Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Reading Ignatius

"I dust a bit," Ignatius told the policeman.  "In addition, I am at the moment writing a lengthy indictment against our century.  When my brain begins to reel from my literary labors, I make an occasional cheese dip."

I believe that it is good for a man to be sure to have some Ignatius in his ongoing reading regimen.  I must admit, however, that not all of my Ignatius reading is of exactly the same sort.  There is the great saint of the Apostolic age, with his indispensable letters.  There is the sixteenth century Spaniard, with his Spiritual Exercises.  Then, there is the brilliant literary creation of twentieth century New Orleanian John Kennedy Toole. 

I took a moment this morning, and flipped through a copy of A Confederacy of Dunces that somehow caught my attention on its shelf.  One of the times I read it, I must have been moved to do a lot of underlining.  And so my eyes finally rested upon the underlined passage I quote above.  It brought me a good laugh, so I though someone else might appreciate it as well. 

Toole's departure from this world was a tragedy, though I am gratified that he is still with us through the gift of his writing.

The Dangers of Nontraditional Worship

"Contemporary" styled worship leads to instability in the Church, and ends ultimately in catastrophe.  Allow me to illustrate, with the help of Youtube:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Joyce Carol Oates Interview on Widowhood

Whether you are a fan of Joyce Carol Oates' fiction, or her nonfiction, or whether you simply want to listen to an interesting talk from a thoughtful woman reflecting on her own experience of losing her husband of almost five decades, there is much to be gained from listening to this audio from an interview aired on the The Leonard Lopate Show on New York's NPR station, WNYC.  I am currently reading the memoir discussed in the interview, and will later have something to say of it in this forum.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Public Teachers Publicly Sinning in Madison

While it is false to teach that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is guilty of Seventh Commandment sins against the public teachers in proposing an adjustment to what they pay on their pensions, there are actual open and scandalous sins involved in the protests in Madison. 

For example, if stealing is a concern among us, and I hope it is, then all Christians, especially those responsible for speaking out on moral issues, like preachers, no matter what one's own political leaning is, ought to be decrying the fact that thousands of teachers are stealing time and resources from school districts, and ultimately from the people, by refusing to show up and do their jobs, which, I must remind some, is actually to teach kids (and not teaching them a life lesson in politics or integrity or some such phony rationalization, but to teach their assigned subject in the classroom). 

Then there is the Fourth Commandment, by which a teacher owes faithfulness in his job to those above him.  Or the Eighth Commandment, about bearing false witness.  That one should bring shame to all those who openly lied about being sick, to get a "sick day" to go and protest at the capitol.  And now we find out that there are actually people at the demonstrations, dressed in doctors' coats, handing out sick notes to any who wants it.  They might or might not be real doctors.  If they are, that brings shame on that profession as well.  We also know that in some cases union leaders are telling lies to their rank and file, about what is in the proposals, and what is at stake in all of this. 

Teachers in our public schools are ministers of the state, if you will.  In other words, they are public servants.  Their work is on behalf of the public and for the public good.  Therefore, it is especially grievous to see the type of conduct we have seen from many of them gathered in Madison for the past several days.  Besides the outright and plain sins as we have already mentioned, there is a lot of childish behavior in the demonstrations, and some that can only be defined as thuggish.  Many of these teachers are an embarrassment to Wisconsin, to America, to our municipalities, to our schools, and our whole modern system of education. 

Yet ironically, the teachers would tell us that their job is special, that their role is special, that they are special.  We should treat them as a special caste, but apparently they are not so special that their presence in the classroom is crucial, or that it is important for the children to see them conduct themselves with integrity and make sacrifices like those in the working class have done.  No, they are a delicate, special group.  Another blog entry will have to be devoted to the Lutheran teachers who think they are so special that they have a "ministry" and a "call," but in the present case the public school teachers, at least those who blindly follow union-think, and have run off to Madison to protest, need to be taken down a notch.  Why?  For one thing, they have, by and large, done a shameful job teaching our children.  If the American public school teachers' collective performance over the past generation had matched their collective rise in pay and benefits, I would be praising them.  Even then, however, I would nonetheless be calling for them to agree to these minor, minuscule sacrifices because the fact is that we simply cannot afford these extravagances.

Truth be told, I have a great deal of love, respect, and esteem for primary and secondary education, for our kids, and for the profession.  In some ways, indeed, it is a special role in society and in a child's life, which is one reason it is especially shameful that some are acting this way.  Since I have left the seminary, I myself have thought a great deal about going into teaching.  It would require certification, which is a commitment I simply cannot afford at this point.  At any rate, I respect and appreciate the profession of teaching, and I call upon all to practice some maturity, reasonableness, and integrity.  To borrow the words of the Blessed Reformer, in regard to the teachers, and legislators, I urge them to stay and do their duty.

The Christian teacher, no matter where he teaches, ought especially to remind himself that his model is the life, and sacrifice, of Christ.  For Christ is the Teacher par excellence, and He shows us by his eternal teaching, and by the exemplary dignity of His humility and sacrifice, how the Christian is to see his own life and work.   For our life is bound up in the wounds of the One Who is, for His Church, Christus Magister.

Motherhood as a Choice

The current issue of The New Yorker (Feb 14 & 21, 2011) features a humorous, thoughtful, and honest essay, "Confessions of a Juggler," by Tina Fey (p 64) in which the writer and comedienne holds forth on the many factors that float into the modern woman's mind, in her case even late at night, which are weighed in the decision to have a child.  The article is written and constructed in a style that is humorous not only in its wit and anecdotal components, but also in its almost flighty manner of reflecting the flood of considerations that rush through a woman's mind, maybe especially late at night, over such monumental issues as the relationship between career, motherhood, and her place in the world.  Fey's considerations on these questions inspire sympathy for her angst over the matter (and in turn for the angst of perhaps a whole generation of women) and respect for the seriousness with which she takes the responsibilities of both her career and her parental role.

On the one hand, there is the "guilt and panic" that overwhelm her when her daughter says, "I wish I had a baby sister."   A mother instinctively wants to give her daughter everything she might need, even everything she might want, so long as it is safe and good for her.  Along the way, the reader is treated to all that is involved in this guilt and panic, including thoughts about her own childhood, and indeed, her mother's childhood as well.  On the other hand, Fey takes with utter seriousness her responsibility to those whose jobs with her TV show, "30 Rock", depend on her.

Besides venting all of this worry in print, and apparently to her gynecologist ("I went for my annual checkup and, tired of carrying this anxiety around, burst into tears the moment she said hello. I laid it all out for her...") one supposes that her husband (Jeff Richmond) might certainly provide some sense of calm and relief, and thus be a needed emotional balance in her life.  I have no idea what kind of man Mr. Richmond is, so this is not an implication of him, but such an emotional balance and comfort in a marriage does assume that the husband is not as emotional as his wife.  This is not always a safe assumption.  Furthermore, the matter is not resolved merely by calming the woman who is so anxious.  Resolution of the questions, the issues over which one suffers anxiety, is not the same as sense of relief, whether temporary or permanent, from the worry.  A woman might feel much better in the morning about worries she had six hours earlier, but that doesn't mean the issues are resolved.  The point is that even the relief and calm that a husband might bring to a woman's worries does not guarantee that the right course will be taken.  Also worth considering here is the fact that the actual desire or reasoned opinion or wishes of the husband is not given any attention at all.

The strong tugs she feels, toward her career and to motherhood, are both commendable feelings.  It is worth considering the possibility, however, that these two responsibilities, that of wife and mother, and that of the TV star, are not equal.  Indeed, one is a divine calling, and the other is a career choice.

Motherhood ought to be seen as one of the chief creative arts.  For it is God's chosen vehicle for His continuing work of creation.  It is also a glimpse, a type, of the creation of children in the kingdom of God by the union of the eternal Word with His Bride, ie., our mother the Church.  Motherhood, in many ways, is an image of the holiness of the motherhood of the Church.  The Church is, to the Christian, alma mater, our nourishing mother.  She bears, cares for, nourishes, feeds and raises up her children, her "little Christs."  She does so by means of the pure spiritual milk of the Word of God, and by always being there for the Christian.  She is never off duty, never taking time off to devote to other causes or ambitions.  She feels absolutely no sense of independence.  Her whole identity is bound up with her relationship with her Lord, from Whose passion she derives her being. 

The rewards of motherhood do not compare with the fame and fortune that come with a career.  The former are far more valuable.  Many women will object to the notion that they have anything like fame or fortune, or that such things are their chief concern in the decision-making process.  Even Fey, with great wit, would surely even object.  Fame, even the famous tell us, is fleeting.  A show could get cancelled at any moment.  Fortune?  Fey could point us to many who make substantially more than she does.  Let us be brutally honest, however, and this is not against any one person.  The modern  upper class, and upper middle class American family, in order to go from two incomes to one income, would have to make sacrifices that are much more doable than they are desirable to the flesh.  For the flesh rather likes the name a woman can make for herself, and the income she can draw. 

Aside from losing that income, the woman would also lose the sense of fulfillment that comes with her present role in life.  One of the problems here is the cultural conditioning by which one is trained to feel fulfilled by using his skills in the form of a career.  One could just as easily teach oneself to feel fulfilled in another way.  The other problem is with the very concept of fulfillment, and the high value placed on it.  God asks neither success nor fulfillment of us.  He does call us to be faithful. 

Let us suppose for a moment that Fey were to come to the conclusion that she ought to choose to stop the juggling act, and leave her career altogether, and stay home.  What would happen to all of the people who rely on the show for their livelihoods?  What would happen is that they would find another job, or they would struggle for a time until they found a living that did not necessitate keeping a woman away of her familial responsibilities.  There is nothing wrong with struggling.  Too many people think (and too many theologians teach) that if one's chosen path has placed him into struggle and hardship, then it is a sign that he has chosen the wrong path.  Conversely, a sense of fulfillment can simply be misleading.  It can be from the devil, the flesh, or from the conditioning of the world, as we have said.  Unfortunately, by the reasoning of some (such as a pastor whose view of contracts can be seen in a comment to the previous post) if Fey were to suddenly choose to leave the TV show, she would be labeled guilty of breaking a contract, even one which might be inherently immoral in what it requires of her.

But most fundamental of all is the very assumption that what is important here is choice.  Fey is not making an argument in this piece; it is closer to say she is expressing the multifaceted complex of considerations of the modern woman who strives to be true to her maternal impulse and to her skills in the creative arts. However, if there is a point to it, I suggest it is that the article reinforces the modern woman's basic right to chose her own path in the world. And this is where I have profound disagreement with the writer.

Let us say that a woman chooses to be a mother, and not a careerist?  This happens all the time, blogs are devoted to it, books are written in defense of such a choice, etc.  There are two problems, however, with this concept.  One is that it assumes that all that is needed is for a decision to be made.  Just press a button.  The woman who does not have children, then, must necessarily be guilty of making a different choice than the woman who has children, and we are free to look down upon her for her feminist decision-making and worldview.  Here is where I appreciate Fey's point that one of the worst things you can ask a woman is "Are you going to have more kids?" though perhaps for different reasons.  It is a difficult, and gut wrenching choice, and either path involves much hard work, and no guarantees.  These are among the reasons Fey says it is a rude question.  And I appreciate that.  The reason I say it is rude is that no one has the right or ability to make such a choice.  A woman has the ability to say no to children, but she cannot bring about offspring by mere choice.  The spiritual analogy to this truth is that a man has no choice whether he becomes a child of God, a Christian, an heir of heaven.  This happens to him, by the work of the Spirit of God.  He can only choose to reject, blaspheme, and run away.

Much of the angst would be taken away from the modern woman if she would base her life, not upon choice, but upon vocation and calling.  We cannot judge a woman by the fact that she might have a career, or might not have children, for we do not know that either was her real preference.  Other factors may be at play in a fallen world, where we struggle amid all sorts of hardships, external and internal.  Fey might decide, Yes, I want another daughter.  Does that mean she will have a daughter?  Of course not.  Does it mean she will have a child?  No, there is no such gguarantee.  She can, however, conclude that her husband is making enough of an income for her to devote herself to her husband and daughter.  This indeed, is my prayer.  And if she were to come to this conclusion, it would in no way be a point of personal pride, for motherhood is not a choice. It, as with its more basic derivative, marriage, is a holy calling.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Unchurchmanly Behavior

My wife is a good woman, a fine wife, and is also somewhat opinionated and near-famously gifted with what some Lutherans call "gab."  Gifts can be used properly, and they can be an occasion for impropriety.  If on occasion she steps over the line, especially if that involves, say, engaging in arguments in public, then her husband speaks with her about it, and deals with it.  That's simply life, in an obstinately unenlightened and decidedly unegalitarian marriage. 

Far worse than such behavior on the part of an opinionated woman, in my view, is when a man chooses to engage in an argument with a woman, and on top of that, actually goes on the attack.  This is not the way a man behaves.  You are not a man, much less a Christian man, when you behave this way.   Moreover, you pastors of the church are called not merely to be men, which is a high and challenging calling in itself, but churchmen, men of the church.  And some of you dare attack a woman, another mans wife?  What exactly is the problem with you?  If you see a woman say something with which you profoundly disagree, on politics, the culture, or whatever, and you even find yourself downright irritated, you could simply be the man, be the one with the inner strength to be the gentleman.  Have the strength to resist your urges.  Some men need to do what the character George Costanza on Seinfeld once did, and resolve to do the exact opposite of whatever you would normally do.

I am not merely referring to Matt Lorfeld's behavior on facebook, which can only be described as childish (or at best it is seminary behavior, where there ought not be women anyway).  I am referring to it, but not merely to it.  For it is a type.  It takes a certain type of minister of the church to publicly call a woman "ignorant."  So let us review some basics.  The ministry of the church is by its nature a public matter.  It is also by its nature a servanthood.  And what exactly is it to which one is in service when he is called to the church's ministry (ministerio ecclesiastico)?  He is called to the high art of theology.  Theology is his life, not simply one of the things he does.  It permeates his life and being; it defines his role in this world.  Far from being a mere career the theologian has chosen for himself, it is a habitus practicus Ѳεοσδοτον.  One wonders, by their behavior, if some churchmen even know what that means.

To add an even finer point to this, when a man is called to be a servant of theology, it means, ipso facto, that his life is now in the service of people, people whom some pastors have no problems fighting over the headlines of the day.  Please.  Wake up and renew your spirit of churchmanship.  And if you won't, then at least refrain from engaging in this type of behavior with any lady in my family.

Now that I have expounded a bit on the topic of unchurchmanly behavior, let me now briefly address what I would call an example of improper use of the law of God, or put another way, a badly mistaken view of the Ten Commandments.  For quite apart from the issue of his method of interaction on the topic, I am struck by Pastor Lorfeld's claim that the Seventh Commandment is involved in the possibility of the public teachers' unions losing a portion of what they have enjoyed in recent times.  It is one thing for a theologian to have a political opinion, though I tend to think the churchman ought to speak of political issues only when they touch moral problems.  It is quite another for him to express his opinion in such a way as to bring morality into the topic in a completely improper and false manner.  The teacher of the church -that is what the preacher is (ministerium docendi)- who says such things is allowing the flesh to speak, and is stifling the spirit.  When this happens, as Luther says, we are deceived into misbelief, despair, and other great shame and vice.  The churchman is not given many things by which to fulfill his role in this life, and to which he much be faithful, but they are things of the utmost importance.  Truth be told, they are the most powerful and dangerous things in life, things like the holy mysteries of God, and the Word of God, which includes the Ten Commandments.  Let us be careful how we handle such things, and learn anew to speak in the public square in a manner befitting the Gospel and the Church.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

on unchurchmanly attitudes toward the liturgy

Tradition does not excuse the man of the church from having to think for himself.  In fact, approaching his churchly tasks thoughtfully, vigilantly, and critically is his duty.  At the same time, it is a great privilege to work within the liturgical parameters of the church's tradition.  This is a great gift, and one which does not stifle, but opens up ever new possibilities for ministering the Word of God to and for Christ's holy Bride, the Church. 

With that thought in mind, I must say, with respect, that it brings me pause when Confessional Lutheran churchmen, even relatively traditionalist ones, openly espouse opinions against this or that aspect of the traditional church year, especially when in some cases these opinions take on such harsh tones.  A prominent and perennial example comes up around this time of year, as we enter Septuagesimatide, the season which this year begins next Sunday (with First Vespers the previous evening) and culminates two weeks and two days later on Fat Tuesday.  It is a transition into the great season of Lent, and is rich in what it offers us, devotionally, homiletically, etc. 

The point of the present reflection is not to expound on the riches and meaning of Septuagesimatide, but let me just throw in one sort of parenthetical thought.  One of the benefits of, if not the reason for, fasting is that when certain things are removed from one's diet, the body learns anew to more fully appreciate the other parts, the more basic and essential aspects of the diet.  Even apart from churchly fasting, we all know that if one reduces, say, salt from his diet, he eventually improves his ability to appreciate the natural saltiness in his food.  Likewise, while the Lenten fast begins only after Fat Tuesday (which is a whole weekend or more of joyous parades and fun in some parts of the world, such as the American treasure of New Orleans), nevertheless, there is what I would call a sort of liturgical fast in Lent, which comes to us in degrees, the first stage of which begins with Septuagesima, the final stage being Passiontide, culminating with the triduum sacrum.  While much is made of how this liturgical fast signals a more somber and sorrowful tone and emphasis, it is also worth exploring the converse reality, namely, what is gained by these liturgical deletions.  What is gained is that we learn to more fully appreciate everything else that remains in the church's liturgical celebration.  And when we finally get to Passiontide, we are made ready for a liturgical diet that is so pure that it actually resembles the liturgy of the early church as no other season does.  This all begins with the dropping of the alleluia the third Lord's Day before Lent.

In the age when we now have options, oh, glorious options and freedom, the pastor who chooses to follow the traditional church year will at times give in to the temptation to think, and speak, of his choosing the old one year model, and of how impressed we should be because he has sifted through all the options and has, of his own accord, chosen a certain route.  And even when he follows the traditional liturgical year, maybe even because he does so, he (this "he" does not mean all, but some men sometimes, though maybe also a certain streak within the fallen man in each of us) will feel he has the right to speak out about the deficiencies of this or that aspect of it.  I have seen this take place in literally hateful terms.  Let me emphasize I have no one in particular in mind, but just to draw a hypothetical scenario, he might say, I follow it because over all it is the right way, or because everyone in my circuit or town follows it, but let me tell you what I really think of the pre-lenten cycle, or of dropping alleluias in Lent, or anytime, etc.

Your people are on the Internet.  They are on Facebook.  Their view of the tradition of the church will be bent, and eventually shaped, by your ridicule of this or that point of the church year, whether it be expressed as vitriol or as erudition.  Martin Luther himself criticized aspects or practices of the church year, some are quick to point out.  First, God gives a Martin Luther to the church, it seems, only once every couple of millennia.  You are not Martin Luther.  Not unless you know the Bible literally backwards and forwards, and not merely in the ESV, but in the other three inspired texts, ie., the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew.  And not unless you know and have lived the liturgy as he did.  Not unless you have studied and practically memorized Gabriel Biel's book on the Mass, as he did.  Not unless you face the manifold spiritual challenges he faced.  Yes, Luther at times can be found to criticize certain practices.  It is also true that there is often a marked difference between these criticisms in the class room, or in a book, on the one hand, and his actual practice on the other hand.  And besides all this, some of the language used against this pericope, or that season, more closely resembles the violence Luther reserved for real enemies of the Gospel than anything else.  At one point, actually in one of his more amusing passages, Luther riffs on no less an aspect of the church year than the dating of Easter.  He says, as I recall, that it does not merely move, but wobbles.   Nevertheless, he doesn't go off on it every year, as a pet peeve.

There is something arrogant about this attitude. We know you have learned a lot. You went to seminary. You read books. You pondered the historical and practical implications of all of these things. You have seen it played out in field education. You even got yourself declared fit for ministry by all the right men, a skill I never learned. Nevertheless, I call upon you to see yourself as a servant of the liturgy. Let it judge you, rather than you judging it. Let it shape you, rather than you reshaping it. In short, when the man of the church takes the attitude of being a servant of something wiser than himself, that is, the liturgical tradition of the church, he will see that it is the liturgy that serves him, and his hearers, in ways that will be fully appreciated not in seasons and years as much as in terms of decades, generations, and eternity.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

time lapse video of last week's blizzard

When you get a couple minutes, and want to see what a blizzard looks like in an urban setting, check out this video.  It is a look at the blizzard from the window of Layer One Media's studio in Third Ward, on Water Street, beginning at 6 pm on 1 Feb, and ending at 3 pm the next day, all squeezed into about three minutes.  I found it at the Third Ward facebook page.  The youtube video by Layer One does not seem to be set up so that one may share it on a blog, so I am simply giving you the like, so you can see it for yourself.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Catechism of the Day

Christian Questions With Their Answers

Drawn up by Doctor Martin Luther for those who intend to go to the Sacrament.

After Confession and instruction in the Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Sacraments of Baptism and the Holy Supper, the pastor may ask, or one may ask himself:

1. Do you believe that you are a sinner?

Yes, I believe it; I am a sinner.

2. How do you know this?

From the Ten Commandments; these I have not kept.

3. Are you also sorry for your sins?

Yes, I am sorry that I have sinned against God.

4. What have you deserved of God by your sins?

His wrath and displeasure, temporal death, and eternal damnation.

5. Do you also hope to be saved?

Yes, such is my hope.

6. In whom, then, do you trust?

In my dear Lord Jesus Christ.

7. Who is Christ?

The Son of God, true God and man.

8. How many Gods are there?

Only one; but there are three Persons:
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

9. What, then, has Christ done for you that you trust in Him?

He died for me and shed His blood for me on the cross
for the forgiveness of sins.

10. Did the Father also die for you?

He did not; for the Father is God only,
the Holy Ghost likewise;
but the Son is true God and true man;
He died for me and shed His blood for me.

11. How do you know this?

From the holy Gospel and from the words of the Sacrament;
and by His body and blood given me as a pledge in the Sacrament.

12. How do those words read?

Our Lord Jesus Christ, the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread;
and when He had given thanks, He brake it and gave it to His disciples, saying,

Take, eat; this is My body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of Me.

After the same manner also He took the cup when He had supped, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying,

Drink ye all of it; this cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you for the remission of sins.
This do, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me.

13. You believe, then, that the true body and blood of Christ are in the Sacrament?

Yes, I believe it.

14. What induces you to believe this?

The Word of Christ,

Take, eat, this is My body;
Drink ye all of it, this is My blood.

15. What ought we to do when we eat His body and drink His blood, and thus receive the pledge?

We ought to remember and proclaim His death and the shedding of His blood, as He taught us:

This do, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me.

16. Why ought we to remember and proclaim His death?

That we may learn to believe that no creature could make satisfaction for our sins but Christ, true God and man; and that we may learn to look with terror at our sins, and to regard them as great indeed, and to find joy and comfort in Him alone, and thus be saved through such faith.

17. What was it that moved Him to die and make satisfaction for your sins?

His great love to His Father and to me and other sinners, as it is written in John 14, Romans 5, Galatians 2, and Ephesians 5.

18. Finally, why do you wish to go to the Sacrament?

That I may learn to believe that Christ died for my sin out of great love, as before said; and that I may also learn of Him to love God and my neighbor.

19. What should admonish and incite a Christian to receive the Sacrament frequently?

In respect to God, both the command and the promise of Christ the Lord should move him, and in respect to himself, the trouble that lies heavy on him, on account of which such command, encouragement, and promise are given.

20. But what shall a person do if he be not sensible of such trouble and feel no hunger and thirst for the Sacrament?

To such a person no better advice can be given than that, in the first place, he put his hand into his bosom, and feel whether he still have flesh and blood, and that he by all means believe what the Scriptures say of it in Galatians 5 and Romans 7.

Secondly, that he look around to see whether he is still in the world, and keep in mind that there will be no lack of sin and trouble, as the Scriptures say in John 15 and 16, and First John 2 and 5.

Thirdly, he will certainly have the devil also about him, who with his lying and murdering, day and night, will let him have no peace within or without, as the Scriptures picture him in John 8 and 16, First Peter 5, Ephesians 6, and Second Timothy 2.

Note: These questions and answers are no child’s play, but are drawn up with great earnestness of purpose by the venerable and pious Doctor Luther for both young and old. Let each one take heed and likewise consider it a serious matter; for Saint Paul writes to the Galatians, chapter sixth: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked.”

Monday, February 7, 2011

Catechism of the Day

The Table of Duties is concluded and summed up with the following handy couplet:

Let each his lesson learn with care,
And all the household well shall fare.

Cuique sit imprimis magnae sua lectio curae,
Ut domus officiis stet decorata suis.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Catechism of the Day

Table of Duties, continued

To All in Common

Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
Herein are comprehended all the Commandments.
(Romans 13)

And persevere in prayer for all men.
(1st Timothy 2)

Omnibus in Commune

Dilige proximum tuum sicut te ipsum.
In hoc sermone omnia praecepta summatim comprehenduntur.
(De Epistola beati Pauli Apostoli ad Romanos)

Et ante omnia fiant deprecationes, obsecrationes, interpellations, gratiarum actiones pro omnibus hominibus etc.
(De epistola primai ad Timotheum)

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Superbowl Culture Clash

I had no idea Wisconsin towns could be so hard to pronounce.  Here is a video, in which a few Texans are put to the test.

Catechism of the Day

Table of Duties, continued

To Widows

Now, she that is a widow indeed, and desolate,
trusteth in God,
and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.
But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.
(1st Timothy 5)


Quae vere vidua est ac desolata,
speret in Deo
et perseveret in obsecrationibus ac precationibus noctu dieque.
Quae vero in deliciis vivit, Ea vivens mortua est.
(De epistola prima beati Pauli Apostoli ad Timotheum)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Catechism of the Day

Table of Duties, continued

To the Young in General

Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder.
Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility;
for God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble.
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God,
that He may exalt you in due time.
(1st Peter 5)

Communi Iuventuti

Similiter, iuniores, subditi estote senioribus,
sic, ut omnes alius alii vicissim subiiciamini.
Humilitatem animi vobis infixam habete,
propterea quia Deus superbis resistit, humilibus autem dat gratiam.
Humiliamini igitur sub potenti manu Dei,
ut vos exaltet tempore opportuno.
(De Epistola prima beati Petri)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow Day

Milwaukee is digging itself out, just as obviously much of the midwest is doing the same thing today, as the region faces the biggest blizzard and snow storm system in a long time.  It does not look like the restaurant will be open today, so I get to focus more of my attention today on work right here at home (a welcome change).  But first, I decided to put on my boots, and my new coat (gift from my sister Bedull), grab the shovel, and see what I could do outside.

My landlord (whose name I will protect in this forum), besides being a good man, is also an excellent landlord and handyman; in the case of snowfalls of any significance, he always clears the sidewalk, etc., with his snow blower when need be.  So I knew he would come out eventually today.  Nevertheless, since I am an able-bodied man, I decided to go out and do what I could to help.  (No special virtue involved here; just call it the old Milwaukee work ethic, along with the desire to get in on some of the fun outside.)  A good foot of snow greeted me right away on the other side of the door.  After focusing on clearing the porch, and steps, I began to notice that there were many others out with their shovels as well.  A number of us got together and formed a shovel party.  We worked together to dig all of our cars out, one after the other.  It proved a good opportunity to chat with my neighbors, and a great example of the friendly and neighborly nature of Milwaukee, and certainly my own neighborhood (Riverwest). 

Someone drove by and told us that Alterra was open, so one good soul offered to go get us coffee.  I declined the offer, since I have no cash, and he said, "Don't worry about it; I got you."  Now that's what I call a neighbor.  (You will notice that one of the pictures you find below features that cup of my beloved Alterra cofee.) 

It was also a pleasure to see a few dogs having fun in the snow.  One rather large black dog, Daisy by name, was jumping over snow banks.  Kids were out with sleds.  It was just a beautiful winter scene.  While I was out, I also decided to walk down the block, and take a few pictures.  Around the corner from my apartment is the Art Bar, and the West Bank Cafe, so I include here images of what those places look like on a snow day.  Notice the bicycle in front of the West Bank Cafe.  Dorian is always pining for the outdoors, so I decided to take him out for a minute.  He was happy to go back inside.

And speaking of happy to be inside, that describes me right now.  In fact, when I came in the house, I began to feel a bit light headed, I guess I still do. So I am just going to rest for a while.  

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Catechism of the Day

Table of Duties, continued

To Employers

And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening,
knowing that your Master also is in heaven;
neither is there respect of persons with Him.
(Ephesians 6)

Patribusfamilias et Matribusfamilias

Et vos, domini, eadem facite erga illos, remittentes minas,
scientes, quod et vester ipsorum Dominus sit in caelis,
nec personae respectus sit apud illum.
(De Epistola beati Pauli Apostoli ad Ephesios, et ad Colossenses)