Imagination is more important than knowledge.
Albert Einstein

«— Astounding
—» Whispers on Real Christianity

The Twelfth Imam

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Get Religion reveals the apocalypticism of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The New Republic article requires a subscribtion; use BugMeNot if you’re poor, or visit your local library. In either case, it is essential to understanding the importance of Ahmadinejad’s presidency.

This phrase is, of course, taken from the final act of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s dramatic address at the United Nations. …[H]ere are the crucial quotes:

I emphatically declare that today’s world, more than ever before, longs for just and righteous people with love for all humanity; and above all longs for the perfect righteous human being and the real savior who has been promised to all peoples and who will establish justice, peace and brotherhood on the planet.

O, Almighty God, all men and women are your creatures and you have ordained their guidance and salvation. Bestow upon humanity that thirsts for justice, the perfect human being promised to all by you, and make us among his followers and among those who strive for his return and his cause.

Does that sound familiar? Did you see this passage played over and over on the evening newscasts and debated on the niche-market shows on cable?

You didn’t?

…Try to imagine what would have happened if President George W. Bush had ended his U.N. address with a call for the second coming of Jesus Christ and pledged that he would strive to see this event come to pass, sooner rather than later. Imagine the mainstream media response. Do you think this would be mentioned in major media? Do you think journalists would jump to cover that topic (as well they should)?

Read the rest: GetReligion: September 25, 2006 — “Waiting on the perfect righteous human being”

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Filed under: — Basil @ 8:11 pm

«— The Russian Orthodox Elephant
—» The Twelfth Imam

Astounding

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“…an astonishing brusqueness, for us an astounding brusqueness…” (Pope Benedict’s characterization of the quote as he gave the speech at the University of Regensburg) GetReligion has links to the video (if you understand German) and revised transcriptions and translations. (Alana, mind to take a whack at the German?)

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Filed under: — Basil @ 5:39 am

«— Two Sides, At Least
—» Astounding

The Russian Orthodox Elephant

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So we’ve all been very nice and rejoiced with our brothers and sisters, but Fr. Leonid Kishkovsky has the courage to say what we’ve all been thinking: There’s an elephant in the room.

Orthodox Christians can only welcome reconciliation and healing, rejoicing that estrangement and separation can be overcome. In a sense, the reconciliation of the ROCOR and the ROC [MP] represents the end of the Russian Civil War and the healing of the consequences of communist rule in Russia. Thus, the members of the Orthodox Church in America have accompanied the reconciliation process with sympathy and good will. Insofar as the estrangement has been within Russian Orthodoxy, it is clear that the estrangement must be overcome within the context of Russian Orthodoxy.

Nevertheless, there are other dimensions present – indeed quite obvious – in the real situation of ROCOR, ROC [MP], and Orthodoxy in America. While the ROCOR is present in many parts of the world, the core of its population is in North America. The Patriarchate of Moscow committed itself to the building up of Orthodoxy in North America as a self-governing Church by granting autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in America in 1970. What are the ecclesial implications of a ROCOR that is reconciled with the Moscow Patriarchate co-existing in North America with the Orthodox Church in America, which carries within it the vision of an autocephalous and united Orthodox Church in North America, as articulated by the Moscow Patriarchate in the Tomos of Autocephaly?

Read the rest: ROCOR/MP Reconciliation, by Archpriest Leonid Kishkovsky, OCA News Releases

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Filed under: — Basil @ 3:00 pm

«— Deadly Force
—» The Russian Orthodox Elephant

Two Sides, At Least

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Here is an interesting twist on the old proverb, “There’s two sides to every story.” As a son of the South, I am somewhat sensitive to the fact that stories can differ significantly by who tells them. However, I find the following statements absolutely incredible:

As both of these churches [Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox] detected a threat to their sustainability as powerful temporal as well as secular institutions, with the rapid (voluntary) spread of Islam, because the latter did not approve of an institutionalized priesthood of any order…, both of these institutions immediately sought to arrange political alliances with the monarchs and grand noble orders that prevailed in Europe then, which still was religiously considered “heathen” by these churches. The bargain that was achieved thus was as follows: the churches would give these despots “heavenly titles” to their thrones and the latter would impose Christianity “by the sword” in both of their manifestations then in their areas of jurisdictions, and the Church would give blessings to the harsh feudal order that kept Europe in the dark for centuries to come until even good Christians saw the mischief in this and decided on a Protestant revolt and eventually the Renaissance.

Now, perspectives aside, the Protestant Reformation followed the Renaissance. I know this to be true because I checked the generally accepted dates for both, and also because the Renaissance lays the cultural and intellectual groundwork for the Reformation. In other words, one follows the other logically, and it’s directly opposite from this gentleman’s opinion on the subject. Let’s continue:

Throughout the history of the Moslem Empires that prevailed since the death of the Prophet Mohammed (peace of Allah be upon him), Moslem rulers pretty much stuck to the Qur’anic dictate “there is no compulsion in religion”.[sic] Needless to say the Holy Book of Allah insists that even differences in religious views are to be “discussed” peacefully with non-Moslems with the idea that people should be led by reason and logical deduction to accept Islamic doctrine.

(Read the whole article: Pope Benedict XVI’s folly: A new crusade or facing the baptist challenge – Yemen Times)

This view is a single anecdote, and perhaps this gentleman is simply ignorant of history. I have seen many people who unconsciously twist history to support their religious beliefs, and I’m sure I’ve been among them. However, what if this view is not anecdotal but pervasive? Here’s the money quote: “Surely, Pope Benedict the XVI was not oblivious to these historical facts and surely, he is even more insulting when he attributes Moslem anger at his ‘academic’ comments in his homeland, of all places, to ‘misunderstanding’ of his intents.”

I will not assume that my readership knows what the pope’s comments actually were. I recommend that you read the whole speech (also available in PDF), or at least DrBacchus’ summary. Clearly this gentleman has not.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 8:28 pm

«— Coming Again Soon
—» Two Sides, At Least

Deadly Force

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Deadly force: force that a person uses causing, or that a person knows would create a substantial risk of causing, death or serious bodily harm (e.g., broken bones, internal bleeding). Deadly force, under Department of Defense Directive 5210.56, is authorized under the following circumstances:
when

  • all lesser means have failed, cannot be reasonably employed, or are unavailable, when
  • the risk of death or serious bodily harm to innocent bystanders is not significantly increased by its use, and when
  • one or more of the following circumstances necessitates its use:
    1. Defense of self and defense of others
    2. Protecting assets vital to national security (such as nuclear reactor information, or detailed plans that could endanger the lives of service men and women, as well as civilian workers and bystanders)
    3. Protecting assets not vital to national security but inherently dangerous to others (such as bombs or spent nuclear fuel)
    4. Prevention of serious offenses against others (rape, aggravated assault, etc.)
    5. Apprehension of persons designated as posing a grave threat to national security or public health and safety
    6. Prevention of escape of persons designated as in the previous item
    7. Protection of public health and safety (e.g., poisoning of water supplies)

(This is for DoD military and civilian personnel performing security duties. It does not apply under fire during time of war or in situations where specific Rules of Engagement apply.)

It required that DoD personnel carrying firearms have the applicable portions of the directive linked above memorized.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 8:59 pm

«— Guerilla Tribe
—» Deadly Force

Coming Again Soon

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No, not the Rapture. I think I’m going to be cranking up the old mailing list again. If you’re not a member, it’s easy, and you don’t even have to receive mail. There are several different options for reading the mailings I send out, including just reading it on the website above. Mailings are only sent out with my approval (or a designated administrator in my absence), so there won’t be any flame wars or ten “Me, too” emails for every update I put out.

Obviously, the list is “opt-in.” I don’t assume that you want to know about my life and start spamming your inbox with notes about my latest visit to the eye doctor. If you don’t care, that’s your business. (For the techies, Yahoo! Groups takes care of the technical details of opt-in confirmation.) It’s possible for me to manually add someone if they really are unable to complete the confirmation process, but the need for that, so far, has been rare.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 5:42 am

«— Confusion in the Tao of Gender
—» Coming Again Soon

Guerilla Tribe

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The Orthodox guerilla, Sampson, returns with a story about community:

I think many of us are looking for precisely this. We are not looking for another volunteer opportunity. We are looking for a tribe, a community, a group of people with whom we hold values and a vision of the world in common, with whom we can share, not just work, but cooking and laughter, washing dishes, working in the garden together. We are seeking a sense of belonging, a connectedness that overcomes the isolation that has been imposed upon us by race, by class, by gender, and by a thousand others meaningless distinctions, the ways by which we size up others and say, “like me” or “not like me.”

I think there are many, many people out there who are still looking for their tribe. Some of you have been looking for years.

(Read the rest: Guerilla Orthodoxy: Dinner at the Catholic Worker House.)

Those of you who have frequented this blog before may recognize the Catholic Worker movement as a form of intentional community, which I believe to be a tool that the Church can use profitably in combating the alienation that follows upon Western society’s obsession with individualism.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 6:10 am

«— Hairology
—» Guerilla Tribe

Confusion in the Tao of Gender

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Recently, I read a quote from the usually adorable Keira Knightly that really burned me up. I read it in a magazine in the hairdresser’s. I’ve since decided, in a completely unrelated fashion, to purchase a WAHL and just buzz my head down to nothing once a week. Quoth Keira:

How are American men and British men different? “U.K. guys – well, the ones that I know – don’t take as much stock in their appearance,” says Keira Knightley in a new interview. “Ask an American guy what his beauty regime is, and he’ll tell you. Ask a Brit, and he’ll say, ‘Er … Guinness?’ I like that.”

I have been meaning to rant about this a little since I read it nearly a month or so ago, but I was reminded just now when reading a review of In Her Shoes by Frederica Mathewes-Green, whom I unfortunately missed when I attended her Antiochian Archdiocese parish in Baltimore a few weeks ago. She notes the masculinity of the male lead:

One last plus to this movie: the guy who eventually wins Rose’s heart turns out to be a much more interesting character than we’d have a right to expect from this kind of breezy, busy movie. According to the recent Leo Burnett Man Study, half of America’s men feel that their role in society is unclear. Do women want them dolled by remedial “Queer Eye” personal groomers? Or do they want a plaid-shirted, stubbly “Earl”? There’s uncharted distance between fop and caveman, metrosexual and retrosexual, yet that’s where most men live. In “In Her Shoes,” Simon (Mark Feuerstein) hits a mark in the middle that is surprisingly appealing, and the character holds his own on-screen despite the big-name ladies’ firepower. Simon has the listening skills women crave and expert culinary taste, yet his guy creds are vindicated by enthusiastic basketball fandom (though perhaps it’s too much to have him actually giving advice to the Sixers’ teammates, while they nod as insight dawns). Most of all, he’s in charge. When he and Rose begin to go horizontal, she nervously clicks off the lamp; he turns it on again. After a pause, she once again tries to hide her flaws in darkness; he looks at her firmly as he once again lights the lamp. What women want in men, even more than plucked eyebrows, is manly confidence. In a realm where examples are so scarce that half of the male population is confused, Simon is illuminating.

(The full review talks about the rest of the movie, of course: Frederica Mathewes-Green on National Review Online: Red-Hat District)

Now, perhaps Mother Frederica has spoken about what follows in one of her many essays on gender and sexuality (separate and distinct concepts, to be sure) released under the title Gender: Men, women, sex, and feminism. I don’t know; surely someone has, but I can’t cite it.

I’ve been thinking: masculinity and feminity complement one another, like yin and yang in the Tao. They are, or should be, balanced. The last century has seen a movement wherein that balance has been completely upset in a movement to secure equal rights and privileges for one part of this equation. Should we be surprised that the other part is confused?

Women have been told to act more masculine in order to liberate themselves; confusion about gender is only the beginning. The balance is beginning to right itself: Men are acting feminine. Indeterminate gender is becoming more acceptable socially.

Sometimes, I hear the lament, “Where have all the good men gone?” Perhaps the question should be reversed to find the answer.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 9:09 pm

«— People who are always right
—» Confusion in the Tao of Gender

Hairology

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Wow. BabuLife: Doctrine of Hairology

Hat tip: Fr. Joseph Huneycutt

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Filed under: — Basil @ 12:03 pm