Take a look at this cartoon! We are pretty much the only country in the world seriously talking about turning educators into a freak’n swat team. What the hell, America? What. The. Hell?
Check out the steely-eyed gaze of the teacher, presumably staring down the assailant just off frame. That is utter bullshit. It says a lot about the ignorance (or malevolence) of the cartoonist. At least the person posting this acknowledges that it is not enough to arm teachers. They must be trained. But in order for that training to be effective, they would need to train the way military and police do. It is not enough to spend a few hours at the range. When the bullets start firing, the reptilian brain takes over. One becomes all fear and adrenaline. Police and soldiers drill the same procedures over and over again because they know that that is what is essential to survive in a crisis situation. During a firefight, when life and death are on the line, pulling the trigger needs to become a reflex. You need to bypass the brain altogether. A lot of people seem to have bypassed the brain permanently.
Let me just remind everyone again of how ridiculous this is.
I am not sure what can be done about it, though. I wish I knew. After Sandy Hook, I thought we had a chance to pass the kinds of gun laws that work in every other country. I thought maybe the gruesome mental images of children bleeding out, calling for their mommies, would galvanize some people into changing their minds.
If anything, conservatives just got more radicalized. At a state, local, and national level, laws have been passed that make it easier for people to purchase and carry weapons. The reasoning is that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. When is that going to start working, exactly?
Right now I am just angry. Cynical and angry. This is not a good place to be long term. But it is where I am right now. How do you have a discussion with someone who values their ideology over evidence? I don’t know. I wish I knew the words to say, but at the moment, all I can do is scream.
The pleasure that satisfies lust, qua lust, is not the enjoyment, physical or otherwise, of the awesome beauty of another person as the creation of God, because lust is based on pride, and pleasure in someone else’s being as God’s gift to them is rather pleasure in humility.
I have been thinking a great deal about Augustine’s theology of sex in light of all the various scandals involving powerful men and their abuse and intimidation of women. I worry that we may be focusing on all the bad apples to the neglect of the bigger problem of how we think about human sexuality as a society.
Augustine basically said that sex is sinful. Actually, it is more complicated and nuanced than that (check it). The problem, he said, is not sex itself but the way sexual pleasure “activates” pride. The Augustine scholar John Cavadini put it well when he wrote:
To fault Augustine in this context for not realizing that “sexual pleasure” can enrich a couple’s relationship, or to assess Augustine’s views against our own more “positive” view, may be, with all due respect, to beg the question. For Augustine, the question would not be whether sexual pleasure can enrich a couple’s relationship, but whether there is any sexual pleasure possible without a taint of violence or complacency (“self-pleasing”) in it. The question would be, what are we taking pleasure from? Pleasure, as Augustine is at pains to point out, is an affair of the soul, not the body. The pleasure that satisfies lust, qua lust, is not the enjoyment, physical or otherwise, of the awesome beauty of another person as the creation of God, because lust is based on pride, and pleasure in someone else’s being as God’s gift to them is rather pleasure in humility. For example, can we say that any act of sexual delight is completely free from smugness, from self-admiration, from the slightest hint of “self-pleasing” in the mastery of the “skill sets” of popular magazines, in the thought that one is an accomplished, or at least halfway decent, lover? Violence includes the admiration of power or ability as power or ability. [Emphasis mine.]
Continue reading “There’s No Sex in Your Violence”
On Friday, December 29, the Orthodox Church commemorated the slaying of the infants in Bethlehem by Herod, the puppet-king of Judah.
Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men. (Matt. 2:16)
This is the part of the story we don’t include in the Christmas stories we tell our children: The birth of Christ involved an act of mass murder. All hail the Prince of Peace. Continue reading “Slaughtering the Innocents”
A friend of mine contacted me recently and asked me if I would review a book for another friend of hers. Since it meant I would get a free copy, and I could ignore the book if it sucked, I accepted the invitation. A few weeks later, Empathy for the Devil arrived in the mail, and it did not suck.
Continue reading “Empathy for the Devil”
Far be it from me not to point out when “my people” do or say something stupid or evil. But just as irritating are liberals who would rather make fun of conservative Christians than try to understand them.
In the wake of the Texas mass shooting, RawStory posted an article with the subtle, and not-at-all mocking title, “Conservative writer: God was ‘answering prayers’ of Texas victims by letting them get shot.” Yes, “Step right up folks! And witness another ridiculous Christian saying something ridiculous!”
Of course, the original column was pretty ridiculous. It was naive and insensitive. Far be it from me not to point out when “my people” do or say something stupid or evil. But just as irritating are liberals who would rather make fun of conservative Christians than try to understand them. Continue reading “Liberals Should Stop Mocking Martyrdom”
What to do about LGBTQ individuals connected with the Orthodox Church (or who want to be connected to the Orthodox Church) is the biggest doctrinal issue we are dealing with today. The pat answers we have are inadequate to the questions we have because, while the mechanics of same-sex acts have not changed over the centuries (or so I imagine), the social conditions under which same-sex desires and relationships are lived out are drastically different. In Greek times, same-sex acts were tantamount to child abuse. In Roman times, it was about the exercise of power. Degrees of condemnation varied in Christian Europe, ranging from scolding youthful mischief to prescribing penance for marital infidelity or fornication. It was not until the Victorian era that “homosexuality” came to be considered a kind of diagnosable and thus treatable condition. Continue reading “How Not to Talk about Homosexuality in the Orthodox Church”