Good News

I stopped reading Rod Dreher’s blog because I was agreeing with everything, and it has no value to me to read things I agree with. I haven’t even read his new book, although I’ve been buying copies for gifts.

But now he’s writing things I don’t agree with, and I’m back to reading.

Nothing makes me crabbier than having to read stuff I already know. It’s like sitting through a first-grade arithmetic class, a total waste of time.

28 thoughts on “Good News”

  1. Can you please be specific about what you disagree with him about? I found your blog through his, and while I find myself in agreement with you for the most part (thank you for your perspective) I find his articles about the Jericho march to be interesting and frank. Most of it I do agree with.

    Ps: I have read his blog for a while and but have stopped every once and a while. There’s only so much one can take really.

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    1. I only get the most wonderful readers from Rod’s blog. I’m deeply grateful to him for that. It’s truly a testament to his intellect and personality that he attracts such fascinating, profound people.

      I didn’t like the posts about the Jericho March because, to me, what America is about is people getting together to express whatever ideas that might sound completely crazy but then that’s how truth is born. It’s the messiness, the exaltation, the freedom that gives birth to everything worthwhile.

      I think it’s good that people get together to talk. If you aren’t interested in what they are talking about, fine, don’t go. But they didn’t beat anybody, didn’t loot, didn’t put buildings on fire or destroy statues. So why the mockery? Why the hatred? How many times can one ridicule the My Pillow guy because he’s not intellectual enough?

      What Rod isn’t seeing, in my opinion, is that the people who gathered there are completely disempowered in this society. You can’t compare them to the left that has Facebook, Google and Microsoft on its side. You just can’t. What have they done that’s so wrong and dangerous? Talk? Listen to My Pillow commercials?

      Thank you for being a reader!

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  2. Btw, have noticed “2018 Was The Year When I…” post and had an idea for a New Year challenge – list 10 good things about this year 🙂 … and only then a few nonobvious bad ones.

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  3. “But now he’s writing things I don’t agree with, and I’m back to reading.”

    A genuine sign of your intellectual strength!

    Dreher writes so well and he is usually a most interesting read – hats off to him!

    All the same, he has his hobby horses and some of them are very annoying – e.g. his inability to have grasped the significance for the future stability of your Republic of the U.S. intelligentsia’s absolute unwillingness to cede the 2016 election and go into ‘loyal opposition’ mode for four years rather than pretend they were the French Resistance fighting the Nazis in WWII. In retrospect, this created an opening to the media/social media/corporate oligarchs to claim political power that they will not easily surrender.

    But Dreher’s been more right all along than I might have liked to admit about Trump’s extreme character limitations. IMHO Trump should have groomed a more socially and politically skilled successor to run in his place in 2020 and would have done so were he not so vainglorious and reckless about implementing the policies he seemed to champion.

    I also cringe at Dreher sometimes/often suggesting that sexual sin, especially homosexuality, is a the core of Orthodox Christianity – not true IMHO, Orthodoxy is so much bigger than that.

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      1. “constant hair-on-fire mode”

        Generates clicks – everyone’s hair is on fire today (except for mine because my hair is mostly a memory these days lol).

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    1. GSW, Orthodoxy (Christianity, God) is much bigger than the post modern obsession with sex and gender, but sex and gender are the anthropological battleground upon which the satanic gnostics are attacking us and perverting our minds and culture. “Money” and “debt” are the other (and not oddly at all rarely if ever mentioned) two schematic keys to the satanic subversion of our humanity.. (“the root of all evil is the love of lucre”) ..

      Technology (trans humanism/cylon warrior drones/AI synchronicity/radically revolutionary hormonal and genetic applications) is the tool which gnostics (styled “scientific materialists”) dream will expunge us all as human persons, free of us of our biological limitations.. The Sexual Revolution has been merely the “Spanish Civil War” prepping us for this looming penultimate conflict prior to their Enlightenment Apocalypse.

      Rod is spot on in his obsession. He’s just not cynical or radical enough in his analysis of the “occulted” implications.

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      1. “GSW, Orthodoxy… is much bigger than the post modern obsession with sex and gender, but…”

        There is no “but.” You might have stopped when you were ahead.

        I’m following Clarissa’s advice and being “respectful of other people’s religious beliefs, especially when they aren’t hurting you.” I’m not engaging with anyone here on this topic unless she invites it.

        Perhaps we can agree that Dreher’s position is at an extreme in Orthodox religious circles, especially in Canada/U.S.A., where something over three-fifths of Orthodox believe that society should be accepting of homosexuals according to Pew.

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        1. GSW, Your obsessions are yours to negotiate, and I am no one’s judge. What you do in your bedroom, anywhere private, what goes in your head, is your business. So long as you aren’t breaking the law, it’s between you your partner/s, your priest or therapist if you have one, and ultimately God.

          I’m pretty sick and tired of this put upon attitude of affront people strike up today at the idea of sin. Sin is essentially idolatry. It’s putting anything before or in the place of God. God is transcendent good, the source of our being. Nothing should vitiate our relationship with Him. Nothing.

          Whatever erotic proclivity or practice you’d like to indulge is your business. I simply do not care what you do, apart from the fact that I’m concerned that you may be making an idol out of your own will and desire, and that may have catastrophic temporal and eternal consequences for you. I wish you well, eternal beatitude, no harm.

          My reason and conscience tell me that sex is what you will find defined as such in any biology textbook. In our species, homo sapiens sapiens, that is strictly limited to when a male ejaculates sperm into female’s cervix, and one of those gametes meet and fuse with one of her ovum creating a new human being. That’s human sex. Nothing else.

          Our erotic desires and acts, all intimate human relationships, especially familial relationships, have to be evaluated in light of this. Sex is propagation of the species. Our actions and society must be ordered in such a way that our erotic acts and relationships are ultimately ordered to this purpose, their natural goal and end.

          I won’t give you a lecture on natural law and the profound sacred symbiosis of cause and effect. I know you probably think Hume and the rest have destroyed the integrity of all that.

          Which is why I suppose our conversation is over before it can even begin.

          God bless you, GSW. I wish you all beatitude. I just hope you have enough humility to flee Sodom, enough love to despise the Sorathic silence of Gomorrah.

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          1. “I simply do not care what you do, apart from the fact that I’m concerned that you may be making an idol out of your own will and desire…I just hope you have enough humility to flee Sodom…”

            Get stuffed. Do you confess to your priest that on the internet you feel driven to harangue absolute strangers who you suspect of being homosexual sinners? I’m quite confident that most Orthodox priests wouldn’t cheer you on.

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            1. So for greater clarity, and after having re-read your screed, please allow me to amend my text slightly:

              Do you confess to your priest that on the internet you feel driven to harangue absolute strangers who you have fantasized to be homosexual sinners? I’m quite confident that virtually any Orthodox priest would counsel you to stop this practice immediately as it is self-evidently bad for your spiritual health.

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            2. I’m not trying to harangue you, GSW. Every word I’ve typed here falls at least as hard on my own conscience as it might on yours or anyone else reading it. I am far from innocent in any sense. I have no illusion of spiritual superiority over you or anyone else. When I confess, I’m not sure that I am even able to repent. My conscience – as you can probably guess from what I’ve said here – is in some pretty profound ways almost irreconcilably conflicted.

              I’m not judging you or even presuming to tell you what to do. I’m just saying that I apparently see things in a very different way than you do. I wish you peace. Your conscience is your own, and I beg you to act according to it. All I ask of you is to allow me the same grace, and if you have the patience to seriously consider what I say. If you cannot, please ignore me. I want to be your friend.

              The crisis we are facing right now is one of existential disjuncture. I am in a world collapsing upon me ethically in multiple fundamental ways. I do not judge you, and have no wish to control you. Give me the same grace, that’s all I ask.

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              1. “I want to be your friend”

                Great! One really can’t have too many friends.

                “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”

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              2. GSW, I know you don’t like what the Church teaches about desire and sexuality. I’m sorry you don’t. Like I say, I am not always faithful to the teaching myself, do things and desire people I should not, I put all sorts of little idols up in my own life.

                You may not like it, but the attitude of Christ about sex and desire is very clear. He told us to not even look upon another in lust. He told the woman caught in adultery to sin no more. He told the woman at the well that four of five men she had lived with were not her husband. He told us that a man and woman who become one flesh in family and marriage should not be legally, and in the ontological and spiritual sense cannot be torn asunder by man. Paul was very explicit the spiritual consequences of effeminacy and all the rest. You know that.

                As for my priest, and the Orthodox tradition, you know what the Fathers, the desert Fathers and Mothers, have to say about all of this. Desire is the revelation of the heart. What and who you desire is ultimately all that matters. If something gets in the way of or destroys your love of God or other people, it is unhelpful, even evil. This is why sexuality and our erotic desires are morally and spiritually relevant. You know this. Do not delude yourself. Be honest about it.

                Just to be explicit: other people’s private erotic lives are of no interest to me. I’m really only interested in it all in so far as it may be relevant to possible hypocrisy, coercion or crime. I mean this very sincerely: I really do not care in the least what you do. I do not even think that what you do may necessarily be sinful. You have your own conscience, and you’ll be judged according to your conscience, not mine. If you are not my priest or spiritual director, if you are doing nothing criminal or dishonest in a way that impacts our relationship, if you are not in my face preaching at me about it, it’s none of my business and essentially irrelevant to me.

                You are the one who is making it an issue here, not me. You want me to say something that is not true. I cannot, and you know it. You accuse me of sin. I’m sorry, but you have no authority to do that, especially as what I believe is explicitly taught by the patriarchs, prophets and the Church from time immemorial. By Christ himself.

                My conscience is mine, and you cannot and will not impose yours on me. Sorry, dude. Extend me the same essential courtesy I do you.

                Then we really can be, and are friends. If we met in person, this subject would almost certainly never come up, and if it did, and it was obvious that you were going to get all boo-boo faced and unreasonable about it like you have here, I would refuse to discuss it with you. You can rant all you like, I’ll smile and nod along. Peace, GSW, peace. Let us be friends.

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    2. I really agree with the point you make about sexual sin. When I rediscovered Orthodoxy through Rod, I was afraid the priest would constantly rant about sex, and I just don’t need that. I don’t feel judgmental of gay people, obviously, or of anybody’s sexuality. I just want to concentrate on my own soul and not discuss how anybody else is living their sex lives. It was a pleasant surprise that our priest Father Andrew doesn’t talk about sex at all. Instead, he talks about the Bible and what it means to be Orthodox, the meaning of the liturgy, the different holy icons. He never judges anybody at all.

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      1. “Father Andrew doesn’t talk about sex at all. Instead, he talks about the Bible and what it means to be Orthodox, the meaning of the liturgy, the different holy icons. He never judges anybody at all.”

        I’d say that is very representative of almost all of the Orthodox priests I have met in my life.

        On the question of homosexuality’s centrality to Christianity, Dreher is not representative the thinking of any Orthodox laypersons that I have ever personally met.

        There are deeper and perfectly legitimate questions here about the Church’s traditional teaching that I would not trivialize but first and foremost we are commanded to love God and then to love our neighbours as ourselves.

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      2. Clarissa, I wasn’t speaking primarily about sexual or carnal sin. The essential aspects of sin most profoundly embedded in gnosticism are spiritual: pride, envy, arrogance, spite, contempt, idolatry. These are active “angelic” sins, born of resolute malice.

        Gnosticism is the demonic religion, the religion of intellect (angels are metaphysical intellect) the religion of “knowledge,” the quintessence of nihilistic power.. The knowledge of how to manipulate, control and annihilate others. See Lucifer’s seduction of Eve, similarly mythically patterned in Prometheus, Pandora, Faust..

        Sexual sins are in the low common order the least of sins, but in the higher context they become ancillary expressions of the worst.

        Lust is essentially carnal, inertial – like gluttony, sloth – more a default human condition than proactively chosen. These sins correspond to human carnal desires, essential biological needs. No demon is lustful, gluttonous or greedy, because they have no bodies, no biological drives. Carnal sins correspond only to human needs and wants. Money is meaningless in the demonic order except in its essentially negative spiritual sense: as a tool and express of manipulation, power. But to human beings it is the currency of daily life.. Which is why our greed is ultimately so pernicious and cataclysmic: it culminates in in the highest order of spiritual wantonness and dissolution.

        Lust and gluttony verge into spiritual sins in the urge to expose and witness forbidden nakedness, in the urge to taste that which has been been forbidden to eat..

        I’ve been sitting here for the last hour or so thinking about all this, and what I’ve said is inadequate.. It could be said better, and there is much more to say. My primary point is that lust is in itself congenital, common, slight, but in its full blown most malignant form expression of the deepest spiritual depravity.

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  4. Clarissa, I found you through Rod, I don’t remember how, but your blog is one of the many beautiful things that needy flawed, slightly silly yet seriously profound, profoundly wonderful man has given me.

    Rod bears scrupulous witnesses to his neuroses to near point of absurdity, but since things tempt us to believe everything is absurd, his confession of his own incoherence and weakness in the face of that nihilistic temptation amounts to cathartic affirmation of radical sacrificial salvific reality, truth. Almost no one else in corporate/elite funded media does (has been or is allowed to do) this..

    He was wrong about the Iraq War, was and is wrong to place his his residual faith in the “conservative” CIA psyop Bill Buckley Bush Reaganite claque. He’s wrong, in other words, in his lingering loyalty to the neo liberal (neo con, neo gnostic) globalist establishment.. It’s difficult to push away the hand signing the checks of haut bourgeois security and respectability, especially when married with children you want to propel into that same decadent elite.

    That explains why he is so amusingly and absurdly, pertinaciously wrong about COVID and the election. He wants to remain friends with the ilk and likes of David Brooks, Andrew Sullivan, Damon Linker after all, he still wants to be grudgingly welcome on the DC / NYC Heritage Foundation cocktail circuit.

    The spirit is willing, the flesh is weak. Rod is a poor Louisiana boy climbing high above his native altitude.. I don’t blame him when the cerebal edema clouds his mind; the prince of the power of the air warps the thoughts of all, even those of us who have no interest in meeting Pamola at the mountain top, and stay resolutely by the sea..

    Because even in and after all my criticism, there are very few I admire and owe as much to as I do him. Rod, I love you, and am always praying for you. Thank you for what you have done. Your hope, faith and fight is mine, and in that we are one.

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    1. My gratitude to Rod goes beyond the temporal. If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t have gone back to my ancestral religion. I truly don’t think you can do more for a stranger. What an incredible gift.

      Love your writing, by the way.

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  5. I don’t care for Dreher because he’s too much of a religious nut to take seriously.

    A while back he wrote a very passionate article in which he argued at great length that a person couldn’t be a real Catholic unless that person actually believed, without the slightest doubt in his/her mind, that during Communion the wine and wafer PHYSICALLY transmute into the blood and flesh of Christ, because that belief is demanded by Catholic dogma.

    That’s loony-bin level material!

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      1. “there are quite a lot of us loonies out there. We believe in ever so many wild and wooly things”

        I’m well aware of that. The State of California once paid me an excellent salary to listen to their ravings and to keep them under adequate control on anti-psychotic medications.

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    1. “That’s loony-bin level material…”

      Personally, I have no complaints about living in a Christian “loony-bin.” Beats living in the Soviet Union where such “unscientific” views of the Orthodox faithful were all but banned. There, we might even agree that the Communist Party militants were the real lunatics and posed a danger to everyone around them.

      You do realize that almost all Christians believed in the tradition that the eucharist was the body and blood of Christ in the form of bread and wine until the Protestant reformation of the 16th century, yes?

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      1. “You do realize that almost all Christians believed in the tradition that the eucharist was the body and blood of Christ in the form of bread and wine until the Protestant reformation of the 16th century, yes?”

        I think it’s more likely that even 500 years ago most people just superficially accepted certain religious ideas, without ever troubling their mind to wonder if they were actually true. (What would they gain by asking themselves disturbing questions?)

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