04 December 2010

Coffee Bowl Browsing

Italian deacon commits suicide after he is denied priestly ordination.  I think the fact that he kills himself is a sure indication that he was emotionally/spiritually unfit for ordination.  Please pray for the repose of this young man's soul!

UN "Global Warming" conference in Cancun opens with a prayer to the Mayan moon goddess.  While these neo-pagan globalists are partying in the tropics, northern Europe is buried under record snowfall. It's 30 degrees in Rome this morning.

Quick!  Someone tell Arnie. . .Skynet is born!

WOW.  A rather scathing report on the bishops' conference in England & Wales. 

FCC power grab over the internet.  I'm not really worried about this.  The second these regulations become inconvenient for web surfers there will be a tsunami of protests.   Prepare the lawyers for deployment!

Some very smart, very thought-provoking commentary on the Repeal Amendment

A blog of blogs (religion, philosophy, psychology). . .NB.  Some of the blogs linked are not Catholic-friendly.

Were combat troops adequately represented?  Casting serious doubts on the Pentagon's troop survey about repealing DADT. 

Remember when Bush and the GOP were the "enemies of science"

Methinks Kitty sees Zombies sneaking up on you

How to make sure that the seat next to you remains empty

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Dominican Snowball Fight!

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03 December 2010

Faith for all the blind to see

St. Francis Xavier
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
Ss. Domenico e Sisto, Roma

In this age of instant celebrity, it seems more than a little strange to us that Jesus would perform a healing miracle and order those whom he healed to keep the event quiet. These days, the miraculous restoration of the sight of two blind men would attract an incredible amount of media attention, skeptical commentary, and calls for scientific verification. We'd watch theologians, philosophers, and physicians endlessly debate the healing, while Jesus fought off attempts by the government to charge him with medical malpractice and fraud. Of course, none of this would have happened in first century Israel. At the most, Jesus could expect some unwanted attention from the religious authorities and a dramatic increase in the size of the crowds that followed him around. Since his ministry among the poor, blind, lame, and possessed was already drawing attention and the crowds growing daily, it seems more than a little strange that Jesus would command the healed men to be silent about their healing. Isn't the whole point of Jesus' healing miracles to provide evidence of the divine nature of his preaching mission? No, that's not the point at all. In fact, the healing miracles have little to do with providing evidence for Jesus' ministry. 

If Jesus' healing of the blind men was meant to provide evidence for the truth of his claims to be the Son of God, then the events of the gospel story this morning would have been very different. The men would have approached Jesus asking for proof of his divine powers. Jesus would have healed them and then asked, “Do you believe that I healed you?” The newly sighted men would have replied, “Yes, we believe!” And then Jesus would have sent them off to spread the news of his healing ministry. Instead, we get just the opposite. First, the men approach Jesus, addressing him as “Son of David,” begging him to show them compassion by curing their blindness. Then Jesus confirms their faith by asking if they they believe he can heal him. They answer, “Yes, Lord.” Yes. Lord. Before Jesus ever touches the men, they acknowledge his identity as the promised Messiah, giving him his due as their Lord. Only after this profession of faith does Jesus lay hands on them, saying, “Let it be done for you according to your faith.” And their eyes were opened. Faith first, then healing.

Jesus “warns them sternly” to be silent about this miracle. Why? It's possible that our Lord wants to keep his identity a secret for a while longer. He might want a little more time to establish himself as a serious preacher before rumors start flying that he is just another one of the many crank magicians or street prophets clogging the cities of Israel. The more likely explanation is that Jesus understands better than we ever can that the most profound healing that can occur to any sinful creature is the healing of our fallen relationship with the Father. From a righteous relationship with God flows all other forms of “rightness,” including physical health. By definition there can be no evidence that compels faith. Good evidence—miracles, for example—might weaken skepticism about God but trust in God comes entirely from His gift of faith and our conscious decision to practice this virtue. Jesus' order to these men to be silent about their healing is his way of saying to them, to the crowds, and to us that faith must precede righteousness. When we say, “Yes, Lord,” we must say it in the absence of compelling evidence and sometimes despite the evidence. Faith based on experience is not faith at all; it's simply a good bet, a gamble that one good experience will likely lead to another. 

First comes faith, then righteousness. This is the order of salvation in Christ Jesus. Our lives in Christ will be a witness to this proper ordering. And that will be miracle enough to bring all the blind to sight.

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01 December 2010

Misbehavin' in the college classroom

Professor Bainbridge has an interesting post up about how profs should manage classroom misbehavior in a college setting.

I remember one philosophy prof of mine flinging an eraser at a frat boy when he popped open a copy of the newspaper (ca. 1983).  And I remember another philosophy prof demanding that all the guys in class remove their caps.  

I started teaching undergrad English in 1987, long before laptops and wireless internet access became university entitlements.  The daily campus newspaper often made an appearance on desktops (the non-cyber kind), but my classes were always heavy on reading and discussion.  Also, I was rather free and eager in calling on students to answer questions.  

During summer sessions at U.D., facebooking, etc. became a problem, so I started calling on the miscreants to read aloud and explicate passages from the assigned readings.  After being called on for the third time in a row, the offenders usually got the point and stopped the nonsense.  

Any war stories from profs/students on bad classroom behavior?

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Coffee Bowl Browsing

An assessment of the WikiLeaks leaks.  A German friar here told me yesterday that the leaks--especially the frank descriptions of E.U. leaders--are embarrassing precisely b/c they are true!  Ah, the truth shall set you free.

And here are just a few of the more frank assessments. . .wouldn't we all love to read what world leaders think of our national leadership?

As a classical political liberal, this sort of thing doesn't bother me at all.  As a Catholic and a Dominican, my response is:  "Celebrate Faith & Reason.  The Best God Has To Offer!"  When atheists argue that religious belief is "irrational," what they mean is that religious belief fails to satisfy the methodological demands of materialist science. 

Americans want and expect ObamaCare to be repealed

A new website for all your Catholic punditry needs:  The Pulpit.

Classical Rhetoric 101. . ."rhetoric" means something very different in the postmodern world.  Generally, when you read or hear someone use the word "rhetoric" they mean "the way in which an idea is framed using language to disguise their intent." 

The retard with the flamethrower. . .

Who shot the couch?  Bad 70's fashions

Redneck home improvement ideas

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29 November 2010

Good News/Great News: a new preaching project

The student friars of St Dominic's Priory in St. Louis, MO are launching a website dedicated to preaching!

Preaching Friars

Several of the more recent General Chapters of the Order have urged the friars to make better use of the internet to spread the Good News. 

Please, take a few minutes to visit the brothers and express your support for this fledgling project.  As I have noted many, many times:  Catholic preaching will only get better if Catholics demand better preaching.

Also, check out this article on the new building that will house the joint studium* of the Central and Southern Provinces. 

* "Studium" is Dominicanese for "seminary."

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28 November 2010

Coffee Bowl Browsing

Excellent vid of E.U. Parliament member, Nigel Farage blasting the E.U.'s power-grabbing impulses.  British politicians are some of the best debaters and public speakers in the world!

Teenage girl is arrested in the U.K. for allegedly burning a copy of the Koran.  You have to wonder if she would have been arrested for burning the Bible. 

DHS seizes domain names. . .yes, these sites were promoting illegal activities but my guess is that this all thing is really about getting us used to the idea that gov't agencies can use police powers to shut down dissenting websites.  Paranoid much, Father?  Hey. . .just 'cause I'm paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get me!  :-)

"Human rights" commission in Mexico uses its investigative powers to intimidate those who dare express Wrong-Thought during an "ex-gay" conference

Great story about the transformation of a moribund parish in Brooklyn.

NFL player drops the ball, loses the game, and blames God.  Methinks he needs a theology class or two.

Update on the Repeal Amendment. . .I still that this is an excellent idea.  Imagine a Congress where legislation is thought through with an eye toward the possibility that any power-grabbing by the federal gov't could be voided by a supermajority of the states!

Wikileaks completes B.O.'s transformation into Jimmy Carter.  I disagree.  Carter was weak and incompetent in the Oval Office.  B.O. makes Carter look like Reagan.

This kid must be visiting Rome.  Pick a piazza.  Any piazza.

Months later. . .and this is STILL hilarious.  

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