I’ve opted for plain and simple for my format and layout. The default presentation gives you the last few articles I’ve written in a long, scrollable format. Sometimes I add a “more” tag, which takes you to the individual post, showing the remainder of what I wrote for that article, but usually you must click the heading (to the left of the primary text blocks) to get to the specific article, since I usually just write it all, letting all show on the scrolling composite. The basic reading format doesn’t include a comment box. If you click the heading and go to the specific posting, there is a reply box at the end, after the share buttons and the tags and categories. You can also click the quote-button comment link just below the title.

So, if you happen to read something you want to reply to, please do. I will almost certainly post your comment and reply to you. I’m not into censoring.

Lonnie E. Schubert:


Happened across this old blog while looking up Barry McGuire old stuff. I was hoping to find his opening trio for Lighten Up. Only found recordings of “Don’t Blame God”, which is the middle of the trio. A version of Eve of destruction opens the trio and a powerful musical quoting of 2nd Chronicles finishes the recording. I can’t find the whole thing online. I’ll get around to buying the Lighten Up album from Barry’s store soon.

Anyway, neat resource.

Barry’s song goes along with my concerns about bad times getting worse before good times get going again. Of course, Barry has been saying such since the 60s and 70s. I’m glad it hasn’t been true yet.

Originally posted on The Greatest Christian Albums of All Time:

LIGHTEN UP

Barry McGuire

In 1965 Barry McGuire, former member of the New Christy Minstrels, released the album “Eve of Destruction.” During that same year the single of the same name went to Number One on Billboard’s Hot 100. But it would be 6 years later that McGuire would claim was the greatest event of his life. After an encounter with traveling evangelist Arthur Blessitt McGuire became a Christian and started a Christian Music career that would span as many genres as it would decades. Rock, folk, pop, country and even children’s music would be used by McGuire to proclaim the Gospel and he would find success in all of those areas.

Most would remember the hit Eve of Destruction while others may remember the corny novelty country/spoken word song, Cosmic Cowboy. Some may even be more familiar with his work with the Agape Ministries children’s project, Bullfrogs and Butterflies…

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I’m innately optimistic. I’m naturally joyful and not prone to melancholy. Yet, for our time, pessimism weighs upon me.

I truly believe MLK Jr. was right when he said that the arc of history bends slowly, but it bends toward justice. We will see freedoms increase. We will see more justice and more opportunity, and less imposition by state and political forces. The various other PTBs that people worry about will diminish over the generations. That is a long time for us mere mortals.

I see the signs for a cycle, as oft repeated in history, of evil times before more good times.

I hope I’m wrong. I doubt that I am.

Regardless, those of us who claim faith, especially those of us who follow Jesus, we must remain faithful.

Who among us will bow before Nebuchadnezzar’s golden statue? No one? What about the POTUS or SCOTUS? What about Apple or Facebook? What about Hollywood or regular old peer pressure?

What about the biblical mammon?

I happened to watch Pale Rider again. That mammon thing, it just won’t work.

Every person has to stand for what is right.

Every person must walk in love, and love in this sense has nothing to do with sex.

The story goes that the three Hebrew children refused to bow.

“…But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?”

16Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.d 18But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

The book of Daniel tells us they received a miracle. Miracles are by definition exceptional, rare.

Are we ready to stand anyway?

Are we ready to stand with Job and say, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust Him.“?

I truly doubt that we or our near descendents will every face most of the persecutions of history, but we see today the executions, the beheadings. It isn’t just Christians being killed, and we must never forget.

The saying is “going to hell in a handbasket.”

Recent SCOTUS decisions have made the world a harder place to live for all. Persecutions of churches and ministers will increase. Activism is not sated. The activisms of our era are like the grave, never saying enough. Accomplishing goals is no longer an objective, but destroying all who may oppose or disagree. That is where harm lies, and only blood and suffering will reset. (Again, I hope I’m wrong.)

More worrying to me is the state of science. Science in its several forms are no longer seen as a set of tools, but as ends. The tendency is Scientism, and that is one sad and gruesome religion.

The saddest of all, though, is the apparent willingness of the Pope, the leader of so many faithful believers, to step back to earth-reverence and sacrifice.

Cardinal George’s words may yet prove prophetic:

“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”

 

http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2012/1021/cardinal.aspx

http://www.kiplingsociety.co.uk/poems_copybook.htm

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

 

 

16For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith,e as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”f

This is excellent. I agree and support the sentiment fully. I believe in God, by faith, in faith, for faith, unto faith, faith–first and last. It is the power of God. The main point is that it is good news. God is saving us, and Jesus is how He stepped in to ensure we get it. He was proving to us, not demanding of us.

18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,g in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.22Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

Here, we first have to ask, “Was God, through Paul, making a universal statement? Or, was Paul simply making an observation of the state of affairs in his day?” We stretch the argument too far if we assert more than the obvious, that Paul was delineating the state of affairs as he knew it in his time and regarding his knowledge of history. For one to universalize and apply to all men through all of history, past, present, and future requires more than is present in the scripture. One can assert the universal as an article of faith, but to claim such based solely on scripture is unwarranted, and would require an improper adding to the scripture.

There are grounds for generalization in the generic, but how far can we stretch it? It is important to note that our clear perceptions of creation are unimaginably different. Paul simply did not understand nature the way we do. He could not.

There has been since Paul, a great deal of truth seeking, both successful and unsuccessful, both within the church and without. There is a great deal of truth known and established outside the purview of religion. I do not allow that Christians have a monopoly on truth; not in matters of faith, not in matters of science, not in matters of fact. The ability to pursue and recognize truth doesn’t depend on some minimum level of correctness in one’s morals and beliefs. Ethics matter, and when ethics run afoul, reality tends to correct the situation. My point is that the abandonment of truth as Paul described is no longer what it was in First Century Rome.

I’m mainly just stating the obvious. I’m not here developing the notion.

24Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

This statement is more about the heart-condition of humanity, and it seems sufficiently generic to suppose at least a general universality. We all know our tendency is toward baseness. We have to work, and we need some help, to be able to rise to nobility. Mostly, it says we are selfish by nature, and God leaves us to our self-centeredness if we insist on it.

26For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Again, I assert that we must accept that Paul was describing his observations and not speaking for God as an absolute for all time and eternity.

Note that Paul steps away from that subject and changes tone. Here he gets more general and more inclusive.

28And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Before I can condemn anyone for things related to verses 26 and 27, I must show that I am perfect with regard to the many factors indicated in verses 29 through 31.

Does anyone want to address all manner of unrighteousness or evil?

What about envy? Strife? Deceit? Gossip or slander?

Haters of God? Does that apply only to certain stripes of atheists or some variety of those who fight for “freedom from religion”? We must admit that there is no group that can claim no intrusion of any who could fit a reasonable description of God-haters. The examples are hopefully rare, but there can be found religious leaders who demonstrated a systematic contempt for God and submission to God and His law.

No doubt all of us have failed in all these regards. It is reasonable to assert that some of us, perhaps many of us, do mature and overcome some or several of these failings, but take those last four.

http://biblehub.com/interlinear/romans/1-31.htm ἀσυνέτους, ἀσυνθέτους, ἀστόργους, ἀνελεήμονας

http://biblehub.com/greek/801.htm

Definition: unintelligent, without wisdom, unwise, undiscerning (implying probably moral defect). Generally unwilling to use good reason.

http://biblehub.com/greek/802.htm

Definition: not covenanting, untrue to an agreement, treacherous. Untrustworthy. Faithless.

http://biblehub.com/greek/794.htm

Definition: unloving, devoid of affection.

http://biblehub.com/greek/415.htm

Definition: unpitying, unmerciful, without compassion, cruel.

Does anyone think they meet such a standard? Of course not.

I remember Jesus admonition, “Let the one without sin cast the first stone.”

There is no rock in my hand.

Regarding a Christian’s responsibility, or responsibility of every good person for that matter, we must live rightly personally.

We must live justly, do justice, walk in mercy, show kindness, and keep sight of the fact that we are not the center of the universe; we are not the judge; we must remain humble.

That seems to me to require that I NOT try to impose what is right on anyone else. Just because certain things are obviously good for society, it does not follow that I, or the government, or any other powerful agent should impose on society.

It is all about relationships. Jesus told us to follow Him. Jesus told us to make disciples. It must be about our daily, personal walk and individual relationships.

It’s not about the President. It is not about SCOTUS. It is not about laws. It is about individuals choosing to do what is right and choosing to be involved in the lives of those around them. Involved relationally, not nosily. Involved lovingly, and considerately, not with an eye to gain an edge or leverage. Understanding, not meddling.

Lonnie E. Schubert:


So sadly true.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

Dominic Lawson writes in the Daily Mail:

Pope Francis’s new encyclical is in stark contrast to the style of his predecessor. While Pope Benedict’s works were in Latin, entirely spiritual in tone, and written by the man himself (a great scholar), his Argentine successor has produced something impossible to render in a classical language.

In fitting with its theme — saving the planet from man’s depredations — it is, for much of its great length, indistinguishable from any number of United Nations environmental briefings. In fact it is acknowledged to be the work of a series of pontifical committees. 

To save you the trouble of ploughing through it, I offer a new take on the Lord’s Prayer, designed to encapsulate the Holy Father’s message:

Our Gaia, Who art in danger,
Sustainable be thy name,
Thy renewable energy resources come,
Thy Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s will be done
On Earth as…

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I’m mixed. I have mixed emotions, mixed convictions. I am certain of my love and loyalties.

First, as it is settled for better or for worse, I want to say plainly, Kandy Wyatt, welcome to the family. You and Rachel are always welcome regardless. Always have been for that matter.

That has always been the truth. It hasn’t been easy; still isn’t.

I’m basically Christian orthodox. I found I am Wesleyan. Wesley was rather orthodox himself. I cannot find significant difficulties in the orthodoxy of these last several centuries. It is thorough in all regards. It is self-consistent and time proven, even when it hasn’t been taken seriously by most.

However, my heart is my own. I have to live with it, honor it, and follow as God makes me able. Same goes for each of us. Even you, my daughter Rachel, and my soon-to-be daughter-in-law Kandy.

Uncomfortable?

Well, the important things are never easy.

The important things are never easy.

This is important.

My love and loyalty lies with my family, unshakable.

Some may argue this way or that regarding what it means and how I should act in accord with love, or tough love, but I’ve lived a while now, and nothing rings truer than the words of Micah. I know what is right and good, for the Lord has shown me. I know the Lord requires me to do and live justly (openly and honestly), to act in mercy and show kindness, and to walk humbly before my God. This is what I will do.

 

Truth often hurts, especially for the truth teller.

http://www.acpeds.org/tragic-day-for-americas-children

“Dr. Michelle Cretella, President of the American College of Pediatricians in response to the SCOTUS decision today stated, “[T]his is a tragic day for America’s children. The SCOTUS has just undermined the single greatest pro-child institution in the history of mankind: the natural family. Just as it did in the joint Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton decisions, the SCOTUS has elevated and enshrined the wants of adults over the needs of children.“”

They reference their court brief:

http://www.acpeds.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/Amici-Brief-FINAL.pdf

Which begins:

“The American College of Pediatricians (ACP) is a nonprofit organization of pediatricians and healthcare professionals dedicated to the health and well-being of children[…]. ACP’s Mission is to enable all children to reach their optimal physical and emotional health and wellbeing. To this end, ACP recognizes the basic father-mother family unit, within the context of marriage, as the optimal setting for childhood development, but also pledges its support to all children, regardless of their circumstances. ACP encourages mothers, fathers and families to advance the needs of their children above their own, and is committed to fulfilling its mission by encouraging sound public policy, based upon the best available research, to assist parents and influence society in the endeavor of childrearing.”

Note: “…also pledges its support to all children, regardless of their circumstances. ACP encourages mothers, fathers and families to advance the needs of their children above their own…”

We must all pledge to support all children regardless of their circumstances. We must all put the needs of others, especially the needs of our children, above our own. We must take care to not harm ourselves in serving the needs of others, but it is much more difficult to guard against self-serving, than to over serve. It is much easier (even more natural) to be selfish, than to be considerate of others.

Read the brief and decide for yourself. In the meantime, I’ll quote this, “…the four most recent studies, by Dr. Mark Regnerus, Dr. Douglas Allen and two by Dr. Paul Sullins, report substantial and pertinent negative outcomes for children with same-sex parents.”

At this page, http://www.acpeds.org/same-sex-marriage-not-best-for-children, they say:

“While the debate over the legitimacy of same-sex marriage can be viewed from many perspectives, there should be little debate about the effects it has upon children: Same-sex marriage deliberately deprives the child of a mother or a father, and is therefore harmful. The College has sought to defend the child’s position in this debate from an objective, scientific standpoint. Below you will find convincing evidence of the fundamental value of the married, father-mother family unit to the optimal development of the child.”

They provide lots of information and references.

It seems their efforts are in good faith and are well grounded. Common sense supports their assertions. Of course, common sense doesn’t always hold up to scrutiny, but it usually does. It also seems likely the organization is somewhat biased, but facts are stubborn things, and bias either way tends to fall off under scrutiny. It does appear to be an entirely legitimate and qualified organization, acting in good faith. Judge for yourself.

The sad fact is that science, especially the social sciences, are corrupted by power and politics, also by fame and Facebook-likes. Even scientists want to be liked. When there is political pull to be gained, power and prestige, even the simple accolades of reporters and strangers up for grabs, fallible humans, even hardened scientific researches, fall victim of confirmation bias and self-deception. And as Feynman said, we must not fool ourselves, but it is so easy to do so when someone pats us on the back for it.

The fact that is inarguable, people have elevated the wants of adults above the welfare of children. The SCOTUS continues to codify it.

 

The media hates the church. Much of the left hates the church. Most of the radical environmental movement hates the church. When the enemies of the church support something the Pope says, it might mean they take his words out of context or twist them. With Ladato si, that is not the case. It can only mean the Pope has made statements detrimental to the church.

The Pope has espoused political power. Political entanglements harm the church. History is clear on that point. The Laudato si does more harm than good, more harm for all, especially more harm for the church.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

Putting papal authority behind yet another failed scientific paradigm

GalileoTrial_1633

Guest post by Alec Rawls

As Galileo insisted about the perversity of his persecution by the Catholic Church: “[I]t is impossible for a conclusion to be declared heretical while we remain in doubt as to its truth.”

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Sometimes.

This song by Klank well captures some of life’s ups and downs.

While I know this industrial metal won’t suit all tastes, give a listen. (Daniel Amos below should reach a majority.)

God?

from NUMB…Reborn by Klank

Tonight’s another night
I wander aimlessly
To put it all in place
A picture I don’t see

And when I close my eyes
I don’t care if I wake
I use the same excuses
I make the same mistakes

Sometimes it seems so hard
Like you’re ignoring me
I wonder if you do exist
And what you mean to me…

Sometimes I think you hate me

Sometimes I think you hate me

(background comments: This-is your future—think about it)

Is this some kind of test
Or way to make me see
There has to be a reason
Why it’s happening to me

How much more to cry
Until I have a clue
The emptiness I’m feeling
Does it come down to you?

Show me everything
And tell me what to feel
My eyes have been so jaded
That I don’t know what is real

Sometimes I think you hate me

Sometimes I think you hate me

(background comments: This-is your future—think about it)

Sometimes I think you hate me

Sometimes I think you hate me

(background comments)

I expect the latest album, Dig Here, Said the Angel, by Daniel Amos will find favor among most, but give a listen to this one. Terry Scott Taylor has such a way with words, such insights.

http://www.danielamos.com/da/digheresaidtheangel/theusesofadversity.html

The Uses of Adversity

from the album “Dig Here Said the Angel”

Music by Daniel Amos, Words by T.S. Taylor
©2013 Shape of Air Music
I found your handprints on the pages of history
I said your ways are past finding out
‘Cause you’re much too small if you’re not a Mystery
So don’t send me rain if I bloom in drought
No don’t send me certainty
If somehow it’s best for me to doubt

In the days of the nail and nights of the lash
In the season of the quake and the lightning flash
You become a slight impression on a threadbare shroud
While you hide yourself away somewhere behind a thundercloud
And I won’t pray for certainty or faith that’s always free from doubt

‘Cause I’m inclined to thrive in misery
When I’m kneeling in the garden of Gethsemane
Yes I’m inclined to thrive in misery
When I’m kneeling in the garden of Gethsemane
Crying Oh Oh Oh My God, my God, have you forsaken me
Or is this grace disguised as adversity?

My heartbeat is the pounding of your iron hand breaking me
Who knows where this shattering love is taking me
‘Cause you’re much too small if you’re not a Mystery
So don’t send me rain if I bloom in drought
No don’t send me certainty if somehow it’s best for me to doubt

I found your handprints on the pages of history
I said your ways are past finding out

Lonnie E. Schubert:


Passing along sad news for many in Oklahoma City.

Prayers for his family.

Originally posted on KFOR.com:

[ooyala code=”poODBzdTpZAttKtp_czSE_yquRywe2-2″ player_id=”df513009265e4427aaf5f0342a75c90e”]

It is with deep sadness that we mourn the loss of our friend and colleague Bob Barry, Jr.

Bobby died earlier this afternoon in a car crash not far from his home.

Of course Bobby and his dad were such a part of our NewsChannel 4 family.

“Bob loved his family, and he loved Oklahoma. We would just ask that everyone say a prayer for his wife Gina and his family at this difficult time,” said KFOR News Director Carlton Houston.

We lost Bob Sr. several years ago and now, in such a sudden and tragic way, we’ve lost Bobby as well.

We’re in constant contact with his wife Gina and his family.

We will release more details soon.

View original

Lonnie E. Schubert:


Pointman hits the nail on the head.

I was born and raised Pentecostal, and thank God I’ve grown out of the fundamentalists aspects of it. I’m inherently a Wesleyan, at least as I know him and his work. Though, mostly, I’m committed to truth. Jesus took the title of truth. I follow Jesus, so absolute commitment to truth seems the absolute requirement. Truth above all. Not dogma, truth. Not man’s interpretation of scripture, truth. Not scripture, since one can set the Bible up as an idol. No idolatry, truth. Truth that can be worked over and found to remain true, over and over, and revised as necessary in order to maintain commitment to the highest possible truth.

I haven’t lost my faith. (Pointy hasn’t either, but he has abandoned all sense of religion. And honestly, I prefer Pointman’s brand of irreligion greatly over a couple like Katherine Hayhoe and Andrew Farley and their “church without religion.” I find Pointman a much better example of Christ and what Christianity is to be.) My faith, though, now rests in the goodness of God and not much else. Like Pointman says, if it is going to get fixed, it is up to us. I suspect if asked, Jesus would have affirmed that God helps those who help themselves, at least when they have internalized Micah 8:6 and Ecclesiastes 12:13, and Jesus’ oft repeated command to love one another.

As to losing faith in general, I have never actually seen it. Everyone has faith in the ultimate, in reason, in some sense of purpose. Most of all, we must retain our faith in love. The greatest of these, truly, is love. Without love, I am sound and fury, signifying nothing. Some people become cynical, but all retain a sense of the significance of love.

As to seeing God’s hand in life, well, that is kinda the point. He that comes to God must believe. You cannot figure it until you believe it. It requires the leap first, the leap of faith. I don’t disagree with Pointman regarding his not having that-something for the leap. I’m not the judge, and I don’t know.

Honest people trust in goodness and truth, even though they know they will sometimes be disappointed, sometimes even fatally so. That is life. There is a poem by Robert Browning Hamilton about how sorrow teaches us, Barry McGuire recorded a version on the To the Bride album. This link is to a poor recording of a live performance. YouTube doesn’t seem to have a better rendering. (Spotify does.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilBRJ70LRXs

As Pointy points out, “life is a simple but roughty toughty business.”

As to intellectual reasons, well, it is irrefutable that most of the greatest minds of all of history have retained faith. Of course, majority and consensus just don’t hold water as arguments. Despite being in good company, if the ship is going down, all drown. It is, absolutely, a matter of personal belief. Each must follow his own heart. That is the essence of liberty, freedom.

Here is my touchstone: on that day, the books will be balanced. The scores will be settled. Justice will be fully satisfied, but so will Mercy. All will stand, one on one, face to face and answer. Each will know. All will affirm justice with mercy was done. Our religious notions, no matter how deep or shallow, just don’t matter in this context. It is where we are going, and we will know that the outcome was just and merciful. Mother Teresa was right to assert that Love is the key. From memory, she said God will not ask what you did, but whether what you did, you did in love. Trust in God. Act in love. I think the key is do you insist on living for self, or do you strive for something more, something as far above self as the heavens are above the earth.

C.S. Lewis addressed that face-to-face factor:
“When the time comes to you at which you will be forced at last to utter the speech which has lain at the center of your soul for years, which you have, all that time, idiot-like, been saying over and over, you’ll not talk about the joy of words. I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?”
― C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces

Our road here is short, but it is essential. Make the most of it.

I’ve found more of my theology in the underpinnings of fiction than in theological works, especially the fiction of C.S. Lewis. I’ll mention Madeleine L’Engle as well.

Back to Pointy’s article, I just gotta repeat this: “give my fippence worth of opinion on the head honcho in the poncho’s cycling piece.” Beauty.

I’ve been so busy reading how people are reacting to the encyclical, that I still haven’t read it, but I think it is safe to use the word “anodyne” as a descriptor. Well, good, but sometimes offense is necessary. Even Jesus knew that.

Pointman knows too, and he spares no punch in his next few lines. I’d like to disagree, but he’s too close to define the miss.

Regarding responses to the encyclical, spot on!

To Pointman’s closing comments, I can only say the amen. Amen, brother, amen!

Originally posted on Pointman's:

I was born and raised a Roman Catholic. If you don’t know me by now, I’ll understand, or will try to understand such determined obscurantism in the face of reading this blog for any amount of time. I will endeavour to add some graphs and equations to it purely for your benefit but only as long as you accept I’ll just be giving it a go, but my heart won’t really be in it.

Meh, bollocks, I’ve done all my graphs and equations porridge, I’m clean nowadays, I’m a quitter, I don’t do that sorta stuff no more, haven’t turned a trick in years. For those people who read slowly and carefully, you probably realised long ago which particular stripe of rockcake I am, so bingo, you got me.

Like so many of my generation, I walked away from it but unlike so many of them, it wasn’t from…

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Just seems appropriate at the moment.

“To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”
― William Shakespeare, Macbeth

It is amazing how such little things as the Pope’s encyclical can disquiet me so. I suspect the fact I have just lost my father-in-law, and now my paternal grandmother, is more of the cause of the disquiet.

Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah

I waste away; I will not live forever. Leave me alone, for my days are but a breath.

For they are like a breath of air; their days are like a passing shadow.

Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.

Writing for First Things, of course, R.R. Reno reviews Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Sihttp://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2015/06/the-return-of-catholic-anti-modernism. Excellent.

I’ll likely be of similar opinion once I’ve read it myself.

I look forward to Maureen Mullarkey’s comments. She doesn’t pull punches, and she has a keen eye for seeing through the ornamentation and fixing on the essential truth in a presentation. Perhaps a characteristic of an artist.

I think Reno finds a key when he notes the inconsistency of the Pope aligning with science consensus, while at the same time condemning it. Reno says, “In this encyclical, Francis expresses strikingly anti-scientific, anti-technological, and anti-progressive sentiments. [and anti-modern]” If I understand Reno’s use of progressive, I would say antigrowth, antiadvancement. When I use the word progressive, I’m generally talking about the leftist ideology that is akin to socialism. I’m not inclined to suppose the Pope anti-progressivist in this sense. He seems to have socialists leanings as well as I can tell.

Reno indicates the Pope was speaking against globalization, and probably specifically as related to China and its impressive recent growth. I think it is quite important to recognize that China will not pay attention to the Pope, nor to any policies or edicts from outsiders that hinders its continued growth. China is far too big and far too poor to entertain notions of slowing growth and increasing per capita wealth. They have the resources in raw material and manpower. They will use it. They will burn fossil fuels and nuclear fuels as fast as they possibly can. They are finding that fouling one’s nest is a bad thing. They are becoming ever more conscience of decreasing pollution. As their growth and wealth increases, they will afford more and more means of keeping it clean. That is a good thing on the whole.

I note this Reno quote, including a Francis quote:

Another feature of modernity and its faith in progress has been a political commitment to liberty, equality, and fraternity. To be modern is to believe that, for all our flaws, Western societies are more democratic, more egalitarian, and more inclusive than any in history. This is not the Pope’s view. The West is rapacious. He quotes one source approvingly: “Twenty per cent of the world’s population consumes resources at a rate that robs the poor nations and future generations of what they need to survive.”

I find that sad. The Pope seems to not understand that commerce and freedom are not zero sum. The more the better-off produce, the more is available for all. The 20% consuming are also producing, and they are producing far more than they are consuming. Energy is a particularly good example here. We need to bring the poor, the undeveloped communities up to the power levels of the west. Ask any missionary in undeveloped lands about how important electricity is, and how often they have to manage without. Inexpensive, reliable electricity (and fossil fuel) is the key to lifting the truly poor out of poverty and oppression.

Reno says:

In effect, the present world system created by European and North American modernity—the world made possible by Newton, Locke, Rousseau, Ricardo, Kant, Pasteur, Einstein, Keynes, and countless other architects of modern science, economics, and political culture—is an abomination. Francis never quite says that. But this strong judgment is implied in his many fierce denunciations of the current global order. It destroys the environment, oppresses the multitudes, and makes us blind to the beauty of creation.

If Reno has captured the intent of the Pope, I strongly disagree with the Pope. The modern world is what we have to work with. I know the Pope put some emphasis on personal, individual responsibility. Yes, I agree. Be the change you want to see in the world. The modern world is actually, quantifiably, verifiably better than any before. MLK Jr. is still correct in his observation that the moral arc of the world bends slowly, but it bends toward justice and freedom. The fact is, the doomsayers may be right, but they have yet to be, and there is more evidence now than ever before that things are actually getting better.

I agree with R.R. Reno. I may alter this and that after I’ve read for myself, but I agree with what Reno says. I agree that the Pope seems to be leading in a dangerous direction. I believe society as a whole is experiencing pain associated with bad choices. I see from history and observing our world today that our choices will continue to be bad until the pain gets much worse. The better choices rest in freedom and respect for the individual at all levels in all of life’s stages and ages. We must first do no harm. We must work with and for others. We must cherish each his own. We must not coerce. We must allow all possible latitude as rational, cooperative children of God. When each of us, well, most of us, can view everyone as equal and of inestimable worth, then we will be back on the right track. Till then, over consumption will continue. The Pope cannot change that. However, market forces correct for such. Shortages result. Pain and suffering ensue. People wise up and work then.

The gods of the copybook headings come to mind.

The world will not overheat if we burn every last kilogram of coal, oil, natural gas, and even the methane clathrates. The systems are hydrodynamic and biologically buffered. Dissipative systems emerge, and the will get as complex as necessary to push back against any perturbation. 1,000 years from now, assuming something else doesn’t extinct human beings, no one will ever think of high CO2 levels, unless maybe they are trying to figure out how to raise them back up some.

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