Computer problems

Not that I’ve been posting much in December, but I’ll likely be offline for some time. Just after Christmas I had an incident involving a glass of water and my laptop, so I’ll be online only sporadically at best for the next week or two while I wait for it to get back from the shop. I’m hoping to get it back around Epiphany or so, but we’ll see.

Until then, blessings to you and I’ll be back as soon as possible. Shalom!

Alleluia, he has come!

Today’s scripture from the Lectionary – Year A:

Old Testament reading:

The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.

You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as soldiers rejoice
when dividing the plunder.

For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.

Every warrior’s boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:1-7)

Epistle reading:

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. (Titus 2:11-14)

Gospel reading:

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. (Luke 2:1-20)

Apparently, I’m an apostate

Is that anything like being an apostle, I wonder? 😉

According to the people at Christian Research Network I get categorized as “apostate” because of my affinity for Catholic thought and being linked with an emerging church-related site (Jesus Manifesto). It seems, based on what little I was able to glean from the not-entirely-coherent post and linked page, as if I’m part of the global one-world-government-religion conspiracy.

That sounds awfully compatible with anarchism to me, how about you?

I find it incredibly interesting that evidence of the Jesus Manifesto interest in Catholicism includes a link to the New Monasticism site – they’re not even Catholic! Not to mention the way they totally took a snippet from my series on Anarchy and Christianity out of context… I don’t think they have any idea what I’m talking about. I can’t say for sure, though… because the post is incoherent to the point where I can’t say I’m quite sure what they’re talking about.

edit: apparently this item did not originate with CRN, but with another site called Watcher’s Lamp.

Derrick Jensen quote

If monetary value is attached to something it will be exploited until it’s gone. That’s what happens when you convert living beings to cash. That conversion from living trees to lumber, schools of cod to fish sticks, and onward to numbers on a ledger, is the central process of our economic system. — Derrick Jensen

Rudy Giuliani scares the hell out of me

That is all – no trenchant analysis, no lengthy exposition. Just mentioning that Giuliani scares the hell out of me. I really think, given his autocratic methods while Mayor of New York and the decidedly neoconservative bent of his foreign policy advice team (including Norman Podhoretz who apparently prays for war with Iran) that if he becomes president he would move this country towards fascism in ways Bush could only dream.

Related article: America is Going Fascist from The Republic of East Vancouver.

Greetings from Champaign

I’m writing this post from St. Jude Catholic Worker House in Champaign, Illinois. Yesterday I came up with some people from my house for a roundtable on radical Christianity and exploring Peter Maurin’s principles of personalism and the 3 C’s for the possibility of working to create a better world. St. Jude sponsored the roundtable, which was held at the Urbana Free Library, and the discussion was facilitated by Eric Anglada and Miranda Duschack, two of our friends from the Hope House Catholic Worker in Dubuque, Iowa.

The discussion covered a wide range of topics and some different perspectives were engaged. We spent some serious time discussing analysis, but unfortunately I felt like the discussion really only got about 2/3 of the way finished, because just as we seemed to be getting into practical engagement of the issues we ran out of time. I swear it was the fastest 2 hours of my life!

For those not familiar with Peter Maurin’s philosophy, he was heavily influenced by 2 things – personalist philosophy and French peasant worker culture. The 3 C’s are cult, culture, and cultivation.

Cult refers to religion and particularly religious practices. Maurin believed participating in Eucharist and in the life of the Church connects us with a wider tradition that has deeper roots than the culture of industrial capitalism that was dominant in his day. Worship gives us access to the channels through which God bestows grace upon us to make us into the people of his kingdom, people who can work out the vision of creating a world where it is easier for people to be good.

Culture particularly refers to the creation of culture, through arts and artisanship, both from the perspective of working and the gift of work, an opportunity for people to create rather than just merely produce, and also from the perspective of a culture that resists the mechanization that is forced upon us by the technological society – again, with the impetus for creation, rather than the consumption/production cycle.

Cultivation refers to agriculture, to organic farming, to working the land. Maurin said that if we lose our connection to the land, we lose our souls. Today most of us have no idea where our food comes from, how it gets from the fields to our mouths, and there is a very large extent to which we don’t care. Part of Maurin’s vision for the restoration of the world, for people’s working out of their salvation, involved getting back in touch with our agrarian nature, with the land, to fight against the displacement practices of the industrial empire.

The philosophy of personalism underpinned his development of the 3 C’s. Personalism is a school of philosophy associated with Emmanuel Mounier, Jacques Maritain, and other philosophers (Emmanuel Levinas is often cited as a later personalist). In very brief, personalism holds that the person is the highest aspect of reality, not abstract qualities of being, with the person being embedded in a relational network consisting of the individual in community and in the world. Personalism has strong Catholic roots, and was associated with various radical movements in early mid-20th century France. There was also an American personalist school that centered around Boston University. Personalism requires people to be valued over profit and property, and so it seems a pretty natural path to anarchic ideas to develop in a Christian context.