heimskringla: (seafood)
This WorldNetDaily article on the Da Vinci Code is probably fairly typical conservative, literalist Christian fare, but it got me thinking.

How many times have I, or any of you, encountered the fellow who thinks like the author of this article?

"But... it has to be true, it's in the Bible!"

"The Bible is historically verifiable!"

"If Christians were better educated, they'd know their fath!"

The assertions go on, and on, and on, and they're all along the same lines. They're based in fear and a need to be right, because what happens if they're not right? Maybe they go to hell or maybe they give up and turn to atheism.

The last question usually means something like, "If you had a better religious education, you wouldn't have a different opinion about Christianity (or perhaps dog breeding) than I do." And this is, of course, absolute rubbish.

Religion is, at best, mankind's attempt to connect with the Holy Other. We use language and mythic symbols to express thoughts and ideas which are difficult at best and impossible at worst to express any other way. Our speculation about the Holy Other is rooted in experience, somewhere down the line. Maybe it's not personal experience (why not?), but somewhere down the line, someone had an experience and they attempted to describe it. Maybe several someone's had a similar experience and used similar language and symbolism to describe it.

Gnosticism, as a religion, is about personal accountability and responsibility. I am responsible for my own "salvation." The priest down the street isn't... the guy sitting next to me isn't, I am. If the Bible isn't literally true, if Jesus of Nazareth didn't exist (or maybe it was "Jesus of the Nazarim"), does it matter? Does it change the situation any? Am I somehow less responsible for myself than I was before?

It doesn't change a thing. The language and the symbolism presented by Christianity are still useful in the light of Gnosticism whether historically verifiable or literally true, and hey... it is okay to be wrong about the Holy Other. Don't have to be right... don't really even have to think about it... you've just got to experience it.
heimskringla: (Default)
The Vatican continues to miss the boat...

This will likely come as no surprise to some of you, but the Vatican is once again looking at homosexuality (and dissent from the Magisterium) in its seminaries with the subtext "this is the cause of our pedophile problem."

I have a problem with this, obviously. Firstly, as a self-respecting Gnostic, tightening the doctrinal thumbscrews isn't going to do anything about the giant hole in the hull of the boat. Secondly, gay men aren't any more likely to be pedophiles (or sexually active after avowed to celibacy) than straight men.

Stop making homosexuality in the priesthood matter and it wont. Some of the best Catholic priests I know are gay... they're neither pedophiles or hiding a boyfriend in the sacristy.

You want to fix your problems? Cut out the culture of secrecy. Stop the coverup. You might want to do something about the deplorable state of your liturgy, too. The Liberal Catholic Church made some very excellent reforms to the Tridentine Missal, and if that's too recent you're welcome to +Arnold Harris Matthew's Old Catholic Missal for ideas.

If you want to play kinky games with seminarians, cool... remember not to flog any areas with delicate bone structures, and pay plenty of attention to the naughty bits, but please start paying attention to the root causes of your problems. Your kerygma may not be irrelevant, but you are. Gay priests aren't your problem, but priests who molest children are.

I'm going to go finish coughing up the remainder of my lungs now.
heimskringla: (Default)


The above poster is a part of a new vocations campaign for the Roman Catholic Church. I like to call it "Lookin' Good 'n [not] Gettin' Laid."

In all seriousness, I think the poster, and its attendant campaign, do a lot to romanticize and glamourize the image of the priest and the institution of the priesthood more than is good or necessary. The priesthood is not a pretty, glamourous thing. A sobbing widdow crying into your shoulder is no more glamourous than a dying man coughing blood onto your surplice when you kneel beside him to hear his final confession.

There's joy to be found, certainly, in the long hours, the people whose lives you affect in ways large and small, but it's hardly a job for pretty boys. Don't do it 'cause it's cool, do it because you're driven to do it. If you're not driven to do it, you wont for very long.

And think, my sons, about those long, cold, lonely nights. Think about never knowing the joy or beauty to be found in holding a woman in your arms as she falls asleep with her head against your chest.

It ain't pretty. Is it still worth it?
heimskringla: (Default)
The National Security Archive at George Washington University has posted this update; some of the documents indicate that the Bush administration began planning for regime change in Iraq in October 2001.
heimskringla: (O_o)
You can read about more wacky celebrity impoverishment of the Qabalah right here, folks...

You probably didn't read it here first, because this is livejournal and all.

The Qabalah is spiffy, really, I promise, but there's a lot that goes in to understanding the Qabalah in its context, both from an exoteric perspective and an esoteric perspective. Little bits of string and scanning Hebrew letters aside, it's some serious stuff with some heavy gnostic elements...

Which reminds me... Ye Tarot buffs (though maybe our dear [livejournal.com profile] ebee is the only one, but if not, more the merrier):

+ Stephan Hoeller's book The Fool's Pilgrimage might prove an interesting read. Knowing Hoeller through his work and scholarship, he's definitely not someone I'd characterize as a muppet.
heimskringla: (Default)
This is an excellent example of why it's so difficult to request a proper exorcism. This story first appeared on the wire three or four days ago, but I wanted to watch further developments before commenting.

In the United States and Western Europe, requesting an exorcism from a Catholic (or in this case Old Catholic and Anglican as well) priest is a touch involved.  You talk to your parish priest. He talks to the diocesan bishop. Medical and psychiatric opinions are sought to rule out things like epilepsy and schizophrenia, and only after that has been done can permission be granted and an exorcist appointed.

The Orthodox Church, unlike its Western cousin, does not have a formal rite of exorcism, at least nothing akin to that which most readers will be familiar with. The Orthodox traditionally use various prayers for deliverance, and none of them involve reenacting the crucifixion. Sadly, in some parts of the world, competent professional opinions aren't sought either due to lack of access or a lack of trust.
heimskringla: (Default)
The Washington Post highlights liquor companies new marketing strategies... My response was, "It's just Johnny Walker... nothing special enough going through all that for..."

Really. Johnny Walker is mediocre blended scotch. It's drinkable but not brilliant.
heimskringla: (Default)
The New York Times (reg. required) has an interesting piece in which Craig Smith discusses the peculiar custom of bridal-kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan. With the recent to-do, in the US media, over a woman who was purportedly kidnapped but turned out to be a runaway bride, I found a slight hint of irony in this piece.

If only I had known it was that easy...
heimskringla: (Default)
Now, I don't particularly care to be an alarmist, but... read this AP article discussing an EPA study on pesticides and children.

It's not okay to use real, live children as guinea-pigs so you can see how various unknown pesticides affect them. Yeah, if I had a child-thing I'm sure it'd be worth some clothes, $970, and a new camcorder.

That almost seems like saying, "We're going to give you cancer, but we'll give your relatives a camcorder so they can videotape the last days of your life."

I'm all for scientific research, and I don't suppose I'm all that opposed to using humans when they're capable of giving fully informed consent.
heimskringla: (PopeJP)
And I thought schools in the United States were getting backwards about the dress code...

Girl wants to wear braided hair, is informed it's extreme.

Absolutely bizarre.
heimskringla: (Default)
Terri Schiavo has been starving since 2:00PM on March 18th. I cannot even imagine what it must feel like to starve to death. I can't imagine anyone wanting to die like that. I can't imagine a spouse allowing his partner to suffer so horribly.

For those of you so inclined, Fr. Rob Johansen's most recent post lists the so-called "Exit Strategy" outlined for Terri by those charged with caring for her and seeing to her well-being. They're too afraid of what will happen if they give her an overdose of morphine and let her die quickly, and relatively peacefully, but they'll outline in detail how to make starvation appear to be a peaceful end.

I have to wonder where Bishop Robert Lynch is in all of this. Where is the shepherd when one of his flock is being devoured by wolves?

Craziness

Mar. 19th, 2005 11:58 pm
heimskringla: (Default)
Apparently, the G20 would like the United States and the European Union to cut farming subsidies and make it easier for foreign foodstuffs to be bought in place of those produced by US and EU farmers.  Considering that most small farmers I know here in the US are barely making ends meet via farming, I can't imagine what would happen if the government stopped giving subsidies to farmers, or reduced them to the point that the G20 wants.

I agree that the government needs to stop subsidizing the gargantuan 'farms' owned by multinational corporations, but to stop subsidizing small farmers is going to put most of them out of business. While I am all for trying to abolish poverty globally, I am generally anti-globalization; I see no reason why the United States, or the European Union, should favour foreign farmers over farmers located in the US or EU, respectively.

The United States should favour its own farmers over foreign farmers; it's high time the United States stopped giving kickbacks to corporations that offshore or outsource jobs. There's absolutely no reason the US shouldn't protect its market from foreign imports, especially farm goods. I barely trust the health and safety standards of most US-based farms; I don't even want to think about the quality of foodstuffs grown or raised on farms in India.
heimskringla: (Default)
The fact that I'm not a supporter of Israeli politics and policies with regard to their conflict with the Palestinians is no big secret, because I've never hidden it whether speaking from the pulpit or personally. My readers may indeed wonder what it is that has led me to pontificate on this matter may want to read this Beliefnet.com article which details the Presbyterian Church USA's decision to begin the process of divesting from companies that in some way support Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory.

On both sides of the issue, whether Israeli or Palestinian, whether Muslim or Jew, no one is innocent; this confict is perpetrated by all sides, because violence has become so utterly entrenched in the way of life that it's a viscious cycle. Extremists on both sides do little to help matters; On one hand we have Ultra-Orthodox and Ultra-Nationalist Jews and Israelis who believe it's their right to settle anywhere in what was once Biblical Israel, and on the Palestinian and Fundamentalist Muslim side we have people who believe that no Jew should touch the "Holy Land." In short, it's not a good situation for anyone.

I don't support either side of the conflict; I believe that both Israel and a terrorist-free Palestine should exist side by side; I believe that Palestinians who were evicted from their homes in 1948 should be compensated at current market value for what they lost and that a limited number should be allowed to return.

I couldn't in good conscience support a company that sold Israel the tools to occupy Palestinian land; I don't have a problem with Israel defending itself, but the wall-building and the demolition of Palestinian homes has to stop. The settlements, too, must stop. Peace will never be had if these things continue, and it may be that Israel has to be the "bigger man." They've already shown their willingness to withdraw from Gaza and parts of the West Bank, for which I cannot applaud them enough, but I hope it sticks this time.

View this post on my blog

heimskringla: (Default)
...to admit I live in Florida. Apparently the extremist Uhuru movement decided that a family halloween decoration, which depicted a dummy hanging from gallows was a "hateful" display.

Ye Olde News Paper Article

The Uhuru movement has been a thorn in the side of St. Petersburg for years. They've incited riots, destroyed public property, and they've shown absolutely no regard for private property. I think such modern conveniences as the telephone and the postal system are simply beyond their kenning. A normal activist group would write a letter, publish an article in a newspaper, or make a phone call to express discontent, but Uhuru wreaks havoc and spreads destruction.

What a bunch of assclowns.

View this post on my blog

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