Archive for September 26th, 2010

September 26, 2010

Obama’s Jokes Billy

by Vince
September 26, 2010

Childhood Religious Indoctrination

by Vince

Miranda Celeste’s story is chilling:

According to Catholic teaching, humans are born sinners and cannot help but continue to sin throughout their lives. The only way for a Catholic to atone for these sins is to confess them to a priest, do the required penance, and be absolved. As a child, I obsessively recorded in a little notebook anything that I had said or done that could possibly be considered sinful. Then, when the time came for confession, I would recite this list to the priest, my head hanging in shame, my cheeks burning. I’d do my penance and be absolved. For a fleeting, blissful moment, I would feel light and pure and holy. But soon I would sin again, the guilt would return, the little notebook would be filled up with a record of my indiscretions, and I would return to the confessional and repeat the process over and over again.

Although I left Catholicism fifteen years ago, on occasion I still catch myself wondering what I need to do in order to rid myself of the guilt, shame, and feeling of dirtiness that, in one form or another, is almost always my companion. I sometimes find myself feeling frustrated: why, I wonder, can’t someone just tell me what penance to do? I obviously no longer think in terms of sin or feel the need to go to the confessional, but the desire for absolution remains, like an itch that cannot be scratched.

Who can deny that this is a form of child abuse? The mere act of writing this is making my hands shake and my stomach churn with anxiety. Fifteen years ago, I made the choice to leave Catholicism, something that, among the family and community I grew up in, just isn’t done. This choice was, without a doubt, the best and most liberating choice that I have ever made. However, I do not have a choice when it comes to the ever-present guilt, shame, and anxiety that resulted from my childhood religious indoctrination, and which, to varying degrees of intensity, will always be with me.

To a degree, I feel some of the same.

September 26, 2010

When the Young Husband…

by Vince

“When the Young Husband…” by Donald Hall appeared in The Atlantic in March of 1993:

When the young husband picked up his friend’s pretty wife
in the taxi one block from her townhouse for their
first lunch together, in a hotel dining room
with a room key in his pocket,

midtown traffic gridlocked and was abruptly still.
For one moment before Klaxons started honking,
a prophetic voice spoke in his mind’s ear despite
his pulse’s erotic thudding:

“The misery you undertake this afternoon
will accompany you to the ends of your lives.
She knew what she did, when she agreed to this lunch,
although she will not admit it;

and you’ve constructed your playlet a thousand times:

cocktails, an omelet, wine; the revelation
of a room key; the elevator rising as
the penis elevates; the skin

flushed, the door fumbled at, the handbag dropped; the first
kiss with open mouths, nakedness, swoon, thrust-and-catch;
endorphins followed by endearments; a brief nap;
another fit, restoration

of clothes, arrangements for another encounter,
the taxi back, and the furtive kiss of good-bye.
Then, by turn: tears, treachery, anger, betrayal;
marriages and houses destroyed;

small children abandoned and inconsolable,
their foursquare estates disestablished forever;
the unreadable advocates; the wretchedness
of passion outworn; anguished nights

sleepless in a bare room; whiskey, meth, cocaine; new
love, essayed in loneliness with miserable
strangers, that comforts nothing but skin; hours with sons
and daughters studious always

to maintain distrust; the daily desire to die
and the daily agony of the requirement
to survive, until only the quarrel endures.”
Prophecy stopped; traffic started.

(Image by Flickr user dawnnakaya), H/T: TDD

September 26, 2010

Prayer Marks

by Vince

Image via World Of Technology: 70 year-old Buddhist monk Hua Chi has been praying in the same spot at his temple in Tongren, China for over 20 years. His footprints, which are up to 1.2 inches deep in some areas, are the result of performing his prayers up to 3000 times a day. Now that he is 70, he says that he has greatly reduced his quantity of prayers to 1,000 times each day.

September 26, 2010

Face of the Day

by Vince

An idol of the elephant-headed Hindu god Lord Ganesha is hoisted by a crane into Hussainsagar Lake in Hyderabad on September 22, 2010. Hindus bring home and also offer prayers in temporary temples built for idols of Lord Ganesha in order to invoke his blessings for wisdom and prosperity during the Ganesha Festival, which culminates with the immersion of the idols in bodies of water. By Noah Seelam/AFP/Getty Images.


September 26, 2010

One Man’s Trash is Another’s Home

by Vince


September 26, 2010

Keep Your Eyes On The Stage

by Vince

Thanks to my brother-in-law for showing me this.

September 26, 2010

Constitution Worship: History into Scripture, Men into Deities

by Vince

I see this in Glenn Beck. I hear it from people who don’t fully even understand the document (myself included in my lack of comprehension but not with its worship). But it is real. And the below picture captures my thoughts to a T.

Lexington at the Economist describes this semi-religious practice:

The Declaration of Independence and the constitution have been venerated for two centuries. But thanks to the tea-party movement they are enjoying a dramatic revival. The day after this September’s constitution-day anniversary, people all over the country congregated to read every word together aloud, a “profoundly moving exercise that will take less than one hour”, according to the gatherings’ organisers. At almost any tea-party meeting you can expect to see some patriot brandishing a copy of the hallowed texts and calling, with trembling voice, for a prodigal America to redeem itself by returning to its “founding principles”. The Washington Post reports that Colonial Williamsburg has been crowded with tea-partiers, asking the actors who play George Washington and his fellow founders for advice on how to cast off a tyrannical government.

Sure, we all see bits and pieces of that in the videos we see (which indeed in part are bias), the stories we hear, and in the political arena in our midsts. The contemporary “Leviathan”, known as the big large monster of America’s overarching government, is in the Tea Party’s cross hairs. Lexington notes the paradox amongst the Tea Party, which whether you align yourself with them or not, can be fuel for secession:

But many of the tea-partiers have invented a strangely ahistorical version of it. For example, they say that the framers’ aim was to check the central government and protect the rights of the states. In fact the constitution of 1787 set out to do the opposite: to bolster the centre and weaken the power the states had briefly enjoyed under the new republic’s Articles of Confederation of 1777.

American Exceptionalism lives on the notion that our founders were 1) all Christians (which has been debunked) and 2) were almost above the normal man 3) set on a special mission by God and 4) were some of the most exceptional men on this earth, meant to establish a very exceptional country. You can see this in Sarah Palin’s rhetoric, in pockets of the TP, and in many churches. I don’t intend this at all to brand the TP as all American exceptionalists, but the very philosophy is AE is dangerous, arrogant, and at best not fully aligned with truth and history.

The framers were giants, visionaries and polymaths. But they were also aristocrats, creatures of their time fearful of what they considered the excessive democracy taking hold in the states in the 1780s. They did not believe that poor men, or any women, let alone slaves, should have the vote. Many of their decisions, such as giving every state two senators regardless of population, were the product not of Olympian sagacity but of grubby power-struggles and compromises—exactly the sort of backroom dealmaking, in fact, in which today’s Congress excels and which is now so much out of favour with the tea-partiers.

Hard core followers of the right loath Thomas Jefferson – see the Texas school board. We have to remember the founders were humans, made by a perfect G-D but drifted towards an imperfect existence. The same goes for the disciples of Christ. I see humans first in their original good nature but unfortunately later tainted by our decisions.

As for the constitution worshipers, this goes past the document written in the 18th century to the one written in the Middle Ages. AE is born out of a view that G-D providentially ordained our founders to form a Christian nation. As much as that may be common thought when one sees the brandishing of the 10 Commandments (law) above court houses and “Under God” in our schools pledges, such a notion is, again, poppycock at best and dangerous towards our nation and our worldwide neighbors in its worst moments.

September 26, 2010

Adam Carolla’s Thoughts on Everything

by Vince

I don’t agree with a whole lot of what he says, nor do I think much of it makes sense. But he is fun to listen to. I don’t know if what I said makes sense.

September 26, 2010

“Our Silence Sends Our Voices To The World”

by Vince

Once you get past Iran and its progressing nuclear program, its missiles, its connections to Hezbollah, its ambiguous and dangerous leadership, and its connection some see to the Rapture, you have the above video. I watched it at first and didn’t know what it meant. Its translation is here:

Tomorrow is Saturday. Tomorrow is a day of destiny.
Tonight, the cries of Allah-o Akbar are heard louder and louder than the nights before.
Where is this place? Where is this place where every door is closed? Where is this place where people are simply calling God? Where is this place where the sound of Allah-o Akbar gets louder and louder?
I wait every night to see if the sounds will get louder and whether the number increases. It shakes me. I wonder if God is shaken.
Where is this place that where so many innocent people are entrapped? Where is this place where no one comes to our aid? Where is this place that only with our silence we are sending our voices to the world? Where is this place that the young shed blood and then people go and pray — standing on that same blood and pray. Where is this place where the citizens are called vagrants?
Where is this place? You want me to tell you? This place is Iran. The homeland of you and me.
This place is Iran.

Watching a video like this will send you in one direction. Reading these tweets or viewing these pictures with captions sends you in another completely opposite direction.

We can’t continue to see and view others in broad brush strokes. More so, this surpasses Islam and pervades every other religion, ethnicity, and aspect of life. It would be ignorant of me to think of my friend who is Jewish as a cookie cut identical to the last Jew I met, in his thinking, his religious views, and his politics. This world is too complex, our thoughts are so vast and deep (everyone is included here, not just the educated), and our issues are so deep that we can’t settle for cutting ourselves short in discourse with others and our own thinking. This all goes beyond mid term voting, 2012 general elections, and politics. This is life. And the one manning the camera above, speaking in private, has no voice but to speak into a camera. Their voice is against the tyranny of their Islamic Republic. And we think all of those crying out Allah Akbar are about to kill themselves and others. Let’s get real.