Link Posts: Update and Thank You

Twitter is an amazing thing. Maybe it's not Twitter that's amazing. Maybe it's the people who I know through Twitter that are awesome. Either way, after spending some time with SquareSpace support I couldn't find a simple solution to adding custom formatting to linkposts with this new template. Because of the way SquareSpace works I don't have direct access to the HTML or CSS. However, you can "inject" code to the Header or Footer of the site and add custom CSS.

I appealed on Twitter for some help because I'm very much a novice with HTML and CSS. However, I'm graced to know a number of developers and designers who are not only skilled but also generous. I want to publicly thank everyone who responded to my appeal:

Sid
Greg
Joe
Jesse

You guys are great!

In the end, I opted to solve the problem with Joe's solution because it was super easy to implement and it worked well with my current needs and limitations.

From now on you will see an icon of a box with an arrow jumping out of it following the title of any linkpost. Hopefully that will clearly indicate to readers that if you click on the post's title it will take you to the external article I'm commenting on in my post.

bigfoot.js

I’ve sucessfully implimented bigfoot.js footnotes on the site. They make it alot easier for you, the reader, to read footnotes.[1] I don’t like the triple dot format but I’ve seen some examples where this has been modified to a standard number system that looks much cleaner. However, the default settings will work for now. I expect that I’ll tweek it over time.


  1. Like this nifty example here.  ↩


Update: I've modified the CSS so that the bigfoot.js footnote markers are something that work with my site a little better. I've exchanged that three dot oval I dislike with an 8-pointed star. I felt this was a fitting image since the 8-pointed star is associated with my holy father St. Dominic.

I hope this is a better solution for readability. All you need to do is whenever you see a ✵ click it and watch the javascript magic.

Link Posts

The previous post from earlier today The Family That Prays is a link post. For those of you unfamiliar with this sort of post the idea is that clicking on the title of the article will take you to the original article. However, I've noticed that this new template doesn't treat the titles of link posts differently than regular posts. That makes it a little difficlt for everyone. I will see what I can do to help make this easier. In the mean time I will make sure to diligently mark these sort of posts appropriately with the tag: "Link Post."


Update: After trying to find a complext soultion to this problem it was suggested to me that I just append something to the end of each linkpost.

I think it's the correct solution for my audience. Sometimes it's great to have someone else look at a problem. I would have wasted may hours solving a problem that I didn't really need to solve.


Update 2: Going forward I will be using the same 8-pointed star that I've assigned to footnotes to indicate any posts that are linkposts. I hope this will help sufficiently distinguish them from standard posts.

Remember that a link post is a short comment on a external article that is linked to by the title. All you need to do to read the linked article is click on the article title.

JPII: Positive Restoration

I was having a great conversation yesterday about the modern liturgical calendar as compared to the 1962 liturgical calendar. As I was reflecting on this facinating topic I started thinking about the document Sacrosanctum Concilium. If you’ve read this document you know that it called for a reform of the liturgical calendar that privileged the integrity of the ferial days.1

In theory this is a great idea. However, in practice it may not have been a successful or even feasible project. I will grant that when you compare the current liturgical calendar with it’s predecessor the current calendar does attempt to privilege the ferial. The vast number of octaves, feast days, etc., found in the 1962 calendar (which was itself a reform calendar) are significantly reduced in the modern calendar.

At first glance this observation might seem insignificant. However, it has a very real impact on the lived faith of the Church. There is a necessary relationship between the devotional life of the Church and the liturgical calendar. The devotional life is what has historically inculturated the faith in societies and thus incarnated the faith in individuals. It’s been suggested by some that the simplification of the liturgical calendar is one significant cause for the decline of the devotional life in the Church.

I think that Blessed Pope John Paul II recognized the poverty of devotion that crept into the contemporary expression of the faith.2 This may be one reason why he departed from a minimalist approach to the liturgical calendar. He is still known for his penchant for actively seeking out worthy members of the faithful to elevate to the altar by canonization. He has been critiqued for this. Some have suggested that he exercised this papal prerogative too often. Some even refer to Blessed John Paul II as a canonization machine. However, this simply may have been a wise pastoral decision to shift away from this particular directive about the liturgical calendar in Sacrosanctum Concilium.

I’m sure that this suggestion may be difficult to hear. But, it seems to me that it’s a suggestion that’s in keeping with the purpose of our most recent council. Formally, we describe the Second Vatican Council as a “pastoral council.” However, we tend to treat it like a “dogmatic council.”3 But as the last two Pontiffs have taught us, it is fair to bring reasonable and reverent critique to some of the practical directives of the Council.4 Based on the writings and statements of our current Holy Father I expect to see Pope Francis continue this trend of critical reflection upon the documents of the Council.


  1. Ferial days are essentially the liturgical celebrations of the season instead of the special movable and immovable celebrations that occur throughout the year.  ↩

  2. There are a number of actions taken by John Paul II in his pontificate that indicate to me that he had a real interest in restoring a robust devotional life in the Church.  ↩

  3. Even this distinction is controversial. It’s unclear to many what this distinction actually means.  ↩

  4. This could even be applied to conceptual and fundamental aspects of the Council in certain instances. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is famous for having reservations about and critiques of certain aspects of Gaudium et Spes and Nostra Aetate and their concrete implementation.  ↩

Redesign: In Fact

I recently lamented certain aspects of the design of this site. Well, the rolling stone gathers no moss. I've begun the process of redesigning it and I'm happy with the progress so far. My hope is that the design will continue to fit the primary purpose of The Eighth Way, namely, the communication, in long form, of those things that I've been contemplating. I'm hoping that the new design will fit this mission a little better than its predecessor. I've tried to join together the aesthetic aspects into a more coherent unity and keep in mind the functional need for readability. I'm throughly grateful for the original designer of the template I've chosen as the underlying design and Squarespace for providing this marvelous hosting platform. I'm also grateful to Benjamin Alexander for funding The Eighth Way this year. I'm also eminently grateful for all those who choose to visit this site. God has been wondrously generous. It's my ardent hope that this little work will serve to foster a greater love and devotion to Him by critically confronting the difficult things we all experience in this life.

Come and see the new design.

Podcasts

I'm getting a little down with podcasting. I listen to podcasts, I like podcasts, I've been approached to host a podcast. I think podcasts are an awesome idea. I just don't know how to approach the genre.

I was looking at the top list of podcasts as categorized by Apple and I noticed a trend. The vast majority of the most popular podcasts are about making stuff, making stuff efficiently, and then coping with the emotional drain of making stuff.

If I were to host a podcast it wouldn't be about making stuff. It definitely wouldn't be about coping with life. It certainly wouldn't be about religion as an emotional snuggy. But this seems to be what people like to listen to today.

This problem isn't an easy one to solve.

Menu Items

I'm making a concession today. I've never liked drop-down menus. My distaste for them is precisely why I've avoided them like the plague. But today I was viewing the site on an iPad oriented in portrait mode and I realized that the menu items were being wrapped in a way that I found aesthetically displeasing. So, alas, considering the screen size of the iPad (and the iPad Mini) I've decided to start incorporating some drop-down menus. They will only be one level deep so to not be too much of a burden. Also, I'm not 100% satisfied with their implementation on the iPad with this template so it might be time to consider a different one for the whole site. Who knows?

I don't have an iPad Mini so I can't test the appeance of my site with those dimensions. If someone out there, however, has an iPad Mini and would be so kind as to send me a screenshot of the homepage I'd be greatly appreciative.

Look forward to some changes and additions to the site, more regular posting (now that I'm a little more free to write) as this year progresses. And please, keep me in your prayers.

All That's Left Is Sex

There are tons of causes for the loss of hope in contemporary culture. Maybe I'll hazard to dive into that messy soup some time to show how many contemporary spiritualities contribute to the loss of hope. For now, however, I'll simply state the case. We are a people who have lost hope. For years I've told people that the saddest spiritual disaster among the people I meet is not that they've ceased believing in hell, the devil, and sin. No. Sadly, the real tragedy is that people have lost their belief in heaven.

An old philosophy professor of mine made an astute observation in class one day. He declared to the class that most contemporary people in western society were atheists. He said that's if you include all those Christians who live as if they were atheists, even the devout. I was stunned by his assertion. Experience has taught me that he was right on the money.

If there's no God, there's no heaven. If you live as if there's no God, then you live as if there's no heaven. The net result is the same. Either way is a life doomed to be bereft of hope for the future glory promised to those who repent and believe in the Gospel. One without this hope is bound to seek happiness only in transitory goods. In other words, one is relegated to live a life seeking those things which delight only the senses. Man's spirit is neglected; it atrophies and dies.

At least in ye olde days the vast majority of people lived in a world filled with mystery. The trees had sprites. An elf was around every corner. The gods reigned on Mt. Olympus and the Valkyrie welcomed the noble souls into Valhallah. The rationalism of our time has murdered mystery with the microscope and the pocket calculator. It seems, that on a practical level, Christianity has been similarly wounded. Christ was just one more boogie man to fall victim to the focused analysis of myopic empiricists.

Sadly, believers haven't helped the situation. There has been too much anti-rationalism among believers. Faith has been set in opposition to reason in spite of the heroic efforts of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. The result is that these two valid sources of truth have been set as odds against each other. Everybody, as a result, suffers from this intellectual civil war. Hope, it seems, has been one of the conspicuous casualties.

A simulacrum of hope has become a weak replacement in the lives of so many people. Since there is nothing to look forward to after this life, or if we live as if there is nothing to look forward to after this life, then we end up simply seeking those goods we find laying about us. The great good of fulfillment has been replaced by the limited goods of satiety and pleasure. The great good of immortality has been replaced by propagation. The communion of persons has been replaced by casual encounters. In short, heavenly bliss has been replaced by sexual promiscuity.

This isn't simply a case of falling prey to our baser human inclinations. No, the pagans did paganism with far more panache than we could ever muster. We've fallen into a far worse state than our former pagan ways. We've reordered the heavenly and the infinite to the earthly and the finite. We've aborted our hope. We've placed our salvation in our sexuality.

RSS

It was suggested to me that I should make a note about why I don't have an RSS button. Well, I have a super-fancy java script deal going on in the background. All you need to do is put the main eighthway.com URL in your RSS Reader of choice and the wiz-bang magic elves will do the rest. Boom!

I do monitor the process, but if you notice that it breaks; please let me know.