Monday, December 7, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Please pray for us, and for our wonderful large families and bridal party, most of whom are traveling at great distance and expense to come out and celebrate with us, Rocky Mountain style.
St. Joseph, pray for us!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Here's hoping - and praying - it falls upon deaf ears.
On an uplifting note... it's never too late to have a conversion, and no one is ever too far gone.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
What if you parents had been contracepting "effectively" at the time of your conception?
What if your dad had managed to convince your mom that the "timing" of your impending arrival outside the womb was all wrong, and they'd made an appointment to visit a "clinic" one Saturday morning?
What if your mother's first trimester ultrasound during your first 90 days on earth had revealed a "genetic abnormality" and the technician had successfully "counseled" her to terminate the pregnancy?
What if your mother was raped and she was persuaded to destroy the resultant "product of conception," you?
What if you were created during an inopportune or inconvenient time in your parent's lives?
What if we could make life and death decisions concerning the very existence of our fellow human beings and market it as "choice..." and get away with it?
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
So, they were awesome, and it was awesome to be there speaking to the target demographic for contraceptive manufacturers... and to disabuse them of some commonly-held misconceptions about their bodies, their girlfriend's bodies, the Church's funny holdout against technology, and the fact that there is no such thing as "Catholic" birth control.
But the idea is deeply, deeply ingrained in our cultural consciousness. The notion that conception=bad and "protection"= good has made it necessary to explain the natural good of pregnancy, of the creation of a new person, of our very existence. There just isn't much of a concept of the goodness of life in a culture where our young people have come of age always knowing that they - and everyone else around them - were disposable.
The pro-abortion side of the aisle has done a great job advancing the notion of pregnancy as a "disease" and a "traumatic event." My current favorite lovetohateit advertising campaign is a sign in bubbly pink letters proclaiming (on a bus terminal) "Freaked you'll get pregnant?! Call today for cheap (or free!) birth control!"
So I'm talking to these young men and women, loving their questions and level of participation and inherent desire to discover the truth... but I have to keep refuting a term frequently misspoken in their questions: the idea of "natural" contraception.
It was unfathomable to some of them that the Church's teachings on family life and sexual love do not leave room for some kind of "loophole" whereby, if you play by the rules, you can somehow contracept "naturally," in a way that is neither harmful to the body or to the environment, and would therefore be acceptable by the Church's standards.
Contraception has so long been sold as an ultimate good, an incredible blessing which has freed us from the slavery of fertility. This is all we've known, my reality tv generation, and to suggest otherwise is to venture into totally unfamiliar territory for most of us.
We scratch our heads, wondering what the big deal about the Pill is ... and then once we discover the consequences, we logically look for a safer alternative... not stopping to think that the method and means are as disordered as the concept itself.
To want to "contra-cept" (which roughly translates to "against" "the beginning") is to desire to prevent life. It is the opposite of love, which is always seeking to expand and to fill.
It is the desire to divorce the unitive from the procreative element of the sexual act... and it is all the rage in our culture of selfish, pleasure-oriented gratification.
Pleasure is not bad, don't get me wrong. But it's not a complete "end" in itself. Pleasure is actually attached as a sort of "motivator" to things we were designed to do: eat, sleep, make babies... among a host of other items.
When something is pleasurable, it makes sense that we might mistakenly begin pursuing the pleasure as an end in itself, but our desire for satisfaction does not alter reality. Just because our reasons for seeking sex have become self-centered does not change the fact that sex is fundamentally "other-centered."
The Church teaches against contraception because it is contrary to love, not because the Church is contrary to love. Contraception is the means by which a couple makes of one another an object to be used, a means to gratification.
Yes, sex should be pleasurable. Yes, it's bonding and satisfying... but why? Sex is designed to be both the means and the result by which families are built. Our desire draws us together, unites us... and expands us, creating (if the timing is right) an "other" who wasn't there before.
What if someone were promoting the concept of sex without bonding? Of sterile, passion-less copulation between couples seeking only the physical fruit of their union: a child?
Well... ever heard of IVF?
The point is, when you attempt to redefine reality, you're going to get burned. Pope Paul IV predicted it in 1968, and we're still reaping the fruits.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
2.) Rubbing a fresh strawberry across your teeth has a natural whitening effect AND fights plaque buildup. Yum!
3.) The March of Dimes gives to Planned Parenthood. How much does that suck? Oh, the irony of saving some babies by destroying others....
4.) White House/Black Market has some of the BEST clearance sales on earth. Go here. Bring your Visa. Don't say I didn't warn you....
5.) In ancient Hebrew tradition, the bestowal of a name by the child's father was, in effect, the conference of paternal permission to live. So when God instructed Adam to name the animals, he wasn't merely filling in nameplates at the zoo. Adam's conference of a name upon each creature effectively caused it to become what it was, whether a dog or a tiger or an alligator. Amazing.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Now pink is my very favorite color, it's true. So why the rage? Why did the mere sight of that blushing, bubbly white-zinfandel colored wrist band on the NFL ref during last week's Broncos game cause my blood pressure to spike?
Well, for the same reason that other women are experiencing elevated levels of blood pressure. And increased risk of strokes and heart disease. And skyrocketing risk rates for breast cancer:
The very same Pill that so many of these merchants tout as the panacea to the problems of the modern world, particularly to those faced by members of the fairer sex. The Pill, our culture proclaims from every magazine spread, television broadcast and billboard, is the answer to our over-populated, under-sexed and insufficiently satiated appetite for more.
But it's delivered a whole lot more than we could have expected. Which brings me back to the infuriating "think pink" campaign which has somehow replaced our collective conscience for the time being, (giving the tiresome 'go green' mantra a break) and opened up a marketing opportunity for everyone from Safeway to Starbucks to the National Football League to show how much they care.
Except, they don't.
At least, not enough to stop marketing or manufacturing that very same substance which is largely to blame for the skyrocketing increase in breast cancer rates over the past several decades.
Breast cancer is a terrible scourge, a vicious disease. It is heartless in its selection of victims, aggressive in its course, and cruelly demanding of its victims.
But what is far more terrible and in fact much more insidious is the idea of a collaboration of industries whose monetary interests far outweigh their humanitarian concerns.
But when you've got companies like Subaru and Wells Fargo funding Planned Parenthood, when you've got Ortho and Depo and Yaz and the like being pushed over the counter at Kroger's to teens and middle aged mommies alike... you start to wonder. How much do these companies actually care about those customers of theirs - girls and women like you and me?
Sure, there are races for the cure, posters saluting fallen heroines who lost their battles, pink sleeves for coffee cups to show that one stands "against" breast cancer.
Because doing something, anything, in the face of overwhelming evil feels better than doing nothing at all. But the funny thing is, after all those dollars are collected at the checkout counter, after all the fundraisers and campaigns for a cure are safely in November's rearview mirror... will those same companies and indiviudals who proclaim their concern so conspicuously still be speaking out? Will they continue to let their wallets talk for them, reconsidering purchases which might benefit the manufacturers of the Pill in an effort to "fight the good fight?"
Or will this be sufficient? Is it enough to wear a little pink for 30 days? Is no further action required to curtail the epidemic that is stalking our generation? Are we not, in fact, compelled by justice to inform women honestly about the risks associated with consumable, injectible and insertable hormonal contraceptives?
Such an inconvenient truth, this link between cancer and the Pill. It couldn't possibly be true, could it? No, no... it's little more than a "right wing scare tactic" or a "dogmatic religious falsehood," a pro-life "myth"... that's what the media continually reassures us in soothing tones.
"Don't worry, nobody's going to take your contraception away. You don't have to fret; there are no consequences, and nobody is going to get hurt. Here, put on this pink hat. Affix this bumper sticker to your vehicle. Shhhh, now, doesn't that feel better?"I'd argue, no.
So rethink pink, my friends. And ask yourselves who the real losers are when lies become so oft- repeated they become the truth.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Okay, actually, while the above is a noble thought, I'm actually just too busy to write!
But here's a rundown of the latest:
Please pray for two talks this month, one at the University of Denver and one at the Colorado School of Mines. The topic for both evenings is "Green Sex" and this will be my first attempt of such in front of a secular audience, so pray for open hearts, open minds, and a smooth and un-flustered delivery from yours truly. I'm really praying that I don't get in the way of this message!
also... I'm getting married in 39 days! Please pray for Dave and me during these last few weeks of engagement, and for the 10,000 little details that could distract us but don't necessarily matter....
I'll write soon, peace to you all!
Thursday, September 24, 2009
After 193 attempts to call in and go on-air during my ritual morning commute tune-in, we finally connected... and boy, did we click.
I got to describe - in one word - Pres. Obama's representation of the U.S. at the G20 summit this week in NYC:
(cue maniacal laughter...)
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
And this harem, once admitted, works against his ever getting out and really uniting with a real woman. For the harem is always accessible, always subservient, calls for no sacrifices or adjustments, and can be endowed with erotic and psychological attractions which no real woman can rival. Among those shadowy brides he is always adored, always the perfect lover; no demand is made on his selfishness, no mortification every imposed on his vanity. In the end, they become merely the medium through which he increasingly adores himself….
After all, almost the main work of life is to come out of ourselves, out of the little, dark prison we are all born in. Masturbation is to be avoided as all things are to be avoided which retard this process. The danger is that of coming to love the prison.”
C.S. Lewis, in a letter to Mr. Mason; quoted in Leanne Payne, The Broken Image (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1981), pp. 91-92.
C.S. Lewis, pray for us!
Monday, September 14, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
"The UN estimates that 40 per cent of all pregnancies worldwide are unintended." The Daily Telegraph, 09/09/09
The spin continues, "If these basic family planning needs were met, 34 gigatons (billion tonnes) of CO2 would be saved – equivalent to nearly 6 times the annual emissions of the US and almost 60 times the UK’s annual total."
Roger Martin, chairman of the Optimum Population Trust at the LSE, (yes folks, that actually exists) said: “It’s always been [obvious] that total emissions depend on the number of emitters as well as their individual emissions – the carbon tonnage can’t shoot down as we want, while the population keeps shooting up.”
In sum, human beings - themselves the supposed authors of climate change - are becoming a bona fide hazard to global health, and if we could only provide adequate family planning resources (read: harmful, cancer-causing contraceptives, condoms which increase risky sexual behaviors, and abortion on demand), maybe... just maybe we can save this planet from ourselves.
What is actually inherent in the equation "More Humans = More Pollution" is the obvious converse: "Fewer Humans = Healthier Planet."
And isn't that what the climate control junkies have been harping after for decades? They don't want to save the world "for the sake of the children" ... They don't want there to be any children. Period. Except for those whom they selectively deign worthy of existence. Healthy ones. Fit ones. Those who fit the socioeconomic designs of their mercenary mothers and fathers.
Perhaps my acerbity is unnecessary, but then, how does one respond to the charge that human beings are trash? That the human person is intrinsically parasitic? Can one be too politically insensitive when answering such a charge? I think not. Maybe it's the mother bear in me, but anyone who purports that curtailing "40% of the world's pregnancies" would solve some pressing issues relating to the utterly unsubstantiated and unproven "epidemic" of global warming has some 'splaining to do. Particularly in light of all the "chatter" surrounding the great health care debate over here in the States.
Yes, by all means, let's make the Pill more readily available for human consumption. That will surely stop the crushing wheels of progress from lurching forward over unsuspecting subspecies and biomes. But then, there's the mounting evidence (as mentioned here and here) that contraceptive sex ain't the panacea it's cracked up to be, particularly from the perspective of environmental impact.
So maybe the Pill's not the ideal solution to curb that nasty, child-producing epidemic know colloquially as "sexual intercourse." Maybe there's an easier way... a "greener" way. Maybe we ought to be looking down the pike for the eventuality of the ultimate rationalization: forced sterilization.
We have licenses to drive. Licenses to wed. Licenses to install plumbing on build sites... shouldn't we, you know, set up some kind of government authorization process whereby individuals can be screened, processed and labelled "fit to breed?"
Don't think it's not coming just because it's terrifying. Twenty years ago, the notion of starving a disabled person to death was terrifying. Forty years ago, there existed no such notion as "consensual sex" between a sixteen-year old boy and a 22-year old college man. Seventy years ago, the specter of gender-selective abortion was terrifying (well, everywhere but in Nazi Germany).
Which brings us to today. And which brings me to the close of my rant. And the following article, which I'd suggest you share with as many people as possible, with the caveat that you prepare in advance to offer a solid rebuttal to the fallacies contained within.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
So this is what we've come to, then. Eugenics.
Not exactly cutting-edge philosophy here, people, but to gaze into the vapid stares of members of my generation, you'd swear they each sincerely believed themselves to be the next P Diddy or Ashton Kutcher.
Come on, guys. You're killing me here. Or at least, you're killing off our chance at a decent future. When will the tiresome platitudes and social justice mantras of the likes of Margaret Sanger finally be laid to rest?
The answer is, I supposed, never... until the dignity of life is reclaimed and proclaimed from the rooftops. As long as we're just "ghosts in the machine," as long as we're spiritual beings trapped briefly in paltry flesh and bone for a brief hiatus in this lifetime... well then, it doesn't really matter what - or who - we do with our bodies.
The crux of the matter probably isn't a deep-seated hatred for the handicapped, (though my friend's status would seem to indicate otherwise) but rather, a worldview incompatible with human dignity regardless of human efficiency.
Put more simply: if you're not producing, you'd better not even think of reproducing.
The obvious and easy answer - for Margaret Sanger, for Adolf Hitler, and for my friend on facebook - is to simply "eliminate" the unsavory members of the human species, thereby purifying the race.
How, you ask?
Don't be silly. By denying them their "right" to breed. The same way we eradicate viruses or uncontrollable insect populations.
And once we've cleared the way for fitter, smarter men and women to inherit the race of men... why not a few tweaks here and there? Can't we selectively abort to avoid Down's Syndrome? Wouldn't it be kinder to deny earthly life to a fetus with Spina Bifida? And what about certain - ahem - populations who are historically prone to maintain the lowest socioeconomic status quo? Couldn't we push a button and "reject" the rejects before they waste a minute of our time?
This is the answer, though, for some who champion affordable health care. This is the answer for some who tout an overpopulation myth, qualifying the value of an immortal person by their lifetime carbon use expectancy.
And this is the logical line of thinking for a generation who've come of age in the era of Playboy and Roe v. Wade, who've lived their whole lives confidant that the body is a tool for pleasure and productivity, and that persons are only loved so deeply as they are wanted. And that absolutely everything - even one's very right to draw breath - is open for negotiation.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009
And thus, the summation of the decline of a civilization. Or at least a pithy, one-lined explanation for what has gone so terribly wrong for the 18-30 set presently prowling the bars and campuses of our great nation.
Snuggling up on my sister's couch this morning with a fresh cup of french press and the TiVo remote in hand, I indulged in a little post-jet lagged, early morning movie watching. The options? Pretty much any B-grade flick from the mid nineties on... obviously I was stoked.
I settled on a cheeky chick flick entitled "Perfect Opposites;" (ever wonder what happened to Piper Perabo post-Coyote Ugly? Wonder no more.)
And it was pretty much all that I expected...and then some. Maybe it was the early morning hour, or perhaps the insanely strong coffee that tasted of death-by-caffeine-topped-with-skim... but I was moved - deeply - by these characters and their sad, familiar lives.
Let me set the stage: Boy meets girl. Girl is previously committed to Neanderthalean frat boy. Girl feigns "hard-to-get-ness." Underdog law-student persists, brings picnic to library during finals week. [Finally, he has found a mission, a quest for which he is willing to sacrifice ... and he does so. His pride, his sense of self-respect, his status with his buddies... there were no limits to the trials, toils and humiliations he was prepared to suffer.]
Girl hesitates... looks deeply into his pleading, persistent gaze ... and accepts his proposal - Er, rather, his invitation to forgo a post-graduate gig with a Chicago marketing firm and move to L.A. with him.
Bliss ensues... for 2 months, anyway. The two of them become - as our main character/underdog law student narrates - inseparable. They are connected: "Sexually, intellectually, harmoniously and psychologically, we were firing on all six cylinders."
And he's hit the nail right on the head. In a moment of blinding clarity - or perhaps instinctive pagan insight - our young hero recognizes a profound truth of human love and sexuality: when two become one flesh, the fabric of the universe is altered.
Maybe he doesn't come out and say it in so many words. Indeed, the reality was more readily captured by the frequent teaser-shots of steamy, counter top scenes and oral innuendos... but the message came through loud and clear: sex changes everything.
But we persist on insisting otherwise.
This couple - so young and in love and desirous of the other (note: not necessarily the good of the other) were swept completely away by the force of attraction, by the awesome power of their physical union. He wanted her. He pursued her. He wooed her... and she accepted his offer of self...
But then something unexpected - or at least, unintended - happened: she wanted to make the arrangement permanent. Longing for the natural end of intimacy - union - she deeply desired to build a life with this man who had come to her with an offer of his very self... and she was prepared to accept his offer.
Except, that's not exactly what he'd had in mind. Sure, she was beautiful. Sexy. Incredibly adept in the bedroom. Funny, smart, sassy... and a whole host of other qualities which set her apart from other women... but there was just one teensey problem: she was only one woman. In true Saved by the Bell soliliquy fashion, our hero admits to the audience: "When she talked about marriage and a family, all I could think was: I will never sleep with another woman for the rest of my life."
See, our young stud had been brought up in a culture whih extols choice - or the freedom from choice, really - as the ultimate good. His pursuit of Cinderella was more of a vanquishing effort, really. She had become his mission, the end towards which he strove mightily... until he reached her.
And, finding in her mortal finitude something less than eternal, he was understandably disappointed. Disillusioned. Dissatisfied... and so naturally, he turned his gaze elsewhere, wondering - rightly so - whether there was an other who might satisfy his undeniable hunger, his longing for satiation. There was not, it turned out - at least not in flesh and bones.
But neither was she satisfied with his offer - his gift of self which had turned out to be more appe-teaser than appetizer. In truth, he had no intention of offering his very self, of becoming one flesh with her... at least not unless there was something in it for him.
I don't mean to make him out to be a monster. In a culture such as ours which longs for permanence and pursues eternity in fleeting, grasping, heaving moments of pleasure and pain... he had nowhere else to look, really. And he didn't know he was perjuring himself with every intimate counter top romp. He desired to give himself to this woman; he just expected to receive something back in return: fulfillment.
A fulfillment which she herself - longing for permanence and communion - was unable to offer to him. In the glorious poverty of our humanity which is expressed perhaps nowhere more perfectly than in the bedroom, men and women become aware of something that is profoundly true: we are not enough.
The fulfillment of all desire, it turns out, is not to be found between the sheets. Or at least, not between just any set of sheets.
In sex we seek union, communion, consummation with an other, "one-ness" with some one else who can make us ... whole. We are seeking nothing less than immortality. Which is why we are inevitably disappointed.
Because no other human being can truly fulfill any other - no matter how great the passion, how thrilling the rush.
And no amount of sexual detachment can quite divorce the desire for permanence, the inexplicable ache - particularly for a woman - for endurance. We were built for something more lasting, a longevity that cannot and should not make sense in light of our biological make up. Our bodies fail us. Our looks fade. Our fertility vanishes...and yet the desire remains. We want something that quite frankly, we cannot have. And we cannot seem to accept that.
So we keep searching. We try on different marriages, experiment with new techniques, dabble in illicit affairs...always searching for the perfect fit, that elusive, immortal ache for completion. But what does completion mean to a people who have been carefully groomed to pursue all options, to weigh every possible choice and explore every angle, but who have been told that ultimately there is nothing which will satisfy.
Maybe we don't explicitly receive this information. Maybe it's more subtle, whispered in soft, hushed tones: "Did He really say not to eat that?" Though our bodies long for permanence and our souls for satisfaction, do we really believe there is an end to be had, a prize to be attained... or are we damned to an eternal, Sisyphean search for the next great thing?
I watched their hearts - his and hers - break on screen, and my heart broke too. Their desire was so strong, so right... and yet so misplaced. I wanted to wrap my arms around this beautiful, broken woman who rightly longed to be loved and cherished... and to encourage this misguided masculinity which would not permit him to lay his life down and receive everything in return.
Don't worry, though. After a few painful years of separation, a trial marriage and divorce and a second successful run at the California bar exam... they were reunited. And as the credits rolled, and they embraced on the threshold of a second chance, the audience was left with a final nugget of Hollywood wisdom: "the first time around with Julia, I had a plan, a vision...this time, there was no plan. We'll just see what happens."
And so the blind lead the blind. Further and deeper into this mess we're unwilling to admit we've made, and reluctant to stop and ask for directions.
But at least we're having fun.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
This pretty much captures it. Seating charts and catering contracts aside, the most profoundly unsettling aspect of wedding planning and preparation has been the incredible purgation which has taken place - and continues to function - in my grimy, single soul.
I'm no saint, but I didn't think I was quite the sinner I've turned out to be. What I mean by that, all self-deprecation aside, is that I've become more aware of my brokenness ... of my profound need for ongoing conversion, and of my utter inability to save myself - or my future spouse.
And I'm grateful.
I wouldn't have wanted it any other way, really, and I know our wedding day will be sweeter for the tears shed and the trials withstood, but it's really something to have the past come crashing into the present, suddenly actualizing that prophetic verse from Proverbs 31: "She does him good and not harm all the days of her life."
That's a lot of days. And the overwhelming majority of them were spent in solitude, vocationally speaking. And largely spent in selfishness, even in small ways.
What has become most surprising in these past few months have been the moments where I don't insist upon my own way, where I'm willing to flex, where I haven't established a lifelong pattern of sin - or at least laziness. These times, the moments I'm willing to "give," are actually not moments of unselfishness, but are rather just things that are easier for me to relinquish control of. It isn't authentic altruism that allows me to abdicate the choice of restaurant or the
song list for the reception or the brand of kitchen appliances for which we register... it's apathy. If it doesn't matter too much to me, I'm willing to go with the flow.
But if it does... watch out.
I'm beginning to see that willpower - or lack thereof - had a lot to do with what went wrong in the Garden and is going to have a whole lot to do with those areas of marital union most challenging to the independent-minded, strongly-opinionated single lifestyle I've spent the past 26 years perfecting.
Thank God for sacramental graces, right? I'm looking forward to receiving a double portion of them at the altar, and I'm doing my best to avail myself of those ways in which He is seeking to conform my will to His... to ours. It's transformative. And it's the best workout plan I've ever followed. Can't wait for the bit game.