Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Finding God in Movies

Two good friends of mine, my wife and I went and saw the 'new' movie Superbad last weekend. It is a raunchy affair: There is menstrual mockery, cartoon male genitalia, teenage drunkenness (something I know nothing about) and goofy cops. If I were not a product of the pseudo-Catholic school system of Ontario, I'm sure I would have been revolted by the film, if it weren't so close to how so many young teenage men act these days.

Amidst the raunch, writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg still however manage to get a moral message across - which is remarkable in comparison to other films of the same genre, like American Pie, whose only moral commandment was to have none. The fat oaf Seth learns that girls are not simply the material sum of their sexual parts, and the skinny dork Evan keeps a drunken girl, whom he secretly loves, from doing something she'll regret with him. Sure, it's the best way to sell decent morality, but it works.


And to the few you may still visit this blog, I'm terribly sorry for not posting anything of meaning lately. I've been very busy with moving, my new job, God, and my lovely, 6 months pregnant wife. Until I am able to post more frequently here, please visit Catholic Explorers, which is a better blog anyway.

God Bless!

Oh, and here's an ultrasound our new gift from God:

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Remember that?

If there's one thing I know, Jesus love never failed me.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

This isn't news...

... but that doesn't mean it isn't worth blogging about.

According to CNN, Barack Obama mistakenly referred to the political leader of Canada as 'president', instead of prime minister. Obama's opponents, Democrat and Republican alike, have taken time out of their busy schedules to roast the Illinois' Senator's gaffe, however trivia it may be. The Obama supporters on the other hand, have been quick to point out that this is just an honest mistake, and one that really isn't important or even indicative of the character or intelligence of the man.

As a Canadian, I can say with complete honesty that I don't really care what some American presidential hopeful whose lack of political experience makes Michael Ignatieff look like Wilfred Laurier, and whose main appeal his is novel skin pigmentation, yea I don't really care what he knows about Canada. But if I were American, I would. And if I were from Illinois, I'd be pissed.
Why? Several reasons. Illinois trades extensively with Canada. It's economy is synced with our own. Some 3,000 jobs in Illinois are dependent upon trade with Canada, and Chicago's tourism industry is largely propped up by Canadian visitors. Since Obama is a senator from Illinois, you'd think he would know something about Canada. At least that Canada has a prime minister, which is different in definition and praxis than a president. And Obama is a Harvard graduate, not some Stanford post grad, which is supposed to mean something. Or maybe look at it this way: If Obama referred to the Queen of the UK as King, or the Pope as Dalai Lama, people would be questioning his abilities (like we've been doing with Bush for the last 7 years).

Maybe this gaffe isn't indicative of anything, and Obama will go on to becoming the Great Golden-Brown Hope the Democrats have been waiting for since Jesse Jackson decided there were too many Jews in New York City back in the 80's. Still maybe it is something, especially since Americans have had enough of bumbling buffoons running their country.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

What do you think? Brick over the head?

A new pro-life/anti-abortion campaign is starting in Canada. It will feature graphic images of aborted children on billboards and on the sides of trucks. I have argued against this type of activism in this space before, because I think that (a) people are repulsed more by the images than by what caused the depicted scene and (b) it alienates women and men who have sought and procured abortions. I think the television adverts for the pregnancy crisis centres that the Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons fund in BC are much more effective, as they appeal to a person's sense of remorse and regret, lingering pain from an abortion, and offer a means to reconciliation and proper counselling. I even think the movie 'Knocked Up', which was rude and raunchy, did more for the pro-life cause than any projectile plastic baby or graphic image has done in the last 30 years.

You can find more info on this campaign at Life Site News.

Contra Smut

With all the Catholic and Christian blogs out there, you'd think there would be more discussion of pornography. We talk about abortion, capital punishment and war all the time, but porn? Not so much.

Considering how widespread pornography is, especially on the Internet (I recall reading that 2 of every 3 websites contained sexually explicit images) it's clearly time for a change. Engaging the culture as Catholics and other Christians should means engaging every part of that culture, including pornography. Think about it, it alone comprises several facets of the culture of death, including but not limited to abortion, contraception, sexual abuse, rape, violence, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, sexually transmitted disease, divorce, avarice, lust and so forth. Pornography is also one of the leading causes for divorce, according to several studies conducted in the USA and Canada.

So let's get started. There's the Serenellians, who are named after an Italian man who raped and killed a young girl after following impulses he felt after watching pornography, after which he repented and returned to the Church. There's this article by a former porn 'actress', who describes in painful detail her experiences in the sex industry. And here's an article written by a Kansas Bishop on the dangers of pornography. These three are good starting point.

One thing I know most people are not aware of is the drug and alcohol abuse that so many women involved in the sex industry fall into. Especially as people become more and more desensitized to pornography, they become less aware of the consequences of pornography and prostitution (which is what porn really is), particularly upon the women involved. Sure, there are the few women who voluntarily work in the sex industry out of desire and do not become involved with substance abuse, but they are in the minority. Most of the women in porn are there because of poverty, familial estrangement and prior sexual abuse. And once they're in, it becomes harder and harder to come out.

And yet in our enlightened/benighted culture, we're becoming gradually less and less resistant to the spread of pornography. Many people my age do not see it as an evil, but just another thing Europeans do better than us (seriously). And can you blame them? What's left of the feminist movement is more preoccupied with careerism and restrictions on birth control than an entire industry founded upon physical and psychological rape. Community leadership has balked under 'freedom of speech' and 'artistic expression' arguments for the last 20 years. Church leadership has failed catastrophically, on sexual ethics as a whole, and nonetheless the evils of pornography.

What we really need is young adults especially taking a stand on pornography, since we're the ones who have grown up in a society permeated by it. We haven't bought into this artless naivete about smut like older generations because we didn't have a chance to be naive about it (by age 12, most boys have seen sexually explicit images). We need to pressure our ecclesial and political leaders into addressing, at the very least, the issue and its effects upon society. So look up your local mayor, bishop, or MP, and let them know.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Bless your children

What a week it has been. Work, husbanding, and finding a new place.

My friend Charles has a wonderful post on parenthood over at the Catholic Explorers blog. He mentions, among other heartwarming things, that he has begun to bless his son every morning, something he plans to do forever. That has me thinking about the similarity between our understanding of God the Father, and of human fatherhood. It's an amazing thing, to think that Our Father will bless us every day without our request, giving us graces that we will probably never ever be fully aware of until the end of our earthly lives. It's another amazing thing to think that as mothers and fathers, we can help new generations to realize and experience God's enduring love by such simple actions as blessing our children everyday in the morning.