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November 20, 2007

Comments

Esau

Interests

Catholic faith, Fine Art, Hiking, Camping, Brewing, Bread Baking, Cheese Making, G.K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and other Dead British Guys... Old Movies, Pipe Smoking


What the ...?

Tim J.,

You're not into that Long Bottom Leaf stuff, are you???

J.R. Stoodley

Seriously, you are a hobbit, Tim J.

J.R. Stoodley

Now, down to business.

What exactly do you mean by millionth visitor? Do 999,999 different people have to visit before him or her, or can one person visit your blog close to a million times and get that bread, cheese, and beer?

Tim J.

"Seriously, you are a hobbit, Tim J."

It's murder finding shoes that fit.

"...can one person visit your blog close to a million times and get that bread, cheese, and beer?"

Well, I think they'd deserve it, don't you? Though I'd wonder about their mental state...

Tim J.

Incidentally, I have now deep-sixed the e-mail requirement in my combox. Thanks for notifying me about that, J.R.. I'm not accustomed to having Total Control!!... (Mwah-ha-HA!).

I'd also appreciate any other constructive suggestions, being as I'm new at this.

Matheus F. Ticiani
I personally feel that when people visit the blog of a professional apologist, they should expect a certain quality of discourse

That's very humble. For my part, as a reader, I've always considered your writings as being on the same level of quality as those from Jimmy and SDG (and Jimmy certainly also does, otherwise he wouldn't have invited you to write here). I already added your RSS feed to my list, but I think you will be missed here, at this time when Jimmy hasn't been writing as frequently as he used to.

Mary Kay

What Matheus said.

Michael

...Cheese Making...

Blessed are the cheese makers.

J.R. Stoodley

It is true that your (Tim.J's) posts strike me too as of the same quality as Jimmy's. However they are rarely if ever the in-depth, theological or cannon law analyses that Jimmy sometimes does, so it does make sense to limit them when Jimmy is away. Otherwise the lack of intense material would change the character of the blog a bit. Not to mention it would start to be in effect a Tim Jones and Steven Greydanus blog with and occasional post by Jimmy Akin, instead of the other way around.

J.R. Stoodley

By the way, why isn't SDG an official "JA.O Blogger"? Also it might be a good idea to provide a link to your new blog in your profile on this site, and it would probably be nice for Jimmy to put yours on the list of other blogs on the lefthand margin.

Esau

they are rarely if ever the in-depth, theological or cannon law analyses that Jimmy sometimes does


J.R. Stoodley brings up a great point here!

By the way, when will we be getting a profound post such as this from Jimmy Akin?

It's been quite awhile!

I miss Catholic Theology on this blog!

Matheus F. Ticiani

Centralized off!!!

Can't anyone do that trick?

Esau

I'll do it:

Esau Solves the Problem!

DONE!

Matheus F. Ticiani

What HTML thing did you write, Esau?

Esau

I think you forgot to close your blockquote.

Matheus F. Ticiani

Sorry for that. If I had used BBCodeExtra, it wouldn't have happened. Thanks.

Esau

No prob!

What's BBCodeExtra?

Matheus F. Ticiani

I thought you already knew it. It's a Firefox extension mentioned several times on these comment boxes. It allows the user to make all this fancy HTML trickery with just one click.

St. Elizabeth of Cayce
May the 2nd blockquote is off now, as well?
St. Elizabeth of Cayce

That's "maybe", not "may."

Mary

Well, it's off. That's what's important

J.R. Stoodley

Esau,

By the way, when will we be getting a profound post such as this from Jimmy Akin?

I've been wondering the same thing (have been visiting the blog almost daily even though I've rarely been commenting), but we must avoid being obnoxious. Clearly Jimmy is very busy, plus it's entirely possible that after several years of blogging he's lost some enthusiasm for it and/or find it less easy to think of something new to blog on. Let's pray that, unless God's will is otherwise, the blog gets going full strenth again once Jimmy is ready, that it doesn't die.

By the way, you're not on facebook are you?

Southwick

Shouldn't that be:

A New Blog? Inconceivable!

Seriously, I'm excited. I always enjoyed your posts as much as anyone's, Tim J.

Pseudomodo

No! It is I who will eat BLUE!!

Mary Kay

And the winner for Best "Give it a Minute" is.... (ripping open envelope)...


Pseudomodo

Inocencio

My name is Timothy Jones you have read my comments,
now prepare to read my blog...

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Tim J.

Although - technically - that should be "It is I who will eat *Bleu*..."

Tim J.

And, (as some would find poetically fitting) "bleu" is pronounced "blehh".

Esau

J.R. Stoodley:

Otherwise the lack of intense material would change the character of the blog a bit.

You have a good point here -- however, the only thing is that Jimmy Akin doesn't restrict his posts to merely profound theological thought or canon law pieces; he also does posts on more trivial things.

I believe this is the reason why the crowd here runs the gamut from members of the intelligentsia to simple folks as myself.

If Jimmy were to concentrate on meatier material such as subjects pertaining to theology, perhaps we might find an audience that is more of the former and less of the latter.

Currently, Jimmy's Reading Level is:

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

Link:

Blog Reading Level

Of course, it is Jimmy's blog and the fact that his posts run the gamut from the serious to the trivial may be what makes it so popular in the first place.


Clearly Jimmy is very busy, plus it's entirely possible that after several years of blogging he's lost some enthusiasm for it and/or find it less easy to think of something new to blog on. Let's pray that, unless God's will is otherwise, the blog gets going full strenth again once Jimmy is ready, that it doesn't die.

Let's hope.

It reminds me of conversions -- at the beginning, there's that incredible enthusiasm; however, later, it kinda fades.

A.Williams

Tim J.,

I hope you keep a good dose of Catholic evangelization/apologetics in your new blog, as it is 'the faith' that is really the force that binds all that contribute here at Jimmy's site. Faith makes all things interesting and fun!

Jim

What happened to Michelle - she used to blog here too...
Has she left Catholic.Com?

Matheus F. Ticiani

As far as I know, she hasn't, Jim. She even was the main guest in a recent Catholic Answers LIVE program about the divine mercy (whose link is here) (I used BBCodeExtra this time). I remember that someone asked about her before here, and someone, I don't remember whom, said she left the blog because of her work in Catholic Answers.

Jason

I'll definitely check out your blog every now and then, although I think I better stick to commenting here since my relationship to combox discussions is probably something like the relationship of the average person to cocaine (although actually, this is the first blog I have commented on more than two or three times, hard as that may be to believe).

JohnT

Wondering how incredible the new site can be, when it combines Catholic faith discussions with romantic endorsements of smoking, of any kind. I've enjoyed your posts here as well, but I wonder how many people, whomay very well look up to you here will visit your site and place the cancer pipe to their mouths for the first time, expecting some magical experience. Perhaps in the interest of being fair and balanced Tim, you could go to your local oncology ward, and along-side your antique pipe photos, post photos of patients dying a slow, miserable death due to smoking. As someone who's seen that happen to folks I've loved dearly, I have concerns that Jimmy allowing you to refer folks to your site could result in harm!

JohnT

Tim J.

John T -

If you had read a bit further on my blog you might have seen some of these concerns addressed, though not to your satisfaction, I'm guessing.

I watched my dad die from complications of emphysema(because he smoked too much) combined with complications from diabetes (because he ate too much) and high blood pressure (partly because he sat around too much). It's more complicated than that, but in short, he made some bad lifestyle choices and we lost him at the age of 58 as a result.

I noted that you didn't take me to task for discussing beer and home-brewing. Are you aware of the lives that alcohol has ruined, and continues to ruin?

Your logic - that we should never partake of or discuss anything that might be abused - is unreasonable.

Do you drink alcohol? Do you eat sweets? Are you concerned that doing so might influence others to follow your example, even though this might contribute to their ill health or early death as a result?

Do you know how many people are obese and are heading toward diabetes because they eat too much sugar and processed food? Do you think it's fair to openly indulge a habit that might be deadly to them?

I researched pipe smoking and health issues before I took it up again. There are risks, but they are quite small if one exercises moderation (as one should in anything).

I also hope to get back into motorcycles at some point, and that carries risks, as well.

It is this zero-tolerance policy toward risk that I find completely unreasonable. Everything carries risks, and nearly anything can be abused.

Let's say I started talking about motorcycle riding on my blog, and posted pictures of antique bikes and made it all sound interesting and fun and all hunky-dorey. Now, let's say a reader liked the sound of it and bought himself a bike and got killed the next week because he lacked adequate experience and wasn't wearing a helmet. Am I culpable for this irresponsible behavior?

JohnT

I think you understand my point Tim, but if not, let may lay-out my talking points for you:

1. In my view, a thoughtful Catholic man, whose opinions are sought out and discussed publicly, has a greater duty to discern the impact of sharing his opinions and conclusions than does the average private Catholic person.

2. You are a person with a larger than average public audience and reach, and your opinions are generally believed and perceived as important by other Catholics - you might say that like Jimmy, you have something of a following.

3. The link you provide at Jimmy's site takes folks to your website.

4. On your site, your audience can find you promoting, even romanticizing smoking.

5. Smoking serves no other purpose than to deliver nicotene (an addictive drug) to a smoker, along with deadly chemicals which you acknowledge cause cancer, emphysema, and many other unnecessary maladies.

6. I don't appreciate people, particularly people that I find ordinarily well informed and intentioned, leading others to highly irresponsible, addictive and deadly behaviors through a portal like Jimmy's site.

7. I won't be visiting your site again, and so long as you romanticize smoking and drinking, I would advise others to avoid your site as well. I would also suggest that Jimmy take another look at your site content before he allows you to link to his site.

You've been a real asset to Jimmy site in the past, but with conclusions like, "I researched pipe smoking and health issues before I took it up again. There are risks, but they are quite small if one exercises moderation" suggest a lot about your ability to reason without your ego overruling your normal logic. You even admit your father's death resulted from "some bad lifestyle choices, and we lost him at the age of 58 as a result." So taking into consideration the genetics you inherited from your father and his early death, are you asking your readers to believe that your own research led you to conclude that the risks of smoking were minimal? Come on Tim, I know from reading your JAO posts that you're a lot smarter than that. Let go of your ego, and re-embrace the logical side of your brain. Lastly, you say,

"Your logic - that we should never partake of or discuss anything that might be abused - is unreasonable."

Again, come on Tim! This is not my logic. You know that I was discussing something that has no upside, and substantial downside...you may as well have been discussing cocaine. The user might feel good for a while, but it hooks you and then your life is at risk, and perhaps you die.

Litmus test...would you be open to opening up pipe smoking at mass,and/or teaching pipecraft to first-communion candidates?

Give some thought to the needs of others and where your comments might lead them, instead of your own sad fetishes and protecting your ego. We expect more from you!

JohnT

Tim J.

Well, John - yes, I did understand your position. I just think it is misguided.

"...your opinions are generally believed and perceived as important by other Catholics - you might say that like Jimmy, you have something of a following."

I would argue that. Even if true, what I am pretty strenuously advocating is "moderation in all things". Food, drink, sex, work, television, exercise, shopping... what have you - and pipe smoking.

"I won't be visiting your site again, and so long as you romanticize smoking and drinking"

That sounds like a good idea. I can only point out, though, that better Catholics than I (Chesterton, Belloc, Tolkien, etc...) "romanticized" both drinking and smoking, to some extent - among other things.

"I was discussing something that has no upside..."

That is more than you can knowledgeably say.

"Litmus test...would you be open to opening up pipe smoking at mass,and/or teaching pipecraft to first-communion candidates?"

Huh?

If you would really like to debate this, I can guarantee that doing so on my blog would involve far fewer readers being exposed to my "sad fetishes". That was kind of the point of having a personal blog.

Otherwise, perhaps we had just better let it go.

Tim J.

The more I think about it, the more the analogy of pipe smoking to sugary sweets is pretty apt.

Candy really has no place in a healthy diet. It has no "upside" (as you say) other than pure pleasure, unless one is stuck in their car in a snowstorm and hopes to survive on some forgotten Tootsie Rolls or Lifesavers in the glove box.

You might counter that sweets at least provide calories, but I know a number of people who would argue that refined sugar does more harm than good to the body in ANY amount.

There are large numbers of people who, having been exposed to sweets at an early age, become enslaved and are led to an early grave because of the horrible effect of sugar on their bodies. The hospitals are full of them.

Is it incumbent on all the rest of us, then, to swear off sweets, lest we tempt and weaken those for whom this is a matter of life and death? After all, what good reason could there be for eating sweets when we might by our example be leading others closer to their destruction?

I'm quite serious.

Mary Kay

Tim, there are similarities between nicotine and sweets (carbohydrates). However both the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the American Heart Association say that nicotine is addictive.
http://www.nida.nih.gov/researchreports/nicotine/nicotine2.html#addictive

http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4753

I thought there was a permapost on how to make links clickable, but couldn't find it.

While there are people who talk of a "sugar addiction," it's not quite the same thing. Much more could be said and it would make sense to move the discussion over to your blog, which I might meander over to tomorrow. Today is fight the crowds at the mall day :^)

Tim J.

"both the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the American Heart Association say that nicotine is addictive."

Oh, I agree that nicotine CAN be addictive, Mary Kay. My point is that refined white flour and sugar, though perhaps not chemically addictive, pose a huge health problem for a lot of people who can't seem to eat them in moderate amounts. It is a constant temptation for them. My question is whether this places a moral burden on everyone else not to post cheesecake recipes or to reminisce online about eating Twinkies.

And don't even get me started on chocolate.

Tim J.

Actually, this looks like a good opportunity for a post on Romans 8 and the question of Offending the Weaker Conscience.

skyhawk

"5. Smoking serves no other purpose than to deliver nicotene (an addictive drug) to a smoker"

Right... That's the reason most people that smoke pipe smoke it... With arguments like that JohnT can hardly be taken seriously... His intentions are good and yes he's right that smoking is dangerous, but I didn't see the same thing as he did in Tim's post... I think his personal experience has made his judgement unreasonable. Isn't that the kind of attitude that the Puritans had?

JohnT

So a blog thread discussing a little recreational cocaine use for one's personal pleasure, so long as said use has been personally researched, is the Catholic blogger's personal choice, and is consumed in moderation so the user does not become addicted (as may be reliably researched by a self described pipe smoking, home-brewing artist in the Ozarks), is an appropriate thread topic on an affirmatively Catholic blog? From my perspective it's not much different than marketing smoking, which you acknowledge carries many of the same types of risks, and which you know first-hand is a deadly practice.

You must understand my point Tim - smoke and drink to your heart's content, discuss it among friends, kill your family off slowly and painfully with your second-handsmoke and the poor example you set if you must, but please do not use a well known and respected Catholic apologetics blog to market your vices to persons who have come to trust Jimmmy's site and the fine discussions you've previously offered there.

JohnT

JohnT

Also Tim, unfortunately in communicating in this type of blogger forum, it can be difficult to communicate a point to another party without coming across as mean, adversarial, etc., yet resolute in one's comments.

My intention is not to hurt your feelings, or embarass you, or make a spectacle of publicly attacking your private personal habits,(I have plenty of my own faults including those similar to your "sweets" comments), or to suggest that your own blog concept is completely without merit. But please understand that because of my experience in watching people I've loved, who due to smoking have become ill, slowly dwindled down to nothing but jaundiced looking skeletons, and then died over several miserable days while basically suffocating on their own phlegm, I feel compelled to address these concerns with your site's content.

Please accept my apology if I've hurt your feelings, as that was not my intention.

JohnT

JohnT

I was looking at your Romans 8 referenceabove, and I think you might have meant either I Corinthians 8:1-13, 10:23-33, or Romans 14:14-23.

I found the following analysis online that I think makes my point much more charitably and intelligently than was able to (describing the above passages):

"If one insists on doing something which may appear to some to be questionable, and he does this at the risk of causing a brother to stumble, then he demonstrates his willingness to put a fragile spiritual life in great peril. In doing so, he sins."

Mary Kay

Tim, a request that you sign with your blog link here or put a link on your website for your blog. Sorta like laying a cookie crumb trail, so I can find you. :^)

JohnT

Last two words of the first sentence of his post here, provides the link you desire MK.

Mary Kay

John T, thank you, yes I did see that. I should have been more specific in saying after this thread winds down.

Tim J.

John -

You are correct, I was referring to 1 Corinthians 8 (and other related passages). Sorry. I hope to expound on that later on my blog.

Your comparison to cocaine is so far off base that it leads me to think we will never come to any kind of understanding.

For one thing, from what I know of cocaine use (I have no experience with it) there would be nothing pleasurable in the experience itself aside from the chemical high. The process is irrelevant... if there were no high, nobody would use cocaine, ever, and cocaine addiction is ferocious. This is simply not true of pipe smoking. Pipe smoking is not about getting high... it just isn't. There may be some kind of mild lift to nicotine, but if there is, I have yet to notice it.

I have never heard of anyone knocking over a convenience store so they could score a pouch of Captain Black. I have never seen a pipe smoker on COPS shirtless in the back of a police cruiser after a high-speed pursuit. Please, try to establish a little perspective.

For another thing, cocaine is illegal.

You are maintaining that it is a sin for a Catholic to use tobacco or alcohol in moderation, or to talk about it. There is simply no support for this in Catholic thought. I know you have strong feelings about it, and I completely understand, but that does not give your feelings the force of moral doctrine.

I strongly suspect that we will have to agree to disagree on this, but more tomorrow.

Mary Kay, I have changed the link attached to my name to the new blog address, but just in case;

http://timothyjones.typepad.com/old_world_swine/

Tim J.

Next week, perhaps we can discuss the evils of card playing and jazz.

Linda

You are maintaining that it is a sin for a Catholic to use tobacco or alcohol in moderation

What is "moderation" when the American Cancer Society says tobacco cannot be considered safe in *any* amount or form? There is no threshold amount for harm.

bill912

Well, let's see. Cigar and pipe smoking don't increase the chances of lung cancer, because you don't inhale them (atleast, in the case of cigars, not more than once--once was all it took me to figure that out). Studies show that smoking one or two cigars per day increases one's risk of mouth or throat cancer by 2%, which is statistically insignificant(the 2% could be caused by other factors). (I haven't read any study regarding pipes).

bill912

George Burns was interviewed on his 93rd birthday.

Reporter: "Mr. Burns, is it true that you still date young women?"

Burns: "It's true."

Reporter: "Is it true that you still drink 5 or 6 martinis every day?"

Burns: "It's true."

Reporter: "And is it true that you still smoke 15-20 cigars every day?"

Reporter: "Well, Mr. Burns, what does your doctor think about that?"

Burns: "He's dead."

bill912

Should be another "It's true" after the cigar question.
(And I proofread the thing before posting and still messed it up!)

Linda

Cigar and pipe smoking don't increase the chances of lung cancer, because you don't inhale them.

False. According to the American Cancer Society, both pipe and cigar smoking substantially increase the risk of cancer and other diseases. In a study of more than 15 thousand male pipe smokers in the U.S., compared to non-smokers, pipe smokers had five times the risk of lung cancer, nearly four times the risk of throat cancer, more than twice the risk of esophageal cancer, a forty percent higher risk of colon cancer, a sixty percent higher risk of pancreatic cancer, thirteen times the risk of cancer of the larynx, a thirty percent higher risk of heart disease; a 27 percent higher risk of stroke; and nearly three times the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

bill912

How many cigars per day cause those increases?

A.Williams

I just remember a saying of my grandfather on pipe smoking.

He said "never argue with a man smoking a pipe--He'll out think you!"

But funny thing is, is that one of the few momento's we have left of him... is a very fine pipe, with a handsome brass and wood holder resplendent with the smells of his last smoke.

Linda

How many cigars per day cause those increases?

Heavy cigar/pipe smoking caused increases comparable to heavy cigarette smoking. The statistical increases presented above were associated with cigar/pipe smoking on average.

A.Williams

..This isn't to say that I support smoking in any way, as it is ferociously addictive!..more so than alcohol, I think.

But I, and all of my siblings, were always captivated by the sweet and mysterious aroma of the that decades old wooden pipe

Celeste

Howdy Fellas-- The debate over smoking is interesting. I can see that both sides have thoughtful points to make. Personally, I am against smoking largely due to watching the habit slowly and mercilessly destroy my mother's health. She has tried every way out there to quit and has not been able to do so.

That said, it is my personal belief that God has put nothing on this earth that does not have a useful purpose. Sometimes we just haven't found it yet, and in our curiosity get off the right track. Hence, cocaine becomes a plague of addiction to some, but for a child with a serious wound it is part of a topical anesthetic that saves the child from further trauma from the use of needles. Cocaine is routinely used in nasal surgery as an anesthetic as well as to reduce bleeding. Heroin, likewise, is used in some countries (unfortunately, not in the US) for terminal cancer patients for pain. Unlike morphine, it is strong enough to dull the pain without drugging the patient to the point of insensibility. Addiction is not an issue as these patient's will die long before addiction is a problem.

Even nicotine has a use, as nicotinic acid (niacine, vitamin B3).

So, things are not always as clear-cut as we might like them to be.

J.R. Stoodley

Well, this mess was inevitable, but still disappointing. Let the man enjoy an occasional pipe, sheesh.

One thought:

What is "moderation" when the American Cancer Society says tobacco cannot be considered safe in *any* amount or form? There is no threshold amount for harm.

This shows a big misunderstanding of the issue. A poision, in ALL cases, is made by the dose and the susceptiblity of the person to it. Yes any amount of tobacco can increase your chances of getting cancer, but the same is true of carrots (and a million other things). It is doubtable that any reasonable quantity of carrots would increase your chances with any real significance, plus there are other benefits (nutritional) to eating them, so we don't see bans or warnings about carrots. Tobacco has little if any practical benefit (unless perhaps as a stress reliever) and the strength of it's carcinogenic potential is such that overindulgent quantities of it certainly constitute a morally unacceptible gamble with your health, but if someone likes an occasional pipe and having weighed the risks and benefits decides to go ahead with it let him be.

Linda

This shows a big misunderstanding of the issue. A poision, in ALL cases, is made by the dose and the susceptiblity of the person to it.

No, the misunderstanding is that while the Surgeon General recommends moderation in respect to alcohol, he does not call for moderation with respect to smoking. There he says STOP smoking. Stopping smoking is what he considers to be moderation.

J.R. Stoodley

What the Sugeon General says is politics, not science. Likely enough the call to stop smoking entirely is either due to irrational anti-smoking zealotry or due to a fear that calls to be moderate in smoking will cause people to still smoke too much (erring in descerning what is moderate) or to take their oversmoking less seriously.

Also remember St. Augustine, who said something like "for some complete abstinence is easier than perfect moderation".

J.R. Stoodley

*Surgeon

By the way, I don't smoke myself and doubt I ever will, though if someone offered I might try a pipe or even a cigar to see what the fuss was about.

Linda

What the Sugeon General says is politics, not science.

"The Surgeon General serves as America's chief health educator by providing Americans the best scientific information available on how to improve their health and reduce the risk of illness and injury."

"There is no safe level of tobacco smoke."

"Wherever smoke touches living cells, it does harm."

Tim J.

Look, I'm not arguing - have never argued - that tobacco is harmless, so arguing as if I AM saying that isn't much help. I am well aware that there is no way to eliminate all the risk associated with pipe smoking, but the risk can be minimized by exercising restraint, the same way the risk of motorcycle riding can't be eliminated, but can be minimized by wearing a helmet and taking a training course.

There are people (I think Phylis Schlafly, for one) who would like to see motorcycles outlawed. Like skydiving, there is really no benefit that could be quantified. A motorcycle might get better gas mileage than a car, but I don't know that anyone would seriously argue that the savings is worth the trade-off in safety. They are fun to ride... that's about it. Fun and kind of dangerous.

Motorcycling is - just about any way you slice it - unnecessarily risky, from a strictly utilitarian point of view. Again, look at injury and death stats. Yet, I DO hope to ride again before too long.

Like a lot of things, the risks of pipe smoking can't be eliminated or discounted, BUT a mature adult ought to be allowed to assess these risks for himself and decide what is acceptable, unless we want to declare immoral every useless pastime that carries any risk (Pleasure boating? Rock climbing? Hang gliding? Snorkeling with sting rays?).

It's kind of ironic that one of the reasons I started my own blog was to keep Jimmy clear of little controversies like this. Oh, well...

Linda

a mature adult ought to be allowed to assess these risks for himself and decide what is acceptable

In the words of one mature adult, "Smoking is like playing Russian roulette. The longer you smoke, the more times you're pulling the trigger, and the more you smoke, the more bullets you're putting in the gun."

Esau

Tim J.

Although I don't necessarily agree with everything that JohnT has said; I do agree with him though in principle.

That is, being that you do have a considerable following, this makes what you say and do have proportional weight as well.

Because of this, you carry a certain responsibility in that regard to those who do look up to you.

Say, for instance, those with impressionable minds were to take note of your smoking habits and indulge in similar activities just because they had observed you, someone they look up to, doing this.

It would not be unlike those juvenile delinquents in the past who engaged in certain questionable activities which led them to great harm because somebody they idolized acted in a similar manner.

In a nutshell, although you may not think much of yourself; there are those who may actually think highly of you and it is these folks over whom you have been made responsible.


Remember:

...And unto whomsoever much is given, of him much shall be required... (Lk 12:48)

Tim J.

Well, I might think - if an individual held me to be all that influential - that ignoring all I have to say in praise of moderation in order to ape some of my personal habits would be a *tad* dishonest... sort of like someone who, being fond of wine, claimed Jesus as a role model but ignored everything He said about self-sacrifice, carrying your cross, giving to the poor, etc... it might make me think they were only looking for a convenient excuse to do what they were going to do anyway. In that case, if it weren't me, it would very likely be someone else.

I truly appreciate the brotherly calls to caution, but it isn't something I have not already considered.

I happen to think that there is room in the Christian universe for role models of robust - even somewhat raucous - appreciation and gratitude for the created world God has given us. For some time now, we Christians have allowed ourselves to be known chiefly by the list of Things Of Which We Don't Approve. I'd like to do what I can to flesh that image out, a bit... there are a great many MORE things of which we DO approve. Let's talk a little about THAT.

I smoke a pipe a few times a month. Anyone dead set on having me set the pattern for their own habits ought to do likewise.

I will leave you with these words from John XXIII's first encyclical, Ad Petri cathedram of 1959;

"In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas."

"...in essentials, unity; in doubtful matters, liberty; in all things, charity.".

J.R. Stoodley

sort of like someone who, being fond of wine, claimed Jesus as a role model but ignored everything He said about self-sacrifice, carrying your cross, giving to the poor, etc... it might make me think they were only looking for a convenient excuse to do what they were going to do anyway.

I know people who have more or less done this, together with phrases like Hillare Belloc's "Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine; there is laughter and good red wine; at least I have ever found it so; Benedicimus Domino" and even St. Thomas Aquinas' "Drink to the point of hillarion". I don't know what "hillarion" (if that even was the exact word) is but it sounds like extreme drunkeness even though I'm sure it isn't. I imagine Belloc and I know Aquinas were not encouraging excessive consumption of alcohol though.

People who are going to behave badly will find their own excuses for it, with or without Tim Jones. We can't refuse to be normal human beings, sharing with others thoughts on our moderate pleasures in life for instance, because someone stupid might take it the wrong way. Of course that principle has it's own obvious limitations as well.

J.R. Stoodley

By the way Tim, this is as good a time as any to mention that I took your advice (for the most part) to temporarily stop consuming alcohol entirely since I was having a hard time always keeping it moderate. I've made three exceptions so far, all in social situations where it would have been very awkward not to drink at all (two with family over Thanksgiving) but being sure to keep it to one or a couple drinks over several hours.

JohnT

There's a reason Tim (actually probably more than one) that the Vatican website wouldn't provide links to R.J. Reynold's site, despite the multitude of priests and other Catholic notables who smoke.

For the record, my comments did not relate to your free exercise of private personal choice, only to the link between Jimmy's site and yours.

JohnT

Tim J.

"There's a reason Tim (actually probably more than one) that the Vatican website wouldn't provide links to R.J. Reynold's site"

I don't blame them. I'm not interested in shilling for Big Tobacco. Being a good Chestertonian, I would much prefer Small Tobacco, if I can't grow my own.

Tim J.

J.R -

I'm just about certain I'll give up alcohol for Lent next year. I've consumed more this year, as part of my - er - research in the run-up to home brewing again.

I think your prudent concern about it is a good sign you are approaching it in the right way.

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