Posted by: readerjohn | September 27, 2016

Tuesday, 9/27/16

  1. The unchurched Evangelicals
  2. Punditry without patterns
  3. Sports and Politics
  4. What is “Christian Philosophy” for?

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Posted by: readerjohn | September 26, 2016

Monday, 9/26/16

  1. Faith
  2. Panning Designated Survivor
  3. Yay, Nuclear!

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Posted by: readerjohn | September 24, 2016

Saturday 9/24/16

  1. Raise your hand if …
  2. Yahoo! NOT!
  3. The Unpollable Election
  4. Right to Try
  5. Michael “Peter Principle” Gerson

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Posted by: readerjohn | September 23, 2016

What is a man?

20+ year ago, some Religious Right ideologues in town weren’t getting enough limelight, I guess, so they started calling for a boycott of the local Gannett paper over the Canadian-based comic “For Better or Worse.” Before our nest went empty, my wife and I thought that was one of their very best comics.

So why should it be dropped? As best I can recall, it was because a middle-school boy character, a friend of the main family in the strip, concluded that he was gay. The problem with that, again as I recall, was that the comic’s author was accepting of the fact that gay people exist and are not (disproportionately) monsters.

The character didn’t contemptibly become the Good Time That Was Had By All the other characters. He didn’t become a stereotypical sissy. He didn’t get struck by lightning during Outfest or or get arrested for molesting younger children or get AIDS and die.

He just lived, while gay.

Apart from “features a gay character,” which was about all you could really say, the campaign against the Gannett paper was mounted with half-truths, which was par for the course for one particular Religious Right leader. In war, all’s fair, and nothing is more important than war against … a comic strip! A freakin’ comic strip!?

Editorial cartoons get the same treatment routinely, as does Doonesbury. People come totally unhinged.

Comic strips act like Kryptonite on the humorless Right. A comic is never just a comic if it gets under their skin.(“St. Thomas More writes, ‘The devil…that proud spirit…cannot endure to be mocked.‘” Now why did that pop into my head?)

The Left usually blows other things out of proportion.

A poem should not mean, but be,” he quoted, pivoting. That is, a poem is just a poem.

Except when it’s not. Clara: In the Post Office, not only is, but to me means something about the unreliability of my sex that have long been painfully obvious to me. (It clearly meant something to the poet, too.)

When I know nothing more than that a couple has divorced, I reflexively blame the man. If I know the couple, I still blame the husband unless he was uncommonly sober and his wife obviously a shrew or a flirt.

Nothing upsets me so much as a Christian man, baptized and church-going, leaving wife and children because he’s unhappy. (Oh! You poor dear!)

“O holy martyrs, who fought the good fight and have received your crowns, entreat the Lord, that He will have mercy on our souls.” (Hymn of the Byzantine Rite of Crowning, or Holy Matrimony)

This hymn is sung during a triple procession, around a table in the center of the church, at the “Crowning” or Marriage-Rite of my church. It is also sung at the Rite of Ordination (to ecclesiastical orders). It is sung in anticipation of the “martyrdom” or “witness” of self-offering and self-sacrifice inherent to the life of ministers of my church – including married people, who are called to minister to each other and to others in their “domestic church.”

Why am I reflecting on this today? Because one of my relatives, a banker, wrote me an email last night, in which he mentioned that he’s currently on “the night-shift” at his bank, because his bank “has to do some trades during Asian hours.” So – he now works nights, a married man and father of three, coming home “for a nap” during the day, and then working through the night. “It’s been tough,” he says humbly, “but it should only last two weeks.”

Let me take note today of the “unsung heroes” and martyrs of my church, the married ones. How many of these men and women labor today, sitting in front of computer-screens or elsewhere, to support their families, often at unfulfilling jobs in various businesses or odd enterprises, just to support others – their families. May they all be blessed on their cross-carrying journey, however little it is recognized, because they will, indeed, “receive their crowns.”

(Sister Vassa Lerin, who providentially had this meditation waiting for me to read as I was mulling over the unreliability of my sex.)

My son’s historically Protestant all-male college spent a fair amount of time reflecting on what it means to be a man and a gentleman. I forget the details of the discussions we had about it lo those many years ago, but it seems to have molded him into an admirable man, a man of areté, of which we have far too few.

They sang that martyrdom hymn at his wedding, too.

* * * * *

“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.

Posted by: readerjohn | September 23, 2016

Friday 9/23/16

  1. Trump’s diverticulated tumor
  2. Wells Fargo: The Rest of the Story
  3. Why some are voting for Trump
  4. NYT editorial screwup
  5. How to subvert your credibility
  6. The Gay Distortion Factor
  7. It seemed like he knew me
  8. Naked Emperor

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Posted by: readerjohn | September 22, 2016

Thursday, 9/22/16

  1. If Trump wins …
  2. Jared Fogle’s white buddies
  3. Indy’s infrastructure hole
  4. Rule 6: Don’t make things worse
  5. The Whig narrative
  6. Pre-empting “Islamophobia”
  7. The universal music of holiness
  8. Naked Emperors

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Posted by: readerjohn | September 21, 2016

Johnny Rotten

  1. Johnny Rotten, President
  2. The conspiracy against Johnny Rotten
  3. Obama is Johnny Rotten’s father
  4. Johnny Rotten’s relative thrift

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Posted by: readerjohn | September 21, 2016

Wednesday, 9/21/16

  1. Lobbing softballs at power
  2. Obama hits a home run
  3. The coming debate
  4. So three ditzy mayors walk into the New York Times …

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Posted by: readerjohn | September 20, 2016

Tuesday 9/20/16

  1. The Cold War Is Over
  2. Three View of Putin
  3. Moderation (fora and debate)
  4. Pitching to The Unprotected
  5. Francis the Fabulist
  6. Who hacked up these human hairballs?
  7. Going to my Safe Place

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Posted by: readerjohn | September 19, 2016

One people, God, flag

We will be one people
under one God
saluting one American flag!

(Donald Trump, repeatedly, deliberately, emphatically)

Responses con:

  • it’s at odds with the American promise of religious freedom (Sarah McCammon of NPR)
  • one of the great strengths of this country is the diversity of nationalities, of origins – the differences of opinions about religion, and ideas about religion (Barry Lynn, Americans United for Separation of Church and State)
  • this makes it seem like he, as the President of the United States, could somehow bring us together by converting us all and making sure we salute the same flag (Barry Lynn)
  • it adds to this overall ominous tone that America is going to become about certain types of people first, and everybody else maybe not so much part of the American pie anymore (Corey Saylor, Council on American-Islamic Relations)
  • One God’ immediately excludes Hindus, atheists, Native Americans – whole swaths of people who have a right to be part of the American identity,” he said. “And under what we’ve established in this country — the notion that you can have multiple faiths and all still share the same ideal of being American — the campaign is once again just really lopping off support from minorities (Corey Saylor)

Responses pro:

  • I think what Donald Trump was getting at with that comment is this disrespect that people of faith — people who are patriotic Americans, who have served in the military, whose children serve in the military — are feeling right now from the elites in this country, and particularly from some of the institutions (Penny Nance, Concerned Women for America)
  • What we hear [from Trump] is a call for unity, a call for really understanding that we are a nation under God,” Nance said. “And although as Americans we maybe experience that differently, we see that as essential to our success — as individuals and as a people (Penny Nance)


Notice anything missing?

We can’t even say “First Amendment” or “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” any more. We resort to dubious diversity clichés instead, or predictions of political fallout.

And I confess that when I heard Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America (“We are the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization with a rich history of over three decades of helping our members across the country bring Biblical principles into all levels of public policy.“) turn God into “essential to our success,” I said a very vulgar epithet, quite loudly, within hearing of the cabin of my car — which is of tender years, not yet even seven years old. (But it’s a Volkswagen Diesel, so it’s already sneaking out to smoke.)

Well: so much for any hope that The Donald would be the restorer of civil society in general and subsidiarity in particular. Sounds like Übernationalism to me.

* * * * *

“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.

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