All Things Considered, October 24, 2008 · Religious language trips off Barack Obama's tongue as if he were a native of the Bible Belt.
From the moment he emerged on the national scene, he has spoken to believers in a language few Democrats have mastered: the language of the Bible and of a personal relationship with God.
Sometimes he shares his adult conversion story, describing how he knelt beneath the cross at his Chicago church: "I felt I heard God's spirit beckoning me," he says. "I submitted myself to his will, and dedicated myself to discovering his truth and carrying out his works."
Sometimes he speaks of sin and personal responsibility: "When a gangbanger shoots indiscriminately into a crowd because he feels someone has disrespected him," he told a group of religious progressives in 2006, "We've got a moral problem. There's a hole in that young man's heart."
And sometimes he borrows code words, not from hymns, but from Christian rock star Michael W. Smith, such as when he proclaimed at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, "We worship an awesome God in the blue states!"
It is this ease with religion that has helped Obama win over voters of various religious stripes — including Catholics who traditionally have voted Republican....
25 October 2008
19 October 2008
Master (with a smile): "Do you know my attitude? Books, scriptures, and things like that only point out the way to reach God. After finding the way, what more need is there of books and scriptures? Then comes the time for action.
"A man received a letter from home informing him that certain presents were to be sent to his relatives. The names of the articles were given in the letter. As he was about to go shopping for them, he found that the letter was missing. He began anxiously to search for it, several others joining in the search. For a long time they continued to search. When at last the letter was discovered, his joy knew no bounds. With great eagerness he opened the letter and read it. It said that he was to buy five seers of sweets, a piece of cloth, and a few other things. Then he did not need the letter any more, for it had served its purpose. Putting it aside, he went out to buy the things. How long is such a letter necessary? As long as its contents are not known. When the contents are known one proceeds to carry out the directions.
"In the scriptures you will find the way to realize God. But after getting all the information about the path, you must begin to work. Only then can you attain your goal.
"The almanac forecasts the rainfall tor the year. You may squeeze the book, but you won't get a drop of water — not even a single drop." (Laughter.)
Consider the following proposition as a key to understanding the Catholic-Christian approach to theology:
The proper Catholic-Christian answer to any theological question is always
"both/and," rather than "either/or."
At first glance, this might seem ridiculous or contradictory. Isn't God absolute? Isn't there just one truth, as opposed to error? Indeed, this proposal does not imply that a statement and its direct negation are both true ("A is B" and "A is not B"). It would obviously be false to claim, for example, that "God is Love" and "God is not Love," or "Jesus is divine" and "Jesus is not divine."
However, just as every coin has both a "heads" and a "tails" side, just as every battery has both a "positive" and a "negative" terminal, and just as the earth has both a North Pole and a South Pole, so also there are always (at least) two "sides" or "poles" to the Catholic-Christian answer to any theological question. These opposite poles often seem far apart and difficult to hold together. It is rarely easy to understand and balance both sides of an issue, just as we can't easily see both sides of a coin at the same time (without a mirror, at least!). Yet the "opposite" sides are seldom really "contradictions," even if there may be some strong "tensions" between them.
For example, Christians believe that Jesus is both God and human. To a non-Christian, this might seem ridiculous. Even for a Christian, it is hard to understand or explain. How can anything or anyone be both divine and human? Or how can God be both transcendent and immanent? Or how can the Bible be both the Word of God and human literature? Can both creation and evolution be true somehow? Can both science and religion be reconciled? The Catholic answer to all these questions is YES, both the one side and its opposite not only can, but must be held together in tension, even if they seem to be contradictory, in order to understand the whole truth, the whole of the complex reality.
15 October 2008
[Episcopal News Service] Bishop Geralyn Wolf of the Diocese of Rhode Island has inhibited the Rev. Ann Holmes Redding for publicly professing her adherence to the Muslim faith.
The notice states that the diocesan “Standing Committee has determined that Dr. Redding abandoned the Communion of the Episcopal Church by formal admission into a religious body not in communion with the Episcopal Church. The bishop has affirmed that determination.”
The inhibition prevents Redding from “exercising the gifts and spiritual authority conferred on her by ordination and from public ministry” and is in force until March 31, 2009. In accordance with Episcopal canons, unless Redding “reclaims” her Christian faith, said Wolf in an interview, the inhibition will automatically lead to a deposition, ending Redding’s priesthood.
“In the process of deposition, we shouldn’t dismiss each other easily,” the bishop said.
According to the “notice of inhibition,” dated September 30 and signed by Wolf, “Dr. Redding has acknowledged taking her Shahadah to become a Muslim.”
07 October 2008
Gegrüsst seist du, Maria, voll der Gnade;
der Herr ist mit dir;
du bist gebenedeit unter den Frauen
und gebenedeit ist die Frucht deines Leibes, Jesus.
Heilige Maria Mutter Gottes,
bitte für uns Sünder,
jetzt und in der Stunde unseres Todes.
04 October 2008
"For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Great Rishi, Mighty Indra, Eternal Guru, Kshatriya of Shankara." [Paraphrase of Isaiah 9:6]