Going from "friends" to "more than friends"
I like the idea of a two-level approach, and I love that he points out that "getting to know you better" is a stage that should come to a decisive end.
It’s always seemed to me that there needs to be (to use a cheesy, but helpful phrase) two DTRs (defining the relationship): first, there is the initial showing of interest—something as simple as “I really appreciate our friendship, I’d like to get to know you better.” If someone says this to you, then you’re not just friends. After a period of time (and there’s no magic length, but it’s best not to extend it any longer than necessary—I’m thinking a month or two), there needs to be an end to this “getting to know you better” phase. And so we proceed to the second DTR: the “what are we?” conversation. At this point, we either make a commitment, or the “getting to know you better” phase ends (for more here, see my wife’s Emotional Virtue, 125-37).
Our situation is becoming more and more similar to that of the apostles. They were faced with a pre-Christian world to evangelize; we have before us, at least to some extent and in certain quarters, a post-Christian world to re-evangelize.
Wow, I've never thought about applying the Four Horsemen to work relationships before. It makes sense. We spend so much of our waking hours at full-time jobs that those relationships can easily take on a character similar to that of romantic relationships in this sense. Hmm.
The researchers in Washington made their predictions with married couples, but these behaviors also wreak havoc in the workplace. TalentSmart has tested more than a million people and compared the quality of their working relationships to their job performance. We’ve found that 90% of top performers are skilled at managing relationships, and they avoid The Four Horsemen like the plague. We’ve also found that The Four Horsemen are all too common in the workplace, and when they rear their ugly heads, relationships, teamwork, and performance suffer.
Um, so, like right now?
Sigmund Freud, whom no one could accuse of prudery, recognized the basic features of a perversion in the sexual realm when he declared, “The common characteristic of all perversions . . . is that they have abandoned reproduction as their aim. We term sexual activity perverse when it has renounced the aim of reproduction and follows the pursuit of pleasure as an independent goal.”
I've never been a fan of the concept of creating a shorter to-do list out of a master list. This is why. I have accomplished so many things in otherwise wasted time simply because I had *everything* in front of me.
Marc presents the "argument from taste": that when you see pornography as something too silly, classless, or lame, then you will abandon it. I'm not sure that I agree it's a better argument than customary arguments from morality, but it's nice to hear something new!
Am I the only person who didn't know this about sickle cell?
The prevalence of malaria, which continues to cause some 400,000 deaths each year and is especially deadly to children, has resulted in the evolution of physiological protections from infection. Examples include sickle cell disease and thalassaemia – blood conditions that can create health problems of their own but that nevertheless afford protection from the deadly disease and were therefore favoured by natural selection in regions where malaria was common
The terrible miscalculation of young women is that abortion can make them “un-pregnant,” that it will restore them to who they were before their crisis. But a woman is never the same once she is pregnant, whether the child is kept, adopted, or killed. Abortion may be a kind of resolution, but it is not the one the woman most deeply longs for, nor will it even preserve her sense of self.
Her central, perhaps subconscious, question is rather, “How can I preserve my own life?” The pro-life movement must address her side of the equation, and do so in a compassionate manner that affirms her own inner convictions. Without stigmatizing or condemning, pro-lifers must help a woman to reevaluate what she perceives as the three “evils” before her.
Basically, abortion is considered the least of three evils because it is perceived as offering the greatest hope for a woman to preserve her own sense of self, her own life. This is why women feel protective towards the abortive woman and her “right to choose,” and deeply resentful towards the pro-life movement, which they perceive as uncaring and judgmental.
Third, however, these women feel that God will ultimately forgive the woman, because he is a forgiving God, because the woman did not intend to get pregnant, and finally, because a woman in such crisis has no real choice, the perception is that the woman’s whole life is at stake.
Adoption, unfortunately, is seen as the most “evil” of the three options, as it is perceived as a kind of double death. First, the death of self, as the woman would have to accept motherhood by carrying the baby to term. Further, not only would the woman be a mother, but she would perceive herself as a bad mother, one who gave her own child away to strangers. The second death is the death of the child “through abandonment.” A woman worries about the chance of her child being abused. She is further haunted by the uncertainty of the child’s future, and about the possibility of the child returning to intrude on her own life many years later
When these women evaluate the abortion decision, therefore, they do not, as a pro-lifer might, formulate the problem with the radically distinct options of either “I must endure an embarrassing pregnancy” or “I must destroy the life of an innocent child.” Instead, their perception of the choice is either “my life is over” or “the life of this new child is over.” Given this perspective, the choice of abortion becomes one of self-preservation, a much more defensible position, both to the woman deciding to abort and to those supporting her decision
Wait, this is 20-year-old data? That's really old.
The results of these studies, which were conducted in 1994 and 1997,
Whereas most research involves analytic, rational questions and thus draws responses primarily from the left side of the brain, “right brain” research aims to uncover the underlying emotional reasons why we make particular decisions or hold certain beliefs.
we have made the error of assuming that women, especially those facing the trauma of an unplanned pregnancy, will respond to principles we see as self-evident within our own moral framework, and we have presented our arguments accordingly. This is a miscalculation that has fatally handicapped the pro-life cause. While we may not agree with how women currently evaluate this issue, the importance of our mission and the imperative to be effective demand that we listen, that we understand, and that we respond to the actual concerns of women who are most likely to choose abortion.
We need to speak plainly and honestly. Modern bureaucratic life, even in the Church, is the enemy of candor and truth. We live in an age that thrives on the subversion of language. And here's one example. "Accompaniment," when Pope Francis uses the word, is a great and obvious good. Francis rightly teaches us the need to meet people where they are, to walk with them patiently, and to befriend them on the road of life. But the same word is widely misused by others. Where the road of life leads does make a difference — especially if it involves accompanying someone over a cliff.
Here's another example: A theologian in my own diocese recently listed "inclusivity" as one of the core messages of Vatican II. Yet to my knowledge, that word "inclusivity" didn't exist in the 1960s and appears nowhere in the council documents.
If by "inclusive" we mean patiently and sensitively inviting all people to a relationship with Jesus Christ, then yes, we do very much need to be inclusive. But if "inclusive" means including people who do not believe what the Catholic faith teaches and will not reform their lives according to what the Church holds to be true, then inclusion is a form of lying. And it's not just lying but an act of betrayal and violence against the rights of those who dobelieve and do seek to live according to God's Word. Inclusion requires conversion and a change of life; or at least the sincere desire to change.
Saying this isn't a form of legalism or a lack of charity. It's simple honesty. And there can be no real charity without honesty. We need to be very careful not to hypnotize ourselves with our words and dreams. The "new evangelization" is fundamentally not so different from the "old evangelization." It begins with personal witness and action, and with sincere friendships among committed Catholics — not with bureaucratic programs or elegant sounding plans. These latter things can be important. But they're never the heart of the matter.
In Philadelphia I'm struck by how many women I now see on the street wearing the hijab or even the burqa. Some of my friends are annoyed by that kind of "in your face" Islam. But I understand it. The hijab and the burqa say two important things in a morally confused culture: "I'm not sexually available;" and "I belong to a community different and separate from you and your obsessions."
I have a long list of concerns with the content of Islam. But I admire the integrity of those Muslim women. And we need to help Catholics recover their own sense of distinction from the surrounding secular meltdown. The Church and American democracy are very different kinds of societies with very different structures and goals. They can never be fully integrated without eviscerating the Christian faith. An appropriate "separateness" for Catholics is already there in the New Testament. We've too often ignored it because Western civilization has such deep Christian roots. But we need to reclaim it, starting now.
For all of its greatness, democratic culture proceeds from the idea that we're born as autonomous, self-creating individuals who need to be protected from, and made equal with, each other. It's simply not true. And it leads to the peculiar progressive impulse to master and realign reality to conform to human desire, whereas the Christian masters and realigns his desires to conform to and improve reality.
the Christian meaning of "equality" is much more robust than the moral equivalent of a math equation. It involves the kind of love a mother feels for each of her children, which really isn't equality at all. A good mother loves her children infinitely and uniquely — not "equally," because that would be impossible. Rather, she loves them profoundly in the sense that all of her children are flesh of her flesh, and have a permanent, unlimited claim on her heart.
In effect, technology and its comforts are now our substitute horizon for the supernatural. Technology gets results. Prayer, not so much — or at least not so immediately and obviously. So our imaginations gradually bend toward the horizontal, and away from the vertical.
To put it another way, quite a few of us American Catholics have worked our way into a leadership class that the rest of the country both envies and resents. And the price of our entry has been the transfer of our real loyalties and convictions from the old Church of our baptism to the new "Church" of our ambitions and appetites. People like Nancy Pelosi, Anthony Kennedy, Joe Biden and Tim Kaine are not anomalies. They're part of a very large crowd that cuts across all professions and both major political parties.
For Benedict, laypeople and priests don't need to publicly renounce their baptism to be apostates. They simply need to be silent when their Catholic faith demands that they speak out; to be cowards when Jesus asks them to have courage; to "stand away" from the truth when they need to work for it and fight for it.
America's cultural and political elites talk a lot about equality, opportunity and justice. But they behave like a privileged class with an authority based on their connections and skills.
Good listening is much more than being silent while the other person talks. To the contrary, people perceive the best listeners to be those who periodically ask questions that promote discovery and insight. These questions gently challenge old assumptions, but do so in a constructive way. Sitting there silently nodding does not provide sure evidence that a person is listening, but asking a good question tells the speaker the listener has not only heard what was said, but that they comprehended it well enough to want additional information.
This is so perfect. Yes. All of it. Yes.
This is how we watch movies and TV shows.
It's good for the students to be reading and thinking, "What's going on?", "How is this going to work out?", "What is the relationship, anyway?" They exercise wonder, they learn to wait for results, they draw inferences, and they develop the habits for all of those things.
Fits right into Bloom's taxonomy.
There is a place for a more in depth study of a story. But it comes after the story has been seen as a story, a whole, and has, so to speak, been lived. Also, it comes when the student is ready to analyze. Then one moves to the next level; he is ready to fruitfully analyze, categorize, and criticize.
The things that are harder for him to know —things more distant from the immediately sensible — must often be grasped in a likeness before they can be grasped in themselves. [Our Lord's frequent use of parables illustrates this need.] Some things, of course, one thinks about from the very first images he has, or forms he receives. That the whole is greater than its part, for example, or that a thing cannot both be and not be in the same respect at the same time, are possible to understand from the first encounters one has with being. But an understanding of justice and beauty, right and wrong, sacrifice and greed, is going to depend on what the student encounters in his environment, which includes what he reads.
Good stories give the reader experience and show him, in an incarnational way, what virtue is and what it looks like.
Maybe this is why I was so upset by people's claims that the end of HIMYM was "just real life." Maybe it wasn't so real.
Some might object that the wicked prosper in this world, or that everyone is a mixture of good and evil, and a good story should take these things into account. That's true, but a story, which is not a history, must mirror the ultimate reality, not the short term, shortsighted, inversion of the moral order. People may be a mixture of good and bad, but the bad has to be seen as bad, which in a story means that the consequences of bad actions have to be shown in an intelligible manner.
No teacher learns for his student. Only the student can learn for himself. What a good teacher does is lay out the truth, and the steps to arrive at that truth, in the right order, so that the student can follow his teacher step-by-step to the truth which he then sees by the light of his own mind.
This is what a good story does.
To act as a Christian is not only to perform certain abstract duties to the letter of the law, but also to live according to the spirit and temper of the law. In some ways, it is more illuminating to speak of imitating Christ than of merely obeying him. We are all skillful at the little child's trick of performing exactly what the parent tells her, while the same time mocking the task.
A significant advantage of the story is that the reader can achieve the knowledge he gains without the painful and destructive consequences that often come with lived experience.
What the Church needs now is a university that radiates the glory of God in age that no longer knows what it means to be human. What the people of God need now is a university that fuses the joy of Francis with the brilliance of Benedict and the courage, fidelity and humanity of the great John Paul.
Writing for the majority in Casey, Justice Anthony Kennedy claimed that "At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life." This is the perfect manifesto of a liberal democratic fantasy: the sovereign, self-creating self. But it's a lie. It's the very opposite of real Christian freedom. And to the degree we excuse or cooperate with it, we make ourselves liars.
The Gospel of John reminds us that the truth, and only the truth, makes us free. We're fully human and free only when we live under the authority of the truth
As families and religious faith break down, the power of the state grows. Government fills in the spaces left behind by mediating institutions. The individual is freed from his traditional obligations. But he inherits a harder master in the state.
And in Catholic thought, government has a role to play in easing such problems — but not if a government works from a crippled idea of who man is, what marriage is, and what a family is. And not if a government deliberately shapes its policies to interfere with and control the mediating institutions in civil society that already serve the public well. Yet this could arguably describe many of the current administration's actions over the past seven years.
What you get is what we have now: a dysfunctional culture of frustrated and wounded people increasingly incapable of permanent commitments, self-sacrifice and sustained intimacy, and unwilling to face the reality of their own problems.
This has political consequences. People unwilling to rule their appetites will inevitably be ruled by them — and eventually, they'll be ruled by someone else. People too weak to sustain faithful relationships are also too weak to be free. Sooner or later they surrender themselves to a state that compensates for their narcissism and immaturity with its own forms of social control.
Mercy means nothing — it's just an exercise in sentimentality — without clarity about moral truth.
We can't show mercy to someone who owes us nothing; someone who's done nothing wrong. Mercy implies a pre-existing act of injustice that must be corrected. And satisfying justice requires a framework of higher truth about human meaning and behavior. It requires an understanding of truth that establishes some things as good and others as evil; some things as life-giving and others that are destructive.
The task of renewing a society is much more long term than a trip every few years to the voting booth. And it requires a different kind of people. It demands that we be different people.
Augustine said that complaining about the times makes no sense because we are the times. And that means, in turn, that changing the country means first changing ourselves.
if Christians leave the public square, other people with much worse intentions won't. The surest way to make the country suffer is to not contest them in public debate and in the voting booth
Leon Bloy, the great French Catholic convert, once said that — in the end — the only thing that matters is to be a saint. That's the ultimate task of a place like Notre Dame. It's not to help you get into a great law school, or to go to a great medical school, or to find a great job on Wall Street, as good as those things clearly are. It's to help you get into heaven — which is not some imaginary fairyland, but an eternity of life in the presence of a loving God. If you don't believe that, you're in the wrong place.
Not that long ago, men would have been policed and sanctioned for prioritizing family. They’ll still get some of that, but it’s also admired.”
That’s progress, no question, but with more than a germ of injustice in it: Women still have to make assurances that family obligations won’t slow them down at work, while men are increasingly encountering applause for hitting the brakes.
This is an excellent description of three important topics: (1) what people seem to think Pope Francis is doing, (2) what he's actually doing, and (3) what mercy really is. I love it all.
That is to say, we will get what we want (divorce without consequence) not through any positive change in doctrine, but through the de-emphasis and dissolution of guiding ideals and values.
This, I would argue, is not the method of Pope Francis. His aim is not to dim the ideals of the Church, but to accentuate them in an age that abhors them with all the seedy bitterness of post-Christianity. Carroll may laud “Pope Francis’s emphasis on mercy toward the divorced and remarried” as detracting from the ideal of indissolubility, but the gaze of mercy either presupposes the actual failure of the recipient of mercy, or else it is no mercy at all. This is missed by a culture that conflates mercy with allowance and forgiveness with acceptance: An increase in mercy is an accentuation and not a cloaking of moral ideals. Mercy is a negative proof of moral guilt. We recognize our guilt more fully in the gaze that forgives us than the gaze that condemns us and has rush to make excuses.
The awful truth is that the degree to which we are blamed for relatively minor wrongdoings often depends not on the wrongdoings themselves, but on chance outcomes they may have contributed to.
I saw Laura's call for people with long-streak habits and thought I didn't qualify. I forgot about Night Prayer! Going strong every single day since at least March 2013!
The second suggestion is so true. I struggle a lot with things that happen even twice a month. A month is just not a time frame that sits well in my head. But every week: *that* I can do.
Now here's some advice I've never heard before. I should pull out my guardian angels TAN booklets and read that again.
Acknowledge and pray to your guardian angel. One of our greatest assets and friends is one that we can’t see and that we rarely think about. Our guardian angels are always with us, fighting for our righteousness, protecting us from Satan and sin.
Agreed on all counts. Sometimes I type up notes that I have previously handwritten (which is incredibly easy with OCR or even just a phone photo), but it feels like I've lost something in the process.
Clearly, I'm a fan of dressing up for Mass, so I think that point is excellent. I'm less sold on the architecture one, although I do not like facing the wrong way in a church. I should be able to see the altar and the tabernacle while I'm looking forward from where I sit, stand, or kneel. Is that so much to ask for?