Sunday, September 23, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
By KENNETH L. WOODWARD September 8, 2007; Page A12
Monday, September 17, 2007
The indications of her struggles with spiritual doubt and aridity are truly valuable and even inspirational. In a world of overweight “prophets” who prance the stages of high-tech evangelical superchurches shouting fundamentalist doctrine, or pompously robed automatons droning liturgical rite to snoozing masses, Teresa’s practice of the hard-core Christian Gospel remains an absolute beacon in the murk.
If her inner-faith had been marked by constant, rapturous encounters and visions in some cloister, how could she have ever torn herself away to care for the poorest of the poor? Therein lies both the heartache and the ineffable beauty of Teresa’s spiritual journey.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
"We may prefer to think that she spent her days in a state of ecstatic mystical union with God, because that would get us ordinary worldlings off the hook. . . . [Yet] what made her self-negating work possible was not a subjective experience of ecstasy but an objective relationship to God shorn of the sensible awareness of God's presence. . . . The way Mother Teresa learned to deal with her trial of faith [was] by converting her feeling of abandonment by God into an act of abandonment to God."
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
"I spoke as if my very heart was in love with God - tender, personal love. If you were there, you would have said, 'What hypocrisy.'"
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Sunday, September 9, 2007
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Here are a couple things I've been thinking about while traveling:
I Feel the Earth Move Under My Feet
At ATL, I avoid the shuttle train between the concourses and take the moving sidewalks, instead. It's an attempt to compensate for a lack of exercise in my daily life. I've been on and off these moving sidewalks so many times that I don't need to think about the transitions from "ground not moving" to "ground moving" to "ground not moving." But here's the kicker: every now and then, one of the moving sidewalks won't be moving. And usually, I'll walk on it, anyway, just for fun. And you know what's weird? I usually lurch getting on and off. My brain is so accustomed to having that piece of metal beneath my feet moving that it doesn't adjust well to the times it's not moving. It used to be that I could close my eyes a few steps before the beginning or the end of the dormant sidewalk and make the transition seamlessly, but lately when I've tried that, I stumble, anyway. Apparently, my brain is now calculating the distance and preparing for the transition even without the proximate visual cues.
I'm sure there's a spiritual lesson somewhere in here about learning to deal with life a certain way and not transitioning well to new realities, but frankly, I'm more interested in the physio-cognitive aspects of this phenomenon. Brains are amazing things.
Vogue, Glamour, Elle, GQ, . . . and Then There's Us
A recent poll of 1500 European hotel managers (see pages 2-3) reported that Americans are the 2nd best overall travelers, behind the Japanese, and the most generous tippers by far. One category that stands out, based on my own recent and upcoming travels, is Best Dressed. The Italians win this one, by far, followed by the French and Spanish. I'm planning to go to Italy next month, so maybe I'll pick up a few duds while I'm there. And perhaps I need to: the Worst Dressed in the poll were the Americans, by far. I've done my own survey on my last couple airport trips, and I have to agree. Just go to the airport and try to find someone dressed with any sense of style. When you do, it'll most likely be a foreigner. What is it about America that requires us to look like slobs when we go out in public? Why is comfort our highest value, and why are we so aesthetically clueless? Is there any connection between poor fasion and poor architecture and poor city design? Is it a coincidence that some of the world's best architecture is in Italy and France, the countries where the people dress the best?
That's all for now. I need to go pack for tomorrow's trip.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
I once heard Alex Trebek of Jeopardy fame on the radio. He was speaking to the National Press Club, and what stood out to me was how smart and eloquent he was, not just "another pretty face."
But there are plenty of pretty faces out there who probably ought to keep their traps shut. They may be good actors, but they certainly can say stupid things (so can I, but I manage to stay out of the magazines).
Case in point: Jodie Foster, as interviewed in the latest(?) edition of Entertainment Weekly (thanks to Friendly Atheist for profiling this on his own blog). Check out this quote from p. 41:
Are you religious?An atheist who loves religion and practices rituals for "fun." I haven't read the article, but from this risible quote, it appears this portrayer of tough women has marshmallow convictions under that steely exterior. What good is it being an atheist if you're going to practice religious rituals and tell your kids they can choose their own beliefs when they're 18? What good would it be to call oneself a "Christian" and participate in Ramadan, or a Muslim and celebrate Easter? For that matter, what kind of parenting is it that cares so little about guiding children regarding life's most important issue?
No, I’m an atheist. But I absolutely love religions and the rituals. Even though I don’t believe in God. We celebrate pretty much every religion in our family with the kids. They love it, and when they say, ”Are we Jewish?” or ”Are we Catholic?” I say, ”Well, I’m not, but you can choose when you’re 18. But isn’t this fun that we do seders and the Advent calendar?”
It seems to me that whatever you're going to be, you ought to be it, and stop playing around. That naive dreamer Jesus said something along those lines: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9.23).