Stories I’ve Found, 9/7/2012

Interesting stories I’ve found lately:

I’ll start with a quote this time, one Bill Tammeus shared in his column Wednesday, a wonderful observation for an Election Year about the morality of power in general: “Steeped in violence and power, the state is morally impure even at its best. And it is never at its best. State power is rarely in the hands of people who are morally very good. This is partly because few such people exist. And it is partly because high positions in the state are nearly irresistible incitements to pride. The leaders of states enjoy privileges, pleasures, and adulation to a degree that can leave only the most extraordinary personalities undefiled.” Glenn Tinder, The Fabric of Hope

Kevin Miller is a filmmaker who’s made a movie titled Hellbound? that’s coming out soon (where, I don’t know). Fascinating, right? After looking at the trailer I have mixed emotions about seeing it, but this column Why I’d Rather Seek Truth Than Defend an Idea brings up a very good point about how we invest ourselves in what we believe. A quote: “Problems arise, however, when we become so emotionally attached to an idea that it no longer exists independent of our selves. We have invested so much of our lives into articulating and then defending the idea that it becomes fused with our identity. We don’t just hold an idea; we are the idea. . .If we’re not careful, we go from thinking, “My idea might be right” to “My idea can’t be wrong.” And the reason it can’t be wrong has less and less to do with the idea’s relative merits. It’s the fact you’ve ordered your entire existence around that idea, and if it’s wrong, well, you’ve wasted your life. Rather than face that awful scenario, you fight like a caged wolverine to silence the voices of dissent. Seeking truth is so far back in the rear view mirror you don’t even recognize it anymore. Nothing else matters… except survival.”

My answer to Mr. Miller (so far) is that I’m invested in what I believe, but I try to have the humility to admit parts of what I think can be wrong. Since God can’t be definitely disproven from philosophical argument, I don’t have to go ballistic or develop tunnel vision defending challenges to God’s existence to protect my personal survival. Anything that comes up is an opportunity to reconsider and refine my beliefs, jettisoning the barnacles of irrational personal preference that may have latched on.

We should listen to the voices of the Past from time to time, if nothing else, to remember where we were and how we’ve arrived where we are now. This article was written in 1962, when the liturgy was still all in Latin, muttered inaudibly by a priest with his back turned to the people, accompanied by an occasional song from the back balcony.

Coming up on the anniversary of Vatican II, I came upon this site with the Documents from the Second Vatican Council in one place.

I’ve been following the story about German localities trying to make circumcision illegal: Berlin has ruled in favor for the religious exemption,

There a plank in the Republican party platform that says American citizens shouldn’t be subject to foreign laws. Bill Tammeus explores the issue applying this plank to the question of Shari’a very well in this article; my question is whether this language applies to Roman Catholic Canon Law as well, or rules from the Tanakh and/or Talmud.

Bishop R. Daniel Conlon, chairman of the bishops’ Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People, has a sad report on the state of the Church’s credibility.  We’ve done it to ourselves.

Julie Davis asks the question whether the Catholic blog community is really the Corinthian community of Paul’s letters , which was a very dysfunctional community (which is why Paul sent them at least two letters). I think what the Happy Catholic is talking about applies to more than the blogsphere here.

Episcopal priest Rob Merola has a manifesto for this election year I could endorse.

Karen Spears Zacharias’ column A Sermon of Silence is a powerful story with many implications, among them being how to tell the quality of a person by what they do. This is a lesson on why we should wait before making important commitments to someone.

I am a student of history, and I don’t believe that every update is a good thing. Entities like Facebook push things like Timeline on us with the fiction that newer is better and we’ll love new and improved every time. I seem to remember an episode from the mid 80’s when the new Coke came out, and they told us at the time we’d love it better than the original. Anyway, old isn’t necessarily superior either, as this article on methods used by Christian homeschooling will bear witness. If you read my entry on Spirituality and Sentimentality, you know where I stand on nostalgia. Besides, as my high school band director once said, nostalgia isn’t what it used to be. Perhaps when we consider our resources, we have to think through the values.

Perhaps I’m too serious here, and should do something about it. Here’s a collection of 3 Reasons Jesus Was. . .  to ponder and chuckle over. I doubt the list is comprehensive, but that’s OK. If you like these, rest assured: I know almost all the old Church jokes, even the clean ones.


One comment

  1. Daigrepont · · Reply

    Nice homily

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