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February 12th, 2013

a day of ups and downs

Originally published at Faith Seeking Understanding. You can comment here or there.

Today’s been a day of up’s and down’s.

1. I went into Harlem on a whim for lunch at IHOP. I swear the soda wasn’t diet or otherwise had too much syrup, and the meal was lackluster at best. But they had these red velvet pancakes with cream cheese syrup. Where has this been all my life?

2. I went to the closest thing we have to a mall around here to sort out a warranty replacement for my mattress. On a whim I go into JC Penny and get my hair cut. The stylist did a decent job and I like my hair. But she also talked me into some tea leaf shampoo that will maybe make me look beautemous, but made the salon trip seem like an overpriced indulgence to my mind.

3. I finally got the mattress replacement selected and ordered. It is a good mattress and will be good for my back. But it’s also frustrating, beyond frustrating, the little things and fees and stupid policies like the need to get the mattress cleaned professionally because there’s a surface stain . It probably cost me $150 between the cleaning and the replacement fee. Which I can afford but shouldn’t have to. On the plus side, new mattress is coming on Friday. I’m trying to be positive.

4. the pope is resigning. I spent the day dremaing up a pope on how Anselm would be a good candidate if not for the slight matter of him being dead. Now I am too worn out to do anything with it. It’s probably geek indulgence anyway.

Btw, for the interested, here’s a FB post I made reacting to the news:

It looks like the pope is stepping down. This makes me genuinely curious: who are the contenders of the papacy? Anyone from Africa or Latin America? Anyone from the progressive side of the church? I really should be more familiar with the major figures in the RCC, but I’m not.

I must admit, I never warmed up to Pope Benedict. There was an awful lot I liked about Pope John Paul II, and Benedict always struck me as slightly out of touch with the challenges facing the RCC today. He’s also just seemed physically scary to me. (Something about the sunken eyes and German accent.) But theologically, I think I’ve sometimes underrated him. The encyclical Caritas in Veritate, for instance, has provoked some very important conversations about social justice and the fact that economic inequality is a kind of sin, both individually and between different parts of the global economy. He’s also a big proponent of nuclear disarmament and just immigration standards. I won’t sugarcoat how much I disagree with his stances on sexuality and gender roles, but on some issues, he can seem almost progressive. And I think I’ve underrated some of that.

Regardless of my own feelings, I know some of my Catholic friends did like him as a pope. I hope for your sake that the College of Cardinals chooses someone you feel good about.

I am trying to eulogize him in my mind if nowhere else, to practice thinking good thoughts and loving my enemy even though I disagree with him on many issues. But I feel vaguely bad about it because I know many of my liberal friends are very upset with this. I’m not blaming them. It’s just that, in this day and age, nuance and morally complicated positions seems so much harder to live out than polemics. It gets old sometimes, never being able to be swept away.

5. NYC is simply breathtakingly beautiful, between the remnants of the snow and the mist and the rain. I had a romantic moment and knew how to finish a seriously overdue fanfic story. But then by the time I got home the mood had passed and I really just felt tired and hurt. By the beauty, yeah, but also by the snow, because snow driffs and broken feet really don’t mix.

6. In Aquinas class tonight, Fr. D made a reference to a brain tumor he successfully talk. We were discussing what it means to know someone has a tumor. Whether testimony from a doctor worked. And his point was that no one really understands what tumors are like, at least not in our classroom. I didn’t say anything but I know a fair bit of what a tumor actually is like, how you know it’s there – I could teach a course. And as happy as I am for Fr. D, I really didn’t need the reminder of just how much I know of this situation. And that’s damned depressing, if I wasn’t wavering already.

I think I’m going to go listen to my Finnick song and pray I dream about that dance rather than little boys with brain tumors. That’s really where my ead is stuck just now. :-S

good things for a new day

Originally published at Faith Seeking Understanding. You can comment here or there.

Yesterday I was a bit gloomy. Today I’d liked to be a little more positive. And some good things are happening.

1. The library agreed to buy a season of Star Trek: Voyager, so I can put it on reserve for my summer school class. Yep, you heard me right: I’m setting Star Trek episodes as part of our curriculum. Specifically Night, Nothing Human, and Latent Image. I’m very glad to get the access issues worked out so I can use them for case studies.

2. I had another post idea accepted by ThinkChristian.net: basically, whether Christianity encourages people to embrace a warrior mindset, be pacifists, or something in between. It’s inspired by an exchange of articles on this topic between Andrew Sullivan and David French last month. I’m actually interested what people think on this topic. Whether you’re Christian or not, what do you think of as the Christian or Biblical position on whether and how individuals should use violence. So if anyone wants to discuss it and maybe help me brainstorm for this post, I’m all ears.

3. My virtue epistemology prof encouraged me to join his ethics and epistemology workshop series. I was vaguely aware of it but hadn’t gotten around to getting involved, so this is a bit exciting for me. My first meeting is tonight, and we’re talking about animal rights. Should be interesting.

Of course, I haven’t actually left my apartment, so it could all go downhill, but for now I’m being positive.

True Friendship: Two Bodies, One Soul

Originally published at Faith Seeking Understanding. You can comment here or there.

When the Synchroblog admins announced our February topic (cross-gender friendships), I was really excited about it.  February is so often given over to romantic love, it’s downright refreshing to see someone discussing non-romantic love just days before Valentine’s Day. And make no mistake: friendship is a unique and special kind of love that’s at least as important as romantic love. That would have been a worthwhile topic all on its own.

But then the US military approved women’s serving in combat roles, and for some reason the Christian blogosphere (at least those sites I follow) started talking about an old essay John Piper wrote basically saying that women shouldn’t serve in the military, not because men are stronger than women physically, bu because they’re hard-wired by God to protect women:

Suppose, I said, a couple of you students, Jason and Sarah, were walking to McDonald’s after dark. And suppose a man with a knife jumped out of the bushes and threatened you. And suppose Jason knows that Sarah has a black belt in karate and could probably disarm the assailant better than he could. Should he step back and tell her to do it? No. He should step in front of her and be ready to lay down his life to protect her, irrespective of competency. It is written on his soul. That is what manhood does.

I’m honestly not sure why this Piper article came up when it did, as it’s five years old and surely conservative Christians have been saying asinine things about gender and combat in the interim, but for whatever reason, once it took center stage you can imagine the kind of response it got. (Jenny Rae Armstrong was particularly brilliant.) On top of that, the latest Forward Thinking prompt asks what we should tell teenagers about sex, so those blogs I read that weren’t rebuking John Piper were almost all responding to that topic. For a while I could barely go a few hours without stumbling across another post about how women and men were really more alike (or not) than we always thought. The Synchroblog topic started to seem almost prescient.

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  • 5 Dec 2020, 12:53
    PM me your address. I have a card set aside for you, but need name and address to get it going.

    - Erulisse (one L)
  • 5 Dec 2020, 12:04
    What a lovely idea!
  • 4 Dec 2020, 17:56
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    I don't send out cards anymore, but I was drooling over all the pop-up ones Amazon had and wondering if it might not be time to resume the tradition (I decided no).

    Not much help in the Hallmark…
  • 25 Nov 2020, 14:52
    That's great! Happy Thanksgiving to you and thanks for the marching, musical cats. LOL

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