Friday, July 13, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday # 6

1. Purgatory, that's the word I'm looking for. To describe the recent weather, not hot as hell, but like on the fringes of hell.

2. Also to describe my browser situation. I love Opera. I find it most pleasant to use, fast, it's just great, except: there are websites out there that don't support it for some reason. So, if I want to use Amazon's cloud reader, Opera won't work. If I want to ship packages for eBay or Paypal, problems. Even blogger, while Opera works, I keep getting the annoying message that Opera isn't supported. This isn't a problem with Opera's functionality. It is a question of support. Sites choose to support Firefox and its derivatives, and Explorer, for the most part, but not Opera, for some reason. It is very annoying.UPDATE: I had once tried Maxthon, which I liked, and since this post, I've tried it again, and it is actually quite good. It is most similar to Opera. Quick, with speed dial, which I like very much. And since it uses a couple of different engines, it is recognized by sites that don't like Opera, even the Amazon reader. It may become my new browser.

3. I find Firefox to be slower, and not as nice to use. Seamonkey is a little better in the usage department, but still slow, maybe sometimes a little slower than Firefox. Chrome has security issues that concern me, but there is a more secure version called Iron, even so, I don't think Amazon cloud reader supports Iron! And I don't like having to use two browsers for different purposes.

4. My son Samuel just got back from his Altar Boy camping trip. It sounds like he had a lot of fun. They opted out of visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame for just plain camping, hiking, fishing, hanging out, and acting out very odd-sounding little skits that seemed to involve a lot of "fake" punching, kicking and hitting. But that's boys for you. Hardly anything they do doesn't involve some form of punching, kicking and hitting.

5. He also discovered the joys of the Arcade! I don't know how much time he spent there (I'll have to check with the fathers who chaperoned.) but it sounds like he sort of thinks the nearest Arcade may be the hours away in upstate NY! I'm not in a hurry to disabuse him of that notion.

6. In the meantime, my daughter has been attended a sort of day camp summer school which she has loved, which includes Mass and a couple of little devotions, play of course, and some lessons. She has really enjoyed it.

7. And Sunday we are going to visit friends who live about 45 minutes away who, among other things, keep bees and harvest honey. I'm looking forward to seeing their place.

Have a great weekend, and don't forget to check out Jennifer's quick takes!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Exhortation on Marriage

From The Exhortation on Marriage from the older Catholic Rite: ht to Fr. Z

Henceforth you will belong entirely to each other; you will be one in mind, one in heart, and one in affections. And whatever sacrifices you may hereafter be required to make to preserve this mutual life, always make them generously. Sacrifice is usually difficult and irksome. Only love can make it easy, and perfect love can make it a joy. We are willing to give in proportion as we love. And when love is perfect, the sacrifice is complete.

Something to think about.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Control, Fear and Health

When you look at a guy like Adrian Monk, while you will see a genius in crime detection, you will also see a lonely, self-centered man tormented by fear and a longing for control. So much of his life is about taking control of things such as dirt, and sometimes of other people - well - often of other people.

Watching an episode in the last season last night, I realized that Monk has to eat certain things, in certain ways, on certain days. Even after five years, Sharona can still tell you what Monk ate on a Wednesday and how it was prepared.

We often fear what we cannot control. The future is a big one. What will it be? What will it hold for us? What unknowns (and therefore uncontrolled) lies ahead? So, we worry.

It's funny, because as much as we think we need control, there are many ways in which we give away control, and we end up harming ourselves as a result. One example is over food - we often eat out-of-control, and end up harming ourselves by getting fat, developing diabetes, heart disease, cancer.

For instance, it is known that most cancers feed on sugar. If you reduce sugars you can greatly hamper the growth of cancerous tumors. It has been known for a long time that if you eat a lot of starchy foods, like white bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, starchy snacks, you will gain weight. But we keep eating them, and gaining weight.

Monk's name is perfect for him, because in a way, he lives the self-denial of a monastic monk, but for the wrong reasons, and so his is often a self-centered, lonely life, consumed with fear. The monastic lives self-denial in order to give up control, to submit himself to God, to make himself available to others in love, and so he has no fear.

If we carefully look at the places where we have wrongly given up control (our diet, our media usage) and at the places where we wish to exercise too much control (over others, in our fears, worries and anxieties) we can proceed, with the help of God's grace, to make corrections, and possibly find greater contentedness and less fear, as well as better physical and spiritual health.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What's the point?

This morning on the bus, a man and a woman spent the 40 minutes of our trip discussing roofing, and construction contracting with the state. And at the end of the ride, as I left the bus, I wondered what was the point. It was a conversation, and maybe they enjoyed it. Maybe each of them shared information that the other hadn't known. But I don't think it is going to change anything. I don't think they're better people for the conversation. I don't think the state bid system is going to be improved. It was a little bit like gossip. At best, useless, as worst, hurtful (though in this case, I don't think anyone was hurt, well... I don't know. A couple of specific contractors were mentioned, it could affect whether or not either of them uses those contractors in the future.)

And a short time ago, I read Jennifer Fulwiler's post about her conversation with a gay friend. It seemed like she did a good job, and she got 70 plus comments, most supporting her effort, some not, but in the end, it was sort of like the conversation I overheard on the bus. Sort of, only.

I think part of what is sad is that so many of us aren't all that interested in the truth. Jennifer's friend didn't really seem interested in the truth, only in challenging her on her new Christian beliefs about gay marriage. Some of the commentators seemed similar, coming from their own pro or con starting point.

Spouses can be like that when they get into an argument. The egos, the pride gets all worked up, and it becomes much more about defending or cutting down or challenging or asserting than about the truth.

Many of say we care about the truth. But I don't think we really do. Caring about the truth requires deep humility (and I'm NOT saying I have it.) It requires a willingness to submit the intellect and the will to someone else who demonstrates that he knows the truth, primarily God, and the agents who cooperate to teach his truth. It requires a certain amount of faith, too, and it probably requires a lot more effort and even pain than most of us are willing to put into it. They say the truth hurts, and I think it often does, in one way or another.

When the truth flies in the face of what we want, or what we have, or what we desire, or what we've been doing or saying or thinking, it causes pain, and very often, very many of us are not willing to embrace truth because of what it must do to us, what it must require of us.

In the end, there is Jesus who said an extraordinary thing. He did not say I know the truth, as if it were external to himself, something he found or discovered. He said: "I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life." He said, He, a person, not an idea or a thing, but a person, IS the Truth. He didn't say A truth, as if there were several or many to choose from, but THE Truth.

He is THE Way to THE Truth, the Truth that leads to and gives THE Life.

This statement was in answer to Thomas's query. He said, "Lord, we don't know where you are going. How can we know the way?" If you read the whole passage, you can see that it is really about a relationship more than about doctrine and rules and regulations.

And the right kind of relationship with Jesus, is IN the Spirit and directed toward the Father. It is personal and corporate, it is intense and real, and it has to be ordered properly, in that Jesus, the Father and the Spirit are God, and we are his creatures. Without him we are nothing, and so our relationship must be in utter humility, and based on Love.

Then it's a lot easier to hear and "bear" the truth.

How is this fair?

How is it that Arnold Ziffle has human parents,

and Eb Dawson is always trying to claim some?

Says something about our world.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Words of Wisdom

Harold Hill - on holding onto the dream:
"I always think there's a band, kid"

Bernadette's Sister - justifying theft:
"Wood is wood."

Dorothy - is the grass really greener on the other side?
"A place where there isn't any trouble."

Elizabeth - reluctant love
"I cannot bear to think that he is alive in the world…and thinking ill of me."

And finally, why are squirrels better liked than rats?

Some things to think about.