Palms Transfigured Into Ashes

PALM CROSSES

Today's the day that everyone lists what they gave up for Lent (I'm taking on time for lectio divina and giving up going to bed after 1am), but , for me, the more moving sacrifice happened this weekend, on the last Sunday in Ordinary Time. I changed my mind about Christianity the night before Palm Sunday last year, so I've never experienced Ash Wednesday as a believer before.  The first Mass I went to as a Christian was the jubilant Palm Sunday, the welcoming of Christ into Jerusalem and … [Read more...]

Javert: No Quarter Asked or Given

javert

I first saw Les Miserables when I was in middle school, I think, and I was on the edge of my seat from the opening number.  But the moment that transfixed me was Javert's joyous "Stars."  I was in love. There was nothing I wanted so much as to be like that man, ramrod-straight, inviolate, and wholly consecrated to duty.  In fact, when informed of my conversion, one friend, initially puzzled, said, "Well, I guess you've always been a bit of an absolutist."  But my Javertian … [Read more...]

Teaching Fish the Word for Water

In the last Sondheim Symposium post, I talked about Giorgio struggling with Fosca's implacable love.  If his reluctance to accept her unconditional love parallels the flinch away from grace, does it follow that Fosca is a Christ-like figure? Probably not.  For a while after I saw the show, I suspected her of ostentatious humility.  In fact, I hoped that some of her prostrations were insincere.  She was starting to remind me of the awful, self-abnegating image of love on display in … [Read more...]

“Nobody human can stand all that everlasting affection!”

The quote is from Company, the subject is Passion, as the Sondheim Symposium goes on. This installment includes spoilers for 1984. At the climax of 1984, Winston is broken by the tortures in room 101. The moment that anihilates him and represents victory for Big Brother is the moment where he cries out: Do it to her! Do it to Julia! I don’t care what you do to her, but do it to her! Tear her face off! Do it to Julia, not to me! Do it to Julia! Not me! If this is betrayal, we might … [Read more...]

Brokenness and Privilege

If you're not too familiar with 'privilege' or usually don't like when people use it, READ THIS FIRST. After reading my slam on “High Energy Theoretical Ethics,” Christian H of The Thinking Grounds added a much needed caveat to my pitch for virtue ethics. I said: "your time is best spent firming up your will so you can follow through on the choices you know you ought to make" and he added And looking into why we fail, above and beyond a weak will (context, context, context) and working to … [Read more...]

Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth

Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thy heart be glad when he stumbleth (Proverbs 24:17). A friend of mine posted the passage above on facebook shortly after the announcement that Osama bin Laden had been assassinated in Pakistan, and it quickly went viral.  A lot of us were looking for a counter to the celebrations that broke out on campus, since it felt like there was something wrong with taking anyone's death, even Osama bin Laden's, as a cause for joy.  I was reminded of a … [Read more...]

The Summons (another approach to humility)

This post is one in a series about Diane Duane's Young Wizards series.  I am using the books as a frame for talking about what kind of religion I might feel comfortable in.  Check out all posts on this topic at the series index. Yesterday, I wrote about one of the major reasons my pride makes me feel uncomfortable with the Christian idea of submission to God.  Several commenters pointed out that Lewis's allegory is not the only way to approach humility, so I thought I would use today to … [Read more...]


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