Saturday, December 28, 2013

Sci-Fi Christmas-tide

As we celebrate the twelve days of Christmas, we can enjoy Star Trek inspirations of the season, from the Wreath of Khan (sic) to the Twelve Days of Star Trek. 

It's too bad that Paramount never did a holiday special like Star Wars.  

Maybe we should thank our lucky stars that Gerry Roddenberry chose not to engage in such Christmas synergy.  Make it so, make it so, make it so.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Savage Hate Speech?

As the A&E network suspension of Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson for comments published in GQ  magazine which paraphrased 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 of examples of egregious sinfulness, homosexual activists have been seeking publicity calling for the show's cancellation. In case Phil Robertson's comments concerning homosexuals isn't enough for the celebrity sacrifice,   Progressive fellow travelers have been piling on to the public feeding frenzy pointing to Phil Robertson's un-acrimonious experiences working side-by-side with black in the pre-Civil Rights South.

These ad-hominem attacks lack the charity to even read Phil Robertson's comments in context and entirety.  Phil Robertson has been painted as a "hater" so he must be destroyed, as a Bible believing Christian can not share his faith in the public square if it does not conform to the liberal fascism's politically correct version of the "new normal" which is the party line today. Phil Robertson was such a "hater" (sic) that he received news of his A&E suspension while praying with a church member afflicted with cancer.

Dan Savage is an outspoken homosexual writer who has published the "Savage Love" sexual advice column since 1991.  Savage  also has been heavily involved in founding the "It Gets Better Project" since 2010, which is meant to counsel teenagers questioning their sexuality and those who choose to embrace alternative lifestyles from committing suicide.  As noble as those Savage's endeavors may be, Savage has repeatedly made at best intemperate remarks aimed at his "enemies".  In 2012, Savage was speaking at an anti-gay bullying high school rally when he insulted bible believing Christians and taunted teens who walked out as making a "pansy assed move".  Recently, Savage offered a "dangerous idea" on Australian television that abortions should be mandatory for women under the age of 30.  Where was the hue and cry from the media?   What is hate speech? Does it really get better?  

As George Orwell asserted in Animal Farm (1945)   "All animals are equal but some are more equal than others."  

Caryll Houselander on Advent

Caryll Houselander Advent

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Exploring Advent through Art for the First Week of Advent

Detail of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel (1512)

Today is the start of the new liturgical year for the Roman Catholic Church. It also marks the first Sunday of Advent for the Latin Church (other Eastern Churches started a fortnight beforehand). In our secular society, we can be tricked into thinking that the Advent calendar is only a countdown for Christmas shopping.  But scripture during Advent reminds us of the dual nature of the season:  to prepare for the cyclical celebration of Our Lord's birth as well as Parousia (the Second Coming). 

The Lectionary during Cycle A features Isaiah's prophetic vision (IS 2:1-5) when God reigns Supreme and swords are hammered into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks. Daniella Zsupan-Jerome, a professor of liturgy at Loyola University in New Orleans, uses a detail of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel to illustrate the scripture.  

The Gospel (MT 24:37-44) alludes to the Second Coming where Jesus exhorts the faithful to be prepared as Noah was for the Flood.  This is sobering "Good News" but it should help lead us with our walk with the Lord, especially in this period of preparation.  

The Isaiah panel on the Sistine Chapel prompts a ponderous thought. Zsupan-Jerome wondered if position of Noah's Ark about Isaiah prompted the prophet to think  of Mount Ararat, where Noah's Ark landed, as he handed the vision of God's Holy Mountain? This would lend the aspiration that man should seek God's holy mountain to, borrowing a phrase from the Responsorial Psalm (PS 122), "dwell in the House of the Lord."

The Noahide Covenant established that the Lord would not destroy humanity through a flood. The Messiah's admonition to be prepared has some soothing subtexts rather than relying upon our own inadequate righteousness. The name Jesus can be translated to "Yahweh Saves".  Moreover, the Lord so loved the world, He sent His only son to be born of this world in all things but sin and be an intregal part of our salvific history. 

As we come into this season of  devout and joyful expectation, it would behoove us to consider the nuances, hermaneutics and deeper meanings of Advent, as expressed through art, scripture and the easily overlooked holiday trappings.  

h/t:  Loyola Press 

St. Clare of Assisi on Advent