Saturday, November 29, 2014

my newest article on Il Sussidiario

Il Sussidiario - René Girard, Michael Brown Jr. and Ferguson, Missouri
It appears as if the African American community has turned Brown into a martyr and the whites have turned the police officer into a hero. But this way there is no way out...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

René Girard, Michael Brown Jr. and Ferguson, Missouri

As a Missouri resident I feel obligated to speak out, to speak the truth.  I have both lived and worked in St. Louis. 

Is the African American community displaying a "mob mentality" in the Michael Brown Jr. case by resulting in violence once again?  We should never allow mobs to determine the guilt of the accused.  Even on the rare occasion when the mob is right about what the accused actually did, the mob is wrong because it is using the accused to vent its own sinfulness.  Violent protests, rioting, robbery, the destruction of both public and personal property, are all visible examples of this sinfulness.

It appears as if they have turned Brown into a martyr and mobilized their community against the perceived threat of the white man, the other.  Therefore the white man serves as a scapegoat instead of recognizing the problems of their own African American community which include a disposition for higher rates of criminal activity, acts of violence, alcohol and drug abuse, the breakdown of the family, out of wedlock relationships, children with no fathers, etc.

Why are folks not publicly speaking out about these facts? Why the silence? Is it politically incorrect to speak the truth? How is this any different than not speaking out against the mob mentality after 9-11 and focusing our hatred as Americans and Westerners on the Muslims, the other?

Besides this is a great opportunity for an Ethics 101 lesson. Judge the act itself. To determine if an action is ethical, one must judge the act itself. Brown was high on marijuana, robbed a store, was walking down the middle of the street, assaulted a police officer while he was still inside his police vehicle, resisted arrest, and physically charged at the officer multiple times until the officer had to use deadly force to stop him. Those are the facts that the grand jury determined. The police officer acted morally and justly according to the grand jury.  This is not a tragedy.  

One must distinguish between killing and murder. Murder is the direct intentional killing of an innocent human life. Brown was not innocent, he was the aggressor in both the robbery of the store as well as in the assault of a properly commissioned public law officer. This law officer was justified in killing him, it was a just act.

Now it also appears as if the whites have turned the police officer into a hero and mobilized their community and militarized police force against the perceived threat of the black man, the other.  Therefore the black man serves as a scapegoat instead of recognizing the bigger issue at hand which is the problem of systemic sin of our own American culture and history, specifically that of racism.  We can longer turn a blind eye to systemic sin, as a culture, as a people.  We must confront this reality.

I am aware of and recognize that we must continue to improve and repair race relations.  The public education system in St. Louis is a disaster.  It locks minorities, especially African Americans, into a caste system.  One must ask why do folks protest and riot?  Think of the Palestinians in Israel.  It is because they feel there are no other options. 

First, real educational reform must occur to give the future children in Ferguson, and the rest of St. Louis, any chance of a civilized future.  True education introduces one to all of reality - the true, the beautiful, and the good.  It gives hope, a way of seeing the world with new eyes.  Without this we will continue down the road of violence.

Second, we must seriously address poverty within the African American community, and in all minority communities, in Ferguson and elsewhere.  What are the root causes?  Lack of quality education, mostly low wage service related jobs which lead to higher unemployment, lack of security and safety for small businesses, etc.  All these factors lead to a loss of hope and despair for those whose hearts are designed for the infinite. 

Third, we should develop a real community model of policing in Ferguson, and in other like communities.  This will help ease the racial tensions. A local police officer should know the local small business owners, the local clergy, the local community activists, etc. He should not be the other who just anonymously patrols the streets profiling suspected criminals.

We need both the light of truth and the warmth of love.  The truth will set us free.  Love alone is credible.

The way we move forward is to recognize the humanity in each other’s human faces, the local police officer and the local citizen, who both knows the truth of the other and loves him for who he is, a man made in the Image of God.  We must literally love the "Hell" out of the other.



 

Related Posts:
René Girard

Gil Bailie

Fr. James Alison

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Gil Bailie

The Cornerstone Forum is a non-profit institute concerned with today’s spiritual and moral crisis and dedicated to fostering a better understanding of the challenges that confront the Christian vocation in our time. The Forum's founder and president is Gil Bailie – a Catholic layman, author and lecturer. Mr. Bailie gives workshops, lectures and retreats, drawing on the anthropological work of René Girard, and the theology of Benedict XVI, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Henri de Lubac, John Paul II, and others.

Reflections on Faith and Culture Blog

Scriptorium

Ignatius Insight - A "Roamin' Catholic" and the Cultural Crisis

Communio - René Girard's Contribution to the Church of the 21st Century, Part One and Part Two






Related Post - René Girard

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Rémi Brague - The Limits of a Secular Age

Catholic Thing - The Limits of a Secular Age by Randall Smith
Rémi Brague, French Catholic philosopher and winner of the prestigious Ratzinger Prize was at my university last week. Prof. Brague is one of those lecturers who loves to make interesting little side comments, something I am particularly fond of. In one of these little “asides,” he suggested that the “secular” are those whose lives are defined by a horizon of a hundred years. “That is simply what the word ‘secular’ means,” he declared...




There's No Place Like Here: Brazenhead Books


There's No Place Like Here: Brazenhead Books from Etsy on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Humanum

The Complementarity of Man and Woman: An International Colloquium is a gathering of leaders and scholars from many religions across the globe, to examine and propose anew the beauty of the relationship between the man and the woman, in order to support and reinvigorate marriage and family life for the flourishing of human society.

Witnesses will draw from the wisdom of their religious tradition and cultural experience as they attest to the power and vitality of the complementary union of man and woman. It is hoped that the colloquium be a catalyst for creative language and projects, as well as for global solidarity, in the work of strengthening the nuptial relationship, both for the good of the spouses themselves and for the good of all who depend upon them.

Main Website






Here is the link to all the videos of this conference.

Douglas Bushman's Themes of "Lumen gentium", Fifty Years Later

CWR ~ Light for the Nations: Themes of "Lumen gentium", Fifty Years Later - A retrospective on Vatican II's "Dogmatic Constitution on the Church" ought to place the primacy on the Church as end, and particularly on holiness by Douglas Bushman
November 21, 2014 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the promulgation of Vatican II’s central document, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church. If the articles that this occasions reflect a strain of theological commentary on this text that narrowly focused on the issue of collegiality of bishops, then one can expect a chorus of writers to lament the fact that Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI resisted accepting and implementing what the Council taught about the relationship of pope and bishops.  
The importance of Chapter Three of Lumen gentium, where this subject is treated, is incontestable. At the time of the Council, everyone was aware of the need to provide a complement to the teaching of Vatican I on papal primacy and infallibility. Cut short by political and military disruptions of the time, that Council’s full agenda was left unfinished. Nevertheless, Vatican II recognized that apostolic authority is a divinely instituted means, not an end in itself. It is totally at the service of the Church’s unity, holiness, and catholicity. Since the value of a means derives from the end to which it is ordered, a fifty-year retrospective on Lumen gentium ought to place the primacy on the Church as end, and particularly on holiness, as the best way to be faithful to the authentic spirit of Vatican II... TO READ MORE CLICK THE LINK ABOVE.
Related Posts

Thursday, November 13, 2014

René Girard

Wikipedia

Girardian Annotated Bibilography and Links Page

The Anthropology of René Girard and Traditional Doctrines of Atonement

FTs
Are the Gospels Mythical?

On War and Apocalypse

Touchstone
Violence and the Lamb Slain - An Interview with Rene Girard by Brian McDonald

The Scapegoat: René Girard's Anthropology of Violence and Religion

Colloquium On Violence and Religion (COVR) - Official website for exploration, criticism, and development of René Girard‘s Mimetic Theory

Raven Foundation

Raven Foundation's Teaching Nonviolent Atonement Blog

Theology and Peace

Theology and Peace Blog

Center for Christian Nonviolence

Michael Hardin
Preaching Peace

Christianity is Changing Blog

Tony Bartlett
Hope in Time (new website)

Hope in Time (old blog)

WoodHathHope

James Alison
Main Website

Jesus Forgiving the Victim

Imitatio

Contemplation in a world of violence: Girard, Merton, Tolle

Gil Bailie
The Cornerstone Forum is a non-profit institute concerned with today’s spiritual and moral crisis and dedicated to fostering a better understanding of the challenges that confront the Christian vocation in our time. The Forum's founder and president is Gil Bailie – a Catholic layman, author and lecturer. Mr. Bailie gives workshops, lectures and retreats, drawing on the anthropological work of René Girard, and the theology of Benedict XVI, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Henri de Lubac, John Paul II, and others.

Reflections on Faith and Culture Blog

Scriptorium

Ignatius Insight - A "Roamin' Catholic" and the Cultural Crisis

Communio - René Girard's Contribution to the Church of the 21st Century, Part One and Part Two

Anthropoetics: the Journal of Generative Anthropology

Chronicles of Love and Resentment

GABlog - Generative Anthropology in the Public Sphere

Abbot Andrew Marr
Imaginary Visions of True Peace - The Stories and Spiritual Teachings of a Benedictine Monk

Biblical Peacemaking

Lectionaries
Girardian Reflections on the Lectionary: Understanding the Bible Anew Through the Mimetic Theory of René Girard

Michael Hardin's Lectionaries Commentary

The Text This Week

No Outcasts






Thursday, November 06, 2014

the silence of God

One grows strong in Christ by being fed by Him in silence. Solitude usually walks with silence, but silence does not actually need solitude. Silence possesses solitude in itself. He who enters the depths of God's heart leaves solitude at its door, because the silence of God envelops him. - Servant of God Catherine Doherty in Molchanie

 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Catholicism and the American Founding

NCR - Catholicism and the American Founding by Benjamin Wiker
There are two ways to look at Catholicism and the founding of the United States of America. The first, and most obvious, would be to inquire about the actual participation of Catholics in the founding. The second, which is the focus of this article, is to view the gifts the Catholic Church gave to the American founding long before there was a U.S.A...

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

"It's Just War" - Should Christians Fight? Debate

On March 28, 2014, Anchor-Cross Publishing and Followers of the Way sponsored a debate on the subject of just war. We sought to bring leading thinkers together to discuss the issue in historic Faneuil Hall in downtown Boston. Speaking of behalf of just war were Dr. Peter Kreeft (professor of philosophy at Boston College) and Dr. J. Daryl Charles (Berry College). Speaking against just war and for biblical nonresistance were David Bercot and Dean Taylor.

Monday, October 06, 2014

The Benedict or Domincan "Options” for Cultural Engagement

FTs
The Dominican Option by C. C. Pecknold
There’s been a long conversation in America about the degree to which Catholic Christianity is compatible with liberalism. From the beginning of the American founding, bishops and theologians claimed that for all the flaws of liberal political philosophy, the American founders “built better than they knew.” And yet Pope Leo XIII could warn Cardinal Gibbons to avoid the errors of an “Americanism,” which would distort the teaching of the Church on the proper relationship between politics and the church.  
First Things’s default position derives from this “built better” argument. Yet the incompatibility side has always been there as well, and now is coming to the fore. The cultural and political landscape has changed. If the “built-better” argument made sense for nearly two centuries, it has become clear that evidence in its favor is currently in short supply. Without necessarily saying that the “built-better” argument is always wrong, we need to face up to the growing discord between Catholic Christianity and the new world liberalism that is building in America.  
What is to be done about this discord? I have always been drawn to Alasdair MacIntyre’s prediction that we need “a new, doubtless very different Saint Benedict” that enables the great Christian tradition to be passed on, preserving the seeds for a new civilization to emerge after the moral poverty of today’s liberalism leads us into dark, chaotic valleys. Rod Dreher has popularized MacIntyre by formulating this hope as the Benedict Option. It refers to our need for small communities of virtue, a new localist movement, and a return to the land or the place of one’s birth. The Benedict Option means cultivating a new counterculture that can resist the barbarian onslaught.
On one level, the Benedict Option is deeply attractive. Its greatest strength is that it sees that Christians need to attend to their communal formation as a whole. It is not enough to simply go to church on Sundays, for the religion of lifestyle liberalism is working on us the rest of the week. Rather, we need an all-embracing form of life coordinated and ordered to the love of God and neighbor. We can look to the very real Christian witness of cloistered, vowed religious life and say, “see, it can be done.” That should give all of us enormous hope.  
On another level, however, “the Benedict Option” has a serious flaw. It can be summed up in one word withdrawal. Neither MacIntyre nor Dreher have intended anything like withdrawal from the common good, or even from a commitment to political institutions. But I must confess that the image of withdrawal is powerfully associated with the Benedictine monastery, and so appeals to the Benedict Option miss something. 
Better, therefore, to speak of the Dominican Option...
“Options” for Cultural Engagement by Dale M. Coulter

Related Posts:
The Real Catholic Debate

Patrick Deneen on The Neo-Conservative Imagination

Jeremy Beer on David L. Schindler

Thursday, October 02, 2014

The Real Catholic Debate

A recent seminar at First Things magazine focused on the future of social and religious conservatism in what seems to be an increasingly hostile America. What stood out for Delahunty was the discussion of the future of American Catholicism.  
According to Delahunty, the real debate within American Catholicism is the one between what he calls “accommodationists” and “radicals.” Accommodationists think that the Church is ultimately compatible with American liberalism; they look to the golden age of the 1940s and 1950s, and argue that true American liberalism has gone off track and must be restored. Radicals, by contrast, think American liberalism and Catholicism have been incompatible from the start, and that the friendly cooperation of the Forties and Fifties was an aberration.
FT - The Real Catholic Debate by Mark Movsesian

TAC - Ghosts of Colson and Neuhaus by Rod Dreher

Center for Law and Religion Forum - The Real Catholic Debate by Robert J. Delahunty

Related Post - Patrick Deneen on The Neo-Conservative Imagination

Friday, August 29, 2014

Love can exist only when people are free

"Prayer, as I learned, is a relationship between two persons, God and man, who move towards each other. Thus, the swiftness or slowness with which a person advances in prayer depends on both the human and divine wills. Neither the freedom of God in His sovereignty nor the freedom of man in his free choice are violated. For his part, man offers his good intentions, his labors, and his desires to draw near to God. God, in turn, offers His grace.

No matter how great a man's ascetic labors may appear before the eyes of men, his offerings are infinitesimal in contrast with what God offers. Man takes one step, and God responds with a thousand in order to bridge the gap. Nevertheless, man's small and significant step in God's direction is absolutely crucial, because it reveals man's intentions and good disposition, giving God the 'right' to approach him, without infringing his spiritual freedom. Unlike the hate-filled, tyrannical devil, God deeply respects human freedom and never violates it, because He loves man. He desires a relationship of love with man, and love can exist only when people are free." - Dionysios Farasiotis in The Gurus, the Young Man, and Elder Paisios, pgs 276-77

The Chicago Debate on Calvinism - with a Soldier's Review of Zahnd's (nonviolent) 'victory'

Clarion - Journal of Spirituality and The Justice: Chicago Debate on Calvinism - with a Soldier's Review of Zahnd's (nonviolent) 'victory'

Review by Lt. Col. David L Jones - a soldier's analysis of Brian Zahnd's [nonviolent] 'victory'

Christ is in our midst!

Brian Zahnd is a poet. Brian is a song-writer. I am proud to call Brian my friend. A few nights ago Brian participated in a team debate against two Calvinist pastors.

Strategically he owned the ground of the discussion. Tactically Brian held the higher ground as you will see. His arguments were clearly the most reasonable to follow and believe.

Brian and his partner kept the heat to the Calvinists' feet about predestination of the damned/reprobate. The essence or center of the target is not that the God predestines some for glory (or for grace which is another topic) but that He predestines most to Hell. That view is actually a formally declared heresy of the Early Church called Predestinarianism... TO READ MORE CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Jim Forest's new book - Loving Our Enemies: Reflections on the Hardest Commandment

Here is the first chapter of Loving Our Enemies: Reflections on the Hardest Commandment by Jim Forest.

Be Still and Know God

Glory to God for All Things - Be Still and Know God by Fr. Stephen Freeman

Fr. Barron on four “pivotal players" - St. Irenaeus, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Ignatius of Loyola


Patrick Deneen on The Neo-Conservative Imagination

EP
The Neo-Conservative Imagination: An Interview with Patrick Deneen

The Neo-Conservative Imagination: An Interview with Patrick Deneen, Part II

Related Post - A Catholic Showdown Worth Watching - Whig Thomists vs. Augustinian Thomists UPDATED

Why I Said No to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Catholic Online - Why I Said No to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: Embryonic Stem Cell Research Is Deadly by Deacon Keith Fournier
We must insist on the recognition of human rights for all human persons, no matter what stage of life's development continuum. Human embryonic stem cell research kills embryonic human persons...

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

“Ressourcement,” “Aggiornamento,” and Vatican II in Ecumenical Perspective

HPR - “Ressourcement,” “Aggiornamento,” and Vatican II in Ecumenical Perspective by Eduardo Echeverria
(S)ome interpreters of Vatican II took renewal to be merely a matter of the Church’s adaptation or accommodation to the standards of the modern world … they took aggiornamento as an “isolated motive for renewal” … simply adapting to the culture of modernity.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Catholic Showdown Worth Watching - Whig Thomists vs. Augustinian Thomists UPDATED

TAC - A Catholic Showdown Worth Watching by Patrick J. Deneen

Crisis Magazine - Catholicism and Republicanism: More Than Compatible by Timothy J. Gordon

tNP - Resurrecting Caelum et Terra by Jeremy Beer

The Imaginative Conservative - Philosopher of Love: David L. Schindler by Jeremy Beer

CatholicCulture.org - Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
A City Upon a Hill: Augustine, John Winthrop and the Soul of the American Experiment Today

Religion, the State, and the Common Good

FTs - Orestes Brownson and the Truth About America by Peter Lawler

Christopher Blosser and I built the following website on this topic.
The Catholic Church and The Liberal Tradition

The origin and whole history of this blog is really focused on this exact topic.  Refer to the classic posts on the right column.