Monday, June 30, 2008

Notent Notables: I Entered a Poetry Contest and All I Go Was This Lousy Button for My Blog

Apparently the IC liked one of my 6-word spirituality summaries enough to give me note in her most recent poetry contest. I got a fancy button to celebrate my notability. The entry of note:

I danced to God's burning violin.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Not Said By Jesus Sunday

I know it's like 5 min early, but I'm going fishing and need to be on the road at 3am. So here it is a little early.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Accuracy and Readability

Looks like the bishops are at it again deciding whether or not we lay people can understand archaic language and whether or not the new English translations being prepared are not only accurate but also readable.

Being someone who has studied literature, philosophy, and theology on both undergraduate and graduate levels I am keenly aware of both sides of the argument when it comes to the new translations of the mass into English. One must keep in mind, as it appears the bishops are doing, that the church is not made up solely of intellectuals or merely artists or couch potatoes, so some common ground must be met in regards to the translations. If the church was composed solely of one of these groups then translating from the Latin to English would be simple, but that is not the case.

Here I present two accurate renderings (not from the original languages) of a biblical passage. One is more readable than the other but both are accurate.

Here is the first:
In a quick and sudden moment, a feeling welling inside of human emotion occurred where a complex secretomotor phenomenon characterized by the shedding of fluids, containing quantities of the hormones prolactin, adrenocorticotropic hormone, leuenkephalin and also containing elements of potassium and manganese, from the lacrimal apparatus without any irritation of the ocular structures thus signaling to others that he, Jesus, is wrought with emotion about something that has recently happened.
Or As John put it in Chapter 11 of his Gospel:
Jesus Wept.
I do this to demonstrate that an accurate rendering doesn’t always mean more readable. As I am sure the later rendering is much more pleasing and easier to read, it speaks mounds more than the longer sterile scientific description of a person crying. The sentence “Jesus Wept” does two things that the scientific description cannot do: first it allows the hearer to use his or her imagination and second it taps into human emotion thereby allowing the reader to connect to the text in a way that cannot happen with the longer scientific description. Also, if a person is not careful in listening or in reading the longer scientific version, he or she might miss the main point of the sentence, that being that Jesus wept. In other words, some renderings are more culturally relevant to the masses.

Lastly, I have no doubt that whatever translation the Bishops decide upon it will be unsatisfactory to many people within the English speaking church as it is impossible to please everyone at the same time.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The ABC's of Who's Going to Hell

Apparently everyone is. That is, according to the LSU Union Preachers. (This Video is NOT Politically Correct.)

Back In the Day Paper Never Went Down

Just a random thought. Computers are nice but when they have been 'down' in a doctor's office for two days now and the staff in unable to schedule any appointments regardless of your need, disease, or sneeze they are very frustrating to the patient trying to get an appointment.

These happenings make me wish paper wasn't out of fashion in important areas of life as it is still the only thing that doesn't seem to 'go-down' when people need it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Heaven on Earth

From Four Cultures of the West by John W. O’Malley.
According to the story often told in 1988, when Soviet Russia decided to celebrate the millennium of Russia’s conversion to Christianity, in 988 Prince Vladimir of Kiev sent out emissaries to discover the true religion. When the emissaries reached Constantinople and witnessed a liturgy there in Hagia Sophia, they knew they had achieved their goal. They returned to Kiev and reported to Vladimir: “We knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth, for surely there is no such splendor or beauty anywhere upon earth. We cannot describe it to you. Only this we know, that God dwells there among men, and that their service surpasses the worship of all other places. For we cannot forget its beauty.” (179)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Being Number 2 Was Never This Good

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

From the Article:
Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn’t going—so far as I can tell—but it’s changing. I’m not thinking the way I used to think. I can feel it most strongly when I’m reading. Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.

It Is Official!

Baton Rouge, LA -- At approximately 5 p.m. central, the Louisiana House adopted Senate Bill 6 -- proposed by Democrat Senator of New Orleans, Edwin Murray -- 66 to 33, which made Sazerac [Sa-zer-ac] the official state cocktail of Louisiana. Sazerac is believed to be the original cocktail in American created by a Haitian pharmacist in New Orleans from a variety of bitters, mixed with cane sugar, French brandy, and absinthe in the early part of the 19th century. When brought to the table for consideration, a number of house members made tongue-in-cheek comments and questions about Senate Bill 6 including, "What does it taste like?", "How do you say the name of that drink?", "Can you describe the taste of the drink for me?" and "I'll vote for it if [a certain northern house member] says the name of that drink with his Northern Louisiana drawl."

After this hard day debating this crucial bill, there is no doubt that Louisiana Legislators should vote themselves a pay raise that they apparently deserve.

I propose that Marlboro be named the offical cigarette of the state, hand-rolled-cigars the offical state cigar, Dixie the official state beer, charmine the official state toilet paper, and Popeyes the official state fast-food resturant.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Eternal Longings

One would suspect that running from one distraction to another would lead us to question why we do such things. The constant filling of the self with finite things and still being left unsatisfied should, if we every stopped to ask "why?", hopefully lead us to the conclusion that an eternal longing can only be fulfilled by something (or someone) who is also eternal.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Bishop N.T. Wright on Colbert Report

Turn on your TV and tune it to Comedy Central. Scripture Scholar and Anglican Bishop of Durham, N.T. Wright, is appearing on the Colbert Report in about 10 min. He is a valuable wealth of scripture knowledge.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Away too long.

I've been away too long. I think it is going to take me a long time to go through my Google Reader account. Apparently it stops counting new entries at 1000, so who knows how many posts I have to go through.

What is Faith?

Still preparing for my comprehensive finals. I am reading books for one of the topics for the exam called "Theological Integration." Most of the books have sketchy theology in them that place human experience first and places Christ as an after thought (I think they are influenced by Karl Rhaner). They encourage theological reflection but mention little about prayer and meditation -- reflection on God is not the same things as praying to God. If you ask the writers what faith is, they would define it as follows (these are actually quotes from the texts):
  • Faith is "The process of constitutive knowing."
  • Faith has "to do with making maintenance and transformation of human meaning."
  • "Faith refers to the basic orientation of the person in which he or she knows the world and engages in the activity of meaning making."
  • "Faith is a self-constituting activity: the self is also being shaped by the way in which the self sees the world."
I am shocked at these definitions of faith by people who are considered Catholic theologians. Their definition of faith is very different from what St. Paul wrote in Hebrews: "Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen" (11.1 NAB). I don't understand why some theologians feel the need to reinvent things. It is as if they are trying to be original and instead fail at being original, and the resulting product is something that is less concrete and less profound than the original.

Also, the last definition, in my opinion, boarders relativism. That is, the last definition is relativistic in the sense that the self shapes the self and creates meaning by how one sees the world. This is a poor definition as it fails to allow a person to discover the truth and be shaped by the truth.

Maybe I'm just not smart enough to understand what the writers are saying, but what they have presented to me, the reader, seems somewhat peculiar to me and makes me take warning.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Not Said by Jesus Sunday: Late Edition

Sylvan Wisdom and Such

I'm still in the woods, and it looks like I will be heading out tomorrow. Being in the woods the last two weeks made me think, "Are there any Sylvan Fathers?" What I mean is that in Christianity there are the desert fathers, pioneers of the monastic contemplative tradition, is there a woodland counterpart of these desert monks?

Well, here is some sylvan wisdom that I amassed over the two weeks: "You control your passions for Christ, so that you will have passion for Christ."

Monday, June 09, 2008

10 Signs You Are at a Catholic Summer Camp

  1. Morning and night Prayer prayed every day.
  2. Before rejoining a game of Man Hunt, after being caught, you are required to pray a decade of the rosary for the souls in purgatory.
  3. Daily Mass, Rosary, and Benediction.
  4. You find the missing campers by the lake practicing the Salva Regina for nigh prayers.
  5. The campers pick team names like Benedict's Six, Catholics on Patrol, The Kyrigma Kids, and The Perichoresis Pack.
  6. Evening activity consists of a rousing game of "Conclave" where the campers take the role of cardinals and elect a Pope.
  7. Calling another "Henry VIII, Zwingli, and Sister Joan" are the most server form of insult.
  8. Charity is exemplified by choosing not the smack your opponent in the head with the dodge ball when another body part will suffice.
  9. Virtues are a key component to the Camp.
  10. You hear someone yell, "Last one there is a Martin Luther."

Adventure in Catechesis #10

If you are interested, this is what the Dumb Ox has to say about Piety.

Crawfish and Chicago

There is a religious brother from Chicago that is helping with the summer camp. I overheard a part of a conversation with the Brother and a Camper that made me laugh out loud. However, you might not enjoy this as much if you aren't from Louisiana.

Camper: "Brother, how do they cook crawfish in Chicago?"
Brother: "We don't eat crawfish in Chicago."
Camper: "What do you do with them?"
Brother: "We use them as bait."
Camper: "BAIT! You can't use crawfish as bait! They are too good to use as bait. You really shouldn't fish with our food."

Still in the Woods: An All Around Update

I'm still in the woods. I took some time today to pop into town to check my email and make a couple of phone calls.

If you are interested, I'm the new coordinator of campus ministry/campus minister/theology teacher at Jesuit High School in New Orleans, LA.

Not Said By Jesus Sunday: Monday Edition

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Into the Woods . . .

Sorry about the lack of updates over the past week. Moving, unpacking and studying for comps is kind of a priority at the moment.

Also, yesterday I got sucked into being a warm body at a 2 week summer camp somewhere in rural Louisiana. I was told all I have to do is be present. The camp needs an extra person to help adhere with diocesan policy. I understand that the camp is in a very quiet area free of all kinds of internet connections, so I should be able to hit the books hard for finals.

Translation: I most likely will not be updating the blog for a good two weeks.

Prayers are appreciated for both the summer camp and my studying. I'll have a Not Said By Jesus Sunday up before I leave.
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