not of this world

Friday, April 28, 2006

wondering on

Filed under: — Not of this World @

tomorrow will be heading to my beloved transposed monastery for a few days of retreat from endless machinations of birdfluterrorismillegalimmigrationpartisansnarkyiranfatwahglobalwarmingculturewarspollingdatasoaringgasprice
s2006electionposturingblahblahblah information overload that i tend to become suffused with in the day to day occupational hazzard of trying to stay informed.

the trip will smell sweet as i have discovered here in the heat of the desert a new use for scented candles: letting them melt unawares all over the back recesses of the car and then spending a few days in blissful wonderment of the inexplicable mysterious permeating heavenly scents. kind of like finding money in a forgotten placeholding pocket, except with a bit of a gooey mess thrown in for fun.

planning on also doing some camping (sleeping under stars makes me feel when i awake like i’ve drank some re-creation elixir), and probably will check out the ol’ hoover dam which i’ve never seen up close…

UPDATE: my grammatical wonderment of whether “drank” or “drunk” should be used in reference to the starlight led me to this fun (for grammar wierdos like me) comparison of the two… so there you have it…

Thursday, April 27, 2006

the gospel of near human extinction

Filed under: — Not of this World @

in case anyone missed the recent controversy of the Texas Distinguished Scientist of 2006 who is on record as welcoming with open arms and a smile upon his face the extinction of 90% of humanity, here is a pretty well rounded summary.
i’ve found prager’s take on these sorts of phenomena to be helpful: humans are bound to have faith in and fear of something. if they don’t have faith in God and rightly understood fear of true evil, they will put other things in place of those two, and do a lot of calling good evil and evil good inbetwixt. that the world has always had cycles of warming and cooling, and that man’s capacity for evil is much greater evinced through his legion use of fellow humans as mere objects for personal pleasure, private gain and violent disposal, rather than in the proliferation of the combustible engine, or the mass production of plastics, seems to be beside the point as far as many are concerned.

what is selectively considered as “natural” appears to be worshipped and at all costs elevated, with convenient exceptions made such as the bringing of human pregnancies to full term - which actually, as i think about it, fits snuggly as an inconsistent answer to their perceived evil of too great an abundance of humanity upon an otherwise pristine, unencumbered planet earth, for them apparently the ultimate good.  and the evidence of the earth’s previous “natural” cycles of cataclysmic climate change predating humanity’s involvement are disregarded in the holy crusade to wreak economic and social chaos if need be, via “enlightened,” largely uninformed or intellectually dishonest, totalitarian dictates towards the quixotic goal of reversing what is irreversable.  good stewardship of this beautiful earth we have been given is not the only commandment humanity is enjoined to obey, and is far from the supreme commandment.
while all will grant that environmental trauma sustained by pollution and needless waste is an evil of sorts, it does seem to me that many trendy prophets of impending environmental doom doth protest too much to an ‘evil’ contributed to at least equally by the natural violence of volcanoes, while simultaneously being breathtakingly silent on evils much closer to heart, evils much more within our human reach and responsibility to counter.

picking your battles is one thing, elevating the battle farthest from individual reach as that which governs your priorities seems to me to be another.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

sedona

Filed under: — Not of this World @

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

desert devils

Filed under: — Not of this World @

i have driven extensively in san francisco, los angeles, washington dc, chicago and new york and never have i had to share the road with as many nasty, impatient and reckless drivers as in phoenix, az…

it is really bizarre - and deadly - every day there have been fatality accidents in the metro area, often multiple.

it makes me feel like an old granny puttering about, except that it is often old grannies who are among those who ride my a** and then zoom around me in their race to the red light half a block away.

but the sunsets here are beautiful, crisp in their lines but warm in the embrace that stretches slowly over, hushing the day’s strong heat with soothing palettes, the colors softening with each moment until they’re folded seamlessly into the desert night…

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

maranatha already, an update

Filed under: — Not of this World @

have finally gotten around to reading the da vinci code; like my visit to the Los Angeles cathedral with good ol’-now- blog-deceased-endless, figured that way i could criticize with authori-tie. it has been a fairly pleasurable read, having ceased to appear as any sort of real threat to true depth of faith by the first few pages of its laughable, ad nauseum claim to the malicious ’sacred feminine cover up’ by peter and the other misogynists Christ supposedly chose for his disciples. but it is fast moving and definitely entertaining - there are fun parts that touch on the divine proportion and its occurance in divine and human art and architecture, and other facts sprinkled amidst asinine heresies that even trogdor could spot. one of the more obviously ridiculous, inconsistent claims is that Christ was just a man, but his covered up wife Magdalene (who the church tried to degrade by accusations of being a prostitute - which the gospels never actually claim) is actually a goddess - but never forget that Jesus whom she wed was nothing but a good man, definitely not to be worshiped, that was the papists’ invention. (the patriarchal Church despises women you see, and tried to foist a man in place of the divine feminine) a part i read last night went long into the sacred sexual rituals of the society that has protected this secret for generations, in opposition of course to the Catholic Church’s supposed teaching that sex is evil. you see, the pagans realize that sex is actually a way to commune with God, that the feminine ability to create life is sacred; pay no attention to the Theology of the Body - written by a celibate man, what could he know about its sublimity? - or the fact the Catholic Church stands alone in the modern age in defending life and its sacredness in the womb and the role committed sexual union has in creating that life in opposition to casual contracepted sex… of course, some of the most fervent ‘protectors’ of this ancient tradition of the sacred feminine and the corresponding sacredness of creating life are naturally claimed to be homosexual, such as leonardo da vinci…but leave that aside…

in other news, i am neck deep in the icky illegal immigration issue, sweltering in the desert (literally) amidst extremes of people who think it is unjust and inhumane to enforce sovereign borders on the one hand, and those who think burning the flag of the nation from which economic refugee migrants are flooding in illegally is a right response on the other. in general i am constantly being brought to meditations on the need for everyone to take deep breaths and remain rational, dealing with those who disagree with firm but resolute compassion through reasoned argument, and with ourselves in a humble criticalness, lest we slip through passion and frustration into that which we are accused of. and beyond all the various perspectives, it seems critical (as it may seem to some obvious) to work for what we believe to be right as though it all depended on us and yet live amidst what enfolds with the knowledge that all rests ultimately in greater Hands.  it is apart from that balance that desperation comes, and it is for that balance, to stay the violence that may indeed otherwise come - from both sides - that i pray.
as i witness these various extremes of passion and activism, i simultaneously watch those who would rather crack a budweiser and check out permanently into vicarious sports and reality t.v. not sure which path is more frought with the danger of missing the whole point…
the illegal immigration issue is much more complicated than most on both sides seem able to honesty address and think through, and watching the recent protests and dealing with the frustrated response they have provoked makes me long to be past all such worldly concerns and exercises in participation as a political, crunchy conservative animal.

God willing in about five months i will to some extent escape, as i will be heading to ave maria to work on a masters in Theology. have been wanting to do it for a while now, and finally made the move even given some of my trepidations with the politics that are poking about in that institution’s governance. despite all that, and the fact that trogdor may require shaving of much furriness to deal with FL temperatures, the program they are offering looks delicious to me, and i was greatly impressed by my visit and sitting in of classes.

life continues to be more full than i can almost stand most days, but at least there’s no time to be bored or slack off as is so often my temptation. and what dreams may come can come as they will. borrowed, sacrament fed strength continues to come with all the weakness i throw at it…

Thursday, April 6, 2006

felix culpas

Filed under: — Not of this World @

like most within the Judeo-Christian tradition, i’ve been familiar since childhood with the story of Joseph of the many colored coat and his jealous brothers, but when i heard the full story chanted in a Pre-Sanctified Liturgy* wednesday night, its illumination of the mystery of iniquity really opened me. on any given day, God’s confessed ability to bring the highest possible good out of the greatest of evils is one of the harder mysteries to dwell in with a trusting faith.

Salvation history subsists, or rather conquers, through one happy fault after another, over and over again, and the Creator ever redeems and ever mines our basest acts both for His glory and towards our elevation.

Most Christians have played around with the thought experiments of how things “might have been” if Eve hadn’t listened to the serpent, or if Adam hadn’t listened to Eve, etc.; likewise, most who have wrestled with the doctrine of predestination have striven to comprehend the seamless existent reality of both God’s omnipotent, all supreme will, combined with the freedom of man’s, pre and post fall.

The story of Joseph seems to be up there with the most dramatically brilliant illustrations that both 1)things truly will not be otherwise than what they have been eternally in the mind of God, with all their fallen and resurrected twists and turns, without 2) taking from the reality that man is led (but never forced) by an awesome God Who, while respecting man’s freedom to be treacherous to his fellow man (even his brother!) nonetheless remains a benevolent master craftsman who bequiles with His wisdom, evincing the most exquisite shapes even from the most flawed materials.

Like the psalmist muses, What is man that you keep him in mind? The son of man that you take him into account? - as we read these stories in Scripture, or look at our own lives with an honest eye, it seems clear why the wonder would arise, really, why do You bother?

But Scripture is also clear that [His] delight is with the sons of men

He sees in an eternal present the hearts that will respond to his beckonings, those who will seek Him despite their accumulated filth, casting eyes upwards, thirsting and panting - while often only knowing such thirst and want from self inflicted strayings.

He loves first, loves long, loves patiently and loves relentlessly.
the hearts that allow themselves to be transformed by wrestling in His unbearably tender, awful embrace are receivers of a gift that is simply yet supremely being able to love back, freed from obsessive preoccupation with getting something back.

Joseph’s faithfulness through the bleakest days of apparent abandonment, both by God and his own blood, in a precious type of Christ’s faithfulness, turns out to be preparation of a fertile ground through which God and the very brothers who betrayed him and left him for dead - and all mankind to follow - are glorified and blessed respectively.

Joseph’s brothers in their shame bowed before him, he who had every right to condemn and cast them off. But he could genuinely only look at them with love, and invite them out of their famine into the feast that their sins had unknowingly been in some part the benefactors of.

Faithful to The Faithful One, Joseph was able to receive, in imitation of Him, the greatest treasure of all, to love those who had scorned and despised him, unto the calling forth of their own love in return.

May we all strain to be so faithful as to receive such a giving gift.

amen.

*In the Eastern Rite there is a tradition in the Lenten season of fasting even with regards to celebrating the Liturgy, except for Sundays. Instead they celebrate the Presanctified Liturgy wednesday and friday evenings, a communion service of sorts in which the sanctified gifts from the Sunday Liturgy are dispensed, accompanied with much singing of psalms, delving into long readings that prepare the way for the Easter Vigil service and the prostrations that have long since faded from the Western Mass.

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