Archive for March, 2011

We are all convinced that we desire the truth above all. Nothing strange about this. It is natural to man, an intelligent being, to desire the truth. (I still dare to speak of man as ‘an intelligent being’!’) But actually, what we desire is not ‘the truth’ so much as ‘to be in the right.’ To seek the pure truth for its own sake may be natural to us, but we are not able to act always in this respect according to our nature. What we seek is not the pure truth, but the partial truth that justifies our prejudices, our limitations, our selfishness. This is not ‘the truth.’ It is only an argument strong enough to prove us ‘right.’ And usually our desire to be right is correlative to our conviction that somebody else (perhaps everybody else) is wrong.

‘Why do we want to prove them wrong? Because we need them to be wrong. For if they are wrong, and we are right, then our untruth becomes truth: our selfishness becomes justice and virtue: our cruelty and lust cannot be fairly condemned. We can rest secure in the fiction we have determined to embrace as ‘truth.’ What we desire is not the truth, but rather that our lie should be proved ‘right,’ and our iniquity be vindicated as ‘just.’ This is what we have done to pervert our natural, instinctive appetite for truth.

‘No wonder we hate. No wonder we are violent. No wonder we exhaust ourselves in preparing for war! And in doing so, of course, we offer the enemy another reason to believe that he is right, that he must arm, that he must get ready to destroy us. Our own lie provides the foundation of truth on which he erects his own lie, and the two lies together react to produce hatred, murder, disaster.’

~ Thomas Merton
from Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

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If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.”

— Harry Truman


One of the way too many blawgs I subscribe to is one called Find Fulfill Flourish that is the work and thought of Steve Weitzenkorn and Robin Dansky. He’s the author of a book of the same name as the blawg, and Robin is a rabbi.

Their posting today, a take on dawg love, is quite incisive. Click here to check it out.

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Just to be is a blessing.

Just to live is holy.”

— Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

The Second Song of Isaiah (Isa. 55:6-11)

Seek the Lord while he wills to be found;
call upon him when he draws near.

Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the evil ones their thoughts;

And let them turn to the Lord, and he will have compassion,
and to our God, for he will richly pardon.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor your ways my ways, says the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

For as rain and snow fall from the heavens
and return not again, but water the earth,
Bringing forth life and giving growth,
seed for sowing and bread for eating,

So is my word that goes forth from my mouth;
it will not return to me empty;
But it will accomplish that which I have purposed,
and prosper in that for which I sent it.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever will be.

(photo, via “Living Bulwark,” by Polish photographer and medical student Wojtek Solecki)

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A couple of my Elton John, Bernie Taupin faves . . .

But I love Lucy–and Elton’s version of it and his version with the rock’s other great John . . .

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“Bright Light at Russell’s Corners,” George Ault, 1944

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I’ve never been a huge Jazz fan, even though longtimers here at the Cult of the Jitterbugger know that I have a lot of Louie Armstrong and all kinds of New Orleans jazz on my playlist–and a good bit of Ella Fitzgerald, and I love Duke Ellington, and–to borrow a line from a Donald Fagen song (“New Frontier”), I’m mad about Brubeck.***

Come to think of it, I’m probably more of a big jazz fan than most people.

Click here for more on His Greatness.


***Longtimers here also know that I’m a co-founder and the chaplain of the All Night Steely Dan Land Fan Club, a cult of insomniacs and night owls bonded not only by their common insomnia but also by their love of the great Steely Dan and especially His Greatness Donald Fagen.

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One of my faith heroes, Oscar Romero, was assassinated on this day 31 years ago–while speaking at Mass, no less.

The killing was the work of Salvadoran, military death squads — trained by the U.S. Army.

(Between 1980 and 1992, the United States sent more than $6 billion to the government of El Salvador, most of which was spent on direct military aid or economic support funds to bolster the war economy. More than 75,000 people were killed during the war, the great majority attributed to actions by the military. Four U.S. churchwomen, six Jesuit priests, and Archbishop Romero were killed by soldiers and officers trained by the U.S. School of the Americas in Ft. Benning, Georgia.)

Click here for more on the fascinating life of this holy man.

And here’s a link to the fine movie about him.

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