YOU DON'T HAVE TO GO TO CONFESSION FOR FEELING LOUSY. "Part of the misunderstanding -- the main part -- comes from the confusion of grace with sentiment. Christianity is not, pace Schleiermacher, about religious feelings. I can be in a state of sin, and still feel very religious and "in tune" with God. I can likewise be in a high state of grace, and still feel barren and empty. My feeling and emotion tell me nothing of my relationship with God. Nothing at all. It's useful to remember the lessons … [Read more...]

TEN MYTHS ABOUT ASSISTED SUICIDE. Via Dappled Things. I still think this comment from Evangelium Vitae is one of the most profound statements on "mercy killing" issues generally that I've ever read: True "compassion" leads to sharing another person's pain; it does not kill the person whose suffering we cannot bear. ......The request which arises from the human heart in the supreme confrontation with suffering and death, especially when faced with the temptation to give up in utter desperation, … [Read more...]

IT'S THAT TIME AGAIN...: Jim Henley comments on my Santa-bashing posts from a couple years ago. He says Santa is, indeed, training in "skepticism" a.k.a. dissing God, but that the whole Santa thing is helping him see that kids all develop at their own pace. Also a nice note on Santa and taking joy in your kids' joy. The only thing I'd say to that second post is that from the kid's perspective it does look different: If my parents got me gifts, I want to be grateful to them, and happy in part … [Read more...]

WHO IS ATTACKING US? Profiling Al Qaeda. Really interesting. Via Unqualified Offerings. … [Read more...]

GLIMMERS OF HOPE IN THE ARAB WORLD: Fareed Zakaria. Um, more glimmer-y than hope-y, but it's a low bar. Via Oxblog. … [Read more...]

EVERYONE HAS REASONS: This is a disorganized list of things I commonly hear at the pregnancy center for which I think I need better responses. I'm putting it here both so I can think more systematically and so that you all can send me any thoughts you might have. This is in approximate order of frequency. 1. God wants me to be rich and successful. Not said quite that bluntly, of course. But "doing what God wants" is construed exclusively in terms of education, job, housing, etc.--not in terms … [Read more...]

NEW FBI FILES DESCRIBE ABUSE OF IRAQ INMATES: F.B.I. memorandums portray abuse of prisoners by American military personnel in Iraq that included detainees' being beaten and choked and having lit cigarettes placed in their ears, according to newly released government documents.The documents, released Monday in connection with a lawsuit accusing the government of being complicit in torture, also include accounts by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents who said they had seen detainees in … [Read more...]