Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Stanley Fish and liberalism

By and large, I don't have much sympathy for the postmodern position. But that doesn't mean that I consider postmodernism a curse word, so that any observation a postmodernist makes is tainted and unworthy of consideration. One area that I think Stanley Fish in particular has right is his position (as I understand it) on liberalism. In particular, the notion of defining reasonability to selectively exclude people according to one's preferences and then using words like "open-mindedness" to attempt to give one's views some sort of superior tone (*your* view is just biased/unreasonable/closed-minded/intolerant; why can't you be more aware/reasonable/open-minded/tolerant?). Another frequent tool is skepticism and theorizing as a defense of one's position (your position isn't *necessarily*/*theoretically* correct; therefore, you haven't really presented an *argument* for your position, just your *opinion*). Indeed, if liberalism has a battle cry, "that's just your opinion" is it. As Fish puts it, "liberals don't have to win the theory game in order to win; all they have to do is get antiliberal to play it." Ultimately, liberalism is just another form of relativism asserted as a response to absolutism (the assertion of particular principles as absolute truth). But it's a more manipulative form of relativism, because it not only asserts relativist principles (*I* define the bounds of rationality and truth) but also negatively characterizes other people's attempts to define truth in their own relative way. Rather than interacting with other people's concerns, you simply define them away as non-arguments/"pure opinion" and the like.

After quite a bit of observation, I've concluded that Tim Enloe is simply a classic Fish liberal trying to encourage "tolerance" for Protestantism over the "intolerance" of "absolutist" Catholics. You've got all the classic signs: defining the other side in pejorative terms (e.g., absolutist), placing their arguments outside of the scope of "reason," asserting skepticism as a defense to arguments, and above all, responding to people's real situational concerns and values with a theory that is not grounded in any actual experience (Tim's much-vaunted societas Christiana with general councils, papal "tolerance," and a TRVLY CHRISTIAN metaphysics). He talks about "constructive discourse" all the time, but don't play the game, people. If you play the game, he's won his rhetorical advantage, and you've compromised your beliefs over a tactic.

The truly (groan) ironic thing is that Tim persists in saying that he's anti-Enlightenment. In fact, he's only anti-half of the Enlightenment, the optimistic part that says that we can actually discover absolute truth through reason. But this whole idea of "tolerance" and "open-mindedness" as opposed to "bias" is simply classic Enlightenment thinking as well. It's still the same old "consider how your viewpoint *influences* your perceptions" as if there is some middle ground of reasonability and "bias" is a deviation from it. It's *still* idolatry of reason and idolatry of principle. Tim also persistently denies being a postmodernist, and I agree with his characterization as well. But to be entirely honest, I'd much rather deal with a sincere postmodernist than to be on the wrong side of a Enlightenment-style liberal playing the "theory game."

But no thesis is convincing without examples, so let's get to it. In a thread on GregK's discussion board, Tim Enloe recently called out Diane Kamer for asserting a false dichotomy on the issue of rhetoric in the Church Fathers. Diane (and Elliot Bougis) offered a series of prooftexts from Eastern Fathers that apparently supported papal supremacy, and Tim's response was that rhetorical conventions of the day meant that such comments could not be taken entirely at face value without slipping into anachronism ("reading in" a meaning). When Diane replied that this sort of thing can be reduced to absurdity, effectively rendering the entire notion of historical evidence useless, Tim replied as follows:

All such responses to a notation that classical rhetoric was an integral part of the mental furniture of the Church Fathers are immensely unhelpful, and serve only to derail discussions

When "Mathitria" raised the same objection, Tim replied:

The reason I don't want to discuss lists of prooftexts is because the Catholics who produce those texts never demonstrate to me that they have any kind of ability to think critically about their Catholicism, and how it affects their historical judgment. You are a prime example of this introverted "conservatism", Mathitria. If it isn't "Jesus set it up just like I think he did", it's "You must be a Higher Critic in disguise." Absolutely absurd. Constructive discourse CANNOT occur on terms like that; thus I refuse to invest significant time talking to folks who think that way and present their little "Shazam!" lists of texts.

[and elsewhere]

But this whole "Look at all these clear texts!" business simply obscures the fact that the Catholic's purpose is to justify a set of highly debatable theological a priorisms--which, while being Utterly Clear to himself because of the distincly Catholic mental furniture on which he "naturally" places the texts, just cannot be expected to function the same way for non-Catholics.

Now, one has to consider what it can possibly mean to speak of people's ability to "think critically about ... Catholicism" and their "affect[ed] ... historical judgment." What does it mean to "derail discussions?" What is this talk of "distinctly Catholic mental furniture" and things being "Utterly Clear?" This is simply the classic liberal defense: I see an absolutist, so I define him as unreasonable. Forget that Catholics are human beings who are Catholic not because of some perfectionistic argument that Cajetan or Ximines or Torquemada made to justify papal power, not because they were convinced by a pseudo-Isidorean decretal, not even because of some Platonic idea of what the Church should look like. Forget that they may have come to the best conclusion that they can based on experience; forget considering what that experience is; heck, forget reality altogether! Keep it on the ground of theory, and define rationality so that their theory is outside it. Then you won't have to deal with those pesky absolute principles.

"ELHamilton," whom Tim supported for making a "polls can say anything" argument about patristics, produced a brilliantly clear observation when he effectively admitted this:

This is a hopeless and prejudiced generalization, I'm sure, but my experience has taught me that, among highly intelligent and well-read Christians who delve into the interconfessional debates, most "sternly resolved true believer" types will end up on the Catholic/Orthodox side of the divide, and most "introspective struggling doubter" types will end up on the Protestant side of the divide. I'm a doubter-- and I can't really imagine myself in any other way. Trying to picture myself writing a clean-and-neat "Catholic convert" autobiography that perfectly ties off a hundred theological loose ends is almost comical. I just could never do that. It wouldn't be "me" talking, it would be me aping a popular literary genre.

But then, he also did the *right* thing. He started talking about *experiences*, like how upset he would be that he wouldn't be able to share Communion with his own mother. That's what matters in these situations, not some theoretical concern about who is right or wrong. Start talking not about theories, but about why people accept these theories (and not people who aren't walking around either, I'm talking about you and me). What is it in their experience that resonates with them? What shared experiences make a difference? cparks actually got at this a bit in a post that he (sadly) deleted, in which he expressed some doubts about whether his common experiences could really translate to other people, and whether his reasoning could really serve as a basis to talk to people with different experiences. That's a GOOD question; that is how you bridge gaps with people.

But Tim just can't break out of the cycle. Sure, he talks about facts, but even the facts have value and reality only so well as they fit into his THEORY. And of course, in his mind, any reasonable person fits the facts into his theory. It's *obvious* from history that the monarchial papacy is BAD. If you'd just look at the historical record, this would all be plain to you. And of course, that is the ultimate capitulation to the Enlightenment in the end: the faith that we can somehow "think through it" and "get the right answer" if we're just smart enough.

And like all good liberals, Tim's got a good set of indisputable a priori notions to confirm his theory that are supposedly obvious to anyone with good reasoning. The notion that the Catholic doctrine of the papacy is "too much power for one man" is exactly the kind of a priori position that precludes discussion. Tim's even adopted a code word for these presuppositions, "Trinitarian metaphysics," the definition of which is continually being tweaked to say that whatever philosophical presupposition went into the development of a monarchial papacy is un-Trinitarian by definition. Tim considers it an evident metaphysical truism that the monarchial papacy is contradictory to the Trinitarian resolution of the One-Many problem, and anyone who adopts any contrary philosophical position is simply not thinking like a Christian. This has manifested itself in a variety of ways. There's anti-Platonism (vs. Shawn McElhinney). There's the notion of the monarchial papacy reflecting a fundamentally Arian Christology. Recently, it's divine simplicity that irredeemably condemned Catholicism to monism. But one way or another, it boils down to viewing the monarchial papacy as a concept that is necessarily philosophically flawed and working back toward how it is wrong, unbiblical, untraditional, pagan, yada yada yada. It's a fundamentally necessitarian construction of history; it's somehow *obvious* from the historical facts that the monarchial papacy is a fundamentally flawed concept. No reasonable person examining the facts could come to any other conclusion. Or to capture the concept, "why won't anybody *engage* the historical evidence that I am presenting?" For example, ...

Why should we, then, even as His loyal followers, be able to come up with an Ideal Theory, Perpetually True and Plain As Day, even if all circumstances say the opposite, of how the Church works?

Just to see how far this goes, Tim accused me of this brand of necessitarianism when I jokingly said of Tradition "I know it when I see it, and [William Webster] ain't it." That was supposedly my flight to "Platonic apophaticism," as if I somehow conceived of this perfect ideal of Tradition sitting out there to be discovered. Actually, my position there was entirely based on the reality of Tradition, not some Platonic ideal. It's one thing to say that history is amenable to several interpretations, but it's another thing entirely to assert an interpretation of the passage that contradicts every possible reasonable interpretation of other passages by the same author (and I'm setting a pretty low bar for reasonability here). Webster does this not once or twice, but in virtually every source he cites, not limited to Fathers, but also including Vatican I documents, modern sources, and even his own opponents. I never intended to suggest by this that Tradition was some obviously self-evident entity obtainable by rational contemplation (indeed, I subsequently demurred by saying that one would be hard-pressed to make an argument for any particular understanding of Tradition within a limited amount of Internet space, which is hardly consistent with Tradition being a rationally self-evident entity). I'm only suggesting that common experience tells you that people who do this sort of thing aren't historians that people respect or heed.

Now, don't get me wrong. Stanley Fish would hate me just as much, because I'm an absolutist and I peskily assert troublesome principles of timeless morality rather than leaving everything up to adaptation. But I'm also an "experential absolutist" (as are most Catholics) rather than an Enlightenment-style rationalist; my experience leads me to believe that God communicates in unchangeable truths (at least sometimes). I don't think that Catholicism is true because of some flawlessly reasoned geometric argument, but simply because I think that there is a God and He chose a certain way to reveal things to us. As best as I can tell, the organ He chose to do so was the Catholic Church. It just looks like the right sort of thing; it corresponds to my experience of how human beings receive information. Like every other fallible person, I could be wrong. But what I won't do is sit on the sidelines on a life-changing matter because of skepticism or a speculative thory on how things ought to be or what is TRVLY apostolic teaching or whatever else I can think myself into doing. To me, that's just not living.

[Edit -- Link to more documentation on Dave Armstrong's blog.]

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Harvard 35, Yale 3!

"Ten thousand men of Harvard want vict'ry today,
For they know that o'er old Eli
Fair Harvard holds sway.
So then we'll conquer old Eli's men,
And when the game ends, we'll sing again:
Ten thousand men of Harvard gained vict'ry today!"

Well, "The Game" ended, and the Crimson gained victory for the fourth consecutive time against the Elis for the first time since 1922. This season has been quite a ride, especially with the nailbiter against Dartmouth and a hard-fought game against Penn, but that's what makes the accomplishment so sweet. And sweet it is! Harvard capped an unblemished 10-0 season by putting on a clinic against archrival Yale, scoring touchdowns in just about every way that they can be scored. Clifton Dawson struck first on the ground en route to setting the Crimson single-season rushing record. "The Game" started getting ugly with a 52-yard punt return TD by Brian Edwards, and a 100-yard (!) pick-six for Ricky Williamson. All-everything senior QB Ryan Fitzpatrick finished off the Bulldogs after halftime with one score on the ground and one more through the air. And as a little bonus for me, the starting QB for Yale was from Austin, which I hope will be a favorable omen for the Lone Star Showdown on Friday. All in all, there's only one word to describe the Crimson this year: PERFECT!

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Remember me being ticked off at the Aggies?

All is forgiven. The sand fleas got swatted, finally!

Oh, and incidentally, today was the Crimson's day as well. Say hello to the Ivy League champions.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The Bible Answer Man is right!!

No, seriously! I had a tough time believing it myself, but Hank Hanegraaff, the self-proclaimed Bible Answer Man, has actually come down on the right side of two disputes against other Protestants. First, he's coming out with a new book that argues for the partial preterist interpretation of Revelation against the kooky Rapture theories of Tim LaHaye, and get this: it's being published by the same publisher who put out Left Behind! Here are some priceless quotes from the Dallas Morning News:

But the Rev. Tim LaHaye, co-author of the Left Behind books, called the decision by his publisher "stunning and disappointing" and said he felt betrayed. "They are going to take the money we made for them and promote this nonsense," he said.

The co-author of the new series, obviously, disagrees. "I am elated with Tyndale's support," said Hank Hanegraaff, the host of a syndicated call-in radio show, The Bible Answer Man. The first book in the new series, written with Sigmund Brouwer, is The Last Disciple. Additional volumes are planned....

"I don't know what science fiction he is reading," said Dr. LaHaye. "We believe the Rapture is going to come, not his nonsense that Christ came back in 68 A.D."

"I am reading the Bible, specifically Revelations [as] it was written for first-century Christians," retorted Mr. Hanegraaff. "I am not relying on some wooden, literal interpretation that is unsupportable."

As if that weren't enough, Hanegraaff also came out with a statement that Catholics don't really believe in works-salvation. That really ticked off notorious anti-Catholic Eric Svendsen, who already bore some animosity toward Hanegraaff for "his obviously premeditated and thug-like ambush of James White on the predestination issue a few months ago" (score one more for Hanegraaff!). In the Svendsen-Hanegraaff exchange, Hanegraaff was once again right, and his critic was once again wrong. The best part was that Svendsen's response exposed his blatant ignorance of Catholic theology. After stating that "Hanegraaff is confused on many points," Svendsen argues:

The real question at hand is not, Do Roman Catholics believe works are necessary to salvation? The real question is, Do Roman Catholics believe works are necessary to justification? More to the point, Do Roman Catholics believe they can earn eternal life? The answer to the final two questions is an uequivocal [sic] yes! Here is what Trent affirmed about justification and meriting eternal life:

Now, of course, it doesn't take any particular theological brilliance to discern the difference between merit in the Catholic sense and earning salvation by works in the Pauline sense. Indeed, it seems now that every Protestant that is not among the NTRMin coterie has managed to grasp it. Obviously, there are still significant differences on the concept of justification, but scurrilous charges that we Catholics teach works-salvation are, to use Mr. Hanegraaff's term, "unsupportable." Unfortunately, the repeated and conclusive demonstration of this fundamental misunderstanding of Catholic soteriology has not stopped some people from endlessly repeating the argument. And Hanegraaff is the one who is supposedly confused?

Anyway, after seeing Svendsen repeating the tired old argument with the requisite misinterpreted canons of Trent, we get treated to a nice new anti-Catholic riff:

And to the extent that the Roman Catholic sacramental system adds even more things necessary to meriting eternal life, it is even more reprehensible to the gospel than the single-work justification system of the Judaizers that Paul condemned in Gal 1:8-9.

Even if one were to accept the ... shall we say ... novel theological concept of the degree of reprehensibility to the Gospel being directly proportional to the number of added "things necessary to meriting eternal life," this is almost certainly wrong on its face, since it is quite improbable that the Judaizers, whom Paul criticizes for relying on the "workS of the law" (Gal. 3:3, 10-11), were merely advocating the single work of circumcision for justification. But hey, never let the facts get in the way of a good rant against Catholics, right? Just think, if he would've left out this argument, he might not have managed to work in the word "reprehensible."

It's evident that both LaHaye's and Svendsen's views got pantsed by Hanegraaff, and their flailing attempts to recover from the embarrassment only made them look more ridiculous. So, Hank Hanegraaff, you have my sincere thanks for your diligent work in making two people who couldn't deserve it more look foolish.

Harvard rollls to 8-0

Given my recent disillusionment about the sport of college football, I thought it would be nice to point out an accomplishment of some people who still actually play the game for the sake of playing the game. Ivy League players don't get scholarships. There are no bowls. No playoffs. No gigantic TV contracts. It's about getting out onto the field of play to represent one's school and to test one's personal abilities against an opponent. While I accept the reality of "big time" college football (and incidentally, despise the way it is being managed), there's definitely a part of me that loves the purity of Ivy League competition.

What's most impressive, though, is when a team playing purely for love of the game can match the achievements of teams with more commercial motivations. And that is exactly what the Crimson have accomplished this season. After shutting out Columbia, the Crimson team is 8-0, ranked #15 in Division I-AA as the only undefeated team in the division. They have two tough games remaining in the season: a trip to Philly for a game against the Penn Quakers (as usual, with the Ivy League title effectively on the line), and "The Game" at Harvard Stadium. But no matter how those games turn out, Harvard's season to this point is a real accomplishment, and I want to congratulate them on it.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

"God is not mocked" (Gal. 6:7)

Since Kerry hasn't yet admitted defeat, I can't say yet that he lost because of his hypocritical stance on his "Catholicism." But regardless, it is evident that Kerry reaped what he sowed by his utter disregard for the moral precepts of his self-proclaimed religion. The Corner ' s Kathryn Jean Lopez reports:

"Leonard Leo, Catholic adviser to the Bush-Cheney campaign tells me:
1. Catholics voted for President Bush over Senator Kerry by 51 to 48. That is a 4 percent gain over 2000.
2. Among regular Mass-attending Catholics, President Bush by 55-44 percent. This number was not reported in 2000, but the result is clearly impressive and debunks any suggestion that the Catholic vote is a myth.
3. The gain in Catholic support (4 points) surpassed the gain in the Protestant vote (2 points). "

Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
-- Galatians 6:7

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Latin theology and canon law

The following dialogue comes from Dave Armstrong's blog.

Tim Enloe remarked that he was interested in the effect of nominalism on the medieval concept of dominius, which inspired me to go on the following digression about Brian Tierney's theory of natural rights:
"Tierney observes that realism and nominalism are both completely unequipped to describe relationships between entities; they only describe entities themselves. I view the ramifications of that observation to be hugely significant, particularly in light of the East-West controversy over Augustine's formulation of the Trinity in terms of relationships as opposed to distinctions within the essence. If one is looking to describe relationships in the context of a Trinitarian philosophy, it seems that Augustine's account of the Trinity (and divine simplicity) would be helpful if not essential for coming to a Christian account of societal relations. It makes societal units and relationships of primary consideration, which could explain why the emphasis on divine simplicity in the West led to the Western legal system and governmental structures. Conversely, in the East, the emphasis was strongly on the Emperor's role in society and church, particularly in canon law, and one must wonder if the separation from Augustinian thought had anything to do with it. Eventually, I think that this analysis could be profitably extended to describing the role of the Pope and the bishops in the Church, but for now, I think the basic concept that the Latin concept of the Trinity could be a philosophical framework for describing Christian relations is simply fascinating. But, alas, this leaves me with a whole lot of reading to do before I can even speak intelligently about it."

Daniel Jones replied:
"It is very interesting that you bring this up. I have come to the reverse conclusion in my thinking now (surprise!), and it has taken me a while to unpack this information regarding simplicity. I firmly believe absolute simplicity is one of the motivating factors driving the filioque and the papacy. This is why I think Orthodoxy and Catholicism have two very different theologies. I've spent countless hours studying this topic, and I just don't see how the Latin view can be rectified, or made compatible with the metaphysics of the essence-energies distinction in Orthodoxy. I'm afraid that the neo-Platonic view of a simple essence, needs to be scrapped. If the act of willing is identical to the divine essence, I do not see how we can distinguish between generations (in the Trinity) and creation—thus creation being necessary and even homoousion with God (a kind of pantheism). Either necessary creation, or only "events" in God that are necessary (generation and procession) —thus God inacapable of creating. Note St. Gregory Palamas:
If according to the delirious opponents and those who agree with them, the Divine energy in no way differs from the Divine essence, then the act of creating, which belongs to the will, will in no way differ from generation (gennan) and procession (ekporeuein), which belong to the essence. If to create is no different from generation and procession, then the creatures will in no way differ from the Begotten (gennematos) and the Projected (problematos). If such is the case according to them, then both the Son of God and the Holy Spirit will be no different from creatures, and the creatures will all be both the begotten (gennemata) and the projected (problemata) of God the Father, and creation will be deified and God will be arrayed with the creatures. For this reason the venerable Cyril, showing the difference between God's essence and energy, says that to generate belongs to the Divine nature, whereas to create belongs to His Divine energy. This he shows clearly saying, "nature and energy are not the same." If the Divine essence in no way differs from the Divine energy, then to beget (gennan) and to project (ekporeuein) will in no way differ from creating (poiein). God the Father creates by the Son and in the Holy Spirit. Thus He also begets and projects by the Son and in the Holy Spirit, according to the opinion of the opponents and those who agree with them. (Capita 96, 97)
Another problem is proof-texting in the Fathers issues surrounding the filioque. Orthodoxy is happy to acknowledge that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son (or through the Son), within the context of "energetic" procession or eternal manifestation, but not in the context of hypostatic procession. See Lossky for the technical issues: http://www.geocit…I just don't think the Latin view with it's 'relations of opposition' of a simple essence is robust enough to maintain the diversity of persons in the Trinity (not to mention the apophatic nature of God's incomprehensibleness and transcendence). The question becomes, does the ability to spirate come from the Godhead or from a hypostasis?
Partly what is motivating me is realistic thinking. The Augustinian nature/grace dialect that I'm so vigorous to defend against the Reformed—maintaining synergy—falls apart under the context of absolute simplicity. If grace is a created effect or quality in the soul (which is all it can be if there are no uncreated energies of the Trinity), I do not see how Augustine is justified in his defense against Pelagius' De Natura—creature is still la creature by any other name (even if it is a superadded good). Which brings up another interesting point, if the most that we have union with is a created quality (even though in principle Charity is identical to the divine essence ST IIa. IIae. Q.23 A.2, AD. 1) this looks dangerously Arian. One might suggest divine indwelling, but this can't be union since we can't become God essentially. In short my defense of Augustine's nature/grace dialectic fits better under a real metaphysical distinction between God's operations and his essence, in order to maintain the real ontological divide between nature and grace—contra total depravity.
Actually, I think it is Rome's dogmatic isolation from the East that has brought about these differences. I love Augustine and Thomas, but I don't think they had the metaphysics in place (although one person has indicated to me some traces of the Cappadocian distinction in De Trinitate, but I haven't investigated it yet) to work out some of these problems like St. Maximus. Take a look at Free Choice in Saint Maximus the Confessor by Joseph Farrell… and…
Currently, I have not left the Roman Church and don't plan to right now; I'm a person in need of lots of prayer. If I was to ever become Orthodox, it would be a long prudent decision, and I would be more than willing to retract (and repent of) the assertions I've made above about Latin theology if shown otherwise. But where I stand right now looking at these questions, I cannot."

Fortunately, I had a backup plan in the likely event that I ended up getting embarrassed by the Orthodox argument (those guys are way too smart!), which appears to have happened here. Not knowing enough to meaningfully respond to this argument, I will take the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" approach. Assuming arguendo that the Eastern formulation is the correct one, it seems that a Christian society would still have to address social relations in some meaningful analogy to the internal workings of the Trinity. Would Gregory Nanzianzen's perichoresis formulation serve that purpose? I've always been curious about how the Latin circumincession concept differed from perichoresis based on the different descriptions of the Trinity, and I think is relevant to that discussion as well. Mostly, I'm just looking for a good place to start looking into the doctrine of the internal dynamics of the Trinity from an Eastern and Western perspective. Any suggestions are welcome.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Welcome to!

Having now consumed far too much space on various peoples comboxes, I've decided that I probably ought to reserve my more extensive brain dumps for my own blog. I don't have any specific plans in mind other than saving people the trouble of scrolling through my more verbose posts. Also, it will give me the chance to comment on certain blogs and other Internet fora that either don't allow comments or ban people of my religious persuasion with undue frequency. Of course, I may be tempted from time to time to author posts out of sheer vanity, and I hope that you'll forgive me for those lapses.

To discern information about me that might be of interest, you need only refer to the title of the blog. "Crimson" is the nickname for teams from the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States, which also happens to be the home of the oldest law school in the United States. Somehow, I managed to deceive this venerable institution into recognizing me as a Doctor of Laws, so I now feel justified in shamelessly trading on that credential. The "Catholic" part refers to my communion with Pope John Paul II, the successor to St. Peter and the Vicar of Christ on Earth. Normally, I wouldn't think it necessary to explain what I mean by "Catholic," but some people seem to be a bit confused about the concept.

If you consider anything are offended by the inanity of any of my posts, I have a completely valid excuse: I'm a Texas Aggie who happens to be a Cajun. Needless to say, it's hard to take myself too seriously! Normally, I would take this opportunity to wax poetic about my love for college football and the Aggies in particular. But right now, I'm extremely miffed at the team because as a Catholic in the South, I can't stand losing to Baptists. It's like being a Yankees fan and watching that choke job in the ALCS. Oh, wait, I am a Yankees fan! If Jean-Francois Queri manages to win the election, this will be one really bad year for yours truly. :-(

Anyway, I'm sure anyone whose curiosity is piqued will ask me for "the rest of the story," so I'll just call it quits for now!

Grace and peace to you.
-- JP