They want victory and good news. U.S. Christianity is a market form of Christianity, for the most part. It’s all about identifying with a winner. That is why on Easter Sunday the churches are full but Good Friday they are empty. People will show up when the winner pops us. But don’t tell me about the main protagonist being treated like a political prisoner by the Roman Empire. Don’t tell me about a senseless death based on injustice. And certainly don’t tell me about the Saturday in which echoing Nietzsche, ‘God is dead.’
The Palestinian Museum is launching a new project in honour of Pope Francis’s trip to Palestine next Sunday. Banners combining recent media photographs of the Palestinian landscape and its people with Western baroque paintings of biblical scenes will decorate Manger Square in Bethlehem, highlighting the tension between the popular image of the Holy Land and Palestine’s ongoing history of suffering under occupation and oppression.
"I says, ‘Dear Mary, I am a bastard and a bastard shall not enter the kingdom of heaven as we all know, but I have this personality that makes boys follow me. Do you think I should neck or not? I shall not enter the kingdom of heaven anyway so I don’t see what difference it makes"
"Listen here," Haze said, "if he blinded himself how . . ."
"Then she answered my letter in the paper. She said, ‘Dear Sabbath, Light necking is acceptable, but I think your real problem is one of adjustment to the modern world. Perhaps you ought to reexamine your religious values to see if they meet your needs in life. A religious experience can be a beautiful addition to living if you put it in the proper perspective and do not let it warp you. Read some books on Ethical Culture.’"
"You couldn’t be a bastard," Haze said, getting very pale. "You must be mixed up. Your daddy blinded himself."
"Then I wrote her another letter," she said, scratching his ankle with the toe of her sneaker, and smiling. "I says, ‘Dear Mary, What I really want to know is should I go the whole hog or not? That’s my real problem. I’m adjusted okay to the modern world.”
— Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood
When I fed the poor, they called me a saint. When I asked why the poor had no food, they called me a Communist.
When the dim light, at Lauds, comes strike her window, Bellsong falls out of Heaven with a sound of glass.
Prayers fly in the mind like larks, Thoughts hide in the height like hawks: And while the country churches tell their blessings to the distance, Her slow words move (Like summer winds the wheat) her innocent love: Desires glitter in her mind Like morning stars:
Until her name is suddenly spoken Like a meteor falling.
She can no longer hear shrill day Sing in the east, Nor see the lovely woods begin to toss their manes. The rivers have begun to sing. The little clouds shine in the sky like girls: She has no eyes to see their faces.
Speech of an angel shines in the waters of her thought like diamonds, Rides like a sunburst on the hillsides of her heart.
And is brought home like harvests, Hid in her house, and stored Like the sweet summer’s riches in our peaceful barns.
But in the world of March outside her dwelling, The farmers and the planters Fear to begin their sowing, and its lengthy labor, Where, on the brown, bare furrows, The winter wind still croons as dumb as pain.
[Lyrics by 20th century poet, Trappist monk, and social activist Thomas Merton. Music by French Style Furs.]
The psychology of crisis and change: The fear of change is the fear of disruption, disintegration of one’s own inner unity and the unity of one’s accustomed world. (These two are inseparable.)
A personal crisis is creative and salutary if one can accept the conflict and restore unity on a higher level, incorporating the opposed elements in a higher unity. One thus becomes a more complete, a more developed person, capable of wider understanding, empathy, and love for others, etc. This is familiar…
What is less familiar is the fact that crisis becomes constant and permanent when a man allows himself to be preoccupied, before all else, with “holding himself together”—with his own inner unity. This is one of the great dangers of the enclosed contemplative life for weak and introspective minds—precisely the ones who seem most drawn to it.
Thomas Merton, from ’Conjecture of a Guilty Bystander’
[song: ‘Solitary Life’. music by French Style Furs from album Is Exotic Bait. Lyrics by Thomas Merton.]