In Point of Order on February 22, 2012 at 5:39 am
Today marks Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras and the day before Lent. It is a time of feasting at the last, late opportunity before fasting comes down, and hard, our last chance before this big kahuna of penitential seasons, the prime opportunity for spiritual detox.
Get in some reading while you can — to help, throughout this post I’ve scattered links to old, forgotten posts. For example: Kyrie eleison!
Don't know about you, but I still feel more like the guy on the right, believe-you-me.
This becomes relevant to the wider audience because your author, in a losing battle against his idol, his idle, his timesink, decided to recuse himself from the Internet, for all reasons but necessity, for the days between here and Easter. They say the sacrifice you want to give up is not the one God wants you to give up, and so out goes the Internet. Sin being a privation — that is, sin being not-being — may God fill this void with Himself. Christe eleison!
Rather let than the blog fade into silence, however, he manufactures one necessity with this solemn vow: Prodigal No More will still update Saturdays in Lent. And, with all the forethought of a man who leaves open a giant bag of catfood in the kitchen so Fluffy still eats while the housekeeper’s away, the author leaves unmonitored his comment box. May Askimet catch the spam. Kyrie eleison!
In Armchair Apologetics on February 21, 2012 at 1:28 am
Place yourself in the shoes of a pagan who knows little about Christianity, but who has taken the first step of accepting that Christ has authority and Christ is God. Our convert also knows about sin, and has the sense he is missing something. To wit, he’s sick and he knows it.
Some particular man may find walking around his fellows while sick helps. Perhaps the fresh air, or the camaraderie, rejuvenates him.
As if living a virtuous life were not already difficult enough we have to discern it, too.
But this takes too low a view of his illness, which is always terminal. It undermines the clear objection that some sick man be dissuaded of his diagnosis by meeting our wanderer, and vice versa; we also forget the effort may kill him. This also ignores our others, so ill that a brisk walk would always kill them. Hospitals, with doctors and nurses and somewhat controlled conditions, make natural sense.
I write this because Christianity presents, broadly, two choices:
- Merchant square, or
- Hospital for sinners.
If you make the case that God wants the merchant square model, you have a unique argument to hawk.
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In Armchair Apologetics on July 16, 2011 at 7:29 am
Men who say, “It is possible to be a good person without being a Christian,” speak the truth, but the error is in the thrust of this spearpoint and not in its hardiness. By this point, the speaker means to continue with the implication, unspoken, that it is pointless to be a Christian, a deposit of unnecessary effort, because to try to be a good person is all that is needed to enter any final reward the Christian posits. Let us separate the wheat from chaff in this fuzzy thinking. In short, the statement is true as far as it goes; the problem is that it doesn’t go far enough. We must know, if we know anything, that only being a good person is not the goal of Christianity.
Mere goodness is not the goal.
Goodness as it is meant is not “living sinlessly” but instead “living without sinning too much.” This is inadequate, if not in works then certainly in temperament. To be a great person — holy, God-fearing and devout — is the goal, the requirement to enter the Kingdom of God. If we are not, it will be “like passing through fire.” Furthermore, we will not enter Heaven by aiming for Purgatory. We will only enter even Purgatory — the shower room for the eternal pool party with God — by aiming for Heaven. By Christian doctrine, we know that this kind of greatness happens as a gift of grace, that which comes only by Christ, the one mediator between God and man.
If it is possible for anyone outside the Church to nonetheless receive the grace of God — which it surely is if God freely gives and men freely accept such a gift, and Christians are not in the habit of limiting God in His omnipotence — it is not the ordinary means of receiving grace. It is, in an illustrative word, extraordinary.
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