There are compulsions, and then there are inspirations. They’re not the same. (Inspired by a Bishop’s plea that college students focus not on what compels, but what inspires.)
I think I’m compulsive about the internet, not inspired.
I’ve never been able to settle with myself whether I actually want to get married, quite apart from any question of having a vocation to it. I know I did. I wanted a big family, actually. But I don’t know how to sort out the sorts of desires that are just the baseline of being an ordinary human being, so to speak, and the sort that God is using to tell you something about what He wants for you. I know that the desire to be a father, and even a husband, has not faded the way my desire to be a priest has faded; but then, my desire to be a religious brother hasn’t faded either, even though that’s probably out of the question. Not knowing is becoming much more familiar territory than it was when I was younger and the world, and God, were so much smaller.
(Mudblood Catholic, italics added)
I’m not sure social sciences are very scientific, but I think it would be great fun to design and conduct studies like this for a living: psychological experts chosen and paid by a party to litigation tend to be biased in favor of that party.
Of course, they could have asked any litigator the same question.
One of Tipsy’s proudest coinages is to call the, er, “world’s oldest profession” “forensic dating” in homage to how reliably experts can get all het up with ardor for the case of whoever hired them.
The other day I drove past a campaign sign in my town for a GOP candidate to replace my retiring Congressman. I’ve been away from Louisiana for a long time, as you know, so I don’t know many of the players in state politics. I went to the guy’s campaign website to see what he stands for, what he advocates. This is his platform, in its entirety:
It’s not complicated. Washington, DC is out of control. And the liberals who run the federal government are bullies. That’s why our next congressman must be a strong conservative leader with the backbone to fight the political establishment. Neil Riser is that man.
Neil is 100% pro-life. He believes that marriage is between a man and a woman. He has consistently opposed tax increases throughout his service in the Senate. He believes in the free market. He believes in defunding and repealing Obamacare. And he is committed to securing our borders, and opposes amnesty for illegal aliens.
That’s our Republicans: eternally fighting the Liberal Establishment, just like Jesse Jackson is forever in the frontlines in Selma. “It’s not complicated,” says Neil Riser, and apparently is isn’t for him: just push the usual buttons. Nothing here about the actual economic challenges the American people face in the 21st century. Nothing here about war and defense, even though quite a few of his constituents or their family members have fought in Afghanistan or Iraq. Nothing about, well, anything that this rusty boilerplate wouldn’t have covered in 2008, or 2004, or 2000, except for the Obamacare part, which is unrealistic.
Shooter enters military building. Starts shooting and doesn’t flee. Engages in gun battles with SWAT teams. Dies in said gunfights.
Our supposedly articulate President calls it “a cowardly act.” Is that really how impoverished our collective vocabulary has become?
Kyle Keating, at Spiritual Friendship, asks “What Makes a Church Safe?” If you’re unaware, “safe” is the current term for “a place where people can be honest without fear of their honesty being used as a weapon against them, either in passing judgment or in marginalizing them.” Since we’re all a bunch of sinners, that seems like a good kind of place to be:
I understand some folks in the LGBT community understand the word “safe” to include assumptions about the morality of homosexual sexual behavior, but I don’t think that this must be the case. We can feel safe with someone with whom we share deep disagreements if we feel both known and loved, and believe that they desire what is best for us.
One note: the things that make a church safe for folks who are attracted to the same sex are the same things that make it safe for people with all sorts of issues. So these characteristics are not specific to homosexuality, but rather offer a model for building safe, grace-saturated communities for all types of sinners.
Keating then lays down seven criteria:
1. Level the playing field.
2. Recognize that it’s about people, not issues.
3. Talk about it—don’t make it taboo.4. Confess sin.
5. Stop idolizing marriage.
6. Make space for singleness.
7. Be present. Be patient.
Every one of those has a brief discussion, well worth reading.
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“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)