Fallout from Retreat & Other Stuff

Fallout from Retreat & Other Stuff August 21, 2008

It has been a very interesting week since the online retreat; I’m still dwelling desert-side, but I’ve managed a peek at Drudge and a perusal of Instapundit.com. My interest in the political is still way diminished, but not totally lost.

I sense within myself not so much a broad change of perspective but rather the installation of a new window, to let in a bit more fresh air, so to speak. Whether that will blow me to pieces or simply refresh is anyone’s guess.

Strangest post-retreat observation so far: Observe Dick Meyer talking to Stephen Colbert about his book, Why We Hate Us.

Colbert seems unusually hyper to me, but where Meyer could get a word in, it struck me that he and Mother Angelica – coming from wildly different corners – are essentially saying much the same thing. Here is Angelica, from her “Life Lessons” book:

You can’t isolate yourself and say you want to “find yourself no matter what anyone else says of does.” You’ll never find yourself that way. You’ll find a grotesque creature that you are creating as you go along. God made you in his image. He redeemed you so that you could reflect that image to your neighbor.”

As I said, very different originations, but both convey the same notion, that ungrounded and uncentered me-ism tends to isolate and breed narcissism. They’re right.

Isn’t that interesting? And wouldn’t you just love imagining a conversation between Meyers, the Oxford scholar and media man, and Angelica, the religious media entrepreneur who headed to her cloister out of high school?

My email has been full of good advice
from people telling me which way they think the blog should go, and I know that the Holy Spirit speaks to us through others, sometimes, so I’m paying attention to all of what is being said, and particularly to those bits of advise that I find myself immediately throwing up a cynical and defensive blockade.

So far, I’ve been told to “quit” the blog, outright and get a real job; to “only write about religion” and ignore politics; to “stop writing about religion” and get back to the politics; to keep reminding people that everything is an illusion; to stop taking everything so seriously; to start taking things more seriously; to be the bridge between the two subjects, religion and politics; to face the fact that the NY Yankees stink this year; do more podcasts; never podcast again. Chant more. Please never chant again, never, never, never!

I’ll tell you what – I’ve got a couple more paying gigs to pay attention to, because the tuition’s got to be paid, and the kids’ gotta eat, so how about we take a turn about the blogosphere, for today – both political and religious – and you guys pick out what you like, leave the rest, and we’ll hold the decision about where the blog is going for another day?

(Quick aside – someone made a donation via the Amazon Honor System, but they did not tell me who. Thank you very much! Greatly appreciated!)

1) I did not even realize – because I was so wrapped up in the retreat when I first mentioned it – that the Jenifer Furlwiler chatting before me with Msgr Jim Lisante on this Sirius Radio broadcast is the same Jenifer from Conversion Diary (aka “the blog formerly known as Et-tu” – and I must update my blogroll!). Her conversion story – from lifelong atheist, to Catholic – is a particularly fascinating one that she tells very well. Jenifer is a great, thoughtful writer, and I hope you’ll give her a listen! You can hear part 1 of her interview here.

2) Mark Shea writes at Inside Catholic
on Atheists, Christianity and E.T.. You have to just go read it!

3) Quite a faith journey:
Rosalind Moss went from a Secular Jewish background, to Evangelical Christianity, to Roman Catholicism, and now, in her 60’s, she is about to establish a new order of nuns, the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel’s Hope. She and her first sisters will be invested with their habits soon, and they’ll begin their ministry on the streets of St. Louis, MO. Over 300 women, of all ages, have applied to become part of this new gang.

4) Gateway Pundit has Obama
being really okay with not bothering doctors with the task of treating those babies born alive during an abortion. Ugh. Gives me chills.

5) Juliette at Baldilocks
is looking to save a school the old-fashioned way; with prayers and donations. I just donated. Please consider sending a small gift. Juliette certainly seems to have found a calling! Here she is being interviewed by LA Weekly.

6) Bainbridge on why
he does not use the Socratic Method. Very interesting read.

7) From the Russian front (thereabouts),
Michael Totten writes the latest. Most interesting quote:

The Russian soldiers called [my husband] and asked where he was going, if he was going to the American side.”

“The Russians said this to him?” I said.

“My husband said he was going to see his family,” she said. “And the Russians said again, ‘Are you going to the American side?’”

“So the Russians view you as the American side, even though there are no Americans here.”

“Yes,” she said. “Because our way is for democracy.”

Senator John McCain may have overstated things a bit when, shortly after the war started, he said, “We are all Georgians now.” But apparently even rank-and-file Russian soldiers view the Georgians and Americans as allies.

‘8) How not interesting or surprising
is this? And another super duper non-surprise. Yawn. Illusionists are so predictable, sometimes.

9) Scott at Election Projection
finds that predictable ain’t running away with the election. Or maybe it’s just the Chicago Way that’s not thrilling folks. Or the company that Sen Obama has kept and keeps. I’d write more about McCain, but really, aside from the question of who is Veep will be – and it’s pointless to speculate on it, but I hope he’s smart enough to choose Sarah Palin – all the news seems to be about Obama.

10) Richard Miniter has some thoughts
on why Obama is slipping. I suspect one reason is because you don’t win votes by telling Americans that they’re ungenerous cheapskates, especially when the truth is quite the opposite.

11) I think going after McCain’s Multiple Houses
is a tremendous mistake for the Democrats. It is insubstantial, jealous-sounding, and worse, it opens the door to talking about “rich Democrats” like Pelosi, Kerry, Edwards, Kennedy, Corzine, Clinton and so forth. Best to just stay away from that. Also, Obama sounds shrill and panicked when he talks about it. It’s way too early to sound so desperate. There are plenty of substantial ways to go after McCain; this is lame.

12) Memory holes
in the press.

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