Monday, November 29, 2010

from the Archives: Famished Craving - Part 13

So, what can break the power of the mimetic mechanism which holds social structures and human relations in its thrall?

  • Test case No. 1 -a Roman Centurion, duty bound, as executioner....

Saturday, November 27, 2010

from the Archives: Famished Craving - Part 12

Analyzing the story of Alypius at the gladitorial games with a view to the experience of transcenence.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

from the Archives: Famished Craving - Part 11

the Heraclitan logos continued....

and the story from book 6 of the Confessions of St. Augustine of Alypius at the gladiatorial games. Can rationality and the effort of the will overcome mimetic contagion?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

from the Archives: Famished Craving - Part 10

Gil follows up on his examination of 'the father' from the Trinity series...

Heraclitus: "War is the father of all things."

John 8:42-47:
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

from the Archives: Famished Craving - Part 9

Continuing with the Famished Craving series....

The Famished Craving series recorded in 1995 was originally comprised of twelve 90 minute cassette tapes. In the process of producing the digital audio version it is necessary to make breaks at approximately 75 minute intervals for CDs.

What follows is the beginning of the 2nd CD - however I will be continuing with the numbering format of incremental parts for these postings.

The first CD (posts 1 - 8) dealt with the origins of ancient kingship. Gil picks up the thread from that session and begins to explore the social, cultural and historical implications of the influence of Christianity as it breaks into the logic of the primitive sacred system.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tolerance in action . . .

Violent Muslim Occupation of Church did not Violate Law Against Offending Religious Sentiments: Spanish Judge
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent
CORDOBA, Spain, November 10, 2010 ( - A Spanish judge has ruled that a violent occupation of the Cathedral of Cordoba by a group of Muslims in March of this year did not violate the nation's law against offending religious sentiments.
According to Europa Press, the judge occupying the seat of the Fourth Court of Instruction of Cordoba ruled that the incursion into the cathedral, which culminated in an assault on several guards and a policeman, was merely a "public disorder" and was not intended to offend anyone's religious sentiments.
"There isn't so much an intention to minimize or harm the religious sentiments of the Catholic religion so much as an attempt to favor, not to say clearly impose, in a false gesture of tolerance, the possibility of carrying out joint worship [in the cathedral]," the judge declared. "It doesn't act to demerit or discredit the Catholic religion, but rather in favor of joint use."
Spanish Muslims have long demanded the right to carry out Islamic worship in the Cathedral of Cordoba, which was demolished by Muslims in the 8th century and replaced with a mosque following their conquest of the area. The cathedral was rebuilt in the 13th century after Christians reconquered Cordoba. However, much of the original architecture of the mosque was left intact.
Despite a prohibition against Islamic worship in the cathedral, a group of approximately one hundred Muslims from Austria entered the building during Holy Week on March 31, led by an imam and sporting walkie-talkies. After they began to carry out the rites of the Islamic religion they were confronted by security guards and police, several of whom suffered injuries after being attacked by eight members of the group, one of whom brandished a knife. The eight aggressors were arrested, while the rest were allowed to go free after being forcibly removed from the cathedral.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Apropos the post below . . .

The Tragedy Of Iraq’s Christians Does Not Interest Anyone 
by Nirmala Carvalho
Under Saddam Hussein, Christians in Iraq were around a million. Today, more than half have fled, living as refugees in other countries, in particular Syria and Jordan. Those who are left behind feel betrayed and abandoned by the government and the international community, with only one desire, to be able to live and worship in peace.
Birmingham (AsiaNews) – “There is now a real danger that Christians in the Middle East, and in Iraq in particular, of being exterminated, due to both persecution and large-scale emigration,” this according to Dr Joseph Seferta, an Iraqi-born Chaldean Catholic living in Birmingham, Britain, where he is a member of the Commission for Inter-faith Dialogue of the Archdiocese of Birmingham. He gave an exclusive interview to AsiaNews about the difficult situation Christians face in Iraq and across the Middle East. Here it is.
“I belong to the Chaldean Catholic Church, which makes up the majority of Christians in Iraq. Others include Assyrians, as well Syrian, Armenian and Byzantine Christians, both Catholic and Orthodox. Christians under Saddam Hussein totalled some one million, but now only half that number remains in the country, the rest having fled and are living as refugees, particularly in Syria and Jordan.
The atrocity committed by Muslim fanatics, which resulted in dozens of Syrian Catholics dead and dozens of others wounded, was a big blow to the struggling Christian minority. It has been followed by other assassinations of Christians in their homes and shops. All these fanatics (known by various names) in the Middle East and other Muslim-majority countries, are bent on imposing Shari'a and running Islamic states that have no place for Christians in them.
Christians in the Middle East, of course, predate Muslims by hundreds of years and go back to Apostolic Times. Since the 7th Century Islamic conquest, they have been made second-class citizens with hardly any rights at all. They have undergone many waves of persecution, which have greatly reduced their numbers and influence. They suffer prejudice and discrimination on a daily basis, while Muslim minorities here in the West enjoy full rights and have built hundreds of mosques.
Tragically, Iraq's Christians had nothing to do with the American invasion, but they always wrongly get accused of siding with the "Christian" West. Now they feel both isolated and betrayed by their own government as well as the international community. They have always been model citizens, serving their country in every field, and their only desire is to be left alone to live and worship in peace. But they have become a soft target for extremists.
There is now a real danger that Christians in the Middle East and in Iraq in particular, of being exterminated, due to both persecution and large-scale emigration, unless something is done urgently to stem the tide and save them. Too many cannot bear their suffering any longer and are sick and tired of waiting for someone to come to their aid. People either do not know or do not seem to care about them. Even the recent Middle East Synod convoked by the Holy Father was a disappointment, due to lack of both unity and courage. It is now high time that the United Nations seriously tackle this huge problem, for otherwise we will end up with the catastrophe of an Iraq and even a Middle East devoid of any Christians.
In October 2007, 138 Muslim leaders issued ‘A Common Word between Us and You’, a substantive invitation to Christians to dialogue based on the commandments to love God and love one another, found in the Bible and the Qur’an. The problem is that no such thing exists in the Qur’an.
While love is central in Christianity, it is hardly relevant in Islam. The few Qur’anic verses that mention love mean something that is totally different from the New Testament. In the Qur’an, Allah’s love is conditional upon man’s blind obedience to his laws. Thus, we read in verse 4:107, for example, “Allah loveth not the impious and the guilty.”
Love in the Qur’an is just an attribute rather than a part of God’s very essence (as in “God is love”, 1 John 4:8). The concept of love of neighbour does not exist either. There is only love for fellow Muslims, who, for example, are told in 5:59, “Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends”, and in 9:29, “Fight those who believe not in Allah or his Apostle, even if they are the People of the Book [Christians and Jews] until they submit”.
From the Asian Times.

A glimpse of a much larger problem . . .

Friday, November 12, 2010

Gil and I have been working all week on our annual fall appeal materials. We have recorded video both here in Sonoma this week and a few weeks ago in San Diego when I was visiting there. So be looking for our letter/DVD in the mail (among all the rest of the worthy appeals...). We could not do our work without your support.

Thank you!

Friday, November 05, 2010

from the Archives: The Trinity - Part 16

"Unconscious" is a good adjective but a terrible noun.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

from the Archives: The Trinity - Part 15

The knowledge of what It means to be a person is inextricably bound up with the faith of Christianity. An affirmation and a cultivation of the personal can endure for a time perhaps after faith has been extinguished, but gradually they too will be lost.

As unbelievers deny the revelation more decisively; as they put their denial into more consistent practice, it will become the more evident what it really means to be a Christian. At the same time the unbeliever will cease to reap benefit from the values and forces developed by the very revelation he denies. Nietzsche has already warned us that the non-Christian of the modern world has no realization what it truly means to be without Christ. The last decades have suggested what life without Christ really is. The last decades were only the beginning.

– Romano Guardini , c.1949