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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Religion: In the days of yore....momma and daddy

Last night, I attended a lecture concerning the catholic doctrine of original sin and original justification. It was an interesting talk and although some of it was a review for me, some of it was new and enlightening as well. Original sin and original justification were defined, as is to be expected in catechetical instruction, and a brief question and answer period followed.

I must admit, the topic of Adam and Eve has always been one that has led me down many twisted and dark avenues mainly due to the fact that it is difficult to reconcile the historical interpretation with the allegorical interpretation of the Genesis story. I am one who leans towards the more allegorical interpretation yet I still struggle further with some of the doctrinal issues that arise from even the more forgiving allegorical stance (I enjoy conveniently sidestepping those arguments that begin, "So where exactly was the garden of Eden? Near the Tigris and Euphrates? No, its in....blah blah blah.")

As it was explained last night, Adam and Eve had certain supernatural and preternatural gifts that due to their digression into sin we consequently lost access to. That's fine, I guess. But, I've always been curious about how exactly Adam and Eve fell into sin given the fact that they one: had these supernatural gifts that prevented many of the moral struggles and temptations that we enjoy today and, two: seemed, at least as I read it, not to fall into sin with full awareness thus not fulfilling the requirements of a sin to be mortal (as defined by Catholic dogma). In other words, how did Adam and Eve sin considering that they did not seem to have the full faculties necessary to sin?

Further, I've always wondered how God could punish people for exercising the very faculties He instilled within them. Considering that God is omniscient, then he knew from the beginning the course that Man would take. It seems to me irreconcilible that He could or would even want to punish those who despite their best efforts fall short of perfection due to the fact that they were ill-equipped, morally speaking, to begin with. So many questions...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hibiscus Wine Photos

Below are some photos of a recently racked hibiscus wine that I must say I am pretty pleased with. The taste is quite unique and the color is a lovely transluscent red. I am always amazed at the absolute miracle that happens during the wine making process and baffled that I can participate in aiding in the production of such a beautiful end product. I am really only a custodian of the process...more like a night watchman who tries to prevent any unsavory characters from entering.

To participate in and continue within a tradition that predates history is simply amazing and each newly begun wine is a thrill and a mystery. Strange....sounds almost like religious sentiment.

Friday, October 2, 2009


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Philosophy: Nod to Nietzsche

That which we are and that which we are to become too often represents disparate persectives. Driven by what we deem valuable, we strive to mold our perception of life into something which is neat and tidy altogether failing to understand that order in life is seldom achieved. Life is a frayed edge, a knot unravelled, yet we spend countless days trying to maintain and promote what is that we wish our lives to be.

Our will, often impotent against the tides that brought us where we are, struggles--always trying to make right what we perceive as wrong. Only the "I" is there--but what does this mean? A satisfying of some injustice? But what is justice but expediency and easy thoughts.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Musings: The naming of things

So often with a feeling we want to name what it is that we are feeling while failing to understand that what is best about a feeling must remain unnamed. To corner a feeling with words sets it on edge and it shall lash out or cower.

A feeling "well named" means a feeling rendered impotent, speared by our overzealous tendency to render a name to everything even when that "thing" shall suffer terribly from a label.

Musings: The BIG questions

The constant that we are faced with is that we always seek understanding and the means by which to understand. A lingering doubt remains--namely, are we even capable of phrasing the questions correctly?

The human curse--to want to understand fully but not posess the means to do so.


Having at least a minor part to play in the educative process within America, I can't help but wonder what the process of educating our youth actually entails. Not meant to be an overtly politically charged statement this, but rather an exploration of the socio/political underpinnings of how education shapes our culture's youth.

What happens to a youth's mind when it enters the brick and mortar of our nation's school? How is it that a child so quickly loses her desire to learn? The innate curiosity present in every human being can risk being suppressed in an environment that idolizes data. "These are the standards our children are to meet," says many a public official involved in educational policy decision making. Whose children? There is a wide chasm that exists between a child and "children." The great leveling. The mob screams for that which is mediocre and easy. Easy to measure, easy to understand.

The school system today is largely based upon models of schooling established during the industrial age. Not all schools operate this way of course, but many of the principles put in place fifty or more years ago fuel larger policy choices among numerous schools. I fear that the information age/postmodern age has promoted a culture that has become more fragmentary, meaning that the cultural unity that many think existed within nations fifty to one hundred years ago is largely non-existent. The exchange of information and ideas not only within but across nations has created access to a climate of ideas, ideologies, and personal identity constructs that the current educative model is struggling to accommodate.

I wonder what our schools will become twenty, fifty, and 100 years from now. For those who adhere to the idea that a fundamental paradigmatic shift is occurring (or has occurred), namely postmodernism, the public school systems will need to radically rethink their role(s) within the forthcoming years.

Word vomit

Symbols and mystery. Two things that stir the soul. Subtle and elusive yet alluring for the patient and quiet heart. We drown out symbol and mystery all too readily in favor of a din that all but annihilates what is most beautiful in humanity.

Truth be told, we are little more than what we can dream, meaning that what is best in us--our drive, our potential--is guided by the most intangible of qualites. What a strange thought. A reality founded upon the most nebulous of entities. From theses phantasms proceeds all that we are and all that we are to become.

The marriage of dream and action. Who knows this sturm und drang better than the artist? For, after all, she is accustomed to congealing her thoughts into a tangible form that is more or less satisfactorily in accordance with her will. Those who sleep through life never pausing to consider how they can, for a moment at least, know what it feels like to exercise a passion that is akin to the divine. The artifice--that which is created. That which navigates the hollows of the darkest labyrinths of the soul only to emerge into the shining sun. Do not be content to sleep in the shadows. Instead, enkindle within you all that longs to be enflamed. Even if your light but flickers--still, for a moment, there is that much less darkness within this world.

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