Mark O. Archives

Things Heard: edition 6v2

Well, I was taken by the flu for a bit, which is the reason for the absence of yesterday’s “things heard” posting.

Things Heard: edition 5v5

5 by 5? Hmm. For those curious, the XvY notion I’m using is sort of tracking how long I’ve been doing the “Things Heard” feature here on SCO. The X is a week number, Y is the day of the week (weekdays 1-5).

Things Heard: edition 5v4

  • Jihadist is “out”, how about “evil scum” as a replacment? That has a direct meaning and some preschool charm. I wonder, in Kantian fashion, what would happen if that term was universalized.
  • Box cutter found noted at Evil Scum Watch.
  • The main al-Qaeda evil scum in Iraq who lead the move to recruiting girls from mental hospitals and using them as bombs … caught.
  • A Lenten litany.
  • A “hope” gap? Read the concluding paragraph.

Things Heard: edition 5v3

Things Heard: edition 5v2

I’m not going to note this every week or post, but the “things heard” are culled from a longer weekday/daily link list on my personal blog.

Repentance and Nation

Recently, in a short exchange, the subject of national apology resurfaced, especially in the light of Australia’s move to apologize for its treatment of the aborigine population. However, on some reflection I think the idea of national apology is wrong and actually counter-productive. I was briefly looking for entertainment opportunities for my wife and I to take in in the upcoming weeks and this arose as a possibility. The remark embedded in the blurb:

This concise but wide-ranging documentary examines the subject through compelling stories from around the globe, including the families of six young men killed by the British Army in Northern Ireland, an Amish community overcoming the mass murder of five of its schoolchildren, Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel seeking an official apology from Germany for the Holocaust, … [emphasis added]

Now let me suggest two events and consider of the following which do you think would mean more to the world-wide Jewish population:

  1. Angela Merkel reads an apology ratified by the Bundestag and Bundesrat offering regret for the Holocaust. A piece of modern art-work is commissioned to be executed by some marginally transgressive modernist artist.
  2. In a ground-swell movement of German people individually embark on a pilgrimage to visit Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, and Auschwitz-Birkenau. Once there these pilgrims plant near or on the site a rue flower, read a poem selected by the movement, tour the site, and shed some tears. Imagine this movement sweeps over a significant percentage of the German people. Millions visit each year for decades or even for generations.

My point is to ask which of these is actually the more meaningful? A statement by a figurehead (or figureheads) or the actual feelings and demonstration of repentance by the people as individuals? I’d offer that the latter would hold far more meaning and that the former would be (should be, by comparison) almost meaningless.

Charity, when practiced by the state, tends to counter and diminish our individual impulse to charity. It is a common notion that personal participation in food kitchens, pantries, or shelters for the homeless is not required, as that is what taxes, in part, are paid to do for us. Similarly apology for evils done by the state replace or diminish the need or impulse for repentance by the individual. For the actual harm done by the state was not executed by any thing called a “state”, but by individuals. And it is individuals who must repent. Germany as Germany does not need to apologize for the Holocaust. Germans do, not Germany. Solzhenitsyn wrote that the line between good and evil is drawn through every human heart. And it is every human heart that needs to repent for things done, not those heartless state organs.

Things Heard: edition 5v1

Things Heard: edition 4v3

Missed out during traveling (and server woes) yesterday.

Things Heard: ediction 4v1

Eastern Orthodox Trivia

In the US (and the West) little is known about Orthodoxy. Did you know on a little street called Via Recta (the Street called Straight) see Acts 9:

Almost 700 meters to the west of Bab Sharqi is a Roman monumental arch that was excavated and rebuilt in 1947 by the Syrian Department of Antiquities. It is here that the intersection of Straight Street and the north-south Cardo Maximus has been located. On the right-hand side in ancient times stood a Byzantine church dedicated to the Virgin Mary and called Mariamyeh. Today, on the same site, stands a church which serves as the Seat of the Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate. [emphasis mine]

The larger Orthodox church, from an church administrative standpoint is divided into autocephalus (independent heads) groups, e.g., the American Orthodox church OCA was granted autocephaly from the Russian in 1970. So what that quote above means is that the Greek Orthodox holds as its base of operations … a church on a street called “Straight”, that is one of not-just-a-little Biblical significance.

On Abortion and Fathers

In the last conversation about abortion (at my personal blog) my frequent interlocutor, Jewish Atheist (JA), depends in part on arguments drawn from the Violinist question. This is odd, because JA himself finds the Violinist argument poor. In that discussion however, I’d like to concentrate on the reasoning the pro-choice/pro-abortion community uses to deny the father any say in the matter, with a blanket excuse “it’s the women’s body.” I’m going modify my narrative around the violinist argument to highlight why I think setting the father out of the picture in a point blank fashion is a violation of common sense contractual ethics. For the story, duck below the fold: Read the rest of this entry

Inside and outside of the Christian community at large views the prosperity gospel as errant, and proponents of the same such as Mr Osteen are seen as heretical. Now, I’m something of a Christian purist, if you don’t adhere to the Nicene Creed … you aren’t, by definition, Christian. Mr Romney as a Mormon, or Jehovah Witnesses for example, are not thereby, technically speaking Christian. Barack Obama holds to a church which professes what is called Black Liberation Theology. Now, I had formerly looked askance at that having associated Liberation Theology with the South American Catholic Liberation movement which intimately connected the gospel and Marxism, which I felt was probably “just wrong.” It was then remarked that the adjective “Black” has definite meaning and as such there is little or no connection with Marxism. However, I just looked into via a little googling what Black Liberation theology entails … and well first of all it’s not Christian, and secondly it’s not properly theology at all to my way of thinking. Mr Obama is not a Christian, he’s something worse. He’s a heretic claiming to be Christian but in fact is not.

Now I’m planning on going a little more details in future posts, but in precis it seems to me the theological content of Black Liberation (BL) theology might be summarized thusly. In my view, BL and the properity gospel are two sides of the same coin. Prosperity gospel is for the rich (white?) American folk hoping to get richer (simply put, Jesus = Good news (gospel) and what other than good news can one have than getting rich?). The other side of the coin, for those feeling or being oppressed is BL. For example:

The first question Bruce L. Fields asks in Introducing Black Theology is “What is black theology?” It is theology from the perspective of an oppressed people. It seeks to interpret the gospel of Jesus Christ against the backdrop of historical and contemporary racism. The message of black theology is that the African American struggle for liberation is consistent with the gospel—every theological statement must be consistent with, and perpetuate, the goals of liberation.

I find the statement “every theological statement must be consistent with, and perpetuate, the goals of liberation” to be, in a word, from the small “o” orthodox Christian perspective rankest heresy. An honest atheist is not dangerous in the way that man claiming to be your brother who in fact is not … is.

Now American’s Black included are notoriously ignorant of history. Historically speaking, one can argue that the majority of the starkly oppressed Christian churches have been the Eastern Orthodox. Now, I’ll admit some prejudice here, but I think it can be argued with that prejudice in mind that the proper Christian response to oppression can be found in the Early church and the Eastern church in lands conquered by Islam and the Orthodox church behind the Iron Curtain and under atheist communist persecution. If the American Black can claim oppression what by contrast does the Coptic Christian claim is his situation in Egypt, or the Antiochan Orthodox within Syria? In parts of the (former) Soviet bloc, it was a capital crime to baptize. I’m not saying the Black American today isn’t oppressed. But there needs to be another word to describe these other instances of oppression. A few people killed here and their is murder. Holocaust or Holodomor are not “murder” because the quantitative difference yeilds something which begs for a new word to describe and signify that difference.

In this series I’m going to examine Black Liberation Theology in more detail and contrast it, where possible, with a Christian viewpoint as well as, if appropriate, to contrast the how theological responses to the same stimuli played out in the East with the Black liberation ideas, and thus underlying and understanding what is meant by Mr Obama as Heretic.

A Sort of Silly Meme

Weekend Fisher has tagged me with the Celebrity meme. The meme, answer these questions:

  1. Who would s/he be?
  2. Where would you expect him/her to bring you?
  3. Where would you bring him/her?
  4. What would you like to do with him/her?
  5. What’s the one thing you’d been always wanting to ask the celebrity?
  6. If s/he didn’t treat you well, would s/he be your favorite celebrity?
  7. What would you give to him/her as a gift before saying goodbye so s/he’d remember you?
  8. Tag 3 people.

Now, I’m assuming some things about this “Celebrity”, that is the common famous people currently living related to “show business”, not for example famous Comp-Sci icon like Donald Knuth, mathematicians like Terrence Tao, or theologians like Metropolitan John Zizioulas and living so we might exclude any number of very famous people. Too many others I like, for example as authors Dan Simmons or other popular authors are too obscure to be celebrated/celebrity. What is my answer?

Iwas hoping over the weekend to come up with an idea of a celebrity who was really a celebrity, Eddy Merckx for example is a celebrity in Europe but cycling is too small a sport to matter here. From the acting community, I was really really impressed by Michael Kitchen in the Foyle’s War series … but again I think too far “down on the charts” to count.I wanted to think of a famous person recognized in America as really a celebrity who was actually praiseworthy and someone whom I wanted to meet. Alas, my small brain can’t figure an answer to that question this weekend. But there is a celebrity, with whom I think I’d be glad for some advice with respect to my youngest daughter … so with that in mind we begin:

  1. So my celebrity choice would be Nadia Comaneci. She may be out of the spotlight for some time but I watched, was amazed with the world, and admired/adored her during the 1976 Olympic games. My youngest daughter is, albeit starting a little late, becoming enthusiastically involved in gymnastics and beginning to compete.
  2. I wouldn’t expect her to bring anything.
  3. Perhaps we could meet at a meet? That would be cool. I’m a novice at watching gymnastics. Some pointers at what to look for from the stands would be really nice.
  4. I’d like to talk, to get advice with respect to my daughter.
  5. What’s fame like? Is it worth it if it comes during your pursuit of your passion/vocation?
  6. I wouldn’t feel bad if she didn’t treat me well. I’m the one imposing on her.
  7. I think a nice goodbye gift might be an icon of St. Emmelia, my daughter’s name/Chrismation saint. I don’t know if she’s Orthodox, but the percentage of Orthodox in Romania is in the high 90’s so there’s a chance. I’d hope she might find a place for it in her corner if that wasn’t too large an imposition.

Three to tag? How about the rest of the crew here?

Things Heard: edition 3v5

Things Heard: ediction 3v4

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