September 09, 2009

This & That

Biblical tribalism

Been thinking of the sometimes ridiculousness of office work - the trivial infighting and politics and tiny-to-the-point-of-zero effect that any one person can contribute to the bottom line of a corporation - but also how those feelings can be leavened by humility.

The example that comes to mind is offered by Kathleen Norris in Acedia and Me of a hermit monk who made baskets but who was too far from civilization to profit from it, so every year he burned all his baskets. Interesting. It puts work on a completely different plane; by removing all trace of utility that monk was really proclaiming that work is made for man and not man for work, as John Paul II said.

A controversial view of Medjugorje

St. Leo the Great's exegete about "blessed are those who mourn":
"The mourning for which he promises eternal consolation, dearly beloved, has nothing to do with ordinary worldly distress; for the tears which have their origin in the sorrowcommon to all mankind do not make anyone blessed...Religious grief mourns for sin, one's own or another's; it does not lament because of what happens as a result of Go'd justice, but because of what is done by human malice. Indeed, he who does wrong is more to be lamented than he who suffers it, for his wickedness plunges the sinnner into punishment, whereas endurance can raise the just man to glory."
Well, you can tell why he's a saint.

Humor seems at least partially generational. A friend writes, "Jerry Lewis was needlessly vulgar and 'ethnic' at some points during the telethon. Came off more like an unfunny (unfunnier?) Don Rickles. He told a little girl, "Tell God that the Jew is on your side," or words to that effect. The girl looked duly appalled."

And during the thirty seconds I watched indeed he did sort of insult this Burger King executive who came on, telling him he was boring. (He was.) I'm guessing people over 60 find Rickles and Lewis very funny.

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