If the response to swearing (where legitimate in regards to: describing ‘a truly shit experience) is that: “the word ‘shit’ let me know I’m still in the real world” then there is something remarkably wrong with people (and by people here I mean Christians) who get hung up on ‘saying the right thing because it’s SO important to be morally correct’.

My Christianity MUST be integrated into my life and not a box this up here, box this up there solution.It seems insane to me that we are still having these discussions which pin back to legalistic rules. And yes being different IS okay, context IS okay and you may never choose to swear and that’s okay… but when it starts to interfere with the root cause? Then it is not okay.

Can you care without swearing… uh yes. But should the stray descriptive word become the focal point where the conversation is nothing to do with your moral highground. No.

shitty shit shit.

(this is all pre-emptive naturally and probably more a wee vent about lots of the legalistic crap I have heard touted on gush through the years – which I still love dearly – and still frequent despite it sending me bonkers every few months or so)

you probably don’t have clue what I’m talking about. /rant.


Heaven wheels above you, displaying to you her eternal glories, and still your eyes are on the ground – Dante Alighieri

It’s totally naff that the ‘heaven’ theme is number 7. I hate cliches.

We do walk around with our eyes on the ground. Sometimes I think that my eyes aren’t anywhere at all, so easy to get lost inside your own brain and wrapped in your own internal world.

The Word became flesh, and here then is some kind of heaven mashed with earth. It’s beautiful. It’s here yet not. My awareness is poorer than I might yearn for. Daily I hope to ask to be woken up. Daily I hope to ask. Over and over and over.

Hold on, hold on to your old ways
Or put off, put off every old face.
And I know, I know you are changed out.
And I hope, I hope you’re arranged out.
But I’m still asleep
And you woke me up again.

– Sufjan Stevens

This post is part of the 100 Theme Challenge

100 Theme Christianity Life

Perhaps we all hang on to some odd things from our childhood,  I have a great appreciation for a musician my parents were in to (I’m not sure I actually enjoyed it when I was younger)-  the youtube clip is a bit feral (fashion/glasses/context/filming/sound), so here are the lyrics. They are simple and true. Based on the last chapter of Hebrews.

Grace Be With You All

Remember to love one another
And do what is pleasing to Him
Be strengthened by grace
And worship in reverence and awe
The God of peace

And grace be with you all
And may the Great Shepherd of the sheep
Equip you with all things
For doing His will
And grace be with you all

Forget not the sufferings of Jesus
And bear the disgrace that He bore
Confessing His name, for Christ is the same
Yesterday, today and forever

And grace be with you all
And may the Great Shepherd of the sheep
Equip you with all things
For doing His will
And grace be with you all

And grace be with you all
And may the Great Shepherd of the sheep
Equip you with good things
For doing His will
And grace be with you all
And grace be with you all

Christianity Life

I’m terribly sorry to have stolen a whole whopper of a quote off Simon Moyle (and consequently Thomas Merton, oh whom I am rather a fan) but this is too valuable not to share.

On February 15 Forest wrote that he was in a bleak mood; no one seemed to be listening to CPF (Catholic Peace Fellowship). “I feel like an ant climbing a cliff, and even worse, for in the distance there seems to be an avalanche…Perhaps you have some thoughts that would help?”Thanks for the letter and for the awful, and illuminating, enclosure. I can well understand your sense of desperation. And the “bleak mood.” And also I am glad that you wrote about it. As you say, there are no clear answers, and you can guess that I don’t have magic solutions for bleak moods: if I did I would use them on my own which are habitually pretty bleak too. But that is just part of this particular life and I don’t expect much else.

Actually, I would say one thing that probably accounts for your feelings, besides all the objective and obvious reasons, you are doubtless tired. I don’t know whether you are physically tired or not but you have certainly been pouring your emotional and psychic energy into the CPF and all that it stands for, and you have been sustained by hopes that are now giving out. Hence the reaction. Well, the first thing is that you have to go through this kind of reaction periodically, learn to expect it and cope with it when it comes, don’t do things that precipitate it, without necessity (you will always have to).

And then this: Do not depend on the hope of results. When you are doing the sort of work you have taken on, essentially an apostolic work, you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. And there too a great deal has to be gone through, as gradually you struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. The range tends to narrow down, but it gets much more real. In the end, as you yourself mention in passing, it is the reality of personal relationships that saves everything.

You are fed up with words, and I don’t blame you. I am nauseated by them sometimes. I am also, to tell the truth, nauseated with ideals and with causes. This sounds like heresy, but I think you will understand what I mean. It is so easy to get engrossed with ideas and slogans and myths that in the end one is left holding the bag, empty, with no trace of meaning left in it. And then the temptation is to yell louder than ever in order to make the meaning be there again by magic. Going through this kind of reaction helps you to guard against this. Your system is complaining of too much verbalizing, and it is right.

This country is SICK, man. It is one of the sickest thing that has happened. People are fed on myths, they are stuffed up to the eyes with illusions. They CAN’T think straight. They have a modicum of good will, and some of them have a whole lot of it, but with the mental bombardment everybody lives under, it is just not possible to see straight, no matter where you are looking. The average everyday ‘Catlick’ is probably in worse shape than a lot of others. He has in his head a few principles of faith which lend no coherence whatsoever to his life. No one has ever sought any coherence from him or given him the idea that he needed any. All he has been asked to do has been to measure up to a few simple notions about sexual morality (which he may or may not quite make, but anyway he knows where he stands – or falls on his face) and he has been taught that the cross and sacrifice in his life mean in practice going off to war every twenty years or so. He has done this with exemplary, unquestioning generosity, and has reaped the results: a corresponding brutalization, which is not his fault and which he thinks has something to do with being a real human being. In this whole area of war and peace, no matter what the Council may have said about the average layman and the average priest are all alike conditioned by this mentality. Furthermore, when it is a question of a kind of remote box score of casualties which gives meaning to life each day, they no longer think of these casualties as people, it is just a score. Also they don’t want to think of them as people, they want casualties, they want someone to get it, because they have been brutalized and this is a fully legitimate way of indulging the brutality that has been engendered in them. It is not only for country, it is even for God.

You can be as indignant as you like about this: and it is sickening, but being indignant has its disadvantages. It gets you into the same damn-fool game. Take the myth of “getting results.” What is the driving power behind the massive stupidity in Vietnam, with its huge expense and its absurd effects? It is the obsession of the American mind with the myth of know-how, and with the capacity to be omnipotent. Once this is questioned, we will go to any lengths, ANY lengths to resolve the doubt that has thus been raised in our minds. The whole cockeyed American myth is at stake in Vietnam and what is happening to it is obvious, it is tearing itself into little shreds and the nation is half nuts in consequence. The national identity is going slowly down the drain in VN and a lot of terrible things are happening in the process. We are learning how bestial and how incredible are the real components of that myth. Vietnam is the psychoanalysis of the U.S. I wonder if the nation can come out of it and survive. I have a hunch we might be able to. But your stresses and strains, mind, Dan’s, all of them, are all part of this same syndrome, and it is extremely irritating to find oneself, like it or not, involved in the national madness. The fact that you and I and our type have a special answer which runs counter to that of the majority seems at first to make us sane, but does it really? Does it save us from being part of the same damn mess? Obviously not. Theoretically we understand that, but in fact our hearts will not admit it, and we are trying to prove to ourselves that (a) we at least are sane decent people, (b) sanity and decency are such that our sanity and decency ought to influence everybody else. And there is something to this, I am not preaching a complete anomie. Yet the others think the same about themselves.

In a word, you have said a lot of good things, you have got a lot of ideas across, it has perhaps caused some good reactions among the bad and what has it achieved in terms of the whole national picture: precious little. The CPF is not going to stop the war in Vietnam, and it is not even going to cause very many Catholics to think differently about war and peace. It is simply going to be another image among images, in the minds of most Catholics, something around which are centered some vague emotional reactions, for or against. Nevertheless, you will probably, if you continue as you do, begin the laborious job of changing the national mind and opening up the national conscience. How far will you get? God alone knows. All that you and I can ever hope for in terms of visible results is that we will have perhaps contributed something to a clarification
of Christian truth in this society, and as a result a few people may have got straight about some things and opened up to the grace of God and made some sense out of their lives, helping a few more to do the same. As for the big results, these are not in your hands or mine, but they can suddenly happen, and we can share in them: but there is no point in building our lives on this personal satisfaction, which may be denied us and which after all is not that important.

So the next step in the process is for you to see that your own thinking about what you are doing is crucially important. You are probably striving to build yourself an identity in your work and your witness. You are using it so to speak to protect yourself against nothingness, annihilation. That is not the right use of your work. All the good that you will do will come not from you but from the fact that you have allowed yourself, in the obedience of faith, to be used by God’s love. Think of this more and gradually you will be free from the need to prove yourself, and you can be more open to the power that will work through you without your knowing it.

The great thing after all is to live, not to pour out your life in the service of a myth: and we turn the best things into myths. If you can get free from the domination of causes and just serve Christ’s truth, you will be able to do more and will be less crushed by the inevitable disappointments. Because I see nothing whatever in sight but much disappointment, frustration and confusion. I hope we can avoid a world war: but do we deserve to? I am not thinking so much of ourselves and this country but of all the people who would be killed who never heard of New York and of the U.S.A. even, perhaps. It is a pity that they should have to pay for our stupidity and our sins.

The real hope, then, is not in something we think we can do, but in God who is making something good out of it in some way we cannot see. If we can do His will, we will be helping in this process. But we will not necessarily know all about it beforehand.

Thomas Merton to Jim Forest, February 21st 1966: from The Hidden Ground of Love: Letters.

Christianity Culture

God, in creating me, in breathing me into being, always stays with me along the course of my life. My prayer, therefore, is my effort to bring into into consciousness the divine and blessed mystery always with me and before me.  –Sacred Space