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It always makes me think of something mechanical, like hooking up two railroad cars.

That's called "coupling" and "uncoupling." Nicer than "having sex."


That came out kind of weird.

Ha. Yes, it did. But you're right, it does sound better, which is interesting because it's a long-standing term for sex. Sort of undermines my complaint.

I would like to hear your thoughts on the Jesuits some day, Mac. I often think since I worked there for 13 years and have now been here for 2, that the Baptists are much more in line with conservative Catholic thinking than the Jesuits are.


No further comment at this time.:-)

I don't know Mac. I have been reading the blog for about ten years, and certainly your view is much darker now than ten years ago. I don't say that's just because you retired :), but its an interesting explanation. I do think there's some mileage in the idea that older people are just simplifying their ideas and 'unbottoning' themselves on their opinions. Everyone is.

I agree with QG, Mac. Doesn't seem like the "end times" to me, with the blue and red either battling it out, or living in separate states. Just a dysfunctional political system which is made worse than it is by extreme right and left people.

Yahoo! reports this morning that 35% of white evangelical Christians are okay with gay marriage, and 67% of Catholics are also. Not sure why the ethnicity of the Catholics is not important, while we must know that the evangelicals are "white". What do the black evangelicals think?

Black evangelicals tend to be ignored because they don't fit the narrative.

There are several questions here. The one the Facebook poster was posing is, crudely put, whether old baby boomers are fostering polarization because they are old and cranky. My thinking-out-loud response was to wonder whether that's true of me.

So the first question is not whether my views are darker, or whether they're more up-front, or even whether they're right, but whether age is making me both more simplistic and more confrontational.

I don't *think* that's what's going on--that age is having that effect--but a question like that is intrinsically unanswerable. I don't even think I'm more simplistic and confrontational, or less inhibited about saying what I think.

However, my view of the political situation is definitely darker, and I maintain that it is in fact, objectively, darker. I could probably find some ten-year-old blog posts where I anticipated some of what was going on. I know I was writing about the depth of division at least by 2009, in that post about healthcare that I've often reposted.

We've often discussed Rod Dreher here, and I've probably just as often mentioned that I don't read him regularly because of the feverish sky-is-falling tone of many of his blog posts. But I think his Cassandra-like warnings are very often correct in substance.

For a while I was trying to very coolly point out the dangerous implications of certain trends under the title "What is actually happening." I stopped doing that only because I cut my posting down to two a week, and they're sort of pre-titled. But I still think it's worth doing: to be very clearly aware of what's going on, but not to be freaking out all the time.

I didn't even know who Katy Perry was before. I'd heard her name on NPR, but that's about it.


The one the Facebook poster was posing is, crudely put, whether old baby boomers are fostering polarization because they are old and cranky.

I wish I could find that post again because it didn't strike me quite that way. I really just scanned it, though, so I want to read it again to see what my impression is now.


Do you remember who it was? If so, you can search for the name. If not, I'll email it to you.

Like I said, that's a crude version, and I meant it semi-humorously, and he said it in a much more detailed way, but I don't think it's too far off the mark.

I'm not sure I've ever heard Katy Perry's music, but exposure to gossip about her is the price I pay for using Google News.

There's probably no reason not to mention the name of the person on Facebook, but since it's a private venue I thought I should refrain.

I remember and I looked at the page and I can't find it.


Okay, now I see it. Your posting the link made it show up in my newsfeed again.


Well, I don't see the cranky part.

This: They may, as I've been doing, weed the libraries they've created over years of work. They may reduce their social commitments or move to a smaller house. Complexity is too much trouble, too much work. They also tend to be less concerned with the way others react to them. They expect people to take them as they are. describes me to a T--the next paragraph about speaking more bluntly, not so much. I am more willing to let the cat out of the bag where my opinions are concerned but I try to reveal them in a really non-confrontational way.

I'm not sure that all this is a bad thing.


I don't think it describes me very closely at all. The last two bits (of what you quote)--a little, the others not at all.

I don't think I'm any more or less outspoken than I've ever been. Possibly a bit less, if anything, overall--with the hatred at such a pitch, I don't want to further inflame it.

How do you join the Ordinariate? Can anyone just walk in and become part of it? I'd probably attend if it weren't for the fact I live in Slovakia and the only English Mass is standard US (I think, maybe UK) Roman Rite.

(God willing I'll be getting married in a few months. We have to have vows in both languages, so we're provisionally planning to take the English versions from the Ordinariate rite, though technically we have no right to use the rite, not being members of it. I doubt that prohibits stealing chunks of it though.)

You just have to have some kind of Anglican background. If you grew up in the CofE that would certainly qualify. That's for actual membership, which is a transfer of residence, ecclesiastically speaking--the Ordinariate bishop becomes your bishop, with all that that entails.

Congratulations on you impending wedding! I'm not sure there even is an official Ordinariate wedding rite yet--there's a missal but a lot of the other stuff is in the works. It's way more complicated than I would have thought to reconcile all the variations and Catholicize them. But by all means help yourself to whatever you can find.

Of course anybody is welcome to attend the Ordinariate Masses and any Catholic welcome to receive communion.

Going back to the boomers and polarization, Janet said:

"I am more willing to let the cat out of the bag where my opinions are concerned but I try to reveal them in a really non-confrontational way.

I'm not sure that all this is a bad thing."

No, it's not, of course. I think what the Facebook post was describing was something less conciliatory, something closer to "Here's what I think and if you don't like it I don't care." Taken all together, I don't think "cranky" was an unfair reduction, although like I said I meant that semi-humorously.

I said I didn't think what Janet quoted was applicable to me. Most of all that's true of "Complexity is too much trouble, too much work." On the contrary, complexity is a big part of the reason why I've never identified myself closely with any political movement, much less a party.

It occurs to me, though, that there is a sort of reverse complexity filter operating on my blog posts, more so now than it used to be. My posts are more casual now and usually hit more than one topic, where they used to be very focused little essays. This doesn't lend itself to addressing complexity, so if something is going to need more than seven or eight hundred words or so to express it I'm probably not going to go into it here. That might give the impression that I'm avoiding complexity, but in fact I may be writing about it with some other outlet in mind.

I was thinking of complexity on an entirely different level, I think. For instance, I used to keep a very detailed and complex budget. I just can't do that anymore. I used to work word puzzles--crosswords and the like on the highest level. Forget that.

If we are talking about complex political ideas, well, I never have cared enough about politics to spend that kind of mental energy on it, but if you're saying that you don't identify with a party because you see the issues from so many different angles that you can't accept the simplicity of the talking points of current politics, well, I get that.

I am still very interested in complex spiritual and theological ideas, although I am ill-equipped to wade very deep in the latter and I rarely have the time needed to read that sort of thing.


"...complex spiritual and theological ideas.." Yes, it occurs to me that I am in fact simplifying my life in some respects: I'm accepting that there are some things I've wanted to do that I'm just not going to have time for, and sort of writing them off. And one of them is the effort to gain any sort of deep and broad knowledge of philosophy and theology. I'll continue to learn but it'll be piecemeal, things that happen to catch my interest, not with the aim of giving myself any sort of thorough education.

And this is really pretty much what I was saying a while back when we were discussing the Benedict Option and other such big efforts to respond to and/or fix and/or replace our cultural-political problems. As I said then, it's a valid effort, but I'm pretty much bowing out of it.

Sort of funny to say baby boomers are skewing the ideas of Christian public intellectuals because they're old and so basically out of it. Full circle back to the boomer line of never trust anyone over 30, isn't it?

And I definitely do not think Mac's "falling into old-man syndrome", but that the times are, as he said, objectively bad.

Of course, I’m even older than he is, so ... ;-)

Glad to hear it. I have to admit that even if it's somewhat at my expense it amuses me to hear my generation denounced as old and out of it. Of course it amuses me most when baby boomer leftists are the object, but it's kind of funny no matter what the ideology. Sometimes it gets quite nasty--people basically wishing we would hurry up and die, blaming us for everything wrong with the world, etc.

"Congratulations on you impending wedding! I'm not sure there even is an official Ordinariate wedding rite yet--there's a missal but a lot of the other stuff is in the works."

Thanks! There is, as it happens - https://ordinariate.net/documents/resources/AC_Marriage_Rite.pdf - very similar to the old-school Anglican rite, and presumably to the previous English Catholic rites ("with this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship").

Cool! Those vows are so beautiful and moving. I hereby give you permission to use it on condition that you say a prayer for my little group, The Society of St. Gregory the Great. We are barely managing to stay in existence. I learned from our "pastoral coordinator" that we are tied for smallest of the Ordinariate congregations (U.S. and Canada).

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