demands on the individual than what he or she wants. Religion is a very different creature. The word religion comes from the Latin word religare—to bind. Religious believers bind themselves to a set of beliefs. They submit themselves to a community of faith with shared convictions and hopes. A community of believers has a common history. It also has a shared purpose and future that are much bigger than any political authority. And that has implications.Individuals pose no threat to any state. They can be lied to, bullied, arrested, or killed. But communities of faith do pose a threat. Religious witness does have power, and communities of faith are much harder to silence or kill. - Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, via "Ten Reasons"

Samuel Johnson, while expressing reservations about a mode of romantic fiction gaining popularity in his time, noted with a prescience prophetic in its measure the dangers of narrative technique in which character is subordinated to action, and vice and virtue so co-mingled that "no common mind is able to disunite them." He warns of writers who, "for the sake of following nature, so mingle good and bad qualities in their principal personages, that they are both equally conspicuous, and as we accompany them through their adventures with delight, and are led by degrees to interest ourselves in their favour, we lose the abhorrence of their faults, because they do not hinder our pleasure, or, perhaps, regard them with some kindness for being united with so much merit." One of the problems of the modern approach to narrative (the anti-hero as hero) has never been so nicely encapsulated. It should be applied with even greater severity to other popular R-rated shows like "The Shield" and "The Sopranos", in which characterization is at once far superior to, and more insidious than, 24's. - Bill Luse on "What's Wrong With the World"

Methods go only so far as the intrinsic limitations can carry you. It is impossible to examine the infinite with anything less than the infinite; however, when looked at from a great diversity of view points, the Infinite comes more clearly into focus than the view of any one school can possibly allow. I don't do exegesis as such, but every time I pick up the Bible, I recall that it is the passionate narrative of God's love for all of His people. There are certainly themes and variations, but it is the constant, underlying strain of love that guides my reading of any biblical text. God is present and God is telling you that He loves you. Strain to hear this and you cannot go wrong in reading the Scriptures. - Steven Riddle of "Flos Carmeli"

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