Thursday, June 18, 2015

This actually falls higher on my list of Things I Would Not Do than skydiving...

Is this what is meant by a "hydraulic jump?"
Posted by Civil and Environmental Engineering on Saturday, December 15, 2012

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Contain that Drama, Girl!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Pet Personalities

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sometimes the food is so good it makes me a little unbalanced...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Stretching out Adolescence

Cultural critics complain that we are extending adolescence far past any age in the history of mankind, that many adolescents do not take on the mantle of adulthood until far into their 20s in America. If it is true in secular culture, it is even more the case in the Church. Last weekend there was a "spiritual awakening" retreat for the college kids at our parish. In the interest of full disclosure, I did not attend. I did, however, see pictures from the event which made me wonder how well we are preparing the generation which may be called upon to defend Christianity from the onslaught of Islam.

By all accounts, everyone had a good--even great--time. So what's the problem? Am I some kind of Scrooge who can't stand it that someone, somewhere is happy? Nope. The problem is not having a recreational, take-a-break-from-the-stress-of-school retreat. The problem is dousing it with a few prayers and Scripture readings, maybe a short homily with clever tropes about the three phases of water and the Trinity--and billing it as something seriously spiritual. We are feeding college students milk (and diluted milk at that) when they should be chewing on meat. How many of those students could even list the seven sacraments, the ten commandments and the four last things? Yet even more appalling than how few students could correctly list the answers is the knowledge that these same kids are very active in their parish and haven't been taught these basic things. The sense one has in talking to some of them is that they see their faith as a kind of sports team: "I belong to the Catholic team. My team is really wonderful--it's full of great people and I'm so happy to be on the Catholic team."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

More, Please

I read that yesterday was "A Day without Gays." It's a great idea. One that should be expanded upon. Can we please have "A Year without Queers"?

Update: A few weeks ago, my seventeen-year-old son got an email from an acquaintance whose sole purpose in sending it was to announce that he is now "openly gay." I find these sorts of mass-mailing confessions to be more than a little strange. It's hard for me to understand the rationale of such declarations of intimate inclinations to the world. I mean, who sends an email to their entire address book to announce that he and his wife have decided to become swingers? It's too much information, and we just don't want to know. Everyone seems to know this, almost instinctively. So how come homosexuals get a pass when they want everyone to know their sexual issues? They want sodomy laws overturned, arguing for a right to privacy in the bedroom, thereby acknowledging that personal sexuality is not a suitable topic for public observation. So why do they need to tell us? I'm for a strict "don't ask, don't tell" policy--I won't ask, and you won't tell, and we'll get along just fine.

Monday, November 24, 2008

On Diversity

Diversity is only a fact of nature, not a virtue.  It's descriptive of God's creative work, but not a human material or spiritual good.  In other words, the Church isn't supposed to mimic nature, but transcend it.  If the diversity in God's universe meant we need diversity in His Church, then the fact that God created more bacteria and viruses than people in His universe would mean that we need more infectious churches.   ...Oh, wait:  that's why we've turned the passing of the peace into An Organized Exchange of Intimacy and Germs with as Many People as Possible.  The Creed makes a better illustration.  We don't profess a belief in "a diverse, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church" but in "One holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church".  It is unity, rather than diversity, which is a mark of the Church.  Worship is not made more sublime by combining as many dissonant elements as possible in one Mass.

An ethnically diverse parish shouldn't be striving to make the Mass a smorgasbord of cultural contributions; that's the purpose of the ubiquitous potluck.  The Mass ought instead  to reflect the supernatural oneness God desires: ut UNUM sint.  That's another reason for the Mass to be in Latin:  it is a universal language, the Church's own, and belongs as much to one culture as it does another.  It's the ultimate in "inclusive worship:"  armed with a missal in Latin and in his own language, everyone is able to understand the Mass.  Everyone.

The drive for diversity often proceeds from a misguided notion of inclusivity.  It ought to be obvious to people (but apparently isn't) that unfettered diversity does not lead to inclusivity.  There is no way to "include" the "diverse" preferences of ten people at a single Mass, let alone the preferences of hundreds.  Someone is going to be Left Out.  Inclusivity doesn't mean accomodating people's every twitchy whim, but accomodating people as people.  You are included in Mass because you're allowed to come.