Thursday, June 28, 2007

Late Father's Day Tribute

In the first picture, you'll see my father and myself taking part in one of our favorite pasttimes: micturating into large bodies of water. Not really. In fact, we were actually at Lake Erie for a family wedding, and it was about 10-15 deg F cooler up on the lake than everywhere else in the greater Rochester Area.

Unlike many people, I'm grateful to be able to say truthfully that my father is a good man. To the man who taught me how to be a man: Thanks dad.

Postlogue: My brother's a pretty good dad too.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Telling you things you might already know...

Ahem: There are still good people in America.

[Please don't interpret this as some kind of theological stand on the goodness of man (The author has not lost his mind in the last couple weeks).]

US charitable giving set a new record in 2006. A selection from the article above:

The overall increase for the year was 4.2 percent, or one percent adjusted for inflation. But if disaster gifts are excluded from the 2005 total, giving in 2006 rose 6,6 percent.The record-setting gift total in 2006 included $1,9-billion from billionaire Buffett, the world's third wealthiest individual, in the first installment on a 20-year pledge of more than $30-billion to four foundations."While headlines focus on 'mega-gifts', they represented 1,3 percent of the total," said George Ruotolo, chair of the Giving Institute."About 65 percent of households with incomes lower than $100 000 give to charity. That is higher than the percentage who vote or read a Sunday newspaper.""There certainly is a tradition of supporting nonprofit organizations in the United States," Jolly told AFP."It's just characteristic of the American public to give to the extent that they're able contribute."

This is not to say that America doesn't have a long way to go, because with much privilege comes much responsibility, but it does give you the right to think reasonably and with the solid cranium you were born with as opposed to just feeling guilty and bad about yourself everytime some moron reporter writes something because he wants to make people who make more money than him feel bad (oops, did I say that?)

Give generously, Live simply, Love your neighbor. Peace.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Interrogating God...

First up, you need to read the passage below: an uncanonized piece of "scripture", if you will relating a similar tale to the one we might read in Job.
Two quick asides:
1) Isn't it funny that Job is named Job, and he gets worked over by the devil? I think it's interesting when looking at the curse of how work affects our lives, relationships, and spirits.
2) Way to go Catholics! Keeping alive the book of Tobit. In addition, keeping alive some of the beauty and goodness of God by showing appreciation and respect for art, non-Canon literature, "secular" culture, etc. I deeply admire the ability to acknowledge and uplift other parts of the body which point to the Creator, regardless of minor differences, or subtle nuances which might create personal difficulty in telling a simple and easy story. This is far from a full description, so take it easy on the criticism of this paragraph.
So now we come to it, the point of the post. And it is.....have some respect for God. We have so many questions and difficulties. We question whether He is at work in His world. We question His goodness. We think we know better. A lot like Orual(sp?) in one of Lewis's lesser known works. Read it if you haven't. Just know you might have to work through the middle. It isn't as easy as his books normally are. But at the end, orual wants to destroy the God because it wronged her and took away her life in the way that she most wanted it. She had no appetite for understanding mystery. Only her correctness. In the end, she is brought before the God, and files her list of complaints (but it is really only one complaint, that she didn't get what she wanted), and after some time the truth becomes painfully obvious to her. We are not Gods. We do not get to be God. If we believe that or are working for that, we need to go ahead and shut it down now at worst as an act of self-preservation.
He is real. He is bigger than you and I, and all our garbage we think can hold him up. He
Tb 3:1-11a, 16-17aGrief-stricken in spirit, I, Tobit, groaned and wept aloud.Then with sobs I began to pray:“You are righteous, O Lord,and all your deeds are just;All your ways are mercy and truth;you are the judge of the world.And now, O Lord, may you be mindful of me,and look with favor upon me.Punish me not for my sins,nor for my inadvertent offenses,nor for those of my ancestors. “We sinned against you,and disobeyed your commandments.So you handed us over to plundering, exile, and death,till you made us the talk and reproach of all the nationsamong whom you had dispersed us.“Yes, your judgments are many and truein dealing with me as my sinsand those of my ancestors deserve.For we have not kept your commandments,nor have we trodden the paths of truth before you.“So now, deal with me as you please,and command my life breath to be taken from me,that I may go from the face of the earth into dust.It is better for me to die than to live,because I have heard insulting calumnies,and I am overwhelmed with grief.“Lord, command me to be delivered from such anguish;let me go to the everlasting abode;Lord, refuse me not.For it is better for me to diethan to endure so much misery in life,and to hear these insults!”On the same day, at Ecbatana in Media,it so happened that Raguel’s daughter Sarahalso had to listen to abuse,from one of her father’s maids.For she had been married to seven husbands,but the wicked demon Asmodeus killed them offbefore they could have intercourse with her,as it is prescribed for wives.So the maid said to her:“You are the one who strangles your husbands!Look at you!You have already been married seven times,but you have had no joy with any one of your husbands.Why do you beat us? Is it on account of your seven husbands,Because they are dead?May we never see a son or daughter of yours!”The girl was deeply saddened that day,and she went into an upper chamber of her house, where she planned to hang herself.But she reconsidered, saying to herself:“No! People would level this insult against my father:‘You had only one beloved daughter,but she hanged herself because of ill fortune!’And thus would I cause my father in his old ageto go down to the nether world laden with sorrow.It is far better for me not to hang myself,but to beg the Lord to have me die,so that I need no longer live to hear such insults.”At that time, then, she spread out her hands,and facing the window, poured out her prayer:“Blessed are you, O Lord, merciful God,and blessed is your holy and honorable name.Blessed are you in all your works for ever!”At that very time, the prayer of these two suppliantswas heard in the glorious presence of Almighty God.So Raphael was sent to heal them both:to remove the cataracts from Tobit’s eyes,so that he might again see God’s sunlight;and to marry Raguel’s daughter Sarah to Tobit’s son Tobiah,and then drive the wicked demon Asmodeus from her.