Devotion

So I took the big leap in January, quitting my job to practice hypnotherapy. I have a many-layered plan for building clientele, but after a month have managed to bring only a single person in for sessions. I was sitting in my office yesterday, holding my head in my hands and laughing in bewilderment, thinking “Why is it so hard to bring love into the world?”

I understand that part of the reason is that I don’t have a woman to vouch for me. When a single man projects love into mixed company, the message is often misinterpreted.

Realizing that I was in overload, I took the afternoon off to sit with a tea latte at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and read some more articles in “Dream Cultures” (Shulman and Stroumsa eds.). I was interrupted by a visit from one of my yoga instructors – we entered into a deep conversation on Revelation and maternal morality.

After she left I came across this in an article on medieval Muslim dream culture. The dreamer is a woman who served as the conduit for her husband’s teaching ministry. This dream is a personal message to her, however:

Again I heard a voice calling me from the bottom of the tree: can you make a pledge to protect this tree so that no hand would touch it? Then this tree is yours. Its roots have stood in sand and soil; many hands have touched it, and its fruit became worthless, then rotted and dried up. But now we have placed the rock around it, and we have nominated a bird over it, to watch over the fruit of this tree. Look!

The bird hopped upwards, climbing from branch to branch; whenever it perched on a dry branch, which looked like dry pegs, it became green and moist, and bunches of grapes hung down from it. The voice said: If you protect this tree faithfully the bird will reach the top of the tree and the whole tree will become green; if not, the bird will stay here, in the middle. I said: I will; indeed, I will protect it!

Even now I weep reading these words. This is what my heart has been craving! To find such a partner for my life!

Block-Head Chain

We may be losing the trade war in goods with China, but the virtual trade war is running nicely. It seems the US should soon resume its historical dominance in natural resources production…

Excerpted from the link:

Extracting a dollar’s worth of cryptocurrency such as bitcoin from the deep Web consumes three times more energy than digging up a dollar’s worth of gold.

There are now hundreds of virtual currencies and an unknown number of server farms around the world running around the clock to unearth them, more than half of them in China

Millennial Catholics Want Transparency, Truth, and Action in Wake of New Sex Abuse Crisis — Millennial

Millennial editor Robert Christian writes: While a small group of ideologues have tried to hijack the crisis to promote their preexisting agenda against Vatican II, gay priests, or celibacy, the general response among millennial Catholics has transcended the many internal divisions that exist within the U.S. church. The anger is palpable. There is anger at […]

via Millennial Catholics Want Transparency, Truth, and Action in Wake of New Sex Abuse Crisis — Millennial

When I was evaluating systems of ethical thought back in the ’80s, I encountered the only meaningful definition of conservatism that I know. A conservative believes that institutions are difficult to create and maintain – that when society crumbles institutions are starved of resources and die. For this reason, a conservative tends to deny support until the needy prove they can organize – to create institutions.

This bias shields the immoral leader of an institution. The leader basks in the authority transmitted by the office – authority invested by the public that understands the importance of the leader’s role in serving the general welfare.

For this reason, we tend to identify the leadership with the institution, and so reflect the sins of the leader upon the institution itself. But institutions survive their leaders, and so can be evaluated only against the sweep of history – a history that in the case of the Catholic Church is longer than any other institution in existence.

I am certain that in that context the Church has been a great good. If it has created trauma in my generation, it stands to bear in mind that a significant factor was the decline in vocations. If the millennial generation believes that better must be done, they have the opportunity to assume the role themselves. The only alternative is to throw in with denominations that lack the influence to speak globally, and whose leaders often manipulate their congregations for personal gain without any effective oversight.

Krauss Hypocrisy

One of the criticisms mounted by atheists against religion is the hypocrisy of religious authorities.

This is not a new attack: the Donatists were an early Christian sect that claimed that sacraments offered by fallen priests were void, implicitly undermining the authority of the Roman Catholic Church that was filled with such men. Prior to his entry into the priesthood, St. Augustine himself wrote “Lord, cure me of my desire for women – but just not yet.” It was from his pen that the Donatists were rebuked: the Church is an instrument of mercy, commissioned by Christ to bring grace to the fallen through the fallen. The grace of the sacraments rests not with the priest, but with Christ.

Many atheists arise from the hard sciences – physics, chemistry and mathematics – people whose world view conceives of reality as a machine. They answer to no one but each other, and historically they have been as much a men’s club as the priesthood. Just scan the faces of Nobel prize winners – it’s all the evidence you need.

So how well do they do at policing each other?

When I attended a conference run by atheists, I was disturbed by the answer. The event was dominated by white male faces, but a significant sub-population were what you might call “intellectual groupies” – beautiful thirty-something women. I won’t delve deeply into pop psychology – obviously they had some motivation to seek the company of older men.

Lawrence Krauss was among the most aggressive of their pursuers. I went looking for him after his presentation on the future of particle physics, and found him in a dark back corner of the auditorium where he had cornered a beautiful young lady, her eyes darting furtively for escape. I pointed out to Krauss that I was disturbed by the tendency of presentations such as his to characterize speculative theories as proven fact, and asked him where he thought that led. As the young lady slipped past me, his eyes followed regretfully as he admitted “Well, eventually you lose your funding.”

The hollowing out of scientific imagination and integrity is not what brought Krauss down, but rather the testimony of the women that he pursued. The sudden righteousness of his peers is astonishing – they associated with Krauss because of his eagerness to carry their propaganda to the public. They tolerated his aggressiveness because the opportunity to have sex with beautiful women was part of his motivation. Their lack of sympathy for his victims is a telling statement that should cause one to question their professional integrity.

Just to be clear: it was Christian sympathy that motivated me to frustrate Krauss in his pursuit. I am still waiting for the atheists to bring forward an authority of stature equal to Jesus of Nazareth. Until they do, there will be no brake on the moral decline of those such as Krauss who claim the authority of truth as they have their way with those whose minds are weaker than theirs.

Tyranny Vanquished by Love

Listening to “Once and For All” this morning, I was moved to reconsider this post. It seems particularly meaningful at this time, as Donald Trump collapses under the pressures of the justice marshaled by Robert Mueller and others.

everdeepening

As an advocate of the healing manifested in the world through divine love – that is to say, as an apologist – the most painful apology is that offered by those that justify violence in the defense of received truth.

In modern America, those justifications are flavored with desperation. For many years, Christian culture was synonymous with the dominant Caucasian culture. The twenty-first century promises an end to that dominance, but that eventuality was clearly forecast in the last century. The misguided hope that change and accommodation can be avoided breeds irrationality, manifested in the religious extremism that spawned death-threats against doctors that prescribe chemical abortions or that drives parents to resist education in evolutionary biology. Fundamentalism bred in the military, where “Warriors for Christ” sometimes coerce religious conduct in their subordinates, and issue death threats against leaders in organizations (such as the Military Religious Freedom Foundation) that oppose that…

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ROFLMAO – The Bible?!?

With pictures brought over from the original video.

Love Returns

Considering the challenges that God has in loving unconditionally, and interpreting the universe as a tool for that expression

So today, if you don’t mind, I’m going to talk about the Bible.

I know – the Bible has a bad reputation. It’s certainly not an easy read – even without pictures, it’s 1000 pages in tiny printing, and nearly 2000 pages in a print that I can read. I shouldn’t complain, though. It starts at the beginning of everything and runs through to the very end. Maybe 2000 pages isn’t enough.

If that wasn’t mind-blowing enough, nobody ever stepped in to make sure that the writing holds together. In part, that’s because the stories and ideas come from many ancient cultures – a creation story from Sumer, fire-god teaching from Persia, Hebrew oral history and Greek philosophy. Writing was just being invented, and dictionaries didn’t exist.

From those ancient languages…

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See Something? Don’t Say Anything.

Interesting exercise in thought control: in an essay on citizen solidarity against the state, the “authorities” (blog administrators) choose to silence my participation in dialog because I drew attention to the shallowness inherent in the framing of the debate.

Oh, well, time to stop following this “100 Best Philosophy Blogs” site.

In the context of the essay, the critical point is that the “state” is not a faceless entity – it is composed of leaders that perceive their authority as tantamount to the legitimacy of the state. Oppression takes root when citizens question the authority of leaders – in fact, to stimulate those questions is the worst form of treason against the state. This is why Vladimir Putin goes to such extremes to ensure that those that rally resistance against his authority are annihilated – either violently in public spaces, or through horrific poisoning in exile. Both methods of execution strike at the trust so essential to the peace of mind that underpins civil society.

Comparing Putin’s antics to the toothless controls of the blog administrator may seem overblown, but it illustrates just how tempting it is to silence dissent – even among those that claim to safeguard intellectual and ethical integrity.

The Electric Agora

by Daniel Tippens

The children, on the other hand, were systematically turned against their parents and taught to spy on them and report their deviations. The family had become in effect an extension of the Thought Police. It was a device by means of which everyone could be surrounded night and day by informers who knew him intimately.

–George Orwell, 1984

George Orwell’s 1984 is, in large part, a discussion about the importance of solidarity between citizens. This becomes clear once one notices that much of what the ruling Party does is designed to engender distrust between its citizens. Ingsoc has placed televisions equipped with cameras in people’s homes, and cameras are hidden in the streets. It has passed laws requiring people to report on their neighbors, whether they are attempting to lead an uprising or simply having a thought that isn’t in line with the party’s ideology. If anyone…

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