Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Tuesday July 8th, 2008

Sir John M. Templeton, the “spiritual realities” philanthropist, died today in Nassau, the Bahamas. He was an important promoter of religious understanding, particularly to the illumination of the intersection of science and religion.

Jesse Helms died last Friday. Of course I don’t rejoice in his death but I do think he was a noxious political character encouraging and using race baiting as a political tool. As late as 1990 during a close campaign against a black opponent he used a blatantly racial campaign advertisement where a white job-seeker lost his job to an unqualified minority. Senator Helms won the election. It makes me think of Slobodan Milosevic. I am disappointed in the adulation he is likely to get. He should be a pariah, or at least understood as a racist, misogynistic, homophobic, last gasp of the past.

While I was at the obituary page in the New York Times I discovered an interesting photo feature of “notable” deaths so far in 2008.

In going through the photos I discovered that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi died February 4th, 2008, the passing of a man who helped define an era. I missed this. He was as controversial as Jesse Helms but he didn’t try to divide people and promote hatred. One interesting detail noted in the obituary – at least for a native Kansan - was the observation by the Maharishi that the White House should moved. According to the principles of “Vedic architecture in harmony with Natural Law” a more appropriate location was the town of Smith Center, Kan.

A few folks who were personally significant - George Carlin, Dith Pran, Sir Edmund Hillary, and Suzanne Pleshette, who I had a crush on as Emily Hartley on the Bob Newhart Show. She was so sexy under the camouflage of her character.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Sunday, July 6th, 2008

I want to figure out how to be this way in the hurly-burly of my days:

St. Romuald's Brief Rule For Camaldolese Monks

Sit in your cell as in paradise.
Put the whole world behind you and forget it.
Watch your thoughts like a good fisherman watching for fish,
The path you must follow is in the Psalms — never leave it.
If you have just come to the monastery,
and in spite of your good will you cannot accomplish what you want,
take every opportunity you can to sing the Psalms in your heart
and to understand them with your mind.
And if your mind wanders as you read, do not give up;
hurry back and apply your mind to the words once more.
Realize above all that you are in God's presence,
and stand there with the attitude of one who stands
before the emperor.
Empty yourself completely and sit waiting,
content with the grace of God,
like the chick who tastes nothing and eats nothing
but what his mother brings him.

Father John’s homily today was about not being governed by social rules but the yoke of Christ – humble, loving, and restful. Not a heavy burden but a yoke of love. Jesus bids us to lay our burdens down and take his yoke, allow him to guide us, even carry us if need be. Jesus’ yoke is the direction of love.

I was thinking at Mass this morning about how I am a follower of Christ, he is my King. Whether I believe in his resurrection or even really believe in God—of course I pray all the time and I identify myself as Catholic—I am, by choice, a follower of Jesus Christ: Blessed are the peacemakers, the humble, those who long for justice, etc. The kind of love that Jesus exemplified, practiced, and called his followers to emulate is my standard.