In A Charlie Brown Christmas, Charlie Brown is depressed. He doesn’t feel very uplifted by the approach of Christmas, ostensibly because it has gotten “commercialized,” but really, as he admits to himself early in the special, because he perceives that nobody likes him, so, “Why do we have to have a holiday season to emphasize it?” Charlie Brown’s self-derision is healed in the end by the kindness and closeness of his friends. But many more people besides Charlie Brown struggle at Christmastime, either because they also think that nobody likes them, or else because the memory of lost loved ones becomes more painful now, or else because the changes they’re seeing all around them—the increased crowds and clamor; the repellent false sentimentality and self-interestedness of actual commercialization; the growing darkness, both spiritual and literal—just puts extra stress on them.Continue reading
The following paragraphs contain some of the most poignant and simultaneously soul-sapping words I’ve ever read. I won’t waste time on any commentary except to say that this resonates with me because I know exactly what is meant here from experience. I know the flavor of the banal art produced not by the forgivable immaturity of atheistic communism (which at least had real conviction) but by the comfortable, horizonless, dead-endedness of a society that only rises to the level of pretend conviction at most, and more often only ape-ish itching and scratching:Continue reading
Q. Does your Church believe people will go to hell for being gay?
Q. But being gay is a sin, right?
Q. Then why doesn’t your Church allow gay marriage? Continue reading
Or, A Primer on Depicting the Trinity
In the Western Tradition of the Church, yesterday was Trinity Sunday. This always comes the Sunday after Pentecost, and it celebrates the reality that God has been revealed to us as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Eastern Tradition recognizes that this complete revelation of God occurs on Pentecost, when all three persons of the Trinity have been revealed to us, and so Pentecost doubles as Trinity Sunday in the East. Continue reading
Today, I feel like going for a hike. Getting out in nature, being surrounded by hills, trees, creeks. This is an improvement from yesterday when I felt like being surrounded by nothing at all. Literally wanting to be removed from everything, surrounded only by void. The hike gets me away from people and buildings and highways and chatter, but there’s still the hard, spiky reality of a world all around me to reckon with. For someone like me, who occasionally feels like I’m having an out of body experience in my own body, aware of the utter strangeness of my existence in a world whose own existence is equally strange, and how weird it is that I can contemplate my own conscious perspective within that world, the periodic desire to be separated out from that world, to retreat to some neutral space that isn’t me and isn’t the world, is to be expected. Continue reading
Every event in the universe is causally linked to an event before it, right? And every one of those events are linked to prior events. These chains of events all converge and are set in motion by the initial event of the beginning of the cosmos. But what caused that event?
This is the infinite regress problem. The chain of causality in this cosmos of ours begs the question of its ultimate beginning. If our universe is cyclical, expanding in a big bang and then collapsing on itself only to then expand again, what started the cycle in the first place? Continue reading
When I was a kid I lived in a neighborhood that was relatively safe to run around in and explore. There was a small creek that ran through the neighborhood, and I used to play on its small muddy banks. I’d take the route from my house that wound through my neighbors’ back yards, through dense foliage, between trees, and behind fences, until I could hear the faint babbling of the water and saw the sun only reaching the ground in a few thin shafts that squeezed through the dancing, leafy canopy above. The somewhat isolated creek had its own character and feel, and its banks and surrounding grounds became a secret garden. I was probably only a few hundred yards from my house, but it was a world away. Continue reading
What are the limits of love? The phrase “I love you” is one of the most ubiquitous and inescapable phrases in the English language. I’m sure its counterpart phrases are almost equally ubiquitous in other languages. I doubt you’ve never heard the phrase or spoken it yourself. But what does it mean? Fifteen seconds’ thought reveals that we don’t know what it means. Or maybe we know parts of what it means but are unable to articulate in one succinct explanation the full gamut of the ramifications that come from uttering the words “I love you” to another person. And I am talking about those words applying to another person, and not just a thing. I can say I love my can opener, but this is necessarily an objective (in the grammatical sense) love, since there’s no chance of reciprocity of love with an object. The distinction between subject and object when it comes to love is important, but I think we regularly confuse the two in our love of both people and things. Continue reading