Seatbelt Blues

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Sometimes I hate my job

I was at work until 2 AM last night.

Friday, July 29, 2005

The Best Thing Ever

the Cutting Edge
(52% dark, 43% spontaneous, 16% vulgar)
your humor style:

Your humor's mostly innocent and off-the-cuff, but somehow there's
something slightly menacing about you. Part of your humor is making
people a little uncomfortable, even if the things you say aren't in and
of themselves confrontational. You probably have a very dry delivery,
or are seriously over-the-top. Your type is the most likely to
appreciate a good insult and/or broken bone and/or very very fat person

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: David Letterman - John Belushi

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 37% on dark
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 49% on spontaneous
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 11% on vulgar
Link: The 3 Variable Funny Test written by jason_bateman on Ok Cupid

Wondering Whether the Stars Are Falling

Does anybody read this yet?

The Slightest, Greatest Thing

I got into a debate about the nature of worship, and whether or not anything we do is inherantly meaningless or neutral. Here's my post in response to "Worship is just a state of the heart.".

If that's all worship is, to hell with it. God didn't create a world entirely composed of the heart. The world is a world of action and movement and sense and substance. The world isn't just a distraction for the heart; it's the very thing of the universe, God's created world, and it is "charged with the grandeur of God."

Nothing we do is without consequence. Nothing is meaningless. What a God you insult by calling insignificant some aspect of His creation! What a God you insult by implying that something simply doesn't count. Everything counts, everything has consequence, everything has meaning and purpose, absolutely everything. The same God who made the mountains and the clouds and all the other things for which we normally praise God created your arms and legs and hands and feet, your eyes and hair and lips and tongue, your butt and the couch it's planted in. How can you look at this world and say that anything is irrelevant? How can you not look at the interconnectedness of human existence and say that your casual actions have no transcendant component?

How on earth can the slightest, greatest thing be just "the slightest thing?"

What a terrible world to live in.

Curiouser and Curiouser!

From Cosmos, Liturgy, Sex:

"...the Christian sense of mystery. Christian mystery is not a problem to be solved. Rather, Christian mystery is an excess of meaning; rather than darkness it is an excess of light. Thus, when we say that some aspect of the faith is a mystery; it does not mean we know nothing about it. Rather, it means that there is too much about it to know..."

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Happy Birthday, Hopkins!

Today is the birthday of a favorite poet of mine, Gerard Manley Hopkins. His "God's Grandeur" is a frequent guest in my prayer, and I often use it to illustrate the sacramentality of the world. "...the Holy Ghost over the bent world broods with warm breast and ah! bright wings!"

More Here
Via Ut Unum Sint: Bishop Spong Fights the Good Fight Against Christianity

I've never understood people like Spong. Yeah, he's entitled to his opinion, he's entitled not to believe in traditional Christianity. But to call one's self a Bishop and promote this nonsense - he actively rejects theistic principles - is the very height of intellectual and, indeed, moral nonsense. It's one thing to struggle with issues of faith - to pain over Christ's divinity or the efficacy of prayer - but to reject everything Christianity stands for, call yourself a Christian bishop and blatantly counter every single proposition Christianity has is absolutely disgraceful.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Yes, we all know.

Inter arma enim silent leges.
Don't try this at home?

Thanks to the good folks at Mythbusters, I've taken up card0-throwing. I've lacerated a large foam panel and gotten a few to stick.

It's really remarkably fun.

Meanwhile, a few things seem to come to a head.

On the one, an addressed, stamped envelope from the Society of St Paul has arrived in the mail, thus further cementing a strange reality, that, within a year, I may be leaving here for something that still seems a little surreal.

Also, Matthew Deiner, Loyola Press's Managing editor for trade books, is "anxious" to see some finished work from Bodanen, my graphic novel. The first pages coming from Erik, the artist for the book, are looking grand, so I'm pretty sure they'll like it.

Pray for me, friends.

Standard Standards

Sen. John McCain offers an interesting amendment which would establish the Army Field Manual as the DoD standard for interrogating prisoners held in War-on-Terror operations.

President Bush and VP Cheney are opposed to this? I am getting more and more dishearted by this administration.

(wrote in McCain last election)

Annuncio Vobis Gaudium Magnum

Habemus Blogem!

Seriously, this blog is grand. It's called Musum Pontificalis, and it's ostensibly the Papal Blog.


But it's grand, yes, absolutely splendid.


Hide me away

"All of the plenty in this world that is not my God is poverty to me."
-St Augustine of Hippo

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

I cried when the shuttle flew. I'm a space program guy; I love it very passionately. Seeing it go up moved me to tears.

Man, you could see the curve of the earth.

[amazed at simple things]

Freedom and Being Free: Will to Power or Power to Serve?

I believe that Enlightenment freedom is essentially adversarial; to be free is to assert one's will, which will inevitably lead to conflict where two wills both overlap and disagree. This form of freedom is all about power - I have a will, and freedom is my ability, my power to make that happen. Then, where my will conflicts with your will, one of us will have to assert our will over the other's, thus limiting the other's. It becomes a contest - in order to exercise my freedom, I must exercise power over my opponent, and thus block him from exercising his. I believe this adversarial kind of freedom is primitive, brutal, and essentially dehumanizing.

Our system is set up in such a way as we have established laws and rights that serve as little more than lines in the sand saying "You cannot go any further." But we dislike limitations, so we try to push that line as far as possible, because we percieve it to be a challenge. Our freedom has ended at that point. In a society where the principal question is "how far can I go?" such limits are necessary, lest anarchy.

For instance, in cases like displaying the Ten Commandments on public property, I believe both parties are fundamentally right. The City Countil of Free Country, USA is free to assert it's collective will to erect a Commandments monument (as the first amendment specifically prevents the federal Congress from passing any law "respecting any establishment of religion," so it doesn't apply here). Meanwhile, the offended atheist is free to assert his will that the monument be taken down. The result is a clash of wills, both being essentially right that they are free to do what they have done.

The question needs to be, not "how far can I go?" but "What can I do to be a good person?" I posit that truly human freedom lies in self-donation rather than self-assertion. In this system, we define freedom by service rather than power - my freedom to act lies in my freedom to serve rather than will. This "Law of the Gift" gives us a truly human freedom, where we don't pit power against power and will against will. Instead, we give ourselves to another, and in doing so, in giving our entire selves, in putting ourselves in the hands of another, we break ourselves free from liscentiousness, where our freedom lies only in the pursuit of OUR happiness, rather than in the pursuit of another's.

A freedom defined by service rather than power is a freedom unshackled from our own pure, unbridled wills, and instead grounded in love and responsibility.

Fiat Lux!

Seatbelt Blue here, and welcome to my second attempt at a blog. The first attempt, the ill-fated Love the Life You Choose, folded a bit back, but I've decided to jump in again with a more general-purpose blog. The earlier effort was far too...concentrated, I believe would be the best word. The topic was both too specific and too general to really afford frequent posting. This one will be far more esoteric; in addition to my philosophical rants, I'll really just post whatever comes to mind.

About Seatbelt Blue: I'm a Catholic writer currently working on three projects - one prose novel and two graphic novels (one of which really should be a film, but ah, whatever). I'm also a college dropout for a variety of reasons (the principal one being unable to discern a purpose for my being there and wasting untold thousands of dollars for an English degree, when I'm fairly certain I'll be entering the priesthood through the Society of St Paul eventually. Most of my credits won't even transfer).

As I said, I'm Catholic, and my faith is really staggeringly important to me. I try to order my whole being toward it. I've been Catholic since I was 16 (I currently approach 21), having converted (to my dad's chagrin) after having an Epiphany in 2000 with regards to it's truthfulness. Since then, I've educated myself (autodidactism - another reason I left school) in the faith, but unfortunately spent a terribly large amount of time just debating Protestants and calling it the Lord's work. Since early 2004, I've been drawing myself a more contemplative bath, and working towards saints like Teresa of Avila, Therese of Lisieux, and John of the Cross - the Carmelite Mystics - and I also feel a grand connection to the Desert Fathers and the Prophets of Israel (indeed, one of my graphic novels in the works could be described as the story of Moses told through a shattered mirror).

Philosophically/theologically, I lean in the direction of that grand theological thunderclap John Paul the Great, Soren Kierkegaard, CS Lewis, Karl Barth. I tend to consider myself something of a Neo-Orthodox Christian Personalist Existentialist (if that makes the SLIGHTEST bit of sense. I'm still in shallow water here). Definitely not much of the Thomist Scholastic, though. Still on the fence with regards to St. Augustine. I read Scott Hahn, if that means anything, and I'm constantly amazed by this sort of underlying familial theology that seems to run through his whole canon, and further amazed whenever I see it anywhere else.

In terms of my literary tastes, I definitely have a thing for the 1920's and the Moderns. Earnest Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Malcom Cowley, Robert MacAlmon, Kay Boyle, H.D., Bryher, Harry Crosby, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, TS Eliot, even Tristan Tzara and's very ironic that my literary interests draw so heavily towards the sort of debonair nihilism I work so hard to combat in my own work. Similarly I'm drawn towards the Beats, especially Kerouac and Ferlenghetti. Of course, I also love Tolkein, Orson Scott Card, CS Lewis, et al.

But the single book that's had the most influence on me to date is George Weigel's earth-shattering Letters to a Young Catholic.

Anyway, welcome to Seatbelt Blues. Enjoy.