The 4chan online community has struck again. They spread word in their community that bestbookreads.com was holding an online vote on "What's the one book that transformed your life forever?" The 4channers descended on the site and vote Mein Kampf number one and Mein Kampf, Special Banned Edition, number two. They also voted a few other colorful titles into the top 20. Pic here.
Humorous: A Mormon publication ran an article earlier this week, proud that The Book of Mormon was first on the list (4 channers also appear to have a "thing" for The Book of Mormon, which I don't understand). It then added the following addendum a few days later:
Editor's note: Voting is ongoing, and since this story was published Wednesday, the Book of Mormon has dropped to No. 4, and its location on the list will continue to change. As a warning, some of the works that have been added by users and voted up since Wednesday are explicit and controversial.
As near as I can tell, bestbookreads.com has pulled the poll.
I get my 4chan updates from my son, Alex. I've never visited the site, since he assures me that the content there is rather, well, "collegiate." But they appear to have a robust sense of humor. These are the same folks who voted the name "Hitler Did Nothing Wrong" to the top of a Mountain Dew poll that asked the public to vote/name their next brand of soda.
In the 1930s, the Times (London) asked G.K. Chesterton and others to write on the topic of "What's Wrong with the World Today." Chesterton sent back a two-word response:
Sincerely, G.K. Chesterton
"For all that ever was wrong, is wrong, and will be wrong, the price has been paid." Richard John Neuhaus
“The Son of God suffered unto the death, not that men might not suffer, but that their sufferings might be like His.” George MacDonald
"The cross cannot be defeated. . . For it is Defeat." G.K. Chesterton
On those who hate Christianity: "They do not dislike the Cross because it is a dead symbol; but because it is a live symbol." G.K. Chesterton
"[A]s long as sin remains on earth, still will the Cross remain." Fulton Sheen
"God has given us our lives as wheat and grapes. It is our duty to consecrate them and bring them back to God as bread and wine--transubstaniated, divinized, and spiritualized. There must be harvest in our hands after the springtime of the earthly pilgrimage.
"That is why Calvary is erected in the midst of us, and we are on its sacred hill. We were not made to be mere on-lookers . . . but rather to be participants in the mystery of the Cross." Fulton Sheen.
"Since the symbols of baptism and the eucharist flowed from his side, it was from his side that Christ fashioned the Church, as he had fashioned Eve from the side of Adam." St. John Chrysostom
“His Cross has put its due value upon every thing which we see, upon all fortunes, all advantages, all ranks, all dignities, all pleasures; upon the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. It has set a price upon the excitements, the rivalries, the hopes, the fears, the desires, the efforts, the triumphs of mortal man. It has given a meaning to the various, shifting course, the trials, the temptations, the sufferings of his earthly state. It has brought together and made consistent all that seemed discordant and aimless. It has taught us how to live, how to use this world, what to expect, what to desire, what to hope. It is the tone into which all the strains of the world’s music are ultimately to be resolved.” Cardinal Newman
"No one ever experienced the plunge down the vacuum of evil as did God’s Son–even to the excruciating agony behind the words: “My God, my god, why hast thou forsaken me?” Jesus was really destroyed. Cut off in the flower of his age; his work stifled just when it should have taken root; his friends scattered, his honor broken. He no longer had anything, was anything: 'a worm and not a man.'
"Only Christ’s love is certain. We cannot even say God’s love; for that God loves us we also know, ultimately, only through Christ." Romano Guardini
"Communion with Jesus means becoming like him. With him we are nailed on the cross, with him we are laid in the tomb, with him we are raised up to accompany lost travelers in their journey." Henri Nouwen
"You are saddened because of the unjust treatment shown your Lord, but yours is still greater sadness because you feel yourself incapable of bearing even small injuries for the honor of Christ." Thomas A'Kempis
"[I]n the agony of Gethsemane the ultimate consequences of our sin had their hour. . . . God permitted his Son to taste the human agony of rejection and plunge towards the abyss. . . Gethsemane was the hour in which Jesus' human heart and mind experienced the ultimate odium of the sin he was to bear as his own . . .". Romano Guardini, The Lord.
My response to a young family member who was getting questions about the Big Bang Theory and was puzzled that a priest came up with the Theory:
The Big Bang theory is nothing for a Catholic to get hung up on. You just need to keep a steady eye on this single truth (taken from Fr. Stanley Jaki, the "Pope's physicist"): "The intelligent Christian will . . . keep in mind [this]: The total inability of the scientific method to demonstrate creation out of nothing."
Ponder that statement. The TOTAL inability. Something out of NOTHING. Keep a steady and sure eye on that concept, and you'll be fine when talking with any atheist.
They can whip out formulas that take up a 5-acre chalk board: they can't begin to demonstrate creation out of nothing. It's a leap that the scientific method, by definition, can't account for. Science deals with the material, the observable, the empirical. The idea of nothingness leading to somethingness transcends all scientific tools. It's a philosophical or theological exercise, not a scientific one.
The Big Bang theory does contradict the creation account in Genesis, but Catholics don't care. Catholics have never (never) taken the creation story as literal truth. I believe you can find statements in Thomas Aquinas' works, for instance, about the importance, but not literal truth, of the creation account in Genesis. Aquinas lived from 1225 to 1274.
Hope this helps.
Imagine a place, so rugged and desolate, so empty and uninhabited, that it would be “the perfect dumping ground” for a serial killer. Imagine a hot, humid area, where the animals, the insects, and the weather can destroy any evidence in a matter of a few days. This place is the Texas Killing Fields, located just off Interstate 45 between Galveston and Houston. This entire swath of land consists of thick marshes, overgrown patches, and abandoned oil fields. The 40-kilometer (25 mi) area of the Fields borders League City and the nearby Calder Oil Field and is the site of some of the most puzzling murders in the United States.
Background: When I was the editor of Gilbert Magazine, I was responsible for the "Tremendous Trifles" column. It was occasionally hard to find a sufficient amount of interesting GKC material to fill the page, so John Peterson sent me a file full of Chesterton ancedotes. They were idiosyncratic, historical, and Chestertonian. He gave me permission to use them here. I hope y'all find them as interesting as I have over the years. Most of them have never been published.
Michael Coren relates a priceless anecdote about Chesterton in his biography of H. G. Wells:
Wells was disarmed by Chesterton's good nature, disturbed by his inability to pigeon-hole the man. On a summers day in 1907, for example, Wells and Chesterton went to Oxford to attend a lecture. Walking together after the address Wells began to harangue his friend about the "bloody hand of Christianity." The diatribe lasted for over 35 minutes, without Chesterton making the slightest objection. At the end of it he turned to Wells, smiled and said, "Yes, you do have a point."
Coren's book is rewarding both for the real low-down on Wells and for the insertion of Chesterton from time to time in the story. [The Invisible Man, New York: Athenaeum, 1993, p. 80]
From the Bottom Line Personal: "Tornadoes are just as likely to hit states within the Deep South and Midwest as states within Tornado Alley."
Tornado Alley is defined as Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska, and South Dakota.
As befits an era in which virtual reality is more important to many people than reality itself, the expression of high-flown sentiment is now taken by many as the major part or even the whole of virtue. The most virtuous person is he who expresses the most all-encompassing benevolence at the highest level of abstraction.
The kids had Spring Break last week, so we took off on Wednesday for a quick tour of Franciscan University (a college visit for Jack (17)) and Pittsburgh.
On the way, we stopped at the Sorrowful Mother Shrine, in Bellevue, Ohio, which is south of Cedar Point. I wanted to stop years ago, but I normally get to this area only on my way to Cedar Point with the kids, and they're usually not in a prayerful mood when we're less than an hour from the world's greatest ride amusement park.
The Shrine is very neat . . . and free . . . and definitely worth the stop, even though two different GPS devices in our car failed us and we had to find it the old fashioned way (looking at a map and swearing a lot). The Shrine is Eastern Rite. It features a main chapel, lots of little chapels, the stations of the cross, and various statuary across a 126-acre parcel of land. It also has a gift shop (a "must" for any family with smaller children).
We then drove to Steubenville, the Home of Dean Martin, the seventies funk rock group Wild Cherry, Franciscan University . . . and nothing else. The City is a dump. It was depressing just driving and looking around its downtown.
But Franciscan University pretty much knocked our socks off. Regardless of whether Jack attends or not, we've decided to make it a regular target of our charitable donations. Consisting of nearly 3,000 students from every state in the union, it's uncompromisingly Catholic to the hilt. It exudes Catholic goodness. They've taken the virtues of hospitality, kindness, joy, peace, patience, and modesty, then instilled them across a college community of over 3,000 people: students, professors, administrators, kitchen staff. I was stunned. I wouldn't have thought such a thing possible, but that's exactly what Harvard-lawyer-turned-priest Fr. Scanlon pulled off after he reformed the (somewhat derelict) college back in the 1970s. And it's respected academically ("Franciscan University of Steubenville's ranking in the 2014 edition of Best Colleges is Regional Universities (Midwest), 28").
We then traveled 45 minutes across West Virginia (the panhandle; it took ten minutes) to Pittsburgh. None of us had ever been there. As we emerged out of the mountain through the tunnel to the west of Pittsburgh, we were amazed at the beauty that is downtown Pittsburgh. I searched for a picture on the web that would capture what we saw, but I couldn't find one. (Note to photographers in Pittsburgh area: Get on U.S. 22 in late afternoon on a sunny day, go across the river, and turn around as you get near the mountain. Then snap a bunch of pictures. They'll be better than any Pittsburgh pics I was able to find on the web this morning.)
We then spent the next 24 hours blitzing through as much of Pittsburgh as we could. We also took the amphibious "Ducky Tour," which was very cool. During the Tour, I learned that Pittsburgh had just recently completed its restoration. Back in the 1970s, the City was so polluted that you had to turn your car lights on at 2:00 in the afternoon, men couldn't wear white dress shirts outside without turning the shirts grimy-grey, and most of the buildings were black from all the soot. It's hard to believe that was the case. The City first eliminated (or greatly reduced) the air pollution, then it set about cleaning the place. The cleaning was completed about ten years ago, and now it's a beautiful place.
Pittsburgh pics from my iPhone:
Catholic Men's Quarterly, a one-of-a-kind general interest men's magazine written by Catholic men for Catholic men. Makes a great Father's Day gift.
"The Daily Eudemon is the sort of thing
that Chesterton or Mencken would be doing, if they were
alive today. It's what, in saner times, was called journalism.
In the writing and in the reading, it's exactly the sort
of leisure we should want at the basis of culture."Mike
Aquilina, Author of The Fathers of the Church
and TV Talk Show Host.
Catholicism-urbane, witty, engaged-is alive and well!
If you can read, you should be reading The Daily Eudemon!"David
Scott, author of A Revolution of Love: The Meaning
of Mother Teresa
you like your blogs pithy, nimble, pointed, high-spirited,
and waggish, then bookmmark Eric Scheske's The Daily
Eudemon. Ooops! You want prolixity, density, meandering,
dull, and sober? Then run (do not walk!) to the blogs
of the major news outlets. They have just what you want.
Honestly they do." John
Peterson, Editor, G.K. Chesterton: Collected Works,
Volumes 12 and 13.
Scheske's web site is full of information and insight.
Always worth a read."James
V. Schall, Author of Another Sort of Learning.