Monday, June 29, 2015

Gay Makes me Feel Better about my Shitty Situation

I don't usually use language of this nature, but perhaps it is justified by the punch it conveys.

When you think of those who support homosexual "marriage" most of all, it's the young. And, of course, it's easy to disparage the views of the young. But it's not only the young that support it, but predominantly, it is. And I would say that you could probably inversely graph support for gay "marriage" against age and it would look like this:

Yes, I am into graphs these days.

The point of this post is to answer a part of the "why" that came to me today.

I think a lot of young people support gay "marriage" because it permits them to discount the bad marriage they came from at home. If 50% of kids are now from broken homes, there you have 50% of kids who are struggling to understand what to make of their "bad" family. What's wrong with us?they wonder, even if not always consciously. But if marriage is a flexible polymorphous thing, then it's no big deal what happened to my family.

If it sounds a little far-fetched then I don't think you are really aware of the fundamental role that family life has in the formation of one's sense of self.

The obsession with not wanting to appear judgmental (the chief sin in our Post-Modern world) is because we know that our lives cannot stand up to scrutiny. I call it the "American Beauty effect."

Now, I hate bashing conservatives, but they do tend to believe their lives can stand up to scrutiny, and that is why they are more inclined to adhere to objective morality. Both approaches are wrong. As Tolstoy said, I love the truth so much that I teach it even when I fail to live up to it, or something to that effect. I agree. Conservatives love rules, because they have managed to abide by them. Liberals hate rules and love compassion because they recognize their own incompetence. Can you imagine Bill Clinton not supporting gay marriage? Who the hell does he think he is given rules to others! And that's why he doesn't insist on any rules governing personal conduct.

Conservatives are proud and liberals are libidinous. Conservatives see themselves as alphas, liberals betas. Kids of divorced parents see themselves as betas and try to cast that in the best light possible. One way is to say that the rules don't matter and that they were created by bad people anyway. Sounds a lot like Karl Marx, doesn't it? It's the quintessence of left-wing psychology.
One might add: cheated on his wife.
Didn't believe in marriage. How convenient.

Gays are losers - that is how they see themselves. No one has to treat them that way; they already see themselves that way. They feel better once they cast the "rules" aside and they feel twice as good when they call it compassion and revolution and progress.

And yet, we recognize that the rules aren't what the conservatives make of them; they were given by God. They were given by God for our good and our happiness.

And since this is so, gay cannot make you feel better about your shitty situation, at least not indefinitely, and this is why there is so much suicide. Especially by the most desperate, the so-called trans-gendered. All the sympathy in the world will not bring an end to the trans-gendered suicide epidemic. In fact, saying the rules don't matter, makes it worse for them, because they adopt a losing strategy, rather than seek the help they really need. They were not made into the wrong sex; that was not their problem; abuse and other things are to blame.

If you get rid of God, all you have left is the word of man. If men think you are a loser, who will ever love you unconditionally, if there is no God? The homosexualists have a whole set of conditions: you must believe what they tell you about yourself otherwise they will treat you like a pariah.

God does not think you are a loser because you are too short, are not handsome, are big-boned, have a big nose, are too masculine for a woman, too feminine for a man. But if there is no God, no objective rules, then you condemn yourselves to the blind judgments of men.

It's not easy coming from a shitty family. Dad left, mom sleeps around, brother goes to strip clubs... And yet God's plan for marriage and family is a great blessing to the world. Saying life is only what you wish it to be is of no help to anyone. Just because you came from something shitty, doesn't mean you deserve to continue on in something shitty.

But God loves losers. I'm one of His favorites!

A face that God could love. Thank God!

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Normal Associated with Gay Marriage

"Stacey, your father and I don't want
you to see that boy again.
His neck is too short."
"But mom!"
Big news about gay "marriage" today, if you think that what Caesar thinks is important, if you still believe that your nation state is your community.

Of course, one of the things that comes into play in this issue is the word, 'normal.' Both sides claim that word for themselves.

But I say that word is not all it's cracked up to be, and I say that it's normal for people to be abnormal.

While it was totally unthinkable just twenty years ago (let alone 200 or 2000 or 200,000) that men having sexual relations with men would be put alongside fruitful heterosexual intercourse, some people act now as if it is obvious it should be so considered. These are people who either have no sense of history and/or biology or think that these two things should be weighed relative to other things like whim and feeling.

And then they pull out the demographic argument, stuff like X number or X percent of people can't be wrong, can they?

Yes, they can. In fact, being wrong is what we have always done best. It's what's normal to us:

- millions of Russians thought they should kill and rob rich people
- millions of Chinese thought the same
- thousands of Germans thought they should invade Poland and Czechoslovakia because they had a better claim to it than the Czech and Poles
- England went from building glorious cathedrals and going on pilgrimages to murdering priests in the wink of an eye
- France went from building glorious cathedrals and going on pilgrimages to murdering priests in the wink of an eye
- billions of people have believed in a God they had no experience of or ever seriously thought about
- millions of people stop believing in this God when they were told to
- millions of people buy products, which they believe are necessary to them
- millions of people believe they deserve and require more money than they will ever spend
- thousands of people believe they have had experience with alien life-forms
- thousands of people believe that the US has a worse human rights record than China
- people have always generally believed that human slavery is morally acceptable
- millions of people believe that abortion is morally acceptable
- millions of people believe that euthanasia is morally acceptable

In other words, the human race has a very poor record. This is just one more of the same. In this case, a short-lived absurdity, like hoop-skirts, powdered wigs and bell-bottoms; or worse, genocide, abortion and wars of aggression.

A man who has a disinclination towards fulfilling his biological imperative and inclination to intimacy with a man is something to be remarked upon. It doesn't require a doctrinal commitment to notice its peculiarity. That we call it good and normal is just us doing what we do best, living inside the cave and calling images on the wall real stuff. We are extraordinarily gullible as a species. We will believe in homosexuality until the powers-that-be tell us to stone them.

In other words, homosexual marriage has less of a place in human history than sacrificing guys on big stumps of wood does.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Graphic Aids for the Slow-Witted

Much controversy has been raised re. my latest post and an incidental comment I made re. the legitimacy of not dressing up for Sunday mass.

Some people thought I said it was wrong to dress up.

Some people thought I said we must all be exactly as St. Francis.

Other people read carefully.

So, here are some graphics to aid comprehension. After all, some of us are visual learners. I think these are all pretty self-explanatory.

So, I think these charts will finally put this issue to rest.

Oh, I forgot this one:

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Conversion... to What?

The other day I expressed some of my cynicism regarding the capacity of people to believe. Remember, faith is one of the "theological virtues," and, as such, a grace rather than a virtue in the Aristotelian, moral sense of the word, i.e. something that we can build up ourselves by repeated action. I build up bicep strength by repeatedly stressing it. I cannot give myself faith in this way. It is a gift. If you don't agree with me, we'll just then agree that you don't know your Faith.

Anyway. I am not cynical, I am sober. (Of course, who of us doesn't describe himself as realistic? "They are optimists, they are pessimists, but I am realistic...")

I had an interesting conversation yesterday with someone else who I think would also consider himself more of the cynical persuasion. We posed this question of theoretical evangelists: "To what are they aiming?" - What goal to they have in mind for their 'subjects'?

That's an important question, no?

Let's rephrase it: Do they have in mind what, for instance, St. Anthony of Egypt, St. Benedict, St. Francis, St. Theresa of Avila had in mind for conversion to Christian living?

If you will accede a discrepancy (that's seems reasonable) what should we make of it? Is it important or incidental?

Perhaps most wold say that of course there's a difference between what modern evangelists are aiming at and what they saints were aiming at. The former are simply concerned with the first stage of conversion, the latter the next stages...

Of course, I bet you that's not universally so. All the saints listed above, but most overtly Anthony and Francis, thought that our bourgeois Catholic life is intrinsically, radically un-Christian.

But who cares - am I splitting hairs here? What's the importance?

Let me outline something of it.

A friend of mine says that he hesitates to go to certain church functions because all the people talk about are sports - in which he has no interest at all - and their latest purchases: especially trips they have or will be taking or renovations they are undertaking. I get that. I haven't taken a trip in... almost twenty years. All my renovations are more like putting duct tape on things and praying like hell that fire does not result. I get that. Since I got married I have always been the poorest of my friends (and family). Sometimes that's hard to deal with. Like now, seeing how my whole family is pressuring us to visit them this summer and I cannot afford to purchase a vehicle that would safely get my family there... Sometimes it's hard. Sometimes. Other times (most times) I don't care.

So, what are evangelists aiming at? I would warrant that they are not thinking of converting the guys who talk about sports, vacations and home-maintenance. These guys go to church and spout the party line. Most importantly, they dress up for mass on Sunday. These things show they are true-believers, part of the club.

I get why people think we should dress our best on Sunday. I don't agree with their arguments, but I understand them. The reason I don't agree is based upon my own experience and my 'conception' of the experience of others who would be like what I was when I was considering joining the Church.

This is a little digression, but relevant to my main point. I purposely do not dress up. It has a lot to do with comfort and laziness, but also a great deal more to do with one of my main concerns: not alienating young people who see the Church as some superficial conformist club. That's how I looked at Christianity as a young person. I am determined to dissuade young men like me of this notion. The Church is not about externals, hypocrisy, bourgeois values, etc. It is about the mass, the saints, mystically connecting with God. I don't care that many don't see it this way. This is how I see it. There are lots of people who feel alienated from the Church. I want them to feel this way for the right reasons, not because they come from a broken home, don't have nice clothes, etc. These are people for whom I feel compassion. I really feel like Nietzsche and Dawkins could have been saved if they met someone like me... Yes, I have grand self-conceptions.

Let's move forward here. Am I mischaracterizing faithful Catholic evangelists as shallow tribalists? Well, it's all a matter of degrees: how much is your evangelization about wanting to re-create people in the image of Christ that is really your image of the image of Christ, which looks more like you, Joe-blow Catholic than it does the very Son of the Living God, and, not only you, but the whole white picket-fence bourgeois view you have of the good life? I see this when I go to church sometimes. If it strikes me, a believer, you can be sure it strikes others.

Nor is the solution to insert another type of person (a cool marginalized person) for sake of the hated WASPs you have in mind, or think I have in mind (WASC, I guess, but you know what I mean).

Young, cool, hip Christians think we need to make the Church all about this:

rather than this:

I say, we should make it about this:

And that these two here below are more like this than the two above:

St. Diego of Alcala (by Murillo).
St. Francis in his tattered attire.

Images are pretty powerful things. Don't we all have some pretty strange mental pictures about things? The girl above would doubtlessly evoke a feeling of admiration from liberals: she is free, authentic, etc., while the second would represent to them hypocrisy and conformism, etc. What does the bloody Christ represent, and the dirty lives of the saints.

Images. Why do pop stars look like they do? Don't tell me it's because that's who they are. Why do homosexuals dress up as they do at their parades? It's not authenticity. It's a costume; it's an image; it's acceptable.

So, in summation, we all have a lot of work to do towards clearing up our notion of who Christ is and who we are supposed to be as a result. Don't confuse exterior trappings with inner spiritual states. The suit tells us something; the nose ring tells other people the very thing the suit tells us. In the end Christ had neither the one nor the other. He would not have hung around with the hippies, nor would He have treated the bankers with special scorn.

Nor is it at all possible to cling on to this world. Have you ever noticed how how evangelists phrase their goals: how do we get people back to church? How do we get people to marry, vote for traditional marriage, etc., etc.? These things might look like intrinsically good things, but don't we all know that people can go to church for all the wrong reasons, support traditional marriage for all the wrong reasons, hate homosexuality for all the wrong reasons?

You can't just put some patches up on Canadian culture and call it the Kingdom of God. As long as we get the church attendance numbers up all will be well, we seem to assume.

Even my good buddy, C. S. Lewis, liked to talk about the Christian presuppositions "we used to all have" (i.e. the image discarded in his The Discarded Image). That is a grand exaggeration.

We all "used to" nothing. And we all never will anything.

For my friend, Mickey Blopp.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

How I Think about Changes of Mind

The other day a friend was telling me about the 20-60-20 rule. Their point was that 20 percent of your 'people' will be on board with your program big time, 20 dead-set against it, and 60 can be swayed either way. Now, those numbers are not laws of physics. They are meant to make a point. The point my friend was making was how to minimize the influence of the 'contra' 20 on the 60, and to maximize the influence of the on board 20. Yes, it's a little cynical. Business people and politicians dwell in the realm of the cynical. I am a theologian and I don't have to.

When you talk about swaying opinions I ask 'why.'

What do you mean why? Isn't the why obvious? If you get those 60 on board then you have an 80% majority. That's way more power and influence than anyone would ever need.

And yet, I am not in the policy business. I am in the salvation business. I don't care about your school, your political party, your polls. I care about helping people receive the salvation offered in Christ.

When that 60 goes from overwhelmingly supporting traditional marriage in 1990 to overwhelmingly supporting same-sex 'marriage' in 2010, I lose my confidence in people. So, what is to stop this 60 from switching back? Nothing. Contrary to what 'progressives' would have you believe, there is no progress, there is no evolution in thinking.

Plato, of course, recognized this with his allegory of the cave. Cliff Notes version: people live in the dark and can't comprehend the light, and never will, and will never want to.

Aquinas was a little more diplomatic and democratic when he writes that many people just don't have the time and the talent to contemplate the big things in life - that is why they need divine revelation.

But if Plato is right, isn't Aquinas wrong?

If people are too intrinsically stupid to appreciate and yearn for truth, divine revelation won't cure that.

All of this leads me to the question I really want to ask: what is the point when it comes to evangelization?

The 60 (perhaps the 80, perhaps the 90 or 99) just aren't capable of being transformed by truth.

Most philosophers, and not just Plato, tended to agree with this. And I would say that, as Christians, we don't have to make it all a matter of intellect. In fact, it's not. Politicians are definitely above average IQ, but they are the most self-deceived of all. And then you come to the saints, many of whom were not all that intelligent, but had a firm grasp on what's most important in life. I am reading St. Faustina's Diaries right now and I get the impression that she wasn't the most intelligent person in the world, but it's harder to think of a wiser person. A wisdom is exactly what I am getting at here. Aquinas defined wisdom as someone who has the big things at heart (he called them the Primary Causes, or something like that). That was St. Faustina, and Plato, and Socrates, for that matter. It's not knowing; it's appreciating and seeking after and not being mislead by counterfeits.

Going back to the gay thing. Only a fool can be persuaded that homosexuality is natural and good. There is just so much to say about this, but when you are talking to fools, why bother? Answer the insolent with silence, someone once told me. I like that.

Why bother? Why bother? That's the question with which I am dealing.

Well, there is no handy-dandy 20-60-20 scheme for conversion. But you know what doesn't affect it? The media. What does? Real life. Often, set-backs and crises. Media moguls and rich people don't have anything to do with this. They can't make the existential crises that tend to open one up to what God is trying to say. Changing minds on the global scale as in the homosexual agenda's manipulations of the 60 over the last 20 years (which had made TV watchers think that something like 20% of people are gay - the "real" number is closer to 2% according to the CDC. I put "real" is scare-quotes here, because real has long left the building, my friends.)

In other words, if Church suddenly becomes 'popular', is that cause for rejoicing? I don't know. I doubt it. But where does that leave someone like me, someone devoted to turning people to Christ? It leaves me with a clearer idea of what conversion is: not going to church, but knowing Jesus, not in accepting the right political positions in elections and polls, but in accepting Christ into one's heart because of the emptiness that one has realized is there otherwise.

Elections and trends come and go. Stupidity remains. Conversion is rare and wonderful. I don't care about numbers. Everyone knows that.

Friday, June 5, 2015

An Unexpected Scale

No, I'm not talking about the one in my bathroom that never forgives me for my late-night cheese-binges.

I mean a scale of the interpersonal kind, the sociological kind.

not this kind.

this kind.

I grew up in the suburb of a fairly ethnically amorphous city. Neither of my parents were from there; I was not born there, only my younger brother was. My mother, although born in Nova Scotia, grew up in New Brunswick and was still very close to her parents. My father was born in Toronto, and was not very close to his mother (his dad having died decades before I was born). My mother's parents remains are laid to rest in the great city of St. John. My other grandparents? I couldn't tell you where are buried. My father has no grave.

Obviously, none of this struck me as odd ever, although I could tell it strikes my best friend, Peter, as odd; he merely tolerated my lack of interest in my lineage, etc. Peter has been my friend despite my disregard for his interest in things like this, I mean heredity, heritage, etc. And then I went and moved to a place like Barry's Bay. It took about eight years, though, for me to realize that one's family roots and place of origin could be important to oneself. Bear in mind, I still live away from my mother and brothers and have no hard intention to move back there. Nevertheless, you can't live here for close to a decade and not absorb something of the details of the history of the place.

This year was our parish's hundredth anniversary.

This year the longest-serving pastor of St. Hedwig's marked 60 years of priesthood.

Last night I read 3/4 of a book on the history of the Murray Bros. lumber company. (Why? That's a story for another time.)

I walk, jog and cycle by a graveyard that has the same dozen last names on the markers. The same ones appear on most of the street names too, on many of the companies in town as well.

Now, being that I do a little work at Madonna House (also a story for another time), I drive by a cemetery that houses the remains of the great Catherine Doherty, and many of the other notables of that holy organization, including a woman whom I got to know in the winter before she died, Mamie Legris. I am expecting that another woman I know there will soon be joining the number interred in Combermere.

There is something about living where your dead are.

I grew up with the Platonic notion (thanks to Star Wars) that we are not our bodies, but our souls. A Catholic cannot really maintain that.

Should I work towards that for my kids, that is to say, a homeland? Have the people of this area in which I live been privileged to share in something that I never even realized was a blessing, was even a thing at all?

Roots. We have no roots anymore. And what does this cost us?

Can we really know who we are without knowing what came before us?

An example: a young couple gets married today. What do they model their marriage after? They often act as if they are the first people to ever undertake this unprecedented thing.

Thanks to the global aspirations of liberalism, we are so concerned with the global human community, and care not a fig for our local community, our specific traditions. Liberalism, socialism and capitalism are all of one mind on this one. They are all trying to design one product to corner a total market share. What does this create? For instance, since 9/11, with the thousands of news reports and articles I have read on Islam, I know that I have not gotten a whiff closer to knowing what Islam really is. I know what liberals want me to think it is, what conservatives want me to think it is, but not what it actually is. I haven't spoken to any legitimate Algerian Muslims. Will I? Should I?

Bruce Jenner is not a member of my family or neighborhood - so what do I care what he does with his life? But we do care. We care about celebrities who have nothing to do with us, and yet we consider it rude to ask our neighbor where she is going today. That's rude!?

I should take marital advice from my parents, my in-laws, my neighbors whom I've known since childhood. Most of that advice would be of the unspoken kind: it's called observation. I should not take it from anyone on television. I have never met them; how could I trust that they walk the walk? They don't know me and what I am like, where my wife has 'come from', etc. And yet for some reason you want me to hear what Elton John has to say about marriage?

We can't blindly adhere to the mos maiorum (the ways of our elders), but it is a good place to start. These are the people most like us who have done it all before us.

I've recommended this movie to my Facebook friends, but I now do the same for you. Of Shakespeare's plays it's not one of the more popular today. (I am sure there is an important fact underlying this neglect.) If you read the parts of Livy's History upon which the play is based, you will soon realize that this is a story about a man who would not get with the times, who was stuck in the past. Something about that appeals to me. I also like a man who is stubborn to a fault. A tragic figure who suffers because of his great fault. In his case pride. A splendid vice indeed, says Augustine! (One can admire something without wanting to emulate it.) Better than wallowing in filth I guess... but I digress.

In sum, the world would be a much better place if we ignored what everyone else in the world was up to and figured out who we are meant to be. Nationalism is not of God; a fortiori globalism is not either.

We are taught to think that the lives and traditions of dead white Christians were and are despicable and that all local peculiarities exclude others. I would suggest, to the contrary, that everyone is excluded when local customs are marginalized, because then, what are we? Nothing more than what ideologues and advertisers want us to be. After all, nature abhors a vacuum and Apple, Upworthy and Green Peace would love to fill it!

Ireland didn't lose it's Catholic Faith when it voted to legalize homosexual 'marriage.' It needed to have been already lost when this became conceivable.

So what should I do? Stay here, die and be buried in St. Hedwig's Cemetery on Siberia Road, that is to say, about 500 meters from where I am writing these lines right now, go back to Nova Scotia where I grew up and where my mother and brothers still live, or to Saint John where my grandparents are buried, a place where it's hard to imagine a more tradition-conscious group of Anglo-Saxon-Celts? (BTW, my tradition-loving friend, Peter, is from Saint John.)

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Rest of the Movie

Okay, the rest of Interstellar was better than I had anticipated.

The best thing about it was how quickly they got to space. Unlike a movie like Armageddon that spends like three-quarters of its time telling us "how dangerous the mission is going to be," and forcing us to watch long-goodbyes when all we want is adventure and sci-fi, Interstellar goes from "hey, you should go to space," to "bye, gifted daughter," to "3, 2, 1 blast-off" in about one minute. Very rare progression and very effective movie-making.

I don't have much more to say about the dumb things that I spoke about in my last post. All the talk of the Earth getting tired of us was limited to the first 37-minutes (thankfully). There was good amounts of sci-fi, like the whole speeding up time thing near the black hole.

What about the message of the movie, that we can make it on our own without help from aliens (or from God)? Meh, as with most sci-fi - everything from Alien to every good zombie movie - just ignore their dumb philosophies and enjoy the action. Eternal life living in a five-dimension book shelf as the goal of human evolution? Nah, I like the Christian version better.

On the plus side, I didn't have to listen the main star's faux Southern-boy accent. Also, the Jodie Foster character wasn't as obnoxious. Pretty, like Richie Cunningham's daughter, you know who I mean.