Archive for October, 2009

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Mid Terms…

October 20, 2009

It’s that time of year, so I’m not going to be writing anything for a little while. I’ve got a pretty full plate.

If you’re looking for something to keep you busy, I recommend tuning in the Explosions in the Sky station on Pandora Radio. It’s very slow and melodious. It is great background music if you are studying. Just go to the Link, type in the name of the band and enjoy. After a little while they might ask you to register, but it remains free.

Other than that please keep me and my classmates in prayer so we can get all this stuff done and learn the stuff that will be important for our future ministries as priests.

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The Twitch Upon the Thread

October 12, 2009

A beautiful quote/metaphor/I don’t even know that might give you some hope today. I know a couple of you out there are worried about somebody you love…

G.K. Chesterton put the following metaphor in the mouth of his character Fr. Brown: “I caught him, with an unseen hook and an invisible line which is long enough to let him wander to the ends of the world, and still to bring him back with a twitch upon the thread.” This image formed the basis for Evelyn Waugh’s novel, Brideshead Revisited, in which a “dysfunctional” aristocratic family is finally redeemed by the faith they were raised with, which “took hold” in spite of everything. Waugh explaines that by the grace of baptism, the Catholic Church “has the unique power of keeping remote control over human souls which have once been part of her. G.K. Chesterton has compared this to the fisherman’s line, which allows the fish the illusion of free play in the water and yet has him by the hook; in his own time the fisherman by a ‘twitch upon the thread’ draws the fish to land.”

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A Little Help, Please…

October 9, 2009

I have to write a paper for my class on the History of the Early Church and I’m having a difficult time settling on a topic. So I guess I’d like to know what some of you might find interesting. I want to use this opportunity to delve into an area of dispute and do an apologetic sort of thing. There are some obvious ways i could pursue this, which are outlined below the fold. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Something to Check Out

October 2, 2009

My favorite branch of theology is called Fundamental Theology. Fundamental theology is basically where faith and reason (philosophy) intersect. It is about revelation itself, as opposed to specific revelations. It answers questions like “How does God communicate with humanity?” and, “How can we even say something meaningful about an infinite God, if our language is finite?”

Far too often, I hear a gross mischaracterization of the nature of “faith.” Many people (religious and non-religious) believe faith is believing in something that is not proven. This is partially true, but incomplete because it separates reason from faith. Faith is really more of a way of living according to core beliefs, which reason can (and should) inform. John Paul II, in his encyclical Fides et Ratio uses the following image to describe the relationship between Faith and Reason:

“Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.

There are a couple of comments worth making, the most important being that faith and reason form a cycle of sorts in which we arrive at truth. Faith first gives us a direction in which we pursue knowledge. Reason then helps us clarify our faith, eventually leading to deeper questions over who we are and what our purpose is in life.

Another thing that can be pointed out is that the true origin of questions that arise about faith are put in us by God. It makes my blood boil every time I hear a story of someone who has a question about some aspect of their faith and uses the question itself as grounds to (unreasonably) leave the practice of said faith (*cough – Dan Brown – cough). Still, it makes me even angrier when people of faith ask questions of their priests and lay ministers only to receive inexcusably shallow answers, or even discouragement from asking questions at all.

Folks who are familiar with daily mass at Sacred Heart in Bellingham have surely noticed a very nice elderly gentleman with a cane who sits in the front pew of the Church. His name is Dr. Richard Purtill, and he is professor emeritus of philosophy at Western Washington University (where I graduated from in ’04). Dr. Purtill is an accomplished author and has recently had one of his books (re?)published through Ignatius Press. It is called, Reason to Believe: Why Faith Makes Sense. You can read the introduction by clicking here. If you are interested, you can purchase it through Ignatius press for under thirteen dollars, an absolute bargain.

I’ll be getting my copy soon, but hopefully you’ll have a chance to read it before me.

Off to adoration and Compline to pray for my friend Cory, who just lost his mother in a Scuba Diving accident in Maui. God Bless you all.

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Excuse Me While I Rant…

October 1, 2009

Roman Polanski is a rapist. There is no question about that. It can also be argued that he is a sociopath, in that he simultaneously displays a complete lack of conscience and an inability to feel any kind of remorse for drugging and sodomizing a 13 year old girl in a hot-tub who said “No” to his advances.

Perhaps even more shocking is the overwhelming amount of celebrities who have rushed to Polanski’s defense after his arrest in Europe. “It wasn’t rape-rape,” says the morally infallible Whoopie Goldberg. Woody Allen (the guy that ditched Mia Farrow to marry her daughter) led a group of celebrities to sign a petition demanding Polanski’s, “immediate release.” Then there is this gem from Harvey Weinstein:

“Hollywood has the best moral compass, because it has compassion. We were the people who did the fundraising telethon for the victims of 9/11. We were there for the victims of Katrina and any world catastrophe.”

Yes, Mr. Weinstein. It was you and you alone who did anything to help the victims of 9/11 and Katrina. Certainly nobody else lifted a finger. I’m so pleased we have “Hollywood” to hold together the moral fibers of our country. [end sarcasm]

But lets be serious now… Sending money to help people in trouble is good, but it is NOT compassion. Compassion is when people who aren’t suffering enter into the lives of those who do suffer, and suffer right along with them. A compassionate person does not approach someone in mourning and say, “Oh. Everything will be ok. Here is some money. Go buy yourself some ice-cream to make you feel better.” A compassionate person approaches someone in mourning and does not say anything. Instead, they stand beside them and mourn with them.

Is that what “Hollywood” did for the victims of 9/11? Is that what “Hollywood” did for Katrina? Is that what “Hollywood” does for anyone that suffers?

But let’s cut them some slack. I mean, it’s not like they have a model to follow. I mean, who has ever actually left a paradise like Hollywood and entered into anyone else’s suffering for no reason other than giving comfort to those who needed it? [end sarcasm again]

More thoughts later… I’ve gotta get to Sacramental Theology.