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*I take the Gospel straight up, thank you.*

Alright then, which version? There's three mutually incompatible ones. Same with the loaves and the fishes.

Pick one. But then the other two are wrong.

*I do not opt for the chauvinistic scheme of patting the poor ancients on their benighted collective head...*

Unfortunately, that's what you're stuck with. I, on the other hand, respect the authors of the bible and assume they are trying to say something profound. And they use the same techniques other writers of that time and place do. So sue me.

*..., saying "There, there, you poor unscientific primitives, we know you didn't know anything about schizophrenia, for that is surely what you meant when you said the man was possessed."*

Don't look at me. I think the word "possessed" is meant literally and accurately. As in, synonym for "occupied." By a legion.

So for some, it is hard to take seriously the Gospel stories of Matthew 8.28-34, Mark 5.1-20 and Luke 8.26-39. One intelligent writer suggests this take: "The point of these variations [i.e., in the text], in my opinion, is that the story is not really expected to be believed literally, not by the authors." This is the usual strategy employed when the Gospel gets too rough for polite play, when it gets too R-rated for the sensitive modern/post-modern/post-post-modern mind.

Thanks for completely failing to comprehend what I wrote. You're a very dishonest person, for a putative man of the cloth.

Thank you Leah. I just want to clarify that "natural" is the condition of creatureliness, and of knowing God as the Absolute Thou, and of being rooted in mystery. The modern caricature of "natural" as "normal" reveals a tragi-comic absurdity: in the relativistic outlook of the postmodern mind, law is defined by central tendencies. Thus, homosexual is "normal" because 10 percent of respondents in certain dubious surveys report that they harbor homosexual notions. And because homosexuality is thusly "normal," it must therefore be "natural."

I am thrilled (a very rare experience these days) that some of Obama's electorate have dished the aims of the libertines, who are well-represented in both Parties.

Blessings for this Advent,

Fr. Jonathan

Fr. Bless!
With all of the hoop-lah surrounding marriage in California (this time - who knows where the next hot-spot will be), and the culture wars we are told to fight - it is good to be reminded that we are making a big mistake in our thinking. You write: "the big mistake of defining "natural" as what is "normal," and forgetting in the world of sin that inevitability is not, is really not, the same as pre-destination.

It is natural to be Adam, pre-lapsarian, and it is pre-destiny to be a saint."

We appear to continually accept that because something exists in the "natural" world, i.e., homosexuality, or any perversions of our nature, are okay and should even be embraced because they are "natural."
Thank you for the reminder that we are made better than this, though we fell, we have a way back to grace & good.

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