Daredevil, Catholicism, and the Marvel Moral Universe
The Netflix series has chosen to make religion a foundational aspect of Matt’s character, expressing his struggles with his faith through his actions, and weaving that inner turmoil with outer drama to build him into a hero. Because the show is infused with Catholicism—and actually enacts a certain type of theology, as opposed to simply utilizing imagery and shallow references—it’s able to create an interplay between the fictional world of the show and the real world of Catholic faith in a way that I haven’t seen on television…well, ever?This piece at Tor.com is an in-depth look at all the things I love to find in entertainment. Unfortunately their description of the violence made me sure that it's not something I want to watch. At least not right now. I've got enough stuff going on that I am in my happy-watching mode. But that did leave me free to read the entire piece which has spoilers for the first season. And it left me really wanting to see it.
Bad Christian Art
I’m convinced that bad art derives, like bad literary theory, from bad theology. To know God falsely is to write and paint and sculpt and cook and dance Him falsely. Perhaps it’s not poor artistic skill that yields bad Christian art, in other words, but poor Christianity.An insightful piece from Tony Woodlief at Image. I concur. Read it all.
In short, if Christian novels and movies and blogs and speeches must be stripped of profanity and sensuality and critical questions, all for the sake of sparing us scandal, then we have to wonder what has happened that such a wide swath of Christendom has failed to graduate from milk to meat.
Mental Illness: The Cold Reboot of the SoulThomas L. McDonald shares his personal story and reminds us that everything has a purpose, even mental illness. It is moving, inspiring, and informative all in one. Here's a bit. Then go read it all.
The interesting part of all this, and the reason I’m sharing it now when I very rarely write personal things, is that while it’s put pressure on my faith observations, it hasn’t damaged my actual faith at all. I don’t blame God for this and I accept it as my cross even though I’d really like to stop carrying it for a while any time now God.
Maintaining a regular prayer schedule is nearly impossible in this condition. I visited with some friends last night and spent some in their parish prayer chapel where the Eucharist was exposed. I was able to pray the 22nd Psalm and that was it. The rest of the time, I had hardly a single word in my head, not even the Jesus prayer which is usually my go-to meditation. I just sat silently staring at the sacrament.
And you know something? It was enough. My faith is always too much in my head. There’s a useful side effect to that: it’s very rarely shaken. Even when I don’t “feel” it I know that, intellectually, it’s still a rock to stand on. A faith that is too much in the head grows arid, but one that is too much in the heart is easily buffeted by emotional trauma.
Three Methods of Prayer That Will Change Your LifeFrom my inbox: Philip Kosloski has a good piece on methods of prayer.
How to Help Persecuted Catholics in Middle East
CNEWA’s mandate is to support the Eastern churches in Catholicism, meaning the Catholic communities scattered across the Middle East, Northeast Africa, India, and Eastern Europe that draw on Eastern Orthodox traditions. In recent years, that’s made CNEWA a prime mover in delivering aid to persecuted Christians in some of the world’s leading hot spots.This is from John Allen's piece which is quite good. I came to it via The Deacon's Bench where there are more links because Deacon Greg Kandra works for them! CNEWA looks like a wonderful way to support our persecuted brothers and sisters in the Middle East.
Today, CNEWA is among the largest providers of aid to Middle Eastern Christians anywhere in the world. Though it’s a Catholic organization, it helps Christians of all sorts.