• About Me

    My name is Steve Bogner, a 40-something husband and father of two boys in Cincinnati, OH. Extremism - whether conservative or liberal or whatever - is something I try to avoid. The world isn't perfect, the truth is usually in the middle, and things are rarely as simple as they seem.

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    This is a moderate, Jesuit-flavored Catholic blog. I'll write about Catholicism, holiness and spirituality along with a bit of politics, social justice and Catholic mystics. I'm not an expert in any of these, but if you like reading about them, then this is a place to do that.

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« The Reluctant Messenger | Main | Martha... be yourself »

May 03, 2010


You make a very useful distinction, Steve, between rules and principles. As a writing teacher, I have this conversation over and over with students. Good writing is not about memorizing a ton of rules (a misconception that many of them hold, one which leads them to throw up their hands because they know they'll never memorize all those rules). Learning to write well mainly involves remembering a handful of key principles: audience; purpose; figuring out your rhetorical stance and adjusting as necessary; figuring out how to turn a piece of writer-oriented prose into something that is more reader-friendly. That's a holistic approach to writing instruction, but not as new-fangled as it may at first seem. Its roots are in ancient rhetoric. The parallel here is that the core principle of "Love one another" may strike some in the church as a hippy-dippy, feel-good truism, yet it of course came out of the lips of Christ, and very much from his heart as well.

I also like your point about how this principle is one that even the simplest among us can understand. As long as we've been shown love by some (let's hope most) of the important people around us, and our minds are not affected by some drastic pathology, we can figure out ways to love others. It's a straight-forward call from God, not an angels-on-heads-of-pins deal, which so often seems the case with canon law. Frequently when I listen to Catholic radio, I hear that sort of discussion on the call-in shows. "Exactly which color stole should Father have used when saying Mass last Sunday? I suspect he wore the wrong one." What a turn off for any prospective Catholic Christian! And how many miles removed from the basic, life-changing principles of holiness and love taught by Jesus. You've reminded me that Jesus said his yoke was light, not something that need drive us away from striving from holiness (progress rather perfection, as you said). Thanks for bringing things back to the essentials. "Love one another" -- a challenge I will carry with me tomorrow.

Great points Steve - thanks for sharing your insight!

To paraphrase John Lovejoy Elliott: "I have known many good people who did not believe in God. But I have never known a human being who was good who did not believe in people."

I've heard those words, Love one another as I have loved you, so many times as a Catholic and so many times I recall having failed but all I can do is keep trying as you said in so many words.

Please keep me in your prayers Steve.

God Bless

ms - That is a great quote; I plan to reuse it often :)

Victor - None of us is perfect - hang in there!

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