I Left Twitter Today

I removed myself from Twitter completely today, and I hope WordPress.com continues to honor free speech.

For about a year now, since I have been tweeting and re-tweeting about pro-life issues and Planned Parenthood’s harvesting and selling of human body parts, I have noticed that none of the 300 people following me were commenting or liking any of my tweets. None of them.

After watching the interview of Lila Rose ( see video below ) by Tucker Carlson last night on YouTube, my suspicions were fortified that perhaps I was being censored.

I removed myself from Twitter completely today, and I hope WordPress.com continues to honor free speech.

Review: A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century

A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth CenturyA Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century by Robert Royal

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book could be the single (or primary) textbook for a course on modern Catholic intellectuals. It covers theology, scriptural studies, philosophy, poetry, prose, and historiography of the great Catholic minds of the 20th Century.

It’s a very large book, both in page number and content. It took a long time to read but it is worth it. It provided me with at least a dozen more “Want to Read” books on GoodReads.

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New Exhibition in HMML’s Reading Room: Fragmented Beauty

A new exhibition at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML) at Saint John’s University, examines manuscript fragments. Fragmented Beauty features manuscripts that span a time period of over 1,500 years and are of European and non-European origin.

Source: News from HMML – HMML

Finding My Tribe

After two years of being separated and going through the divorce and annulment of an eight-year marriage, I find myself really enjoying all of my free time, uninterrupted thoughts, and ease of living, but I also find myself wanting to be part of some sort of tribe or faith-based community.

As a 40-something single Catholic man, I appreciated this post by the Boston Globe:

The biggest threat facing middle-age men isn’t smoking or obesity. It’s loneliness.

After two years of being separated (somewhat amicably) and going through the divorce and annulment of an eight-year marriage, I find myself really enjoying all of my free time, uninterrupted thoughts, and ease of living, but I also find myself wanting to be part of some sort of tribe or faith-based community.

During this time, when the thought of committing myself to someone else entered my mind and heart, I only had one real desire and that was to meet an educated and sweet Catholic woman with whom to share and grow in my faith.

I tried online dating, and though I did meet a few compatible and attractive women who lived far away, the search for someone I could see more than once a month proved to be unfruitful. There’s something really lacking in that whole process too that I can’t exactly explain.

There are very few Church-sponsored activities for single people past the age of 40.  I guess they figure that everyone by that age should be able to manage on his or her own.  Since divorce and annulment are considered a rare exception, perhaps parishes don’t want to draw attention to the reality that the pre-canaan guidance before marriages is often weak and some marriages are not valid from the start.

I went to some events that were geared for young adults.  I met some very lovely 20 and 30-something Catholic women, but many of them were way too young and I probably seemed like some really old guy (even though I still get carded sometimes).  It’s possible that a decade or two between couples could work, but it is harder to find two people who are evenly yoked with that much of an age difference.

Once you start dating 40 and 50 year-olds, you are getting into the grandmother territory, which I suppose is the natural course of things, but it takes some time getting used to, especially for someone like me who never has had children of his own.  I do appreciate the maturity and the common cultural references we share.  Of course, both men and women are a little set in their ways by this time, and there are many more concessions that have to be made regarding personal and financial habits and the definition of a “good life.”

All Catholic single men, regardless of age, are looking for that balance in a woman of serious faith and lightheartedness.  Often you meet someone who loves the Lord, but is way too over-scrupulous.  On the flip side, you meet happy-go-lucky Catholic women who might be fun to spend time with but have very little concern about what the Church actually teaches.  I’ve been out with non-Catholics, but I my faith is such a big part of my life that I don’t think it would ever get past the friend zone.

I have approached some men’s religious communities, and I think that might be where God is calling me to use my talents and to deepen my relationship with Him.  The reason I wrote this is because I think Catholic singles and Catholic dating for people past the age of “young” adults is a topic that needs to be addressed.

Review: Brideshead Revisited

Brideshead Revisited
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

About 10 years ago I saw the 80’s mini-series of Brideshead Revisited, starring Jeremy Irons, and really fell in love with the story. Since then I have read other Evelyn Waugh novels, but finally got around to reading this one. At first it was hard not to picture what I had seen on the television, but as I read I got wrapped up in the beautiful prose, the choices of the characters, and the elegance of the formality and manners of the time period (1920’s and 30’s England).

This is a religious novel, not because it delineates theology, but because it tells the story of a Catholic family, their weaknesses, and their adherence to the beauty of their faith, even though they may not understand it fully or be particularly good at it. Life is so filled with mystery, and this is a story about imperfect people embracing the beauty of that mystery. As St. Augustine wrote, “If you do understand, then it is not God.”

A lot of times when reading a bad novel, I hear the gears of the author’s mind in the background. Waugh, especially in this novel, is invisible and is completely out of the way of the story and the characters.

I recommend this novel to anyone wanting to read a master of the English language and those who enjoy the spiritual journey.

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Review: The Fountainhead

The Fountainhead
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overall I enjoyed the plot of this novel, and the story moves quickly. However, I think it is the sort of bad fiction that tries too hard to awkwardly wedge philosophical concepts into the dialog instead of accurately describing human nature through the choices of the characters.

Much of it seemed liked science fiction. The main characters and the choices they make resemble no human being that I have met along my life’s journey. It was like an episode of Star Trek where a species of beings on a different planet has a different sense of justice and interdependence.

First of all there are no children anywhere in the 700 pages. It is as if human beings are fully formed out of the womb. This is magnified by the not-so-subtle philosophy that we are to live for ourselves and not for other people. But children and their upbringing as well as the self-sacrifice good parents make for their kids are completely left out of the equation. Perhaps this is why college kids like this novel – they think they are all grown up, mature, and that all aspects of children in their lives have been removed. The only example of parents are the spineless Mrs. Keating and the paternally impotent Guy Francon.

In Ayn Rand’s philosophy known as Objectivism, there is an idea that the only form of knowing is reason. She weaves this idea throughout the fabric of the novel, suggesting that the heroes of the story also believe this. I only ask, then what purpose does fiction have? Why not just write non-fiction? It is because story telling also transmits knowledge in a way that is complimentary to and not subservient to reason. A novelist, by the very medium, rejects that reason is the only form of knowledge.

I understand the time period that this was written, and I recognize her need to make a statement about the evils of Marxist Communism. Losing one’s own identity within the mass of society is not good for anyone. For a true atheist, the only alternative is self-seeking.

That is because we all define and come to understand ourselves, as the philosopher Martin Buber put it, in an I-Thou relationship. I am myself and not another. Those of us who open ourselves up to God (who has with non-physical and non-temporal personal characteristics) have a consequent I-Thou relationship, discovering ourselves as a person other than God. Atheists must designate that relationship to other physical human beings and so must always put the self first in order to not lose themselves in an amorphous population.

But even the atheist has to see that biologically we a the combination of two people. Our very being is dependent upon human interdependence.

From the final courtroom testimony of the main character Roark, I think Ayn Rand really does think that she is writing something Promethean. But the fire she is offering is as old as that associated with the serpent in the first pages of the Hebrew Bible. She has created her own following of “second-handers.”

I give it 4 stars because it is worth reading, but only as a glimpse into the poorly-formed 20th Century intellectualism that expedited the self-centered mess that we are currently in.

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How to Fix the Election Process

  1. First you would start with all of the candidates who want to run.  And there is a deadline for them to submit their names so no one can start running at a later date.
  2. Next, there are rounds of voting by which voters vote for the candidates whom the DO NOT WANT to be elected.
  3. The 50% who get the most amount of votes are out.
  4. This continues until there are only 2 candidates left and then there is one last vote.

The reason this might work better is because the people who spend the least amount of money on advertising and who are the least known have the best chance.

The annoying people with all of the lobbyist money and egos will be out of the race sooner.

I’d be interested in your thoughts below.

A Cure for Bad Education

In September 1974, the English philosopher Michael Oakeshott delivered the Abbott Memorial Lecture at Colorado College. Entitled “A Place for Learning,” Oakeshott’s lecture attacked the dominant model of education, a model predicated on the theories of the American educationist John Dewey. Learning, Oakeshott observed, should take place under “conditions of direction and restraint designed to […]

via The New Classical Education — The Imaginative Conservative

Science and the Story that We Need by Neil Postman | Articles | First Things

The principal spiritual problem confronting those of us who live in a technological age was spoken of some years ago in a prophetic poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay, in her collection Huntsman, What Quarry?

Upon this gifted age, in its dark hour,
Rains from the sky a meteoric shower
Of facts . . . they lie unquestioned, uncombined.
Wisdom enough to leech us of our ill
Is daily spun, but there exists no loom
To weave it into fabric.

Read this really good article from 1997 at: Science and the Story that We Need by Neil Postman | Articles | First Things