Monday, July 30, 2007

The Bestminister Confession

If you claim the authority of tradition but redact certain parts it has the same effect as claiming Reason and Holy Writ with exceptions. If St. Paul is incorrect on the role of women, how do you know he is correct on the Resurrection? You like one and don't like the other? This is a not very well hidden egoism. What you mean is that YOU are the authority.
If not, YOU must always ask yourself, "On what basis did I judge the tradition I rejected?" That is where your authority truly rests. You cannot appeal to an authority as a obligatory guide to others if you don't want them examining your "authority" via the higher source you used yourself. If it is just your likes and dislikes, all authority in your life rests on the claim that YOU are anointed and inspired. If only we, who also disagree with tradition but just not where you do, could be YOU. I guess we will just have to trust you.

If you don't redact any part of tradition, that tradition you choose to submit to entirely you have raised to the anointed and inspired rank. The Roman Catholics understand this obligation in their elevation of the magisterial teaching of the church to an equal place with Scripture.

In Vatican II the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation reads:
"…both sacred tradition and sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of devotion and reverence."
"Sacred tradition and sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God"

The Roman Catholics are consistent. Are you?

The Oracle: If you want me to believe something, first make a truth claim about your source of knowing it.

Monday, July 23, 2007

On Attire

I will to dress my public day and dine
In selfish mess or thoughtful service fine
And by it stress just how I place the line
Where I will bless the rest with what is mine.

by Evan Wilson

Sunday, July 22, 2007

One day, as the Oracle sat upon his rock contemplating stuff, tourists (the daughters of the Duc du Barry) came and asked him questions, you know, about stuff. He answered wisely. They had their picture taken with the Amazing Missus too.

They are (l. to r.) Anna, Emily, The A.M.W., and Kate.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A Confession

With such a title the The Society Devoted to the Ending of Evantine Thought sits up and takes notice. Could it be that the Oracle became a Calvinist? Maybe he can say St. Francis' name without the addendum of "the Sissy". It is nothing so dark. Calvinism is still stupid where it stands. And Francis, I can only quote the classics here, "Lighten up Francis."

No, this is more real and more burdensome. My confession? Pets seem to like me. Small children and youth seem to as well. I have built a life out of having no pets. They don't interest me other then that, unlike rocks, they move about. I like rocks more than pets. Small children give me a jabbing pain running from my jaw to the top of my head. You can understand a certain Pavlovian antipathy the Oracle would nurse in his bosom. And youth, I didn't even like myself as a youth. And anyone who attempts to "relate" to the young produces a definite need to update Dante by adding another ring midway or further down in the Inferno. I am not supposed to relate to the youth. They are suppose to relate to reality.

But pets seek me out. Small children smile up at me, with silly cherubic grins festooned across their jowls, and seem to beg for that special Oracle/baby moment. And the last person who ought to have a Bible study for high school students, pulls in 30 of these hormone cripples a week. I push them away. They draw closer. Maybe they sense fear and wickedly hunt me down. Perhaps I have taken on, regardless of my held positions, a certain image of comfort, developing, as I have, into a mattress-like slab. With the pets it is probably the comfort or, because I don't care, they feel they have found a kindred spirit, another animal with animal disinterest. Regarding babies, (dare we think it?) I might be what they want. The saccharine cooing of adult women freebasing baby-bliss while unwrapping shower gifts maybe an actual Hell which none of us remember. Dressed by these maternal madwomen in the silliest clothes (which the children never suggested they like nor would we ever see on another human being other than a clown) babies might look out of innocent, tormented eyes for the semblance of the sane. The Oracle might seem an hopeful anchor. The Amazing Missus commented last night on a commercial advertising a children's show, that they always seem to draw retarded drawings for children. Same idea. The average baby fan draws a picture or procures clothes they wish to see the child with or in, and assume then that babies like badly drawn pictures and going out in public dressed like Paris Hilton's Pomeranian. I know I sound like I'm justifying and your temptation is to run into the streets singing "Pets and babies like Evan! Pets and babies like Evan!" I'll wait until you get back to explain the youth vote.

.... dum-de-dum-dum....

The youth are idiots. Youth leaders treat them as sages-of-the-ages and labor to be just like them. But the youth value "cool" above all things and somewhere in their slightly developed brain stem they know that any youth that thinks he or she is such a sage is at the bottom of the cool pool. ("Cool" has been authoritatively defined by the Oracle as "the perception of knowing in the area valued by the set".) The youth seem to know that they are in a play and their role is "the know-it-all". It is more cool to know you are playing a role then believing you know it all. Average high school students know that it is all a temporary farce which only the "thoughtful" teen and the youth leader seem to believe. Instead of merely "suspending disbelief"in order to play a part, the prigs believe.
The Oracle doesn't believe it and so he tells them. They laugh because they knew it already.
The Oracle has become an object of wonder and contentment and cool to pets, babies, and teenagers.
I am sorry.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

News to Some but Why is it News to Some?

This quote taken from the Vatican website.

Fifth Question: Why do the texts of the Council and those of the Magisterium since the Council not use the title of "Church" with regard to those Christian Communities born out of the Reformation of the sixteenth century?

Response: According to Catholic doctrine, these Communities do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church. These ecclesial Communities which, specifically because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood, have not preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called "Churches" in the proper sense.

The Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, ratified and confirmed these Responses, adopted in the Plenary Session of the Congregation, and ordered their publication.

Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, June 29, 2007, the Solemnity of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.

It is not that we don't have the ability to have faith. We just don't have the magicians who perform the trick.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Celebrating the Unsupportable

The Fourth of July became the occasion for Jay and Noelle Zmuda to call their friends from the four winds of heaven for a commemoration of their singular friendship at a lake side cabin in Sandpoint, Idaho. My eldest flew in from Manhattan ("The City" as he calls it) and my daughter flew in from the village of Portland bypassing their parents who stood savoring the bitter dregs of rejection a mere three hours south. If we wanted to see them we would have to coax an invitation for ourselves to bask, be it so briefly, in their youthful vigor. We just got back from three days in this resplendent company of careers and minds on the ascendant.

In between wake boarding and fireworks (or during since I did not leave the cabin deck) discussions with these alert minds covered the grand topics. Themes such as the hierarchies, can humans be "better" than others, open theism, allegorical silliness, political trends, political oughtness, and St. Paul or friend in the third heaven, fought side by side with the trenchant claims of Metallica. These young adults have better minds and rhetorical abilities and ask better questions than I have heard in much of Christian America.

(first pic is of The Amazing Missus with the hostess Noelle and her sister Loni)

(pirate Tim with lovely Helen and her son Levi)

(Davis of the City, Gunn, and Andy of Los Angeles, soon to be of The City)

(My three sons, Graeme, Davis, Gunn then Andy, Brian of Portland soon of Japan, and Jason, father of Levi and defender of Metallica)

Monday, July 02, 2007

Back in the Saddle

The SCL conference went well. My talks were well received in general. A couple of folks walked out of my last lecture when I inadvertently let it slip that Christianity was post-pagan and not, as we Protestants tend to think, post-Catholic. I think I then used "post-apostasy" as a synonym. Otherwise good times were had by all. The cigar and drink evenings in the cooling mugginess were great. I was threatened with bodily harm by a New York Times reporterette. The exact quote (leaving the newspaper of record an example) was "Sometimes, Evan, I just want to smack you." I assured her that the line was long for those who shared similar intentions.
Had another invigorating debate with an old friend whose shares the nonsensical notions of the allegorical interpretation of Holy Writ. If this is serving as powerful interpretation in the pulpits of the land, God help us all. As I have said before, it is an epistemology based only on the hubris of the speaker and the near infantile credulity of the hearer. All I had to ask to send its advocate into spiral of unsupportable claims was the simple, "How am I supposed to know that what you claim is true?"
My text did not get much attention but people, without prompting, came up to me to ask for copies of something I spoke on last year. That was The Word of a Gentleman and the Way of a Lady. So eager were these expressions that I have returned to the Abbey inspired to finish the new, combined edition which will also include a simple preface to mannered conduct which might be beneficial in most American social moments. I'll let you all know when it is done.