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Whereas this is great apologetics, I am not at alldrawn into this Secular Society's created problem:I have no problem with either my faith, or my Leader:Jesus the Christ of recorded history, and the centerof my contemplative being!His appointed Administrator, El Papa, the Spirit leads: why "me" worry?! Secondly, the media is run by non-believers speakingthe language of illiteracy and not of both informedfaith nor of pew's praxis: morons! This latter getsno attention by most Catholic Press, and yet in mydiscernment should be Epistemological Priority Rule Number One! All else, number two, and in turn, getting little coverage! Where are our Catholic priorities?!Where is better Ignatian Discernment?!The Spirit WILL, as He has, from the beginning,guide, inform, and protect us. We are not doing this in the soul's of believers,nor in the grip of desperate attention-seeking misguided crowd zealots out there!To the extent we don't live and practise this reality,we too are like them: we should never be!And after this storm will ALWAYS come another:let's grow up! Spiritually, that is!While The Naked Public Square only sees us as anaked institution, we view ourselves as a spirituallyclothed Mystical Institution following the mysteryof His leading partings of the many seas yet tocross. But part them He will.And drown the Secularist Ideologues He will do, too!That Abraham had sex outside of marriage did notdeter God, the NYT's say nothing about!But our history is not just based, but premised on sin, ever since Adam left Eve (!)As Ignatius blasts us, seek "Balance!" And balancein this worldly concocted public trial is ourmission, and not mere defence!
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Challenging further musings, Anthony, while simultaneously further challenges to reason'sincapacity to both analyze and comprehend themystery of it all: over the millennia, we make smallstrides, never quantum leaps....All Christian scholars converge on "paradox" as norm.For us. All Jewish scholars have been for the mostpart lost in, and to, our Tradition! So, for usto take topical potshots at OT interpretation isnow I posit a maturity-required turning point in ourSalvation History escapade.... In End-times reality(cf. Zachariah, ch. 8) the Hebrew and the ChristianChurches will be reunited as when we took our 1stbaby steps! Meantime, it's time our Age starts thisprocess of mutual rediscovery, mutual sharing of twodistinctive yet universal Covenants, and convergeon our common destiny! The Last Banquet will be One!During the interval, we play with the little we'veinherited, share the few marbles (of understanding)we have, and remember in Whose Name the game (of life)is played: it's always, His stage we're on!Therein there is a unity (of the crowd!) in Christ-but never yes, in the crowd itself, as such-and, an encounter with reason taking turns in the roadof understanding, definitively existential and onlytopically rational!Everybody, and every language (both human & Divine!)has a hermeneutic! Because we, we Xians, do nothave a predictable God! Fissures and volcanoes areexpected, as the norm: clear logical analysis is ouridolatrous self-deception!Xtian Life is wholistic plus holistic. Because Xtunifies all (cf. Chardin) to heal humanity and restorewholeness (lost by the 1st Adam):- His birth endorses creation;- His death judges it;- His resurrection re-connects it with Eternity,and the Trinity in toto.Prayer is therefore an expression of this re-connection, at its highest human form in the mysteryof the Mass.And its profundity will only in ongoing Millennia begin to be grasped by the crowd when it looksbeyond itself to the cosmological realization thatwe will as a crowd only learn to love and applythe 11th Commandment, once we realize first,that we are loved. Unconditionally.
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Beautifully written, Anthony!Did the noble time there impact your career moveto the Jebs??? And, any salient conversations ofnote there, with the commoners so to speak, toshow their soul-state approach to religious questionson life, aside to religious profession by association?
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Tony: My soul is glad that you will own Leadership onthis broader perspective with more scholarship tocome. A definite Jesuitical mandated Mission:to fight ignorance, wherever it exists withinour means, and in response to Providence (Thy willbe done on earth as it IS in heaven....)! As far as my Catholic years go, I believe futurehistory will find tinges of 'Spanish InquisitionMentality Syndrome' in our present day AbortionExtravaganza! To attack choice of leadership not on resumecompetence, but on a single-issue would probablyhave disqualified all the fishermen the Fishermanchose! I pray for these abused Congressman, who are attached not for their faith, but for what theywill or will not do as is their right under "our"(not all nations have these!) s e p a r a t i o nof Church from State, as Jesus said: give to Caesar...while our American Catholics ignore this Jesus Dictum! Lastly, Tony, look at all our collective verbiage:ruminating ONLY around what little we know, butspend little time on what we do not know: that isnot virtue, for starters! In your later piece, look at today's GREATER lossof life in North Korea, China, Siberia, Darfur, etc.And the ignored "Universal Holocaust" that got nomedia attention, while money funded the "JewishHolocaust" whose numbers PALE by comparison....CBC Radio has just completed a Two Part series onthe Ukrainian Holocaust: over 8 million lives!From the West: screaming silence! And that is justone nation of many!!! As a Euro-centric Male I raise the broader realissue of "life" that mere singular abortion does not!And I'm not even going to address the planned End-lifeissues among the aging in just about most totalitarianregimes.... Jesus will hold us to account for our talents:too many have buried them IN THE mere abortion sand! Catholicism should STAND for its collective WHOLENESS of messaging and not limit itself to niche esoterics! We need to re-think WHAT we wantthe Naked Public Square to read us as! I pray for your Jesuitical success, as I believeIgnatius is likewise. AMDG!
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Anthony: in and of itself, this essay probablycouldn't be better written.But for me, that is not the point. The point is thatsomewhere recently, we've allowed ourselves ASCatholics, to BE Hijacked by the Abortion debates!To me, in essence, this does not pass The Smell Test!I do not stand as a Catholic for ANY ONE issue!That would be sick. And to me is sick, when we boilany Politician down to a muddled single issue, thatis shot through with Gray til the cows come home!I pray you give us more grounded theology, and notSecular Pulp Fiction assessments, since their areenough doing the latter, and next to none doingthe former. I for one could use more!
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Henry: One of the unintended consequences of thismissioning blog is for me to find such a soul-matein yourself: what a blessing! Praise His holy name! I've never run into another Christian "into"quality Crucifix Art, let alone any good religiousart: you're the first! For me it's sad to visit Xtian homes and deliberately look to see (1) if they even hanga crucifix, (2) if they do, what level of spendingdoes it display, and (3) where is it hung (in thewashroom, or the living room -lol?!) to discoverall 3 conspicuously weak, or even absent! People will spend hundreds of thousands of dollarson a house, and at most ten lousy dollars on a cheapcrucifix (if even that!) that is hung somewhereout of sight so no one sees it! Go figure! Any house warming I attend, my gift is an expensivePASCAL Mystery type Crucifix, with the demand, notrequest, it be hung in the Living Room,so it becomes, a Living influenceas the source of life! (Where are the sermons on that, eh?!) Anyway, would love to get an email picture ofyour Crucifixes as acquired over time! As for Joseph, that's about as tough a one as forany Marian art form! However, it is Providentialthat you should ask: about two Christmas's ago,a local Protestant religious store had an Xmas saleand blew me away with a simple Nativity scene, ofMary, Joe, and baby Jesus. That latter, pathetic,the former two, absolutely new stylistic humbleinterpretations, made in China with authorshipof artist unknown. So I bought all they had, giftedthem away by now and have only Mary left as thesingular sole piece of acceptable Marian art formin my life! (I'll inquire of the store if theyremember and possibilities of availability: manytimes they are one-of-a-kind left by salespeople!) A personal Xtian Practise: because Jesus as symbolparticipates in that signified, I have a qualityCrucifixes placed on all my living space walls,so that I engage Its presence from every and anyangle of vision! If one psychoanalyzes one's innermost centerof being, in time one's soul (which is the self!),one sees that one always actually experiencesserenity whenever making eye contact with a Crucifix!And, the better the art form representation, themore all the senses are engaged as well, for an evenmore intense spiritual moment, which is where Healways is: in the moment of space time we stopto experience His impactful presence.
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Henry: Well said. And understood. However my position revolves around that a Dentist does not have to rot all his teeth, before he knowshow to fix them... And so, being a Process Christian, and minimallyinformed, I've watched enough material about thefilm to know that I do not wish to put my emotionsthrough the ringer of a person that knows next tono theology, but whose project is theological!And much is said about analyzing the film's "sensing" side of the historical event, and toolittle about its actual Salvation History context! Therefore, by definition, this film will do nothing to my understanding of Christology! Butstrain my WWII traumatic experiences in war tornEurope by subrogation of a film maker's immaturehandling of the subject matter...with no realredeeming qualities to write home about! As for Christian Art, my prior post's feebleexploration in context of this film, attempted athesis that MOST if not all "doers" of ChristianArt, do so only "in the name" of their respectivereligious affiliation, but NOT from a minimalcontext of knowledge affiliation: resulting inPablum Art. I seek Mature Christian Art; andbasically, haven't found any in my life time! At least, for example, our Eastern Brothers &Sisters, before doing a Icon, must first do a Retreat!So, at least "something" is done to both the brain,and the Soul! They should mature that after all thesehundreds of practise years, into an additional synthetical theology course or two: it can't hurtand can definitely help! This is glaringly absent among Catholic Artists'Crucifix Art! Utter ignorance of the Pascal Mysteryis evidenced in the pathetic products they flogon the pews! They don't even know what thePascal Mystery is! They give us Placebo Christianity,in art form! I don't pray to a Mystical Cowboy!If you've been through the Desert, spiritual desert,you have nothing else to lose! You become dangerousto some, and appealing to others. You now lovewhat others ignore, and ignore what others love.Our Christian Art must reflect that also!
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But can't this be universally extended out to anyof our sports of interest? Like the basketballseason, just ended, with many a hope dashed, andmany an aspiration answered?!For me, it's the hope in every new College Footballseason opener, by Notre Dame .... lol!May the baseball of life lead us to the Diamondin the sky, the game won per St. Paul's allusionarymessaging text: he was the 1st Twitter-er (!)
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Henry: I'm in Nathan's camp: and haven't even yet watchedthe movie! And now due to this discussion, definitelyplus defiantly, won't! As the movie was being released, and garnered theexcessive secular commentary, I discerned it to bea product of an individual's "personal" opinion,as opposed to art-form.True art-form not only addresses, but incorporates some, minimally, and much, maximally if possible,of informed plus scholarly opinion the more a productverges on the real, the historical, the trueness oftruth that it attempts to portray.Secondly, when one knows much about a subject matter,one expects much from the art-form such a one isgoing to observe. Or the observation will meet withfailure, and then some!Mel Gibson knows nothing about Christology: why didhe really make this film? And waste such valuableresources that could have gone into a bettertheologically relevant contemporary more integratedproduct that would leave a viewer thinking,on a higher level of confusion! And as a byproduct,dent the viewer's faith position, as brought to theviewing!Where Gibson loses it is in over-focusing on thehistorical plus existential and not on the propheticnecessity and future prophetic ramifications ofwhat this vertical intervention in human historyrepresents, within the recorded history of theisticseeking by unearthed civilizations and mythologicalevolutionary insights to the human agenda: theneed for "something" out there which in time,becomes "Someone" specific! Coupled to not just ONE,but TWO permanent COVENANTS! Which in End-Timeswill conjoin: the trailer that is glaringly missingin Gibson's fantasy world!And so, just because someone claims to be an artist,does not mean an artist they be. And just too manyartists-turned producers produce just too muchmediocre junk film today, on a par on just too muchjunk-science produced by too much pseudo researchby scientists of this Age.For me, my own best articulated example of thissocietal deficiency resides in Crucifix art: thereis none! There are claims to be, but an informedobjective viewing determines them to be fake.During my lifetime quest, I have only found 3!The rest are pathetic claims by uninformed,theologically illiterate artists churning outcopy-cat imitations of Middle Ages dead-Jesusartifacts, that do nothing, and say nothingto the soul, let alone the senses!Any artist wanting to "do" great Crucifix Artmust first take enough theology classes asto inform his artistic talents -assuming he/shehas them- before launching into production!On an analogical par to the Sistine Chapel: that informed art is influenced by core theology,not just good intentions!To find good (let alone the miracle of great!)Pascal Mystery Crucifix Art just won't happenin my life time! And I don't know when!
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My assumption would be, Nathan, that you access oneof our Jesuit scripture scholars, or theologiansinto such language interpretation, from both itsliturgical application, and nuanced historical meaning....As for me in its Lay-person's surface meaning, it isboth literal, and mystical: both phenomenon underpinall Catholic liturgical Rites, because our ritesare a living witness to the mystery left us to administer, and follow, and be influenced thereby.Northrop Frye reflects that Easter in its Christianapplication, integrates cycles of nature: plantshibernate in winter (die) and come BACK to lifein spring. Precisely what trees do, and thereforethe symbolism of the wood AS THE TREE of Life: Christ!Secondly, to me, the mystical ramification of WOODis permanently changed BECAUSE it was USED to effectthe Salvation Plan from eternity: to accomplish thePascal Mystery, definitively. Our God, did not makeus have to go up to meet, to encounter, Him. No, Hecame down and not only joined humanity, but becameone of and with humanity, making both flesh andwood no longer the same from their time of creation...Both flesh, and wood are made holy, now, and forever!Therein therefore, we have been kidnapped by Godfrom birth and never sought ransom. Because Christpaid it. We were never created out of nothing:we were created OUT OF love! Hence we are recipientsof being, rather than beings: because we are destinednot for temporality here, but for eternity hereafter.To join Him.
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This is dated roughly around 700AD as axiomatic,as symptomatic of the foolishness of Christianity:anathema to the Greek mind: no different than today,or any day, where only reason is applied to thismystery: the cross of Christ with the head of an asson it! The ideal. Our ideal. All that our God standsfor: a statement against paganism, mere reason, andthe hedonism that rules stage one of living beforeone can mature and move up the scale of maturityto become one with the Mature One!I'd never seen this artifact, only read about it intheology! Thanks Nathan for displaying it!We are all called but few respond to becoming aFool for Christ: Perfect Fools is our vocation.And it is the Jesuit Order, in its Constitutionsthat sets out the 3rd Level of Humility in typicalmystical Ignatian language, which is why it tendsto go over the heads of most when first encountered,but incrementally beckons as one moves from theIlluminative to the Unitive stage of the SpiritualLife: that there is no further progress except throughthis mystery of associative living in imitation ofthe One Who set us, and gave us, a living livedexample, foolishness to the world, but wisdom to God.In us.Jesus, as symbol of God in any depiction of the Crosstranslates Edward Schillebeeckx's influential book"Christ the Sacrament of the Encounter With God"into a new framework, Christology "from below:"Jesus therefore AS SYMBOL, is a concrete mediationthat participates in the reality it makes present! Crucifix art is definitively therefore more thanmere art! It becomes a medium, is a Divine medium of Self communication!
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Anthony, wise words! Which triggered relationalalternate angles of vision, that too much of ourSecular Age's weak use of reasoning skills evidence (I'm on record that Philosophy coursesbe instituted in all Business Schools, in order toteach them better basic "thinking" skills!)....At issue, is the legitimacy (actually: illegitimacy!)of the "Agenda Makers" of too much of contemporarymedia: they over-attack one area, and let othermore significant one's pass!No one has gone to prison for the recent internationalfinancial collapse, no bankers chastised (lip serviceyes, significant efforts, no!), nor mention thathad it been the "Lehman Sisters" this thing wouldnot have gone down (!)Then look at the evils in Darfur: while here theyover-fixate on a mere handful out of thousandsand thousands of otherwise holy souls! Etc.If that isn't symptomatic of the presence and actionof the Dark Side of life (i.e., Satan!) then Idon't know what is!May we as a Force Of Ones continue to roll backthe stones to allow the Truth to shine light onour pagan practices and dark interpretations oflife!
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Moving poetry, Henry: thanks!And Brandon, you write being "at the crossroads...between religion and no religion." Have you consideredmoving away from such an interpretation, towardsthe role of theology? Because in fact, each personhas "religion" as religion: that is our subjectivestance in ideological orientation to God. Whereastheology is an attempt to objective such stancestowards understood plus shared commonalitieswithin His creation, as Creator...Furthermore, take solace in knowing that significantscholarship already exists (while, yes, much moreis needed) in support of your desire to bridge Islamand Christianity: time and interest allowing, takea look at "Merton & Sufism: The Untold Story;A Complete Compendium" (Fons Vitae, 1999).In matters where dogmatic beliefs differ, controversyis of little value because it takes us away from thespiritual realities into the realm of words and ideas.In the realm of realities we may have a great deal incommon, whereas in words there are apt to be infinitecomplexities plus subtleties which are beyond resolution. However it is important to "try" tounderstand the beliefs of other religions, time precludes depth therein, not delimiting the effort!Much more important is the sharing of the experienceof divine light, and 1st of all of the light that Godgives us even as the Creator and Ruler of the Universe.It is here, that the area of fruitful dialogue exists!Between Christianity and Islam and Judaism....and....!And so, Sufism per se, looks at man as a heart and aspirit and a secret, with the secret being thedeepest part: the secret of man is God's secret;therefore it is universally in God for all real,all serious religions, but in unfathomable infiniteMystery."My secret is God's innermost knowledge of me,"writes Merton, "which He alone possesses. It is God'ssecret knowledge of myself in Him, which is abeautiful concept. The heart is the faculty by whichman knows God and there Sufism develops the heart....both in Sufism and in the Christian tradition:to develop a heart that knows God, not just a heartthat loves God, but a heart that knows God."That is a very ancient Biblical concept that iscarried over from Jewish thought into monasticism.It is the spirit which loves God, in Sufism. Thespirit is almost the same word as the Biblical word"Spirit" -the breath of life. So, man k n o w s Godwith his/er heart, but l o v e s God with his life!It is our living s e l f (which per Kierkegaard, "is"our soul!) that is an act of constant love for Godand this inmost secret of man/woman is that by whichhe/she contemplates God, it is the secret of humanityin God Himself.May we always at Easter time roll back the stonesto ever reveal the emerging risen new self calledby God to union, through and in unity of community!
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Moving poetry, Henry: thanks!And Brandon, you write being "at the crossroads...between religion and no religion." Have you consideredmoving away from such an interpretation, towardsthe role of theology? Because in fact, each personhas "religion" as religion: that is our subjectivestance in ideological orientation to God. Whereastheology is an attempt to objective such stancestowards understood plus shared commonalitieswithin His creation, as Creator...Furthermore, take solace in knowing that significantscholarship already exists (while, yes, much moreis needed) in support of your desire to bridge Islamand Christianity: time and interest allowing, takea look at "Merton & Sufism: The Untold Story;A Complete Compendium" (Fons Vitae, 1999).In matters where dogmatic beliefs differ, controversyis of little value because it takes us away from thespiritual realities into the realm of words and ideas.In the realm of realities we may have a great deal incommon, whereas in words there are apt to be infinitecomplexities plus subtleties which are beyond resolution. However it is important to "try" tounderstand the beliefs of other religions, time precludes depth therein, not delimiting the effort!Much more important is the sharing of the experienceof divine light, and 1st of all of the light that Godgives us even as the Creator and Ruler of the Universe.It is here, that the area of fruitful dialogue exists!Between Christianity and Islam and Judaism....and....!And so, Sufism per se, looks at man as a heart and aspirit and a secret, with the secret being thedeepest part: the secret of man is God's secret;therefore it is universally in God for all real,all serious religions, but in unfathomable infiniteMystery."My secret is God's innermost knowledge of me,"writes Merton, "which He alone possesses. It is God'ssecret knowledge of myself in Him, which is abeautiful concept. The heart is the faculty by whichman knows God and there Sufism develops the heart....
Qualis Rex: To maybe help contextualize our Christianity,since we don't yet have a Theology of History,is the instructive simple but profound observationof C.S. Lewis:- once Christianity arrived on the world stage,most 'blood-letting' rites plus related paganreligious practises were both replaced and displacedby our Mass, and core values, respecting life!Pagan rites were heavy with blood rites, killing ofvirgins, u-name-it! Most forget how bad it was!
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Brandon: I categorically reject the errant logic in yourlast post: the Koran is as subject TO HUMAN misinterpretation as is the Bible OR ANY writtenmedium. That is a fact of psychology, not of theology! And your Koran is blatantly misinterpreted BECAUSEIslam does NOT have a centralized church, like weCatholics do!Each religious Muslim cleric comes up with HIS OWN INTERPRETATION of the Koran!
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PS: Of structural significance to this topic, Nathan,is Lumen Gentium from the Dogmatic Constitutionon the Church, page 367, #16:"...in view of the Divine choice, they (the Jews) area people most dear for the sake of the fathers,for the gifts of God are without repentance (cf. Rom.II: 29-29)....but the plan of salvation also includesthose who acknowledge the Creator....nor is God remotefrom those who in shadows and images SEEK the unknownGod, since He gives to all men life and breath andall things (cf. Acts 17:25-28), and since the Saviour wills all men to be saved (cf. I Tim 2:4)...."
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Great analysis, Nathan!For our confused inter-netted times, would there notalso be merit to add just a bit more on thetheological front, to help form the Adult mind,especially since Gibson himself is rather so misledstructurally by Emmerich?! Specifically somecautionary contextualization of Old Testamentunfulfilled prophecies! Like Zach. ch.8!And that in the End-times, both the Jews and ourHebrew-based Church, will both approach God: therewill not be two but only One final Banquet!!!
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Henry: phew! Umm, to help "you" have a great Triduum,I thought I should mirror back some items buriedin your text, epistemologically?For starters, are you aware you've launched into atraditional defense of both our faith, and thechurch structures, that is not needed, today.Because we discovered the utter futility of apologetics to win any cause, since we are dealingwith metaphysics, matters beyond the senses, issuesbeyond the mind's reason: an incapacity to graspultimate reality and meaning. We now leave the worldto such irrelevant practises, to such futile attempts.Which is what it does when it attacks the Church:it doesn't realize it's taking on God Himself! Christ!Secondly, your ramblings start off on separatetangents to do with historical religious issues:what you write, can be written for each successivefaithed generation, starting with the Calf-buildersin the desert while Moses was working miracles rightunder their blind noses (!)You and I can't have said it better than what Kierkegaard writes in blasting the faith practisesof the Christians of his times! And little if nothing,has changed!In a profound synthesis thereof, Chesterton for me,says it best:"The Christian ideal has not been triedand found wanting.It has been found difficult and left untried!"We have to trust more, and believe less: Christianspiritual maturity is evidenced in an inner movementfrom mere faith, to trust, in Divine Providence,ignoring the pathologies around us! Few spirituallygrow into a letting-go, a trust of, and in, God!
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Dear Brandon, on the topic of the "sexes," yourdefence of the indefensible is evident in yourdisplay of logic but not of philosophical reasoning:after you tell me how Islam is applied againstwomen in Darfur, et al., will you yourself confrontthe Devil at work!Fear is not of the Devil: Lies are!Fear is normal in man, and idealized at core asa requisite for true Faith: "Fear of the Lord!"Stick to Scripture, and not to interpretations plusapplications thereof. IF you truly are a truthseeker! Dogma doesn't change: each culture changes,and houses its own sins: in everyone: which is whyGod had to come "down" to man and not man "up"to meet God !Lastly, you want to use the term "gender" in thiskind of discussion. The "sexes" is archaic proof ofgross continued illiteracy not just on your partbut on the part of most men for just too manygenerations!And as far as Catholic dogma goes, gender positioningneutralizes the questions of equality, or justice,or just plain decency: their is none in the eyesof God! He is neither male nor female: WE human dorkskeep projecting gender bender nonsense into, and on toGod! He never was either, nor will there be eitherin the hereafter, heaven.And as far as Muslim dogma goes, gender is skewedagainst the female, starting right in the Koranitself! Unacceptable, to me! Find peace in that!PS: "Men at the Crossroads" by Balswick remainsa significant researched book on men, attemptingto position it as a contribution to a "Men's Movement"which didn't happen, and won't happen! Because of the two core male deficiencies: Ego, and Competitiveness. In that order!"Whatever women do, they must do twice as well as mento be thought half as good.Luckily, this is not difficult." - Charlotte Whitton
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Interesting to get some summarizations of Rene'sthought, thanks!Locally, an Emeritus UBC Anthropology Prof. as apractising Christian, for me, seems to bring morecomparative order to this discussion, when he gave our Newman Association a lecture on precisely thistopic, in essence saying:- all discovered past civilizations had some form of"religion" without exception, proving a quest fortranscendence beyond ourselves, that there is"something" out there, above us! (This atheisticauthors always ignore in their attempted failed booksagainst theism, against god!)- all such religions converged on commonalities! Theydid not go out and create their own wheel, so tospeak!- most such religions within their rites, "point" to traits which later came into existence onceChristianity came into existence! Things likea surrogate victim who had/has to die, virginityof a relational female, blood rites and blood letting,vicarious one for the many, and so on!- this same convergence phenomenon, this sameness ofdiscoveries, C.S. Lewis specifically zeroes in on in his own masterpiece "Til We Have Faces." In it, he traces the history of human mythology to its maturation point within Greek mythology, showing howit prefaces in expectation due to its structuralcontent, what later came into being in Christianity! Anyway, God is not dead: He is just screening His calls! And most of the time He doesn't answer becauseof His workload!
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Brandon: You are not understanding what I wrote so furtherdialogue is not possible: you, sir, are a beginner,and need to familiarize yourself with more knowledgeand less opinion. Most of what you write to meand others here, is opinion. With little formationsupporting it. Secondly, you make the typical beginner's earmarkmistakes: you confuse "behaviour" with "dogma." Your descriptions of life in Saudi Arabia areconfused with actual Islamic dogma. And you aredoing the same for Christianity: you confusebehavioral sin with sacrosanct dogma and write offthe latter based on observations of the former!That won't do! Nor can it. If you can get overthat psychological mistake, then just maybewe can carry on. Lastly, we do NOT reason "into" faith, which iswhat you are existentially attempting to do! Wrong!That is the same contemporary myth practised bynotable atheistic authors, blind to their use ofreason "as" a mere tool to knowledge for which,this tool is not designed for use! Go read Kierkegaard if nobody else on this asthe best blaster of humankind's utter stupiditieson this topic! Easter peace!
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Hey, Aaron, whereas we hear 'ya, I for one wouldhave expected you to take a different tack! Andleast of all, be blind-sided by Secularism on suchmatters as structural church sin!"The World" is, and always will, howl on any suchmatters. That's "their" problem. Ours is different,and more global, and in the end, self-correctsbecause of "Who" is behind our "CEO-Equivalent!"At issue is the foundational experience of UNIVERSALsin, at all levels of life! THAT is not to beconfused with the leadership of plus in ANY organizational structure!We don't condemn the "position" nor the "structure"for the sins of its Managers: they are mutuallyexclusive.But the "world" blends them as one, not to mentionthat the Father of Lies (Satan) is in there supporting such twisted logic!!!So, hey, who cares! God doesn't sin: He is in charge.The Pope is His stand-in, only! And it was way worse in the Middle Ages when sexwas rampant even within the papal court, and forexample, it is the Borgias who started the Mafiapractises (if one studies their sick behaviour!)!But the Church continues. And always will.And meantime, I concern myself with the salvationof my soul, today, and not the Pope's, todayor any day. That is the right prioritizing ofdoing that which is within our limited control,horizon, and responsibility.That God has managed to survive the inanities ofthe religions that do Him homage is truly a miraculousproof of His existence!
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Brandon: Correction to the PBS titled Program:"Faith Without Fear." (PBS.org; April 19, 2007;to bring Islam into the 21st Century.)I sought my soul but my soul I could not find;I sought my God but my God eluded me;I sought my brother and I found all three!
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Brandon: Thanks for your response; nice to see you aretrying to be open, but whether or not you reallyare, only you know in the possession of your ownfreedom of mind... The Catechism I was referring to is our Catholicone, because the nature of your questioning shouldfirst go there: it is too basic. Our questioning here,is premised on the presence of Faith in our religion.If you lack it, you cannot and will not understandour positions. Nor our conclusions. Nor our perusalof deeper, advanced issues, germaine to ourideological interests, etc. Additionally, our Spirituality is broken down into3 Stages: you cannot comprehend a Level 2 discussion,least of all a Three, if you are only in Stage One.Psychology defines our capacity to comprehend! And,so does one's spiritual advancement, while pridesays, or would say, no to this reality. Therefore, for us, we are not into either havinga faith-based classroom here, nor in challengingour Roots: both are a "given" by our baptism intoChrist, the Founder of our Catholic Church. Getthe details on that in the Catechism, or a generictheology text on Christology, for example.... As for Islam, I personally have reservationsabout some of its ideological direction, as well asmuch of its Hijacked status in our times by radicalsthat Muslims at large refuse to reign in, at leastso far. Here is not the place to explore this: Isimply assert my stance, the same as you assertyours against my faith-based allegiance. To the extent you really are seeking the truth, then, for example, look at Irshad Manji's book "The Trouble With Islam Today." This is a serious mainstream (as opposed toextreme) contemporary analysis of structuraldeficiencies in Islam, today. A public TV special program, aired April 19, 2007 and I'm sure still available on PBS.org entitled "The Trouble With Islam Today" explored how to bring Islam INTO the 21st Century:the West interprets it to be somewhere in the MiddleAges, like Christianity was, then, but not now! Also, in March of 2007, there was a "Secular IslamSummit" held in St. Petersburg, Florida for the samepurpose. As a religion, Islam has its place. But for me,it is not the truth. Christ for me is The Truth!Everyone, like yourself, should start with theirroot religion. But if they really are seeking god,they will be led to God in Jesus the Christ ofhistory. (Muhammad was married and did not die forhis cause nor ascend to the right hand of God.) And whereas you are free to reject the BBC, youcannot reject its mainstream media legitimated status!And it's not only the BBC that has aired Islamicprogramming to educate the adult mind. So have otherstations, especially CNN and CBC, both TV and Radio! Here, the focused interest is to both presentand explore Faith-based issues of relevance tobelievers for advancing both the understanding ofour Faith and to nurture plus further our individualspiritual advancement....roughly worded. With addedstrength as a byproduct thereby to counter the everpresent Dark Forces at work in the World: if we are of this world, it will love us; if we are not of this world, it will hate us,the same as it hated and still hates,our Founder, Jesus. And to follow Jesus is to take up the same cross: there are no exceptions; there are no shortcuts to eternity, the land we seek whic is our Jerusalem.So, whereas the Jews are baptized into Moses and landis part of their existing Covenant, with Jerusalem astheir home (cf. Zach.8), we are baptized into Christ whose home is in heaven, which is our Jerusalem (for us, the New Testament is silent on the land question). However, the Last Banquet will beone! Anyway, 'nuf said! You clearly at this stage ofyour life are a faith-seeker, for whom philosophyis needed. Philosophy means our search for meaning,and purpose! A seeking of true wisdom. And it takesits toll on time. For those who believe, no explanation is needed.For those who do not believe, no explanation is enough! Meantime, for those who are advanced, iterative experiences of mysticism creep in without noticeand co-join mysterious phenomenon termed "grace"that makes the interior journey become a delight,a true freedom, a liberation from the old self,and the beginnings of the experience of EternalHappiness in the here and now.... Mysticalexperience occurs in mystical space devoid of aworld of text which is why all text is incompletebecause incapable of translating infinite experienceof the Infinite. Because it comes not from ourselves,and no longer our religion, but from outside ourselves. Its source is God. And then, one moves from mere religion, to God Himself.
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Henry: You add some needed further angles of vision,in these dispersed-intelligence times of white-waterlearning, sharing, and experiencing! Especially that the sign of a growing maturitymandates an interactive, non-homogenized, unsanitizedapproach to one's reality, and especially religionwhich is at the core subconscious of everyone,believer and non-believer alike! What hopefully continues to distinguish this blogsite is both informed content plus informed discussion. The checking-in of one's ego at the door of thekeyboard is preferred, and mandated when/if a topicever goes off the rails of civil obedience (!) You reminded me, Henry, of a salient quote thathaunts the human communications enterprise, though!Cute as it may be, profound in accuracy it is: "Most people think they are thinking when allthey are doing is rearranging their prejudices!" -A.N. Whitehead Jung's research on personality type theory fullysupports that! And so as another philosopher hasquipped, and that certainly applies to us all,'it is the sign of a reflective intelligenceto ask a profound question!' Something to that effect! May they keep coming!Since when people stop believing in God,they believe in anything!!!
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Dear Brandon: Here, on this blog site, we practising Christiansare discussing Christianity: I for one, am notinterested in discussing Islam! I do not wish tobe a Muslim. Secondly, Saudi Arabia houses one of the mostextreme Islamic traditions in Islam: BBC had aspecial on this past month. The worst offensesany world religion can portray, is its handlingof women. And Islam, in its application in mostnations, is the worst offender, especially in itsShariah pseudo laws. So, that's just some materialthat if we met over coffee I would challenge yournaive positions on. But again, this here is notthe place for this kind of rhetoric! Thirdly, you evidence growing faith maturationissues: limit that exploration to circumscribedhumility to the little you have actually "experienced"at this juncture in your limited life span, andasceticize the assumed knowledge. Here you are in the company of Jesuits takingmulti-years of courses (it takes over 12 years tobecome a Jesuit, etc.!), all of which cannot becondensed into brief sound-bites! As for me, I've mastered Ascetical & MysticalTheology: one does not flaunt it in public. Onlythe immature do that! It is completely based onboth Scripture and the Catholic Church as establishedby Jesus the Christ of history in His words toPeter, something you write you don't know so go buya Catechism and relearn what is needed and thencome back to this table of shared intellectual food! Lastly, your Koran came into BEING hundreds ofyears AFTER ours. It CAN be and is questioned byyour Muslim interpreters of your Shariah law, andas mentioned, misinterprets it against the femalegender, which offends my religiously formedsensibilities: any religion that does not respectwomen in equality to men is a pseudo religion! So, I pray for success on your faith journey:we all must experience one, whether Pagan, or Jew,or Christian, or Muslim, or.... ! Shalom!
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"Silence is better than speech, but SONG is better than Silence!" - Amnon Shiloah (Jewish Musical Traditions)
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Could you point out where this negativity domicilesitself, here? I don't see, any! I see matureadult discussion, which I find absent elsewhere,and everywhere but here!At least we aren't like the Apostles were, arguingabout who is going to be higher in heaven!And even that, didn't upset the Master!You need the Kohlberg yardstick at core: mostadults are immature! That's to whom Limbau aims!But then again, he doesn't "do" religion. You do!That's a huge difference!Learn to discuss: God is doing that with us inevery Age!(Hope that gives you more confidence to fight thegood fight: of Faith!)
Good to see that brings closure, Crystal!Being curious humans, we speculate. About everything,and probably too much? But as for "God," any god,it would appear to be a universal human condition,because so far, every unearthed human civilization,had some form of "religion!" (This fact isconveniently ignored by atheist authors!)And who in a sense brings this phenomenon to a maturity point, is C.S. Lewis in his most significant, but difficult book, "Til We Have Faces," in which he traces historical mythology as becomingmature around the time of the Greeks, and in Greekmythology, evidences a pre-dispositional expectationof a religion to come into being, that later did,termed "Christianity!"But separate from "reason" as reason exploring thishuman hunt, is human psychology: it comes to Godin every and all ages by a different medium:experience, encounter, and definitive embrace....that words cannot and do not capture.Knowledge of God is not a possessionbut an ever maturing faith,searching in hope,within the practise of love!And as Rahner writes, every encounter with the wordof God, is an encounter with silence!Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Henry: Merton is getting a 2nd wave/stage of scholarlyreview: initially like Kierkegaard, he was understoodsuperficially. Now, depth perception has matured.And his real genius still being mined! At his death, there were about 50 plus bookspublished. Since his death in '68, another similarnumber! You might consider joining the American MertonSociety website (free) to garner ongoing insights.I'm active with the Canadian side which came intoexistence only in 1997! I believe that he should be canonized, some day!For two structural reasons:1- because he won't be just another sanitized capital"S" Saint to us small "s" saints! He is only one ofthree people in recorded history that maintained lifeJournals, hence both the scholarly interest in him,and his humanness bared for the world to see!2- because of his exceptional, in my opinion charismatic, Ecumenism 2nd to none! Which fosteredhis talent for writing and Existential Spirituality!(I believe strongly that Ignatius' life needs anoverhaul because he too wrote tons, and still hashis exceptional mysticism misrepresented plus mis-understood! I find only Saward stating that Ignatiusis John of the Cross's EQUAL! Or maybe is it thatwe need the "Prophet Rule" here: a NON-Jesuit must accomplish this?!)Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Crystal: It would appear to me that you certainly arebeing moved by the Spirit to be asking thesequestions. So at the risk of erring in attemptingfurther clarity, let me share some furtherreflections:- The institutional church brings communal structurebut not stricture on conscience: both entitiesshould, must either agree or converge on truthor the truth is not of God, specifically, not ofHis Spirit. Since the present stage of SalvationHistory has the Spirit active plus acting in our both communal and individual histories....!You are right about imperfections: Christ even hada Judas. And Pete was such a jerk that God had touse a Paul to kick his butt: but that's how Godwanted to organize it: who am I to disagree?Yes, He could have said on the cross, it's over,go play golf. Instead, He said get your eyesout of the clouds and go wash cars: work!!!One author wisely states it that once the churchwas founded, that's when the mess began! And itwon't change: what I believe changes, is our visions!When young, we expect least of the church, but aswe age, the expectations become demands, which canbecome impatience with impertinence in leaders,and their leadership.... But what has changed?Nothing!All that has happened is that we've matured: in timewe begin to see what our parents saw, and now, weare the parents, seeing the same imperfectorganizational psychology that even Mary saw inthe founding Church: the Spirit had to use a flamethrower to get the men out of the Upper Room Bar!(Hey, the women went to the tomb! Not the men!) Etc.(!)BUT, I will add something you haven' yet alluded to:what do we mean by succession? Succession from what?!Sure, iteration of body flows, but not of organizational structures! We did lose something,and that something is significant!Today, Zachariah Chapter 8 has us scrambling: we lostour umbilical cord. We severed ties with our Jewishroots: our Mother Church was Jewish, was Hebrew,not Latin, not Roman!And the End Times mandate unity, before these endtimes can transpire! So, we've got some catching upto do, and some serious house repairs: Mary wasJewish, Jesus was Jewish, the Apostles were Jewish,the FIRST CHURCH was Jewish.With the Jews, we HAVE a common ancestry, a n da common destiny: God does not take back what Hehas given. BOTH Covenants stand! But the finalbanquet WILL BE O N E !Now, as to your 2nd question: what Rahner writesis sophisticated abstract language attempting toarticulate that we don't ultimately know anythingabout God, EXCEPT the little that He has revealedabout Himself to us. Period!And, that revelation is meager. But enough to giveus enough info to attain our own end, which is toget ourselves into heaven, hopefully!Within that, you are right that we do -can- experienceGod independently of church structures, with Rahneralso elsewhere, talking about "An Anonymous Christian"which I leave for another time, or to our great Jesuitcontributors here...But on a practical spiritual applied level, yes, inone's growing spiritual life, you will as you should,encounter God directly, experientially. In silencespeaking to Silence: that is His preferred way!(Only if it deviates from Church core orthodoxyshould one doubt such inner movements or as someSaints have done in past questionable times,challenge those Church structures: both arecapable of sin!)Hope that helps? And may you at Easter respondto His Peace, because it always beckons! May wefollow, and may we in following, experience Itsembrace! So that His Spirit continues to workthrough us, to accomplish His will in our remainingdays!Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Great germaine reflections, Mike, on the power of music on the Soul! I share your experience, but eclectically.... But your ruminations raise many,many issues!I assume you're aware that Tolkien and Lewis werecoffee buddies? (Both sandpapered each other's thought!) For example, Tolkien's core in the ringtrology, is Christ! Hidden in there, but evident!As for the Irish, as a Lithuanian, may I tease youat this juncture of my ending life, to discoverthe gold mine depth behind the tip of the icebergin the reference noun "Irish?!" Too much to discussbut may I pass on some structural points in passing:1- Sr. Deignan is doing a 2ndary scholarly pass onyour roots: huge discoveries! You at core are Celtic.The Celts are now definitively the founders ofEurope before anybody else set foot on it, whilewe are the oldest living language: neither of usknows our roots! She'll be issuing a book when done:you want it yesterday!2- Your pagan religious roots permeate your Xtianityon a par to that by Lithuanians: who sandpaperedwhom on their pagan religions only future scholarshipmay determine, but to hear about the similaritiesis interesting to say the least!3- Like yours, ALL our folk songs are about deathand dying! Because our history is nothing butconstant invasions and attacks on us. However, allour focus is positive: because most were developed bythe female gender therefore pruning away the maleego content of most international national folklore songs. (Our women's influence traces itself backto the Age of Chevron, when females ruled: not men!)4- Celtic "tenacity" parallels Lithuanian "commitment!" After crushing the Crusadersthe 3rd time, our King decided to let them Baptiseus: he didn't want another useless battle! But was"once" enough? No! They had to baptize our nation3 times, before it stuck: we reverted back to ourcommitment to our pagan religion! BUT, today, whereas Europe has abandoned Xtianity, and we werethe last European nation to become Xtian, we remaina Xtian nation, in spite and despite what the othersare doing!So, there's more there to your own history thanrecent folk lore addresses!And, a last note on the salutary effect of musicon the soul, despite a key OT reference to KingDavid, is what Jung discovered: good music tapsinto our Shadow function! So we can ignore themere assumption of sentimentaliy and begin torecognize healing aspects to such!!! Easter Peace, always! And all year!Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Much thanks on your spiritual words, and an honourto encounter another soul dedicated to the questof Adult Formation, a forgotten mandate that opposes myth, and much more in our individualjourneys!Would you have any further reflections towards theedge, the edges of growth, in adult faith, that ifnothing else, exhibit identifiable markers?On the personal existential side, I find none thatisolate Jesus as opposed to the Spirit's movementsin our souls, emanating in interior insights, thatI've learned to distinguish from one's merepsychology? Only on rational faith do I take suchinner movements to be the Spirit's, because Jesussaid to Margaret to "let go," or He could not ascendand then in turn, send us the Spiritwho would remind us -teach us interiorly- of allthat Jesus taught....While simultaneously, matured faith I've foundexhibits a self-abandonment to Divine Providencewhich takes over one's inner spiritual movementsin significant matters, and ways, that in processnevertheless necessitate the will's complianceand recognition of this. In which is experiencedcomplete inner peace, despite one' external lifestyle....And so as you write about faith, it is the lead-upto this eventual transition, as long as one makesthe committed effort continuously and interfaces itto ever more experienced grace, a complete inexplicable mystery!Such experience is hidden initially in theabstractness of ascetical language, when it speaks ofthe purpose of self-denial as attaining freedom:Asceticism frees us from compulsion so we can respond to reality with our whole self; the realself that God created and calls us to becomeAsceticism wakes us up so we can face realityto respond fully and no longer just partially.Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Speaking for myself, Crystal: well put. And, unlessI'm misreading Newman, he says as much, and muchof his theology on us laity, permeates Vat.II....Nathan though, is correctly focused on theinstitutional Church, as "institution" (which wasfounded by Christ when He, not we, appointed Pete!).Personal conscience is a real subset thereof...and as Kierkegaard, beyond Newman, stresses it: in maturing, in growing, and ultimatelyno matter what else, in dying, we stand a l o n ebefore God! Because we are created, equally,before God.Communally, in the mystery of Organizational Psychology if I may attempt to so state it, we need structure, or we face chaos. Hence the whyof appointment of Peter by Christ....God is more truly imaginedthan explained, an exists moretruly than can be imagined!We need another 20,000 years of time to get ourtheology right (bettered!) About all we'veaccomplished in these 2,000 years is getting agood bible translation done; and only startedon a theology thereof (!)Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Wise wisdom saying, Therese. Much of MLK's theologywas highly influenced by Merton! And, Merton was scheduled to give MLK a retreat around the time he was shot...."At the center of our being is a point of nothingnesswhich is untouched by sin and by illusion,a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongsentirely to God, which is never at our disposal,from which God disposes of our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mindor the brutalities of our own will.This little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty is the pure glory of God in us...It is like a pure diamond, blazing with the invisible light of heaven.It is in everybody, and if we could see it we would see these billions of points of light coming togetherin the face and blaze of a sun that would make allthe darkness and cruelty of life vanish completely...I have no program for this seeing.It is only given.But the gate of heaven is everywhere." - Thomas MertonReply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Nathan, it's more than "we need an infallible church!"He LEFT us an infallible church: HE instituted it,not WE!Secondly, Glenn Beck states he is an "entertainer!"WHY are you referencing a goon of our times?! Eversince he went extreme and was dumped by CNN, I notonly will not, but refuse to watch or hear anythinghe has to say! Quote us something from PBS's BillMoyers and truly leave us thinking...!Lastly, Lonergan represents the best of ScholasticPhilosophy, which means, knowledge highly limitedto ONLY the use of reason: blend in also theinsights Lonergan misses in the founding work of Henri Bergson who articulated "intuition" vs."intellection!" Which in turn in our age, has beenmatured definitively in Carl Jung's life work,specifically in Personality Type Theory (of theMBTI) which now points us to aspects of decisionmaking we knew nothing about:judgments are not of one type as Lonergan postulated,but of two: the Perceiving vs. the Judging functions.Etc.I leave out another significant contributor on thissubject matter: Polanyi's "Personal Knowledge!" In essence, to again prove the utter insufficiencyof abstract intelligence to grasp the richness ofexperience, God is accessed on TWO fronts: revelationand inner experience. The latter is a differentkind of knowing! There is not the only way ofknowing of Scholastic Philosophy!!!Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Thanks, Anthony for further clarifications!Could we all not also benefit by just some morebasic text on "who is Mr. Ethics" in our theologicalworld? Like, that ethics by definition is not aclear-cut case of black and white....???Applying a recent historical example of that is instructive (I assume?), regarding the JewishHolocaust: few are guilty but all are responsible?!AND, that the "Universal Holocaust" got no bookspace, anywhere that I know of, but experiencedexponentially more deaths! Because humanity is noteven aware that this Universal Holocaust transpired,where does that sit in the Old Testament's viewof God's decision on our actions or lack thereof?!While, individual conscience (plus its formation!)within one's particular psychological setting,rules?! Since, inevitably, true love for humankind,is clandestine love for God: religious truth, in the end, is inevitable! Whereas our actionsnormatively are not! They lag true truth-seeking!Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Henry: Your good articulation is a combination, for myunderstanding of Providence acting in mystery, asMystery: Christ is BOTH personal, and communal. Because Hisand the Trinity's actions go outside or reason's desires -normatively: extreme desires!- to "define"both faith, and God. Neither can be, defined! Both can be talked about, but not either definedor be predefined. They can only be EXPERIENCED!It's a different kind of knowing! Catholicism today, has mired itself, has beenhijacked, by the same forces that have driven theatheism of our times: we have started to actually worship reason! And hence border on erring societallyon a par to the excesses of the Spanish Inquisitionand the like! Even Joan of Arc was burned BY HER CHURCH! Who says we are spared such errorsof judgment out in time?! Today, rather than focus on 'aggiornamento' wehave over-focused -nay, only focused!- on abortion!Where the heck does single-issue material likeabortion appear in the 2 Great Commandments?! Like Kierkegaard wrote, and like Nietzsche writes,God is dead TO US PEOPLE, and we need to wake upfrom our slumber walk in the easy comfort of Fundamentalism and return to growing in faith,and not secular issues (which are driven by theFather of Lies: Satan! Until the 2nd Coming!).... There is much here on this subject matter, Henryso I skim on some commentary only. May Ignatiusguide his own to help us see through the darknessof these times so that the Light continues toguide, inform, and redirect our wandering waysin this desert of life as Urban Monks! And let us remember, that most of Kierkegaard'sgenius is posited by one author, to be distillableinto his own prayer, which basically says, that,thank God that "understanding" of Christianity is notmandated but only "faith" because the more he studiedit, the more confusing plus paradoxical it became, is!Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
At the risk of stirring the waters, I'm stickingmy toes in on some of this stuff too, but only my toes, not the whole foot:- We Catholics are as illiterate on what this healthreform is about as we are of our core theology,especially Moral Theology. Throwing examples aroundis childish: give me the theory: that's harder!If Kierkegaard could, in his solo flight on the"Teleological Suspension of the Ethical Imperative"then darn it, YOU cadre of new Jesuit better getinto this subject matter deeper than all the combinedilliteracy in Congress and most general naysayerswith no theology course to back up their spinelessrants against this reform! I remain appalled, andshocked by what I read of my Americans while Ireside in Canada! - IT IS better to PASS health care reform THAN toattack it because of our OWN in-house hangups withmorality play issues: Hey, we Americans more thancow-tow to Separation of Church and State issues,but HERE act like the Vatican with all it rightsas if WE are right on these matter for ALL otherfaithed citizens! I think we in time need moreconfession than we now recognize! It's a sin whatwe are doing with our FAITH by forcing it on thenational level when its domain is the personal:personal salvation, last I read and studied theGood News! Damn it any way! Our myopia, that is!AFTER health reform is attained, THEN go for reformof legislation therein we happen to disagree with.But since when in our Salvation History has "our way or the highway"become the clarion cymbal?! Wrong!Let's debate core "thinking" errors like this,and not superficial topical matters!OUR Social Encyclicals are NOT complete nor definitiveand so let's return to humility, and not pseudocertitude!!!Nothing in Capitalism is being challenged by usCatholics: that's where the ball 1st gets thrown fromand not from abortion and all such 2ndary issues!~!Free reign on value-formation is given the BusinessSchools because our theologians are illiterate ofEconomic theory, etc., etc.!We need to get our own house in order on- Intellectual Catholics (according to Americamagazine, there next to aren't any: all we haveis Catholics parading their collective ignoranceon religion, not even on core theology!).- Adult Formation: we have youth formation, but noformal adult formation, yet!Leadership is disoriented and fragmented and moreon a par to that of St. Peter, needing a St. Paulto take him to the cleaners in a Church Council,for OUR times!Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
How come there's no "World Cup" equivalent, inBasketball? Since it like soccer, is played theworld over!Why not in this New Millennium, the Jesuits,internationalists that they are anyway, start itand then let the secular world take it over?!For example, Lithuania is known for its basketball,with Jesuit presence there, and how many othernations like that?! This way we broaden out theplaying field, make it even more inclusive, andgive more 3rd World Countries even more hope!13 weeks ago Virgilijus Kaulius on The Election and Faith of Sarah and Abraham: Laughing All the Way to CanaanReply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Good job, Jeff! Challenging the world's heart, onfaith issues. And not mere reason, in the storiedcontext of the topic: at core, the call to non-topicalFaith. The decisive Faith, that determines destinies.One's Destiny! In the mysterious workings of A Forceof One's!Each Age confronts the mystery of God's continuedintervention in ways transcending reason's abilityto reason! It can only be experienced: a differentlevel of knowing!And as for Isaac, in the eschatological significanceof the challenge to him for his son, that couldn'tbe more beyond reason as reason: in fact, it hasnothing to do with reason. So when non-believerswish to errantly attack this story, they lose,automatically, because of their use of the wrong tool:reason!!!Abe & Isaac to Kierkegaard's genius, evidencesomething beyond even Ethics! Their story speaksloud and clear to the 'Teleological Suspension ofthe Ethical Imperative' and thereby evidencesthe presence of a 3rd way, a 3rd Stage of Spiritualitywhich for Kierkegaard is the highest: the ReligiousStage. Which few in this messed up world mature to!May more of your good writing lead more of us tothis Religious Stage! Easter Peace!Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Well written and explored, Aaron, but what about bringing the relevance of religious practices, orshould it be under the heading, missioning, intothe Present times: Xavier's practices challengeall futures, and all cultures. His style of missioning challenges times, cultures, and practices! And profoundly so: if we are to stand under the Banner of Christ, what are our soldiering duties, obligations and rights of passage, both toourselves and to significant others?! And what corecommonalities are to be found in what he did, vs. thatwhich Joan of Arc did?There are no easy, perfect answers. But there is, always and everywhere, the clarion call to seek thetruth. Because for anyone to seek the truth, is tofind God, because God is the source of all truth!At least Xavier no where condoned death: but what dowe witness among just too many, under pseudo religiouszeal, doing to Christians today, in many parts ofthe world?! (Although separate from the perpetrators'sin, is the cross given the Christians, in contextof the expected trials for real believers: modernday martyrdom?! Both the red and the white varieties!)To me Xavier actually freed those he converted plustried to help, by liberating them from lies, deceit,and pseudo religiosity! At least "his" intentions,and "end," was, is, noble!!!Contrast that by way of another international example,that of what the Crusaders did in over-running Europe, but failed to accomplish with one thorn-inthe side nation: Lithuania! Their pretext to invadeLithuania was to convert it from its entrenched paganpractices (which in and of themselves, paralleledthose of the Celts: the Celts founded Europe,Lithuania is the oldest living language in Europe!).After Lithuania crushed the Crusaders the 3rd time(Trinitarian symbolism?!), its king decided that another possible future battle is not worth the costand initiated the mass Baptism of Lithuanians as away of appeasing this Crusaders' goal. Isthat bad, or Providence at work through human instrumentation?I claim the latter because Lithuania was the lastnation in Europe to become Christian, and whereastoday most of Europe has abandoned Christianity,Lithuania remains tenaciously Christian, insignificant numbers. Even though it as a nation hadto undergo THREE Baptisms before it stuck! Who saidonly the Irish are obstinate? (!)Much of Salvation History is mystery, starting withthe old testament weird stories, before we get intonew testament times: sanitizing God's ways should notbe our modus operandi! That would compromise ourstance against the Dark Forces always doing battlewith the children of Light! We will always remainjust A Force of Ones, under the One who overcamedarkness, who redeems the World. I defend Xavier against the false exactitudes ofthis "World" and side with Joan of Arc to do battlewith the lies in this "World!"Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Jeff:Is there a similar product for St. Ignatius? I hadsomething on a small card to that effect but gaveit to a needy soul. Thanks!
Well written, Nathan, but itself follows the established epistemological tools predefined bythose you attempt to circumscribe, or so I read it,when, what all God naysayers are doing, is fallinginto a very simple trap: the trap of Reason, as reason.We keep allowing the Greeks to dictate the terms ofself-understanding two thousand years later as ifwe haven't moved at all from their classroom, intoa different one, which if nothing else since Antiquityadmits to what they totally forgot about, and hencemissed: studying the "existing" subject as Subject.All they did, and anyone attacking (ignorantly!) theexistence of Theism do, is employ the wrong toolto legitimate the wrong answer!Reason is mere logic. Logic is not science, nordefinitive infinity! Logic, resident within themind, and equatable with the global term "reason"is as finite as our finite existence! "ExistentialCertitude" is all we have, which means, we arealways and everywhere, ignorant of our ignorance!Anyway, this intuitive side of Subjectivity is avast topic unto itself, and still insufficientlyeither explored or developed. Bergson is the Fatherof "intuition" vs. "intellection." And I would saythat the next significant contributor on this topicis Kierkegaard, with Carl Jung's research endingthis holy grail search by philosophy in the bodyof knowledge, scientifically validated, of PersonalityType Theory (technically acronymed, the "MBTI")....The days of sola Scholastic Philosophy, I would argue,end with Kierkegaard, and definitively so with Jung:atheists using the tool of reason will never disprovethe existence of God, nor will theology prove it.Only the existing Subject can and does: not throughreason, but through experience!A Part Two and even Three, Nathan, should be done forthis excellent topic you have bravely tackled: nowknock it to grounded reality! As Chesterton evenstates it: reason is an act of faith!Reason deals with possibilities, existence deals with actualities. We reason from existence, not towards existence!And it is instructive that even Jung has a last wordagainst the atheistic minority in context of theabove: when asked in an interview if he 'believed'in God, he retorted, believe? No, "I know" !Some things by humankind can be discovered and known,others must first be experienced, before they can be articulated, and that, only approximately!And this New Millennium should also put a stop tothe childish practise started by the Pagans inAntiquity of contrasting us to animals: animals werenot created in the Image of God (!)So it's time we raised the bar higher on this topic!And move beyond Placebo Christianity!Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
The Triumph of Failure motif repeated again!He is risen!And so did they, from the ashes of public expectation,of public hubris, and public superficial assumptionsof all of reality.Skin deep 'ain't enough!Slugging it out with life in the trenches is!Bunker Theology rules the nation's despondency again:there is hope, even though only on occasion, eachoccasion is enough to carry the human spiritto encounter the real Spirit in the silence ofoneself: the Quiet Room of this world!Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Many points can be flogged on issues raised inthis excellent discussion! Just some general and generic reflections:1- Maher is not a frame of reference for me so amnot too interested in discussing someone like him forno purpose: watching his interviews re his movieon TV was enough to tell my mind that he was justanother person in the long line of confusing "reason"with faith, and confusing "religion" with the existential phenomenon of "a" religion found in allknown civilizations begging instead not doubt,but the question why such a universal humanreaction to life, and lived experience?(cf. C.S. Lewis's "Til We Have Faces.")2- Humility is "honesty" with who we are: period.It's got nothing to do with going to confession,or going anywhere except on the road ofself-discovery which in and of itself, is humbling,and ultimately leads to lived, real humility.The more we know who we are and what we are inessence, determines the level of our humility!Which is why St. Ignatius presents LEVELS of humilityin his Spirituality, with a call to the 3rd levelof Humility (within his Jesuit Constitutions) whichfew either know about or seek to grow into!!!3- Faith wouldn't be faith, if we had no doubt!Eternal Life is not a cake walk! "Eternal Life"is the essence of Revelation, since many claimthat they can live a "good life" withoutinvolving themselves in Christianity. And so they can.But, in their case as opposed to mine, they will STAY6 feet under while I won't! Period! The rest is detail!4- The most profound insight to "faith" for me, isKierkegaard's prayer, that by one author's accountis a summary of Kierkegaard's philosophy, theology, and psychology: "God in heaven, I thank Thee that Thou hast notrequired it of man that he should comprehendChristianity; for if that were required,I should be of all men the most miserable. The more I seek to comprehend it, the moreincomprehensible it appears to me, and the moreI discover merely the possibility of offense. Therefore, I thank Thee that Thou dost onlyrequire f a i t h, and I pray Theeto increase it more and more. Amen"Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Well, Mike, interesting....so I look forward toPart 2: the Relatives (!) Hey, good job! It in my books is an issuetranscending analysis, and is an Existential Phenomenon about which we can only look at, and learn from, since I posit it is the Holy Spiritthat is behind all of our religious vocations (Priesthood, Brotherhood, Sisterhood) and not us.It is our pride, still, that thinks it controlsthese things, when it is not! All we are doing is cooperating with the DivinePlan. Whatever it is. We know little (from Revelation)and need to recognize what Cicero wrote long ago,that it is our tool of Rhetoric that creates ourhistory, that is the engine of civilization. The rest is beyond us. Anyway, right after Vat.II, a new nuns Order sprangup, whose main purpose was to accept disenfranchisedplus disaffected Sisters from any nuns Order, named"Sudden Spring: 6th Stage Sisters -Trends of Changein Catholic Sisterhoods" a sociological analysis,by Lillanna (Audrey) Kopp, Ph.D., SFCC. Not only was it rather unique reading, but Ifound myself meditating through it, because of itssoulful nature, then, of both reading the signs ofthe times for Sisters, and their historical plightwithin the Patriarchal (to a fault!) Church: littleif anything has changed. And where this Order istoday, don't ask me (!) But the book remains classic! If nothing else, the Holy Spirit got me intoLawrence Kohlberg big time, both personally andin Business, and I've never looked back: that littlegood she did accomplish. And I'm sure, much, muchmore! So, Mike, let's hear the rest of it! And know Ifor one will enjoy your perusals of thought withoutany spiritual or faith concerns because for me thisall is a factor of Mysticism, not of humanintervention: all we're doing always clumsily ismerely trying to touch the finger of God. Some timeswe do. Some times we don't. And He doesn't care.As long as we're trying. And we are! "I know not which is more childish: to deny Godor to define Him!" - Samuel ButlerReply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Mike: It's fascinating to see how then, those of uswho are supposedly "reading" are reading youroriginal post: MIS-reading it! So, here we sit,not those against whom the original article wasdirected, behaving no differently than them?! Huh?! I posit it proves that the problem whatever it issupposed to be in each writer's mind, has not in factbeen either defined, or articulated, or asked?! My own position is that the America magazine article does not identify the problem at all, buttries to look like it is! My own Behavioral Sciences plus Spiritual Lifeformation underpinned the raising of two sonswho used all this condemned technology and turnedout to be superior to me: what does that say tothe originating author? Secondly, as a formerSenior Management careerist drawn into employeetraining, in our Age a computerized one, I rejectout of hand the stupidity of any reference to adumbed-down generation! Maybe purely, and only,from a myopic social sciences base, but not at allfrom both Jungian Psychology and from BehaviouralSciences as taught in any Graduate School of Business. I think we all need to dig deeper, sort out ourcollective hidden agendas, or try to identify whatthey are within the unknown psyche, and re-doubleour efforts, if so desired, to redress this issue.... And I know Tom Merton wouldn't at all agreewith the dumbed-down nonsense, not when he himselfsought the solitude of a professional Hermitagewhen already within a Monastery of silence setting:it sure did not, and the cave experience does not,hamper, hurt, curtail, or offset social skillswhatsoever! Few attained his heights!Too few, sad to write!!! More influences our social lives than mere external tools of any and in all generations:all external tools of the mind are independentof the psychology utilizing it from within.The two are mutually exclusive! "Many people think they are thinking when allthey are doing is rearranging their prejudices!" - William JamesReply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Tony: you've merely written "Part-1" now pleasecontinue this excellent probe into a multi-partventure, since after all we are a Pilgrim Church,on the move. We don't stand around at the Bar,although I will admit that even the Apostles did:in the Upper Room, chatting non sense; until theHoly Spirit used a flame thrower to kick them out:it was after-hours and time to go back to work (!)For myself, I've matured beyond the immaturity ofthe Maher's of history: these types will never goaway. All they do is externalize their inner fightagainst God, by the pride of reason!At least a Mensa friend of mine, with home yearsago at the inception of our exploratory friendship,I timidly let "be a Maher," admitted afteryears of growth-based dialogue that he didn'twant to admit religion into his Jewish blood:because it would mean he has to be ethical (and nolonger freely chase women!)!Since anthropology evidences that every unearthedcivilization "had a religion" the question forour more enlightened Age is, truly, today, irrelevant!What is relevant is that we have relatively maturedthe function of logic, within our reason, and evendiscovered subjectivity -the unconsicious aspectsof ongoing mental processing of reality that transpires outside the domain of will by humanconsciousness- wherein the active presence of theDivine acts!A "Part-2" could explore the many Christian authorsand in our own times the genius of Kierkegaardto silence ignorant atheistic attempts atcommentary on the topic of theism and assert thevast wisdom of established contributions to thearticulation of Divine action in and on the human subconscious, via the root of the manydysfunctional aspects that initiate adulthoodwithin the human, and launches it onto a pathof growth towards maturity and ultimate freedom,leaving behind pathology, to find even intimacywith the Divine, that many and not just a few,find, experience, and even write about!For Kierkegaard, life's starting point, are 4different types of Anxiety, and not just one!While for Origen, as well as, for Clement ofAlexandria, not to mention even Augustine, ourChristianity is not a philosophy, idea, or assertionbut an Event: that silenced Greek Philosophy'sattempt to be a Maher in their time!To believe, is to have faith, which isto know we are not alone!!!Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Pax always, Henry, in our interactive support basedweb-missioning New Millennium approach to live underone and One Standard only: that of Jesus the Christof history! And not the maligned Christ of thisWorld which is led by the Prince of Darkness,and the Master of Lies!It is these lies that we too must not be temptedto emulate! IF THE JESUITS IN FACT do what Ignatiusfounded them to do, THEN THEY MUST face opposition!"The" test of sanctity, is: Is there opposition fromthe World? Because if we are following His banner,there not only should be, but "must" be or weare corrupted and ameliorated by the Father of Lies!If any want to attack the Jesuit image regardingabortion, I for one will switch the attack to oneof the legitimacy of the attacker's Epistemology!On that, they do not stand a chance with me!So should state "any" well formed Christian, andespecially, Catholic Adult! Or else we failourselves, and Christ, and the cause ofSalvation History! "LET US contemplate the mirror of all the penitentsaints: Jesus Christ in the Praetorium of Pilateand upon the Cross. In the Praetorium He appears asan object of abomination before the whole people,in the ludicrous regalia of a mock king.... For since an Incarnate God was willing to APPEARin that state in which Pilate showed Him to the people, what pont would it have if not to say TOmen, through His example, WHAT ST. IGNATIUS says inhis CONSTITUTIONS, that 'out of gratitude and lovefor Him, we SHOULD DESIRE to be reckoned FOOLSand glory in wearing His liver!'" -from the "Correspondence" of Jean-Joseph Surin, SJReply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Well, Nathan, if nothing else you're getting believerstalking about life issues, which is better than justsitting on the sidelines watching others do thetalking?!Anyway, aside from comments you've received above,my reflections go beyond action, beyond response,beyond opinion, beyond assumed certitude, to whatis Christian Epistemology, how do we arrive at truth,under capital "T" Truth of Who rents us this planet?!After 2,000 years of stumbling and mumbling ScholasticPhilosophy, and now into our next Millennium, according to some academics, some progress indiscerning our Pilgrim way does transpire betweenthe Centuries: when you USE philosophical anaylsisas such, all you are using is the logic componentof the brain. But there is much else and more thanjust mere logic that goes on in the brain, as inour life time was discovered by the academic fieldof Psychology, not Philosophy, in the life-work ofa notable, one Carl Jung!Much transpires in the mind BEFORE it can everarticulate it. There is much that transpires inour collective minds about the meaning of morallaws, and therefore about what we mean, or intendto mean, about "Nature!" And so most of CatholicMoral Theology remains rather immature, and confrontsjust too many more Millennia before it can evermove out of its childish state: because we did NOTcreate "nature." THEREFORE we do not have definitiveanswers to, explanations for, certitude in our conclusions on, nature! And never will!THE insight of contemporary scholarship is to tellour finite minds to stop the lie of ScholasticPhilosophy, and at most practise, ExistentialPhilosophy, BECAUSE: WE can ONLY explain what we create! We did notcreate "nature" therefore we need to acknowledgeour mind's limitations in exploring it!Therefore ALL LIFE issues are on the plate: NOT JUSTabortion! Get real! And most Jesuits are real: theyintuitively by their collective behaviour acknowledgethat which Jung discovered: that the subconsciousknows more that can't be explained than reasonwill ever articulate!And so to write of Drinan without addressing hisscholarship is a low blow, and rejected out of handby me. You also obviously have not dug deeper, yet,to discover WHERE REAL compliments are needed forOUR JESUIT 17 century scholars, who discovered anEpistemological FLAW in the Scholastic approachto "Natural Law." THAT the early Church did NOTcreate its own independent product as the beginningpoint of departure for our Moral Theology asChristians per se, but INSTEAD ERRANTLY TOOK fullhog what the PAGANS had created for themselves!The Pagans in the collective illiteracy of theirtimes, started the rudimentary beginnings of "observation" and came up with childish positionstatements about "nature" from ONLY studyingANIMAL behaviour! NOT HUMAN behaviour! And THISproblem to this day is not rectified! Hence ourcollective position statements about "Natural Law"do not necessarily mean we are objectively rightand the surrounding academic culture is wrong!Rome cannot and never should rule "by fiat!"That is not truth seeking!So, the contemporary problem confronting all moralactivists is one of literacy: I've always been puzzled why and how those who only know the rosaryare all of a sudden competent judgers of national,cultural, highly complex medical, issues, and the like! Until Adult Formation underpins moral action,you're not necessarily going to fill your Massesor mass rallies with the "right" kind of protesters!Nathan, we've got a long way to go on difficultissues like this one. And maybe this one is moreeasily pinned down, but it ignores OTHER LIFEissues collectively: stop writing and defending ONEat the exclusion of another! That is not TRUTHseeking, but opinion seeking!Once we "get our message" more right, the Worldwill intuitively (Jung) KNOW we are right! It'snot our message right now, it's our actions!They contradict our message!And our message remains that which SILENCED GreekPhilosophers who attacked the Early Founding Church:- Clement of Alexandria blasted the philosophersof his age that over 600 years of their PaganPhilosophy had gotten the world nowhere: more wars,more confusion, no resolution of next to anything,and all their Pagan gods stood on philosophicaldefences! - He said we Christians are NOT an idea, or aphilosophy but an event: the Christ of History!- Clement did a 180 degree turn on them by turningto REVELATION as the explanation and defence ofwho we were: NOT AN APPEAL TO LOGIC!!! (As you'redong here with birth control!)And likewise Augustine who said to his Age: 'I believe IN ORDER to know!' (Meaning: I do NOTknow first, in order then, to believe!) To end and in sum, all humanity can do isrecognize that "we create history" and that's aboutit! We NEEDED revelation because we know nothing! All we have is Existential Certitude which stands for us being ignorant of our ignorance! All we are are agents of our history, alternativelylabelled, our Tradition! The revenge of experiencewill always haunt this very human enterprise! Rhetoric in its ancient form concerns humandecision about that which necessarily could be otherwise. In Cicero's words, as an act ofintentional imagination built on a shared vision ofthe good, the beautiful, and the true, rhetoricwas the ENGINE of Civilization, that is, of human history!Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Since Jeff and Rex got into wordology, maybesome other angles of vision can also be considered,emanating from both philosophy and psychology,with a bearing on "novels" generically, and thisone indirectly.... However, simultaneously I askif maybe a separate post be developed by the Jesuitssince the subject matter is vast? To me, the whole question and place of novelsin these Post-Modern times or whatever the hecksomebody out there wants to label them, raisestheir continued "legitimacy" due to our Knowledge-Explosion Times, and that we don't live more thansay, 100 years. I myself never liked novels: they were too fullof guess-jobs about reality. I only liked actualBehavioral Sciences material, because they fed mereality. Then, I recently find some support forthat in a theologian writing that whereas novels"guess" at their reality, theology "asserts" itsreality! Something to that effect.... Next I got into Jungian Psychology as housedin personality type theory, acronymed the "MBTI"which is the only one of four personality theoriesactually Scientifically Validated. Well, guess what? It "asserts" that certain "types"are drawn to "certain types" of reading! Thehistorical mere assumption that certain novelsare classic is a man-made concoction that is notnor can it be, scientifically validated. So thereforewhy make "some" student needlessly suffer somethingthat their inherited DNA just can't muster?! That was followed up by not just novels beingcalled into question, but, hey, "even" one'sassumed Spirituality! Wow! Yes, look up "Prayer and Temperament: DifferentPrayer Forms for Different Personality Types"by Michael & Norrisey. It is the only one of itskind, researching Catholic approaches to Spiritualitybroken down by key tradition type! Excellent research! So, enough tabled to wet our appetites for aparadigm shift or so in our times towards continuedgrowth, towards the maturing of both the teachingprofessions and the behavioural sciences handlingof life engagements. Etc. In sum, I hate novels. I love books on anythingto do with supportable Behavioral Sciences. AndI don't demand others like what I like. But I growbecause of them, and despite not reading any novels!Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
The wisdom of what Ricci both did, and accomplishedwill probably continue to be debated for Millennia,because we confront mere "reason" as logic: WE ONLY KNOW what WE have created, period!Revelation is not our creation: it is the Creator's!Nature is not our creation: it is the Creator's! So, Church HISTORY is our creation: NOT theCreator's! Therefore, after these 2 Millennia it'stime to stop the childish lie that there is somethingsacred in this creation of ours! WE ARE a pilgrimchurch, and will forever continue to CHANGE and GROWuntil the 2nd Coming! Immature adult parading in the name of intelligence which is nothing more thanchildish pablum needs to end in this 3rd Millennium! Ricci had it right: the Church did not, and needsto eat its words, and learn from it so it stopssilencing the Ricci's and the Chardin's and themany other prophetic voices to come! Behind all that is the tool of the mind in onlyusing "rhetoric" without realizing it, not "givens!"It is rhetoric that got history into existence! All history, all ethics, sit at the feet ofrhetoric: we will never have one and only onesolution therein to anything: we are not angels!We are finite humans! THAT was the key argument by Origen against Celsiusthat we are not an idea or philosophy but an Event!Christianity can only demonstrate its orthodoxy,not its source. Its source is beyond it: it is Divine! Moreover, the pure genius (or inspiration?) of St.John was similar -to not appeal to reason, to logic-but to the "afterlife" as the reason, the purpose,to who and what we are! Anyone who takes his/er eyesoff that, will always definitively err, and evenat times fail! Eternal Life is the reason for ourselves andtherefore by definition, Ricci in attempting topresent Eternal Life to a culture different fromRome's was right, and Rome was pathetically wrongin clinging to IT OWN definition of "its" HISTORY! Most forget that even Augustin was novel, LIKERicci when he deviated from using philosophy (theGreek norm for the times for itself and for its gods!)to defend Christianity but instead used the vehicleof belief: 'I believe in order to know' and notthe other way around! Neither reason, nor tradition, are omnipotent!We have to admit "rhetoric" into our vocabularyand stop pride ruling our assumed definitions of"history!" This dilemma of "knowing" can be cast in suchterms of analytical vs. rhetorical forms of knowing. "Analytics" tends toward the descriptive, that which does not change, and thus science."Rhetoric" in its ancient form concerns humandecisions about that which necessarily could beotherwise! In Cicero's words, as an act of intentional imagination built on a shared vision of the good,the beautiful, and the true, rhetoric was the ENGINEof civilization, that is, of human History!. Since science, philosophy, and theology, even asthey seek to analyze and explain the world, arethemselves deeply historically embedded -abstractconstructions of particular individuals- then history,even with all its problematics and ambiguities,is nevertheless the fundamental category of humanexistence! With therein standing at the core ofhistory, personal agency and community, therebynegating any certitudinal permanence in any definitional attempts to circumscribe God withour finite pathetic mere logic!!! Rome needs to learn humility from a Ricci, froma Chardin, and never again associate with the Rabbiconcept of leadership! Knowledge is to be in the service of life andnot the other way around, an end in itself! Christianity originally insisted that it was astory about an Agent, whose fundamental concernwas neither knowledge nor even individual virtue,but God's life in us pointing to Eternal Life:otherwise we stay 6 feet under with nowhere to go!!! The parallel (for me) exemple of Ricci's inspiredgenius is de Brebeuf's similar profound poem writtenfor the Huron's in the words of the "Huron Carol,"set to the adapted music of "Silent Night!"(cf. www.virgil.kaulius.com) May the Spirit get through the arrogance of ourthick skins and thin it over the Millennia as wegrow towards the Omega Point of our history,a history driven more by Kyros timing than our limited Kronos time!!!Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Henry, you're too kind! But also inspired!I hope Nathan gets time to then give us some ofhis further genius by looking at the works youreference, along any lines of others he too isinto these, and future days?!May the Good Lord and His Spirit inspire us tokeep growing and have more time to get closerto Him through such sacred writings!Here though, simultaneously we are after as muchJesuit influence on our Spirituality Traditionsas is feasible since there are so few othermediums to access Ignatian thought, which isincredibly powerful, and in my life experience,still insufficiently disseminated to the pews!Especially when it is the fact, but little known,that Ignatius's own mysticism is placed in equalitywith that of St. John of the Cross! So stated inthe 5 year research study on the lost Catholictradition of foolishness for Christ in Saward'sbook "Perfect Fools: Folly for Christ's Sake inCatholic and Orthodox Spirituality" (Oxford University Press, 1980: pg. 112)We have yet to go beyond basics in comprehendingsuch mysteries!Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Good to hear, Henry! The Valentine's Essay iskindly now posted up above by Nathan!Also, then, start keeping an eye out for SimonConway Morris: I label him a new "Chardin-II"for his pioneering scientific work as a Christianthat now gives meat to the bones of the simpleexpression in Genesis in support of Creation theorythat "we are made in the image of God!"The source of our love, is His: He is Love!The Cosmic Christ is the Divine image in everyhuman being! Christology without Creation ispure projection! Let us keep living ongoingResurrection!!!Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Interesting quote, yet on a different plain,humanity exhibits spiritual hunger but doesnext to nothing to satisfy it! And so they exist,always spiritually starving! Maybe the fishexample should propel some (most?) to do somethingwith their water? (!)Kierkegaard is one that wrote extensively on thisphenomenon, choosing the Greek word "Aisthese"which means "sensation" to label the First Stageof living, where most of humanity lives and dies,as the Aesthetic Stage of life! Choice is necessaryto move into Stage Two: the Ethical Stage!Then and then only, do we swim with the fish!And only some make it up the raceway to Stage Three,the Religious Stage!Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Very spiritually written: thank-you for keepingThe Ascetical Life alive for us adultswho don't hear enough about it,and yet it is all that we have, between us and God!While the Secular World, lead by the Prince of Lies,goes its own way but which is not that of God!To believe is to have faith,which is to knowwe are never alone!Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE for all seasons, not justValentine's Day! Love is a Divine quality, never shame or guiltwhich are not Divine attributes! And in God's unity,you and I are not here, likewise neither man, orwoman. LOVE: what verb does more work? What noun is moreinvolved? That's the human problem: the word "love"means too much and too little. Love stands for and justifies, just about anything:strong desires, feelings, emotions, action, inaction,etc. People have done things for the love of Godthat God assuredly disavows. They have done thingsfor love of others that have crushed the very objectsof their obsession. They have done things forself-love that destroyed rather than built upcommunity! Therein, the appeal to love is not only oftentrivial, it can be lethal. Love, therefore, is like a chameleon that hidesin the hue of everything and disappears into anycontext available. By contrast, feelings are entertained, love comes to pass. Feelings dwellin us and remain there, whereas love emanates into constructive action! Feelings dwell "in" us but we "dwell" in love! But not so fast: to use Management Science jargon,how can we "operationalize" love? In its fundamentals? This "love" isn't just anything. It involves heartand self, will and life, mind and strength,soul and the Divine -ultimately! It calls for fidelity. It makes demands. Loveis not mere ardor, it is arduous! It is work! Love translates itself into action: for others!Anything less than serving others is not love. To love only a relationship, only ones family,only ones workplace friends, is pseudo love. Reallove bridges into and is inter-connected with, to,for, in community! Love, when we do it, is the eternal in usand what lasts of us. It is an affirmation, a kiss to the universearound us both in its complexities and in itsimmediacy of our present moments, freely given. Ultimately love is a responsibility of an "I"for a "thou" in a venture to bring oneself in time,to the ultimate challenge: to love all! Only when this stage of living is attained isone then also ready, to be loved by the Lover of theuniverse, and not until then! Because now one lovesthe Source of one's love! In that is unity, peace,and the beginnings of Eternal Happiness.
Another angle of vision:Whereas Christianity took over the Roman pagan feaston Dec. 25th and named it "Christmas" when will wetake "Valentine's Day" back from both Paganismand Secular Society since we are the masters,the authority, on the subject of "love?" !Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Henry: "Don't Come Knocking" is available on Amazonas such as I have just verified, with the followingcore actors: Sam Shepard, Jessica Lange, Tim Roth,and James Roday. Will love to get your feedback!I had rented it a few years back but now see it'scheap on Amazon so may purchase it also: thanks for your advice!PS: Since Valentine's Day is around the corner,let me dig out a summary essay written many yearsback which I trust you'll like and can also pass on!Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Also, Nathan, are you factoring in the coreposition of humanity on a maturity scale, asopposed to a mere 'desire to be' scale when itcomes to love, or any real virtue?To me, our history is plagued with simplisticlove spirituality. Few significant dents in thearmour of knowledge on this topic exist, likefor me the recent best, "Works of Love" byKierkegaard. He terms his book "works" becausewe have to work at love, it doesn't just happenor come into existence on its own (excludingDivine intervention were that ever operativeand we know normatively it is not!).....Then take the significant contributions on lovethat even the two geniuses of Soren and Weilcontrast! Even the genius of Kierkegaard missesits mark: he over-focuses epistemological ONLYon love of neighbour! He next to, forgets todevelop his theory further to the 1st of thegreatest commandments: Love of God!In steps Simone Weil, who writes that we CAN NOTdo this 1st commandment UNTIL we learn to dothe former!So between these two giants, we have one developknowledge on love of neighbour (Kierkegaard) andthe other develop knowledge on love of God (Weil)that rarely is EVER DONE by any Christian becausewe NEVER mature to this state!!!Lastly, separate from those two stands Merton,in a prefacetory capacity, who writes somethingalong the lines that before one -anyone!- can love,they must first mature to the awareness thatthey are loved! It won't happen otherwise, notreal love anyway and any which way!As always and as with each and every author inevery Age, we confront our own individualExodus Spirituality in the desert of life,wandering towards the ideal self created; andhopefully arrive at the promised land ofthe Authentic Self whose modus operandi revolvesaround the mystery that only when the heartis broken, do the words slip in....and only thendo we learn how to (and practise real) love,both of neighbour, and of God!Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
There appears to be an underlying built-inepistemology in your question: that each Age is"supposed" to produce exceptional theological talent! Reality says that it is always a function ofPersonnel Administration theory: the AttractionPrinciple rules every and any career domain,and funds the talent pool which produces anything ofsignificanse for the area a personage so choses toenter.And so it would appear to be more the case thateach Age is at the mercy of whatever talent happensto come along and contribute to the accomplishmentsfor that respective Age and culture and academicdiscipline....and it is not just the culture thatis its causation!Simultaneously, what also impacts this questionis that talent does happen along every fewgenerations, adding to the cumulative growth inknoledge acquisition that underpins our "Tradition"for the continuity of our Pilgrim Church status....And so, we can't automatically expect, in the veinof the Secular Age's errant Expectations Syndrome,to have a "Rahner" or a "Chardin" for each andevery Age! We will never again have one of those:they were, and remain, unique. Future generationswill produce their own intellectual-giant equivalents, but not equivalent like-type result!Add to this also our dual-state mystical makeup:we are not of this world! The unknown Mystery behind much of what goes on, blind to our senses,has a hand in such matters, too! After all, we willfor all time, have only "one" Adam, one Moses,one..... !!! Neither of whom chose their career:they were "appointed" and anointed! With Jesusa subject onto Himself!And so I end with my recollection that it wasAmerica magazine (Jesuit, for those of you notfamiliar with the name!), just a few decades ago,that told my memory that it is Rahner who is thegreatest Catholic theologian for the past century,and that it is Reinhold Niebhur who is the geatestProtestant theologian of the past century.To raise the question of those in position poweris to confuse the question with personal agendas:few Popes were ever "great" theologians! And nopope was a theologian for Vat. II !To be a great theologian is to produce greattheology: period! Anybody who does not understandthat does not understand the academic field oftheology!!! So today, yes, there are numeroussignificant theological "names," but few are"exceptional," like a Rahner, and next to none,like a Chardin!!!Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Semblances of Kierkegaard's three stages of beingtherein: just as apropo to the theme, as just"mere" psychology of the day!Both the MBTI of Jungian Psychology, and Kierkegaard'sChristian Psychology have more to say per se, thandoes the whole of contemporary social science,which is still on a treadmill to nowhere, slowly,in first gear at this stage of its own maturity,full of pseudo exploratory myths, than truths....!On in the '90's did scholarship finally comprehendKierkegaard on much of that, defining multiplestages of "despair" that psychology has yetto both unwrap and encounter! But, at least"truth-seeking" is the goal, and with time,and centuries, we'll get somewhere better thanwe are today. I think at most today, we're merelydesigning a rocket to somewhere out in space,the space of the human living subject: a mysteryto be explored!(cf: Soren Kierkegaard's Christian Psychology:Insights for Counselling and Pastoral Care)Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Additionally one can contrast our being createdin the image of God, and through revelation, knowingthat He is the source and core of our being,and the call to Authentic Self (cf. Kierkegaard).Therefore, the highest end of knowledge bydefinition, has to be love: because God "is" Love!And so humanity is still in pilgrimageto comprehend more depth of meaning in,plus understanding of, this mystery!Which in summary is why Kierkegaard writes that"subjectivity is truth!" Something most scholarsuntil only recently did not understand, anderrantly dismissed this profundity!Subjectivity is truth because that is where thesoul is: in the "self!" But the self that Godcreated, and calls us to become! Which eventonce attained, facilitates the beginnings ofthe experience of "eternal happiness" in thehere and now!We have much more mining to do over the comingMillennia to deepen our shallow comprehensions ofmatters like this!Knowledge of Godis not a possession,but an ever maturing faith,searching in hope,within the practise of love! (Rahner)Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Fantastic! This gives me more confidence foreventually viewing this sci-fi attempt atphilosophizing about reality, even though throughthe formed mind plus experience of said screenwriters: limited to their vision of things!Your Jesuitical analogies are highly appropriate,and needed, in these knowledge explosionintellectually fragmented times! I find my own mindtaking Jesus into such equations also, as I've gottenolder: there's much unmined pure unadulteratedpsychology in Jesus -as God- transition into humanclothing, doing rather and very, human things,a new identity by a Prior Identity....and then some!Your further reflections on this added layer ofmeaning would be interesting to read?!And I personally bring Jungian Psychology, whichmoves the definition way beyond Erickson, into adultlife application, via the "MBTI" to explain theindividualized "identity" an adult has: in their respective DNA!No other avenue out there as yet does so! Or,as accurately! But takes 3 stages of life to movethrough in the self-discovery process! A wholesubject in itself: suffice its mere reference here!Trust, but take care in whom! (Latin saying)Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
It's refreshing to see the Pontiff return to the bigquestions of life, like who are we: collectively, andwhere are we headed, singularly (the Church-ed only?!)or collectively (the ignored, the excluded, the many strangers at the side of the road of life?!),but to me still not that different at core thanthe mysticism resident in Ignatian Spirituality,both in the Exercises and in the Constitutions,like the forgotten motif tradition of "The PerfectFool" (for Christ!) that emulates Christ in thePraetorium, practised by the few, and not the many!Now current research by a Jungian Specialist, identifying 9 growth Archetypes towards the ultimate,ends with human behavioral profiling as idealwhen "The Fool!" To this research, I countered thatit exists! It is already both addressed andredressed in Theology. Only now psychology hascaught up! But then, few in the pews know of this.And less in Subway Theology which incorporates all:all influenced by the Spirit, whether they know itor not, whether they acknowledge it or fight it,whether they find liberation in Revelation orin the moment of death like the thief on the cross:all mystery and all metaphysics which mere reasononly toys with!So, yes bring on new expressions, new vocabulary,new concepts, but apply the Tradition that remainsat core sound, fundamental but not Fundamentalistand always there for the taking, even once anatheist says "yes" I chose faith! Over ego!As Kierkegaard's genius tells us: it is choice,and not magic!And Carl Jung's absolutely profound words engage:"Vocatus atque non vocatus, Deus aderit!" (Biddenor not bidden, God comes, God enters our live!)That saying was placed over the main entrance-wayto Jung's residence. And is inscribed on hisTombstone!Peace beckons us all: may we follow, and may wein following, experience Its embrace!!!Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Well, Nathan, since you nicely launch into life'sreflections, on ourselves, how about taking a ganderat then, a real life-movie "Don't Come Knocking."That, I personally class as a real Existential lifefilm like no other I've ever seen: loaded withexistential philosophy themes, as well asundercurrents of theology! But then, the film ismade by a European, who yes, would have more ofthis approach than has Hollywood ever matured, yet,too (!)This movie I'd love to discuss: only future filmdiscussion clubs will discover. Currently, nobodyknows it exists. As is the case of the lonelyindividual in life: except by God!Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Excellent thoughts, and presentation...While your reasoning approach appears to covercore bases, the human existential predicament, though,remains, which is the complexities resident inthe communication process confronting humanitysince Adman left Eve.Since translation theory matured in the timessince the earth was deemed flat, which is a mere500 (not thousand!) years ago, it still even todaytends to fail to grasp the psychology evolvedin that same time period, which would arguethe other way of the twig bending: the relativityof translations, especially at the pew level,which is not scholarly nor does it need to be!Let the Seminaries argue about translations.Let the pews argue for common bunker theology texts!As long as the 80-20 Rule is met in a, in any,translation, then that by definition deems itgood enough: I don't see Jesus getting hung upover which OT text source He was going to readfrom in one of His synagogue solo appearances!But today, we make our translation extremismssound as if He did ..... lol!Having to slide back and forth between my nativelanguage, and local parochial English daily, I don't find translation theory an issue:I find psychology always and everywhere, thenumero uno issue! If I don't communicate thepsychology of that translated, I've failed!And that is about all that, that KJV issue was:once people's psychology caught up with the vernacular, for their time, for their decade,the translation "was in" (the subconsciousacceptance stage of audience maturity:adult formation addressed).....So, just some additional Angles of Vision tobroaden out our broader approach to such narrowissues that in past Ages were just too narrowlyhandled!I find my Lithuanian missal readings just aspedestrian to understand as ANY of the Englishone's during my lifetime: none of this presenttempest I think means much, except to the purists?(!)The Jesuits couldn't be more right, in followingIgnatius' genius, in preaching the principlefoundation to thinking skill sets:"Seek Balance!" We 'seek' balance because wenever psychologically ever 'attian' it!!!Seekers is, and seekers are, we all!Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Very existential: thanks!How about considering a "take two" on "Wear Sunscreen"that was a hit a bunch of years ago. It was anaddress to a graduating class, while humorous, real!Your structure lends itself to such similar treatment!And your humble ending reminded me of TIME mag.'sinterview with Cardinal Bernardine:he said the adulation of Chicagoans for him was nothim, but for his "position!"Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Separate from your great comments, any suggestionsfor "our" over-information Age for time-allocationdiscernment due to too many books to read? (!)Maybe a new "service" or "mission" is needed precisely for this situation -or is it a predicament?-we're in? A reading suggestion listing by bothcategories and areas of reader interest, or otherdemographic breakdowns? (Not to mention psychographicnor cognographic?!)Anyway, of interest to me remains first the Fatherof Existentialism, and today, the re-classifiedpredecessor to Derrida:C. Steven Evans: "Kierkegaard on Faith and the Self"Then just a smattering of others as time allows me:1- James Houston: "Joyful Exiles: Life in Christ on the Dangerous Edge of Things" (Broad, richer reading of Christian heritage with several prophetic challenges to think counterculturally....by the founder of Regent College,following a noble career at Oxford. He would/could beconsidered one of the founding fathers of Evangelical"Tradition" in order to emulate our Catholic one.)2- Loise Cowen & Os Guiness: "Invitation to the Classics"3- Alister McGrath: "A Scientific Theology: Nature, Reality, Theory" (3 vols.)A trinity of books is all my brain, and time,can handle...lol! More Grace in our New Years!!!Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Hmm, the counter-proposal on its own wording meritssounds good, but limits itself to too muchscholastic philosophical structure, epistemology,almost avoiding or forgetting Existential philosophywhich is an equal-opportunity employer of thought,mystery, and metaphysical substance if not reality....For starters, Church life did not start with Latin,nor should it allow itself to be held hostagethereby, therein, and (!)The Mass is Mystery, no matter what language, what Age, or what Nation it operates in: it isindependent of us, and is premised on Revelation.It is our Egos in every and any age that forgetsthat, and then errs, big time, because we're notAngels! Nor ever will we be!When any Mass is said, however incomplete orimperfect, it is ALWAYS and EVERYWHERE the SPIRITthat accomplishes Jesus' intended purpose thereof,through its medium of "do this in remembrance of me!"Separate from that, and because we must progressthrough Spiritual Life Stages (no one is exempt!),we are assisted by the vernacular, in our given,in any, nation! And so as I grew up hearing Latinmasses, and especially the scripture readingstherein, what a waste: on my growth! Growth isaccelerated "when understanding" is present:that is the normal human condition. Latin is notthe normal human condition, today! Even myLithuanian language (oldest living language inEurope, and most Christian nation there today!)to me is irrelevant contrasted to my dominantlanguage, English. So as long as a "rought sketch"of a Mass, Any Mass, is done in English, I grow:both psychologically and spiritually due to myresponse in the former, the Spirit's action inthe latter!That is our core foundation. Any movement awayfrom that is a movement away from its foundingpurpose, as best as we have come in 2 thousandyears to create the mere Pablum we still haveof the Revelation revealed to our pathetic brains!Just maybe, Martin Buber was onto something whenhe addressed the Theological Club at the Universityof Edinburgh: "For some 30 to 40 years now, I have realizedthat I can't learn anything from anyone over 3years of age."More Grace in the New Years to come!!!Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
In recently defending the unique sanctity of theJesuit Surin, of the 17th Century (which producedthe most Saints for the Church), maybe there ismerit for the application of some of his ownspiritual suffering to our contemporary soulsin El Salvador: Fools for Christ! Since theyperformed as such in the eyes of those whomade them Saints, through Martyrdom?! "Folly for Christ," is one of Ignatius' Charisms! This Tradition (Perfect Fool, Perfect Idiot,in the Praetorium with Christ!)stands as a protestagainst every attempt to conform the Gospel tosecular ideology, the pseudo wisdom of this world! Surin joins that blessed company of men and womenwho have suffered martyrdom, not just at the handsof earthly rulers, but through the activity ofthe powers of evil in the depths of the soul! And I posit that our brothers in El Salvadorsuffered not just in that last moment of physicalmartyrdom, but during the time before, in thedepths of their respective souls! Since martyrdomis normatively not just a moment, but a processwith a climaxing event....as is the experience of some and not the many, as in our Age, the age ofAuschwitz and the Gulag and the Killing Fieldsand Siberia and....El Salvador. 'The practise of St. Francis and the very greatinstinct of St. Ignatius to be reckoned a fooland even to do the actions that will lead toour acquiring such a title -this is the resultof that Secret Wisdom of Jesus Christ whichthe saints regard as a precious stage in theSpiritual Life, although they say one mustnot express such instincts lightly or withoutthe ultimate goal of the Glory of God.' (Surin: "Catechisme Spirituel" written 1654-55)Reply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Also, Sr. Margaret, could we not factor in thenew kid on the block: The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible?It stands as testament to all antiquity sources.Providentially, at least the theology of the pastis not challenged by these modern day finds!But little is said in comparative translationexercises for the present to these Latin, or Greeksources? (And who knows what else God in His humourmay yet visit on us as further archaeological finds,and wonders? To make us wonder!)And then the reverse issue also applies to our times:let the Cicero Latin be used by contemporary scholarsand let pedestrian Latin apply to the pews!The pews never did relate to the literati nor everwill they! And to keep them ignorant in mindlesssacred spaces, like in the past, was not and is notan answer to what the mysticism revealed to us is all about!If anything, the Jungian Psychology of today whichhas definitively dethroned "reason" from its pseudopedestal, speaks to the need to interface languageto the subconscious, wherein three quarters ofwhat gets processed by consciousness transpires!Meaning therefore trumps literal use of language!And past misunderstanding of the limitations ofreason, influenced and today continues to influence,our collective interpretation and applicationof the process of translation! The comprehensiveexistential person (both a subject and an object;both intuition and intellection and not just mereintellection!) today needs to become the targetaudience for present and future translations,and not "a" translation in and of itself, targetedto noone: life is not an abstraction no more thana menu is not the meal! It would be a more grounded epistemology of purposivetranslation theory that may be where we're headed?On another note, as some say, coffee should be blackas hell, dark as night, and sweet as love!Whether that communicates what coffee is all aboutremains in the mind of the hearer, no matter howcoffee is defined, transcribed, or refined:experience is not understanding which is notknowledge. All are separate mind events!
Thrilled to see my 'complaints' have paid off,in this over-due and timely needed Jesuitmissioning Spirituality print source!Our Catholic Tradition has only two meditation types:1- Ignatian2- Centering (Silent) Prayer.The latter has been gaining inordinate inroads,from my reading and experience, while the formeris next to unknown, except in the Seminariesand houses of formation! I pray this journal nowcontributes to alleviating this overlooked oversight!Amen!Hopefully, too, as a byproduct it garners moreJesuit vocations!As to the history of our spiritually glorious Order,it remains in the hands of Providence, not in therealm of mere reason as Reason: finite certitudeassessing infinite continued creative action bythe Infinite Deity resident in our hearts,in His creation, and His universe!Maybe only now we are slowly recovering from our2 suppressions which I attribute causation tomuch of our lost heritage of authentic IgnatianSpirituality, which produced so many capital "S"saints among us small "s" ones!We nevertheless remain, always and everywhere,a mere Force of Onesin the mysterious Divine dispensation!PS: Xmas peace to all and more Grace in the New Yearas exemplified in the Jesuit spirituality of the Huron Carol: www.virgil.kaulius.comReply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Blessings to you all this Christmas,and more Grace in the New Year!And I pray for more Jesuit vocationsfor the New Years to come!And may the lyrics of the Huron Caroleventually seep into our human dna!Huron Carol: www.virgil.kaulius.comReply | Original | Permalink | Tweet
Thanks for bringing her to our attention, in thisover-information Age!What accounts for her deep insights, within her lyrics?Puts her work on a par with the "Playing for Change"movement, with "Love Rescue Me" as my favouritetherein! Xmas peace to all, even our enemies!
We need more such great reflective writing to raisemovie goer's sights on the reality of meresense entertainment at the cinema and lived realityoutside the cinema in the Urban Monk environmentof solitary life while immersed in cultural community!Kostner's "The Postman" is a secularly under-ratedmovie that speaks to massive theological symbolismthroughout (especially the theme of hope!)as well asa sleeper existential one, "Don't Come Knocking"that in future films studies will come hometo roost as classics, thematically at least!Would that you in future add more at the end theologically, to challenge our collectivespiritual imaginations even more! Xmas Peace!