SUMMA w/ BUTT JOKES: coveting asses and splitting hairs [I Q. 1, Art. 3]

This is part of an ongoing series in which I read and interpret Thomas Aquinas’s SUMMA THEOLOGICA for butt joke aficionados. See this post for more information.

How is everyone? It’s been a while. Actually, I have several of these posts written, but I’ve been forgetting to post them.

Sorry about that! I’ve just been super busy prepping my novel (Ophelia, Alive! Tell all your friends! Buy 57 copies!) for its impending May 3rd release. Anyway, let’s get to it!

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I was totally into Christianity before it went mainstream. Y’know, in the fourth century.

THIRD ARTICLE [I, Q. 1, Art. 3]

Whether Sacred Doctrine is One Science?

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“Tiny Deaths” (not all Truth is true)

I recently found myself, at the recommendation of my pastor, reading a collection of short stories by Robert Shearman entitled Remember Why You Fear Me. It was a collection of all things weird and macabre, sort of like what you might expect from a contemporary British Poe, albeit with a bit of a mildly blasphemous streak.

Toward the end of the ebook version (not the print version) is a short story entitled Tiny Deaths, which opens with Jesus’ death on the cross. In this interpretation, he hears the Father’s voice from heaven while he’s hanging there, asking him if he’s sure he wants to go through with the plan. He assents one last time, and breathes his final breath. This is followed by a resurrection…of sorts: Continue reading

Donald Miller Left Me Standing at the Altar, in More Ways Than One

[NOTE: If you’d rather read something less squishy and more concrete, or less Lutheran and more Reformed, my total-BFF-who-I-just-met, Derek Rishmawy, has a great piece over at Christ and Pop Culture.]

In addition to being a blogger, memoirist, and in-demand speaker, Don Miller is known for being hungry like the wolf.

In addition to being a blogger, memoirist, and in-demand speaker, Don Miller is also known for being hungry like the wolf.

Oh, Don Miller. You used to be cool.

I admit it. Like pretty much every Christian my age, I had a torrid love affair with Blue Like Jazz (the book, not the movie, but also kind of the movie). What can I say? Jazz is to us post-evangelicals what Atlas Shrugged is to libertarians, or what The Lord of the Rings is to hippies, or what Martha Stewart Living is to really terrible people.

But now I kind of want to take it all back. Continue reading

I’m orthodox, not conservative.

I got a personal message on Facebook a while back from a friend — a friend I rarely communicate with, and one I haven’t seen in years (but what do you want me to call him? an acquaintance? perish the thought!) — that goes something like this:

Facebook shows me lots of what you post. I guess because it thinks I find it interesting (or more likely it thinks I agree). I’m just curious, are you politically, economically (and even generally socially) liberal, but a conservative Christian?

THIS I really find interesting.

I mulled over this one for a while before finally responding to it, mainly because the question posed in the third sentence left me feeling a lot like the man for whom this site is (obliquely) named, Reverend Timothy Lovejoy: “Short answer ‘yes’ with an ‘if,’ long answer ‘no’ with a ‘but.'” Continue reading

Rashomon, and Why Jesus is a Postmodernist

For a film buff, I really don’t own that many DVDs — somewhere in the neighborhood of 30-40, and most of them were either gifts or finds at a Blockbuster 5-for-$20 sale. One of the films I’ve made sure to add to my collection, though, is Rashomon, a low-budget samurai flick from the legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. I wrote several papers over it during my undergrad years, and now I’m working on another one for a graduate course I’m taking. I’m far from the first to write about it, though, since it was such a revolutionary film. Every western, crime movie, and art house drama — every movie — from the last 60-odd years has stolen something from it.

Rashomon isn’t a narrative film. It tells the same crime story — a rape and a murder — four different times, each time from a different character’s perspective. It’s not a mystery, though. It’s not a film that invites you to piece together what happened and figure out whodunnit. All four stories are entirely different, and mutually exclusive. And all four characters take credit for the murder.

Rashomon is a deeply postmodern film because at its core it denies the existence of “truth.” Each character involved in the incident constructs his or her own truth, recalling the same events, but casting them in a light that is both self-aggrandizing and self-incriminating. And Kurosawa has no interest in telling you “what really happened,” because there is no “what really happened.” Without an observer, there’s no event to be observed, and there has never in history been such a thing as a neutral observer. Continue reading