Tuesday, 3/29/16

  1. Dear NCAA
  2. Getting all sophisticated
  3. Simple prayer and spiritual narcissism
  4. Survival odds
  5. What doesn’t kill you


Dear NCAA:

I don’t know whether you would have economically punished my state, as you threatened, for standing firm on religious freedom. But I have stood firm on not watching your basketball tournaments during Holy Week in the Western Church — and I’m not even a Western Christian.

Call that “discriminating against us” if you like. There’s no law that says I must watch. For now, anyway. When there is, I’ll break it.



Ross Douthat on Ted Cruz likens him to Kenneth Widmerpool, a character in the English novelist Anthony Powell’s series, “A Dance to the Music of Time.”

I have been ignorant even of the existence of Kenneth Widmerpool in literature, and since he’s woven through 12 volumes, I probably will remain so. But Douthat and Wikipedia paint a picture of Widmerpool that seems to fits Cruz well. It’s generally unflattering, though Douthat concedes that the conniving striver will get at least some sympathy this side of the pond and at this historic juncture.

Speaking of Cruz, it’s kind of a commonplace in my circles that people graduate to tonier churches as they rise in society. The ne plus ultra of tony is Episcopalian, of course. Should you think that Cruz, Southern Baptist, is an exception to that rule, behold whence he came.

This reminds me of a sentence from Southern Baptist Russell Moore’s new book Onward: “I remember, as a kid in Mississippi, hearing some elderly ladies talking about someone who ‘went up north to Arkansas and got all sophisticated.’”


A link above is to a video wherein Rafael Cruz tells the odious Kenneth Copeland that his son, Ted, spent six months in prayer “seeking the Lord,” before announcing the the Presidency, because “this was a decision that had to come from the Lord.” The climax came after two hours on their knees in Ted’s Pastor’s office, when Heidi Cruz said some pious-ish things and Ted said “Here am I Lord. Use me. Let your will be done.” Thus saith Rafael (but he is kind of an unhinged fabulist).

Coincidentally Providentially, I encountered the following the very afternoon I first viewed that video! Wow! It’s clearly a divine sign!:

Because of our spiritual narcissism, we get it backwards: we assume divine intervention and significance, and then look for something to prove it to ourselves and fill in the blanks for us.

“Simply praying” is harder than it looks. Usually when I prayed about something, I was looking for an outcome and saw circumstances and events as the hand of God at work that supported my preferred outcome. To truly pray “Thy will be done” without an ego agenda behind it is hard, because in the end, no matter where you end up, it can be for the glory of God and to your spiritual growth, which is the will of God for you.

(Steve the Builder)

Can you imagine Ted Cruz praying for six months “Do you want me to run for President, Lord?” More like, “Show me a sign when you want me to announce, Lord.”

But, all kidding and snark aside, note that no matter where you end up, missionary or ditch-digger — or POTUS — your spiritual growth is the will of God for you.


We might survive a communist occupation, but not another American liberation.

(Anonymous Frenchman, 1948, via Jon Basil Utley, Among the Rubble of the Freedom Agenda) The French have a saying that comes to mind: plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.


The old saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is not always true. Sometimes what doesn’t kill you can cripple you for life or put you in the hospital with permanent brain damage.

(Steve the Builder)

* * * * *

“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.