Friday, May 22, 2009

Imagine if it were the Quran?

This very troublesome story is covered both in World Magazine's on-line site as well as CNN's site...

Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines face a world turned upside down when they enter a combat zone. Rules of polite society are held in abeyance an the concern for one's life and the lives of his comrades become first order. This has been standard from the time Og and OOg the cavemen decided to mix it up with Ug and Umph, cavemen from the other side of the old Woolly Mammoth carcass. So, suffice to say that when a box of Arabic-English Bibles hit the ground in Afghanistan, legitimate questions arose.

Having been a Career NCO in the Air Force, I became well acquainted with the concept of "conduct/actions prejudicial to good order and discipline", the idea that in certain circumstances actions deemed otherwise benign can become inappropriate. I get this... Military command personnel considered these Bibles as potential flashpoints for muslim anger and took custody of them. So far, no foul... Rather than sealing them and marking them returned to sender, these copies of Holy Scripture were unceremoniously taken out to the garbage dump and burned. Mas Mucho Foul!

OK, here's my beef. Whether we revere them or not, we handle the sacred texts of other faiths with a sense of tolerant deference. Disagreement is not grounds for desecration. This philosophy is seen at Gitmo in the fact that our servicemen who handle muslim texts, do so while wearing gloves (stories of servicemen desecrating Qurans are fabricated out of whole cloth). But somehow in our new Politically Correct dystopia, desecration of Judeo-Christian sacred texts (a.k.a The WORD of GOD) is within bounds. Uh-uhh fellas', ya' screwed the pooch on this on!

I can't speak from personal experience, but I'm certain that it is hard duty serving king and country over in Duststormistan. Our nations best are over there in a harsh, unforgiving land trying to find mullah omar's posse before they get bushwhacked. Thousands of our young men and women with stainless steel gonads/ovaries are over there putting their all on the line in the name of freedom. The burning of those Bibles was (intentionally or not), a gob of spit in their collective eyes.

Friday Reverie

A wee bit o' reverie before the long weeekend.

My young love said to me, my mother won´t mind
And my father won´t slight you for your lack of kine,
And she stepped away from me and this she did say,
It will not be long love ´til our wedding day.

She stepped away from me and she moved through the fair,
And fondly I watched her move here and move there,
Then she went her way homeward with one star awake,
As the swan in the evening moves over the lake.

The people were saying no two were e´er wed,
But one has a sorrow that never was said,
And I smiled as she passed with her goods and her gear,
And that was the last that I saw of my dear.

I dreamt it last night that my young love came in,
So softly she entered her feet made no din,
She came close beside me and this she did say,
It will not be long love ´til our wedding day.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Think about it...

Here's a question to ponder while slurping down the lunchtime noodles:
Who's the more irrational of the following two men; the man who believes in a God he doesn't see, or the man who is offended by the God he doesn't believe in?

Careful now, I don't want to see anyone blow out any brain cells. And enjoy yer' Lo-mein.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

On the Feast of Alcuin

From the Book of Common Prayer:

Almighty God, in a rude and barbarous age you raised up your deacon Alcuin to rekindle the light of learning: Illumine our minds, we pray, that amid the uncertainties and confusions of our own time we may show forth your eternal truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

I think of the nameless host of Deacons who've faithfully served the Kingdom of God and its saints since the birth of the Church. Stephen and Phillip are easily remembered as two of the seven original Deacons; Phillip for his Martyrdom and Phillip for his missionary efforts. Other Deacons and Deaconesses have largely faded into anonymity.
The Deacon, Alcuin of York (and later of Tours) is one Deacon who's memory and service is remembered on May 20th. Born in A.D. 730 in York, Alcuin was a student of the Venerable Bebe. He was ordained a Deacon and made Headmaster of the Cathedral school in York. His reputation spread to the continent where the Emperor Charlemagne appointed the Deacon as his Minister of Education.
Alcuin served his Emperor well, having established a number of schools at Cathedrals and Monasteries across the empire. Within this effort, Alcuin established scriptoria, dedicated to the copying and preservation of Christian and pagan works. The Deacon has also been credited with the creation of cursive script, which made for more efficient copy (and frustrating elementary school children to this day.) We could conclude that without his faithful efforts, much of our knowledge of antiquity may have been lost forever.
I see a powerful figure in the Deacon Alcuin. Rather than settling for a life of cloistered contemplation, Alcuin not only engaged his world but transformed it. His influence on Charlemagne was a watershed moment within the first millennium. Knowledge, literacy and culture where not only preserved, but transmitted from antiquity onto (by extension) our own age.

Monday, May 11, 2009

You can almost feel it on the wind

It's interesting the way our tastes change over the years. I never had much time for the stones while growing up, being far more a fan of ELO, Yes and Kansas. This song provided a venue to be come reacquainted with Mick and the boys.

Gimmie Shelter, at its release in 1969, seemed to capture the angst that stemmed from a year of political assassinations, civil unrest and a war in Asia that was being micromanaged from the White house basement. In some sense, it seems like 1969 is happening all over again. Only now, the trust fund hippies are now the "adult supervision"... And that gentle reader, makes me a bit uneasy.