Tofu Tidbits* 11/17/11

  1. Swimming lesson.
  2. Poetry recommendation.
  3. Making room for religion until it dies.
  4. Golden Rule of mixed-religion gatherings.

* Temporarily renamed in honor of the Nativity Fast, about which Mystagogy has some more information.


They call becoming Catholic “swimming the Tiber.” I call becoming Orthodox “swimming the Bosphorus.”

Now a Baptist is referring to Catholics “swimming the Cumberland” to become Baptists.

Rod Dreher reports, and asks:

It seems like every fourth Catholic who has swum the Tiber gets a blog and writes joyfully about why he did what he did, and how wonderful life is on the other side. Where are the blogs and books by Catholics who have swum the Cumberland? It’s probably the case that they are out there, but I don’t see them because I don’t venture into blog and book territory inhabited by Baptist ex-Catholics. Let me know what you think, and what you have seen.

Glancing at 58 (and rising) comments, it seems that few take Rod up on his question.


Nice poem, The Day Beauty Divorced Meaning, at Writer’s Almanac Wednesday.


Having noted the conflict between same-sex marriage and religious freedom yesterday, I should acknowledge the reminder (from Rod Dreher) later that day that gay rights advocate Jonathan Rausch is an honorable adversary trying to eliminate the conflict.

That he does so is interesting. Why he does so is even more interesting: totalism, branding all resistance “hatred” and “bigotry,” could easily snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

I don’t like that thought that Rausch’s side is winning, but the truce he’s proposing is probably, as Dreher says, the best my side can hope for realistically, and likely is better than we’ll get because Rausch is a gay rights “outlier.” I could add my empathic gloss on that, but I’m in no mood for a flame war.


Remember, as you read this, that I blog sometimes to see what I think.

I attended a wedding last year. The ceremony was reminiscent of the 60s and 70s “write your own vows” stuff (which our officiant in 1972 mercifully pre-empted at our very first pre-marriage counseling session; we would be married using the Book of Common prayer, though his background was New England Congregational). But with the passage of time, the faddishness at this wedding was of a leftish variety, with the site very new-agey.

The officiant began noting that we all, no doubt, longed for the day when there would be marriage equality in America. (The Best Man was a lesbian, the groom’s dear, presumably Platonic, college friend).

Immediately, my guard was up. No, as a matter of fact, I longed for no such thing. Insofar as I understand the “marriage equality” thingy, I question it sharply, and having receive no satisfactory answers, oppose it. I found his comment disrespectful and presumptuous.

It’s not that I was shocked to be among liberals who don’t know, or care, about the historic meaning and function of marriage. I knew the groom was an atheist and that the bride was a lapsed Evangelical. My expectations were correspondingly low.

“Welcome to the club,” some might say. “This is the experience of non-Christians in America for most of your life.”

It need not be. Had the officiant merely proceeded with his liberal, secular, new agey claptrap, I’d have  groaned inwardly, but would have taken no offense. It was the false inclusiveness that grated and tempted me to stand up and dissent loudly.

But I didn’t. I think I did the right thing, as measured by “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” But I think the officiant did a very tacky thing.

Christians, by all means have your Christian ceremonies, but especially when the event is cultural and familial, instead of (or in addition to) religious, leave out the smarmy, crypto-evangelistic faux bonhomie, okay? Just get on with it.

Thank you.

* * * * *

Bon appetit!

Having become tedious even to myself, I’m Tweeting more, blogging less. View this in a browser instead of an RSS feeder to see Tweets at upper right.

I also have some succinct standing advice on recurring themes. Maybe if I link to it, I’ll blog less obsessively about it.