Thursday, July 29, 2010


isn't it odd that english should abound in quirks ... for example that only one letter should separate the good from god and evil from the devil ... who can figure past these games past meaning logic and coincidence to anything seriously profound ... to search for example the history of the human mind its progress and decline in any great detail and scope ... thomas said the pagan philosophers got what he got on the unity of divinity but that they lacked revelation to come to the trinity ... creation the fall and incarnation these the three great events in all history how many of these can most of philosophy today give witness to much less verify or justify ... how many who were just feet away to hear it could figure out what they heard ... imagine just a minute if you had heard the absolute voice of god talking to his son ... what was that then thunder we too might say or no he's talking to an angel and the angel is responding ... well isn't that how we respond to revelation ... wait what was it he said

compendium 36; kreeft ycuot 23; john 12 : 25-6.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


there are some evolutionists who say since things happen on this small level seemingly by chance that is totally at random we may assume that's how all the universe works ... is such a conclusion scientific ... or is it philosophical ... if the second does science support it ... and does science also support the opposing philosophical conclusion that all around this throw of the dice is a felt-clad table of law and purpose ... and if science does support both these points of view with example and implication wouldn't the discussion between them be just the thing to hear and debate in school ... why then is the debate outside the school instead of inside ... about the debate and not about the meaning of evolution ... that's an interesting question but what does it mean ... or rather what if it means what we don't want to hear ... that design begins and ends in divinity ... while random selection at the universally binding level of natural law says there is no god but nature 2/2


you can't make art out of unredeemed suffering ... if that's true that puts the kabosh on a large portion of high minded movies and novels of the last century ... stories that get us no further or leave us further back ... to no good purpose or any power of virtue ... that are full of how but answer no why ... when hope comes down to we're better off dead ... or maybe we can kill the other guy first and have a good time while we're at it ... but it's more often the first option the one where hope dies ... we begin to look like early christians we seem to have such a contempt for this life ... only in our case there's no better one to follow ... outside self-esteem there is no redemption in this hard-eyed modern fiction ... but hardeye is too rigid ... you need to be nimble to keep up with the real world in truth ... we have to be quick and precise in our points of view ... careful but caring too ... to see and consider ... what the greeks called theastai ... to consider they found the one kind of things most not least worthy ... theos ... the latins call deus 1/2

you can't ... frank o'connor, quoted in larry mcmurtry, walter benjamin at the dairy queen, p41; kreeft ycuot 21-2; john 12: 25-6; compendium 35.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


living too much in your own head you come to forget there are things outside it ... playing the little god though necessarily false you think you can create things out of the nothing inside you ... but you know from experience that they don't last and now you hear of others that you won't either ... but you knew that before you began to talk in subjects and predicates ... nonetheless it was a cute run while it lasted playing at creation mimicking a thing you cannot understand ... god ... now he makes sense ... having no start he doesn't need to finish ... but you you do start and within the next twenty-four hours you do finish ... you know pain suffering fear but you know nothing so well as nothing ... you have the day for everything else but you have the night for nothing ... they walk down the line when they come to your room they turn the light out ... you may struggle in the dark for a time but the light means you and you go out because you can't keep thinking ... you thought you projected your thought when it's more like holding on to its object ... till you can't any more and you fall

kreeft, the god who creates out of nothing, ycuot 18-20; compendium 34.

Monday, July 26, 2010


if I had the right faith and enough the object of intellectual apprehension would be the good object of my will ... always before it to form and perfect it ... among the various perfections of things the chief are intellect and will ... if I had the right faith and enough I'd have these two ... as I stepped from my bath in the morning wisdom would step forward and towell me dry ... as I sat to my lunch at noon truth would serve my successive courses ... and as I lay my head down on the pillow at night satisfaction would soothe my soul ... if I had the right faith and enough ... what I have instead as I step from the shower in the morning is the execution of a scheme ... to saisfy a need ... whose definition is not as yet precise ... particular enough mind you but not general enough ... too plural when I need something simple ... so with my apprehension somewhat failing I walk into the light with my head down ... fumbling in my palm for some hidden combination ... a formula greater than pi ... something I can make automatic

compendium 33

Sunday, July 25, 2010


myth alone signifies only the imagination ... philosophy means reason ... and no matter how exalted the experience by itself we have only the mystic's word for her vision ... for final truth we need something else ... we need revelation ... because we need to really know we need to move the intellect ... but that won't happen without appetite ... and the appetite that follows intellectual apprehension is the will ... love operates through the will ... the apprehended good is necessarily loved ... but the final good we're talking about can't be manufactured or discovered ... it has to be given ... it has to be revealed ... in caiaphas's year the high priest was given a revelation and he prophesied that jesus must die ... for the people ... for us ... he was given the word and though he spoke it he didn't understand it ... he thought to save his people from the romans when all those years his people had saved themselves for jesus ... it was hard for caiaphas ... it's hard for us ... we apprehend the good we love ... but it's the wrong one

kreeft ycuot 15-6; compendium 32; john 11: 50-3.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


what does it mean ... is it true ... so what if it is ... I was thinking of adding the third question to the meaning and truth of the pacre ... when I see the philosopher peter ask the same three questions about scripture ... I conclude from this that I'm writing scripture ... well for all of us there is something there ... something in common ... all we have to do is write ... one word ... there's something in common between what we say and jesus says ... what we do and the spirit does ... between how we think and god thinks ... between what god is and we are ... when we want to praise a person we say class act ... god is pure act ... we have knowledge and the ability to acquire more of it which we call the intellect or intelligence but we don't have understanding unless we actually make use of our intelligence ... god does that all the time ... ke knows everything always ... while we're still playing in essence he already always is ... he is what he is ... it's that simple ... we are sometimes what we want to be ... but every time we are isn't the first thought thank you

peter kreeft, ycuot, 14; compendium 31; john 11: 41-3.

Friday, July 23, 2010


tears may be a perfection of the intellect when understanding should cause sorrow ... a book shouldn't pretend to impassivity as if it were just pages in a binder when its effect is to free us from bondage ... what is it then in an intelligible species that moves us ... isn't it always the truth ... that which we understand and helps us fit the piece in the puzzle ... why wasn't jesus on time to save lazarus and why did he suddenly start to cry ... was he coldblooded to let his friend die for a teachable moment and then repented when he saw the harm he had done ... it's the best I might figure for anyone else playing the part ... but jesus isn't doing that ... he's not playing a role ... he's filling it to perfection through the virtue of obedience ... one eye for now but the other for always ... what would that mean if he couldn't cry ... if suddenly he never broke down ... how would that jolt the frame or rip the curtain ... this one eye for us and the other for something totally alien ... other

tom wright, john ch 11; peter kreeft, ycuot, 12; compendium 30.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


the first snapshot by thomas shows a set of two members ... the potential and the actual ... second photo by peter shows a group of three who are set up upset reset ... the headline structure of all our story being told ... birth death resurrection ... if only ... even though you die ... if only you were here two days ago ... you will live forever ... what by this would it otherwise mean to die ... to be born to pass from potential to active ... sitting at home alone by the phone getting the call from work to come in ... on going home again only to discover it's no longer there ... that one by one as you think of them each thing goes out ... until there's nothing not even you ... except there does seem to be something after all ... some sign or sword that says don't return ... ever ... you raise your finger to object ... they snuff you out ... rather perhaps than to object in so careful a way maybe instead put your whole hand out ... someone might pull you up if you call for help ... I think you might have to call ... it's not automatic ... thank god ... forever

cf compendium 29; peter kreeft, you can understand the old testament, 9-11 (general introduction); wright, john for everyone, 11: 21-7.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


what's the matter with us ... well I think it's four dimensional ... on the surface of the culture in the dish on the counter we're on ... floating along with the other scum I know we've known for millenia of the next two dimensions ... the thinker and the spirit ... no I said thinker the stinker comes in later ... it's dangerous visiting the next dimension of thought and staying past your visa ... giving no thought thereafter to the further dimension of spirit ... as if the unending potential forms of the material dimension meant there were ultimately many many more than three final forms of reality ... for mind by itself can't handle the potency of matter ... if handle means to manipulate and control ... as if the father were in a wheelchair in the very ancient days and the son were pushing him down the path ... without the spirit the mind has only cartoons ... and worse ... but with the spirit what else could it need ... wait and see you say ... no thanks ... with these three I'm complete 2/2


the gnostics spoke of a reality of many dimensions each more complete than the one before ... the shroud of turin is between two such dimensions the flat and the round ... jesus was glad to bring the apostles back to dead lazarus so they might then have greater reason to believe for they saw then a most remarkable movement between dimensions ... it's what thomas meant when he said intelligence was preeminent because it was the most powerful and note his explanation why ... we know the form because we remove it from its material conditions ... and as we all know information is power ... all I'm saying is that form and matter mean different dimensions ... the material and the mental mind and matter ... it's why we can't go any further on our own into the mind of god ... the dimensions would overwhelm us ... it's why the devil is so seductive and then disastrous ... he has so many dimensions to throw us into ... but we have jesus in between the father and the devil ... a person to hold everything together 1/2

cf the real face of jesus? A+E History dvd; john 11: 15 (and see the other thomas at verses 8+16); compendium 28; kreeft rpnt 171 (afterword).

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


we are gods ... we have it on the highest authority ... but we're obviously also human ... what does that mean ... well if you're like me you have always a subterranean amazement that when you're with others they're never entirely with you ... and you suspect it's because of our peninsula style cocoons that hold in our unique particularity ... the point of view they give us necessarily divides us from everyone else and everything else we know ... and this is how we start ... how we begin to know ... the eyes of the subject open and all the predicates flow by ... the ears open and listen to the music they hear ... one voice or many equal voices but never just the one or the other ... what they say is never the same but never completely different ... not one univocal meaning but neither entirely equivocal ... but both making sense of each other through some third thing they have in common ... as we know so too we are in pretty much the same way ... in relation to some common truth ... some immortal spirit eternally true

john 10: 31-39; compendium 27; kreeft rpnt 165-6 (ch 28).

Monday, July 19, 2010


we talk about the bad ways ways sin must make us feel the worst being the most subtle ... but what about its distraction detour and delay ... if life is a race under time constraints what effect must these have ... I take this worry about at best a waste of time to be an argument for the necessity of faith as it's received that is for grace ... how otherwise given the rampages of sin could we survive much less win the race ... that's to say cross the finished line become complete ... certainly our intellectual training and skills don't win the race ... not on their own ... they're not that powerful ... in fact there's something so final so fatal in our natural incapacity to win by thinking straight give us again enough time we won't need much and just enough pressure there's no reason to suppose we can't justify going to heaven or hell ... weakness of will you ask ... we can't take a step forward without taking one back ... incomplete tending towards the insubstantial ... out of god's open hand

heb 13: 20-21, 25; compendium 26; kreeft rpnt 163; john 10: 27-30.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


sickness and sin ... I don't mean just effect and its cause ... a certain psychosomatic turbulence ... but an identity in the subject in place and time ... starting as members of the same class ... that is things that are wrong ... I don't feel right is almost always the beginning of a meaningful statement ... I mean it has a substance you wouldn't be right to ignore ... but there are times when something's wrong and you don't feel it ... when you're doing something bad ... or some insidious thing in the unconscious bowells of your world is doing it to you ... in each case the same malevolent effect is working through ... something's efficient will ... in each case that one only exclusive will ... from the particular point of view it has this general but pervasive alien touch ... but from the general force of desire it has a most particular intention ... it's looking at the same thing from opposite ends ... something estranged that chooses not to fit ... something so powerful in its alienation in its difference it says softly roaring come ... I can make you 2/2


if this generation rejects the concept of sin what then if we must suffer the consequences of both sin and our rejection ... which then would mean would it not wilfull ignorance ... does a break with an ancient tradition signify a loss of its foundation ... correspondence with the truth ... we turn instead to correspondences with ourselves ... from god to the names of god ... from virtue to values ... when the eyewitnesses are dead all we have left is hearsay ... when the cause is gone the effects remain ... the thing itself has become its symbols and time is reversed ... meditation carries it backward upriver to the source ... it's a broad and deep stream with many looming shortcuts and falls and we didn't we just let the map drown ... now all the outlets seem the same and they all take the plunge ... and we at the bottom just coming into the spray and the foam still paddling upstream ... we've lost the guide but we still have the need ... whose voice will we hear now 1/2

compendium 25; kreeft rpnt ch 26; john 10: 16.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


what's the most dangerous thing about living in this fallen world ... isn't it thinking with this world's thought ... which says life may be brutal nasty and short but that's no reason to call it fallen ... as if it were once high and might still rise ... if there were a god it would be perfect ... but who are we to think we could understand something like that ... far better to let it be and work out our own salvation in fear and trembling ... which salvation would be it would seem to have of these last two as little as possible ... to play the game for the least reward we can get so the most of us that can will get it ... by paying attention as best we can to the things we do understand ... to all which I the poor christian must say if only I could ... if only it were that easy ... but I can't so it can't be easy that way after all ... for everything I see that I really do understand points the way on further ... my knowledge isn't a closed door it's an open gate ... and what I see on the other side is so wide and deep if he didn't give me these details to hold onto wouldn't I just go to pieces

john 10: 7-10; heb 13: 5b + 8; kreeft rpnt 148-9; compendium 24

Friday, July 16, 2010


the gnostic rebel alone in his room at night fancies a battle between everything and nothing but when he wakes in the morning has to settle for something ... at night he sees a war between the best and the worst ... in full light it's just another fight between better and worse ... the gnostic at night removes the mud from his eyes and says who is he that I might believe in him ... the gnostic in the forum in the middle of the day says what so now we're blind ... and says it in a defiant disbelief ... the essence scatters in the wind ... it wasn't essential after all ... just the threat of a tremor and it disippates ... the one predetermined truth turns out to be an accident ... so what the daytime gnostic responds an accident is still a form indeed an act and as such must belong to a subject ... what do I care how it's attached as long as I the subject have it ... so it's an addition isn't it a superaddition when added by the grace of chance as long as chance is eternal and fraternal too ... our familiar ... our destiny ... but at night he sees the real subject and it isn't he

1. john 9: 35-41; 2. heb 12: 25-29; 3. compendium 23.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


so we're down from mount sinai with its darkness and trumpets of gloom its terror and fatal taboo and come into the city where the angels are at festival and the good people have been made perfect ... but meanwhile in the valley between it's war till the end of time ... how are we to survive to get from one mountain top to the other ... to get back into high grace we'll need a faculty higher than imagination ... to understand the good news about the last things we're going to need a first philosophy ... one science to hold primacy among all the others ... it isn't as if we had a choice ... we all knew since we all heard the words we begged no longer to have to hear that we couldn't stay on top of that prophetic mountain but were called instead to mount sion ... I only say there's a hard march in between ... I only hope the nco's are well versed in the training of those first things ... diversity and choice are fine things when they apply but they're for the valley ... on mount sion knowledge unites round one truth

heb 12: 18-24; kreeft rpnt 147 (on Revelation); compendium 22

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


you speak too generally ... I'm looking for something a little more specific ... of course you are ... it's not only how you were made to see but how we're meant to see ... how things are made so that we may see them this way ... genus and species ... first we say something positive in a general kind of way ... then we start quibbling and picking at it ... pulling things off its definition ... speaking behind the hand of all the things it doesn't have .... whittling its essence down to a splinter to pick our teeth as we ruminate on something more substantial ... all these other things we know they start out so well ... start each indeed with a perfection ... end all it seems must in disappointment ... not so much as have lost their initial perfection ... closed off nonetheless in all the other perfections it doesn't have ... they catch us finally but all too quickly by these things we aren't than by the one or two we are ... with all our pretensions towards infinity they pin us to the mat making us finite specimens by specific difference

compendium 21

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


there is something wrong with matter ... by its nature by itself it has no limit ... last century the scientists kept getting closer to what some kept thinking must be rock bottom ... atom proton neutron electron force field string dimension ... then matter antimatter ... surely if not an end we must have come to a corner ... all we get now is some sort of information formation form ... we must have taken a wrong turn and left matter somewhere behind ... but the form takes you aside ... see here she says read this ... what you're looking for is not matter but the end of matter ... by itself it will neither start nor finish ... by itself it has no beginning or end ... just goes to show you it was not meant to be alone ... it needs an end ... a limit on purpose by which it becomes real ... is realized ... on its own it's universally extensive but never at any one point penetrates ... never at any moment is intensive ... no wonder then when all you have in faith is matter you lose contrast ... you lose intensity ... see what you've done when you deny intention

compendium 20


where we should not be gnostic I think is in our fundamental respect for matter ... it is the container of the spirit which the individual soul fills all the way up to the pores ... adapting to it and adopting it so that the matter has not only a new organization but something entirely new if not alien and that's life ... pure matter is completely receptive wholly potential ... what fills it isn't pattern or theory but act ... passive power is what it is bcause of the hope action gives it ... action moderated and mediated by system and pattern but not some dream or fantastic idea but the real fully rounded thing ... not mythic or symbolic but actual ... picking it out as light ... say lightning ... picking us out ... say as slow and patient ... in a community a great cloud of witness and support all round us ... we put our hand out we stick our finger in the socket ... there'll be a time when we won't want to let go ... too much act too much reality but we won't want to let it go ... a piece of cloth a shroud radiant with light ... with act

1. compendium 19; 2. heb 12: 1-3; 3. john 8: 54-9; 4. the real face of jesus? A&E History dvd


the philosopher asks what are the three things everyone wants most and more of ... light life love ... and the three worst ... falsehood death hatred ... next ask who's the father of the lie and who his children are ... who is it that wanted and wants to kill the truth from the beginning ... now look at privation ... look at infinity through the passion of quantity ... going on forever because you have not met your end ... passionate about addition ... clever with subtraction and delay ... amenable to by nature grasping at the end ... but having it always denied ... deprived of finality ... living the lie ... what would be best but to die ... there's an end of it ... finally it makes sense ... the children of the lie are addicted to this one power ... the potency of a limit receptive of every act ... they're tired of the endless truth ... they want all that to end ... they want everything to end ... and they count it insane that nothing ever does ... that the light is still shining ... with love we rise from the dead ... is nothing they ask sacred any more

1. kreeft, rpnt 138; 2. tom wright, john 8: 43-4; 3. compendium 18.


oh these are nasty marches they make through mud and jungle ... getting shot at and blown up are by nature horrific ... outside the rules of the game as it were ... but the marches are the game ... the war against the elements is more persistently real than these poor taste and crude travesties combat leaves behind in dead bodies ... the rain and heat the sweat and disease the infantry grunt of the war ... to call that surreal is I think no longer to be there ... but to march ... that may come to a parade ... or in a deeper sense to a procession ... to march from one fetal bed to another one that's fatal is to have all the in between the story of our life ... there's a journey for you ... but what ... I tell you if such a trudging were only the beginning who can be heartened to jump up from that last bed to join the parade to join the processon ... unless that meant to join good company ... we knew it was ethereal conversation but who knew it was on the move ... the greeks did ... they called it the peripatetic

1. the pacific, hbo miniseries, episode 4; 2. actually it was the scholastics who called it that? but it was aristotle who walked the walk as he talked.

Monday, July 12, 2010


triumphant suffering ... what could be more incendiary and revolting to the secular mind ... they call it masochistic ... not I think having read that author ... but the reference to sex and bondage is appropriate to the neopagan spirit in bondage not to the virtue but to the sin of sex and trying to escape that servitude turns to humor and wit ... doesn't succeed very much however in that endeavor ... must for example run from any suffering it can't hide ... must for example almost always get caught ... that's when the true epicure turns stoic ... now some stoicism like the stoicism of that greek philosopher and slave certainly warrants a triumph ... but then there's the petulant and pessimistic stoicism of the roman emperor temperamentally incapable of a triumph surely ... a something he'd find too bitter ... but neither stoic nor epicure is happy enough ... not the stoic certainly but the epicure too fails in his pleasure ... for any of its variety suffers from too short a shelf life ... where that in particular is the christian's strength ... this quick life to fight by jesus' side for eternity

1. 1pet4: 12-13; 5: 10; 2. kreeft, rpnt 131-2; 3. philosopher slave and emperor: epictetus and marcus aurelius


thoughts and objects ... all kinds of representations before and after action ... definitions of essence ... works of art ... forms in a subject ... subjects in a form ... things we can classify and clarify talk about and ponder ... things we know and will yet know ... subject object and the different forms we can command ... there seems to be no end no limit to the things we can do ... to the things we will know ... except the moment in time ... not the second or nanosecond but the moment that has no time and still has the past and future around it ... the fixed point in time that time passes by in review ... that sense of separation of being aloof without the pride ... holiness eternity the mystic perfection of the east ... parmenides verified in heraclitus ... the still center that moves others ... that moves us ... when jesus said he wasn't of this present world is that what he meant ... a world beyond time is beyond the present ... this still foundation that moves us ... is this what makes faith work

1. compendium 15; 2. john 8: 23; 3. kreeft, rpnt, ch 21; 4. heb 11: 13-16.


some people say there are about thirty-seven million jews in the world ... I say there are over a billion ... here's a patriarchal religion coming from desert nomads who say god is one ... we know this because he told it to us through prophetic scripture ... furthermore he tells us exactly how to live ... we have through his guidance a tradition of codes and casebook studies that tell us which way to turn and when ... that give us a direction and a center to face ... the only spot of its kind on the surface of the earth ... the fingerprint of god as it were who said said here ... we're talking about islam no ... islam judaism in a more recent appearance ... from hebrew to aramaic to arabic ... add a prophet or two but keep the same tribal ferocity of proprietary truth ... nothing more or less than you'd expect from an absolute in one god only ... this one spare desert religion rejects as an absurdity the christian trinity which says at best god is a genus or a species or a set with three members one of whom came into the desert and then left

compendium 13 - 14 which as you would expect disagrees with the conclusion above that god is a genus or a species


what's the most invisible real thing in all reality ... isn't it also the most real ... isn't it existence ... it's like the things we tend most to take for granted ... they tend to be the most basic the necessary things ... the thing about necessity is it doesn't compete ... it just is ... everything else has to adjust ... so it is with existence ... philosophers will tell you it's not a predicate but the beginning of them all ... neither is it a subject but there'd be no subject without it ... for the same reason its ubiquity it's not a valid genus ... it can't support a difference ... for how can you disagree if you don't exist ... but no difference no specifics no detail ... then what are we talking about ... well not nothing ... but how does that help ... if there's one thing existence is it's not nothing ... it's the first thing we know about it when we take a moment to think ... it isn't nothing ... this something is some thing indeed ... you could almost define it by thinking of nothing but from nothing you get nothing ... from this you get everything

compendium 13; heb 11: 1-3; philip k dick, ubik

Sunday, July 11, 2010


what if all genuine improvement in human nature ... our life and behavior ... is due to one man ... his life and his behavior ... what he did ... what he said ... especially by example ... who would he be ... moses mohammad buddha krishna confucius or jesus ... who teaches the sanctity of the person ... the authority of the universal ... the sanctified basis of equality ... who would have you pursue the truth with an open mind ... who by his example teaches the balanced life of the spirit promoting not just truth and justice and the defense of the powerless ... but says do all these good things with mercy and love ... and because we will surely need it courage too ... and if you try to pin down your answer to a geographical plot of land what if he said this wasn't the place he had come to fix ... but it's us he's come to fix for a better place ... to fit for a crown of righteous eternity ... immortal on his own

1. the initial startling claim and the ten commandments that follow it are from paul johnson, jesus, 161-2, ch 7; 2. 2tim4: 7-8 via kreeft, rpnt, 115.


we are per se and per accidens ... things on our own in one real sense since we were set so ... but not without predicates some essential per se but many other by accident ... some though we planned and we worked on them all nonetheless beyond our control ... and unless by a special grace all of them likely to be lost ... everything we have everything we are but for that proviso trembling with the potency of extinction ... it's best that we remember this and render each other the help and encouragement our condition requires ... so much makes sense on its own ... per se you might say if you like a little joke ... but there is this seeming accident you call grace ... certainly not by definition part of our essence ... not even as I already said the part of us per se ... but something pure simple ... the I that cannot become an it buber called it ... the one the son of god himself came from and to serve ... all the philosophers want a moment of quiet when the word once for all is said

1. compendium 10; 2. heb 10: 24-5; 3. buber via kreeft, rpnt, 113; 4. john 7: 27-30.


1. what if the jesus of luke and matthew spoke in parables and the jesus of john spoke with the abstract greek light of reason ... how can you say it was jesus and not more john matthew or luke ... written thirty to sixty years later they had to have had more influence than something said all those years before ... the actual jesus had to have been more ambiguous than socrates was to xenophon and plato ... what is your guarantee of objective accuracy ... 2. my guarantee will not satisfy you ... it's not a simple aggregate of matter and form ... there is something else ... just two things more ... a person and a purpose ... the form corresponds precisely to the original matter because of that person and that purpose ... when the form of the world was abandoned and then left he left behind that person and his purpose ... how else could he have been so confident in our success ... he told us to listen ... he said we'd be the judge

1. johnson, jesus, 107, ch 5; 2. socrates in plato is sprightly and wry but in xenophon he's dour; 3. aristotle believed in four causes or explanations of what was real: matter, form, agent, and purpose; 4. john 7: 17.


we are saved by faith but whose faith saves us ... hardly ours ... that's why we need hope ... not our faith but his faith ... faith in what ... faith in whom ... faith in the father ... he knows us he doesn't need faith about that ... now this should be a great relief to amateur christians who wait ten years after retirement to pick up the bible and even then under compulsion ... morning half-hour christians just beginning to remember their verses ... if we're put to temptation if they put us to the test left to chance left to probability my faith would probably fail ... so I take it as a powerful relief that my faith is not the one to count ... doesn't mean I don't believe just means I'm thankful it doesn't depend on me ... I take this world to be upside down ... sometimes I take it to be turned over on top of me ... at all times I know it's no friend of mine ... was a battle from the start and thankful I was to get periods of peace ... now I see the faith and I say bring it on

tom wright, paul for everyone, the prison letters, phil 3: 7-11.


it's a decision I obviously don't know how to make ... I tell myself to do this and the self does that ... and that's how I know this world doesn't work ... it's got a lot of beautiful stuff but it doesn't have that ... people tell me it's my fault ... they tell me to conform ... but to do that I'd have to stand on my head hereafter ... this world is upside down ... I think it's got to stop before we can get something better something right ... I think it will stop when all of us go ... I pity the tenants thereafter ... paul said he lost everything and that he didn't count it worth shit ... for everything's a waste that doesn't lead to the kingdom of god ... a loss that doesn't go that way ... now how do we leave here and get there ... you didn't think I'd tell you that that I'd be the one who could ... but I can tell you this that I picked up on some page in the room this morning ... it says there is no succession in god ... I take this as a disincentive to disappointment ... in god everything is simultaneous ... I take that as encouraging hope

paul johnson, jesus, ch 4, pp 84 + 86; kreeft, rpnt, 97: phil 3: 7-8; compendium 8

Saturday, July 10, 2010


what makes a complete story that has no beginning and no end a failure to us ... we each have a beginning and each must have his end and that's the story we're interested in especially the end ... that's why we tell stories and why we listen to them ... to learn how to do it to work out our salvation ... and so the story goes the boy found those words with fear and trembling on a bible-verse-calendar-page for the day he was born ... and this being a short clause he would chew on it and ruminate for the next forty years ... not doing enough selective reading as he should have done ... so he came too late to the next verse to save him those years of panic ... fear and trembling no doubt but someone else did the heavy lifting ... a happy ending but he didn't write it ... it was different being a creature than it was being god ... being dependent being contingent ... beginning but going on to an end still being written ... and he in not negligible comfort brought to it

1. phil 2: 12-13; 2. kreeft, rpnt, 96-7; 3. john 6: 63; 4. compendium 7; 5. heb 9: 27-8.


what is this mania for doing it my way ... for being independent ... for doing it on my own ... I don't mean in relation to somebody else ... I mean in relation to everything else ... not an adolescent rebellion towards maturity but a mature rejection of constituting authority ... the kind of credentials that give everything its warrant ... a rebellion that denies then can't recognize the primary distinction between necessary and contingent ... till all necessity is contingent on everything else and the absolute itself is relative ... everything in everything else a web of relation a necessary web of contingency ... if by contingency you mean dependence ... but what if you mean instead the possibility of not existing ... lights in the web going on and off but never and only so never at the center where the light's always on ... that kind of necessity that kind of being is Being itself and whether indeed it is or it isn't is the first point of difference is it not between wisdom and everything else

compendium 6


what I saw I thought was beautiful but now I see it was disgusting ... not the girls the lighting or the color ... not the frame or the focus ... and not the acting ... but that's the first clue ... in this medium we want no acting ... we want rather sincerity of form throughout ... the sharper the clearer the simpler the better ... and that's the second point ... the form of action and passion we strive for here is preverbal say therefore at least prehistoric ... which is not to say it doesn't have a place ... but the old place isn't only the best it's the only one that fits such a simple force ... at home in private in love ... not in public on the screen on the take ... it's another abstraction but a wrong one ... as blanshard would say a false universal ... it doesn't add to our understanding of the particular ... it takes away from it ... a false abstraction is always an unnatural subtraction ... a heightening of just one element or a few to the detriment of some others we should never be without


I am what I am leave me alone ... you'd have to be a good christian or jew to see the enormity of offense in that sentiment ... if it were let to go universal ... as one by one the lights went out ... as at the center Being bundled itself in ... but on a gentler scale it seems to tell a tale worth hearing ... natures needn't apply across the species ... what do I care for yours ... it's mine I must abide and so I do ... it is what it is it needs no help from you ... and you ... and you ... leave me alone I'll spin like a top and pass out beyond content ... but you know this won't serve and you won't spin long before you come to a stop and who will start you up again ... this is a mimicry about as bold and stupid as we can get to be ... aping the one best real thing only to opt for the one impossible ... even the devil isn't by himself ... even god has company ... we are what we are but never was that by itself ... on its own ... its own ... question isn't why should this be so but why we ever thought it shouldn't ... who does think that

Ex 3: 14

Friday, July 09, 2010


I'm an aesthetic christian because it tells the best story ... funny isn't it that some of us would find that a strange reason to pick a faith when all we have to do is look at history and culture to see that it's true ... we have so many gadgets today helpful lethal and recreational and they're all built on math so we take math and its cousin logic as our jesus and john our standard of proof ... but doesn't this make the tool the master ... why do we want to be healthy or win a war or just have fun ... I think we just want to tell a good story ... the one that we're in ... we know it has to come out one way or the other and naturally we root for the good ending not the bad ... some people think this so-called natural desire is a cop-out ... I guess they mean the cop is off his beat and anything goes if you can get away with that ... let the father of such a desire have all the children he wants ... but that's exactly right ... it is what the father wants ... a good ending

john 6: 37-39


thomas says it would be ridiculous if everything was instrumental ... if there's no final subject whose instrument everything is ... nothing moves that we know of that isn't moved by something else ... but there must be something that breaks this rule or for whom it's not meant to apply ... something that moves but isn't moved itself ... or nothing gets started and we're not really here ... disconnected frames on a never-ending reel ... we're in-between creatures we know that the moment we're in ... before the first thought there's a before it's thinking of ... we know we're in the middle ... all time tells us so ... we just can't put our finger on the exact spot ... we think we've got it ... but it's just the ratchet effect ... it only means we can't go back ... it doesn't stop us spinning forward ... is this the only natural way to look at it ... the only rational explanation ... or can the wheel spin round and round any way it wants ... pause start again stop from no beginning to no end ... not if life and nature tell a story ... not just any story ... but the best one there is

compendium 3


when jesus walked across the water in what state of mind did the apostles receive him ... they were terrified ... we'd think wow look at that jesus is walking on the water isn't that cool ... but then knowing as we know now we couldn't have been there thinking like that ... not if we know what we should know now who we are and what we've done in the two thousand years since ... if we thought of that we'd be terrified too ... we need someone now merciful to our injustices who can forget forever ... if I haven't but one decision to make let me hope that this is true ... there is someone who can do these things and will ... if I had the faith to support that hope couldn't I carry the cross up the hill knowing what we'd find at the top ... thinking like that get to the point distraction could tug at your elbow and you wouldn't lose your cool ... you wouldn't be cool you'd be too busy ... if we have the mercy of such forgiveness at the end doesn't mean we don't earn it ... we earn it by loving to do it

1. john 6: 19; heb 8: 10-12; 3. compendium 2; 4. kreeft, praying and reading the new testament, 86.


but I'm not in that conversation ... it's not a real conversation ... it's only imagined ... when has that slowed us down ... when has reality been a check ... when fantasy and reverie have been let run wild who's the one to stop them ... generally speaking it's the response ... sure you love imagination especially your own ... you love the sound of your own voice ... even more the sound of your own words ... in the fully imagined world all words and things are yours ... why wouldn't you love them ... why indeed ... but it's not something in them ... it's something without ... something they don't have ... reality's in the response ... take a trollope novel ... why do we love trollope so much ... it's not the stories ... it's not the language ... it's the characters certainly but it's how they respond ... what they do and why they say they do it ... even by their action they explain what they mean ... even when it was not quite the thing they meant to do ... everything we do is part of the conversation ... everything lord is for you

Thursday, July 08, 2010


union with god must follow the first ontological rule god on one side everything else on the other to an infinitely less degree which is the second rule ... but once again we see how god favors the generosity of plurality ... one rule leads not only to others but must make us lawyers too ... he distributes the predicates we get to name them ... his are the ideas we get to translate them ... but every new quality qualification or representation that we add only adds to the list of the new predicates that we may apply ... good creation good mimicry we start to make subjects on our own in honor in praise and when we think about it in wonder ... but our subjects being mimics representations are not part of their predicates but only casually related ... at best in conscious reflection of the one subject only that's one with what it is ... whose predicate it is with no divorce or threat of separation ... what it is it is


union with god what's that mean ... how do we do it ... the gnostics thought we could do it through a perfection of the intellect ... and thomas and the scholastics did too ... but didn't thomas distinguish between the theoretical and the practical intellect ... something like strategy and tactics in war ... one plans the other punches ... a virtue in the state of war ... but if wisdom is the perfection of the theoretical intellect and leads us to peace through its counsel what is it for the practical intellect but the further perfection of the will ... and what can that be but love ... go again back to the very beginning ... one god one nature and that pure being pure act existence itself ... we can't touch god not even the thought of him and not swell with being ... the wonder is he lets us exhale ... the wonder is he lets us forget ... we could sit and eat with the risen christ perfection to know ... but it took pentecost so we could speak


union with god ... is this like the drop returning to the ocean ... some say yes and some say no ... no if you mean it doesn't return from the ocean to being a drop ... and what's the authority for that ... isn't it that cosmically and locally god seems to favor plurality ... logically he wants truth to multiply and be fruitful ... even internally theologically he will not stay as one ... one may not necessarily be selfish but how can it be generous even if it were to us to a fault ... in face of all the error and malice in creation the creation he brought to life he still gives us our lead ... it's why he put eyes only in the front of our heads so we couldn't see him as we walked away out on our own ... if we could see what we were leaving how could we ever go ... when we did turn to look again he was a flaming sword in the doorway and that image is still with us in history and private life all of the time ... it separates us


when someone says of the church militant that it ought to be offensive ... or we get a new priest and a better hope ... the world within us that does abide ... when someone sits on the bench beside you and tells you what everyone wants ... that happiness is joy in truth ... we rightfully naturally want more ... and we have it ... have it in sight ... even looking out the window dictating to the scribes ... we have it in a definition ... it says the only essence the intellect can join without representation ... what one other nature only can man so know as to become part of it immediately with no stops in between no time-outs to huddle and take counsel no sage angel or alien to give us advice but the one real thing only ... and how do we know this ... because this is the one real nature that's different from all others ... the one whose nature it is to exist ... everything else we know by picture in code virtually or vivid but through a medium a percept concept or idea its essence ... this essence simply is

1. kreeft, reading and praying, 60; 2. heb 7: 11-19; 3. john 5: 38; 4. thomas, compendium H9.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010


see through the devil's eyes or through christ's ... put on the devil's mind or jesus' ... the patient lying on the bed is he a bug stuck writhingly to the mat ... or the spirit's warrior fighting the devil of disease ... are the sins of the fathers visited upon the sons or are their achievements as well ... if heaven is made up of saints what is there in hell ... who are we to listen to and put on what ears to hear ... what difference does it make if there is no kingdom of god there is no church in truth ... the sun rises in the east on all things alike ... but paul had a macedonian vision that told him to go west ... abraham spoke to the king and priest of peace and paid him tribute as one who had less to one who had more ... man can still hope to know what he cannot comprehend ... there's a joy still to be small when all that you love is great ... when things get you down when you're feeling blue stop thinking of yourself give the devil his due ... but as jesus does do

1. kreeft, reading and praying, 56; 2. heb 7: 1-10; 3. compendium H8; 4. john 5: 19.


I'm either holding court or in court ... surrounded by a jury and a judge or courtiers and a jester ... a king or a criminal there's nothing real in between ... the game of life wherein the rolling of the dice is the rolling of the soul into the embryo into the body into the world ... win a fortune become a king ... lose a fortune go to jail ... there's a large group of us naked huddled in the snow ... we meant to compromise to play the mean between the extremes and look at where we got ... how many full lives before abraham and moses ... how many after without them ... didn't get the message ... weren't at home when it arrived ... how many systems how many permutations before they hear of the truth ... that there is a truth but more than they expected ... and it's a king ... or just another criminal ... thought it was me all this time it was he ... but when I do shine it's in his reflection ... bound to the slaughter or rising from the sea ... everything in between only points to one extreme ... god grant we play the part where we should be


if the action is a conclusion to a practical syllogism either the action is part of a formal affair formally consistent but gone astray sometimes from a false premise ... that is the action is an embodied thought ... or the syllogism itself the whole process of truth and truthfinding is alive ... a quality not of itself but of the living thing it's part of ... we are thoughts in some other mind or we do the thinking on our own ... we are determined or we are radically free ... now isn't it obvious this is a false dichotomy ... isn't it clear at our best we are determined to be free ... we are thoughts in a universal system but the mind to which we belong has made us to be born ... a living thought beside the living truth ... but a thought that cannot think itself was never meant to be so grand didn't start thinking had to learn the way and only at the end sees how smart humility is ... wisdom is maneuver and arabesque but it settles down to do as truth says 3/3


weakness of will is a divided will ... purity of heart is one ... necessary truth is one ... there is no other to compete it alone completes the thought it has no rival ... but the divided will must hesitate and delay ... must work against itself as if it were two and in its logical conclusion its purest state must become a buridan's ass between the two piles of hay starving itself to death ... or worse there are three ... the mind is in the attic talking to the angel ... the child is two floors down playing with the outlets ... some angels are fallen and all of those from a great height ... they are sent to maladvise as well as to distract ... to counsel homicide as well as unhealthy omission ... to break down the house after it turns out the light ... this dying not quite dead excresence ... you wonder why we can't sit still raise a family or make a will ... weakness of will is a divided soul separated from the spirit ... a desperate mind isolated from its own maneuvers ... alienated from the living ... call it sin 2/3

Tuesday, July 06, 2010


half dozing in the rocking chair at my ease I misread the first four words of the following clause ... so man ought to cherish the hope of being rightly provided for by god ... I read to myself instead these first three words ... no man might ... yesterday we spoke of restoring communication ... today the philosopher says put the plug in the wall the lines are back up the dynamo is whirring ... god himself never hurt a fly never brought cancer to a child never told a white lie ... given all this who is it that's interfering with my reception ... you take it for static a momentary interruption but when did you ever have a clear picture ... it's not that you're an adult with a momentary disability it's that you don't have the ability because you never did have it ... say that you've been distracted and more than just a little bit confused ... say you are a child who cannot focus his attention who forgets where the plug is until he sees it in his hand puts it into the wall with his left knocks it out again with his right 1/3

compendium H4; kreeft, reading and praying, 44; heb 5:14


out be in ... outside beside inside ... father son spirit ... the father is outside us the son beside us the spirit inside us ... that's one of those possible summaries of christianity isn't it ... certainly of our relation to the trinity ... you wonder what the will of the father is for you ... you seek the advice of jesus beside you ... but the lines of communication between you have fallen down and are broken from the years of our neglect ... entire armored corps have wasted our command and control ... we are distracted to the point of desperation by their assault ... we cannot love because we have neither peace nor time ... we were the ones who chose to do it all on our own ... now beleagured and besieged cut off and surrounded we have nothing outside or beside us to help stave off starvation and collapse ... but see up by the window of that tower the sources agree ... the way to reopen the lines of supply and communication to be given again our natural command and control ... that way is to pray ... let the spirit work inside us

cf 1. peter kreeft, reading and praying the new testament, 43; 2. thomas, compendium H3; john 4:22 + 24; weigley, eisenhower's lieutenants, the breakout and pursuit; heb 5:7, but see the next two verses


come boldly to the throne of grace ... you raise an eyebrow ... confident supplication doesn't sound like the kind that should succeed ... or persistent begging every day asking for bread and forgiveness you'd think would get to be irritating ... and so I suppose it would be ... if you were bugging someone human or as it turns out merely human ... but you're not ... jesus is not in one sense at least our blood brother ... more like an older stepbrother ... we do feel related to mary and eve but what kind of connection could we have to a being that sits on the throne of grace ... if you were thirsty in some past life and he gave you something to drink ... water the symbol of life ... and HE gave YOU something to drink ... he who sits on the eternal throne of mercy in the perpetual hall of justice and you before him and all the angels heroes and saints and sinners behind you ... if he in that one drink brought you and all this before him ... what heroism it would take to step forward ... but what ... will you wait to be dragged to the foot of the throne ... no ... step boldly

heb 4:16; compendium H2; john 4:14


is the universe moral ... are there such things as universal justice and universal peace ... or is it just a powerplay wherein might makes the right ... the right people to know the right technique to apply the right formula to use ... or are we then confusing usefulness with an ambiguous sense of what works ... you mean the move is successful now or do you mean in the long run ... was hitler successful in the '30's or did murder disqualify him even then ... or what about stalin successful all his life up to the final days lying paralyzed on the couch ... things work up to a point ... how far into the future does progress go before it runs out ... and when it does what then ... do humanity's last years paralyzed on the couch ruin everything up to that point ... or will we smile at each other early into the decline and say we did it our way ... and if we do will that be enough ... who cares you say there is no other choice ... when there is ... we might say usefulness works because it fits the long run of reason's intended purpose and its home

cf ratzinger, a turning point for europe? ch 2

Monday, July 05, 2010


why are the beatitudes so hard ... you'd have to be perfect to live like that ... the answer is you are perfect ... you just don't believe it ... your behavior is not perfect because you don't want it to be ... for what would that mean but that you were perfect ... and you don't want that to be ... why not ... if the first and only perfect cause made you what power could interfere ... if nonetheless he saw you falter and came down to help you left above him total perfection the glory of fruition to reason with you to tell you stories to suffer beside you why would you deny him ... at the least you should reconsider ... at the least read the record of what he said ... you won't ever get to heaven that's what he said unless you go to him ... the beatitudes are a snap if you only knew that trick ... follow him ... pay attention ... don't deaden your ears and harden your heart ... you were born for better ... you were born for perfection ... you're already perfect in your father's heart in god's womb ... you share one life with him 4/4

cf 1. peter kreeft, reading and praying the new testament, 22-23; 2. compendium 237; 3. heb 3: 14-15; 4. john 3: 3, 7-8, 11


hartshorne teaches persuasively it's not the objective that's absolute it's the subjective ... the objective is relative ... two related to four comes in at half and the only way to change that is to add more relations more facts ... two oranges are not half four angels ... I have a different understanding let's say of the story of katherine howard than you do ... perhaps because I have a different set of related truths about her ... relative truths historical and moral ... than you do ... some things we each have the other should too ... if you only had the facts we tell each other ... we'd have the big picture ... we'd all agree ... and this would be the objective ... such a web of fact from the microscopic to the galactic would if misconceived seem to tell the whole story ... but even then you know we wouldn't be satisfied ... there would be a way we could say truthfully what about me ... we're not a fact ... another part of objective reality ... we're not true or false we're truthful or false ... we're not an idea though sometimes we have them ... like this one ... is my soul immortal ... absolutely 3/4


sense ... imagination ... lower and higher reason ... lower meaning it refers to this world down here in time ... jesus suffered in the first three even as he rejoiced in the fourth ... suffered in the third because he loved the jews and the romans ... the greater the love the greater the suffering and his love was perfect ... in the first sense above ... in sense ... may we not say he suffered less than some ... but who would say that in the second sense ... the imagination ... for wasn't he the supreme artist with the perfect message and its best expression ... a storyteller and a philosopher he used imagination to teach wisdom ... no philosophy however is complete without the end of its story ... wisdom doesn't stop in time it goes higher where the mystery is solved and goes on forever ... from suffering our own and his comes humility ... from which gratitude grows ... whose fruit is joy ... whose world is peace ... whose spirit is love ... in the world of highest reason there is no sorrow therefore no fear ... but who are we to tell something like that ... cynics laugh ... but see it wasn't we that said it 2/4

cf thomas, compendium, 232


when you do things for yourself there's a boomerang futility effect ... that is the effect comes back in search of a warrant for itself and can find none ... the message in its pocket it went out with isn't it the same it just brought back in ... there's the circle with that beautiful portion of the curve but it keeps getting smaller ... as if the soul were all mind and its body wasting on a dot com you see no peace of either commerce or communion ... just the end of the story ... period ... who feels this contraction and doesn't feel sick ... what's the horror of a crucifixion ... that it spreads you out open when all you want is to curl back in ... you're being squeezed till the last round drop leaves you ... but not until then ... before then must come the fever of futility the burning knowledge that you can't do a thing ... the lower legs are weak the sap is running up the trunk ... your head's support what resilience you had left crashes down to meet it ... you're coming to the point ... but it never was the one you meant ... it's you but only you 1/4

Sunday, July 04, 2010


shows how fallen we humans are we can't talk forever ... we have to go and do other things like eat and sleep ... and worse we don't want to talk forever ... just the idea of it is crazy we think ... so let me try to persuade by equivocation by an arbitrary expansion of the meaning of talk and forever ... not the kind of talk where you have to stop for water or after a few days your voice goes out from under you ... but simply a flow and an exchange of ideas themselves ... standing in their stream a baptism of truth ... which like love is eternal ... forever but not the kind of forever where you have to keep adding seconds to the count perpetually ... but a period of something like time as we know it here but in a space where other beings in the conversation have compared to us a superior intellectual nature and see the things we do but they see them in larger units and get to see them all at once ... looks to us like seeing a million years in one long second ... time slows down


illness and death ... what's this depression that follows the thought of these ... the thought of the dream the fantasy the hope the only thing that kept me alive ... the thought of success tomorrow hereafter delightfully extended ... all I needed was another day ... I could argue thereafter ... now soon you say there will be no tomorrow ... the ego spiritualizes says the mind dealing with the immaterial will survive the death of the body ... I only have to pick an idea that's alive and be faithful to it ... it will carry me through ... the intellect the intellectual soul will live eternally and I'll be along for the ride ... I'll take business class and sleep all the way ... down below the vegetable soul says fine with me ... I'll survive elsewheres given the proper climate control ... what soul then loses it's easy to say ... the sensitive soul ... unadjusted to others ... the one the intellect called the work in progress ... the subject of any book bought ... the prize of all attainment ... the self improved perfected and displayed ... the point of the story ... the final beautiful golden idol ... me that dies


let's dismiss four contenders for the role of final arbiter ... what's wrong with epicurus ... he says everything is subjective ... I becomes the basic unit ... what's wrong with protagoras ... he's the cognitive side to epicurus ... he too drives the soul back into the self ... what's wrong with the stoics ... they say the final reward is reputation and after death fame ... what's wrong with thomas ... he's too cerebral ... he says the final form of the human body keeps the old organs though some now perfected are useless ... digestion and sex ... and he says there are no animals in heaven ... OK so far for the christian these four failures fit the right pattern ... the only true final authority is christ ... but which christ ... certainly the divine christ ... the jewish christ of matthew or the spare christ of mark or luke ... the mystical christ of john or the ethical christ of paul ... there are as many christs as there are christians ... otherwise he'd have no sympathy that is no answer for the contenders dismissed above ... but there is one jesus


there are some people who say the universe is like a pack of cards ... say a pack of an infinite number of cards and each card a new set of laws or a different dimension ... is it just something in the makeup of the human mind that wants to put everything in still one pack ... or is there something in reality as well that makes the desire a reasonable ambition ... is there unity in the universe after all ... and if there is doesn't it lose a good proportion of its wildness ... if it's just one thing of no matter how many parts doesn't it invite a pocket ... that you could put it in a pocket say about the size of a mind ... one as small as yours that says I have it as a thought in mind ... one even larger such as mine that says I have it too as well as you I have you both in mind ... or is this one thing the only thing that one thing only knows ... if it is it's hard any more to think of it as a pack to think of it at all as to stare at the sun in order to know it ... you'd better bring your glasses and they'd better be strong ... it's a holy thing to see something to know it and to name it ...

Saturday, July 03, 2010


appearances can be ... no ... they always are deceiving ... they are aren't they always at best an appearance ... don't they beg comparison with what they represent ... aren't they meant to usher us into its presence ... and the better and better we become at following their lead aren't we meant the closer still to come into the truth ... but how long is their charade supposed to humor us before the child grows into the magician and tires of his tricks ... before we plumb nature and catalog decisively all its wonder ... isn't there rather a final point where we put by the summation and come to something entirely new ... there's nothing in the circle not even the center that could have made all this become ... where was the universe before the big bang must tell you where's it's headed ... mystery herself must be her own solution ... ask of nature why it is it must answer eventually it cannot tell ... pin appearance to the wall ... make it tell the truth all of it nothing but the truth and by the law of its nature distraction and discontent it must pass you through ... all else it can do is to lie


it's like listening to a conversation that's going on all around you but you can't hear what they're saying ... so you pick up a flute and begin a song on it hoping to play what they say ... and you can almost hear it almost put it to words ... or you're asleep trying to wake yourself up ... shouting listen I heard what they said ... when you're a teenager you hope it's about you ... when you're older you pray that it isn't ... not that you're ashamed ... it's that everything else is so interesting ... there are times when you're given the humility to forget about yourself that you do see what they're saying ... intoxicated moments when you must have heard them because it's so quiet and you've got good reason to smile ... or you can cheat and read what other people heard ... takes a long time to do that ... to filter out what it was you wanted to hear ... open the media you get a lot of static ... what you want is advice what you hear are stories ... after a while forget the advice you just want to hear more stories ... there is a pleasure in life ... but you have to listen


carry the cross through a meat market ... be buried in a decorated tomb ... if you doubt the ripples from such a walk can wash even your sad soul clean ... if revelation does not stir you ... why not reexamine the concept and see if there's something you missed ... your life the life of the universe think of it as run on a meticulous script ... between each word and the next a natural necessary movement ... between each cause and effect ... even the contingent to an end that will be known ... not that you or I or any other creature will see it ... there's only so much space and so much time out of it we can manage ... especially now in our sad fractured state ... but if we were put back together again intellect and will even the body too ... all aligned correctly in full face of the truth ... what would it matter how little of it our frame could bear ... wouldn't what we saw make us feel it too ... and when in the midst of what calamity did the feeling of satisfaction fail to satisfy such creatures who want just to know and feel it

cf max lucado, and the angels were silent, ch 27


some people say life is an infinitely layered wedding cake ... others say in addition it has a molten cascade of icing all the way down from the tip to a trench below that has no other light ... the icing is sweet to the taste sweet to the eye ... the immature mind would eat it all day regardless of any substance inside ... regardless of just that message from above ... there is a substance inside a sweetness that abides ... sense is right to hint at such an abode ... after the trace has lingered ... once the dreamer is awaking ... this apparently lower level pleasantry ... a seat on the right bus or a trip pleasantly canceled ... doesn't seem to warrant the good feeling ... a feeling of confidence a feeling of good faith ... a shower of grace ... what is sweet music without silence or tender truth with no ignorance to be soothed ... no calamity of unlearning still to be taught ... what is prayer without instruction or all the wit and style in the world and no knowledge behind it ... rather let wisdom flow the light overlow the yeast-risen within

Friday, July 02, 2010


it's hard not to blame the gnostics ... but perhaps it's a blame the blamer should earn ... even thomas says our purpose is to know and as he says whenever some new thing happens the first thing we want is to learn how ... and how much of life's misfortune could we not have avoided if only we knew how ... but it's more than a practical defensive ploy ... more even than the magical use of a guaranteed technique ... it's a knowing not directed to our immediate comfort or benefit ... in a terrifying and obvious point of view it's not after all about us or our skilfull minds ... it's about the search for truth ... it's truth that's the form of the intellect ... truth only that will explain it all ... and that's what's wrong with the gnostic ... not that he wants to know but what he says he does know ... who can blame the gnostic when he says how important the truth is ... no ... it's his content not his professed ambition his mythology against what he says is ours that we refuse ... the only way to avoid this refusal is to go generic ... specifically our story must trump his


change and creation how they cannot be the same ... we for instance have a shot at the first but never the second ... the year we first called human talent creative was a bad year for humanity ... just another sign that we were taking ourselves much too seriously ... we don't create ... we recreate ... it's why we demand that great art entertain us ... it's what great artists do ... they provide recreation ... it's because we didn't give the gift we don't command the moment we can't hold on to the present ... in all but one thing what we can't do is do it directly ... from homer to Ulysees any art can never be entirely new ... matter once presented form is at best an equal provider ... we can plan for the future and interpret the past ... each a second-hand performance ... the best we can do with the present is to be there with it ... then turn from it as it were and represent it ... it's why the world wasn't meant to be one city or democracy ... an immediate venture ... why we educate experts to be our representatives ... why there's a priest and the congregation ... all around us is representation ... the direct thing we do is choose


if standing in the middle of the circle you see what is after all your own take ... each of us seeing the same ... you see a circumference of a thousand doors ... open any one and you're in a lecture hall ... after a thousand doors you should be able to pick a handful of the sermons you prefer ... your favorite professors ... when the ground begins to fall away at your feet be near a door you want to go through ... take a seat in one of the higher up rows ... the teacher all the way down the cascading tiers of devoted students each of whom knows him better than you ... understands what he says more constantly than you ... loves him closer than you ... you're like monty python's brian many hills away ... so far away indeed there are clouds at your feet ... but this isn't make-believe ... as neither was it then so it isn't now and what you hear will be true all the way through and clear ... but not natural ... not in the way we were used to where a form is limited one to each agent ... here as you listen you understand the agents are free the forms are many and you just beginning to choose


what's the story of any person ... the story of a day or a life ... when you can say of them all what's the point ... but if you could answer see it's a theological narrative of virtue ... it begins in a fumbled kind of love as all things here must do and it comes to a circle imperfectly defined ... a forum and a pit for salvation and discussion which must tumble into despair if it has no hope to pull us through or what's a false faith for ... and that's your point ... heaven or hell ... that the ego should be appalled simply makes good sense but only at first and not for too long ... too long is to give up ... too long is to despair ... more defensible is a defensive kind of shrug ... this is it what did you suppose ... a conditioned response which will repeatedly buy you time ... but not forever ... forever would be too long ... one more defeat surrender and despair ... and that too is the point ... no hope without heaven but no getting there without hope ... love without faith is a blunt animal kind of force ... but better than dying without hope

Thursday, July 01, 2010


once again if the catholic doctrine is true isn't sorrow always only for sin ... look at the time I've lost ... now I have no more of it to practice this good virtue ... why is that ... consider the expiration date on my organs ... why is that necessary ... come again each and every one I've injured that I may appeal to them and tell them though I meant it I didn't mean it all the way through ... it was the extremity of the malice I didn't know was coming ... the intensity of its simple duration ... I didn't believe it could be so crude ... come when we have so much better to do ... but it will not stop ... it will have its due ... and how much of me must go along ... I wouldn't mind but it would seem I can't get back again ... they said these were good things the loss of which I must come to regret ... but they were wrong ... they were good things but there's just the loss of the one that I regret ... otherwise there's nothing I couldn't factor in ... everything I did we did could be made to fit ... but this is the thing I can't get by ... that I did it anyway


the future may overwhelm ... the past forget us ... but it's the present that whirls us ... some say it's nothing but a concept and can't exist but in the abstract ... well so at least it must enter into the conversation as a word to use and talk about ... the present ... isn't english blessed by the angel of ambiguity ... that which we are given is the thing we least hold onto ... wherein elsewhere do we make such a poor display ... stand up sit down ... it's the lord of the present calls us to failing attention till exhausted we let the future be swallowed by the past and spend all our days in remembrance ... but remember this too ... it was by a concept you missed the present ... by what you chose to believe that you lost the gift ... change your belief ... replace the bad concept ... lay hold onto eternal life ... there's the rub ... it must be your pride ... the love you have for the sound of your own voice ... shh ... be still ... be quiet ... read the good books and listen to the truth ... it has a peculiar sound ... you recognize the voice


when they say the grammar of conversation I think they sometimes mean vocabulary and semantics too ... you don't have to study these three just to improve your style but you do to question your assumptions and that's something you must do if way back when you made an elementary mistake ... if when you were young for instance you said life is a zero-sum game which I intend to win ... or was it when you thought I live within the economy of gift jesus saved it so ... if you believe the first of these two it may be true a curious surface knowledge will do ... but not for the second ... there surfaces are meant to open and meaning is given all the way through ... it is curious isn't it that surface skill always seems to be moving while penetration is always to a point ... if life is just a game then you need to kn0w the rules ... but if it's a gift you need to know who gave it ... are these two occupations we follow the two assumptions that lead us to talk ...or just the two mistakes that lead us past each other

cf paul j griffiths, intellectual appetite


we're not like angels ... we have brains and they don't ... their nature is to be separated from matter ... ours is to have a capacity for union with it ... not to possess a body ... not to have it ... but to work with it ... to be with it ... and not necessarily always the same body ... I say we I mean we souls have a natural capacity say a need for union with a variety of bodies according to their excellence and our own ... we are like angels ... we have minds ... they have them too only in a better souped-up engine faster more precise ... we both have reason ... theirs just works much more immediately than ours ... we were born to plod first and fly later ... to find the form and to fill it out ... to live up to our potential by bringing the potential to life ... and that potential is the material world which is right now out of order ... which we have been sent to fix by putting ourselves in order ... the right order being love ... the more we do that ... love in full knowledge and the right order ... the more angelic we become

cf aquinas, compendium 86