November 04, 2014

Thoughts Conjoined by Asterisks

Listened to Richard Norton Smith talk about his biography of Nelson Rockefeller, a tome that took him 14 years to write. (My thought was why would you spend fourteen years writing about anybody except maybe Jesus?) The Brian Lamb interview was interesting enough despite the subject matter. I've long had zero interest in the wealthy liberal Republican; many say his decision to divorce and ruined his political career - John F Kennedy couldn't fathom that, saying he can't understand why any man would choose love over politics (telling us a lot about JFK). Smith said that the key way to understand Rockefeller is he believed every single problem could be solved. Thus he spent years fruitlessly trying to end the drug problem in New York as governor. Not everything has political solution or can be "fixed" externally via force. The human heart isn't as simple as he made it out to be (Jeremiah 17:9). Smith says that draconian NY state drug laws are a legacy of Rockefeller. Apparently he didn't learn the lessen of Prohibition...

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On the recent feast of Sts Simon and Jude, and I thought about how Jude Thaddeus is listed second-to-last among the apostles (Judas Iscariot being listed last), and I thought about how his low ranking is turned upside down by his reputation concerning impossible cases. There's something of the last shall be first in that. St. Peter's miracles might seem to have ebbed but St. Jude keeps on going.

Made me hungry to read about these obscure fellows and so I turned to Pope Benedict's book on the apostles. He's allergic to legends or pseudo-historical material that may or may not be true, so there's mention of what became of them other than the book in the Bible attributed to St. Jude. That book was not candy-assed - Jude was fierce in his denunciations of pseudo-Christians and heretics.

In the gospels, Jude asks only one question, that of why Jesus manifests himself to them but not others. Jesus replies "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them."

Pope Benedict writes that this is very relevant to the modern world:
"The Risen One must be seen in a way so that God may take up his abode within us. The Lord does not appear as a thing. He desires to enter our lives, and therefore his manifestation is a manifestation that implies and presupposes an open heart. Only in this way do we see the Risen One."

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Seems like an undeniable side effect of modern universalism and denial of free will is co-dependency. How can one say "no" to an irresponsible brother or sister if they're not responsible for their actions? So while the downsides of traditionalism are well-known, i.e. that of a harshness and lack of mercy, there could be danger in the other side as well.

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The downside of romantic literature is it sets up unrealistic expectations. For men, serial infatuations, for women loneliness or cynicism. But the upside is a vision of self-sacrifice, aka Humphrey Bogart in Casa Blanca.

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Listening to a Jimmy Buffet song on the radio in which the singer expresses his not untypical loathing of religion. Reminds me of poet James Wright's unforgiveness of God for a world that includes suffering. Sometimes I think being a believer comes down to whether a person believes he or God is more guilty of crimes against humanity. And a great proof of our own guilt, as if we need it, is the death of the innocent Christ. I think he was probably killed because man cannot tolerate being called a sinner.

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On the road saw car with high-laire bumper sticker poking gentle fun at folks who have either a "13.1" on their cars (indicating they ran a half-marathon) or 26.2 (full marathon). This sticker said "0.0". Got ridiculously vested in this joke and found one on 'net to buy.

2 comments:

Gregg the Obscure said...

Gots to get me the 0.0 sticker as my boss has a sticker commemorating the 100 he ran this summer. In the Colorado mountains.

TS said...

I could easily do that 100 mountain miles...over the course of a half-year, depending on the elevation.