Thursday, August 16, 2007

Erro, errare, erravi, erratus

This will not be the best-connected post in the history of blog.

I have an awful lot of tags. I felt bad about this until I realized that I had an awful lot of things I talked about. I consider eclecticism no more a sin then asceticism, and so, will carry on ballooning the wealth of tags at my disposal.

At some point I would like to re-do the style sheet for this page, and that may well be today. I like this initial style, but everyone does have it, and over-familiarity (as well you all know) breeds despite.

I understand more fully now than ever before in my life the scourge of poverty. It's not bad because some people have plenty and some live in want. That's a good objective measure for poverty, but I think JK Rowling says it best.
Probably the very best thing my earnings have given me, though, is absence of worry. I have not forgotten what it feels like to worry whether you'll have enough money to pay the bills. Not to have to think about that any more is the biggest luxury in the world.
I think one could extend that even further for true poverty. If you want to talk about the great tragedy of being poor (whose depths I have not nearly plumbed, and hope to avoid), I suspect that it is, above all, that of wasted potential. Surviving does not permit for thought beyond oneself and loved ones. Living lets you think about the plight of the world. When I worry about my job in a few weeks, and about what I shall eat and where I shall sleep (and yes, I am trying to keep Christ's words in front of me. What I wear is a matter of some indifference to me - food is rather a more important consideration), I cannot divide myself away from my immediate circle. Me, Penelope, the Barkeep, Sugarbutt, the Alchemist, the Hero and a few others I can consider and work with/for...everyone else seems to fall by the wayside. I wonder if, in Africa and Southeast Asia, in South America, if the social problems stem from that narrowness of circle, the refusal to open up to those outside, because of the need to survive.

It's not fully developed, I know, and me talking about poverty is Solomon bemoaning penury to a Nigerian slum-dweller. I will not swear, but I would that I could, if not redress the balance, than at least find a method for every person to live, truly live, rather than just survive. I think that life in Christ must be a part of that, but even Christ fed his people. When did Christ take an offering? Christ gave an offering, was an offering.

Now I have visions of being a pastor, of distributing bread, and meat, and water to all who come and ask, every Sunday, before worship. A glorious hope.

So. I have wandered a bit, as well I should from time to time. I'll be in touch.


Monday, August 6, 2007


We should all be unsettled every once in a while. We should read something that throws us for a loop. If not, why bother? Why assault the world?
And I quote:
The most that religion can accomplish is to provide a crutch for the weak or lazy-minded to absolve guilt or to negate inquiry, and to serve as justification for the exercise of baser instincts like aggression, territoriality, ethnic cleansing, bigotry, or sociopathic perversions.
I think that of the many flaws here, the one that jumps out most is the complete misunderstanding of a) absolution and b) Christ. Has our author (about whose anonymity I should be angrier, I think), ever read a gospel? Any gospel, I don't care which. I do not find my Christian walk a justification for the exercise of ANY of those things - in fact, I find in the words of the Savior condemnation for them all.
And further:

Christians absolve themselves of guilt by proclaiming that their God was a man in mortal form who died for the "sins of humanity." This is all well and good, but what exactly are the sins of humanity?

Christianity does not examine what the sins are, choosing to ignore them. But having had Christ die to have these vaguely defined sins forgiven, Christians have continued to wage war on both humanity and nature for two thousand years. Christianity brilliantly fabricated a belief system to forgive all transgressions thereby absolving the human conscience of blame for tribalistic expansion. The genocide of the American Indian was justified and rationalized because these were unbelievers who had sinned by not believing in a Middle Eastern thunder god.

Our author has clearly never met a Catholic. Yes. Absolutely. I find myself examining (and confessing) my own sins on a daily basis, including and especially my sins against my planet, and my fellow Earthlings. I bring me to mind an episode of South Park when everyone claims responsibility for the actions of a few.
My real problem: I am a Christian humanist. I believe in the positive power of mankind. I believe that we can make a difference, to one another and to the world. We can only do that, however, when we recognize our hunger for the infinite. The author accuses religion of failure, because we try to describe the infinite in terms of the finite. Yet, she/he/it hopes that we will tap into that very same infinite for a religion of peace and harmony with life. We cannot escape the infinite - it will hunt us down. Better to claim the infinite as what it truly is - a Creator and giver of love, as unlike a man as can be while still being the font of love, than think of life, the tiniest mass of the tiniest mass of a single planet, as the be-all and end-all of the universe.
So, dear readers; love your planet - love your God. Love each other. The hour is coming when we will need each other as we need to breathe.