Monthly Archives: July 2012

In Honor of Saint Ignatius Loyola

His feast day is Tuesday.

Winding Down the Summer and Coming Attractions

It occurred to me that I should take this opportunity to give those of you who follow this blog a heads-up.

I began this blog a year and a month ago on 21 June 2011.  I had been invited to be a contributor to the group-blog Alexandria, and in order to do so, I had to get a WordPress account.  While I was at it, I decided to set up this blog as something more personal, a place to put things that were of interest to me but not so much, perhaps, to the audience over there, and as a way to motivate myself to write more.  I’ve experimented around, posted fast and furiously, posted not at all, and it’s been a great and interesting experience.

What with the press of work and other considerations, I slowed down last winter and went on complete hiatus from January to April of this year.  It took a comment from someone who liked the blog and speculated that I’d ended it to jump-start me again.  A discussion I’d had on another blog led me to work out, in posts here, some of my thinking on some issues important to me.  Ever since, I’ve been relatively busy and regular with the posts here.

I teach, and summer draws ever nearer to an end, though, so I’ll probably be slowing down a bit.  I just wanted to give some idea of what I’ll be doing here, and to reassure everyone that, for now, I will be maintaining things here, though perhaps with less regularity.  Read the rest of this entry

Bad Project


After all the Lady Gaga stuff, I had to post this, courtesy of my sister, who pointed it out to me awhile back.  Enjoy!

Dualism: I Want Your Drama, the Touch of Your Hand

I figured that since I was finished with the “Legends of the Fall” series, I was absolved from my promise for no more Lady Gaga.  Anyway, it is relevant here–probably more than it was there.  This time, I just posted the whole dang video.

FWIW, I like the song much better than I do the video.  That’s actually true for me of most of her songs and videos.

OK–back to where we left off last time.  There, I discussed how there has been a tendency since the middle of the 20th Century to try to move away from dualism in theology.  I gave some of the reasons for that, and some of the ways in which this had been manifested.  I also expressed the opinion that the pendulum had swung a bit too far the other way, and explained why.  The only area I didn’t discuss was sex and sexuality.  That’s a topic that can well do with a post all to itself, eh? Read the rest of this entry

Two Videos for the Last Stretch of Summer

Two of my favorite songs from Cosmic Thing, which is my favorite B-52’s albums.  The second, “Topaz”, doesn’t have an official video, but it’s my favorite from the album, my favorite B-52’s song, and one of my favorite songs in general.  Enjoy these, and for those who will be going back to school soon as students or teachers, enjoy summer while it lasts!

Quote for the Week


Abandon the search for God and the creation and other matters of a similar sort. Look for him by taking yourself as the starting point. Learn who it is within you who makes everything his own and says, “My God, my mind, my thought, my soul, my body.” Learn the sources of sorrow, joy, love, hate. Learn how it happens that one watches without willing, rests without willing, becomes angry without willing, loves without willing. If you carefully investigate these matters you will find him in yourself.

Hippolytus of Rome, in Refutationis Omnium Haeresium, 8.15.1-2, as translated in The Gnostic Gospels (1989) by Elaine Pagels, Introduction, p. xix.  Courtesy of Wikiquotes

Video for the Weekend

Dualism and its Discontents

We’ve looked at dualism in Christian thinking and in society at large from the beginning of Christianity to the mid-20th Century.  Though the tendency in the sciences and in philosophy was towards materialism–which is monistic–Christianity remained largely unaffected.  After all, it obviously could not jettison the spiritual realm.  Moreover, Christian apologists spent large amounts of time attacking (wrongly, in some cases) various trends (Marxism, evolution, etc.) that were seen as undermining Christian faith, especially in the spiritual.  Still, beginning around the middle of the last century, a subtle rejection of dualism–or of some dualistic tendencies, to be more precise–began to make itself felt.

I think there were several factors in play here.  First, in the aftermath of the Holocaust, there was a strong movement to re-appropriate and give renewed respect to the Judaic heritage of Christianity.  This was understandable.  The horrid anti-Semitism that has been a stain on Christianity for centuries showed its ugliest face in the actions of the Nazis during World War II, and it was obvious that it was no longer possible to treat Jews as the hated Other while having any claim at all to morality.  Thus there was a re-emphasis of the Jewish elements of Christianity and an attempt to make this awareness come more to the fore.  Of course, as I’ve noted before, Semitic religions in general were historically less dualistic (Judaism is a complicated case, but we’ll defer that for now), so this movement would obviously result in some movement away from Hellenism and dualism. Read the rest of this entry

In Honor of St. Mary Magdalene


Today is her feast day.

Three Quotes for the Week from Thich Nhat Hanh

In order to rally people, governments need enemies. They want us to be afraid, to hate, so we will rally behind them. And if they do not have a real enemy, they will invent one in order to mobilize us.

–Quoted in Engaged Buddhist Reader: Ten Years of Engaged Buddhist Publishing (1996) by Arnold Kotler, p. 106

Your true home is in the here and the now. It is not limited by time, space, nationality, or race. Your true home is not an abstract idea. It is something you can touch and live in every moment. With mindfulness and concentration, the energies of the Buddha, you can find your true home in the full relaxation of your mind and body in the present moment. No one can take it away from you. Other people can occupy your country, they can even put you in prison, but they cannot take away your true home and your freedom.

–“Returning Home”, Shambhala Sun (March 2006)

Children understand very well that in each woman, in each man, in each child, there is capacity of waking up, of understanding, and of loving. Many children have told me that they cannot show me anyone who does not have this capacity. Some people allow it to develop, and some do not, but everyone has it. This capacity of waking up, of being aware of what is going on in your feelings, in your body, in your perceptions, in the world, is called Buddha nature, the capacity of understanding and loving. Smiling is very important. If we are not able to smile, then the world will not have peace. It is not by going out for a demonstration against nuclear missiles that we can bring about peace. It is with our capacity of smiling, breathing, and being peace that we can make peace.

–Being Peace (2005) ‎