The Crucifix and the Cross: Questions Answered

Cristo_crucificadoThere have been a lot of articles about banning crosses lately. Bridging the differences between east and west, we see people on two continents strive to get rid of them. On pretty much every article in question, I see at least one Facebook comment, “People should note the difference between a cross and a crucifix.”

I am not certain if the problem lies in the fact that no reporter bothers to investigate the difference, or if that the commentariat wishes that the difference be expressed in the  banning.

I’m inclined to believe in the former. The latter is too depressing to think about.

Just in case, I aim at both ideas.

First, the crucifix depicts Christ on the cross. (see painting above) There are many styles, from the dramatic, bloody, and starving, where suffering is plainly evident. There are stylized crucifixes, which suggest a shadow of a body to an almost generic figure. Others show a more loving aspect to our Lord while pinned to the cross, thus speaking plainly the closeness of the Resurrection to his suffering and death. These are almost exclusively Catholic. There may still be high church Anglicans that carry the crucifix, but they are swimming cross the Tiber by the day, as their own church, drunk on letting it all hang out, lose their flock to the howling wilderness.

By Dmitry Ivanov (Own work) [Public domain or CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Dmitry Ivanov (Own work) [Public domain or CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Orthodox among us have the twin cross which might carry the corpus. (That’s what a representation of Christ on a cross is actually called.)

Even they are a bit more temperate than those Catholics at showing off the corpus. Catholics seem almost mad over it.

A plain old cross is, just that. Two planks of wood tethered together, used to describe almost every other flavor of Christianity other than Catholicism. There are an almost infinite number of ways to describe two sticks tied together, two planks of a tree, two rods of iron that intersect, welded unbreakably together.

By Kehlmann Studio Archive (Kehlmann Studio Archive) [CC BY 1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Kehlmann Studio Archive (Kehlmann Studio Archive) [CC BY 1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

So I must point out…

If both the crucifix and the cross both refer to Christianity, you will never convince a Marxist that there is any difference. To a bourgeois, you could argue that a cross without a corpus is a kinder and gentler thing. If he already believes that Catholics are harmful but another sort of Christian is benign, he will sleepily go along with what you say. But never, ever will a Marxist or any form of communist see the difference. If it points to God, he will destroy it, no matter how kind or benign the object. He will destroy the Easter bunny rabbit, along with the empty tomb.

You must understand that the Marxist revels in that which shocks, that which marvels and that which makes one uncomfortable. Inhumanity to man is the mark of his faith. Man’s inhumanity to God might make God plausible, and that must be eradicated first of all.

For Christ’s crime was not that he was kind, not that he was a wise teacher, that he healed the sick, or that he banished demons, that he sang or ate on the Sabbath day. It was not even that he raised his friends from the dead, or broke us free from the bonds of sin. It is that he is God and we are not. That is the full stated crime of Christ Jesus. And for that He must suffer for all of our sins.

I argue that a crucifix speaks this truth more eloquently, but a cross points to the same truth with a more general sort of point. An empty cross is a stage, a sentence without an object. A crucifix points to the lengths God would go to love his children.

A cross states there is room on his Throne for everybody. Think carefully, and tell me again which message is more gentle.

Keyboard_Cross

The Special Hell

special_hell-n

I found another category of “specially damned” individuals rampant in modern times. All those people who morph the faces of their friends or famous people (who can tell) on classic paintings. If that weren’t bad enough, they share them to the point it uselessly pollutes Google image search with the world’s most wretched and ugly Photoshop.

For goodness sake, what did Velasquez ever do to you?!  Just search for Velasquez if you really want your eyes to bleed.

OK, Fine. This is by far the best of the lot. It’s even funny.

So I guess sentence reduced to eating desert first and purgatorial probation.

diego-velasquez

Review: HONOR AT STAKE

 

The review you’ve all been waiting for…

Honor-at-Stake-n

The closest thing you could describe me as in high school was a Goth. I played Vampire the Masquerade, both tabletop and LARP, for 15 years. I read both Anne Rice and Barbara Hambly, and liked the latter better. Hell, I even watched My Best Friend is a Vampire, probably one of the most underrated teen films of all time. I even watched that brief flash of awfulness they called the Masquerade tv series. Hint: we called it “The World of Noon”. I watched Forever Knight, Buffy, and Dark Shadows. Hell, I was weaned on The Munsters. Morticia Addams hosted one of my favorite B movie horror shows back when I was watching a hick station from a 60’s Zenith that had technicolor and a fish eye lens. Fortunately, her show was done in black and white. Then again, it flickered back and fourth from color to black and white, so I’m not sure which it really was.

..But it was my best friend who was obsessed with vampires. Yeah, that’s what I kept telling myself.

By the time the books that True Blood was based on hit the shelves, I was a bit burned out. I read them, and enjoyed them. The TV show lost me when the actor with the best southern accent became the supervillain. Sure, I saw it coming, but it still galled me.

Oh, then there was Twilight. Sure, an enthused friend handed them to me. She did a fine job of convincing me they were awesome.

They weren’t.

I was pretty sure, by the time I put the first book down, scraping my gray matter with a paint scraper was too kind a way to get rid of that drek. I felt DIRTY because of that book, and no, not in a good way. I was pretty sure I was done with vampires. For good.

Then Declan Finn comes out with Honor at Stake. Dammit, I thought I was over this. I’m even hauling out my Rasputina and Black Tape for a Blue Girl thanks to this guy. He already knows he’s responsible for all the Cruxshadows appearing in my playlist. And, he’s not sorry at all.

That’s a good thing.

It will be all his fault if I start wearing black lipstick again, I swear.

Okay, I’m joking about that last part. No, seriously, this guy writes about… ahem, real vampires, not the sparkly fucked up Jar Jar Binks of the vampire world. They are deadly hunters, with vestiges of humanity that make them more frightening.

And yet, it is one of the most powerful love stories I’ve read in a long time. For a wonder, he’s not all angsty and whiny and whatnot. The Goth movement whine came later… thanks to Morresey and those Emo wannabes who can’t see out of their own pain. The whole point of Goth is to celebrate the darkness of life, because it is short. And, Declan gets it. He really gets pretty much everything we loved about vampires by displaying an impressive knowledge of the classic repertoire. Then he brings in his own contributions, turning it up to 11. He uses both Thomas Aquinas and advances in modern science to give a whole new dimension to the moral, ethical and medical possibilities behind the beloved predators of the horror world.

There is plenty of action and Things Going Boom, this being penned by the Mighty Finn. But this is more meditative, more emotional, and the raw feeling he wields like a master is something to exult in.

I’m sure you’ll fall in love with Amanda, and Marco is a fun character to follow. His life is a very real look into an outcast with a unique set of problems. He’s a PA. And he likes killing people.
In fact, that goes back quite a ways into his personal history.

He’s not a serial killer. Yet.

He’s a lethal weapon with a brain, and that makes him even odder than most nerds. Fortunately for him, patching people up is much harder than taking them down, so that scratches his itch for a challenge, and being up to his elbows in blood. Mostly.

Marco practices fencing, because he always needs a new challenge. That’s where he meets Amanda, who is just as good as he is. But there is something… off about her.

He knows killing people is wrong, and there are even people out there he likes, But… look out if he has to defend himself. Most of the traditional big city predators in his neighborhood have already found this out the hard way. He also has a secret that makes his problems a bit hard to deal with, or even talk about them.

Is there anyone out there who might understand?

Well, then he meets Amanda. Who has– shall we say– good reasons to understand.

They meet (not quite cute, but meet flirt?) at a late night college fencing class. The tension crackles, the steel flies, and soon they find themselves in a class of their own.

When they aren’t trying to lop each others’ heads off.

Though clearly wealthy, she has what seems to be more than a lifetime’s store of sadness in her past… and is so far passed jaded she is a smooth and graceful sculpture. Yet in battle is quick, clever, and vicious… So they get along excellently. The statue discovers she can be moved.

Why should such a splendid creature be alone? Seems to be the question each of them asks.

Until Marco finds himself bound and gagged on an unfamiliar Brooklyn roof…

And no, I’m not going to tell you how it ends.

Suffice to say, there is a lot of heat, a lot of fang and the action spirals ever upward to a innuendo/confrontation that has to be read to believed. Advisable to turn up the AC before proceeding.

Let’s just say, as excellent as they both are in the dojo– or in the street, a great deal of backup needs to be called before this train gallops toward a breathtaking finish. You will see vampire bars explode, gang on gang action, Vatican ninjas and some very heavy firepower.

Did I mention that the FBI gets involved? Merle Kraft isn’t exactly what you’d call a normal FBI agent, he specializes in the strange, and the exotic. He’s a short Asian cross between Penn Jillette and Fox Mulder, with piercing blue eyes. Like any magician, he brings a bit of baggage with him– which blends wonderfully into an already explosive mix.

He has questionable, nay diabolical relatives and a dubious past.

Can Amanda and Marco trust him?

And… even that is not enough. After all, something evil is not only creating murder and mayhem in NYC, but seems to be emanating from the UN building.

Trust me, it’s an enjoyable ride. Highly recommended.

 

Plus something fun I found on G+. Why is it here?   Um… no reason… 😈

64692316_alldayru_49

Because, Awesome Beverage: The Spotted Cow (Adult Float)

1024px-Soda_jerk_NYWTS

So this is a rare as hen’s teeth food post. I know that hasn’t happened in a while but I discovered something amazing.

Because I don’t know much about the names of classic drinks, I’m going to call it: The Spotted Cow. You who are not cursed with dietary weirdness, take note.  This tastes so amazing you won’t care who can or can’t have it.  I’m pretty sure this has a fair amount of sugar in it, but… I didn’t die.  Probably because this was dinner.  (Bad me, I know…)

The Spotted Cow

Ingredients:

1 bottle of Stella Artois Cidre

1 generous scoop of So Delicious Salted Carmel Cluster Ice Cream

Tools: A big spoon, a tall wide frosty glass, a sweet tooth, and a willingness to devour yummy things. Optional long dessert spoon and a wide straw.

Yes, the ice cream is made of cashews. Relax. Also, that texture is supposed to be “slightly more solid than soft serve.”  I found it at the local big box store by chance. (Meijers, if you are curious. Sorry you sad sack folks outside the Midwest. They don’t exist elsewhere. Though there is ONE in NY.  Not sure where. Probably somewhere like Rochester, which reminds me of Michigan in many ways.)

Directions:  Scoop ice cream to your preference in tall frostly glass. Pour your pompously pronounced cidre into the glass. Be a bit careful, as it will foam up if your bottle was freshly opened. (I left the bottle open for a little bit to let them subside, because cheating)  Stir if you dare. Devour lazily as if there is not a calorie in a truck load. I used glass housed cidre, so if the stuff from a can tastes different I can’t help you.

Variations: I bet a shot of apple pie would not be amiss. I could also see adding a few slices of crisp apple to the mix as a garnish. I don’t do that whole foofy garnish thing, unless the object really adds something. Like the olive in a martini.  It adds a fair amount of salt that you’d be amiss without.

Admission of blogfail: I did not stop long enough between creation and devouring long enough to take a picture. The one posted is a thing I found on the wikimedia that looks vaguely similar.  Call it a dramatic reenactment.  🙂

 

Oh, dear. I’ll have to make this again to share it honest and true.

See page for author [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

See page for author [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

What is Freedom? Of Speech? (Part I)

What is Freedom? Freedom of Speech?

Before we get into Freedom of Speech, Let’s look at Freedom first.  My reason? Too many people do not know what freedom is.

Illustrative of this is a Chesterton quote, who sums it up neatly.

“Most modern freedom is at root fear. It is not so much that we are too bold to endure rules; it is rather that we are too timid to endure responsibilities.”
What’s Wrong With the World, GK Chesterton

What isn’t a bid to avoid responsibility is an attempt to avoid suffering at all costs.  This explains how the Left can simultaneously claim to support “free speech” and decry anyone who speaks and is threatened– or killed.  I mean, it’s easy to decry a dead man when he isn’t there to refute what you say.  And… now we understand.

Rights aren’t issued by consensus.  If they were, the strongest arm would always win.   Rights are God given– innate, if you prefer.

It’s not just me.  Let’s look at the definition in detail.

1. the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint:
He won his freedom after a retrial.
2. exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.
3.the power to determine action without restraint.
4. political or national independence.
5. personal liberty, as opposed to bondage or slavery:
a slave who bought his freedom.
6.exemption from the presence of anything specified (usually followed by from):
freedom from fear.

Does that really sound like something that is under the shadow of a death threat?  Sure, speaking your mind can be dangerous. You know what? When it becomes that dangerous, that means you have to escalate beyond words to defend your rights. There are other options outside of giving up because it’s scary or hard.

Oh, and here’s my personal favorite definition of freedom:

14.civil liberty, as opposed to subjection to an arbitrary or despotic government.

Hint: killing people over ugly words or pictures is not only despotism, but barbarism.  You want to live under such a government? Make haste and move there. Please. We just might rescue this faltering republic that much more quickly without your…”help”.

Some people only think they can revoke the right to free speech by censorship, threats or taking lives.  They are gravely mistaken. Free American mouthpieces that pander to those who would put  our freedom to the sword aren’t any better.  These are not citizens but mewling slaves for hire, ratting their self-imposed chains so they can force them on the rest of us.

The Phyrric twitter Barrage

JW with script

From my last post… (Age of Ultron Review, for those just arriving)

Speaking of gauntlets, I guess I have to talk about the Pyrrhic twitter barrage.

Joss is so not one of my political compatriots. Yet these women… can’t even wrong properly. Seriously. Why attack and devour one of their own? They call that a win? If they think they scored points in the culture war, well, let’s just say they were engaging in some deliberate friendly fire, just because.

Hell of a way to lose, mon cheri. God Speed, and enjoy those ashes in your mouth. If this keeps up, those of us in the “leave me alone” contingent won’t have to fire a shot.

So I said above, “You can’t even wrong properly” as if a retrograde reprobate such as myself knows what I’m talking about. Well, you see, just because I’m not flinging poo from across the isle does not mean I have always been what I am today. I have a fair degree of experience with the whole feminist culture warrior shtick, and I took my leave based on experience. I was also not born in an echo chamber. My family spanned the culture war from both ends, so I had a good look at the best and worst of both worlds.

In order to fisk these criticisms, I don’t even have to dip into the well of my knee jerk libertarianism– or probe the depths of my Catholic sympathies. Logic and reason don’t even have to enter into it. All I have to do is channel my mother, who was also a second wave radical feminist. Compared to these people, she had nuance. She had read a bit more history. But it is still the putrid foundation from which their culture springs.

BuPmd6A

She would have given him points for quoting Abigail Adams at a critical juncture, when we learn that a certain character with leadership qualities gets many of them from his SO. We have seen Black Widow be nothing but a strong, dispassionate warrior for two or three films, and now we see what is behind those eyes, what she struggled against to overcome. When she shows some sign of regret… how can you truly struggle without it? We are informed that she is insufficiently strong, because she did not celebrate a decision that was forced on her. Excuse me? So now we aren’t pro-choice, but no choice?

Well, at least you are being honest for a change. And I guess the fact that she has rescued several heroes and has the massive Hulk wrapped around her little finger means nothing.

Now for a place where they really fell down on the job. The Red Witch. Oh, sure, she’s the bad ass who brings the strongest heroes down low, and is the only reason why her unassailable speed-demon brother bothers to get up every day. She even catches Ultron unawares and manages to get her and her sib away alive, which is a real accomplishment when dealing with that cruel and vindictive robot.

But she had a massive breakdown in the middle of a critical battle– and has to get a pep talk from a strong male character to move on. And guess what? He’s the closest to the straight white male the whole movie has. Burn. Aaaaannnnd, they miss it completely.

Where are the haters when you really need them? Do they have the true courage of their convictions, or do they fling poo because that is all they know how to do? They can’t even do it particularly well by their own standard.

You need a flipping Catholic libertarian to school you on how it’s done. You had one job…

Aristotle meets Jesus

An oldie but a goodie.

Margot St. Aubin

Aristotle depicted by Raphael, holding his Ethics: detail from the Vatican fresco The School of Athens, 1510 – 1511.

I think Chesterton is ignored today because we do not have the intellectual fortitude to understand his point. We are blinded by wit and a clever turn of phrase, but do not see the meaning behind what is said.

Thought is virga, showering us, yet dries up before it touches the soil. Because we do not believe that reality is real, thought is less than metaphysical, less than smoke. Talk is cheap and meaning is non existent.

Moral relativism is the philosophy of depression and death– a death of cold. That is, falling asleep, thinking everything is fine.  All you see is the whiteness of a blank page; there appears no reason to worry. Yet reality will still devour you, and finds it easier to do so when there is no…

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The Worst Day of My Life

Originally I had posted here about my experience of rape and what I thought about it. Turns out, I was not very clear about the event, and it’s buried in there somewhere with a bunch of other stuff. 

So here’s the full story.  It’s safe for work, I guess, but it’s kind of intense.

Heartfelt thanks to Declan Finn for editing it for me.  I really wasn’t in the mood to do so after I finished writing it down.

FYI, this is Part I, of II.

I was really looking forward to tenth grade. I wouldn’t be a freshman anymore, which was a gift in itself, and some of my friendly acquaintances were coming over from middle school that year. The most notable was Weaver.

He was a handsome lad, one I’d spent lunches in the library chatting with for almost two years. For one, he seemed like a shoe in for the popular crowd. He was handsome, nerdy but not in a divisive way, and generally fun to spend time with. He was also very fit, and had some self defense training. For all I knew it was his four point GPA that made him unpopular. But why did he have to spend his lunch times in the library? For me, my presence tended to attract riots of teenagers desiring to wipe the floor with me. PE was similarly untenable. I attracted trouble. All I wanted was to be left alone. Since, “I didn’t do anything,” was as common as Buddhists monks chant OHM, I couldn’t exactly say that in my defense.

Though, in my estimate of him, something had seemed… off. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. Sure, he was obsessed with sex, but… um, teenage boy, right? He had a love for obscure facts and interesting history, and he was a cello player – like me. We got along pretty well. But I could not shake that sense of off-ness. He basically took everything lightly. Not a class clown, they took SOMETHING seriously, but not Weaver. All things crossed his face without a ripple; easy going, quietly confident, and placid.

I was so far beyond desperate for companionship I was obsessed with seeing him again. I had fallen in love with his memory, and that is always a dangerous thing. It didn’t help that he’d sent me notes during the first part of the year, through a mutual acquaintance. It was just enough to get my heart thumping.

This was somewhat awkward for me, always having been an outcast– even among the outcasts. It was not a good time, despite the fact most of my friends turned out to be male.

So the day we finally met we had a real chat, and he made friendly, if not leering overtures. I was captivated. He said that there were things going on now (it was Thursday or Friday), but next week he’d be happy to spend some private time just between friends. How did Monday sound? He advised I not pick up lunch, because he was going to bring in some food from Outside. This was forbidden and very risky. Kids were suspended over things like that. He even suggested I skip breakfast, and made some allusions to my weight. So I was assiduous about avoiding food during lunch time. Fortunately for me, I hadn’t bothered to avoid breakfast.

Come to find out, he’d only brought me a large beverage, saying I didn’t need those extra mickey-D’s calories. See, this was before Mc Donalds had salads.

He was going to play cello for me, finally. He not only alluded to music, but maybe some making out– in respect to my wishes that we go only so far and no further. Yeah, I was old fashioned and wanted to wait for marriage.

At any rate, I tried said beverage, and… it tasted funny. It was a huge 20 oz cup, they’d probably ban it today. But I was hungry and I took a few big swigs. He made noises about the machines being low on syrup. Funny, it even tasted a bit like that. It was my only access to any sort of food or drink that afternoon, so I had more than I would have based on taste alone. I watched him enviously as he wolfed down two big cheeseburgers. But then, he was slender and ripped, right?

He finally led me out the back way out of the lunch room and we went to the orchestra room. He played a nice cello piece for me. I remember thinking his work was technically proficient, but… strangely flat, without emotion.

Then he thought we should hide out in the double bass cabinet. You know, get some privacy. I thought it was all good fun, so, sure, why not? And, the first few kisses were really hot, so the the weirdness from before all seemed worth it.

Then, my left arm felt weird. It inexplicably went slack and slid down his side. I heard it thud as it hit the side of the cabinet– but I did not feel the impact. I took a startled step back in shock. It was more of a stumble as my legs did not work properly, so I slid down the side of the bass cabinet until I was crumpled down at the bottom in a heap. I wasn’t even aware of the discomfort that this contorted position should bring. At which point I started to hyperventilate and focus VERY HARD against this weird rebellion in my synapses.

I tried to cry out, or move my legs. But my body was as responsive as sacks of wet sand. My limbs felt cold and dead… I could sorta vaguely feel the blood pumping, but that was it. I threw all my will into making myself move, and that’s when I realized that Weaver had been helping the slide down, and not asking the usual sorts of “is something wrong?” That you would expect when your body suddenly doesn’t work properly. He was maneuvering me back into a sheltered corner of the music room where he had more room to work yet not be seen.

He’d gone into a workman like fascination– maybe a fugue state. The look on his face that of a delighted child, as moved me out into the room proper. He layed me down and started undoing my pants and shirt. I still tried to will myself to move, but it was about as useless as hitting my head against a brick wall. Eventually the effort became painful. . He was working slowly, without saying anything to me. He mouthed words, but he was talking to himself. “And now… we open the shirt…”

I managed one last twitch of my face. He didn’t look up from what he was doing. My face was irrelevant anyway. After he’d assured himself access to all my hidden parts, he sat back and admired his handiwork. I mentally screamed and struggled to no avail. Then, he picked up an arm, then dropped it. I heard the thud of my arm against the carpet, but I still didn’t feel the impact. Yet I could feel it when he touched me to move. It was the heat I think. He laughed out loud and giggled like a happy toddler. He did this to my legs, too. Then, he did this to other parts… it wasn’t even a sexual thing, somehow, just… a monstrous and childlike expression of total control. He continued flopping arms and bits around just to see them move in novel ways, and laughing with glee as things flopped back to neutral when he stopped.

In this process, I knew what it meant to be a thing and not a person. He spent a fair amount of time doing this, but I can’t say how long. I just know that I made him happier as a volition-less object than… as me. I kept asking myself “WHY THE HELL DOESN”T HE JUST GET HIS OWN BLOWUP DOLL AND BE DONE WITH IT?! At this point, my sense of time was starting to warp, and my perceptions were making cut scenes, and things were getting colorful blurry and weird…

Yeah, I think that’s a good place to close the curtain….

 

 

Sunday Shrine 1/18

Shrine to St. Oliver Plunket, SJ, the last of the “Popish Plot” Martyrs.

St. Oliver Plunkett

Yep, somebody made playing cards out of this trial and execution, it was such a big deal. Once the men were dead, a sifting was made of the facts.  Then it was discovered that Titus Oates made the whole thing up.  By then, the damage was already done, and more 16th century Brits were reading Dan Brown and loving it.

Here’s the shrine they built for him, at St. Patricks Roman Catholic church in Drogheda, Ireland.  Special thanks to Trounce ,  Peter Murphy, and Ralph Ellis for posting such nice pictures.

By Trounce (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This is the shrine itself. The spire echoes the architecture of the church itself, and reflects the shape of a monstrance.  It’s not blasphemous. After all, man is made in the image and likeness of God, and the saint is only a saint because God has infused them.  This is made for God’s honor, not man.

By Trounce (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The face of a martyr.  He was hanged, drawn and quartered.  Looks pretty good for all that, and over 300 years later.

By Trounce (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

⇓Now we get to see a particularly beautiful sculpture of the Last Supper, carved out of marble. I particularly like the weariness you can see on Christ’s face.  The emotions really jump out at you, yet a classical beauty remains.

By Ralph Ellis (Ralphellis at en.wikipedia) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

And here we get a look at the church on the outside.   St Patricks is a lovely example of French Gothic revival.

By William Murphy (Flickr: Drogheda – St. Peter’s Church) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons