Sunday, July 29, 2007

Quotes of the Week (and a few links)

From the comments to this post, in which Zippy referred to the rightly revered Thomas "Acquinas":

Me: ...Btw, are you familiar with a spelling of "Aquinas" of which I am ignorant?

Zippy: The basic problem is that I am just barely literate, and have a subconscious but very strong tendency toward creative spelling. It might even be a result of my inner child rebelling against the conflation of formal symbols with meaning; if so, I need to hunt the little bastard down and kill him.

Another one, too long to quote, can be found here. As to "reading during sex", I guess it's bad form whoever does it, but it somehow seems worse if the perpetrator is the woman.

We are a nation of moments, instances, ephemeral cycles lasting hours, with a toy industry that has extended to ostensible adults whose favorite gadgets can be seen glued to their ears, holding prolonged but idiotic conversation, "Honey have you put the pea soup up yet?" Anything to use the toy and fill the time and remnants of mind. - Commenter Johnt at WWwtW.

Channel 7 here in Boston has a weather forecaster whose given name is Dylan.

Dylan is a woman.
- via Dylan, who is a man. This is not trivial. If there were a woman weathercaster in my town named Bill, or a boy one named Sue, it would bother me too. Although Dylan didn't actually claim to be bothered by it. It gave him pause, though.

"Be not too hasty to trust, or to admire, the teachers of morality: they discourse like angels, but they live like men." - Samuel Johnson's words, via Kevin Jones. I think my amateur morality-teacher career just came to an end.

Johnson rightly concludes his tale inconclusively. The optimism of the young Rasselas is tempered by experience, though the prince still itches for greatness. His anxieties about choosing the proper path fade after examining the catacombs of Cairo. His philosophical interlude itself appears vain in the face of mortality, and he makes an uneasy peace with the dissatisfied life. The futile quest for worldly happiness is resolved only in the hope of eternal happiness with God. And fallen creatures that we are, that great hope still does not satisfy. - Kevin Jones' words

I'm tired of seeing Christians suck up to Christopher Hitchens just because he wants to kill lots of terrorists...He hates Christians as much as he hates Muslims. - Chris at Papa Familias

Fred Reed has his usual fun: Here’s my plan. We reform the schools on the testing-out principle. We do this by offering a series of examinations. Supposedly, despite a lack of evidence, the schools exist to impart certain things, such as an ability to read. That they want to do this can be questioned, given that they often don’t, and many of the teachers barely can. Never mind. If a kid can demonstrate that he has achieved, by whatever means, whatever it is thought necessary that he achieve, you give him a diploma....The same principle of testing out would work for the universities. Why not devise a comprehensive test of collegiate material? Why pass a poor defenseless soul in puzzled late adolescence through four years of infernal darkness in some thumbsucking adult daycare center? A rape conviction leads to less time in durance vile. More dignified, too.

Neutrality - when it comes to the differences between traditional and modern expressions of liturgy - is impossible without shutting down vital parts of the brain. - Jeff Culbreath, who's inhabiting a semi-euphoric state with the return of the traditional liturgy.

Blogs that start neurons flying: William Luse - Dale Price. Hell yes. And same to you, Dale. [clarification: by "neurons flying" he means thought-provoking. Probably.]

The thinking blogger award goes to: Apologia. Doesn't matter what it's about. Bill writes so well it is always refreshment for the mind and the soul. - John at The Inn at the End of the World. Hell, hell yes. [clarification: all right, in both those I was only one of 5 mentioned. I'll take it.]

In return I'm supposed to nominate some 5 bodies. I nominate the women of St. Blogs and some who ain't. Of St. Blogs, I mean. Like Lydia McGrew of Right Reason and WWwtW. Actually, she strains my brain sometimes, and the reason I nominated the others was that they don't. It's not that they don't make me think, but the things they make me think about don't tie my cerebral convolutions into little pretzels. They calm me down.

Like this, from Ellyn of Oblique House: I spoke unguardedly about the panic attack I had in the shower early Sunday morning. The panic that attacked me when I realized that if my sister and her family were coming to our house for the #&*!@ Pirate Party(tm) that they would eventually need to bathe. That means the peeling paint and mildew in the bathroom need to be addressed. Eventually.

Or this from Terry of the Summamamas, who likes to quote from books she reads: While never neglecting the goodness of caring for one's own domicile and kids—itself an act of demanding hospitality—Peterson underscores that "a Christian home, properly understood, is never just for one's own family. A Christian home overflows its boundaries; it is an outpost of the kingdom of God, where the hungry are fed and the naked are clothed and there is room enough for everyone."

See how calming that is? Even though it sounds like I ought to let the homeless through the front door, which ain't going to happen. But it's the thought that counts.

Or take Peony. In answer to whether she would, in the event of a computer malfunction, "Log in as root and fix the problem in a few swift keystrokes?", she asks, "Who's root?"

Or Elena, who informs us that there were six girls and no guys at her teenage son's birthday party. I'd say he's doing all right for himself.

Sparki tells a rather - uh - personal story of sex and the demands of faith, so I don't want to quote it. (Not because of the sex. I think it's great. Personally recommend it.) But she worries for her children.

At Alicia's, it's all about grandchildren.

Karen Hall has a message for anti-Catholic terrorists here in Orlando who may have wanted to bring down the Cathedral. Cardinal Mahoney won't like her idea. [Update: turns out the "terrorist" briefcase left outside the cathedral was full of art supplies. False alarm. But Mahoney still won't like her idea.]

I'm sorry to see Jeanetta's blog go so quiet, but at least her last post is easy to quote: :-) Just like a girl, don't you think?

And alaiyo tries to get me to think: Recently I was reading one of those books that tells us we must first learn to love ourselves, then we can figure out how to love our neighbors. I've always taken issue with this progression, but it won't work. I just nod and agree with her.

Rather than quote from Susan of Lilac Rose, I'd rather just wish her a happy birthday, a few weeks late. What can I say? I'm busy.

Christine, of Laudem Gloriae, reminds us of the story of Ashley, the Pillow Angel, and points us to a similar story by another just like her, but told in that angel's own words:

Like Ashley, I, too, have a static encephalopathy. Mine was caused by brain damage at the time of my breech birth. Like Ashley, I can't walk, talk, feed or care for myself. My motor skills are those of a 3-month-old. When I was 3, a doctor assessed me as severely retarded (that is, as having an IQ of less than 35)...I lay in bed or on the floor for most of the next 14 years. At the age of 12, I was relabelled as profoundly retarded (IQ less than 20) because I still hadn't learned to walk or talk...Unlike Ashley, my growth was "attenuated" not by medical intervention but by medical neglect. My growth stopped because I was starved...When I turned 18, I weighed only 35 pounds. I hadn't developed breasts or menstruated. I was 42 inches tall.

That'll make you think.

But in the end, even Lydia's just another Christian girl who wants what everyone else wants: a good education for her kids (she homeschools them), a morally decent country to raise them in, a husband who is steadfast, and a chance to defend the name of Christ against all enemies foreign and domestic. She also wants to go to heaven. I know, because in response to a question I posed at What's Wrong with the World, she spoke from deep down:

...But if I had to pick one promise of Christianity that means the most to me and "keeps me going" in it, I think it would be the promise that I myself will one day be fixed. Here's how I look at it: One of the things that might be able to give life meaning even if the soul died forever at death would be the acts of kindness we do now, the love we give to others, the fights in a good cause, and so forth. We could say, "Well, I may be going to die forever some day, but at least this thing was worth doing." But--I don't know about others--I know looking into my own heart that every single darned thing I do that is worth doing I do only partly well. When I love, I love but poorly. When I give, I (usually) give without full love for the recipient. When I fight, my motives are mixed, consisting partly of self-love, pride, and the sheer desire to win, rather than entirely of love for the truth and for goodness. Now, Christianity tells me that, if I follow Christ, one day all this struggle and underlying feeling of insufficiency, irony, and sometimes even anger and misery, at my own faults and shortcomings will be over, and will end not in a mere blank but rather in an eternity of getting it right, of loving with a perfected love and my whole heart, of loving only that which I ought to love, of having all the darkness and nastiness and unkindness and lack of forgiveness taken away and replaced with Goodness--with the love of God himself. Says St. John (I John 3:2-3), "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure."

That's worth living for, and dying for.


TS said...

Beautiful quote from Lydia. Indeed that is what I think of when I think of "eternal rest". Not rest in the sense of calmness but rest in the sense of not having to constantly struggle to do right. Sometimes I think of the Blessed Mother, praying every day and then one day - all of a sudden! - the angel Gabriel visits. You just never know when God may visit so you just hang on every day because His timing is not ours.

Susan B. said...

Hi Bill,

Thank you! I totally understand being busy, believe me. :-)

William Luse said...

She will appreciate your appreciation, TS.

alicia said...

I promise to get back to serious blogging eventually. Especially now that Emma is home with her mommy!

alaiyo said...

Thanks for the many good links, Bill -- and the mention!