Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Catholics Can Read, Too

You know the Bible 98%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

h/t Curt Jester

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Rousing the Troops

Unseen Blogger has upped the ante by posting George C. Scott's speech from Patton, and to I will do my part by posting the St. Crispin's Day speech from Henry V, with apologies to the Bard.

What's he that wishes so?
My cousin McCain? No, my fair cousin:
If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.

God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for oil,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires:
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.

No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from America:
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more, methinks, would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!

Rather proclaim it, McCain, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made
And crowns for convoy put into his purse:
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.

This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.

He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian:'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'

Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names.
Familiar in his mouth as household words
George the president, Cheney and Condi,
Rumsfeld and Lieberman, Petreus and Abizaid,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.

This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin, Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:

And gentlemen in America now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Possible Reasons

Why are many Americans so down about our situation in Iraq, and so ready to run away? I pondered different generations, and their track records with commitment:

1) Baby Boomers - A 34% divorce rate tells me that when the going gets tough, these cats just pack up and go. Couple a flight instinct with an aversion to blood, and you can see why Boomer politicians are almost universally posturing with a white flag.

2) The 'Me' generation - 'Nuff said.

3) Generation X - Discovered the Boomers' "Don't trust anyone over 30" kool-ade, and mixed it with cough syrup. Makes Barney Fife look like the model of courage and intestinal fortitude.

4) Generation Y - The culture of Hook-ups is not the model of commitment that would fan the flames of patriotism, now is it? Sated with violent video games, a culture of glorified lawlessness, and petulant marxism, who really feels like volunteering to defend this mess?

Regardless of the failings of the overall populace, the men and women that choose to defend this country rise head and shoulders above their protesting peers. These soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines deserve every right and privelege that the snivelling masses shrilly demand.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Familiarity Breeds Contempt

This Sunday's Gospel reading, from Luke 4:21-30 :

"And he began to say to them: This day is fulfilled this scripture in your ears. And all gave testimony to him: and they wondered at the words of grace that proceeded from his mouth, and they said: Is not this the son of Joseph? And he said to them: Doubtless you will say to me this similitude: Physician, heal thyself: as great things as we have heard done in Capharnaum, do also here in thy own country. And he said: Amen I say to you, that no prophet is accepted in his own country. In truth I say to you, there were many widows in the days of Elias in Israel, when heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there was a great famine throughout all the earth.

" And to none of them was Elias sent, but to Sarepta of Sidon, to a widow woman. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet: and none of them was cleansed but Naaman the Syrian. And all they in the synagogue, hearing these things, were filled with anger. And they rose up and thrust him out of the city; and they brought him to the brow of the hill, whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he passing through the midst of them, went his way."

As I was mulling that scripture, the Jesus Seminar suddenly came to mind. Scholars, so intent to have a historical Jesus, have disposed of the divine Jesus. He was now familiar to them, and thus not seen as Lord. "The Seminar meets twice a year to debate technical papers that have been prepared and circulated in advance. At the close of debate on each agenda item, Fellows of the Seminar vote, using colored beads to indicate the degree of authenticity of Jesus' words or deeds. Dropping colored beads into a box has become a trademark of the Seminar. " Here, a report of some of their findings:

During the second phase of the Jesus Seminar, which lasted from 1991 to 1996, the Fellows examined 387 reports of 176 events, in most of which Jesus is the principal actor, although occasionally John the Baptist, Simon Peter, or Judas is featured. Of the 176 events, only ten were given a red rating (red indicates that the Fellows had a relatively high level of confidence that the event actually took place). An additional nineteen were colored pink (pink suggests that the event probably occurred). The combined number of red and pink events (29) amounts to 16% of the total (176). That is slightly lower than the 18% of the sayings—primarily parables and aphorisms—assigned to the red and pink categories in The Five Gospels.

And they rose up and thrust him out of the city; and they brought him to the brow of the hill, whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


"As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils. Such an attachment of a small or weak towards a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.

- George Washington, Farewell Address

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

10% Less, Right Now

If our national security is compromised by our fuel consumption right now, why wait ten years to cut usage by 20%. Let's start right now. Being January, we're at the beginning of a new year, so let's see if we can't drop our own usage by, say, 10%.

Ten percent, right now. How, you may ask? Make fewer trips to Walmart (another issue tackled later), use public transportation, plan your errands to reduce inefficiency, car pool. Use your imagination.

During World War II, gasoline was rationed. We were at war, and had to make sacrifices. Why not bring that same level of urgency to our consumption now?

While we're at it, another threat to our national security is looming in the form of our trade and currency imbalances with China. Not only have they siphoned away our manufacturing base with artificially low labor costs and created a trade imbalance with low-cost goods, but they've bought enormous amounts for U.S. debt, guaranteeing their leverage over us, economically.

Let's also buy less from China, say 10% less, right now. Every purchase, evaluate the need for the item, and look for non-Chinese alternatives. It will involve some time, research, and some sacrifice, but remember: This is our national security at stake!

10% less gasoline use, 10% less Chinese trade. Let's do it.


"Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." - Denis Diderot

"The free will never be men if their concept of freedom demands that they must strangle some with the entrails of others." -St. Jimbob of the Apokalypse

The first quote was invoked during a PBS special about John Adams, whe discussing Jefferson's enthusiasm for French philosophers and the French Revolution. I would like to think that, if Robespierre's reign of blood were splashed on CNN in real-time, Jefferson's opinion of Enlightenment philosophy would have been different. It wasn't until later in life that Jefferson admitted that the French Revolution was an exercise in bloody tyranny.

Those who invoke Jefferson's desired separation of State and Religion would prefer that the separation be six feet of dirt and a pine box, Religion occupying the coffin.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

That Explains It

Amy Welborn asked about the political climate in the Episcopal Church, and boy did she get a response from one commenter:

Big, well-monied parishes all over the U.S. are splitting off from The Episcopal Church (or TEC, formerly known as ECUSA, formerly known as PECUSA) to form splinters run by Africans.

These parishes are, in fact, being manipulated by Count Dooku, who is in reality a Dark Lord of the Sith and attempting to foment all-out galactic war.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Chancellor, Archbishop Rowan Williams, bumbles at Lambeth Palace in London, to the derision of his critics. Few know, however, that he is a Sith Lord himself, skillfully using compromise and concessions between the two groups to rule the galaxy and resurrect Darth Cranmer.

Ahh, so that explains it. I laughed so hard that I cried. A later commenter also posited that ABp. Roger Mahony was a Sith apprentice, to which I shall not add to the allegory.

Speaking of Episcopalians, Unseen Blogger also noticed that the recipient of my tender ministrations last week wrote a blog entry complaining about the episode:

I've been getting some very nasty notes from some of the neo-puritan, so-called orthodox, conservative evangelical crowd who seem to have cornered the market on nastiness.


They say that when I don't allow them to post their noxious messages in this space, I'm not being 'inclusive'. That's because the world they live in so certain and smug and secure, so black and white without any nuances or shades of gray, they wouln't recognize "discernment" if it stared them in the face.

They have "Jeeeesssssuuuuussss," remember? I don't. My faith is "apostate," "in authentic" and the bible I read is "counterfeit."

Man, she's a veritable fount of pantywaist theological sentimenality, where does one begin? I won't. The commenters to the above pity party were all comforting and sympathetic, or just pathetic, in a very "ohh, poor misunderstood, persecuted you." tone. If I continue to give her lessons on Scripture, she just may start to cry, at this rate. Consider the dust shaken off. It's time for Math Class.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

No Catholic Left Behind

It has been gradually dawning on some that Catholics are increasingly unable to distinguish true Catholic doctrine from worldly fashions, are uninformed in Church history prior to Martin Luther, and are completely out to lunch when it comes to traditional liturgy.

Recent proposed improvements to the current English translations of liturgy have aroused concerns that a more faithful translation will confuse most catholics. That may be true, but that’s akin to saying that schools should not teach algebra, as it might confuse the math student.

So, in a more pastoral approach than the bishops have thus suggested, I propose a new program: No Catholic Left Behind. The components would be thus:

1- A liturgy that utilizes our Greco-Latin Catholic heritage, while rendering other elements faithfully into the vernacular.
2- Lectionary from a faithful translation of Sacred Scripture.
3- Homilies that include and reinforce topics from the Catechism and writings from the Fathers of the Church.
4- Music that is easy to sing, and theologically sound.
5- Regular testing of Catholics’ knowledge and advancement in the faith.

I’ll grant that #5 is a stretch, but do you see where I’m going with this? If Catholics are woefully ignorant of their Catholic faith, it’s the bishops and pastors that should be stepping up the efforts to school them. What not start with the Catechism and Humanae Vitae and go forward from there?

No Catholic Left Behind. Its got a ring to it, doesn’t it? Pass it around, and see where it may go..

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Ahh, Tolerance

Yours truly trespassed in the yard of one of the "Inclusiveness" apostles, and got dope-smacked for it. Okay, I was asking for it, me and my quoting scripture and proclaiming the Word where it's not particularly welcomed.

It all started over at Titus One Nine, an Episcopalian blog, where my attention was grabbed by an article about sin and identity. I followed the link to a blog, run by an Episcopalian Lesbian cleric, where I thought I could contribute something to dialog. Wrong. Here's the meat of the contention:

But, theologically, [Behaviour-Identity separation] has always been a deeply flawed argument, predicated on several facets of a mind/body dualism which has always tried to make identity and behavior separate and distinct from each other.
Living a "compartmentalized life" - with my identity here and my behavior over there - is to live with one foot in and one foot out of the closet.
And, [target of criticism], my brother, you cannot say, on the one hand, that LGBT people are sinners because they act on their sexual orientation outside of marriage, and, at the same time, deny marriage to LGBT people because we are sinners because we are physically intimate and express our love outside of a civil right and a liturgical rite which is denied to us.

That's called "blaming the victim." It's also called "crazy-making" - for everyone involved.

As I was reading her comments, St. Paul's letter to the Romans sprang to mind:
Romans 7:18-20

" For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.

For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.

But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. "

I, like most others, am a sinner. I'm duly ashamed of my sins, and I realise that they damage my relationship with God. God created me to love Him and serve Him, not spend my life entertaining myself, and God expects obedience (while anticipating failure). I'm NOT going to demand that the Church validate browsing pornography or autoeroticism, because the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit, informs me that these activities are disordered.

So I decided to leave a comment on her blog:

[other commenter] beat me to it, as Paul to the Romans (7:14-) was called to mind whilst reading the author's commentary.

Our own desires and appetites should be completely secondary to obedience to the Father, His Will having been expressed in Sacred Scripture and validated by His Son, Jesus. Professing to following Christ requires complete obedience, not rationalizations of defiance.

"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. "

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

aemulare ergo et paenitentiam age.

Okay, I'll admit, I wasn't expecting that spiritual musing to be warmly welcomed. This is the response I got from the hostess:

First of all [innocent bystander], [another commenter] and St. JimBob - are any of you Episcopalian?

I mean, the kind that has gone through some kind of course of introduction to the Episcopal Church: our history, traditions, Anglican Spirituality and/or Anglican polity?

If you haven't, that may explain your biblical perspective as well as your, um, reasoning.

And, just so you know - a simple "yes" or "no" will do.

If you're not Episcopalian, there's no need to continue this discussion.

And, if you are, well, there's still no need to continue this discussion.

This is a Blog. It's MY blog. I get to decide who prints responses here.

If you want to debate someone on these points, go find another blog.

If you are searching for information, go to a library.

If you want someone to agree with you, go to a conservative, or orthodox blog.


Ummm, alrighty then. Her description of herself, listed on her blog, says that she's "a passionate radical Orthodox, Anglo-Catholic with a joyful Evangelical spirit", so I assumed that a radically orthodox comment from an evangelical Catholic should be acceptible. WRONG.

She's entirely entitled to run her blog how she likes, and her tirade betrays how she likely runs her church: Lip service to tolerance and dialog, and hissy fits when challenged, especially with Sacred Scripture.

FYI, The current Episcopal Church is EXACTLY what Call To Action and other nominally catholic, dissenting groups want for the Catholic Church.

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Delicate Bouquet of New Jersey

Headline on CNN : Mystery smell settles over Manhattan

My version would be:

Wind Changes: Manhattan finally gets whiff of Newark

Later, it is believed that the odor was emanating from Secaucus, New Jersey. Indignant at the state being accused of breaking wind, NJ spokesperson comes back with "Whoever smelled it, dealt it." Manhattan was later heard to respond with "We're rubber, you're glue.."


Titular Titillation

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
The Right Reverend Jimbob D'Apokalypse the Sardonic of Waterless St Mildred
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Fillet of Carp

Eh, what the heck, I've got a couple minutes.

Fr. Richard McBrien teaches theology at Notre Dame, a Catholic university, and when he's not in the classroom, he's busy loudly chafing at Catholic Theology. If you can guess how he's maintained such an oddly tenouous position for so long, you're wiser than I. My guess would be possession of photos of certain someones with certain someone elses, with or without certain garments. But, to the substance of tonight's installment..

As noted at the Cafeteria is Closed, Fr. McBrien's recent column was tangentially related to bishop Bruskewitz, as it was a ciphered support of Call To Action. Call To Action is a nominally catholic organization which aims to make the Catholic Church less Catholic, and more like the Episcopal Church. Seeing the Episcopal Church in it's doctrine-rending convulsions is a curious motivation to support application of those doctrines to the Catholic Church, which have caused episcopalians so much grief, but I digress. On to Fr. McBrien, and his discussion on religious inflation:

Inflation not only occurs in the economic order; it can also occur in the Church. When claims for religious truth are "enlarged or amplified unduly or improperly," the actual truth loses some of its credibility. The extreme consequence of such inflation is that all religious truths lose their value.

Only if religious truth is like a currency, which can be traded for self-righteousness, intellectual superiority, or rationalization to obscure sins. But, if truth is really Truth, then it is a whole and complementary system which cannot be parsed into convenient parcels for either acceptance or dismissal. Looking for degrees of truth is, in essence, looking for escape routes from obedience.

Fr. McBrien rehashes bishop Bruskewitz' ecommunication of Call to Action members in the Diocese of Lincoln, and finally arrives at the question in his heart:

These claims beg the question: What constitutes "the Catholic faith"?

Gee, Pontius, is that the best you can do? "Quid est veritas"?!? Your wash basin is over there.

Is every official teaching of the Catholic Church, at whatever level, and every disciplinary decree of a Roman congregation a matter of "Catholic faith," or what the traditional Latin manuals of theology called "de fide"?
Is there no doctrinal difference, for example, between the Church's current discipline of obligatory celibacy for priests of the Latin rite and the teachings of the ecumenical councils on the divinity of Jesus Christ? Is the belief in angels on the same doctrinal level as belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist?

If you are looking for doctrinal differences, then you are looking for a way to dismiss the authority of the Magisterium of the Church. For authority has been given to the Apostles and to their successors to loosen or bind, on Earth and in Heaven, in all matters, great and small.

Back to School

It must have been a busy week if I didn't have time to fillet Fr. Richard McBrien's latest carp on Bishop Bruskewitz and the Magisterium, and I was sorely tempted.

I am now enrolled at the University, and registered for classes. The five transcripts from various institutions of higher learning, though impressive in breadth, failed to amount to much transferred credit. I'm most miffed that the technical college I went to, for my AA in Audio Recording, is not considered accredited, and so none of the 70 credits were transferred. Bollocks. What a waste.

The math placement exam was humbling, with a frequent mantra of "oh, I USED TO know that." It's stunning how much one can forget in 15 years of disuse, and this shrivelled, grey prune of a brain is no exception. So, it's Math 101, College Algebra, for me this semester. Paired with a Technical Communication class, it looks like the grey prune is in for a workout.

So, I will be blogging less whilst studying more. That is, unless Fr. McBrien keeps baiting me..

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Say It In Latin

Props to the Clam Rampant for another fun game, this time with seals. Here's a few that I came up with:

Make your own here.


Monday, January 01, 2007

Meat Sacrificed To Idols

1 Corinthians 8:

5 For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords,

6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.

7 However not all men have this knowledge; but some, being accustomed to the idol until now, eat food as if it were sacrificed to an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.

8 But food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat.

9 But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.

10 For if someone sees you, who have knowledge, dining in an idol's temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be strengthened to eat things sacrificed to idols?

11 For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died.

12 And so, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.

There has been much discussion in circles catholic about the Death Penalty and Saddam Hussein, and that discussion is mainly about the permissability of capital punishment in catholic tradition and doctrine. But, does being permissible also make it good?

Saddam Hussein was hanged for his crimes against Shiites, and would have been for his crimes against the Kurds as well, not as a protection against future crimes. This application follows from America, where juries are given to option of Life Without Parole as an alternative to execution. The executions, are not necessary for the protection of society, but are revenge for the crimes of the accused. If one needs evidence of this revenge, witness the celebrations that follow such executions.

The people who desire retribution are our weaker brothers, and the rope an idol of justice. Let's not encourage their worship of revenge by justifying the sacrifice of meat to their idols. Instead, we should be continually preaching mercy and redemption. Imagine if Saddam had a conversion while in prison, like Tim McVeigh before his execution, what a powerful witness that would have been. Now, we'll never know.