September 24, 2021

Quick Takes

Well, to quote Springsteen, “the calliope crashed to the ground.”  Meaning the summer of wine and roses has fled and we’re left with STS (sudden temperature shift). Going from the hot days in St. Louis to yesterday's 50s-with-wind has been an attention-getter.

Of course we’ll probably get a fine rebound of temps next week or three, but I predict the longterm deterioration of the weather will continue (doesn’t take a prophet!). 


I’m always delighted by the psalm that goes, “the Lord takes delight in his people”.  So counterintuitive, especially these days!  Funny that God could take delight in us -- unless he’s like a child, i.e. has a sense of wonder and appreciation for his creation. 


It’s telling how difficult it is to govern well, even when you’re not beholden to interests. Take the case of Ohio’s “maverick senator”, Frank Lausche.  I’m reading the Ohio section of Gunter’s 1947 “Inside the USA”. Gunther is an opinionated “outsider looking in” and he has part of a chapter on Lausche, praising him and saying his political career is far from over despite a loss for governor. In that Gunther was right, but more interestingly to me is how Lausche came in with his own guiding compass, even threatening upon entering the Senate as a Democrat not to vote for LBJ for leader. He did vote for LBJ (one mistake right there), and on the major issues of the time dropped the ball, namely on Vietnam and federal spending (except for not wanting Housing & Urban Development). Even with the right motivations it’s pretty difficult to get even the big issues right. He had no crystal ball but that’s a lot of times what we expect of leaders. 


Why beautiful churches? mediation on yesterday's reading from Haggai:

Haggai 1:2–15 (NB Ho-Mal): This rallying of the people to get them to rebuild the temple may seem a minor matter compared with the high moral tone found in the prophetical books generally. However, it derives from a profound faith: the people, whom God “created”, will never have a proper sense of their identity unless they can see God in their midst. This idea comes across clearly in the middle of the oracle: “build the house … that I may take pleasure in it and that I may appear in my glory” (v. 8). This should be read in the context of other biblical passages that assert how good God is to reach down to his people: “For the Lord has chosen Zion; he has desired it for his habitation: ‘This is my resting place for ever’ ” (Ps 132:13–14). A logical consequence of this is that God should be offered the best that we can give him, and that offering should also be seen in the beauty of church decoration, for the arts, “by their very nature, are oriented toward the infinite beauty of God which they attempt in some way to portray by the work of human hands; they achieve their purpose of redounding to God’s praise and glory in proportion as they are directed the more exclusively to the single aim of turning men’s minds devoutly toward God” (Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium, 122).

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