Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Divine Violences

The violence of our time is the spiritual earthquake determining our future, and that of our children.

The known God knows this violence; the unknown God knows it not.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Humility and Transcendence

The highest transcendence is recognizing the superiority of another without denigrating oneself. God recognizes everyone's superiority in absolute self-possession.

Or God is an arm wrestler. With jacked up biceps.

Anonymous Christianity

No, it isn't a reference to Karl Rahner, my learned readers.

Check out the theologically inclined comments of an Anonymous reader over at RITN-Religion in the News. The topic is "Virginity and the Moral Worthiness of Religions." The comments are worth your attention. Post some of your own.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Stem Cells and Blindess

Stem cells are being used to restore sight of people who lost their sight after traumatic injury.

Most excellent.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Our Troubled Country

If you want to be troubled by the conversational drift of a certain segment of our country, read the comments posted in reply to Jon Voight's Open Letter to President Obama, published by the right-leaning Washington Times.

I disagree with much of Voight's letter, but he maintains a certain measure of decorum. Many of the comments, on the other hand, are repulsive. At some point, this blog will attempt to draw out the theology entailed in such comments. But first, two aspirin.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A yachting trip and Lazarus

A yachting trip? The 10 worst BP gaffes in Gulf oil spill.

Luke 16:19-31 "There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Laz'arus, full of sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried; and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Laz'arus in his bosom. And he called out, `Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Laz'arus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.' But Abraham said, `Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Laz'arus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.' And he said, `Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.' But Abraham said, `They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.' And he said, `No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' He said to him, `If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.'"

The parallels are there.

Friday, June 18, 2010


Our certainty about how others should live their lives is testament to how little we live our own.**

**At least I think so.

"Truth and Falsehood"
Image Credit: Iza Bella

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

FBI file shows Ted Kennedy was death threat magnet -

FBI file shows Ted Kennedy was death threat magnet -

Ted Kennedy was a flawed person, but he turned the corner on his life. In his last years, he was a delight. He appeared to face death with courage, and his political convictions were heart-felt and real. To be sure, not everyone shared them.

It's hard to imagine what it was like to live (as the family's leader) after the assassinations of Jack and Bobby Kennedy. And now, this news comes out...

The cruelty of the human animal never ceases to stun and disappoint. In my mind, Kennedy's optimism and care for others is even more luminous.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

God is poetry

God is the poetry of the Universe, and the Universe is the poetry of God.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Friday, June 11, 2010

Chevrolet, Chevy, and Jesus

Join me at to discuss implications of religious brands and identity: Chevrolet, Chevy, and Jesus.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Against the Death Penalty

Consider watching this Amnesty International video.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


God doesn't want yes-men. Note that he once hired Lucifer to work overtime.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Book Review, invitation to theological thinking

Paul Bloom's New York Times book review of Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons's The Invisible Gorilla And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us calls up several themes worthy of theological reflection.

Our capacity for paying attention is finite. If we're asked to pay attention to one thing, we may very well miss or ignore something else that is quite important. Part of the strategy of prayer is to focus attention on God. Arguably that could lead us to ignore earthly things that are more urgent--and perhaps in terms of demanding our action, more important. It also could be argued that reflecting on God enhances our sensibilities when it comes to other things.

Our memories are quite plastic and prone to distortions in our favor. In the so-called Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 7:1f) Jesus says:
"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, "Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
If we pay attention to the flaws of another, our ability to perceive our own flaws is limited. By judging another, we become blind to ourselves.

Applying this insight is controversial and Matthew's structuring of the sayings does not make it any easier. The 'judge not' saying is followed by this 'judgment requiring' bumper sticker.
"Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.

**with thanks to Justin Hume for linking to Bloom's review on Facebook.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Cats and Dogs

If dogs are Christian, cats are Hindu. Together, they rain.

See economy go

See economy stop.
See economy go.
See oil go.
See oil go faster.
Stop, oil, stop.
Go, economy, go.**

**with appreciation that See Spot Run did not feature oil and the economy.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga lost his chance to record a perfect game when MLB umpire Jim Joyce made a bad call. A perfect game for a MLB pitcher--for any pitcher in any league--is a breathtakingly rare accomplishment. We don't often think that the pitcher's perfect game requires that umpires also have perfect games, but here it is in our face.

The imperfection of the one brings imperfection on the others, and sheer individualism cannot account for it. This is as true in hamartiology as it is in baseball. The follow-on story also is quite profound. Apparently Galarraga quickly forgave Joyce, claiming that no one is perfect. Bud Selig refused to overturn the call; the imperfection of the field is part of the game. Good theology and great baseball are the work of imperfect people.

Selig did promise to consider the use of instant replay; I hope we do not go that route.

Aph. 5

New days do not arrive, they are claimed.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Aphs. 2-4

Theological Prescripts plays on (1) prescribe, (2) prescriptions, (3) 'before scripts,' that is, theological sketches and doodles that occur before major scripts are produced.

Theological Prescripts are written in the context described by Carr. They are flashes and do not require sustained attention.

Theological Prescripts cannot be abbreviated TP. Oy vey.

note: clearly my use of the term aphorism is equally vague! Take that.

Nicholas Carr's The Shallows

I'd like to my point my readers to Nicholas Carr's blog. Carr has recently published The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brain. I listened to Carr's discussion of the book with NPR's Robert Siegel, host of All Things Considered. I have yet to read the book but most certainly will. His discussion was excellent and provocative.

The book seems to be an expansion of Carr's excellent piece in The Atlantic, entitled "Is Google Making us Stupid?"

Theological Prescripts opines that Carr's topic is religiously significant. If our brains are altered by Internet use, and if such use diminishes our speculative capacity, it also quite likely will diminish (or alter, and perhaps in some ways heighten) our religious capacities. This is an inquiry we should undertake.


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