Blog Template Theology of the Body: February 2006

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Dulce Lignum

"Here, indeed, is something to be seen, a sight which, for as long as it is in the world, will organize the world around itself, never eclipsed by the leering faces on election posters and television screens. The sweet cross has outshone the glamor and attraction that binds us to our political leaders; it has shown their appeal to be but shallow and moody by calling out the deepest springs of our loyalty and our love. In the Cross God has pronounsed His "Ichabod!" upon the limelight of human importance...the Cross has drawn men, women, and children into a universal community of attention, overreaching the bounds of their national, tribal, and family identities..."

- Oliver O' Donovan, The Ways of Judgment

Fr. WB on a Holy Lent

... from my fiance's Whitehall:

Lent is instituted in the Church that we may “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3.18). Contrary to superficial appearance, Lent is therefore not a sorrowful time. It is a time of Joy.

The word “Lent” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word for Springtime. The season of Lent is a time, while beginning with the darkness and rain of penitence and self-denial, yet ending with the full flowering of Easter morning.
It is important to remember, therefore, the Joy of what George Herbert called the “feast of Lent,” because it is a time of spiritual joy. It is an opportunity to engage with the enemy, to subdue him in those things which keep us from the grace of God.

It is one of those reversals typical of our religion: the outward fast is an inward feast; the outward continence is inward and ecstatic engagement with the Bridegroom...

Mardi Gras Excursus II: Funny Thing-

As with the riotous pancake party I'm attending tonight, these frivolities seemed innocuous enough...

So Desperate Housewives co-star Eva Longoria was to stop by my parents' house on Sunday to consider decorating ideas for the new home she's building in Boerne. This seemed like a prime evangelism opportunity to me. I would have left print-outs from Crystal's Blog in plain view, but to no avail- she had to jet back to LA for a shoot the next morning...

Mardi Gras Indulgence I: What Kind Of Princess Are YOU?

Oh just take the quiz. This is as egotistical as it gets, and it's my sly way of ascertaining how many WOMEN come to my blog.... let us know how it goes...

I am a... Noble Princess

You are just and fair, a perfectionist with a strong sense of proper decorum. You are very attracted to chivalry, ceremony and dignity. For the most part you are rather sensible, but you are also very idealistic.

Role Models: Guinevere, Princess Fiona (of Shrek)

You are most likely to: Get kidnapped by a stray dragon.

16% of people had this result.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Matthew: I Will Guard Your Treasure

Matthew 6

19Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

20But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

John and Charles Wesley, Priests

In the ecumenical spirit of the upcoming Lenten season, a nod to two brothers who preached and sang of the glories of holiness in a way that shaped the Church forever... and all because their heroic mother refused to give up her breviary when she was a teenager. Sometimes, the glorious fruit of obedience proceeds from a decision to remain Anglican and pray in one's closet.

Lord God, who inspired your servants John and Charles Wesley with burning zeal for the sanctification of souls, and endowed them with eloquence in speech and song: Kindle in your Church, we entreat you, such fervor, that those whose faith has cooled may be warmed, and those who have not known Christ may turn to him and be saved; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Friday, February 24, 2006

What Do You Think?

My father and I are meeting this weekend with the pastors of a local Presbyterian church to discuss the possibility of setting up a small foundation and board for A New Project: a "fellowship" of young people who are paid a small salary each summer to read to elderly patients in nursing homes.

The objections are, of course, that no-one should be PAID to do this kind of thing; on the other hand, it seems worthy to provide incentive and a token compensation for "interns" training in the lifelong enterprise of seeking out "the least of these..."

We need feedback! What do you think????

Chains: Vietnamese Christians

Remember them that are in chains, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in that body.
Hebrews 13:3

My mother's friend (and my hero), Jill Briscoe, spends a good deal of her time meeting in secret with the Vietnamese widows of pastors brutally murdered for their faith. She recently shared stories of the abuse, rape, and continued persecution which these valiant Christian women suffer. We should pray for courage, for their joy, and for their persistence in practicing the forgiveness of the Lord whom they follow. We should also pray for their safety.

Lord Jesus Christ, who stretched our your arms on the hard wood of the Cross, so that the whole world might come within the reach of your saving embrace, so clothe us with your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may draw those who do not know you into your knowledge and love. Amen.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Apologize: Marriage

I am off to San Antonio, home sweet home, to be in a dear friend's wedding.

Here's what the Church has to say about her upcoming Big Day-

"For marriage (which is the medicine of incontinency, and continency itself) was instituted by the Lord God himself, who blessed it most bountifully, and wills man and woman to cleave to one another inseperably, and to live together in complete love and concord. Whereupon we know that the apostle said: "Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage be undefiled. And again, "if a girl marries, she does not sin...."

The Second Helvetic Confession

... and on the other hand, a sober note from my friend J:

If someone came to me and explained that I could bet everything on a 50/50 game of chance - where winning would purchase a new house and comfortable living, while losing would leave me broke and destitute, there's no way I would play that game. It simply isn't worth it. Yet this is what people do every day in choosing to get married. Everyone knows the statistics: it's a 50/50 shot they will wind up alone and broken, suffering through some of the worst agony a human can feel. But we are so conditioned against seriously confronting these risks that we naïvely throw ourselves into marriage believing that "it'll never happen to us." But it does. Again and again.

If people were realistic about the enormous risks involved in marriage, there would be many more people following the Apostle Paul in extoling the virtues of unmarried celibacy (see I Corinthians 7 for Paul's take). If we took seriously the dangers, even in light of marriage's benefits (which many concede is a "mixed blessing"), how many of us would play Russian Roulette with a 1 in 2 chance of blowing our brains out?

...Im thinking that both perspectives rather do justice to I Corinthians 7....a most honorable gamble...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

One Week From Today...

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 1. We go till Sunday, April 16 in drawing closer to our crucificed and risen Savior.

How are you planning to keep a holy Lent this year? ...I'm still thinking about it...

Prayer Books

Fr. WB is leading a pack of his young faithful through their first meeting to discuss the history and proper use of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer (hereafter, affectionately, "BCP") tonight. As one who was raised to prize spontaneity and emotion in prayer, I've often recoiled from a black-bound book which Tells You What To Say at certain times, in certain ways, and what's more, In Response to Someone Else. But as Fr. WB gently urges me time and time again, "it's good for you." It's true. We Anglicans pray from a book for the following reasons, as I see it-

1) You don't have to be creative on a bad day, and thus you lose your excuse of Having Nothing to Say to our Lord, which is just so lame anyway. Say what the Church tells you to, for Pete's sake. But mainly, just show up and be obedient and pray.

2) Its all from Scripture! - so you get to pray and learn all at once, and you KNOW you'll be praying the right things.

3) Its really beautiful. You should see-

Viva praying from books, I'm thinking... in honor of Fr. WB's newest thing with the ECY kids, a link to the BCP is going into my sidebar. Feel free to use it.

Brokeback is Back

... So US News has "Brokeback Mountain" on its front cover today, and thus I humbly re-install our earlier discussion... it's hot on the lists for the Oscars, which I take very seriously, like the good Christian that I am. Ahem- Revisions? Scathing remarks? Here it is, much as it was-

“Sometimes love is a force of nature”

I went to see this movie about two homosexual men- awkwardly expecting the whole thing to be boycotted here in the SAT Bible belt, I was surprised to find a full theater- not surprisingly, full of gay couples of all ages, some well into their eighties, and it was indeed a tender sight to watch their faces during this heartbreaking film; more touching still to watch two frail old men assisting each other out of the theater afterwards. The whole experience is testament to how actually showing up to see and hear the persons engaged in Controversial Matter can provide so much more of the grace of charity in one’s evaluation. I have thus revised my earlier comments, but my conclusion remains- in contradiction with the film’s byline, love is no force of nature.

First of all: as the daughter of a Real Cowboy, a man made of 3 AM roundup calls, bitter cold, runaway horses, and violent cattle, I am generally intrigued by Hollywood’s depiction of that standard American icon, the Marlboro Man. Will they get it right, I ask? Will they do justice to my dad’s rigorous, hard work? This daughter, raised in a barn, becomes indignant. In that regard, as J-Tron points out so well, the directors of Brokeback have got it right; the rugged, smelly life of the Wyoming cattle herd which the film depict is conveyed to the senses vividly, and without a hint of sentimentality ("Brokeback Mountain is stark and sensory oriented. You feel the wind and the rain. You can almost taste the coffee in the small metal cups, feel the campfire against your bootheels. You start from the outside, moving inside of these characters slowly, almost without realizing you’re doing it"). The technique is wonderful. And after all, it is the performance of Heath Ledger’s career.

Secondly: I was armed and ready to encounter a manipulative and over-the top onslaught of a Hollywood agenda; after all, how blatant to take our American icon and present him with a twist- he is now gay- such that sexual disposition must be a thing so natural, so inevitable, so frequent, that it finds itself in anyone- in the Marlboro Man as much as in the Manhattan hairdresser really, it could be YOU…. so we would need to accept, endorse, promote! homosexuality, the subtext would seem to run. But this movie is not manipulative. I am prone to think that the film is realistic. Lust is, indeed, a force so natural, so inevitable, and so frequent that it occurs in anyone and everyone. But it is not love.

Which brings me to my point. I cannot help but think of a story which my father brought home a few weeks ago. Dad was tired, cold, covered as he often is, in blood from a tangle with barbed wire or horses or very large cows. The months have been dry in Texas; the plains are “blonde,” parched without rain, and the cattle grow tired and thin without food. On that day Dad had discovered a lone heifer, too weak to continue, having settled down on the ground to die, suffering from a diseased joint that could not heal while she remained malnourished. Dad called in our veterinarian to assist her; but the next day, before the vet arrived, my father found her dead, her spine having been snapped and her back broken where she lay helpless. There were ladies present, so my dad described it thus: “there was a bull who found her, and she was in season. He rode her. She was already so broken down. So she died.” (you will forgive the rather earthy scenario, I’m hoping- this thing is about sex, after all.)

My father, like the cowboys in the Brokeback film, knows that forces of nature are as strong and sudden and driving as wind and rain and the procreative instincts of animals, and that they can be just as deadly. Nature can break the back of the weak and leave it for dead. And it is not love.

So here it is. Obviously it is a poor analogy to compare animal instincts to the emotional/ physical interaction which occurs between human persons. And that’s just it. Human love is not the activity of a natural force; rather, it is the gift of self, governed and guided by regard for the other’s benefit- and here I mean CHASTITY, that unique prerogative of the human person, that glorious, healing, life-giving thing which recognizes the valid duty of sexual self-expression only in conjugal union tending towards the human family. On the other hand: sheer natural force let loose on the other can only take the form of predatory feeding, and without the discipline of love, expends the vulnerability of the other for the sake of a cancerous parody of gratification.

Oddly enough, Brokeback Mountain does not end with a happy “alternative family” or with sex which tends to mutual benefit and life; rather it ends with violent death, degradation, and heartache. Left alone to nature, without discipline, without renunciation, without the stricture of chastity, the weak are crushed. And that is no “love” at all.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


"I cannot think of a more conformist and suicidal message in modernity than that we should encourage fellow Christians to make up their own minds. That is simply to ensure that they will be good conformist consumers in a capitalist economy by assuming now that ideas are but another product that one gets to choose on the basis of one's arbitrary likes and dislikes. To encourage Christians to think for themselves is therefore a sure way to avoid any meaningful discourse..."

Stanley Hauerwas, After Christendom

Protestant's Safari V: "Just Give Them Jesus?"

One of my sisters in Christ had a critique for me the other day pertinent to this Blog: "why don’t you just give them Jesus?" she asked.

(This theme rings a memory of Anne Graham Lotz screeching the same question before an assemly of faithful Anglican-African clergy at the Pittsburg Anglican Communion Network gathering a few months ago- before an audience who are being persecuted for their insistance on worshipping Jesus within a faithful Tradition, rather than re-inventing Him, her reception was rather cool)

Let us take this beautiful sentiment apart from its questionable roots in Schliermacher and the 20th century Bultmanian theologies that despaired of the veracity of authority in either Scripture or the Tradition. "Just Jesus-" but Amen! I say. We have no part in anything real and good without Him; contemporary theologians suggest that He mediates us to our very selves. "Just Jesus" is what Augustine crashed into, in a headlong burst of unencumbered love, over and over again- "Him whom in all these things we love." He is the scarlett thread running through millenia, the telos of our universe, the proper object of our worship. He is my Savior.

"Just Jesus"- of course I would love to "just attain” Jesus- apart from illusory sentimentality, apart from my sin, apart from the weariness and fear that prevents me from really running with the dangerous, life-threatening, joyous, cosmic, Lion of Judah... so you can see what a relief it is, why I persist in this journey, in that Jesus gives Himself to me. I so love Him for it.

But the subtext of the "Just Jesus" seems to me to have seeds of its own turning from Jesus within it. It seems to mean "Just Jesus," qua Jesus without the apparent "trappings" of our forbears, whom He taught and authorized, and without the strictures of His words and example. It seems to mean "Just Jesus" as though He were "mine" to possess personally, unhistorically, and exclusively in an egotistical embrace, rather than as a called participant in the waiting Body of which He is the self-betrothed Bridegroom- this consummation belongs to millions, of which I am only one. I stand WITHIN His Bride, and there receive the tender love which Christ has for me within her- but He is a faithful Bridegroom, and does not select another from the single, specific, collective One for whom He waits. There is no other stream- not the stream that is me, alone in my "personal relationship," nor is that relationship one of my own making. From Creation to Pentecost, the Father has formed communities for His Son. It has never been good for humanity to be alone before Him.

And what of this Jesus? If I take a look at the Jesus of the Scriptures, I find a Jesus who is always giving Himself, and above and beyond, all sorts of things alongside, to meet our need to receive Him. As with the Incarnation itself, His gifts are our accommodation. The Scriptures are explicit: “I give to you”... “here it is”... “take it from me”... Like an engaging date, He comes with presents; like a compassionate parent, He comes with the assistance of the training wheels, the baby food, the nurturing which gratuitously enable the infant to grow into a friend: His peace, a social teaching, a Cross, a Mother, an attending Spirit, a Pastor, a Meal, a Rite of initiation. The Jesus we've got is the Lord with provisional accoutrement and a Kingdom. We don’t find another Jesus in the Scripture.

I, for one, want Him as He has shown Himself to be, with all His attendant benefits. Jesus Himself does not give “Just Jesus" to us – having given Himself fully to us, He also gives all of His good things, wherewith we may give ourselves (more and more) to Him.

Culture Pop: Why I Could Kiss Joshua Harris

... this attractive young man gave me no end of grief when I was about twelve, newly arrived back into society after a Sheltered Childhood on my father's ranch, and Had To Deal With Boys. Naturally, it was the J. Harris material (not tweeds, unfortunately, but a glossy manuscript) which found its way, among others, into my bewildered and willful hands. I Kissed Dating Good-Bye didnt last long, however, since it was a distant cousin of Josh's who stole his first kiss from me at a homeschooling party...

Anyway, the author who made a definitive moment in the life of many an evangelical young person has produced a startling, wonderful, maybe miraculous presentation entitled Stop Dating the Church! Falling in Love with the Family of God. I havent read it, but the gesture is breathtaking. A Young, Protestant Evangelical Ecclesiology?!!?! Can it be? Look at the blurb:

Christ gave his life for the church, but many of us find it difficult to serve her for an hour or two a week. In Stop Dating the Church best-selling author Joshua Harris boldly challenges us to stop looking for churches that suit our lifestyle and expecting churches to meet our superficial needs. Instead, we should learn to love the church and serve her sacrificially. Take this opportunity to fully commit yourself to the church in the same in the same way that a bride commits herself to the groom.

If any of you read it, say so, pronto.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Luther Meister

"The love of God does not find, but creates, that which is pleasing to Him.”

Martin Luther, Heidelburg Disputation (1518)

Mark: "Son, Thy Sins Are Forgiven."

Mark 2:1- 12

2And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.

3And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.

4And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.

5When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.

10But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)

11I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.

12And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all...

Saint Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr of Smyrna, 156

... one of those who would have known some of the original Twelve, and who then died for it.

An example of the Church's early episcopacy.

A heroic martyr who prayed the following at the time of his death:

"Lord God Almighty, Father of your beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, through whom we have received knowledge of you, God of angels and powers, of the whole creation and of the whole race of the righteous who live in your sight, I bless you, for having made me worthy of this day and hour, I bless you, because I may have a part, along with the martyrs, in the chalice of your Christ, to resurrection in eternal life, resurrection both of soul and body in the incorruptibility of the Holy Spirit. May I be received today, as a rich and acceptable sacrifice, among those who are in you presence, as you have prepared and foretold and fulfilled, God who is faithful and true. For this and for all benefits I praise you, I bless you, I glorify you, through the eternal and heavenly High Priest, Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, through whom be to you with him and the Holy Spirit glory, now and for all the ages to come. Amen."

Friday, February 17, 2006

Our Friend, Caleb The Rock Star

Fr. WB's good friend Caleb Maskell and his wife C lead this precious Bible study at their home... but now we see him as he is, the co-editor of a hot new title which Fr. WB and I ran into at the YALE BOOKSTORE yesterday: Jonathan Edwards at 300: Essays on the Tercentenary of His Birth... Caleb's long hours in the way mysterious Jonathan Edwards Archive have come to a grand fruition, as we send our huge congrats- check it out!

(Here's their blog...180 Colony)

John Howard Yoder

"One of the marks of the Church's heritage is that it sees movements within the canonical story, and therefore a difference between the Testaments. Instead of a timeless collection of parabolic anecdotes for allegorical application, or of propositional communications ready for deductive exposition, the Bible is a story of promise and fulfillment which must be read directionally. The New Testament, by affirming the Hebrew Scriptures which the Christians have come to call the Old Testament, also interprets them.

...Abraham and Moses are to be read through Jesus and Paul."

Yoder, The Priestly Kingdom, 1984.

I love my parents!

... they are amazing people.

Today, for instance, they are hosting a fundraising event in San Antonio for Christian universities... then they will drive to Gatesville, Texas, where they will be ministering to Death Row inmates at the Gatesville Correctional Facility. My mom is speaking to hundreds of women inmates on the importance of Scripture memorization and their relationship to Jesus as their merciful Good Shepherd this evening. Pray for them if you think about it... they have a lot going on.


Remember them that are in chains, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity,
as being yourselves also in that body.
Hebrews 13:3

As of my trip to Lousiana, my heart turns towards the South, and those who are closest to home (Augustine thought it was most godly to tend to those who are near- )

1. We ought to pray for all of the people who are just now facing the full weight of their grief over lost loved ones and diminished lives in the wake of Hurricane Katrina... New Orleans is still struggling- recovering their dead, discarding ruined posesssions, re-assembling lives.

2. We ought also to remember the faithful congregations of rural Alabama who are maintaining their witness of love and forgiveness, even under the threats to their dignity and security from the arsonists who burned their churches last week. (I was so impressed with one of the pastors who was interviewd on NPR: "they won't undo the Church... what do they think, they can burn buildings... but they cant get at the Church.")

"Femminism" At YDS

This is what the theologue girls are up to... knitting in Old Testament class this morning... meeting for tea to discuss their spouses and children this afternoon... planning an evening hour of prayer for younger women who are discerning their vocations at a retreat this weekend.

Not bad...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Of Prophets

Your Blog Author is off to Baton Rouge for a conference of the National Association of Islamic Scholars. I will be presenting a paper on utilitarian trends in modern Islamic law and theology, and proposing a Christian alternative-

This is my concluding paragraph- ahem-

Perhaps most importantly, the maslaha conversation can approach significant dialogue among the Abrahamic theologies, since the themes of maslaha tend to resonate deeply with fundamental principles within the Jewish and Christian traditions. Themes relevant to maslaha resonate particularly with Christians' self-identification of their tradition as a liberating and humanizing influence for the benefit of all persons equally, both believers and non-believers, and with Christian principles which validate social/legal policies according to highly generalized notions of the common good and public interest, regardless of religious commitment.

I am scared.


Humbly responding to J-Tron's tag… and feeling popular...

Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot, like so.
1) Anastasia
2) LutherPunk
3) Christopher
4) *J-Tron
5) MM

Next select five people to tag
1) Crystal Paine (she's sort of an icon to me, and fascinating)
2) S. Jeromin (she's one of the most beautiful people on the planet)
3) Fr. WB (I'm engaged to him, and He Will Provide Some Irony)
4) Lucas Grubbs (maybe this will encourage him to take up his blog and follow Jesus; he's going to be ordained soon!)
5) macof (I owe her for just a whole lot of good things-)

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Graduating from high school and embarking on a DTS session with Youth With A Mission- that's Discipleship Training School, where I fell in love with theology, evangelism, and liturgical worship- all at once. Go figure. Then I spent a winter in Romanian orphanages for my "mission" and fasted a lot.

What were you doing 1 year ago?
Writing papers for Bryan Spinks on early Eucharistic Prayers, in my first year at YDS... and teaching my first class, Intro to Ethics, at UNH.

Five snacks you enjoy:
A. Leftover Indian food
B. Haagen-Dasz ice cream from the carton
C. Prailines
D. Bean and Cheese burritos from Taco Cabana
E. Tostadas and salsa

Five songs you know all the words to:
A. The entire score of "Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat" (Andrew Lloyd Weber)
B. Anything composed by Twila Paris
C. "Be Thou My Vision"
D. "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing"
E. “Battle Hymn of the Republic" (childhood favorite, very odd in Texas)

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:... pretty much everything Im doing now...

Five bad habits: As if I would admit them here... I have a spiritual director for that...

Five things you enjoy doing:
A. Traveling
B. Photography
C. Hanging out at the ranch with my family
D. Sharing the Gospel with the unsuspecting
E. Being with my amazing cadre of friends in New Haven

Five things you would never wear again:
A. Turqoise leggings from junior high
B. Anything with puff paint, which was HOT when I was little
C. Birkenstocks, which I wore in high school to impress Fr. WB
D. Denim vests with heart buttons, which I wore in high school to annoy S. Jeromin
E. Shoulder pads

Five favorite toys:
A. My A4 Audi
B. The Doug Phillips manifesto
C. Fr. WB's sense of humor
D. My brother's little dog
E. This Blog

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Saint Valentine

Behold, what manner of love our God has given unto us...
I John

The stories are many, and all of them beautiful: the legend has it that the first "valentine" was a message sent from one Christian prisoner to another, indicating that the one would die in the place of his friend.

My Favorite Valentines

... my little sister and her sweethearts...

Protestant's Safari: Rome

10th C mosaics at S. Clemente (L)... and 6th C renditions at the Church of S. Cosimo e Damiano in the Roman Forum...

Michelangelo's Risen Christ, 16th C., S. Maria Sopra Minerva... and the earlist known depiction of the Crucifixion, 4th C., Santa Sebana.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Why I Love Bella Roma:

1) I like Romans. They have that liassez-faire bon vivant kind of thing that comes with a glib sense of not having to earn one's salvation. Who would take so much time on and around their fountains but people who, by virtue of taking the words of Scripture seriously, knew they were safely in the Kingdom because of their baptism, showed up to be fed weekly to sustain them on their journey, and then got on with it. No worries about salvation. Plenty of time to build fountains.

2) Because our worship has a history. It’s two thousand years old. And in Rome, you can see the remnants of it in doors, windows, frescoes. In a modern culture which looks to antiquity for credibility, we Church folk should rejoice at such evidence. People have been singing the praises of Jesus, sharing the Gospel, tending to the poor and freeing the captives in His name, etc. etc., for millennia.

3) Because in Rome, when one looks over the Tiber at Michelangelo’s softly gleaming Dome, or nods to long-robed Servants of the Church, or notes the arrival of annoying buses full of pilgrims, one can remember that we Christians, are in fact, a nation, a people called apart from the scattered among the Kingdoms of the world to live in our own waiting Kingdom among our countrymen. How appropriate that such an incarnated, spiritual polis should have a capital city.

I'm back! is of your blog author, early AM at our villa on the Gianiculum Hill.

(I will that the Church be well too-)

"Let none draw back that agreement in the substantials of faith and godliness. If they indeed be Christians, let them be willing to hold communion with each other to the extent that they can. Let them consult how to manage their differences in the way which will least harm the common truths and the Christian cause which they all profess to own and withold."

- Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor

Mark: I WIll That You Be Well

The Healing of the Leper
Mark 1:39-42

39And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils.

40And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

41And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.

42And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

And in the Interim...

Trot on over to two new blogs by astounding Women of God, whom I admire greatly:

More Water: S. Jeromin, a graduate student at St. John's in Santa Fe and brand new bride, has been teaching me almost everything good that I know since the high school days when we would sit in bathtubs, in our bathing suits, in Scotland, smoking pipes and trying to channel the Inklings for all we were worth - (we were perpetually trying to escape some sort of lecture on Calvin's theories of covenant; we are both obsessed with the stuff now.)

Her blog promises to provide something of the peace and rest of the God she loves so well. Go visit...

Basil Was A Wuss: Macof and I spend a good deal of time here at Yale giggling over the idiosyncracies of some Church Father or another, or trying desperately to impress Christopher Beeley... she's brilliant, devout, and currently Engaging Some Really Important Work on the Role of Women In The Church. Check it out...

Blog Break

I am off to Rome Sweet Home to stay with a dear friend who is working on her PhD in 16th Century Art History- while in the Eternal City, we will be exploring the Jesuit Archives, attending very early Masses at St. Peter's, and contemplating before very old mosaics at S. Costanza and S. Sabena. Also eating lots of dinners in Trastevere. Also saying lots of prayers for Canterbury.

See you all again after February 12 with lots of fun stories...

Friday, February 03, 2006

Chains: Turkey

Remember them that are in chains, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in that body.
Hebrews 13:3

This just in from Voice of the Martyrs-

TURKEY: Pastor Beaten by Five Militants Claiming Connection to Al Qaeda

VOM received a report coming out of Turkey giving a first-hand account of persecution coming from the hands of five men claming association with Al Qaeda. Twenty-nine-year-old Kamil Kiroglu, one of the leaders of Adana Protestant Church in Turkey, wrote this personal testimony after he was beaten unconscious outside his church by terrorists...

Read the rest here-

Pray for the faithful of both Christian and Islamic traditions, who stand together in need of God's grace. We believe that the one God calls us to be peoples of peace...


Ok, so Ive been a little irritable-

1) The Monologues:

I dont even PERMIT my friends to speak of this debaucle in my presence, so I quote the extremely savvy and wit-ridden blog post of my dear friend macof. (the Latin is to protect the innocent, but Prof McKay is lost if he makes his way over here-)

I am not my (membrum femminarum) Several of my friends and fellow classmates are presenting "The ...Monologues" tonight and tomorrow night. A few of them have asked me whether I'm going. No. No, I'm not. They look at me quizzically, as if to say "What's wrong with you?" I am sympathetic to the goal of raising awareness of and money for the efforts to end violence, especially violence against women and children. I applaud that effort. However, I doubt very seriously that this particular strategy is a laudable one. In fact, I see it as potentially destructive. If sexualized violence is about treating the victim as an object for the perpetrator's pleasure, rather than as a whole human being, then how on earth is anyone supposed to see women as whole human beings in the context of this production? It seems to be an attempt to de-objectify women precicely by objectifying women. Furthermore, I object to the ways in which this production has been advertized. There are signs, some of which say: "membrum femminarum membrum femminarum membrum femminarum" OK, so what is this supposed to accomplish? "membrum femminarum: It's OK to laugh." What? If we're supposed to be honoring the female genitalia, how is laughing supposed to help? "God loves membrum femminarae" I was under the impression that God loves PEOPLE. These signs feel very imposing. When I challenge my friends to imagine how our community might receive signs that say, "membrum virum, membrum virum, membrum virum" or "membrum virum: It's OK to laugh," or "God loves membrum virorum." They readily admit that there would be an uproar, even protests. It would be very refreshing to see people with a little more savvy in their strategizing; this is too important a cause to sabotage through carelessness.

Hat-tip: Basil was a Wuss

2) Squishy Revisionist Atonement Theories, As Though the Whole Thing were From Hans Christian Andersen-

Here I refer to Perfectly Intelligent Theologians getting all squeamish over Anselm's penal atonement theory; oh people please! Can we get OUT of comfycomfyyuppydom long enough to recall that God does in fact LOVE justice and mercy and, on the other hand, HATES the iniquity manifested in the plight of the abused child, the battered woman, the modern-day Sudanese? It's ok to say that such violence and sin is WRONG. It's ok to say that God consequently is MAD about such evil-someone's got to be.

In His mercy, God pours out His wrath against all that injures little children within the Divine Life Himself, so that such evil cannot have the last word. This, folks, is what the Church believes. Sorry-

3) The Monologues

4) Politics:

...Trotting over to the Yale Med School to hear a very engaging talk by an adorable young minister who discusses his dual role as pastor AND surgeon, only to sit by for a full twenty minute-diatribe on his Recent Decision to Marry Lesbians in His Parish, dadgummmit!

...BECAUSE- now get this- he had just finished re-reading Martin Luther King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail, and figured that God was speaking to him about inclusion. Yes, God probably was speaking to him about inclusion, which mandate extends to every beloved gay person on the planet. God is ALWAYS speaking to us about inclusion, for Pete's sake.

But since when were the Sacraments Of The Church open to re-interpretation, revision, and "inclusion"... like a salad bar... a free salad bar... a lottery... a grab bag... food stamps? The Bride of Christ, people, is no cheap date.

5) The Monologues

6) Poor reviews of Oscar Wilde's latest, on screen... I love that man. Poor man. Apparently he had his share of conversion moments. At least Grame Hunter at Touchstone thinks so-

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Meister Eckhart

...(this) man has taken possession of the lowest place, and God must pour the whole of himself into this man, or else he is not God. I say in the truth, which is good and eternal and enduring, that God must pour out the whole of himself with all his might so totally into every man who has utterly abandoned himself that God withholds nothing of his being or his nature or his entire divinity, but he must pour all of it fruitfully into the man who has abandoned himself for God and has occupied the lowest place.

Sermon 48.

Hardly orthodox, but compellingly beautiful...

And on a lighter note: Earl Grey

As every grad student knows, Hot Beverages are extremely important.

I dont know why, but I sort of panic when I know that hours may pass before I can get to a Starbuck's or our school's refectory- which is pathetic.

An instructor opened a seminar the other day by urging everyone to "feel very comfortable bringing beverages to class, so that we can moderate the mood" (it's a rather tense discussion in there). Amazing.

More amazing though, is my recent switch from coffee to tea... I am so perplexed about it. In law school, I drank coffee, buckets of it. But now Ive Moved On. I am absolutely obsessed with Earl Grey tea with nonfat milk. Yummmmm. But I dont get it. Why this shifting loyalty?

Any thoughts/diagnoses? CMK?

Apologize: The Just War

... because, once again, I was both the only woman and the only Christian sort-of pacifist Trying To Hold Her Own over dinner at the Ivy Noodle last night... Fr. WB thinks he won, but I doubt it- though I must quote Wally- "it smells like Hauerwas around here"...this is for you, Adam.

So the question remains, which of the recent US wars actually meet
these criteria?

Because of the evils and injustices that accompany all war, the Church insistently urges everyone to prayer and to action so that God's goodness might free us from the ancient bondage of war.

All citizens and governments are obliged to work for the avoidance of war.

The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy.

Thus at one and the same time, the following conditions must be met:

1) The damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;

2) All other means of putting an end to violence must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;

3) There must be a serious prospect of success;

4) The use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2307-2309

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Church's Criterion for the State of the Union

"(A just society) can be obtained only in respecting the transcendent dignity of the human person. The person represents the ultimate end of society, which is ordered to him; what is ever at stake is the dignity of the human person, whose defense and promotion have been entrusted to us by the Creator, and to whom the men and women at every moment of history are strictly and responsibly in debt.

Respect for the human person entails respect for the rights that flow from his dignity as a creature. These rights are prior to society and must be recognized by it. They are the basis of the moral legitimacy of every authority. It is the Church's role to remind men of good will of these rights and to distinguish them from unwarranted false claims.

Respect for the human person proceeds by way of respect for the principle that "everyone should look upon his neighbor, without any exception, as another self, above all bearing in mind his life and the means necessary for living it with dignity..."

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1930-1931

Christians and Capital Punishment

We believe that God calls to the human person, and thus human life is sacred from conception to natural death; furthermore, Christ gave His life for all sinners to redeem and forgive them.

So I wrote this for a friend a few weeks ago. It was the best I could do...

As a pro-life lawyer who believes in promoting a culture of life, I appplaud any decision not to enforce the death penalty.

Our culture's maintenance of the death penalty is patently unbiblical. In ancient Israel, the death penalty was permitted by God as a manifestation of His direct rule in the Hebrew theocracy, and as a necessary expedient in the life of a nomadic people whose wanderings did not allow for the cultural good of a prison system. The death penalty cannot justly or righteously persist in a nation goverened by popular election, rather than the direct rule of God, to whom human life belongs; and furthermore, the death penalty is by no means a necessary expedient in our culture, where we have plenty of facilities to contain criminals.

Furthermore, the Biblical description of Israel's use of the death penalty in cases of rebellion against parents, fornication, and impurity is not enforced in our society; thus our arbitrary selection of the death penalty for capital crimes only does not apply the Biblical description properly, and hence is unbiblical.

The taking of sacred human life, which is invested with God by inviolable dignity from conception to natural death, in a society where capital punishment is neither necessary nor expedient, is intolerable.

Vocation, Vocation, Vocation IV

A Prayer of Self-Dedication

Almighty and eternal God, so draw our hearts to thee, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that we may be wholly thine, utterly dedicated unto thee; and then use us, we pray thee, as thee will, and always to thy glory and the welfare of thy people; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.