SUMMA w/ BUTT JOKES: intro & faq

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I can’t take credit for this. Catholic Memes is a funny site, though. You should check it out.

Hi there. I’ve decided to start a new series on my blog!

I know what you’re thinking: Luke? Blogging again? When did this happen? Why did this happen? Hasn’t the world suffered enough???

Answers: yes, yes, just now, why not?, and no.

The truth is, I never really stopped blogging. It’s been nine months, but I never officially quit. I was just waiting for an idea good enough that it was worth doing some unpaid writing for. And I got one. So I’m back.

Maybe you read the weekly column I write for Christ and Pop Culture,LOL Interwebz.” I was working on a recent one the other day, and I gave myself an idea. I wrote:

You gotta go with what sells, which is why I write a column about the Internet and its endless potential for butt jokes, instead of a line-by-line explication of Summa Theologica.

And then I thought: wait, what if someone did write a line-by-line explication of Summa, — BUT WITH ENDLESS BUTT JOKES??? Continue reading

Majestic Protests from a Magisterial Protestant; or, someone needs to harass Don Miller some more, so it might as well be me

Since I wrote that post about Don Miller and his dislike for church, I’ve received messages from several different people asking me to clarify my positions, give them more thoughts on Miller, and even (awesomely) absolve them for skipping church. (I don’t know what to say to that last one, except I’m not His Holiness the Parson.) Continue reading

Modesty: Go Ahead and Get Naked, or Better Yet, Don’t

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I don’t like to brag about it, but HOLY CRAP AM I MODEST.

The photo at the left is an example of what you’ll see me wearing if you ever go swimming with me. I’ll be dressed from my shoulders to my knees. It’s not that weird — at least, I don’t think so — just a pair of trunks and an Under Armour shirt. It’s a way of covering up without (I think) looking like a total tool, fashion-wise.

Why do I dress like that? Because I value modesty — and I think the historical Christian virtue of modesty applies to men as well as women. In modern evangelical culture we tend to freak out when our daughters are in bikinis but we don’t bat an eye at the fact that our sons wear exactly half as much at the beach. Continue reading

‘Mama,’ Creepy Kids, and Six Degrees of ‘Humanae Vitae’

I'm too sexy for my encyclical.

I’m too sexy for my encyclical.

In 1968, Pope Paul VI issued what has become one of the more controversial encyclicals in recent memory. In contrast to the Protestant and Eastern Orthodox traditions, which had both been gradually inching closer toward a full embrace of contraception, Humanae Vitae reaffirmed tradition in condemning any and all use of aritificial contraception as sinful. It was a teaching so out-of-step with contemporary culture that it inspired open dissent from both clergy and laity, and even now — more than 40 years later — the encyclical’s teachings are far from popular among self-identified Catholics.

It’s a position that has come to light yet again recently, as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care act — an act which I’ve by and large been supportive of — has come under scrutiny, in part for a provision that requires all employers but the most religion-y to provide their employees with healthcare that will pay for contraception. It’s a reality that has forced me to think long and hard, not only about what religious freedom means but also why one branch of my faith can be so opposed to certain substances that they’ll risk millions in fines just to avoid dirtying their hands with them.

Being raised decidedly Protestant, I spent many years completely unable to fathom how a church could take a position so legalistic and obsessive about externals. The more I think about the teaching, though, the more I understand it. I still regard the Catholic position on birth control to be a tad on the Pharisaical side, in that it adds unnecessarily to the law of Scripture, but in many ways I’ve come around to understanding and appreciating the position. If humankind is made in the image of God, then its natural and appropriate end is the creation of life. If we treat this reality as something to be avoided, our values are confused at best. Continue reading