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Luther and the Devil

Posted by Remy on October 31, 2013

“When the devil comes at night to worry me, this is what I say to him: ‘Devil, I have to sleep now. That is God’s commandment, for us to work by day and sleep at night.’ If he keeps on nagging me and trots out my sins, then I answer: “Sweet devil, I know the whole list. But I have done even more sin which is not on your list. Write there also that I have shit in my breeches. Hang it around your neck and wipe your mouth on it.” Then, if he won’t cease to accuse me of sins, I say in contempt: ‘Holy Satan, pray for me’.”

-Luther to his friend Johannes Schlaginhauffen

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On Chastity

Posted by Remy on October 15, 2012

I wrote this earlier in the year for a friend’s website.

Q: If a man is not chaste when he marries, how big a deal is that?

Sin destroys. We have been designed to live a certain way and to deviate from that breaks us. Sexual sins are more damaging in that they have repercussions up and down a culture. In the breaking of yourself, you cause another to be broken; by taking what is not yours you defraud them and their future spouse as well as your own.

Q:I’ve noticed that people have a hard time believing a young man could stay chaste by choice. That is, that sex is impossible to resist for any length of time. I’m sure that it was difficult, but how difficult was it, really? What kind of struggle was it?

I think we have been designed to want sex and having it is the norm. A strong desire to have sex is a good motivator to prepare yourself for marriage. That something is hard does not make it unnatural. For example, mastering our excretory system is a difficult practice that takes a year or two or in some case more. And that is a biological need that we are equipped to perform from the very beginning, which is not the case for sexual organs. So chastity is not a twenty plus year burden, first of all. But it is a time to master our urges.

But it is difficult and we shouldn’t want it otherwise because we should want to be driven people, motivated in all things, not lax nor slavish, but directed. Relieving the pressure to act, the pressure to mature, to be a valuable contributor in the world is a suicidal urge. Putting off marriage, wherein you discover yourself (contra the current blase idea of self-discovery), is to unleash an aimless and useless halfperson upon the world. Marriage makes the man, not man the marriage.

So it was difficult, like anything good, it was sometimes torment. It was the hours in the gym to get the chiseled physique. Premarital sex is all fake tans and creatine shakes, resulting in deformed, boneweak, decrepit creeps with hard heartconditions. There will always be the temptation to go the easy way, the shortcut that only cuts you short, the selfish, unmotivated, vain way, but then there are the men…

Q:You must be some kind of wuss. So must other “wait ’til we’re married” guys. What do you say to that?

We have bought into certain lies that’s are flimsy as our pick-up lines. One of the most absurd is thinking that the more women you sleep with means more sexual skills, that more women equals more experience. Nothing could be further from the truth. Consider the  man who declares his love of cities, all cities and talks about his vast knowledge of cities. He spends the night in a different city one day after the next. He gets off the bus, buys a t-shirt, notches his belt and hops back on the bus. He is suppose to be a grand lover of cities? Rather his is the most worthless of tourists, he’s the doofus in the fannypack mugging in front of every giftshop across the nation. He knows nothing of the city, does not love any city at all, but rather he loves to see his greasy unshaven mug in different settings each  night. The man that says he knows New York City because he was once laid-over there one rainy insignificant night is a great fool.

So too the lothario, who beds women with tricks and well worn moves. He’s never had to please a woman night after night. He can only pick up women at the watering hole looking to be watered, the lowhanging fruit. A real man knows how to please the woman who’s dealt with screaming kids all day, who went through the day with peanutbutter in her hair, wearing sweatpants and grannypanties because the laundry is stacked to highheaven. A real man can’t rely on a couple of cheap sex tricks to please a woman, running the same two plays on an unsuspecting defense, a real man has to play the same team night after night and the things that worked last night aren’t good enough for today. Real men bed the same woman every night keeping it new and fresh and exciting. Lotharios, in the extremity of their lameness, have so little game they have to move from woman to woman with their smoke, mirrors and hand dancing.

Q: What good did staying chaste until marriage do you?

Sex without commitment is aimless sex, it has no end, there’s no ability to connect in a deep way without that commitment, and therefore premarital sex is dual masturbation. Women are just a strange fist and masturbating through them stunts maturity. Sex within marriage is aimed sex, there is a pursuit to it and a sense of achievement. It is a true collaboration.

But the best part is that your desires and likes and sexual tastes are shaped by your partner. Apart from marriage our tastes are shaped by movies and strangers in the streets, jokes, magazine covers, but within marriage your desires are shaped by the person who loves you most. True lovers, a committed man or woman, have been insulated from the sexual noise around them, set apart from the winds, and they are free to create an original, unique, personalized erotic experience. Handcrafted love.

Bedhopping makes such undefined, ill-kept, unstructured lovers, incoherent messes unable to love head from tail, that they have truly lost their souls, being poured into and parceled out over their unanchored objects of lust. They are the modern Frankenstein’s monster, a sexual amalgam equaling nobody. But the chaste man can say, this is my wife, there is none like her and truly no one can please me like her and I am hers and there is none like me and no one can please her as I do.

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Rowan Williams on the “Poet-Priest”

Posted by Remy on July 16, 2011

“I always get annoyed when people call R.S. Thomas a poet-priest. He’s a poet, dammit. And a very good one. The implication is that somehow a poet-priest can get away with things a real poet can’t, or a real priest can’t. I’m very huffy about that. But I do accept there’s something in the pastoral office that does express itself appropriately in poetry. And the curious kind of invitation to the most vulnerable places in people that is part of priesthood does come up somewhere in poetic terms.”


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Walter Brueggemann on the Seven Words You Can’t Say

Posted by Remy on October 22, 2010

“I’m just now working on a thing on George Carlin’s “Seven Words You Can’t Say” and what I’m arguing is that the real reason you can’t say those words is that they remind us that we are bodies, and therefore we are fragile and we’re mortal, and we’re going to die…”


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Genesis 2:1-2 : A Song

Posted by Remy on August 10, 2010

They are finished, the heavens and the earth and all of their array.

God is finished on the seventh day with his work he made

and he rests on the seventh day from all his works he made.

God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it

because he rested from all his work which God had created and made.

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Introduction to Poetry

Posted by Remy on April 29, 2010

Introduction to Poetry

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

-Billy Collins

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So This is How You Live in the Present : a poetry review

Posted by Remy on April 10, 2010

a review of Modern Life by Mathea Harvey

Matthea Harvey has always empathized with the objective world, introducing emotions to the world of objects. We were taught by her first book to pity the bathtub’s forced embrace of the human form, in her second book she blurred humanity and machinery into a sad little breathing machine. In Modern Life she expands on her thesis, showing us the strange world made stranger still by the world itself, a sort of “taxidermist’s version of the world” as she says in one poem, nature in an unnatural way. There’s a playful aspect to the poems, one side is that she is making the world strange, with ham-flowers and girls sprouting electrical outlets ( or –from the cover– dominoes with blackberries rather than dots), but the other side of it is admitting that much of the strangeness, some of the more horrifying bits of modern life, is our own doing.

She organizes her long series of poems, “The Future of Terror” and “The Terror of the Future” in a sort of abecedaria, using the words “future” and “terror” as guideposts in getting her vocabulary, achieving a sort of sprung rhythm. “The Future of Terror” is militaristic and male while “The Terror of the Future” is more personal, female, but both are ill-at-ease in the current state of things. In the center of the book is a series of seven poems about Robo-boy. These poems, far from being a fanciful sci-fi digression, exemplify her empathy for objects as she goes about making a robot more alive than the people who populate her poems, people who have “glass-faces” and “slot-machine mouths” who get their words from teleprompters rather than as Robo-boy who learns about the word “subjectivity” by creating art. This also introduces her fascination with duality, of halving, of making one like the other or snipping this world from that in a sort of poetic shadowbox, even centaur-ing drawbridges and strawberries inventing strawbridges and drawberries.

You read Matthea Harvey not to help you understand the world, but to feel how strange it is, similar to the reasons for riding a teeter-totter. And like any partner in that noble endeavor she too will lean down on her end and leave you stranded in the air. The kicking and screaming will do you no good, but afterwards, when the wooziness is gone, you feel that there was something awfully fun in being there.


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In Defense of the Platypus

Posted by Remy on April 8, 2010

With nothing but the straightest face
created He the platypus,
but when He made a joke for them,
(“They’ll get a kick out of this” He said)
and made the monkeys humanlike,
mankind missed the jest,
and through colossal dot to dots
connected man to all the rest;
amoebas and fleas were easy jumps
once past whales, camels, and crocodiles,
and all the while the platypus,
in disgust, was written off.
An aberration or joke at best.
But He’ll insist that though we’ll list
together man, monkey, and mice
in a giant convoluted tree,
that the platypus will but be a good design
(considering terrain and His eternal plan).
Time will come when we’ll see
that monkeys monkey us with their hands,
laughing at our foolishness.
Apes, orangutans, and all -they’ll roll their eyes
and waddle behind out backs
while we make science of knock-knock jokes.


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You Must Read Poetry

Posted by Remy on April 5, 2010

“O Bible chopped and crucified
in hymns we hear but do not read,
none of the milder subtleties
of grace or art will sweeten these
stiff quatrains shovelled out of four-square-
they sing of peace, and preach despair;
yet they gave darkness some control,
and left a loophole for the soul.”

from Waking Early Sunday Morning by Robert Lowell

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On Miracles

Posted by Remy on March 25, 2010

David Hume, the skeptical empiricist, argued that it would take a miracle to believe in miracles.

When the Lutheran philosopher Johann Georg Hamann read this he exclaimed, “There speaks the great voice of orthodoxy.”

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