Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tuareg Wedding Sahara Desert Africa

We have romanticized sexuality. Here are the words of a dissenting voice at the Catholic council when the schema on marriage was being proposed:

The schema is too Occidental . . . You in the West find it quite natural for those in love to marry. But you are the exceptions if humanity as a whole is considered. Our people love one another because they are married, which is not quite the same thing. We differ from Westerners in that our marriages are contracted not out of love but by the will of the parents or tribe. We marry to continue the race.
--Archbishop Djajasepoetra of Jakarta, Indonesia

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

That Jones shall worship the "god within him" turns out ultimately to mean that Jones shall worship Jones. Let Jones worship the sun or moon -- anything rather than the Inner Light; let Jones worship cats or crocodiles, if he can find any in his street, but not the god within. Christianity came into the world firstly in order to assert with violence that a man had not only to look inwards, but to look outwards, to behold with astonishment and enthusiasm a divine company and a divine captain. The only fun of being a Christian was that a man was not left alone with the Inner Light, but definitely recognized an outer light, fair as the sun, clear as the moon, terrible as an army with banners.
... G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy [1909]

from "The Final Unmasking"

Do you so love the truth and the right that you welcome, or at least submit willingly to, the idea of an exposure of what in you is yet unknown to yourself -- an exposure that may redound to the glory of the truth by making you ashamed and humbled?... Are you willing to be made glad that you were wrong when you thought others were wrong?... We may trust God with our past as heartily as with our future. It will not hurt us so long as we do not try to hide things, so long as we are ready to bow our heads in hearty shame where it is fit that we should be ashamed. For to be ashamed is a holy and blessed thing. Shame is a thing to shame only those who want to appear, not those who want to be. Shame is to shame those who want to pass their examination, not those who would get into the heart of things... To be humbly ashamed is to be plunged in the cleansing bath of truth.
... George Macdonald

Friday, June 5, 2009

Steve Young said he asked Brother Madsen once what his favorite scripture was. After thinking a while, Madsen told him it was Doctrine and Covenants 50:40-46, which reads in part, "Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me; And none of them that my Father hath given me shall be lost."

It’s worth recalling that the Soviet state, which of course controlled all formal education, taught children that their first loyalty was not to their parents but to the state itself. A major street in Moscow was actually renamed in honor of a boy named Pavel Morozov who had informed on his father; when the father was condemned as a traitor, Pavel was killed by furious relatives. The regime treated him as a martyr and model for all Soviet children. The weird tale deserves to be better known here.

According to Wikipedia: Pavel Trofimovich Morozov, better known by the diminutive Pavlik, was a Soviet youth glorified by Soviet propaganda as a martyr. His story, dated to 1932, is that of a 13-year old boy who denounced his father to the authorities and was in turn killed by his family. It was a Soviet morality tale: opposing the state was selfish and reactionary, and state was a higher virtue than family love. His story was a subject of compulsory children readings, songs, plays, a symphonic poem, a full-length opera and six biographies. The cult had a huge impact on moral norms of generations of children. (There is very little original evidence related to the story.)

Only the...Church can save a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age
--G.K. Chesterton

the great hoax revisited

If you want to contend that the Gospels are packs of lies and that Jesus never said all those things or performed all those wonders, you should at least admit that Christianity is the most brilliant hoax of all time. Everything fits so well. How could a few unlearned and provincial Jews invent such a supremely memorable character, endow him with the ability to speak immortal words on all occasions, then make virtually all the details of his story cohere so well, tallying even with Old Testament prophecy?

A cliche of literary criticism tell us that evil characters are more interesting than good ones. If so, why is this best of all characters — indeed, he is sinless — so fascinating? And how could four unpracticed amateur writers create the most vividly virtuous personality in all literature? And why does he sound like the same utterly unique man in all of their accounts of him?

In Jesus, goodness is not at all bland; it normally inspires, but it can also be disturbing, challenging, even frightening. He is incomparable; he never reminds us of anyone else.
--Joe Sobran

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Truman G. Madsen, RIP

I close with an entry in my journal. It was in Amman, Jordan some years ago. We had just come from a parched visit to Egypt where even the native Bedouin can survive, at most, three hours without water. We had said to some of our friends, "This should remind you of the two words spoken from the cross, the only self-regarding words which are a sure sign of the loss of blood. Jesus said: 'I thirst'" (John 19:28).

That night I had a dream. I was beaten down to my hands and knees and was conscious of a burning thirst. In the illogic of dreams there was somehow a small cup filled with liquid—an unearthly liquid. It was radiant. It was delicious. It was cool. But as I lifted it to my lips it was as if two hands were placed behind me, not touching, but close to my head, and from them came a kind of throb, a comfort, a warm feeling, and then the miracle. As I drank in relief, the cup filled again and again. The more I sought to quench my thirst, the more it flowed. A wave of gratitude came over me to the Christ—for in the dream it was Christ. My impulse was to turn around, stop drinking, and thank him. But then came the sweet assurance that my drinking was His thanks—that this was what He most wanted—that this was His reward, even his glory, like a gracious hostess, who takes delight in seeing her family and guests eat heartily. I knew and I knew He knew, so I drank and drank until I was full. Only then was He gone.
--Truman Madsen, died May 28, 2009
See: http://thefuneralview.com/funeralservices/2009/6/2/trumangmadsen.html