Friday, September 29, 2006

Pondering Protestantism: a letter to a friend

Note of explanation: About a year ago, a close friend of mine was unjustly dismissed from his job teaching at an Evangelical Christian school. We had a long talk when I heard about it, about the clannishness of such schools, and about the tendency for rules to go unwritten: "the Club and the Code," as he described it. He'd had it up to his kiester with Christianity, and was seriously doubting his faith. This rattled me, because he had been a strong influence on my own faith when we were teenagers, and a sounding board when I became Catholic. A couple of days after my friend and I talked, I sent him this long e-mail. I'm sticking it in here with identifying information changed. I still think what I said then is worth saying.

I've been thinking a good deal about the conversation we had Sunday, and I finally put my finger on something that I wanted to say that I couldn't really formulate at the time. You're welcome to dismiss it as "witnessing," although that's not really what I want to do, at least not in the Sunday School "bring-a-friend-and-get-a-prize" sense.

You're pissed, with excellent reason. You're pissed at a school that screwed you over, and a church that places its focus on "the club and the code," as you put it. In feeling this way, you think you're also pissed at Christianity, but you're not. This is why.

You're not, because you've never really had much experience of Christianity. (I don't mean experience of Christ; that's another matter entirely.) What you've had is extensive experience with a specific kind of Christianity. You've spent your entire life in a cocoon, the walls of which are defined by a small, recently-developed movement that thinks it's all there is. I'm not running down your church or Evangelicalism in general. They do good work, they love the Lord, and they hold to the core of the Gospel, which is redemption by Christ. But Evangelicalism is no more the whole – or even the essence – of Christianity than the third lug nut on your right front wheel is the whole of your car.

What the Evangelical movement of the 60s and 70s that you're familiar with has done is to strip away the visible aspects of the Christian faith and replace them with other visible aspects. The confessional is gone, but there's a coffee bar. The iconostasis is replaced by a video screen. Most tellingly of all, the altar has been eliminated and replaced with a podium.

Christianity is not just hymns and a sermon. It's not about the emotions or the bumper stickers or the intellectual study or the "codes." It's not even just the Bible. Those things are expressions of Christianity, and they're the familiar ones to you and me, but they're only the tip of the iceberg.

Christianity is more than just an American white-bread cultural imperative. Christianity is also ashes on the forehead on Ash Wednesday, and palms on Palm Sunday, and fires on Pentecost. It's painted icons of Christians who have gone before, and statues of the Blessed Virgin, and Stations of the Cross. It's rosaries and prayer cards and incense and holy water. It's not just the upraised hands of the Charismatic; it's also the dipped knee of genuflection and the sign of the cross and a kissed icon.

How many times have you seen pictures of people lighting candles before a statue of Mary and thought, "What idolatry!" But it's not. It's a Christian practice far older than Sunday School coloring books. The people who come to the Blessed Mother with their requests are Christians holding to a tradition that goes back to the catacombs. Those superstitious people who line up to see a bone of St. Anthony? They're honoring the memory and holiness of their Christian brethren and sistern. Yep. That's Christianity, too. It only looks alien to someone who's only seen one small slice of the faith.

One of my favorite corners of the calendar is the feast of Corpus Christi, where the consecrated host, the Body of Christ, is carried over the heads of hundreds, maybe thousands, of people parading through the streets. To you, it seems weird, but to the vast majority of Christians, it's the most natural thing in the world.

We hear all the time that the Church isn't a building; it's the people. That's true, but it's also a structure built not just out of laity but of priests in robes, bishops in funny hats, and monks in habits. You think of those things as frippery, but they're as much an integral part of Christianity as a preacher in a double-breasted suit. It's also ordinary people; not just the few currently walking around but the ones who have already gone to heaven. The Church, as C. S. Lewis pointed out, stretches not only through space but time as well.

Christian writing didn't begin with Rick Warren, or even with Lewis. Try reading John of the Cross, or Ephraim of Edessa, or (best of all, I think) Thomas A Kempis' "Imitation of Christ." These are a much deeper glimpse of a very deep faith than anything you can get at the Christian bookstore at the mall.

I'm not trying to put together a sales pitch for Catholicism here. For that matter, I'm not trying to sell Christianity at all. If you really are so browned off that you just can't stomach Christianity, then by all means leave, or at least take a hiatus. Better that than to keep chained to something you hate. But bear in mind that there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dream't of in your Sunday morning bulletin. You've only dipped a toe into the sea so far. You kind of owe it to yourself to take a look at the whole thing before you dump it.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Monday, September 25, 2006

The old man and me

A couple of weeks ago, I came across a blog by a cop in Texas who could make a great living as a writer if he ever gets tired of catching bad guys. The post that was up at the time really set me to thinking.

Go read it now. Go ahead; I'll wait. The rest of this post won't make much sense if you don't.

All done? Excellent. Now, think about the rainbow of emotions that that story evokes. First, you feel for the old man, and you're even a little angry at his family, and at the wider world that abandons old men like that. Then, as you read about his life, you're horrified and finally resentful that he's got as much life left as he has. First he's an object of sympathy, then he becomes incurably evil, as you learn about a single episode of his life twenty-odd years earlier.

Did it occur to you to wonder what brought about the change? Why you felt sorry for the man at the beginning and hated him at the end? More to the point, why did you treat him differently upon learning the sins of his past?

Don't try to tell me you didn't. I know you did, because I did too. I was hurting badly for him, wondering why his family had abandoned him and how he had come to be so alone. I hurt to think of him sitting in a dark, silent apartment, losing track of time, even his ability to perform basic bodily functions falling apart. I hurt to think of his kids living God-knew-where, his siblings maybe alive or maybe dead; who knew? I hurt because he was suffering.

Then I read how he had come to be where he was. His retreat into the bottle. His wife. His daughter. His time in prison. Suddenly it seemed right that he should be miserable. For as long as there was breath in his lungs, he should be miserable. You want him to suffer.

But why is that? Because his sins have found him out? Because his sins are particularly disgusting? Or is it because our sins, thank God, are not like his?

I think that's the root of it. My sins are peccadillos, lapses in judgment, brief anomalies. His sins are crimes against God, man and nature.

But are my sins so innocent? I never drank my life away, but I went through a time after my divorce when I owed my liver a heck of an apology. I never raped my daughter, but I've had encounters with women (long ago) that I'm deeply ashamed of. I never killed my wife, but I can think of one or two people even now that I wouldn't cry too hard if they stepped in front of a bus. In short, I haven't committed his sins, but I've committed others. Mortal ones. Ones deserving of Hell.

Like the fictional old man, I've damned myself. Like him, I was the reason that Jesus came to earth, suffered and died. I've been pardoned and the eternal punishment remitted, but I still have some time to spend on earth before it's all over. Should I be despised by others for the sins God no longer holds against me?

Ever wonder what happened to the Prodigal Son after the last of the fatted calf had been finished off? Did the elder brother toss him out in the cold after their father was dead? Did he have to go back to the hog pens? Did he live out his life alone and broke? I hope not. He sinned, he repented, he was welcomed back. End of story.

It's hard to tell how repentant the old man in the story is, but for our purposes it doesn't really matter. It's not our place to determine the state of his soul. He suffers, and that's what counts. That's why there are prison ministries and shelters for drug addicts on the street. If we are to call ourselves Christians without choking on the word, then it's for us to pity his sufferings just as much at the end of the story as we did at the beginning. To do otherwise is to cheapen our own salvation.
The old man felt the tears on his cheeks and let them fall. His chest heaved and his breath came in short gasps. He hadn't thought about that in a long time. He wouldn't have thought he had it in him to cry anymore. He sat in front of the dancing blue light of the television and let the tears slide down his face. He sobbed without knowing he made a sound. He tried to decide if he was sorry for what he done to his wife and to his daughter and to his son too even though he never touched him like that, he tried to figure out if he was sorry for the wasted years he spent in prison or the years he wasted after he got out, or if he was sorry that his life had come to this, waiting alone for death in this ugly little room. The old man cried without knowing why.

I know why, and I could cry for the same reason. And God hurts as well, to see the misery that sin can cause. He hurt so much he died for it.

Does Islam need a pope or a Luther?

An interesting (if slightly heavy-handed) analysis of the correlations between radical Islam and Protestant Christianity.
The early Protestants were hardly “moderates” and, normally, secular liberals are keen to make this point. When was the last time you heard a Western liberal pine for a return of Puritanism? Luther and his immediate successors were true believers. And, while enormous theological and historical differences shouldn't be overlooked, today's Islamic fundamentalists have quite a bit in common with these religious crusaders.

Many Protestant sects were as austere as bin Laden's Wahhabi faith. The doctrines that birthed the Amish were hardly “modernizing.” Other faiths were more violent. Mobs of Protestant iconoclasts rampaged through European capitals smashing “Catholic” sculptures and burning paintings that violated biblical injunctions against graven images.

In the early 20th century, Muslim zealots launched a remarkably similar project. For example, in 1925 Ibn Saud, a patriarch of the Saudi dynasty and a follower of the puritanical Wahhabi sect of Islam, ordered the destruction of the sacred tombs and mosques of Mohammed and his early followers. They razed Mohammed's home and the graves of the prophet's mother and first wife. The prophet's tomb was barely spared thanks to popular opposition. Today, Saudi authorities are in the process of destroying ancient art and architecture of Mecca and Medina out of the same puritanical zeal. A similar fanaticism inspired the Taliban to blow up the Bamiyan Buddhas, to ban music and even kite flying.

The West is surely indebted to Protestantism. But the idea that liberal secularism was born from it steals a few bases. Protestantism lent itself to being a state religion even more than Catholicism did. And while Christianity has long recognized the distinction between secular and religious authority, the reality is that secularism rests on a foundation of blood, not theology. The Reformation inaugurated an era of relentless religious wars. French Catholics slaughtered Protestant French Huguenots. Calvinists and Lutherans beat the stuffing out of each other. The bloodshed continued until, as British historian Herbert Butterfield put it, religious tolerance became “the last policy that remained when it had proved impossible to go on fighting any longer.” Secular tolerance, in other words, defined the terms of cease-fire.

As much respect as I have for my Protestant brethren, the fact remains that when you have no magisterium, the only thing that remains is textual interpretation, and the interpreter with the heaviest artillery is automatically the orthodox one.

What a tangled web...

Cop masquerading as john meets hooker masquerading as cop. You can't make stuff like this up.

Rah, Rah Romney!

A nice piece on the man I'd like to see as our next president.


You know those annoying people who corner you and whip out a a wallet full of pictures of their highly overrated offspring? I'm about to be one of those.

Here's Dai, two and a half with a vengeance, in bad need of both a haircut and sedation. Seriously, this was the only picture in the camera where he held still enough to aim the thing at him. His shirtless condition reflects not so much a need to be macho as an utter refusal to leave one on longer than it takes to get his arms unpinned.

And this little cherub on the right is Mona, five and a half months, and crawling like Swee' Pea in the old Popeye Cartoons. I've been told that she looks like nothing so much as a blonde version of my Lovely and Brilliant Wife. I find I can handle the idea of raising one that looks just like Christina quite happily, especially since I've had my turn producing ones that look like me.

Incidentally, our oldest daughter is setting out this afternoon with her boyfriend to drive home from Michigan, a good 2,200 miles. Prayers would really be appreciated for their safety.

What a prick!

A 15-year-old sophomore who played on the Layton junior varsity squad was arrested for investigation of a juvenile class B misdemeanor charge of assault.
Police say the teenager put thumbtacks in one of his gloves and pricked players from the other team as he shook hands with them after the game.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sunday night funny

They say the good Lord watches out for fools and drunkards. Since He watches over me when I'm sober, I guess I know what that makes me.
Robert wakes up with a huge hangover after attending his company's Christmas Party. Robert is not normally a drinker, but the drinks didn't taste like alcohol at all. He didn't even remember how he got home from the party. As bad as he was feeling, he wondered if he did something wrong. Robert had to force himself to open his eyes, and the first thing he sees is a couple of aspirin next to a glass of water on the side table. And, next to them, a single red rose!

Go read the rest at Happy Catholic. Priceless indeed!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Preach it, Chief!

Not just for Indians, either. This is the sort of thing all young people need to hear.

R.I.P. Danny Flores, aka Chuck Rio.

Never was so much fame gleaned from a song with a single word for its entire lyric. Everybody hoist a glass of Cuervo in his memory.

This should take care of the problem

Byzantine emperor apologizes to Muslims for quote

However, there seems to be some disagreement among hygienically-challenged mouth-breathers over whether to accept the emperor's apology.

Monday, September 18, 2006


I saw this and immediately thought of Michael at Adventure Faith. It seems like the sort of thing a surfing pastor would appreciate, as is the story I found with it. H/T for both of them to GetReligion.

In case anybody wondered

I support the Pope

Thanks to Shannon Donahoo for the image and the solidarity.

Legal loophole

Remember this sicko? Apparently, he's not going to be charged for what he was attempting to do, because it never occurred to Wisconsin's lawmakers that this was going to be a problem. However, he and his perv-buddies will still be charged with something, which God grant will keep them at a safe distance from the rest of us.

Yes, I'm being deliberately vague, as the story is pretty grody. Follow the links if you really want to know. Safe for work, but not for lunch.

Overdue post

I've been remiss in not adding a couple of links to newcomers in the Blogosphere. My sainted, painted, tainted aunt has started recording her thoughts at Ms. Kitty's Saloon and Road Show. Kit (my aunt) and I are kind of the family religious black sheep. Both of us were brought up as good Baptists, but I veered off into the traditional, whereas she headed off the other direction, and is now a Unitarian Universalist minister. Ordinarily, I'd say that we disagree on nearly every point of theology and politics, but I gather one of the basic principles of UUism is that you don't really disagree with anybody. Nevertheless, in her non-confrontational way, my Reverend Auntie has some really good insights, even if she disapproves of my occasional snarkiness.

Also bursting forth is Yet Another Look, whose owner has been one of my closest friends (give or take a few thousand miles) for many years. It looks like he's guarding his privacy, so I won't say too much about him, but I can tell you that if he ever wrote his memoirs, it would probably be dismissed as fiction. In the alternate history novel I've been slowly plugging away at, he's been my best source of information. So far he's only got one post up, but I'm looking forward to more. And when he says he's opinionated, he's not kidding.

Finally, I should add Lonely Man's Blog to the sidebar under "Papes." Tim's a convert like me, but unlike me, he actually makes good use of his experiences by helping lead RCIA. Incidentally, I know I asked for prayers in a job situation, but Tim could use them even more, having gotten the axe at his work for reading Catholic blogs. Others have speculated that Tim's got a good shot at suing them down to their BVD's, but he hasn't said what he's going to do yet. For now, let's just get the collective prayers of St. Blog's Parish behind him. Present... rosaries! Forward... PRAY!

Oh, and stop by and welcome all three of these to the Blogosphere!

What the pope should have said

All right, so Papa Ratzi is having to be more of a diplomat since taking the seat of Peter. But I still wish he could have responded like this.
ROME – In a televised statement this morning, Pope Benedict XVI lashed out at critics of his earlier comments on Muslims, referring to said critics as a "pack of crybaby snake-charmers" and recommending they perform various humanly impossible feats of flexibility and colonic accommodation.

The rest is obscene, and I won't quote it here. And it's seriously disrespectful of both Benedict and the Church in general. But boy howdy, was it cathartic just reading it!

I don't have anything against Muslims in general. I have my faith, and they have theirs. I think mine is right and theirs wrong, but that's what believing in a religion is all about. But where do they get off demanding that Benedict – and the rest of Christendom – speak only flowers and candy about Islam, while in the Muslim world, there are daily warnings in rather graphic terms that they intend to erase us from the face of the earth? You want to share the world in a civilized manner, talk like it. But don't hold us to a standard you don't think you should have to meet.

Miter tip to It Comes in Pints?.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Does this mean I have to beat drums in the woods?

My pirate name is:

Iron John Kidd

A pirate's life isn't easy; it takes a tough person. That's okay with you, though, since you a tough person. Even though you're not always the traditional swaggering gallant, your steadiness and planning make you a fine, reliable pirate. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

A tip of the flaming tricorn hat to Julie, from whom I also pirated this:

Top Ten Pickup lines for use on International Talk Like a Pirate Day
(That's September 19, me hearties!)

10. Avast, me proud beauty! Wanna know why my Roger is so Jolly?

9. Have ya ever met a man with a real yardarm?

8. Come on up and see me urchins.

7. Yes, that is a hornpipe in my pocket and I am happy to see you.

6. I'd love to drop anchor in your lagoon.

5. Pardon me, but would ya mind if fired me cannon through your porthole?

4. How'd you like to scrape the barnacles off of me rudder?

3. Ya know, darlin’, I’m 97 percent chum free.

2. Well blow me down?

And the number one pickup line for use on International Talk-Like-A-Pirate Day is...

1. Avast! Prepare to be boarded!

That's my boy!

If this doesn't make your nostril hair ache just by reading it, then your taste buds have probably been tossed on the ash heap of history. Need I remind everybody of his little brother's adventures in highly caustic comestibles?

Covarr, incidentally, is the son I took over to WSU last month, and he's started blogging so that we, his loving parents, will know what to worry about. (Actually, my Lovely and Brilliant Wife will do more worrying than I will. Judging by how he handled a sozzled jock in an earlier post, I think he's holding his own just fine.)

Gracious speech for a worthy adversary

Doesn't this just say it all?
"Ann loved Texas, and Texans loved her. As a public servant she earned respect and admiration," Bush said in a statement. "Ann became a national role model, and her charm, wit, and candor brought a refreshing vitality to public life."

Richards, who was Texas governor from 1991 to 1995, described Bush as "some jerk" during the race for governor that she lost to him in 1994.

Yeah, yeah, I know... Bush was just holding to the political principle of de mortuis nil nisi bonum, whereas Ms. Richards was speaking on the campaign trail. But I don't see any slighting references that Bush made about her at all, while durn few in her paty can summon up even basic civility in speaking of him. If she had outlived him, I doubt she would have spoken so graciously at his death.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Pondering Protestantism: Praying for each other

Being a Protestant-turned-Catholic, I've wondered sometimes what the proper protocol is in praying for Protestant brethren and sistern. I have no problem with praying to (or with, really) the saints, and I sometimes pray the rosary on my way to work. Since I have a list of people I've been praying for, and a number of those are Protestants, I wonder if that's something that would bother them. (Some of you know who you are, BTW.)

Protestant readers, if I pray a rosary for something you've asked prayer for, does that bother you? Would you rather not have prayers than have me make them through the Blessed Mother? Catholics, how do you handle that? Or has the question ever come up for you at all?

The obvious answer is to limit prayers for Protestants to praying directly to God. But I've been Catholic long enough that it seems strange now not to invite the Church Triumphant to join me in my prayers. Feels almost rude, in fact.

Usually what I've done is simply not mentioned how I intended to pray, if there was any question about how it would be received by the beneficiary if he knew. But then, I have to wonder how I'd feel if somebody were asking blessings for me from Ganesh or Ahura-Mazda, or sacrificing things to some pagan god on my behalf. I know it's not the same thing, but to some Protestants, it's close.

Readers (all three of you)? How would you handle this?

When a loony meets a loony a-coming intae court

Okay, you're not supposed to be disrespectful of the mentally ill, and ordinarily I wouldn't be. But these people just make it so darn difficult not to.
A man has been acquitted of raping a woman - because she had at least 14 personalities.

In a bizarre case, a jury was told that the 40-year-old man was accused of sexually assaulting the woman 11 times in her home in 2004 while some of her alter egos looked on and at times intervened.

During the District Court trial that finished on Tuesday, the court was told three of the 33-year-old woman's personalities were present at one of the alleged incidents.

The complainant said two identities had been at other incidents...

In video testimony played at the trial, the woman, referring to herself as "us'', acknowledged that she had at least 14 personalities and described how one had intervened during one of the alleged incidents.

"(She) came out and was screaming at him (the accused) and said, 'You'd better not get us pregnant','' she said.

The woman said that she and that personality were "co-conscious'' with another personality – that of a six-year-old – at another alleged assault...

She conceded that at times she forgot that she did things because other personalities had done them, such as spending $3000 on her credit card.

But she denied that any of her identities would engage in sex.

The accused said on a police interview video that he had consensual sex with the woman on only one night during the three days and denied that other acts took place

This could be an interesting little legal problem, really. If one personality consented (as the man claims) and another objected, did he rape the consenting one too? Does one of them hold power of attorney or some such for the others? And what about the six-year-old one? Can she consent at all? And what kind of a pervert does that make the guy, anyway?

If one of them gets pregnant, who has ownership of the womb? Are there enough spaces on the birth certificate? Will our kids be reading Heather has 14 Mommies at school next?

Cases like this are why judges drink. A tip of the bottle hat to the wonderful Cassandra.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Prayer request bleg

I've never put up a prayer request for myself before, so I feel a little self-centered about it, but here goes. I'm applying today for a job and I could really use your prayers. I don't want to get into details about it, but it pays better than twice what I get now, which is the biggest reason I'd consider a change of employer. (In case it wasn't clear, I actually like my job.) But this other employer seems like a really great place to work, too, and like I said, the money's excellent.

I'd be grateful for prayers. This could be a huge opportunity for our family.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Who was Yash Skala?

If 9/11 hadn't happened, I'd never have known who John Skala was. He was three thousand miles away from me, just one more faceless stranger in a police uniform.

But John – or Yash, as he was also called – was known to lots of other people. He was known to the kids at the Ukrainian-American as the guy who taught them to play softball. He was known to his mother as a loving, attentive son. He was known to his brother as a fellow officer, and to his sister as a funny, generous young man. One of his brother officers said of him, "Johnny would give you the shirt off his back, and then he would take you to the store and buy you a pair of pants and shoes to go along with it." He couldn't sing worth a rat's patoot, but that didn't stop him from karaokeing at the top of his lungs whenever a microphone happened to be present.

He was known to his co-workers as a workhorse, taking on extra duty and working part-time as a paramedic on top of his police duties. 48-hour shifts weren't unknown to him. And on September 11, 2001, it all came to an end when he was assigned to the Lincoln Tunnel and the reports came in of the destruction of the World Trade Center. As masses of people fled the terror, Yash ran into it. Grabbing his paramedic pack, Yash convinced a New York cop that he was better qualified to go into the wreckage because of his training, and rushed inside to see whom he could save. The last anybody saw of Yash, he was on the 30th floor of the South Tower, searching for survivors. Then the tower fell in on him, and there was no more Yash. His body, like many others, was never recovered.

Lots of people still won't know who John Skala was. But in those final moments, when death dragged him away from his work saving others, the angels came to know who he was. The man who never sought the spotlight, who did his job – and more – without fanfare, is being feasted in Heaven and honored on earth. I didn't know him, but I wish I were more like him.

There's more about Yash here, here and here.

This post is part of the 2,996 Project, dedicated to remembering those who died in the most despicable attack ever levied at America. Go read as many as you can, and help keep alive their memory on earth.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Serves him right

Seems some yobbo set up a trailer on this farmer's land and wouldn't leave, so the farmer took a more direct approach. (Click the photo to see it all.)
While the illegal tenant was still soundly asleep, Mr Roberts got into his yellow JCB forklift and prepared to teach him a lesson.

First, he picked up the man's burgundy Vauxhall Cavalier from its spot on one of his fields and dumped it unceremoniously outside his land.

Then he returned to scoop up the white caravan, still housing the unsuspecting squatter.

As it was lifted into the air, the man, in his 20s, appeared at the window looking rather groggy and startled to discover he was suddenly airbourne.

Right on!


I'm not going to quote this one; you'll have to read it for yourself. There are some very weird people walking among us, and you can't tell them by sight. It creeps me out to think that the guy behind me at the gas station (or worse, Wal-Mart) might be this sort, and I'd never know. Especially since I work for a newspaper that prints obituary photos.

A shuddering tip o' the Akubra to Jim Romanesko.

Of course. Was there ever any question?

You Should Be a Science Fiction Writer

Your ideas are very strange, and people often wonder what planet you're from.
And while you may have some problems being "normal," you'll have no problems writing sci-fi.
Whether it's epic films, important novels, or vivid comics...
Your own little universe could leave an important mark on the world!

Everybody who's ever made their living writing has a half-started novel somewhere, and the one I've been working on in my spare time (ha!) is an alternate history, which is kind of a specialized sub-genre. I've wanted to write sci-fi since I was a kid. Alas, that too often takes the form of wanting to be a writer rather than actually wanting to write. Still, I'm plugging away, and one day you may find me in the remainder bin!

A/T to Miss Cellania, who not only rocks my world but worlds unimagined as well.