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John 20:19-29

The Christianity Today Weblog had it exactly right: "Few weeks are as heavy on religion news, or death news, as this one." Terri Schiavo dies, Karol Wojtyla dies, investigations continue into mass shootings at a church and school, executions (both legal and extra-) work their way through the courts. As CT puts it, "See a theme?"

It's a good time to be reminded of the promise of the resurrection. Again, this is no "pie in the sky" affair: in the gospel accounts, it is emphatically, almost embarrassingly, physical. "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands," says Thomas, "and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."

A week later, Jesus appears to invite him to do just that.

This is an earthy resurrection, a bodily one. The gospels are vague on the issue, but Jesus seems to reappear to the disciples, wounds and all. This is the same body that was laid in the grave--and yet it is restored, somehow. It is in the process of some further transformation: as Jesus tells Mary Magdalene when he appears to her, "Do not hold onto me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father." Is this transformation promised to us as well? The gospels are silent on the point.

Skeptics--some friendly, some not--occasionally ask how I can hold a boatload of counter-intuitve beliefs. You seem like a reasonable person, they say, yet you believe things that aren't rational.

I tell them I believe because I have seen the power of the resurrection with my own eyes.

In my time as a pastor, I've been called upon to do a lot of visiting with the sick and dying. One of my favorites was literally a singing cowboy; he'd had his own band back in the 30s and 40s, though for most of his life, he made his living selling insurance.

He was quite possibly the kindest, friendliest man I'd ever met. He claimed to have made a few enemies along the way, but I didn't believe him for a moment. He died in great pain from lymphoma.

For many months, as he struggled against the cancer, he was cheerful to a fault, telling everyone he met that he was going to beat it and get back to life. His wife would tell me privately that she didn't think he would, but she didn't want to say so because she thought it wouldn't be supportive. When I talked to him, he'd say the same thing about her.

This went on for weeks, even when it became obvious to everyone that he was not going to beat it. I finally spoke to him in private and asked him again how he was feeling about the situation. "Fine, pastor," he said. "I'm going to beat this and get back to church."

"See, here's the thing," I told him, as gently as I could. "I don't think you are. And you and your wife need to start talking about it, so you can enjoy the rest of your time together."

He put up a little more resistance, but eventually fell silent. I pressed him on the issue, and he said, "I'll take care of it." He did, and from there, they began the long process of reconciling themselves to his death.

Another woman in the same congregation had been bed-ridden for years with  multiple sclerosis. Then she, too, was diagnosed with cancer, an aggressive kind that by all rights should have killed her. (Three years later, she's still making it.) I asked her if she believed in the resurrection, if she believed her body would be restored someday.

"You bet," she said. "It's what keeps me going."

And there's the power and the promise of the resurrection: that whether we live or die, we are the Lord's.

"Peace be with you," Christ says to his disciples. Not, "you have nothing to fear." Not, "nothing's going to happen to you," but "Peace be with you." Awful, painful, humiliating, even killing things happen to our bodies. Yet through all those things, God is present with us, working to reassure us that strife and pain and death are not ultimate realities.

I don't know about you, but that's reassuring for me in this week filled with far too much news of division and death. We cannot avoid these things, but by God, they don't have to have the last word.

Update [2005-4-3 12:21:10 by pastordan]: It's 12:20 EST, and the top three diaries on the recommended list are about religion in one way or another. Who says it doesn't matter anymore?

Originally posted to pastordan on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 07:23 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  FWIW, (4.00)
    I too am a Thomas, a twin, and a doubter.

    However, last I checked, I am not a tank engine.

    The UCC: to believe is to care, to care is to do. Also, they have cookies.

    by pastordan on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 07:21:17 AM PDT

    •  Four for the Tank Engine reference (4.00)

      We have the Arsenal of Tank Engine Democracy in our house. :)

      That which does not troll-rate me makes me stronger. :)

      by cskendrick on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 08:39:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Democracy? (none)
        In our house it's pure dictatorship:  "Daddy, you be Percy, and I'm Gordon.  No don't go that way, it's this way.  You go under the bridge, and I'll go over.  Dad-dy!"

        And I've always thought that the show's whole scenario could transform one into a genuine old-school Marxist.  What more perfect example of a fat cat captalist pig than Sir Topham Hat?  And the whole message is that they should all strive to be "very useful engines?"  Pretty straightforward bourgeois propaganda, if you ask me.

        -- Stu

        •  Actually (none)
          Most of the stories are based on actual incidents on British Railways in the early-mid 20th century. (1915-1955), and, while simplified for kids, are a not-unreasonable decription for how the real railroads works.

          We have no desire to offend you -- unless you are a twit!

          by ScrewySquirrel on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 11:02:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  To quote the Monty Python Yorkshireman Sketch... (none)
        "Luxury!"

        I have two little girls in my house. Thomas the Tank Engine (they inform me) is "boy stuff".

        I'm up to my eyeteeth in "My Little Ponies"

        Arrrrgh!

        DFooK

        Strange and beautiful are the stars tonight, that dance around your head.

        by deepfish on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 11:23:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Mommy's Guys (none)
          We outnumber Mrs. CSK, 3 to 1. :)

          That which does not troll-rate me makes me stronger. :)

          by cskendrick on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 11:29:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Outnumbered... (none)
            Until recently the distaff side of teh family outnumbered me as well. But we have two cousins visiting from Korea and the sides are more evenly matched.

            Thank GOD we have more than one washroom!

            DFooK

            Strange and beautiful are the stars tonight, that dance around your head.

            by deepfish on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 12:00:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I was outnumbered, still am (none)
            I remember running alongside my younger son, playing NASCAR GUY.  I had to be Rusty Wallace, he got to be Dale Earnhardt (or whoever was currently Daddy's favorite driver).  If I inadvertantly won the 'race' he'd get mad and make me be Mark Martin.  
            •  I get ordered... (none)
              ...to say things, to say things in just the right way, to not say anything at all.

              Heck, when they said that having kids was work, they really meant it. :)

              That which does not troll-rate me makes me stronger. :)

              by cskendrick on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 03:55:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Oh yes! (none)
                One of our favorite books, "Scared of the Dark," had a passage in it that I read 'too scary' so I had to say it just right.  

                And this kid started reading Steven King novels in the 6th grade, wants to make horror movies, and where am I?  Hiding my eyes.  At Sundance I'll be rooting him on (I bet he'll make it) and I'll still be hiding my eyes, lol.

        •  godzilla (none)
          My mom convinced me that barbie and ponies were for wussy girls. I had godzilla, three feet tall and he shot things out of his mouth.
          •  Projectiles... (none)
            My mom convinced me that barbie and ponies were for wussy girls. I had godzilla, three feet tall and he shot things out of his mouth.

            So what? I have a three year old girl who does that regularly (without recourse to action figures)!

            ...particularly after we've had bulgogi.

            DFooK

            Strange and beautiful are the stars tonight, that dance around your head.

            by deepfish on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 11:57:46 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  So who's your favorite? (none)
          Butterscotch or Sunny Daze?

          The My Little Pony bug has been caught in my house too, but so far the Barbie Pricess fever is winning out over the Equine flu.

        •  My little Girl (none)
          loved Thomas.  Now she's 9 and a "pre-teen drama queen."

          9/11 was the Neocons' Reichstag fire.

          by Bulldawg on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 02:14:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh Lord... (none)
            This is what I have to look forward to?

            <Sigh>

            DFooK

            Strange and beautiful are the stars tonight, that dance around your head.

            by deepfish on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 02:20:23 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, (none)
              no connection to Thomas, but possibly.  She's also very into Animal Planet, and likes "Scarey Saturday Night Sleepover" and "Mythbusters" on Discovery Channel.  She LOVES science (and Hillary Duff).

              9/11 was the Neocons' Reichstag fire.

              by Bulldawg on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 04:31:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Hillary Duff... (none)
                It must be something in the air. My five year old and my three year old ONLY watch pre-school ed TV, we have no teeny bop CD's and we listen only to mothercorp or oldies channels on the radio.

                Yet the other day teh oldest told me she wants to be Hillary Duff when she grows up,

                <Insert Existential Howl Here>

                DFooK

                Strange and beautiful are the stars tonight, that dance around your head.

                by deepfish on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 05:05:11 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Well, (none)
                  so far at least, Hillary's OK.  Yeah she's kinda of an airhead teeny bopper, but she at least dresses modestly, and doesn't project an aire of "F___ me." Lizzie McGuire's a good show and teaches the values of honesty, friendship, and its got a pretty good cast.  No hooker chic like >gack< Brittany.  Her music is OK, not too obnoxious.

                  We're actually having a harder time keeping our 4-year old boy from an interest in violent crap like "Dragonball Z," and the like.

                  9/11 was the Neocons' Reichstag fire.

                  by Bulldawg on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 06:19:40 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Re: FWIW (4.00)
      Brings to mind a line from the Stephen Stills song "There's something happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear..."

      Thanks Pastor.  Timely, you tank engine you.

      I'm gonna put a little something in to the pot for PastorDan.  If anybody cares to join me, here's a link to the Collection Plate.

      Thank you.

      "Whatever they want the answer is no. Now is not the time to fold, now is the time to up the ante." -- Charles Pierce

      by baba durag on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 11:03:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks, Pastor (4.00)
    I really appreciate the theme that the resurrection, whatever we may think about it, should offer hope, especially to the sick and dying.  Now, I don't subscribe to the notion of resurrection bodies.  It's enough for me to say that after death we will live in the fullness of God's time.

    But your query to your parishoner about their belief in the resurrection brings up a good point.
    The fundamental dividing line between liberal and conservative Christians is the historicity of the empty tomb narratives in gospels.

    Ironically, those who claim to have the strongest faith actually try to suport their belief in the Empty Tomb by objective evidence such as the report of witnesses, etc.  They sacrifice everything in the name of making the Empty Tomb literally true: wrongheaded theories about scriptural inspiration and inerrancy, subscription to an ancient cosmology debunked by modern science, etc.

    The people who talk about the Empty Tomb are just in denial, and apparently don't have much faith.

    It's the people who talk about the Risen Christ who I admire far more.  These people have looked into the face of mystery and see the divine in Jesus Christ.  I can really respect that.

    Resurrection is not a fairy tale.  It celebrates the victory of hope over despair, light over darkness, and life over death.  I take great comfort in that.

    Peace be with you all.

    ~Liberal in the best sense of the word~

    by Lucky Ducky on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 07:30:52 AM PDT

    •  And also with you. (4.00)
      I also used to believe in "living in the fullness of God's time." It was seeing the quiet dignity with which good people met their deaths that changed my mind.

      The UCC: to believe is to care, to care is to do. Also, they have cookies.

      by pastordan on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 07:47:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Grace (4.00)
        Many years ago the wife of my then parish Priest was dying of cancer. Wonderful woman. The word "grace" took meaning for me during a conversation I had with her about how she was doing. She was filled with the Grace of Acceptance. They were doing everything they could to defeat the cancer, including experimental treatments when the standard ones failed, but throughout it all was the acceptance of the end of life. It was ok. These were not in conflict with each other. It enabled her to be completely open in discussing her situation and sharing it with others (including me). Grace shared.

        Peace,

        Andrew

        "We have the power. Sorry if you don't like the fact that we've decided to use it." Posted by Jeremey*in*MS at February 3, 2005 01:59 PM

        by Andrew C White on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 11:37:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you, pastordan (4.00)
    Peace, joy, gentleness, goodness, compassion, longsuffering, faith, reassurance and love be with us all.
  •  A retranslation (4.00)
    Jesus' words to the Magdalene (mē mou haptou in Greek) are probably better translated, "Stop clinging to me!"

    "Don't hold onto me" isn't bad, but it doesn't quite convey that he's not forbidding her to touch him, but rather telling her to stop trying to hold him back.

  •  It's good to hear (4.00)
    in this time of absolute belief and absolute doubt, from people who are capable of both believing and thinking.  There are more of you than we know, but tey are subject to ridicule from both eremes.  Thank you for reminding us of the basic humanity of so many believers.

    Follow the money. It leads to the truth.

    by dhonig on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 07:55:02 AM PDT

  •  When my grandmother had cancer... (4.00)
    She was not very good at going to doctors, so even though she wasn't feeling well, she didn't see one until it became very bad and the cancer had spread throughout her body.

    We brought her home in February and with Hospice help, we kept her in her house for the next few weeks as she declined quickly.

    She died on Easter morning and it seemed fitting.

    I was able to plan the funeral liturgy knowing that all of the resurrection songs from Easter were fitting.  Especially poignant was the hymn "The Strife is O'er".  If one has to die, I think dying in the season of new life and resurrection is a great comfort.

    Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. Martin Luther King Jr. 1963

    by Mlle L on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 08:01:42 AM PDT

    •  I know what you mean (4.00)
      My father died of cancer in home hospice. His wish was to die at home. I am so glad we could give him this gift as I feel one of the best blessings any of us can have is to Live Life on our Terms and Die, if possible, on Our Terms. We cannot choose when and how we die, but we can choose where and what to do in that stage.

      Hospice remarked to us that they never had seen such a kind man die with such peace and serenity.
      I told them I believed it was because his motto was to live life is such a way that one has a few regrets as possible. If he offended someone or caused someone pain, he did not let it slide but went about repairing the relationship. His heart was big, his compassion huge, and he practiced what he preached.

      So I remember not only the way he lived but the way he died. He was at peace with completing the journey of this life and moving on to the next.

      We choose hope over despair; possibilities over problems, optimism over cynicism.-John Edwards

      by wishingwell on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 02:03:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well... (4.00)
    I'll tell ya' what folks. I've been a non-believer (lapsed Catholic) more some few years now. And I've studied an enormous amount of philosophy and have been farily profoundly steeped into a scientifically oriented view of the word.

    After having read the god-aweful incoherent blather that  Falalfel or Fallstaf (or whatver his name is) offers in defense of atheism in his extroadarily recommended and commented diary,and then reading this nice, calm, reasonable, articulate diary....well...I begin to have second thoughts or (actually third thoughts). Doubting my doubts,as it were.

    We should treat all the trivial things of life seriously and all serious things with a sincere and studied triviality---Wilde

    by gilgamesh on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 08:29:54 AM PDT

    •  Well, thank you. (4.00)
      That's the nicest thing anyone's said to me all day.

      The UCC: to believe is to care, to care is to do. Also, they have cookies.

      by pastordan on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 08:37:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed... (4.00)
      I couldn't really even weigh in directly to that diary.  I know I'd set off alot of defensiveness on that diary by even suggesting that it sounded as bad as Pat Robertson. (IMO)

      Like if I'd walk into an Assembly of God Church and shouted, "Are you SURE Jesus was for real?"

      "If one party is shameless, the other party can't afford to be spineless." - Sen. Frank Lautenberg 11/20/04

      by HadIt on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 08:45:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My response (4.00)
        to that diary was that God should sue for defamation of character, considering the bad name that some of his alleged followers had given Him. I probably could've done better, but it was quite late and I was already quite cranky.

        PD, since the spouse and I didn't make it to church this morning (combination of a stupid cold and the equally stupid time change), you supplied our homily for the day; I read the Gospel passage (left out the usual responses since I'm not a deacon), and then your diary. The spouse agreed that it was excellent; I think we may be starting a new family tradition (especially once we get a printer and I can read the WFTW over brunch after church).

        You sure I can't talk you and the Mrs. into coming over to the Episcopal Church??? ;) (j/k -- the UCC needs you, too!)

        Blessings and peace to you and the Mrs.; I'll be back in the evening to check for the "Brothers and Sisters" diary...

        "It's an unnerving thought that we may be the living universe's supreme achievement and its worst nightmare simultaneously." -- Bill Bryson

        by Cali Scribe on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 12:21:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Just As One Shouldn't Judge All Religion... (4.00)
      ...by the beliefs and attitudes of its crudest adherents, I don't think it's fair to judge atheism by crude functionalist attacks on religion.

      So while I join gilgamesh in much preferring pastordan's diary to Farlfoto's, this is largely because Farlfoto's argument is crude and reductive, while pastordan's is sophisticated and elegant.  This difference doesn't, to my mind, necessarily reflect the intrinsic merits of the broad positions (atheist vs. Christian) that they're advocating.

      Start doing the things you think should be done, and start being what you think society should become. -Adam Michnik.

      by GreenSooner on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 09:32:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yup (none)
        Thank you for that clarification.  I agree completely.

        "If one party is shameless, the other party can't afford to be spineless." - Sen. Frank Lautenberg 11/20/04

        by HadIt on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 10:30:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Of course not... (4.00)
        I was being partly tongue-in-cheek. I'm not seriouly going to change my own position because of that nonsense. It was frusrating to see such a badly done
        "thing" make it way, way up on the recommended list and an such an enormous number of people taking it seriously. That's all I realy meant.

        We should treat all the trivial things of life seriously and all serious things with a sincere and studied triviality---Wilde

        by gilgamesh on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 11:05:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I Wasn't Suggesting That You Had (none)
          In fact, I almost posted an "atheism deserves better than this" comment on the other diary, and your post just provided an occasion for posting something similar in a more positive context.

          Start doing the things you think should be done, and start being what you think society should become. -Adam Michnik.

          by GreenSooner on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 11:58:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I did post... (none)
            a comment to that effect in that thread FWIW. You probably won't be able to find it now among the havoc if you tried to search for it, but it's in there.

            I think Maryscott O'Connor's idea of some sort of upper limit on comments might be worth consideration in that repect, BTW. With my dial-up connection, it's difficult to even load a diary that weighed down much less read through and find soemhting interesting.

            We should treat all the trivial things of life seriously and all serious things with a sincere and studied triviality---Wilde

            by gilgamesh on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 12:11:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Gilgamesh- (4.00)
      There is nothing wrong with questioning the meaning of existance, having doubts, all that is part of faith.  Anyone who says they have all the answers, and quits looking for them has been misled.  

      The last couple days, a certain "kick 'em when their down" attitude kind of has taken a hold of Kos, so I am going to stay out of that mess.  

      Death is a time of suffering, but also great rejoice, a time of renewal and rebirth, toward whatever other manifestation we are intended, a rebirth.

      Everything is as it should be.  We can only try to understand.

      •  Here.... (none)
        Anyone who says they have all the answers, and quits looking for them has been misled.   youv'e stated a very simple,commonsense but powerful idea that seems to be almost on the verge of extinction in the political realm especially. I'm not a strict ideologist---no matter of what kind. I can't be. I'm a philosopher and, as such, I have to ask questions in the Socratic spirit: unconfortable and provoactive question and observations like the one someone mentioned back in another post: are you SURE
        god exists in the cathadral (figuratively speaking)?

        Why do you believe that to be the case? On the on there hand, is it realy the case that everthing is reducible to matter and physicalism? Please define matter to for me first? Physicists have an extraodinaily hard time defining it after the revolution in quantum physics and the dicoverey of the wave-particle duality and, even befor that, the bizzare and subjectively influened bahavior of the electron.

        And, in the political sphere, I questioned someone recently: "can you please give me your charterization of the mind?" before telling me that Teeri Schiavo has "no mind." Answer: WTF are you dense. I, dense, for asking the question? Or is it not rather the person who refused (i.e. just abiut everyone I've discussed that issue with so far the question) who's shutting out the possiblity of discussion and debate in a rational and intelleigent manner.

        I'm kind of rambling all over the place here. I just don't like so much anger and so much  intolerance as I've been reading lately from anyone (left, right, center, up, down, strange, charm)....It's anti-intellectual, anti-liberal (in one importan Millian sense of the word) and counterproductive.

        We should treat all the trivial things of life seriously and all serious things with a sincere and studied triviality---Wilde

        by gilgamesh on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 11:30:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Keep looking, asking, just keep- (none)
          First-there are so many ways to relate to an existance or non-existance of God, I think of it as layers of experience.  Strict fundamentalists are like spiritual children.  They got the bible,koran, whatever book or word and proclaim faith-but no duty, no obligation, all that is required of them is a blind faith.  

          Then there are levels of understanding that extend from that.  It is a journey, I can supplement my faith or spiritual journey with both my understanding of the physical world and the questions that are not yet answered.  For me, spirituality is about the journey.  Understanding the nature of God is only a small part of that.  The biggie for me is understanding the nature of self.

          If we exist because of a multitude of coincidences, than it tells me that God is certainly not petty, if he/she/it is the creative force in the universe, than why all the rituals, why the dogma, why all the rigid constructs?  Well, because look around, at the squabbling, the bickering, the territorial disputes.  God has to deal with a bunch of children.

          So God may have contructed us in his image (at a biological level, physical level, or the full human form, whatever, but we also constructed Him in our image.  The pettiness is ours.

      •  Jerry Fallwell (4.00)
        The last couple days, a certain "kick 'em when their down" attitude kind of has taken a hold of Kos, so I am going to stay out of that mess.

        That's where I draw the line.  I believe Fallwell is the spawn of satan & have no warm fuzzies for him at all.  I went off in a diary that called for warm fuzzies for Fallwell & got troll rated!  

        Fallwell should be kicked back into the bowels of hell, where he came from.  Just 'cause he's sick cannot possibly absolve him.  He's evil.

        Though I've had my differences w/JPII, I have always had a soft spot for him.  He was a sincere, good, stubborn man, & he did a lot of good.

        OTOH, The Repugly talking points on the Sunday shows, MTP & TW, were utterly despicable.  Cokie & some other hack comparing Reagan to THE POPE!  At His Wake!  I was apalled!  Those 2 deserve public humiliation, along w/whoever distributed those talking points.  What An Insult!

        "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." Albert Einstein

        by x on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 12:25:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  For me, (4.00)
          when Falwell does leave this mortal coil, I can still mourn his death as a fellow human being, and mourn the life that could have been had he turned his eyes from the Judgement to the Joy.

          It's the same way I can mourn convicted criminals when they die or are executed; I mourn the loss of a human being, and mourn the life wasted due to incorrect choices.

          But that's just me, I guess...

          "It's an unnerving thought that we may be the living universe's supreme achievement and its worst nightmare simultaneously." -- Bill Bryson

          by Cali Scribe on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 01:15:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No (none)
            I do that too. Whenever the federal government or my state executes a prisoner, I make it a point to pray the Office for the Dead on his/her behalf, since I'm one of "the people" named as responsible on the execution warrant. I figure it's the least I can do to atone for my part of the responsibility.
          •  Persoanlly, I share the.. (none)
            view expressed by Shakespeare's Hamlet:
            "He was a man.
            Take him for all in all,
            I shall not look upon his like again."

            We should treat all the trivial things of life seriously and all serious things with a sincere and studied triviality---Wilde

            by gilgamesh on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 12:19:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Well- (none)
          I have no problem with discussing the shortfallings of various leaders, spiritual or otherwise. I am not a fan of Fallwell either.   But I would not wait until his deathbed When all of his followers are in mourning to make my points.  I would wait (or at least discuss out of the context of the moment)-out of respect for his followers, neighbors, friends whoever.

          I alway adored the Pope too, even though I have some reservations on certain issues.

          People who think liberation theology is a good idea to get your parish involved in really doesn't give a shit about the people who get caught in the crossfire when revolution happens.  

          The fantasy with Latin Guerillas need to end.  The Pope was right on that.

    •  Gilgamesh, this reminds me (none)
      of Nietzsche's line -- I don't recall offhand where it is -- that there's no more insidious way to discredit a position than by defending it with patently faulty arguments.

      In fairness, though, I can't really say that the arguments offered by the author you allude to were any worse than much that was offered up on the pro-theist side subsequently, on that thread and on other diaries that have popped up (this diary not included, of course!).  Would you?

      Note:  I am not asserting that theism is false or that theists are fools.  Nor am I arrogantly claiming that I "have all the answers".  I am saying that these issues are far more complicated than many people seem to realize, and that I'm disturbed to see so many people for whom this seems to be a matter of intense personal importance (one way or the other), and seem quite confident in their own arguments (pro or con), yet who haven't troubled themselves to gain even minimal acquaintance with the rather more thoughful treatments that have evolved in philosophy and theology over the centuries.  That is what I consider to be arrogance.  (Perhaps that  -- echoing Nietzsche again [Gay Science, on the "intellectual conscience"] -- is my form of injustice.)

      (Again, manifestly NOT directed at this diary or its thread!  And I hate to go negative like this.  But.  GRRR!)

      •  yeahhh... (none)
        the arrogance of ignonorance, I've alwayed called it. Don't know if that's original or not.

        In any case, it seems to me that the most educated are often inappropriately abused with term like "snob" and "arrogance". But,the fact is, the most   arrogant people I've ever met have, almost always, been the least educated and informed. In fact, it's a fascinating phenonomon and one worthy of sociological scutiny. There might be a statistically significant correlation between the degree of ignorance of a person and the intensity and vehemence of their conviction that they "know the right answers" to the most comlex and fundmantal questions of life (GW Bush comes most immediately to mind (-; and then  my uncle Alberto). Anyway, just my own experiamental hypothesis.

        The quote from Nietzche, BTW, encapsulates the whole thing perfectly and with the usual pungent sting. But that's why he was one of the masters of that style of writing.

        We should treat all the trivial things of life seriously and all serious things with a sincere and studied triviality---Wilde

        by gilgamesh on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 12:00:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I pride myself on being tolerant (4.00)
      and very sensitive. But the other diary you refer to hit me the same way. I respect people of all religions, faiths, spiritual perspectives as well as though who do not believe in a higher power.
      But I found that guy's diary over the top and filled with rage and came off as elitist as he proceeded to put down People who believe in God.

      We choose hope over despair; possibilities over problems, optimism over cynicism.-John Edwards

      by wishingwell on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 02:07:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Pastordan - Just the Man I wanted to see (none)
    It's too late to pimp effectively, but I'd like you to peruse something I wrote yesterday On Life Sovereignty -- control of life/death decisions.

    I was hopin' it would catch your attention, since I value your insights in these matters.

    If you in fact saw the diary already-- did you answer the poll?

    It's all about the poll. :)

    That which does not troll-rate me makes me stronger. :)

    by cskendrick on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 08:43:03 AM PDT

  •  Touching diary....Thank you (4.00)
    And is it possible that when he does say "be not afraid" various times, he means it as in "be at peace, inside"?  Or "be calm, I am here"?

    Something like that?

    "If one party is shameless, the other party can't afford to be spineless." - Sen. Frank Lautenberg 11/20/04

    by HadIt on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 08:50:28 AM PDT

    •  The subjective/emotional (4.00)
      content of Jesus' words is highly overstated in modern interpretations. When he says, "be not afraid," that's pretty much what he means. (You've got the "I am here" part exactly right, though.)

      It's often a way to encourage bolder and riskier action than the disciples are comfortable with taking. God has our highest allegiance, according to  Jesus, and our behavior ought to reflect that.

      Thanks for the compliment!

      The UCC: to believe is to care, to care is to do. Also, they have cookies.

      by pastordan on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 08:56:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Dan, (4.00)
    I'd like to hang with you, man.  What a decent guy. If I'd met you sooner, maybe I'd still be a Christian.  

    9/11 was the Neocons' Reichstag fire.

    by Bulldawg on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 09:09:24 AM PDT

  •  Thanks, Pastor (4.00)
    I'm glad I stopped in here this morning, as always.  My relationship with God improved when I started seeing miracles.  Then I witnessed a miracle in myself.  I also discovered the comfort of having Him in my life.  You really can't define faith to someone who refuses to accept the concept, someone who keeps saying prove the existence of God.  At least I can't.  I can only point to the miracles I've seen.

    Thanks for providing a soft, peaceful place to be this Sunday morning.  Last night was pretty awful in here, enough for me to take the day off today from DailyKos, except for checking in for "The Word for the Week".  Couldn't miss your sermon.

    I'll be back for "Brothers and Sisters".  Peace be with you and Mrs. P. I'm working hard on attaining serenity this morning, accepting the fact that there are a lot of people in this world that are very angry and upset with this Holy Father, who died yesterday.  I just want his soul to go with God in peace today.  History will take care of the rest.

    We do not rent rooms to Republicans.

    by Mary Julia on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 09:15:19 AM PDT

  •  Thanks PD!!! (4.00)
    This passage from the beginning of First John mentions touching with the hands, perhaps in an effort to combat Gnostic teachings about Jesus having only been a Spirit Being all along:

    1We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life-- 2this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us-- 3we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us.

    It seems that those of us with the strongest faith have had or witnessed some sort of inexplicable brush with the supernatural, be it a seeming miracle or some other mountaintop type experience.  Martin Luther had that legendary thunderstorm experience.  Sergeant Alvin York of World War I fame had a similar experience.  Among other personal experiences of this sort, I know of a mechanic that had been crushed by a car at his garage and then fully recovered from his injuries (leaving his doctors dumbfounded) after his home church had a very focused prayer vigil on his behalf.

    Dogmatism, be it by a Christian or atheist or whatever other category, does not convince the doubters.  It often takes a bitter experience to disavow Christianity in the same way it takes a positive one to instill an unshakable faith.  I have had my own bitter experiences along the way, some of which make me shy away from much of organized religion, especially that which is very dogmatic.  My own brushes with the supernatural have given me reason to believe there is something powerful out there that cannot be measured or explained by ordinary scientific means.  And these have enabled me to at least continue to entertain the notion that there was a real Jesus who was an actual person and who actually was raised from the dead.  I think we all need some sort of "hands in the nailprints" experience along the way.

    The ...Bushies... don't make policies to deal with problems. ...It's all about how can we spin what's happening out there to do what we want to do. Krugman

    by mikepridmore on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 09:20:04 AM PDT

    •  oops... (4.00)
       I meant to link to First John. Here  is the link.  As an afterthought, I felt like I should probably have said that the most devout doubters, like the one who wrote that diary yesterday, always seem to be driven by some bitter experience and are not reachable without somehow acknowledging and addressing that experience.

      The ...Bushies... don't make policies to deal with problems. ...It's all about how can we spin what's happening out there to do what we want to do. Krugman

      by mikepridmore on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 09:37:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've done some thinking about this too (4.00)
      in terms of the "mountain top" experience. The phrase "mountain-top" experience comes from the Transfiguration...but when you think about it, not all the disciples were there. It was just Peter, James & John. These also seem to be the three that need the most correcting, especially in terms of who is going to be the greatest.

      Maybe the "mountain-top" experience is for those people who are too stubborn to accept what is with faith and grace.

      As for my miraculous event? I see it in the face of the spouse every morning, and realize how blessed I truly am... (all right, get the insulin ready...)

      "It's an unnerving thought that we may be the living universe's supreme achievement and its worst nightmare simultaneously." -- Bill Bryson

      by Cali Scribe on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 12:31:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks PD. (4.00)
    There was a lot of anti-Catholic and anti-Christian diatribes going on last night on Kos. It was really disappointing. I'm thankful to know that there is a significant amount of people on Kos who do welcome people of faith (including on the front page).
    •  I think it's a response (none)
      To a surfeit of  radical fundamentalist politicking, plus the Shiavo coverage, etc. I can see why nonbelievers sometimes react as they do, and I feel bad.

      I really wish we could each live our faith and speak gently to each other so people might be attracted to people of faith, instead of the opposite.  I'm human, though, I can't live up to it either. Just do the best I can.

  •  And Peace be with you! (4.00)
    I do not think we will find peace until we find it within ourselves, it is this thought that has occured to me time and again this week.

     

  •  Re: Resurrection (none)
       Well, of course the resurrection of Jesus is represented as being physical (I dunno about the 'embarrassing' part).  But that doesn't stop it from being symbolic and spiritual; it is in the nature of symbolism to use stories about physical things as a means of leading the mind to spiritual things, which are not so easily expressed.  It is usually something absurd, something unbelievable, that tells us that we are reading a myth with symbolic content, and not a vera historia of events that occurred before people's eyes.
       The story of Jesus' resurrection is incomprehensible without understanding the place of resurrection, in general, in the mental world of 1st-century Judaism.  At that time, resurrection was still a novel idea, and 'establishment' Judaism -- founded on the Torah -- rejected it.  The only textual basis for resurrection in the Bible was to be found in the Book of Daniel (12:1-3), which was both late and dubious as to authenticity, but had found popular favor as containing prophecies of the future of Israel and the Mediterranean world in general.  Possibly it owed something to pagan myths and mysteries about returning from Hades.  Jesus was among the prophets who preached resurrection -- something which inevitably had political overtones.
       For the resurrection described in Daniel is a national resurrection, the revivifying of Israel as a nation favored by God and destined for glory. Jesus is portrayed as adept at turning scriptural quotation and tradition to his own purposes (even when it made nonsense of the passage in its original context); so it does not follow that he necessarily preached resurrection in the same context; but in the popular mind, resurrection was the same as revolutionary change in the history of the world was the same as throwing out the Romans and setting up a Godly state.
       Jesus' death was a shock to his followers, who had expected him to lead them to a new kingdom on earth, not to die on a cross.  A narrative was quickly constructed to show that Jesus had known what was going to happen all along -- though, strangely, his disciples despite being told it plainly enough do not understand it or take any precautions (implying that either they seriously doubted Jesus' prophetic powers, or that he had not actually said anything of the sort).  How could Jesus' death be rationalized?  Well, given that the resurrection was so important, naturally death had to precede resurrection; so Jesus died in order to be resurrected (and prove that resurrection was real!  take that, you Sadducees!); therefore he was resurrected.  Pious hope soon becomes dogma, and with the passage of time any hope of materially checking on the literal facts is lost.  
    But the literal, factual resurrection of Jesus was irrelevant to the early Christians.  They could not have been convinced by being shown his still-dead corpse.  Jesus' resurrection was for them something that was true by definition, not by evidence.  It was the first-fruits of a general resurrection that was to come, in the next few weeks (or months, or years), but surely in the same generation, there would be a great conflagration and the Kingdom of Heaven would be established, with Jesus returning in the sky in glory.
    The conflagration happened within that generation, but it was a victory for the Romans and a catastrophe for the Jews.  The Christians took note of this (and saw the wisdom of distinguishing themselves from the Jews) and began to look for a more realistic political outcome, spiritualizing the notion of the Kingdom of Heaven.
    And of course they were right.  These ideas do not work well on a physical plane where they can be examined and tested; they need to be removed from all considerations of evidence and evaluation.  If the general resurrection does not happen in the generation of Jesus -- or for a thousand generations afterwards -- what matter?  Any organization, tightly knit enough and self-perpetuating, can live past a few failed prophecies and find itself a new raison d'etre.
    After all, a bodily resurrection of the kind attributed to Jesus is not really that interesting or remarkable a miracle.  In our time, not a few people have been declared clinically dead only to revive; and a thirty-six hour sojourn in Sheol is far from being as impressive as, say, the full reconstruction of a fleshly body from dried bones would have been.  Moreover, the resurrection is essentially negated by the ascension; a resurrected Jesus might have spent more than a month or so on earth among his disciples.  There is really no basis for believing in the resurrection as a historical fact, and what you get for believing in it is not very much; you have affirmed that God can do what quite a few competent doctors can do, in re-starting a stopped heart (if you take it as purely physical), or you have visions of Jesus-as-phantom (walking through walls, appearing and disappearing) which are impressive but don't encourage our thinking of this as a physical phenomenon.
    More fruitful than worrying about precisely what happened to the physical cells of Jesus' body is, I think, meditating on what resurrection could mean outside of a physical context.  We have in the Gospels many miracle stories of Jesus healing people of ills, both physical and mental; some of these are edifying, some not.  Death could be viewed as just one extreme on the scale of ills, so that raising the dead is only one step off from curing leprosy.
    Believing in faith-healing is, I think, no more mandatory than believing in physical resurrection.  But the best sort of physician can cure not only your physical and mental, but also your spiritual maladies; fear, hatred, greed, pride, self-delusion.  Spiritual death is the extreme form of such maladies; losing yourself in isolation from your fellow-human, ceasing to care about anything outside your own tiny, wretched universe.  The greatest spiritual gift one could give would be returning from this Shiol of self-absorption, narcissistic affirming of self-promoting values and knee-jerk antagonism to anything unfamiliar -- to a true connection with the rest of humanity and the world.  And that kind of resurrection is, I think, far more laden with significance and help for all people than the resurrection of a human body.
  •  Another viewpoint (4.00)
    I hope you don't mind my injecting a non-Christian view.

    I am a Pagan. I don't believe in personal bodily resurrection. But I look around, this time of year, and I see life returning everywhere. The grass that was brown and dead has little green shoots coming up. The bare branches of the trees will soon be clad in a mist of green, and later, leave will appear. This is the magic of resurrection for me. What was dead will come alive again. The God of Vegetation, the Green God, Who dies at Samhain, He who died at harvest in the grain which feeds his people, springs to life again, and the cycle continues.

    I do not know what will happen to my spirit when I die, but I personally believe in reincarnation, that my spirit will live again in some other form. But I know my body will feed other life, one way or another. I will be buried, and flowers will come from my decomposition, and perhaps that is all that will come of me. If I am loved, people will remember me, and I will live on in thought, memory, and perhaps my writings. This makes life precious and sweet, to be lived to the fullest.

    Come the rapture, can we have the White House?

    by MagentaMN on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 10:16:48 AM PDT

    •  Your comment combined (none)
      with your sig line paint a very entertaining visual.

      Fast growing vines twining up the columns and in through the open door...)

      "One of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal" ~ Bill Moyers

      by CJB on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 10:30:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Magenta- (none)
      Come the rapture, you have my permission, if I'm gone, to devise all kinds of humiliations galore for those left in the White House, if you get all of my drift. Hee hee.

      "What does it profit a party to gain the white house, the house and senate and yet lose the nation's soul?"

      by bheuvel67 on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 04:18:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Amen (4.00)
    Thanks PastorDan.  I hope that you don't mind that I show up for your service every Sunday morning in my pajamas :) .
  •  Thank you, once again pastordan. (4.00)
    Amidst all of the sadness, today will be celebrated in our family by planting tomato starts in the garden.  The smell of tomato vines in the spring is one of the best reasons for being alive.

    Peace be with you all.  

    "One of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal" ~ Bill Moyers

    by CJB on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 10:40:00 AM PDT

  •  i can't speak to resurrection (4.00)
    but i can speak to miracles because i have been the beneficiary of more than a few, not the least of which is the fact that i am sitting here typing these words, alive, alert and engaged rather than having offed myself a long time ago...

    i don't subscribe to a religion or a dogma and i can neither defend or negate the existence of god, higher power, or whatever you might choose to call him/her/it... this i DO know (and please pardon the double negative)... i have NEVER
    NOT been looked after in this life... i can't articulate how i know that but i do...

    Religious people believe in hell; spiritual people have already been there.

    "We have met the enemy and he is us." - Pogo

    by profmarcus on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 10:45:37 AM PDT

  •  Sleep is the "little death" (4.00)
    Waking is the "little ressurection"

    Death & resurrection happen all the time in many spirals of meaning & experience.

    I reconcile my spiritual & scientific considerations by the simple, scientific conclusion that there are things so small & things  so large that we haven't seen them yet, & some intuitive experiences that have given me brief peeks behind the curtain of mystery.

    Sometimes, I just take Van Morrison's advice, & "Let go into the Mystery...let yourself go..."

    What brings me back to the spiritual is the positive, good feeling I get from it, & the ethic of  "Love thy neighbor as thyself"

    Wherever we fall in the debate between science & spirituality, we can agree that we are all the same.  

    "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." Albert Einstein

    by x on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 10:55:03 AM PDT

  •  Peas be with you Pastor Dan (4.00)
    Today there is much reflection on life and death.  Though I pray for those who have passed, they are now in their God's hands.  Today I pray for the living.  While walking through the grocery store today, surrounded by the abundance that is America, my thoughts were drawn to three individuals in PA, whom I have never met personally.  One is fighting his demons and comes to Kos and C&J for support and companionship.  I pray that his journey is successful and that he finds comfort in the love we feel for him.  The other two are trying to conceive their first child.  Today, I asked God to give them a healthy child to share their life and enrich their souls as the Pastor has ours.

    Peace be with all of you, and prayers for HHG,  Pastor and Mrs. Pastor Dan.

    "I'm normally not a praying man, but if you're up there, please save me Superman." Homer Simpson

  •  life after death (4.00)
    I didn't believe in life after death until a few years ago. Then I realized that my house was haunted, and that the dead guy who was living there retained his personality, and he was also aware of current events inside the house.

    That scared the hell out of me at first. No more thinking I would go "poof" when I died, and making peace with that. For a few years after that, the thought of death became truly terrifying. I didn't want to get stuck in some stupid house like he was!

    Now I've matured to understand that what you do after your death is entirely up to you. If you have an open mind, if you look for help, you will have nothing to fear. Most people don't linger on as ghosts, not even the ones I love most, like my father.

    We live in a physical world, so there is a physical process behind all of these things that might be considered supernatural. And there is a whole lot of physics that we just don't know.

  •  Thank you, Pastor (4.00)

    Democrats-Not just for welfare anymore!

    by kvillegas on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 11:21:41 AM PDT

  •  Merci.. (none)
    Thaks for a great diary.

    DFooK

    Strange and beautiful are the stars tonight, that dance around your head.

    by deepfish on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 11:25:23 AM PDT

  •  People got sucked into Schiavo (none)
    but with Papal events moving in as the solo subject on one-note cable news for the rest of the month, the viewing public will probably become very weary and jaded.
  •  Thanks (4.00)
    I love the Word for the week. Thanks again, PastorDan.

    Unfortunately, I have no exquisite homily to relay today, Father was too busy trying to calm the parish down about papal succession-it took up all of his homily time. So your homily here is all the homily I got today.

    typo: counter-intuitve

    •  You lucked out (none)
      Today's homily was a visitation from a convent devoted to Sister Faustina and the message for this Sunday of Mercy was: "abortion bad, homosexuality bad, birth control bad".

      Ironically, in the vestibule they had CDs, posters, rosaries and various other knickknacks for sale.  As I mentioned to my wife, "It's odd to be preached at by the moneychangers".

      •  Disgusting (none)
        Makes me grateful for the Father's rambling about succession. I live in a very popular retirement area where there is much nattering and twittering that a successor might be too liberal. These are the fears he was trying to address.

        Which is all tragic irony, actually...

        I have had the opportunity to speak quietly and privately with several of the religious in my area over the past few days, and the truth is that they are despondent- but not for the reasons that you might think. They are convinced that a successor will be even more conservative, and this has huge negative implications for their everyday lives.

        They feel strongly that the successor will be Arinze. Some of them have serious issues with this. A very intelligent religious friend assures me that it will not be Ratzinger, but I disagree, I think it will. I personally am praying for a Central or South American Pope.

        Anyway, the very idea that someone could turn the Divine Mercy into a "fags are bad, abortion is bad" screed is a complete capsule snapshot of what is wrong with this church. The good news is that I sincerely believe that this sort of thing will change before I die-not until I am a very old lady, but they will change.

        •  Things change... (none)
          Anyway, the very idea that someone could turn the Divine Mercy into a "fags are bad, abortion is bad" screed is a complete capsule snapshot of what is wrong with this church. The good news is that I sincerely believe that this sort of thing will change before I die-not until I am a very old lady, but they will change.

          Don't worry -- the Church will change.  The only problem, of course, is that the Church is very slow to change -- big changes take a few hundred years.

          Heck, the fact that they are even talking about homosexuality is a sign that the change is in process.

  •  Simple, straightforward and moving. (4.00)
    Thanks for a powerful shot in the arm, pastordan.

    "Democracy was getting old anyway"

    by Agent of Fortune on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 11:53:45 AM PDT

  •  Yesterday was unsettling (4.00)
    And I'm afraid I probably contributed to the combative atmosphere. So many inflammatory and intolerant accusations flying around. A veritable civil war within the dKos community. I've been around this site for a while, and yesterday was the first day I honestly felt irritated by it.

    Thank you for calming me down somewhat. I've come to think of your two Sunday posts as my second and third worship services of the day.

    Now that I've calmed myself down, I am reminded that I am to turn the other cheek. And to take care of the beam in my eye. And to love my enemies.

    Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.

    "Who told you that you were naked?" Genesis 3:11

    by mrhelper on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 12:04:45 PM PDT

  •  Mt. 10:17-19 (4.00)
    I believe you wrote about this earlier this year, PDan, but I'm reminded of Mt. 10:17-19:
     But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;

      And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.

      But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.

    May the peace of Christ be with you all in this season of spring and blessed, blessed snowmelt ;)

  •  Isn't it nice to have our Pastordan here.. (4.00)
    ..quietly talking.

    I don't have to share his views or yours on everything but I don't feel any need to argue them either on this thread. It is enough that I am quietly sitting with you at my keyboard participating in this moment with you all when we are expressing a faith, even an agnostic faith. which is about something which, in whatever form it takes, is about seeking something greater and more true than that which is around us now.

    Jennifer rang me at lunchtime asking if I would accept nomination to a website committee for the Quaker Meeting. She had to telephone because, once again I hadn't been there in the morning.

    (Yeah, I know but I slipped on some wet grass on Thursday at the golf club and fell on my back. After bouncing two or three times I was fine, if wet and muddy, but have suffered a mild whiplash that made the idea of sitting still for an hour at meeting too uncomfortable a thought).

    Anyhow. Jennifer said that it had been an unusually silent meeting. No ministries but no restlessness or fidgetting from anyone (see, good job I wasn't there).

    It was, she said, one of those really great silences that you come away from feeling refreshed. I was envious.

    Except I have these Sunday diaries from Pastordan. And I value them and all of you. Thanks.

  •  Pastor Dan (none)
    Thanks.

    With all the religion news swirling out there, I began to tune it all out.

    Then, on Friday, I was out taking photos of Spring in upstate NY and I saw this.
     

  •  Brother Dan (none)
    I am not religious or spiritual, I am a straight out naturalist.  But I love your diaries (and you scored two on the recommended list today!).

    While I don't believe in resurection, or life after death, absolute or divinely conveyed morality, or an almighty spirit behind the curtains, I think that whatever inspires men and women to live a good life should be respected.  Surely, there are bad elements of every religion, but many religious are not afraid to cast those aside in preference for the good core.

    Hell, even if you draw your courage from Star Wars, or your decency from The Lord of the Rings, or your sense of delight with life from Alice in Wonderland, who am I to diss it?  As long as you don't take it to far, as long as it makes you a better person and a better community member, thats fantastic.

    theJoeSpinZone|

    by joewlarson on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 03:38:44 PM PDT

  •  Thanks Pastor Dan (none)
    Dying is not a subject I like to think a lot about.  I hope when then time comes, however, I luck out and get a cleric like you.  
  •  If anyone doubted the importance of religion (none)
    in American culture, a quick survey of diaries and comments on Daily Kos during the past week would convince them otherwise, in a hurry.

    That one would find such an outpouring of religious sentiment on a site for folks who reside on the "reform Democrat", "left of center" part of the political spectrum is simply stunning. From a European point of view, it is incomprehensible.

    Sports and religion, folks: the heart and soul of American culture.

    I first encountered group madness as a boy, when I lived near a U.S. Naval base. During the week of the Army-Navy football game, everything else stopped. Huge banners saying "Go Navy, Beat Army!" draped from every house on the street. To say that these folks were passionate wouldn't come close to the frenzy I witnessed.

    Later, during the Vietnam War, the various services competed with one another, resulting, for instance, in bombs being dropped into the ocean to increase their count.

    So when the question arises, "Is it possible for an entire nation to go mad?" I answer, "You bet your ass it is."

    Cela est bien dit, répondit Candide, mais il faut cultiver notre jardin.

    by d52boy on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 06:38:37 PM PDT

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