No, racism is not “any belief that makes race out to be much more significant than it really is”

No, nobody uses the word this way. Not in casual conversation, not colloquially, never. And it is trivially easy to prove.

This definition of racism makes no moral claims.

When people refer to somebody as “racist”, they are almost always making a negative moral claim about that person – claiming that they are immoral for holding these beliefs.

Therefore this cannot be the definition they are using.

Why yes, I did have somebody say this to me with a straight face. Why do you ask?

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Divine Liturgy!, Update

Okay! Made it to an 8 AM Sunday Divine Liturgy. My thoughts:

1) It was…extremely short. Surprising, right? They normally run about an hour and 15 to two hours. This was 45 minutes!

Why? The Priest spoke/sang very very fast. I (mercifully) had a book to follow along with so as far as I could see he didn’t miss anything, and he gave a fine homily. I have nothing bad to say about him. It was just fast. I believe it was because he had another Mass to get to about a half hour away after that one.

2) There were no hymns, because everything is a hymn. Literally, EVERYTHING but the homily is sung. This included the Bible readings. The whole Liturgy is basically one long song.

It is…pretty great! I liked that part of it a lot. The whole embarrassment of you being the only off-key singer along with that one old lady while everyone else is red and silent? All gone. Great stuff! People need to feel good about participating, not embarrassed.

3) Yes, lots and lots of incense. Made my eyes water slightly, but it sure smelled good.

4) No sign of peace. God is good indeed.

5) No holding hands during the (sung!) Our Father. See above.

6) I caught the lack of a filioque in there. No, I did not forget.

7) No kneeling! That’s replaced with bowing. Kneeling is specifically a sign of repentence, not of respect and submission. So no kneeling. It was mostly standing with brief periods of sitting.

Overall experience: 10 of 10, would pray again. Us Latins should make the trip at least once.

Next up: I need to find a Latin Mass. That’ll be interesting.

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Alfie’s Army is a Joke

This is quite simple:

If you call yourself an “army” but stand outside and yell with signs as an innocent baby dies surrounded by a few cops too scared to arrest muslim rapists, with a helicopter on standby mere miles away you are in no sense of the word an army and literally completely worthless. You did not accomplish your stated goal, or even make a good faith effort.

The sad case of Alfie Evans was not a warning to society, but merely another data point confirming Britainistan is as bad or worse than Sodom and Gomorrah. That the purported “army” did absolutely nothing makes a mockery of just war theory. We have literally just seen “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”  play out in real life.

God help us all.

I hope my readers once again will pay as much attention to what I would not say as to what I did.

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Why Sports?

I’m a huge Yankees fan, and a big NJ Devils fan as well, much as I hate the name (for those unaware it actually comes from a legend about a supernatural creature living in the Jersey Pine Barrens known as the Jersey Devil…but still). I did stop watching football, though, and never liked basketball.

Still, it’s a good thing to wonder, the why of it. What’s the point? Why sports?

Well, permit me to give an example.

Let’s go back to 2001. October. 9/11 has just occurred, pushing back the baseball season. The New York Yankees just won the fourth of their four World Series titles in five years, and are now an established dynasty team.

And yet, for the first time since perhaps the 70’s, the nation has rallied around the New York Yankees…because nobody needed a win right now more than New York. And everybody was on their side. Everyone.

This team was not a powerhouse team like the 98′ or 99′ Yankees, but closer to the 87 win Yankees of 2000 that managed to get hot at the right time to snag a World Series title. Perhaps it didn’t seem that way with 95 wins – a sizable number – but their offense was relatively below par compared to previous years. True to form, with the nation on their side, they went down 0-2 in the best of 5 series to the Oakland Athletics.

And then this happened.

That is a ridiculous play. It almost doesn’t make sense. Years later Jeter would swear he practiced for a play like this, which in some ways is even crazier, because that’s pretty much not a thing. But it happened.

Of course the Yankees won the series, and then beat the world record holding 116 win Mariners in six games to advance to the World Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks…where they promptly went down 0-2 again. Their offense was non-existent.

Games 3, 4, and 5 were held in New York City. Game three was a close game but more or less standard, a one run pitcher’s duel won by the Yankees.

Game 4…well…

Set the scene. If the Yankees go down 1-3, the series is pretty much over. They haven’t hit a lick all series. Bottom of the ninth. 2 outs. One man on. Down 2.

And this happens.

The Yankees won that game on a walk-off home run by – who else? – Derek Jeter, the famous “Mr. November” home run hit just after midnight.

Okay. Series tied. Thing is, the Yanks are still in hot water. They’re still not hitting, and if they go down a game they need to win not one but two games on the road against the D-Backs, who have been a monster at home. Game 5 was almost as pivotal as game 4…as well as the last game played that year in Yankee Stadium.

And it didn’t go well. Down 2. Bottom of the ninth. Two outs. The crowd is quiet. Brosius, the batter, has two strikes on him.

The crowd is on the edge of their seats, but the game is over. After all, once is amazing, but twice? Two nights in a row? In the world series? It had never happened. Ever. Surely it would be too much to expect something like that again.

To this day, this is the single most amazing thing I have ever seen, in any sport. Listen to the crowd. Never has a crowd ever been that loud before or since. Never.

And for this to happen in 2001? Of all years? In this ballpark? Twice?

It defies belief.

The Yankees won that game, but they were blown out in game 6. Game 7 in Arizona had one of the most dramatic ninth innings of all-time, when legendary closer Mariano Rivera – the greatest postseason pitcherever – blew the save thanks to his own error and some bloop hits to bad spots in the ballpark. After the game he sat for hours and answered every question, not making any excuses for his poor night. His reputation survived this game, and despite also blowing a famous game (2, technically) in 2004 he did go on to win one more World Series, and his reputation as greatest postseason pitcher of all time remains intact.

The Diamondbacks won the series. You can’t take that way from them.

But for two nights – two glorious nights – the Yankees shined as a beacon of hope not just for New York, but America. With one swing of the bat in game 5 everything – the tragedy, the horror, the fear – was all forgotten as Brosius’s ball landed two rows back in the left field seats of Yankee Stadium.

As Joe Buck said, it bordered on the surreal.

On that day, the Yankees were the heroes America needed.

And that, reader, is why I watch sports.

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A Point of Order

I always find it a little amusing when people try to impute “sides” on me, and I find that the “side” people think I am on tends to be shaped by their own pre-existing opinions.

My last post was not written either as an anti or as a pro Vox Day manifesto. The truth is that I agree with Vox on some things and disagree on others. Similarly with John C. Wright, though to many people’s surprise I probably agree with him on less. Professionally Vox has treated me extremely well and I owe him much.

I have also expressed my dislike of Christian support of pick up artists, which leads certain people to think that I am implicitly siding with feminist criticisms of PUAs, when I am of course doing no such thing.

Now, for those who read Vox, he is currently doing a thorough takedown of Jordan Peterson. I like Peterson, but I’m not too fussed by this. The truth is that what I like about him is orthogonal to Vox’s specific criticisms of him. He is good at discussing certain topics, good at exposing hard core feminists, good at common sense life advice, and has interesting cultural and mythical analyses.

But he is a Canadian academic, and not a Christian like Dr. Feser. To me it was quite obvious that we had to read him with caveats in mind. Nothing Vox is saying has convinced me that my initial reasons to listening to Peterson were ill-founded.

Perhaps in that sense where I disagree with Vox is that I consider it very possible that intelligent and honest people can still be extremely wrong on certain issues. Peterson believes a lot of things I consider very wrong, but I also don’t see a reason to think he’s a liar.

I’m not going anywhere sith this. Just shouting out a few points into the ether.

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What I Think We Should Do

I am not alt right, but believe it or not I think a lot of their concerns are quite valid in terms of the effects of minorities on populations, immigration, the evil of Islam, etc.

Where I (mainly, among other ways) differ is in response. I simply see no way in which mass deportation can be considered moral at this point. We would be dragging people out of their homes – legal citizens – at gunpoint and forcing them on pain of death to them and their families to settle in lands utterly foreign to them. It is not right. It is not moral. It is not just. There is no recourse to just war here: You would be the aggressor.

Might this mean that war is coming eventually? Maybe! So what do we do about it?

Unlike most people, I am willing to say that there is simply no good answer. Deportation is not a magic bullet. A radical change of the school system is not a magic bullet. Stricter immigration laws is not a magic bullet. Trump is not a magic bullet. There are no magic bullets.

What we can do is this: Sell your cloak and buy a sword. Maybe war is coming. Maybe not! Live out the faith in word and deed. Perform the corporal works of mercy. Try to contribute something good, true, and beautiful to society. Repent. And pray without ceasing.

Will this prevent war? Will this solve our many other issues?

Probably not, really. At least not for a long, long time. But that’s life. As Tolkien once said, we are in for the long defeat. Take heart – the final victory is assured. And in the meantime we muddle through as best we can.

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Not Very Catholic of Me

My local parish is very small. It was small when I arrived in my town 18 years ago and has shrunk since then. When I got confirmed, there was somewhere in the ballpark of twenty other confirmants. This year, there are 8. At the Vigil Mass, there was one single catechumen. I went alone to the Mass (for scheduling reasons), and I got a pew to myself, in the front of the Church, not the annex. It was not the only empty pew.

The Church building itself is quite tiny. It is a small wooden building with a small main section and an equally small annex. CCD classes are taught in a little house next door, literally just a small house bought out by the parish and used to teach Catechism classes to the kids. The Church has a tiny basement that used to be used for this as well. I’m honestly not even sure if it’s needed anymore.

We have a single Priest. He is not the first Priest since I arrived in town – the first Priest was as I remember him a fine man as well, incidentally – but he has been there for probably 15 years at least, and is getting well up there in age. He is a wonderful man and an orthodox Priest I am proud to call our leader.

Everything here is made of wood, and the big money-making splurge – and I remember this as being a BIG deal – was the creation of a prayer garden, a small gray brick circle set out about ten to twenty feet away from the church with a nice looking bench on it. It is literally just an alternate route to the church annex, connected to the pathway.

This was where the Easter Vigil Mass was started – the candles were lit in the prayer garden and after that was done with we walked inside to finish the Mass. Anyone who’s candle hadn’t been lit was to have it lit by other parishioners in the church proper, and in that way the flame was spread. The candles only stayed lit for maybe twenty minutes to a half hour of the two hour service, but it’s a beautiful idea all the same.

I wish our congregation was bigger. I may even be volunteering soon to help out with things as simple as keeping our website up to date, and I do love Cathedrals and beautiful church architecture. And yet despite all of that there is, I think, something worthwhile about the particular sort of fellowship fostered in a tiny wooden church with a single Priest and a prayer garden within spitting distance of the doorway. I don’t know most of these people very well, but we are united in Christ, and the fact that we are alone in this together, so to speak, comes across particularly vividly when your setting is as humble as ours.

This is not very Catholic of me to say, I suppose, but it is my honest opinion.

Ever since I have been here rumors have flown that the diocese was on the verge of shutting us down (not unreasonable with two other larger parishes in spitting distance). And yet here we stand, dwindling congregation and all, the Parish ready to celebrate its 70th anniversary in September.

While I would certainly understand why someone would make the call to shut us down, I hope they don’t. Whether they realize it or not something significant would be lost if the tiny wooden church with a prayer garden connected to the backdoor walkway ever closed its doors. I only pray the rest of the world realizes this before it’s too late for us and we have to close our doors at last.

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