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Archives for January 2007

Pity Will Smith…

…trapped at the most terrifying Last Supper ever. Thanks to Michael for the link.

By the by, there’s tons of brilliant stuff over there at Gallery of the Absurd, but they do work blue when they’ve a mind to. Consider yourself forewarned.

Godspeed to Cubeland Mystic ….

Window in the Skies


The Farkleberry Spreads

Of the making of new Bible translations there is no end. Catholics, who are forced to listen to the clunky New American Bible at Mass, get to work off in advance some of the punitive aspects of purgatory. And evangelicals are indebted to Nelson publishers for the New Century Version. Now that version is available in Immerse: A Water-Resistant New Testament. “The first-ever water-resistant Bible is available in lime green and orange, with the pages 100% water-resistant…. A wonderful addition to any mission trip, a weekend at the beach, hiking, or even when you get baptized!” The effectual grace of baptism being indiscernible in so many of us, we now have a water-resistant Bible for water-resistant Christians. What won’t they think of next? Don’t ask.

— Richard John Neuhaus, in the February issue of First Things, p. 71.

Bookmark, Benedict Edition

From today’s reading in Benedictus:

“Human beings are such that they cannot stand the person who is wholly good, truly upright, truly loving, the person who does evil to no one. It seems that in this world only momentarily is trust met with trust, justice with justice, love with love. The person who exemplifies all these virtues quickly becomes insupportable to others. People will crucify anyone who is really and fully human. Such is man. And such am I – that is the terrifying insight that comes to me from the crucified Christ. Along with this insight, however, goes another: Man is the being who is capable of expressing God himself. Man is so made that God can enter into union with him. The human person, who seems at first sight to be a kind of unfortunate monster produced by evolution, at the same time represents the highest possibility the created order can attain.”


The Lion and the Cardinal has a new piece, as well as the miniature that inspired it.

Today in Worship

The Lawyer passes along a bit from Galley Slaves:

“According to, certain parishes under the Church of England will now be able to perform services to the tune of U2 songs ‘in an effort to boost congregations.’ Two of the songs to be used are ‘Mysterious Ways’ and ‘Beautiful Day.’

As some of you know, I’ve listened to U2 since I was about 14. But if I were sitting in a church and suddenly I was told to please rise and sing the communion hymn, ‘Bullet the Blue Sky,’ I think I would have to flee.

Sadly, this sort of gimmick is not new. When I was in Catholic high school, someone conned our teachers and the local priest into playing Mr. Mister’s ‘Kyrie’ during the consecration.”

Catholics: leading the way in goofy attempts to appeal to The Youth of Today since 1970. Because, you know, I just don’t get to hear pop music unless I go to church.

Mile High Club

Don’t Judge Too Quickly – video powered by Metacafe

A passage worth quoting from René Girard’s Things Hidden since the Foundation of the World

I recently finished this extraordinary book and whole-heartedly recommend it to everybody who can find the time. It is probably more easily understood after reading his book Violence and the Sacred, but its conversational style (Girard ‘wrote’ it in a series of ‘conversations’ with the French psychiatrists Jean-Michel Oughourlian and Guy Lefort) makes it slightly easier reading than that earlier work. I’m tempted to start up my own summer reading club in order to understand it a little better. I took many notes and have many questions, so I would certainly welcome any help from any scholarly minded folk who happen upon this post. For example, after 450 pages I’m still not clear on what “interdividual psychology” really is, beyond what the words generally imply: psychology as it somehow exists between individuals. Or is it Girard’s attempt to invent a word, rather as Derrida does with “grammatology” and “différance”? More substantively, how is a non-sacrificial reading of the Gospels really possible, not just because of the textual difficulty posed by the Letter to the Hebrews, but because of the Christian tradition and, in fact the Jewish tradition going back to the Passover? Or is this precisely Girard’s point?

In any case, after a book full of chapters with titles such as “The Logos of Heraclitus and the Logos of John”, “Desire without Object” and “Psychoanalytic Mythology”, the last two pages are simply breathtaking. After Oughourlian comments on the barren landscape of our contemporary intellectual climate (“a whole host of epigonal movements so devoid of real crativity that they seem more pathetic than dangerously misleading”), Girard closes with the following:

“I hold that truth is not an empty word, or a mere ‘effect’ as people say nowadays. I hold that everything capable of diverting us from madness and death, from now on, is inextricably linked with this truth. But I do not know how to speak about these matters. I can only approach texts and institutions, and relating them to one another seems to me to throw light in every direction. I am not embarrassed to admit that an ethical and religious dimension exists for me, but it is the result of my thinking rather than an external preconception that determined my research. I have always believed that if I managed to communicate what some of my reading meant to me, the conclusions I was forced to reach would force themselves on other people as well.

“I began to breathe more freely when I discovered that literary and ethnological critiques are inadequate – even if they are not totally worthless – when confronted with the literary and cultural texts they claim to dominate. This was before I came to the Judaeo-Christian scriptures. I never even imagined that those texts were there for the purpose of passive enjoyment, in the same way as we look at a beautiful landscape. I always cherished the hope that meaning and life were one. Present-day thought is leading us in the direction of the valley of death, and it is cataloguing the dry bones one by one. All of us are in this valley but it is up to us to resuscitate meaning b relating all the texts to one another without exception, rather than stopping at just a few of them. All issues of ‘psychological health’ seem to me to take second place to a much greater issue- that of meaning which is being lost or threatened on all sides but simply awaits the breath of the Spirit to be reborn. Now all that is needed is this breath to recreate stage by stage Ezekiel’s experience in the valley of the dead:

The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me round among them; and behold, there were very many upon the valley; and lo, they were very dry. And he said to me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ And I answered, ‘O Lord God, thou knowest.’ Again he said to me, ‘Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, O dry bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.’

So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And as I looked , there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.’ So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great host (Ezekiel 37, 1-10).