Showing posts from November, 2006

The Letter Kills

We had the television tuned to "The News Hour" on PBS last night, and we were puttering around while the story about the Pope's visit to Turkey was airing. I happened to catch a glimpse of this placard held up by the protesting crowds, and it really struck me. You'll note that the Pope is looking in a mirror, and what he sees there is Death. I'd guess the Muslims are ostensibly making a statement about the fact that the Pope oppresses them with his remarks and so forth. But could they know more than even they know? Simply by being out there reveals how much they dislike their papa telling them what to do. Oh yes, the Pope is their papa, even if they're Muslim. If he wasn't, what are they complaining about? The fact that they show up to protest his power says volumes about the power he has over them . But the thing that I thought about the most is the essense of this statement, essentially, "Pope equals Death." If we presume that the Bible is acc

That Phony Death -- Second Addendum

Shortly after I wrote my last blog post, we left for my sister-in-law's for Thanksgiving. Driving our van on the way there, I had a thought that I'd had before in some form, one I'm certain that others have also had. Here's Thanksgiving, the time when we are supposed to give thanks. The question is, to whom are you giving thanks? I mean, really, what do atheists do when they give thanks? What do Eastern mysticists or even devout Catholicists do? Who exactly do they give thanks to? Atheists may say that they are "thankful." I'm sorry but that is completely meaningless. Thankfulness implies that you are feeling good about something and you are appreciative in some sense for that. But why would you have anything good to begin with? From where did it come?! The Eastern mysticist is what many today would call a "New Ager." Convinced all is illusion, or that we are all just part of the Great Cosmic Oneness, who exactly does one address when saying tha

That Phony Death -- Addendum

After my last blog post, I felt I had to write a bit more about what I'd written. First, one may wonder why I don't know the spiritual condition of my stepbrother. The reason is that I'm not really close to him. Physically he lives near Seattle, and I've never had the opportunity to really interact with him. Last summer (2005) we did get more acquainted at my father's 70th birthday party. Shortly after that he discovered his medical condition. We have communicated a bit since then, sending a card, exchanging emails, those sorts of things. Second, I have only referred to him as "my stepbrother," because I have this nervousness about throwing names around on the web. I think I'm invading the privacy of others in doing so, however, in many ways that too is a Catholicist-based fear. People reading this may want to genuinely pray for him. With that in mind, his name is Randy. In fact, his fine blog is here . I can make a pretty good guess about what his spi

That Phony Death

My stepbrother has resigned himself to his death in six months. This is abjectly flooring news, just how brazenly mortality whacks one upside the head. And for him, literally. He's been fighting a brain tumor for about a year. He had chemo, and it was thought that he'd beaten it. But his eyesight was still failing terribly, and at his latest testing they found that his tumor had been as insidious as they had thought all along. It was growing back. The guy's got a wife and two bright young near-teenage boys. He's got everything to live for and he knows it. He's even blogged quite eloquently about the ordeal, being open and honest in the most visceral terms while displaying that resolved grace you like to see in one with whom you're acquainted. Still... Death is death . Not like the more widely marketed media death. Recently O.J. Simpson was going to exploit his notoriety by writing a book "How I Would've Killed My Wife," something like that, and doi

So All the Republicans Needed To Do Was...

In Chaucer's story "The Pardoner's Tale," the principle character goes about convincing people to give to the church by constantly telling them " Radix malorum est cupiditas ," or "Greed is the root of all evil." The obvious irony is that the church is getting wealthy by exploiting others' guilt. After the election last Tuesday, James Dobson of Focus on the Family said that Republicans lost control of Congress because they simply did not behave like they really understood and supported conservative Christian values. The idea is that if those candidates really stood on limited government, low taxes, protecting unborn lives, holding to traditional marriage, then they would have won. There are a couple of problems with this I want to share before I mention what this says about our country. First, the switch from Republican to Democrat in the House was only 30 seats. There were 435 seats up for grabs. Every single seat in the House. Hmm. 30 seats

Voting For...

Tomorrow is voting day. The day when we can all vote for the individuals who'll use their power to force what we want on others. It seems like most Americans anticipate this with great excitement. Why shouldn't they? They've got to make sure they've got the right people in office to crack heads. Even though many will decry the lack of voter turnout, there could be as many as 100 million visiting polling places to vote for their leaders. That’s a lot of people. How great is that, you get to pick. Are you into fighting wars against those who hate the American way? You can vote for the guy who will keep doing that. Are you into fighting against those fighting wars against those who hate the American way (but don’t really know it, of course)? Then you may vote for the guy who will do that. In the Government class I teach, we always take some time to talk about the history of suffrage, or how a group has struggled in history to secure their right to vote. The interesting thi