I am intending to blog somewhat less this month: between Lent (turns out the Anglican Use customs are rather stricter than the Roman proper, and are kind of whooping me) and work and a number of other things, I have been finding myself bone-weary a surprising amount of the time for weeks. Among that number of other things was going up to Newark last month to help in creating a resource thingy for chastity, of which some of the finished videos can be viewed here. It's a very cool crowd of people, including Melinda Selmys, Joey Prever, Eve Tushnet, Joshua Gonnerman, and Ron Belgau (both of the latter are contributors to Spiritual Friendship, which Mr. Belgau helped to found). I'm looking forward to the finished product.
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The decision to work on the internet is, always, a decision to deal with the ignorance and irrationality of the human race. I don't recommend it to anyone who does not either have, or wish by great pains to develop, vast resources of patient, loving courtesy. I work for a cafe, and I find it hard enough there not to burst out in angry, scathing comments more or less continuously -- listening to the same foolish or insulting or merely pointless remarks, over and over again, for hours; and there, you at least have a human face confronting you, reminding you (hopefully) of the sanctity of the image of God that you are dealing with.
Okay, most of them are human faces.
I admit that I actually find it easier to be charitable online, because you can take however much time you need to instead of reacting in the heat of the moment; but it's never simply easy. Love is a lifelong project, and longer.
Of course, we're all insufferable sometimes and to someone. I think it was C. S. Lewis who speculated that one of the disciplinary aspects of Purgatory might well be perceiving ourselves as others perceived us while on earth. Trying to see ourselves from the perspective of someone who dislikes us intensely -- and perhaps not altogether unfairly -- can be a salutary experience. Though it is admittedly an acquired taste.
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On the subject of losing faith in humanity, this is a terrible, stupid thing that exists. I apologize for enlightening you. But I couldn't stand being along in knowing. I stared at the opening sentence of that article for a solid minute, shouting, "What!? What do those words mean!?"
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To revive your spirits after that ghastly revelation, here is one of my favorite Latin renderings of a psalm (specifically, Psalm 115, known by its first line in the Vulgate translation, Non Nobis Domine). It was composed by Perotin, one of the few Mediaeval musicians whose name has come down to us -- Saint Hildegaard of Bingen is another. Dating to the very end of the twelfth century and the opening decades of the thirteenth, Perotin was one of the earliest composers of polyphonic music, a highly significant artistic advance upon the beautiful but spare Gregorian chant. This piece in particular is among my favorites; I'd love to hear it sung in person. (The artwork used in the video is drawn from the Pre-Raphaelites, a nineteenth-century school of painters and poets, whom I am also extremely fond of but who are quite unrelated.)
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Theology of the Body is going surprisingly well for me so far, and I had a good conversation about it with a friend of mine last night. There's something a little intimidating about it -- not the length, I always knew that was intimidating; something more like a clearer, or maybe it would be better to say a deeper, vision of the truth than I've hitherto had. And the truth can be an unsettling thing, especially when we are attached to an incomplete version of it. Humbling myself to be receptive to that is, well, hard work. Please be praying for me.