Saturday, December 30, 2006

Book Log: How to Win the Culture War, by Peter Kreeft

This book is a clarion call to Christians in the West to fully recognize one of those truths of the Faith that is known, but often ignored, underplayed, or simply ignored: There is a war going on, we are in the midst of it, and the outcome of the war will determine the fate of individuals for all eternity. Kreeft issues a call to holiness, demanding that we as Christians recognize the reality of the conflict and work to life accordingly.

The book has an interesting structure. From the introduction:
To win any war, and ay kind of war, the nine most necessary things to know are the following:
  1. that you are at war
  2. who your enemy is
  3. what kind of war you are in
  4. what the basic principle of this kind of war is
  5. what the enemy's strategy is
  6. where the main battlefield is
  7. what weapon will defeat the enemy
  8. how to acquire this weapon
  9. why you will win
I strongly recommend this book

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Baby Steps

Looking! I'm actually making a blog entry!

Today I was inspired by project over at LiveJournal encouraging people to write in a hand-written journal every day for the year 2007. This time of year I often become inspired to start fresh, make good on old unfulfilled resolutions, and finally start living life like I've been meaning to for about the past 25 years.

As the years accelerate as they speed by, I'm getting a little more leery of this inclination. It is not that I don't wish to improve. It is just that I am seeing that real improvement is harder than it used to be. Or, perhaps it is not harder, but I am gaining a clearer understanding of how hard improvement always has been.

This may sound discouraging, but it is actually somewhat freeing. It frees me from the obligations I may have felt in the past to take up every resolution for improvement that was presented to me. I know that it is simply not realistic to say that each day I'll pray for an hour, exercise 30 minutes, read some St. Thomas, spend quality time with each of my five wonderful children, innovate at work, fix up our house, do some serious writing, relax with Denise, eat 5 servings of vegetables, review the kids' homework, and have a vital and effective apostolate, all while preparing excellent Family Formation (that's Sunday school to the rest of the world) lessons, improving my chess game, and doing something to help bring peace and end poverty. (Yes, I've felt bad about not doing each of these at some time or another.)

Let's face it: When you're 41 and are putting any kind of consistent effort at all into living life well, you've already taken care of the easy stuff. The parts of my life that were amenable to straightforward change have already been changed. What's left takes work. The good news is that God gives the grace for the work. Also, God could (and I pray He will) step in with miraculous changes any time He wants to. But in the meantime, it's down to baby steps.

So, my baby step right now is to get back to some form of writing every day. Unlike the LiveJournal project, I'm not going to limit myself to a particular medium. But I'm going to try to write every day in either a blog, journal, essay, or letter. And, for now, I'm just going to resolve to do this until the New Year. I'm on vacation between now and then, and there is some chance, Lord willing, I might be successful.

ScrappleFace: Congress to Rescue Air America, Merge with NPR

ScrappleFace: Congress to Rescue Air America, Merge with NPR