Saturday, January 24, 2009

Some things for Sunday, January 25th

There are a couple of events going on tomorrow that some of you maybe interested in. I haven't decided which one, or even if, I'll go to. Let me know if any of you are interested and that may help me decide.

Most information came from the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune:

Aquinas lecture on Christians, Muslims

Sr. Marianne Farina, professor at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, Berkeley, Calif,, will deliver the Annual Aquinas Lecture on "Is There Common ground for dialogue and interaction between Christians and Muslims?" at 2 p.m. Sunday at St. Catherine of Siena Newman Center, 170 S. University St.

Farina's lecture, titled "Christian-Muslim Relations: A Peaceable Excellence," will address such questions as whether Christians and Muslims can find common ground for dialog and the extent to which they can work together on peace.

She will frame her answers around the tradition of social doctrine of the Catholic Church as well as Islamic scriptures' principles of the moral life, the news release said.

Farina also will compare theological writings of St. Thomas Aquinas and Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali.

The Aquinas Lecture is free and open to the public.

Rev. Irish to speak at library in S.L.

The Rev. Carolyn Tanner Irish, Tenth Bishop of Utah, Episcopal Diocese of Utah, will speak at 2 p.m. Sunday as part of the 2008-09 "Religion, Culture and Nature" portion of the "Forum for Questioning Minds" series at the Salt Lake City Main Library Auditorium, 210 E. 400 South.

This lecture is free and open to the public.

Her presentation on Religion, Culture, and Nature will begin with some thoughts on the importance of 'questioning minds' to distinguish various elements of religion such as church, faith, and spirituality. In the same spirit of questioning, we'll also consider cultural elements such as politics and economics. We'll then reflect on how all these factors come together in the environmental concerns we face.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Meeting: January 28th

This is a reminder about our upcoming get together next week:

The usual time: 7pm, January 28th
The usual location: High Point Coffee, at 1735 West 7800 South, in West Jordan

I thought we might discuss a couple of things. First, since Bill has started going to seminary, we could talk about that. I think at least half of us have at one time or another thought about, or seriously considered, going to seminary or something like it.

Then there is the man of the hour, our new president, Obama. We can ask ourselves – What does Obama mean? What does he mean for Christianity in America, and in the world today?

I’ve been reading all sorts of things over the past couple of days that span the entire spectrum, from apocalyptic disaster, to messianic, and a lot in between. One of my conservative Christian facebook friends, who is from what I guess could be called the ‘show no mercy, compromise nothing’ crowd, was posting periodically throughout inauguration day that he… sad to witness this horrific day in U.S. history as B. Hussein Obama who's a friend of terrorists and a baby-killer is unconstitutionally inaugurated! Sad! watching with horror the beginning of communism in the U.S. and the nation's rapid downfall - the nightmare has begun. looking at the continuation of the devastating Obama Crash in the stock market which has already erased trillions of dollars in wealth.

I most certainly DO NOT respect B. Hussein Obama for anything as his character, words and actions are Anti-God, Anti-American, Anti-Life and Anti-anything we Christians stand for and against the foundations this country (the USA) was founded on. But as we pray for Obama that he may accept the Lord Jesus Christ as His personal Savior which would be phenomenal, we must also understand and recognize that we will never ever respect a man, a group or an organization who has made a conscious decision to promote and legislate policies to destroy the people of God, to destroy innocent life, to destroy God's economic system, and who stands behind anything that's against God. Otherwise, we would need to respect Hitler, Mussolini, Lenin, Stalin, Chavez, Castro, Saddam Hussein and every other evil vessel who yielded by their free will to the workings of Satan.
You have to blink in astonishment when you read this stuff. Andy over at our local HFTL was kind enough to post the new Christian music video that I guess is making the rounds that expresses a similar point of view, announcing that we as a nation have all committed – Obamacide!

And one really wacky “Christian” guy I found, who I think has completely lost it, stated on his blog that “I AM NOT praying for Obama to be blessed by God. I hope he dies quickly & another takes the office of the Presidency.”

Other voices, from a more “open minded” Christian Right, such as Jay Sekulow, of the American Center for Law and Justice, seems to be advocating things, now that Obama is president, that aren’t too dissimilar from what the Matthew 25 Network was advocating before the election, about reducing the number of abortions, rather than just hopelessly continue to pursue an outright ban. [Listen to NPR’s Talk of the Nation: What's Next For The Anti-Abortion Movement?]

On the other side of the spectrum we have folks with so much hope in Obama that Rev. Gene Robinson, first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, felt compelled to at least mention in his prayer the other day, “Bless us with patience… and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.”

And then in the midst of all this I find voices like this, which when you think about it, you’ll realize that this is something new. (HT: Burnside Writer's Blog)

So... What does Obama mean? What does he mean for Christianity in America, and in the world today?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Antony of Egypt Art Appreciation Day

It’s his feast day today, so I picked up my copy of Athanasius’s The Life of Antony to read up on him (Wikipedia bio). A short book, and well worth reading, of the saint battling the demons in a tomb and out in the desert, overcoming their attempts to break him through his discipline and faith in Christ. But I thought I’d surf the net for some other resources on him that might be interesting, and found some things I had not expected – some classic works of art that I’ve seen several times before but have never fully appreciated.

First, there is Hieronymus Bosch's triptych painting The Temptation of St. Anthony. Hieronymus Bosch’s artwork has always fascinated me, I used to spend time just looking through books in the library that showed all the weird details, but I never made the connection between this painting and the story of Antony. (I can’t post the painting here without dismembering it considerably so you’ll have to follow the link above for an image.)

Then there is The Temptation of St. Anthony, by Salvador Dalí. Now I’ve never really appreciated much the stuff by Salvador Dalí, I’ve always kind of found it a little too tripped out for me, but with now reading Athanasius’s book on Antony this painting has taken on a new meaning, and I think in many ways it captures the feeling of what I'm reading.

So, since it is Antony’s feast day, I think I’ll spend some time feasting and meditating on these paintings in relation to what I've been read from Athanasius. And I think I’ll try to find more detailed pictures of the paintings. Have fun viewing.

Sunday, January 4, 2009