How Not To Get Traction

So a week or so ago I complained about a fellow who left an awful note in lieu of a tip. This week, this bit of nonsense is floating about: every bit as unjust, and not at all helpful in terms of evangelism. Tom McDonald has the takedown, and he's both more blunt and more colorful than I would have been.Maybe this works on some people, but it certainly isn't going to work on your average unchurched post-modern. And of course, the theology is all wrong. … [Read more...]

Monogamy Fulfills Eros

Last July there was an article in the Atlantic that stated that Monogamy kills Eros, as though this was an undeniable and invariable truth. Now me, I knew that this was wrong on the face of it; I've been married for over a quarter of a century, and my experience is quite the contrary. Still, it's not enough to stand athwart the writer's prose shouting "No!" and so I had to spend some time thinking about it. And it seems to me that Monogamy only kills Eros if you misdefine the terms as … [Read more...]

Bootstrapping the Interior Life: Feelings

When you embark on the interior life, you'll find that feelings come with it. Sometimes you'll feel that God is so close you can practically touch him. Sometimes (alas) you'll feel so bored you'd rather do anything else—almost. Sometimes even more than almost.The thing is, the interior life isn't about feelings; it's about an objective relationship with Jesus Christ. It's about knowing Christ and loving Christ, which is to say it's a matter of the intellect and of the will. It's about c … [Read more...]

Love, Sex, and other Inequalities

Katrina Fernandez, aka The Crescat, has knocked it out of the park with a post on love, sex, and the difference between them. According to her, a lot of the people she runs into assume that if you're not having sex with them you don't love them; and if you're having sex with them, you love them, and they love you. This strikes me as bizarre, but then, it strikes Katrina as bizarre, too:The implication here is that single people practicing chastity are not experiencing love. Also, it … [Read more...]

On Being a Conduit of Love

Receiving God's love is kind of like tuning in on a radio signal. God's love is always there: fifty-thousands watts straight out of paradise, and you can catch the signal anywhere on earth. And we're natural receivers, we men and women; God designed us to pick up on the signal with high fidelity. But we're almost all of us badly out of tune with that signal: we pick up it fitfully, now and then, here and there.Now, love is naturally expressive of itself, says St. Thomas, and it seems to … [Read more...]

The Touchstone of Obedience: Medjugorge and Other Apparitions

I am not an apparitions kind of guy. I'm aware of Fatima and Guadalupe and Lourdes, and find them somewhat interesting, but they don't form a significant part of my daily spirituality. Thus, I have no particular dog in the fight over the apparitions in Medjugorge; but this week's statement about Medjugorge from the CDF (i.e., don't assume the apparitions are real) led me to reflect on obedience and humility, which I regard as perhaps the most important touchstones for the behavior of living … [Read more...]

The Dogmat Sez

Bad behavior on my enemy's part does not justify bad behavior on my part.Bad behavior by my enemy's friends does not justify bad behavior by my friends. … [Read more...]

Faith Ain’t Nonsensical

The common view of faith is well represented by this speech from Jack McDevitt's novel Odyssey:Faith is conviction without evidence, and sometimes even in the face of contrary evidence. In some quarters, this quality is perceived as a virtue.In fact, this is not what the Catholic Church means by faith. Per Cardinal Schönborn,A blind faith, one that would simply demand a leap into the utter void of uncertainty, would be no human faith. If belief in the Creator were totally without … [Read more...]

The Pony Principle

Many years ago I formulated what I call the Pony Principle, which is this: if you really want a pony for Christmas, ask your parents for a pony. You probably won't get it—but if you don't ask for a pony, you certainly won't get it.Or, to put it less colorfully: ask for what you really want, even if it seems unreasonable. Of course, you have to ask cheerfully, and you have to be willing to take no for an answer; and when you get "No!" for an answer you have to take that cheerfully as well. … [Read more...]