Friday, June 12, 2009

To Avoid Dressing Like A Clown [Repost]

*Due to the recent comments dealing with blogging pseudo-names, I thought this old post may be of some value to the discussion. Some may use these names to "hide" behind, but to make that assumption about everyone may be painting a bit broadly.

The question of what “name” to use when blogging may not seem like something that would require much thought - until you have to choose one. I'd say that there are two general schools of thought here.

The first school’s thinking is to use the most natural option, their real name (or is some form of it). The second is to use a name that is not their real name, in a way hiding their identity from the world.

Many people see a certain cowardice in not using their real name. I can understand this, but I don't think I completely agree. A person using a pseudo name to hide their identity to be uncharitable and vicious would deserve the label of coward, but anonymity can serve another less shady purpose.

In the first chapter of Cardinal Ratzinger’s (Pope Benedict XVI) book An Introduction to Christianity, he retells Soren Kierkegaard’s famous story of the clown and the burning village:
“According to this story a traveling circus in Denmark had caught fire. The manager thereupon sent the clown, who was already dressed and made-up for the performance, into the neighboring village to fetch help, especially as there was a danger that the fire would spread across the fields of dry stubble and engulf the village itself. The clown hurried into the village and requested the inhabitants to come as quickly as possible to the blazing circus and help to put the fire out. But the villagers took the clown’s shouts simply for an excellent piece of advertising, meant to attract as many people as possible to the performance; they applauded the clown and laughed till they cried. The clown felt more like weeping than laughing; he tried in vain to get people to be serious, to make it clear to them that it was no trick but bitter earnest, that there really was a fire. His supplications only increased the laughter; people thought he was playing his part splendidly – until finally the fire did engulf the village, it was too late for help and both circus and village were burned to the ground.”
Don’t read into everyone dying at the end because they didn’t listen to the clown part – that’s not the point of my post. My point is that anonymity can allow a person to write without having to worry about other’s perceptions clouding the message. Once others have formed an opinion of a person, that person’s words and thoughts will forever be shaped be those opinions.

If people see you “dressed like a clown”, they tend to see your actions and hear your words accordingly. It's unfortunate, but that’s just how it is. And when it happens, as the clown, you truly feel more like weeping than laughing.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Nota Bene Series - Gay Marriage: The Battle for the Wrong Right.

Time for round two.

The topic for the next Nota Bene Series will be "Gay Marriage: The Battle for the Wrong Right."

It will be held on June 15th, and will begin once again with a free meal staring at 6:30 PM. The evening will be held at the parish of St. Michael's Gathering Space in St Michael, Minnesota.

Follow this link to view a teaser video on the topic and more information on how to RSVP.

And as always, all men are invited.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Following the Moral Precepts of Liberals

The following is taken from a piece written by the every edgy, controversial, and witty Ann Coulter:

Tiller was protected not only by a praetorian guard of elected Democrats, but also by the protective coloration of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America -- coincidentally, the same church belonged to by Tiller's fellow Wichita executioner, the BTK killer.

The official Web page of the ELCA instructs: "A developing life in the womb does not have an absolute right to be born." As long as we're deciding who does and doesn't have an "absolute right to be born," who's to say late-term abortionists have an "absolute right" to live?

I wouldn't kill an abortionist myself, but I wouldn't want to impose my moral values on others. No one is for shooting abortionists. But how will criminalizing men making difficult, often tragic, decisions be an effective means of achieving the goal of reducing the shootings of abortionists?

Following the moral precepts of liberals, I believe the correct position is: If you don't believe in shooting abortionists, then don't shoot one.

And from the website of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America):
The topic of abortion evokes strong and varied convictions about the social order, the roles of women and men, human life and human responsibility, freedom and limits, sexual morality, and the significance of children in our lives. It involves powerful feelings that are based on different life experiences and interpretations of Christian faith and life in the world. If we are to take our differences seriously, we must learn how to talk about them in ways that do justice to our diversity.

The language used in discussing abortion should ignore neither the value of unborn life nor the value of the woman and her other relationships. It should either obscure the moral seriousness of the decision faced by the woman nor hide the moral value of the newly conceived life. Nor is it helpful to use the language of "rights" in absolute ways that imply that no other significant moral claims intrude. A developing life in the womb does not have an absolute right to be born, nor does a pregnant woman have an absolute right to terminate a pregnancy. The concern for both the life of the woman and the developing life in her womb expresses a common commitment to life. This requires that we move beyond the usual "pro-life" versus "pro-choice" language in discussing abortion.
Politics influencing Christian doctrine has become much more common than Christian doctrine influencing politics. And any creed who favors an adherence to the popular politics of the day is doomed to be caught in an eddy of irrelevance and incredibility; possibly allowed to speak with heartfelt conviction, but never again with any moral authority. Politics (whether right or left) influencing doctrine is a dangerous, and Christianity will always ultimately be the one who suffers.