Sunday, August 29, 2004

Scandals don't disprove Christianity

even when they occur at the highest levels. Recently there has been much made of a prominent layman whose past indiscretions were trumpeted by a liberal catholic newspaper, as if this sin discredited whatever other work the man has done.

But sin would only disprove Christianity if Christians taught that baptism made one instantly perfect. But that isn't the case. Authentic Christianity teaches that all are sinners, and sin in Christians doesn't contradict that teaching.

Rather, as Chesterton pointed out somewhere, the continuance of evil in human affairs despite the attempts of secular social reformers to eradicate it is much more of an argument against them than against Christians.

Friday, August 27, 2004

I'm back

You might not have even noticed I was gone. I was taking a small break from blogging so I could enjoy the end of the summer. But now I'm back at school, with lots of important work that I need to do. The good news for you is that I will want to avoid doing that work, and so likely will blog lots more.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

An invitation

if you are in the Chicago area. My eparchy (diocese) has instituted a series of pilgrimages to our parishes, and this Sunday is our turn.

It's at Annunciation Byzantine Catholic Church, 14610 Will-Cook Rd, Homer Glen, IL 60491.

Here's the schedule:

9:00-10:15am Confessions. I know I need this part especially.
9:30am Matins (Morning prayer)
10:30am Divine Liturgy (Mass) with procession
12:00pm Light lunch
12:45pm Akathist Hymn to John the Baptist (an akathist is kind of like a litany, only longer. But not too long.)

Please consider coming. Our choir is quite good, and this is sort of a last hurrah for us for a while. We sing Ruthenian music, which is the prototype for Russian church music--if you like the Don Cossack choir and that sort of stuff, you'd probably enjoy hearing us.

Here's some pictures of the church which are a little bit out of date. Imagine lots of little kids running around, beautiful music, more icons, less pews, and you'll get the idea.

Monday, August 16, 2004

More on modesty

On my way back home from church this past Sunday, I saw a common sight: teenage girls in bikinis holding up signs for a car wash. I think they were part of a cheerleading squad. So, I pulled over to chat with the adult who was present.

"Do you really think it's appropriate to use 14 year-old T & A to entice people in for carwashes?"

"I'm sorry you feel that way. That's not the intention."

"So why the bikini tops?"

"It's hot." It wasn't. It was 72 degrees.

Of course, the perfect response only occurred to me 5 minutes later: if the desparately hot weather had forced the girls to bare their skin, I should have asked the 40ish adult woman why she wasn't dressed similarly.

Questioning the culture of death is fun. I think I'm going to make a point of stopping and scolding (politely) more often. Won't you join me?

Well, I did it.

No more cable television in the Athanasius household. It feels. . . good.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Prayer Request

Remember the Big Thing I've been asking you to pray for that I can't tell you about yet? Well, there's a big meeting about it this weekend. Could you please pray that all goes well? Perhaps then I'll even be able to tell you what it is.


An Aphorism(tm)

If the Catholic Church was as powerful as books like The Da Vinci Code claim, there would be no books like The Da Vinci Code.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Sharing faith journeys in our communities of faith

Do sentences like the above make you cringe? Do you run screaming from the worship space when you hear talk about "ministries?" Do you miss the days when religious education was catechesis? Then you aren't alone. Or at least, that means I am not alone.

I hate and despise the attempts to update venerable and ancient terms with the modern and banal. But why is it that such terms are so bad? They have the aroma of middle-management jargon, unnecessary complications of language used to justify the jobs of mediocrities. But, as bad as jargon is, I think the reason such terms are bad is deeper. In fact, I think the use of such terms is a sign of a serious spiritual sickness.

Walker Percy talks about the changes of fashion in Lost in the Cosmos, pointing out that when clothes go out of style, it isn't the clothes that have changed, but the person who wears them. At one point, the polkadot tie "was you." Now, it is no longer. In fact, the continual movement from polkadot tie to paisley tie to monochrome, Regis-Philbinesque tie and back is evidence that you don't really know who you are. If you had a proper sense of self (and for Percy, the only proper sense of self is "sinner, along with other sinners, but redeemed"), you wouldn't need to change your tie.

A similar thing is happening in the Church. We don't have a clear idea of what the Church is, and so we attempt to clothe the big gaping hole in our understanding with lots of nice, warm, friendly, "relevant" terminology. If we call the parish a "worship community", that might distract us from the fact that we don't really understand what it means to be part of the Church, the Bride of Christ, espoused to Christ and made holy by his sacrifice.

Eschew obfuscation. Go back to calling churches and parishes "churches" and "parishes," not "worship spaces" and "faith communities." Don't "share your faith journey," evangelize!