growing up Catholic

I grew up as a Roman Catholic. I started out going to Immaculate Conception church, but for whatever reason (I wasn’t consulted) my mother switched us to St. Jude’s Mission. The priest at St. Jude’s was Father Diamond, but he was assisted by Father Holley, who I remember today only as a producer of apalling sermons. (I specifically recall one whose central illustration was evidently adapted from Tony Orlando and Dawn’s Tie a Yellow Ribbon… quite closely adapted, right down to the bus driver and the hundred ribbons tied to the old oak tree. The only worse sermon illustration I ever heard was from a Presbyterian pastor, who talked about the boy with no ears. Which might have been the inspiration for this story.)

My guardian angels must have been working overtime, because that’s all I remember about Father Holley. But some people have other memories of him. In fact, he is a “textbook case” of how the Church covered up priest abuse. I only just learned all this when Google found me this story about what he’s been doing lately.

Bitter America

I saw a flyer for Church Folks for a Better America at school today. The web site doesn’t say how many people belong to the organization. From its name to the omni-present plural in its statements, it suggests but never says that there are more than just its leader. I have some familiarity with him and with others who (judging from the flyer) are affiliated with him. To be honest, it looks to me like some kind of interlocking directorate:

A project of the Peace Action Education Fund, educational arm of the Coalition for Peace Action

Anyway, from their purpose statement, I surmise that a better America is one that works for peace. Or at least ends its military involvement in Iraq. Which is to say, this is just one more anti-war group pretending to have a broad agenda of betterment for America. It also suggests that their vision for a better America is theologically informed, these being Church folks. But note the articles linked from the front page, and, especially, the “Analysts We Like” page. How many of them advance theological positions against the war? Several appear to be generic left-wingers (Molly Ivins, WaPo editorials, …) opposed to the war on ideological grounds?

Note that a letter by religious leaders begins with a theological argument but quickly transitions to more worldly concerns:

disregard for international laws against torture, for the legal rights of suspected “enemy combatants,” and for the adverse consequences your decisions have had at home and abroad

What specific expertise do religious leaders bring to a discussion of international laws, legal rights, and adverse consequences? Don’t get me wrong: many of the names on the list belong to people I know and respect. But while their motivations for signing this letter may be theologically informed (and I would note, looking at the diversity of faith traditions the signatories represent, it would be a very generic theology) the argument advanced by the letter is not. Certainly church folks should be concerned with these issues. But their contribution to the discussion ought to be theological rather than an echo of what worldly leftists think.

Soda vs. Pop

I grew up using the word “coke” as a generic term meaning “carbonated soft drink.” From this map you can tell what part of the country I grew up in.

In other old news, I should mention this anagram generator. In no time at all I found out that I could use SLEEK JUNO and LO! SEE JUNK as aliases, and
that “soda versus pop” could be rearranged to spell A DOPE SO RSVP US.

Calvin and Science

Light blogging today because I’m working on a term paper in my Calvin class. I’m trying to insinuate that Calvin’s theology somehow was more conducive to scientific investigation than your run-of-the-mill loser Protestant Reformers.

I have discovered that the version of Calvin’s commentaries in the library (i.e., a couple of miles from where I’m working) are the same as the ones online at ccel.org.

While you’re there, see how many of their recommended works you’ve read.