I suppose we can’t have it both ways. This from the NY Times:
For atheists, it is not a particularly welcome thought that religion evolved because it conferred essential benefits on early human societies and their successors. If religion is a lifebelt, it is hard to portray it as useless.
For believers, it may seem threatening to think that the mind has been shaped to believe in gods, since the actual existence of the divine may then seem less likely.
I do admire my Orthodox brothers and sisters for their fortitude. On my walk Saturday (11/28) I saw my first Christmas Tree laden SUV. Ouch! It was an affront to my liturgical sensibilities. (smile)
Oh my! Another Advent! This year, as in past years, the stack of Advent books is on the table. “Next year in Jerusalem” – “Next Advent these shall be read”! Here’s the list:
Watch For The Light: Readings For Advent And Christmas. This has readings from some of my favorites (C.S. Lewis, Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day, Henri Nouwen, Madeleine L’Engle and a ton more)
Advent of the Heart: Seasonal Sermons And Prison Writings 1941-1944. This is a collection of sermons and prison writings by a German Jesuit priest martyred by the Nazis in 1945.
Advent And Christmas Wisdom From Henri J.M. Nouwen: Daily Scripture And Prayers Together With Nouwen’s Own Words (Redemptorist Pastoral Publication) and Advent and Christmas with Thomas Merton (A Redemptorist Pastoral Publication). Reflections from two of my favorite authors.
Christmastide: Prayers for Advent Through Epiphany from The Divine Hours
. I’m more accustomed to doing my own Offices although I’ve used Tickle’s The Divine Hours off and on (but mostly “off”). This collection provides a quick and convenient collection of prayers and short readings (no juggling required) for Offices through the day and night.
Here it goes: a rabbi, a minister and a Muslim sheik walk into a restaurant…
I’ve re-checked out from the library Anne rice’s Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession
for probably the third time. This time I’m actually reading the book. I am not a fan of vampires so I “missed out” on the past few decades of Anne Rice hoopla. And, of course, now we’ve got that new “teeny-bopper” vampire trilogy (or more). Here Rice recounts her return to Catholicism.
The first two chapters are precious, in the best sense of the word. It recalls a kind of religious devotion and sensibility that is not at all a part of my religious vocabulary. Yet I can appreciate the palpable reality of her childhood faith. What’s interesting to me is that this period of her life was what she called “preliterate”. While I don’t remember not being able to read, Rice has memories of a rich inner and outer life unadulterated by the text.
Read the rest of this entry
How in the world will this play out? (All puns intended) From The Atlantic:
Bloggers are aghast at news that a $150 million movie about the life of Islam founder Muhammad is in the works. Islam prohibits visual depictions of the prophet, and the film’s producer is Hollywood heavyweight Barrie Osborne, whose credits include the Lord of the Rings Trilogy book-to-screen adaptation and the first Matrix movie. He’s set to begin work on the Muhammad movie in 2011, after he wraps up “Kingdom Come,” a biopic on Jesus Christ.
Perhaps there is just as much stigma associated with suicide today as there was decades ago. Maybe it’s a different kind of stigma, one that “only” embraces a kind of silence and not shame. But maybe the two are still connected. CNN.com had this brief article on the survivors of suicide:
Although their stories are all different, the survivors have one striking thing in common: the way they talk about suicide. Rather than saying someone “committed suicide,” they will say that a person “died of” or “lost to” suicide.
What were they thinking? No, seriously. I wonder what they were thinking to allow this.
The suit alleges that one campus, Saddleback College, routinely opened events with prayers and showed a faculty-training video, called God Bless the U.S.A., that included religious imagery and compared American soldiers to Jesus Christ.
Well, some may think that Economics is hell. But here’s a twist. Evidence suggests that a society’s belief in Hell affects their economy. Yeah, that’s what I thought!
A pair of Harvard researchers recently examined 40 years of data from dozens of countries, trying to sort out the economic impact of religious beliefs or practices. They found that religion has a measurable effect on developing economies – and the most powerful influence relates to how strongly people believe in hell.
More here. Another here looks at the economic malaise in many Islamic countries and their lack of religious pluralism.
I’ve admired Oliver’s poems for years. The spiritual sensitivity of her poems is palpable. But I only recently (i.e., two days ago!) discovered that she had “formalized” her spiritual sensitivities, if I can say that. I’m not sure which denomination she joined, although I’m guessing it was the Episcopal church. Read the rest of this entry
I’m not a big fan of this, but at least I’m beginning to be able to observe the displays without freaking out!
The “lady” – actually there are two of them – is quite tall. As tall as a library shelf. So, over 6 feet, I gather. I have to admit I did enjoy the little dog at her feet. That was cute!