Tag Archives: Belief in God

Post-Vatican Two liturgical reform slammed by then-future Benedict XVI

It’s a loser, said the cardinal.

“The liturgical reform, in its concrete realization, has distanced itself even more from its origin. The result has not been a reanimation, but devastation. In place of the liturgy, fruit of a continual development, they have placed a fabricated liturgy. They have deserted a vital process of growth and becoming in order to substitute a fabrication. They did not want to continue the development, the organic maturing of something living through the centuries, and they replaced it, in the manner of technical production, by a fabrication, a banal product of the moment.”

(Ratzinger in Revue Theologisches, Vol. 20, Feb. 1990, pgs. 103-104)

The ineffable arrogance of the we-know-best school. Fixer-uppers interrupted the process. Didn’t even just speed it up. Nagging suspicion: They knew what they were doing.

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Finding the way, the truth, the life

The lady makes a good case: 

This way of being – life permeated by religious practice is what I hunger for; frankly, what I think most of us ravenously, endlessly pursue.

We want liturgy and ritual that transform. We want routine and rhythm that fill our days with meaning. We want our relationships, jobs, conversations, activities, choices, emotions, and sense of self to be sacred.

We want our life to have significance – not just when looked back on in eulogy, but our day-in-day-out experience of it. This is religious.

Farther down in this essay, she gives a sort of road map:

Religious, then religion. Ritual, then faith. Words, then creeds. Writing, then Writ. Beauty, then belief. Maybe this is the way home, the way over, the way through.

more more more where this came from: Maybe we can do better than “I’m spiritual but not religious.” | Ronna Detrick, M.Div.

Second-guessing sermons: Giving mystery its due

I do believe such second-guessing is a worthy pursuit, especially for former preachers who can be seen sometimes squirming in the pew. (He made his bed and lies in it, procrustean though it be.)

That said, I wonder if this 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, cycle B, should be a time for considering ours as something of a mystery religion. I’d start with the reference in First Kings, 19 to the “broom tree” under which Elijah sat, pooped, after a day in the desert.

What kind of broom tree? Whisk? Push? Floor? Venetian blind?

I jest, of course. But the Sunday reading is often hard enough to grasp without having to deal with so odd, if helpful to Elijah, a protuberance.

As a preacher, I would pounce on this broom-tree business as one of many mysteries we are presented with in this thousands-of-years-old literature. I would make something of that, voicing my puzzlement and I think striking a chord with pew-sitters.

I would make that  a quick entry into discussion of the much bigger mysteries we are faced with. In this day’s readings alone, we find these:

  • The angel who set the table for Elijah — a hearth cake and a jug of water. Oh?
  • Paul’s message in Ephesians 4 that Christ (not Jesus, as we say, lest we offend Jews, who do not accept him as the Christ) loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God
  • Jesus in John 6 calling himself the bread that came down from heaven (middle-eastern metaphor?)
  • Jesus saying no one can come to him unless the Father who sent him draw him,
    “and I will raise him on the last day.”
  • Jesus calling himself “the bread of life.”
  • Jesus: “Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert [Elijah ate a hearth cake], but they died.”
  • Consider the lowly hearth cake, by the way, “how people managed . . . without an oven. . . . They made hearth cakes which are a cross between a cake and a biscuit. . . . also known as Singing Hinnies because they used to sing when they were placed on the hot hearth stone. The hearth stone is a large flat stone in front of the fire. Alternatively, they can be made in a frying pan instead if you don’t have a hearth stone [which most of us don’t].
  • Jesus: “This is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”

It’s all mystery. Some of us are used to it, but to many it’s still a head-scratcher of the first order. No wonder the Jews murmured.

I’d say it should be treated as mysterious — the only way to do justice to its meaning. We should treat it, I think, as something so much out of the ordinary that it is hard to believe.

Simple repetition is not the mother of devotion.

“I believe, Lord. Help thou my unbelief” is the appropriate stance. Was good enough once, should be so now.

Dirge for deaths of Latin, God, and mystery

Before I do one more thing in this late-starting Tuesday morning, a word from Mr. Hickey of Leo Catholic HS:

In my lifetime, I witnessed the euthanizing of Latin and the Death of God by academics and churchmen.  Latin was deemed irrelevant, the vernacular ascended to Parnassus and the Vatican dome.  That is too bad.  The mystery of learning has gone the way of sacred liturgy -no mystery and no beauty.  Education means punching one’s ticket for entry to something else.

Such a mournful mouthfull. Congratulations, Hickey.

Jihadists rock to jihadist poetry

The Rhyme and Reason of Jihad | Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

The Rhyme and Reason of Jihad

The Rhyme and Reason of Jihad

Clifford D. May
10th June 2015 –The Washington Times

You probably didn’t know it but Osama bin Laden was a poet. In fact, according to Yale’s Robyn Creswell and Princeton’s Bernard Haykel, “of all jihadi poets, bin Laden was the most celebrated, and he prided himself on his knowledge of the art.”

They add (in the June 8 edition ofThe New Yorker): “A large part of bin Laden’s charisma as a leader was his mastery of classical eloquence.” Here, for example, he elegizes the mass-murderers of 9/11/01: “Embracing death, the knights of glory found their rest. / They gripped the towers with hands of rage and ripped through them like a torrent.”

Professors Creswell and Haykel further report that a wide range of Islamist groups are now producing “a huge amount of verse.” This art is an expression of the “the culture of jihad” which, they say, we should regard as a “culture of romance. It promises adventure and asserts that the codes of medieval heroism and chivalry are still relevant.”

– See more at: http://www.defenddemocracy.org/media-hit/may-clifford-d-what-rhymes-with-decapitate/#sthash.OtrmyAOt.dpuf

This provides a vision,

Which leads us Christians and Jews to poeticize our tradition?

Which calls for an impassioned embrace of our doctrines.

Our Scripture is full of the poetic, the vision, the sheer otherworldiness. So much of it in undiluted form is nonsense to the man and woman, but especially the man, of today. We should do what we can, in schools, for instance, to encourage embrace of the poetic — a reasonable embrace of it. There I go, two sides of the issue.

Let’s hear it for weekday mass . . .

. . . where the worship is peaceful, quiet, and fruitful:

My mother, a musician, struggled to endure the off-key singers who led hymns, unfortunately for us all, at Sunday Mass in my hometown parish.

So sometimes she’d sneak out of Mass early Sunday and during the week, take me to daily Mass instead. No off-key singing there. No singing at all, actually. There was quiet, peacefulness, intimacy among the 20 or 30 communicants.

The lights were dim, the sermons short and to the point. “The apostle picked up his cross and followed Him,” the priest began one sermon I remember, then paused, then ended it: “Would that we would do the same.”

I know people who swear by this. Read the rest of this excellent commentary.

“ISIS beheading children systematically”

A plea for prayers from Crisis Relief International via e-blast:

“We lost the city of Queragosh (Qaraqosh). It fell to ISIS and they are
beheading children systematically. This is the city we have been smuggling
food too. ISIS has pushed back Peshmerga (Kurdish forces) and is within 10
minutes of where our CRI team is working. Thousands more fled into the city
of Erbil last night. The UN evacuated it’s staff in Erbil. Our team is
unmoved and will stay. Prayer cover needed!”

Wow.

Here’s a shocker from the Vatican

VATICAN CITY — Few eyebrows were raised last week when Pope Francis brought the Vatican’s legal system up to date by criminalizing leaks of official information and formalizing laws against sex crimes. But now that the laws have been made public, a closer look revealed that the pope has made it illegal to report sex crimes against children.
 

Psyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyych!!!!!!!

 
It’s a new Onion, with gems such as “Indebted Students Hope to Repay Loans with Obama’s Empty Words” and  “Fox News Calls For End to Black Privilege.”
 
But the atheistic dumbbells at the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science [yes!] face page demonstrated remarkable gullibility even for atheists, taking the Pope Francis news verrrrrry seriously, posting what StrangeNotions.com calls with appropriate irony a “bombshell”:
“According to the new laws, revealing or receiving confidential Vatican information is now punishable by up to two years in prison, while newly defined sex crimes against children carry a sentence of up to twelve years. Because all sex crimes are kept confidential, there is no longer a legal way for Vatican officials to report sex crimes.”
Wow. Not what I expected from people devoted to reason and science. As for the foundation’s friends and readers, the laughable post had 4,584 “likes” and was shared more than 7,804 times on Facebook. A golden moment in systematic skepticism, to be sure.

Maybe It’s Time For Modern Science To Back Off | Taking A Second Look

Maybe It’s Time For Modern Science To Back Off | Taking A Second Look.

A neatly stated case vs. cross-fertilization run wild.

Lets begin with the indisputable fact that modern science — especially in the fields of medicine and communication — has been a boon to mankind. But sometimes boon becomes bust when you overplay your hand. I think some of our scientists have. Especially when they start crowding such equally distinguished fields like Religion and the Humanities.

Etc.

Believe in God?

Discommoded by unbelievers, in yr face or otherwise?  Try this on for size, where natural selection comes a-cropper (stumbles) and chokes on its own petard (!!):

what theism denies is natural selection, not evolution; for God might have selected evolution as the means for revealing his intelligence.

But naturalism has no means of accounting for the truth of its own claims. If natural selection is (as Dawkins puts it) “the explanation for the existence and apparently purposeful form of all life,” and if human theories (including the theory of natural selection) are a result of this blind and purposeless chance, then how can anyone know whether any theory (including the theory of natural selection) is true?

The assertion of its truth is circular and question-begging. The theory might only be the random result of blind chance. Without reference to an intelligence independent of natural selection there is no possible defense of the theory of natural selection.

In other words, forget application of reason to anything. Chaos, here we come.

Or so it seems to me.

This long essay feeds off an “opinionated account” of a debate in Feb. of ’09

at the American Philosophical Association meeting in Chicago, [where] the Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga of Notre Dame squared off against Daniel Dennett of Tufts, a leading spokesman for the New Atheism who has been described by Stephen Jay Gould as a “Darwinian fundamentalist.”

There’s lots more here, at A Commonplace Blog, run by D.G. Myers, a critic and literary historian at the Melton Center for Jewish Studies at the Ohio State University.

It’s the sort of discussion that gets you thinking and dulls the impact of what you hear from overly convinced non-theists.

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