Thursday, July 28, 2011

Head in the Clouds

If you are looking for a cool dissertation paper for your masters work in theology do a study on clouds in the bible. From today’s mass reading:

Ex 40:16-21, 34-38

Then the cloud covered the meeting tent,

and the glory of the LORD filled the Dwelling.

Moses could not enter the meeting tent,

because the cloud settled down upon it

and the glory of the LORD filled the Dwelling.

Whenever the cloud rose from the Dwelling,

the children of Israel would set out on their journey.

But if the cloud did not lift, they would not go forward;

only when it lifted did they go forward.

In the daytime the cloud of the LORD was seen over the Dwelling;

whereas at night, fire was seen in the cloud

by the whole house of Israel

in all the stages of their journey.

In both the old and new testaments clouds abound and are usually mentioned as God’s mode of transportation-His hover craft if you will or as the place where He best liked to play peek-a-boo when talking with humans.

As Chesterton said “There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds.” so maybe that’s why God hung out in them.

for the rest of us there is The Cloud Appreciation Society. Wonder around on thier site it is all very pleasant.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

On the left coast the people voted against same-sex marriage and now the legislator is trying to overturn that vote. On the right coast the legislator said yes to same-sex marriage and the people are working to put a measure on the 2015 ballot to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. This is why we will ultimately lose. It is a bad definition it is heavy on the what but lacks the why. With the given definition what difference does it make to replace the nouns or the numbers. And by waiting until 2015 there will be 4 years of same-sex marriage - enough time to make it look safe and not enough time to see the damage.

What if they added to the ballot definition, ' for the procreation, protection and education of children'.

We are now full into the time Chesterton called a place where we can talk about anything but can't talk about everything an age of "efficiency" or "politics for politics sake." I have yet to hear one politian explain to the people the why of traditional marriage or the PHILOSPHY of marriage. Stop and think for a moment, today when we use the word marriage we always need to use the qualifier traditional. That means there can be an untraditional marriage and still be a marriage. Just note the fact that many writers are putting the word marriage within quotation marks these days.

"For the Christian dogmatists were trying to establish a reign of holiness, and trying to get defined, first of all, what was really holy. But our modern educationists are trying to bring about a religious liberty without attempting to settle what is religion or what is liberty. If the old priests forced a statement on mankind, at least they previously took some trouble to make it lucid. It has been left for the modern mobs of Anglicans and Nonconformists to persecute for a doctrine without even stating it..." GKC (Heretics)

It begins with, "What could it hurt?" and ends with, "How were we to know?"

"...Suppose that a great commotion arises in the street about something, let us say a lamp-post, which many influential persons desire to pull down. A grey-clad monk, who is the spirit of the Middle Ages, is approached upon the matter, and begins to say, in the arid manner of the Schoolmen, "Let us first of all consider, my brethren, the value of Light. If Light be in itself good—" At this point he is somewhat excusably knocked down. All the people make a rush for the lamp-post, the lamp-post is down in ten minutes, and they go about congratulating each other on their unmediaeval practicality. But as things go on they do not work out so easily. Some people have pulled the lamp-post down because they wanted the electric light; some because they wanted old iron; some because they wanted darkness, because their deeds were evil. Some thought it not enough of a lamp-post, some too much; some acted because they wanted to smash municipal machinery; some because they wanted to smash something. And there is war in the night, no man knowing whom he strikes. So, gradually and inevitably, to-day, to-morrow, or the next day, there comes back the conviction that the monk was right after all, and that all depends on what is the philosophy of Light. Only what we might have discussed under the gas-lamp, we now must discuss in the dark." GKC (Heretics)

As Chuck Asay notes in his cartoon (above) same-sex “marriage” is a dead end. Same-sex “marriage” is not marriage; it is an exercise in frivolity. At best, a same-sex union can produce entertainment.

(and I have no idea why everything is underlined)

Happy Birthday, Hilaire Belloc

(Above: Shaw, Belloc, and Chesterton.)

Today is the birthday of Joseph Hilaire Pierre Belloc, born in 1870 to a French father and an English mother. He and GKC became such good friends and allies that they became known as the "Chesterbelloc."

As a young child he lived in France, but was sent to Cardinal John Henry's Newmany Oratory School in England, then studied at Balliol College, graduating in 1895 with a first class honors in history.

Belloc's first book, The Bad Child's Book of Beasts, was published in 1896, the same year he married Elodie Hogan. He wrote about a variety of topics which include French and British history, military strategy, satire, comic and serious verse, literary criticism, travel, and religious, political and social commentary. In 1902, Belloc wrote his most famous work, "Path to Rome", which described a one-man pilgrimage to the Holy City.

Belloc was also interested in politics and was elected to Parliament in 1906 and 1910. However, he left politics in order to start a new political review called Eye-Witness with G.K. and Cecil Chesteron. In the review the three of them attacked the English governmental system. Belloc, who revered Napoleon's efforts, worked to promote a unified Europe. He, along with GKC, also promoted Distributism

His life was filled with tragedy. Belloc's wife died in 1914 and his son Louis was killed in 1918 in World War I. His good friend Chesterton died in 1936. In 1941, Belloc's other son Peter died in World War II, and Belloc suffered a severe stroke in 1942 which ended his literary work. He died in 1953.

I leave with one of his sunny verses.

The Catholic Sun

Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine
There's always laughter and good red wine.
At least I've always found it so.
Benedicamus Domino!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sun Burnt Memories

I cannot remember which is correct: 'No sane mane would take a baby camping' or is it 'Only a sane man could take a baby camping'. Needless to say we took babies on this trip and they were wonderful to have along. We knew they would limit the activities we could all do together so we worked out an adult tag team method so we all could do stuff.

However the heat wave blitz swept down upon us the morning of the first day and fried our plans of highly physical activities. So our schedule was changed to this - breakfast and go to the lake - lunch and go to the lake - dinner and sit in the shade till the sun went down or go to the lake.

We would all move around in a clump in cool lake water floating the babies between us broken only by short breaks of naps in the shade. My toes are still wrinkled.

We had a great time.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Smuggling in Chesterton

I've been hired to teach English at a local Catholic high school.

One of the classes I'll be teaching writing one - as in creative writing. My department head said it was up to me how I wanted to structure the course, and what works I wanted to include.

I'm adding a personal essay component - and one of the essays I intend to look at (before sending the students off to write) is Chesterton's "A Piece of Chalk."

Who knows what else I can sneak in! Maybe a Fr. Brown story ... or "Lepanto?"

Saturday, July 16, 2011

To The Woods!

“I’m bored.”, a phrase uttered by every child at least once a day during the summer. How many of us teachers out there have not heard the phrase, “This is so booooring. Why do I have to learn this stuff.”

“The universal, or approximately universal, opinion in these days is that the unpardonable sin is to be a bore. This is a profound error. If this awful phraseology is to be used at all, it may be safely said that the unpardonable sin is being bored. “– G.K. Chesterton, “A Defense of Bores”

According to the Etymology Dictionary the word boredom, in its current usage, started in 1852. The date corresponds with the fiery start of the second industrial revolution.
Interesting that man became bored when things were happening to make his life easier and 'more free'. Now with all our blinking, singing, dinging and whirling toys we are more bored than ever.

My children, grand children and I are headed for our annual summer camping trip-away from the plug in toys. No one is ever bored kicking a stone, baiting a hook or sitting around a campfire.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Monday, July 11, 2011

Move Along. There Is Nothing To See Here.

At the conclusion of Tom Wolfe’s book THE PAINTED WORD he summarized his theory and made a prediction:

"Hilton Kramer, lets slip the admission: “Frankly, these days, without a theory to go with it, I can’t see a painting”.

“LETS SLIP,” AS I SAY. WE NOW KNOW, OF COURSE, that his words describe the actual state of affairs for tout le monde in Cultureburg; but it is not the sort of thing that one states openly. Any orthodox critic, such as Kramer, is bound to defend the idea that a work of art can speak for itself. Thus in December 1974 he attacked the curators of the Metropolitan Museum’s exhibition “The Impressionist Epoch” for putting big historical notes up on the wall beside the great masterworks of the Impressionists. But why? What an opportunity he missed! If only he could have drawn upon the wisdom of his unconscious! Have the courage of your secret heart, Hilton! Tell them they should have made the copy blocks bigger!—and reduced all those Manets, Monets, and Renoirs to the size of wildlife stamps!

"Twenty-five years from now, that will not seem like such a facetious idea. I am willing (now that so much has been revealed!) to predict that in the year 2000, when the Metropolitan or the Museum of Modern Art puts on the great retrospective exhibition of American Art 1945-75, the three artists who will be featured, the three seminal figures of the era, will be not Pollock, de Kooning, and Johns—but Greenberg, Rosenberg, and Steinberg. Up on the walls will be huge copy blocks, eight and a half by eleven feet each, presenting the protean passages of the period . . . a little “fuliginous flatness” here . . . a little “action painting” there . . . and some of that “all great art is about art” just beyond. Beside them will be small reproductions of the work of leading illustrators of the Word from that period, such as Johns, Louis, Noland, Stella, and Olitski. (Pollock and de Kooning will have a somewhat higher status, although by no means a major one, because of the more symbiotic relationship they were fortunate enough to enjoy with the great Artists of the Word.)"

He was close. It took thirty years for this to reach full fruition. Where words are not only larger than the works of art they explain they completely replace the art. Please don’t be confused, this is not “word art” the words still just describe the art it is just that the art does not REALLY exist.

The Museum of Non-Visible Art, or MONA, is a joint collaboration between art collective Praxis and actor James Franco. The museum, which doesn’t actually exist, features invisible art pieces, which also don’t exist, that can nevertheless be purchased with cash - which does exist. MONA art pieces currently on “exhibit” include imaginary sculptures, invisible garments and even a hypothetical Franco short film.

Yes, they are serious.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Corinth anyone?

The International Planned Parenthood Federation released two new publications on abortion and sexual rights for youth. The new documents are the latest part of the organization’s larger campaign targeted at teenagers and older children.

'The sexual rights guide “Exclaim!” calls for a cornucopia of sexuality and gender protections and entitlements under the guise of international law. “Governments must respect, protect and fulfill all sexual rights for young people,” the publication states.' It says protect and fulfill sexual rights. Sexual rights mean the right to have sex so if the government is to fulfill that right will it have to get into the prostitution buisness? The report does not say.

As Chesterton said, "Once abolish the God and the government becomes the God." so think if this “plan” goes through we will have to set up a new cabinet seat - “The Department of Aphrodite Pleasure”. As every town now has postal service will they have to have ‘temple prostitutes’ as well?

Movie finds an answer through Chesterton

The director of Bruce Almighty, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, and more had a serious accident that set him off exploring the question, "What's wrong with our world?" The title of the resulting documentary (and the answer) come from Chesterton: "I am."

I'm going to look for it. I hope is comes to my town.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Funny place to find Uncle Gilbert

A recent donation to the library of congress puts a new spin on an issue considered long settled - a Flat Earth Map. In 1893 Orlando Ferguson created a map of the Earth that, he claimed, reconciled biblical (note the angel reference from Revelation 7:1) and scientific knowledge.

The map depicts the Earth as a giant square slab with a dimpled upper surface - an inverse torpoid for you math majors out there.

This is great news for the Flat Earth Society cause no one really liked their map.

The Society aims are simple:

1. To restore humanity’s faith in Common Sense. Seeing is believing. For hundreds of years humankind has been blinded by metaphysics, brainwashed by popular fallacies and bullied into denying the evidence of one’s own sense. The Flat Earth Society stands for a renewed faith in the basic truth of sense experience.

2. To combat the fallacious deification of the sphere which, ever since the sly deception of Pythagoras, has warped western thought.

3. To spearhead humankind’s escape from his/her metaphysical and geometrical prison by asserting that science, like philosophy and religion, is ultimately metaphorical and therefore that reality as we verbalize it isultimately metaphorical, and therefore that realtiy as we verbalize it is essentially mystical and poetical.

George Bernard Shaw was a member of the group (really?) they also infer that G. K. Chesterton was a member by quoting him on their membership application:

G.K. Chesterton: “A man should always question the strongest convictions of his age, for those convictions are invariably too strong.”

If it is good enough for uncle Gilbert you can count be in. I would love to see Dale Ahlquist's response to this. I think he should devote a show on it.

Oh yea, people don't fall off the Earth because of Intelligent Pulling, not gravity.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Small thoughts on the 4th

"The Declaration of Independence dogmatically bases all rights on the fact that God created all men equal; and it is right; for if they were not created equal, they were certainly evolved unequal. There is no basis for democracy except in a dogma about the divine origin of man." - G. K. Chesterton

The Mayflower compact is a small document that no longer appears in school history text books maybe it is because it mentions God a whole bunch or it advocates small government is anyone's guess. In case you have never seen it here it is:

"In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord, King James, by the Grace of God, of England, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, e&. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia; do by these presents, solemnly and mutually in the Presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid; And by Virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the General good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In Witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord, King James of England, France and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini, 1620."

A little document that set the ball rolling for the Declaration Of Independence. Both documents base our government on a Christian ideal. Today we are working to erase that original ideal to a secular one. But if we are not governed within by God we must therefore be Governed without by Government.

As Robert Winthrop said in 1849, "All societies of men must be governed in some way or other. The less they may have of stringent State Government, the more they must have of individual self-government. The less they rely on public law or physical force, the more they must rely on private moral restraint. Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled, either by a power within them, or by a power without them; either by the Word of God, or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible, or by the bayonet. It may do for other countries and other governments to talk about the State supporting religion. Here, under our own free institutions, it is Religion which must support the State.

Benjamin Rush, Signer of the Declaration of Independence said. "[T]he only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be aid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments. Without religion, I believe that learning does real mischief to the morals and principles of mankind."