24 July 2010

Coffee Mug Browsing

Democrat John Kerry parks his multi-million dollar yacht in RI in order to avoid paying MA taxes. . .and the Dems wonder why there's so much resentment against their redistributive tax policy.

Heh. . .looks like the federal judge hearing B.O.'s suit against AZ anti-illegal immigration law is asking the DoJ some tough questions.

VA Dem Jim Webb pens a piece of lefty heresy:  the days of affirmative action/diversity programs are over.  The impatient crowd awaits the thunk of the axe and the bounce of his head down the gallows' steps.  

If you have an interest in Supreme Court church/state jurisprudence and the interpretative history of the mythical "wall of separation," you might like this book.  By reviewing notes, journal entries, and personal correspondence, the author attempts to demonstrate that the justices who invented the Wall used cherry-picked historical evidence in order to promote a pre-determined outcome.  

A question about the Harry Potter books and a lively discussion in the com box.  Yours truly participates.  The Devil tempts us to overestimate his power over us. . .that way, when we sin we can blame it on him. 

Liberal media fascists call for a gov't crackdown on blogs/media that they don't like.  Ah, for the good ole days of classical liberalism among our Enlightened Elite. 

One mean kung-fu throw!

My dad and younger brother would run over people to get to WalMart for one of these.

On the importance of not living life metaphorically.

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23 July 2010

Coffee Mug Browsing

Heh. . .that USDA official turned out to be kinda nutty. . .I was ready to count her among the thousands of others B.O. and his "post racial" admin have thrown under the Bus of Nasty Racial Politics. 

Anglican Church giving communion to pets. . .well, it's not it's communion-communion.

Christianity on the rise in China. . .while still a Marxist-feminist Episcopagan and teaching English in China, I attended Catholic services in Beijing and Shanghai.  The churches were packed every time.  And prominently positioned in a pew:  several commie bureaucrats monitoring the event.  I wouldn't be surprised if churches in the U.S. end up with federal Diversity Officers assigned to our parishes to monitor compliance with anti-"hate speech" codes.

Training religion teachers:  "You can keep your catechism!"  In my seminary days it was a common practice among the enlightened faculty when confronted with students hungry for sound doctrine to bark out, "This isn't catechism class!"  Though true, strictly speaking, the outburst revealed a deeply planted suspicison of all things orthodox.

Context for Me but not for Thee:  Left-liberal "journalists" caught red-handed manipulating the news to elect B.O. are crying foul and claiming that their remarks are being taken out context.  Fair enough.  Let's see how concerned these folks are about context when it comes to their own reporting on political positions they disagree with

English Catholic dinosaurs will moan at the Holy Father when he visits the post-Christian nation in September.  Their burning issue?  The long settled question of women's "ordination."   Apparently the near total collapse of the Church of England over this issue has escaped their notice.  Keep hope alive!

Not only have atheists become less profound in their arguments for rejecting the existence of God, heretics have become decidedly less interesting and robust.  Sober, well-read, and intelligent atheists and heretics provide an important service to orthodox theists:  they keep us on our toes! 

Are we losing the ability to think clearly?  Probably.  I don't see much of this sort of thing at U.D., but I see a lot of it in the culture at large. 

Finally!  An explanation for that ridiculous B.O. Nobel Peace Prize.  It all makes sense now.

More mean humor directed at vegetarians.  Really, can be too much? 

Proof that Barney the Dinosaur is Satan.

Uh. . .apparently Wolverine of the X-Men is Jewish.

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21 July 2010

A review of my second prayer book. . .

Check out Jeff Miller's review of Treasures Holy and Mystical over at The Curt Jester.

He gets it. . .he really gets it!

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Coffee Mug Browsing

Remember that black USDA official who was caught on tape confessing at a NAACP meeting that she didn't help a farmer b/c he was white?  She was forced to resign.  Now, it looks like an unedited version of the tape has surfaced and it supports her claim that her comments were not racist.  More evidence that the Racist Card is being used willy-nilly.

Conservative blogs are reporting on the full video and admitting that her remarks are not racist.  Compare and contrast this honest reporting to what you find in the MSM when they are caught with their pants down, e.g. Rathergate, Global Warming Scandal, the plagarized Tea Party video, etc.

BTW, the USDA official blames the NAACP for getting her fired.  Oy!

The all-white MSNBC news line-up, a vocal critic of the allegedly racist FOXNews, revamps its image to include one black woman on its logo.  At least they are listening to critics.

The MSM/State Run Media is neither mainstream nor state run.  Let's start referring to it as the One Party Media. Hmmmmm. . .

Are the police and media in France covering for militant Muslim street gangs?  The most recent "Fall of the Roman Empire" comparison. 

The Communist vs. The Wounded Marine:  an election to watch!

"A fact which cannot be changed."  USCCB comments on the recent rule change regarding how cases of the attempted "ordination" of women are handled. 

Elite colleges discriminate against Christians in admissions.  All the more reason to send your kids to colleges like the University of Dallas!

Even more reasons to send your kids to schools like the University of Dallas:  the background story on the Univ of IL's firing of a Catholic professor.  None of this surprises me at all.  Anti-Catholicism, especially in the academy, is the last acceptable prejudice.

Shameless self promotion alert:  OSV gives you a chance to nominate You Can't Leave Home Without It Catholic blog!  So far, HancAquam doesn't appear on the list (hinthint).

Oh my. . .a whole site devoted to cuteness.  I need some insulin.  Stat!

GM's 2011 model: the Obummer.  You gotta love the side view mirrors.

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New Blogger Features

Blogger has added a new feature for its hosted blogs.  Check under each post for options to share the post on Facebook, Twitter, email, etc.  There's also an option to "buzz up" the post, meaning that you can click the Buzz Up button and increase the buzz about the post.  So, use 'em!  Please.

I wish blogger included a podcast option. . .

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20 July 2010

Coffee Mug Browsing

This is HUGE:  The Daily Caller has obtained emails from the infamous lefty media listserve, Journolist, that prove a concerted media effort during the 2008 Presidential campaign to protect B.O. by killing reports of Jeremiah Wright's racist condemnation of the U.S.  Surprise!  Not.

Big Journalism is on the case with on-going coverage

This cannot be repeated often enough:  Mel Gibson is NOT Catholic!

Female Lutheran bishop resigns.  So much for the "relational wisdom" of women in the handling of sexual abuse accusations.  Jepsen is a darling of the religious left, i.e. she supports All the Right Causes in the relentless pursuit of gutting the faith.

Fr. Z. reports on the new website, Protect the Pope.  Unfortunately, in post-Christian Britain the Holy Father needs protection.

On characterizing the postmodern cultural elites who rule us. 

Want to smuggle 18 monkeys into Mexico?  Don't follow this guy's example.

Well, you can't say that you weren't warned.

Axioms of the Cynical & Depraved.  My fav: "He's not dead, he's electroencephalographically challenged." 

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19 July 2010

Coffee Mug Browsing

Yawn, no surprises here.  Individual mandate to buy health insurance is a tax. . .so says B.O.   Oh, and your taxes will pay for abortions despite the 30 pieces of silver that B.O. used to buy off Stupak.  Oh, one more thing:  you probably won't be able to keep your doctor either. 

The Anchoress is a little frustrated with the Vatican's recent P.R. blunder.  Their mistake?  They issued new canonical guidelines on how the Church will handle cases of clerical sexual abuse. . .and included in the same document new rules on dealing with the attempted "ordination" of women to the priesthood.  Probably not brightest move.  The MSM has focused almost exclusively on the ordination rules. 

Mark "Scary Beard" Shea takes on the goofy meme, "Science Works, Religion Doesn't."  He addresses the incoherence of the materialists' non-definition of "religion."

Lefty propaganda outfit plagiarizes a Tea Party video to prove that the Tea Party is racist.  Wow.  That has to be the definition of desperation.

Speaking of plagiarism. . .Michael Moore, that wealthy, anti-American socialist who made his millions manipulating the capitalist markets and the truth, apparently stole a story from a Knoxville reporter.  Fortunately, for Moore, he's too big to fail.  Pun intended.

Right-wing violence:  these Tea Party radicals are getting out of control. . .er, I mean these union activists are getting out of control.  Obviously, these so-called "union goons" are really Tea Partiers dressed up in union outfits.
B.O. is shutting down blogs all over the country.  NB.  rather than attack individual blogs for abuse, the gov't shut down an entire server network, meaning some 73,000 blogs were closed. 

A review of Predators.  Let's see:  aliens (check), explosions (check), exploding aliens (check).  Yup, I'll be seeing this one.

Just call me "Joe."  How would you like to have 746 letters in your name

You might be a grad student if. . .

What do puppies, bulldozers, and Hell's Angels have in common? 

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Love first, then a sign (Podcast)

16th Week OT (M)
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
Church of the Incarnation, Univ of Dallas


I spend most of my year living in Rome with 80 or so friars from all over the world. Though most of the brothers speak some intelligible version of English, the language of the priory is Italian. For example, notices of community events posted on the bulletin board are in Italian. Out on the streets of Rome, unsurprisingly, billboards and store signs are all written in Italian. So are street signs. So, if you want to navigate the city, you will need to know just enough Italian to get around. The whole point of signs is to inform, direct, and warn their readers. Whatever the purpose of signs in general or any sign in particular, signs are only able to do their jobs if those who need the signs can read them. For example, about 99% of the notices posted on the community bulletin board in my Roman priory are useless to me. This is not the fault of the notices. For all but the most practical, simplest purposes, I am illiterate in Italian. Just so, those heckling Jesus for a sign to confirm his identity and power are illiterate as well. While I can't read Italian, they can't read the signs of the Messiah's ministry among them. My deficiency is due to age, laziness, and general disinterestedness. Theirs seems to be a more profound lacking. Jesus says that those wanting signs of his identity are illiterate because they are “evil and unfaithful.” The lesson is here? Don't ask for signs you can't or won't read.

If you pay any attention at all to skeptical or atheistic objections to religious belief, you will notice that the principal demand made by our intellectual opponents is the demand for evidence. Evidence of God's existence. Evidence of an afterlife, miracles, the existence of angels, etc. Basically, what they are asking for is some sort of material sign from God that something of what we believe as Christians is true. Most of them claim that they will become believers when the stars align in the sky to spell out the message, “God exists.” They should get credit for being open to the possibility that God exists. However, not all atheists are so open-minded. The Canadian atheist and philosopher, Kai Neilsen, for example, has this to say about such miraculous evidence, “We are no better off with the stars in the heavens spelling out GOD EXISTS that with their spelling out PROCRASTINATION DRINKS MELANCHOLY. We know that something has shaken our world, but we know not what. . .”* He goes to say that such an unusual event might be “big trick or some some mass delusion.” In other words, there's likely little chance that Prof. Neilsen can be taught to read the signs of God's presence in His creation. But if he could be taught divine literacy, how would he go about learning it?

What Jesus makes painfully clear in his reply to those clamoring for a sign of his identity is that so long as they persist as an “evil and unfaithful generation,” no sign will tell them what they want to know. For Jesus to demand of them goodness and faithfulness before he gives a sign seems like question-begging or special pleading. They must believe and then the signs will be legible. Faith informs, makes possible, renders intelligible all the signs one needs to believe. This is exactly backwards for unbelievers. But that's the power of Jesus' demand. Believing in him on the basis of material evidence requires nothing more than intellectual assent, saying yes to a well-evidenced argument. That's knowledge not faith. Few of us—if any of us—are raring to die in defense of a proposition; suffer torture, persecution, and death to attain a conclusion properly deduced in a valid syllogism. Our relationship with the God through Christ in the Spirit is fundamentally a relationship between Father and child, Maker and made. This is not the sort of relationship that comes about as a result of evidence, proof, and deduction. When you ask a friend for proof of his or her love, you admit that their love is secondary to your need for evidence, thus providing evidence that you do not love. 

First, you love; then you read all the signs through that love. Without this initial commitment, this primary allegiance, all signs of love shown to you will be illegible, and you will be as illiterate as the clamoring crowd and our friend, Prof. Neilsen.

*Taliaferro, Charles.  Evidence and Faith:  Philosophy and Religion since the Seventeenth Century, 345.

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18 July 2010

At the feet of Christ (Podcast)

16th Sunday OT
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
Church of the Incarnation, Univ of Dallas


If you check the fiction bestseller list you will find listed among the top fifty books a high percentage of mystery novels. Whodunits set in ancient Rome, medieval Europe, 18th century Japan, and even our science-fictional future. Police dramas that draw in viewers with the mystery of an unsolved criminal case dominate the TV listings. The nightly news is filled with reports of the mysteries of our collective drive to both get along and get ahead—terrorist plots, political intrigue, predictions of economic ups and downs. Perhaps nowhere more prominent does mystery appear than in our day to day efforts to come to, to serve, and to understand the nature of the divine, the workings of heaven here on earth. We Christians have whole libraries packed with books that identify and attempt to explain one mystery or another: the Incarnation, the Holy Trinity, Divine Providence, transubstantiation. And even with all this collected knowledge and our collective wisdom to interpret it, we often find ourselves explaining the faith to the skeptic with one, terribly unsatisfying sentence: “It's a mystery.” Sure, the Church has some profound ideas, a useful method, a set of reasonable assumptions, centuries of logical arguments, and even some intriguing evidence from the world of science, yet mystery remains. And always will. Why? Because teaching and being taught the mysteries of our faith is the business of a truly humble heart, an inquisitive mind, and a meek and merciful soul. All that we must learn, we learn at the feet of Christ. 

In his letter to the Colossians, Paul identifies himself as a minister of the Body of Christ; one given stewardship over the mission “to bring to completion for [the Church] the word of God, the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past.” He writes that this mystery “has been manifested to his holy ones, to whom God chose to make known the riches of the [mystery's glory]. . .” What is this mystery that Paul must bring to completion? God's Self revelation, first given to the Jews, must be made manifest among the Gentiles. He writes that the mystery to be revealed “. . .is Christ in you, the hope for glory.” Why must the Gentiles be made privy to the mysteries of salvation? Paul says that he proclaims the mystery of Christ, “admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, [so] that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.” He understands his commission as one that will fill up “what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body . . .” In order words, the Body of Christ is not complete until every tongue, tribe, nation, and people have heard and seen the mystery of Christ proclaimed and accomplished in the Church. We know that this apostle to the Gentiles dies a martyr's death, preaching God's Word. His task, his commission falls to us, the Body of Christ he nourished with both his life and his death. So, how do we continue on?

We have in the sisters, Martha and Mary, two models, two paradigms for how we might proceed to reveal Christ's mystery to the world. When Jesus visits the sisters, Martha begins to fuss about, trying her best to prepare a suitably hospitable meal for their guest. Frustrated that Mary is ignoring her domestic duties in order to dote on Jesus, Martha complains to Jesus and asks him to admonish Mary for her apparent laziness. Instead of scolding Mary for her inattention to duty, Jesus turns Martha's complaint back on her, saying, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.” When should notice here that Jesus doesn't chastise Martha for griping nor does he seem ungrateful for her work on his behalf. Rather than soothe Martha's hurt feelings by telling Mary to get to work, rather than tempering Martha's anger with a lecture on patience, Jesus goes straight to the root of her fussiness. Martha is anxious; she is worried. Faced with the presence of Christ in her home, Martha chooses to get busy; she deflects her anxiety by “doing stuff,” hoping, perhaps, that by staying busy she will burn off the fretting worry. Mary, on the other hand, sits at Jesus' feet and listens to his instruction. She too might be anxious. She might be just as wound up and nervous as her sister in the presence of Christ, but she chooses “the better part,” attending to Jesus as he teaches her the mysteries of his Father's revelation. 

Why does Jesus consider Mary's rapt attention to be better than Martha's distracted busyness? Let's ask this question another way. Who is most likely to learn: a student who sits in class tuned in to her iPod, her Facbook chat, and her doodling; or the student who attentively listens to the teacher—no distractions, nothing to cloud her mind or burden her heart? If you have ever tried to teach a child a difficult math problem, or convey a set of relatively boring facts, then you know the answer to this question! Mary has the better part because she is more likely to learn, more likely to “get it,” more likely to become the better teacher and preacher of the mysteries herself. Martha will get quite a lot done, but will she be open to seeing and hearing the mystery that Jesus has to reveal? Jesus tells Martha, “There is need of only one thing.” There is only one needful thing, only one thing we need: to listen to the Word, the Word made flesh in Christ.

When you take up Paul's commission to preach the mystery of Christ to the world, do you first listen to the Word; or do you get busy “doing stuff” that looks Christian, sounds Christian? Do you really hear what Christ has to say about God's mercy, His love? Do you attend to the Body of Christ in action during the celebration of his sacraments? Do you watch for Christ to reveal himself in those you love, in those you despise, those you would rather ignore or disparage? Can you set aside the work of doing Christian things and just be a follower of Christ, just long to be filled with the Spirit necessary to teach with all wisdom? It's vital that we understand that Martha isn't wrong for doing stuff. Her flaw rests solely in her anxiety and her worry while she's doing stuff. Being anxious and worried about many things while doing God's work is a sure sign that we are failing to grasp the central mystery of our commission to preach the Good News: it is Christ who preaches through us, not only with us, along side us, but through us. If we have truly seen and heard the mystery of our salvation through God's infinite mercy, then there is nothing to fear, nothing to be anxious about, nothing that can or will defeat the Word we are vowed to spread. Why? Because everything we do and say reveals Christ to the world. If the Church is the sacrament of God's presence in the world, and we are members of the Body of Christ, the Church, then we too are sacraments of God's presence. Individually imperfect, together we are made more perfect on the way to our perfection in Christ. 

To do what you have vowed to do, to preach and teach the Good News of Christ Jesus, choose the better part, choose to sit attentively at the feet of the Lord and take in the mystery of God's mercy; choose to surrender your anxiety and worry, and come peacefully, patiently closer and closer to the unfolding mystery of having been set free from sin and death. Bring to the feet of Christ a truly humble heart, an inquisitive mind, and a meek and merciful soul. This is the best part of being his student: nothing learned in Christ's classroom will ever be taken from you, even as you persevere in giving it all away.

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