Friday, July 31, 2015

Chuang Tzu ca. 300 BC


“Is there to be found on earth a fullness of joy, or is there no such thing? Is there some way to make life fully worth living, or is this impossible? If there is such a way, how do you go about finding it?

What should you try to do? What should you seek to avoid? What should be the goal in which your activity comes to rest?  What should you accept?  What should you refuse to accept? What should you love? What should you hate?

“What the world values is money, reputation, long life, achievement. What it counts as joy is health and comfort of body, good food, fine clothes, beautiful things to look at, pleasant music to listen to.     

"What it condemns is lack of money, a low social rank, a reputation for being no good, and an early death.

“What it considers misfortune is bodily discomfort and labor, no chance to get your fill of good food, not having good clothes to wear, having no way to amuse or delight the eye, no pleasant music to listen to. 

"If people find that they are deprived of these things, they go into a panic or fall into despair. They are so concerned for their life that their anxiety makes life unbearable, even when they have the things they think they want. Their very concern for enjoyment makes them unhappy."

“ The rich make life intolerable, driving themselves in order to get more and more money which they cannot really use. In so doing they are alienated from themselves, and exhaust themselves in their own service as though they were slaves of others."

“The ambitious run day and night in pursuit of honors, constantly in anguish about the success of their plans, dreading the miscalculation that may wreck everything. Thus they are alienated from themselves, exhausting their real life in service of the shadow created by their insatiable hope.

“The birth of a man is the birth of his sorrow. The longer he lives, the more stupid he becomes, because his anxiety to avoid unavoidable death becomes more and more acute. What bitterness! He lives for what is always out of reach!  His thirst for survival in the future makes him incapable of living in the present...

“ I cannot tell if what the world considers “happiness” is happiness or not. All I know is that when I consider the way they go about attaining it, I see them carried away headlong, grim and obsessed, in the general onrush of the human herd, unable to stop themselves or to change their direction. All the while claiming to be just on the point of attaining happiness. For my part, I cannot accept their standards, whether of happiness or unhappiness. I ask myself if after all their concept of happiness has any meaning whatever.

“My opinion is that you never find happiness until you stop looking for it. My greatest happiness consists precisely in doing nothing whatever that is calculated to obtain happiness:  and this, in the minds of most people, is the worst possible course.
                                                    -  Chuang Tzu   ca 300 BC !
Entire text excerpted from The Writings of Chuang Tzu  
                                             edited by Thomas Merton OCSO


The word "Grace" comes directly from the Latin, "gratia", but let us first look at its most ancient definition in Hebrew:

          1. from "chen"(noun)

                    - a quality which arouses favor; it may lie in

                     external appearance or in speech;

                    e.g., "to find favor in the eyes of God and/or man"

                   "one who manifests kindness and

                    compassion in rendering aid;

          2. from "chanan"(verb)

                   -to show favor, used of men; an attitude which is

                    proper toward the needy, the poor, the orphan

                    and to any who are in distress.

- The act of giving gifts;

-Used for Yahweh's acts of benevolence,

  source of ALL good gifts;

-Especially creation [everything from nothing]

  and  forgiveness [ friendship from sinfulness].

Next in its use in the New Testament Greek:

          1.from "charis" [χαρις]

                    - it is closely and fundamentally identified with

                    the entire "good news" and is a key word

- it is what Christians wish to each other in

greeting or in departing( as a Christian translation of the Hebrew 'shalom').

          2. from "charizesthai" (verb)

                   - to give freely as a favor;

                   - with God as the giver, the object given is Christ

Profane use (not a "bad" use):

          - "charis" (noun):

- attractiveness( as in the word "charm"); the quality that wins favor; "

- good will of God(grace)

...viewed both as act  and effects; both as    something given and something received and  something possessed

Derivatives: from Greek (Χαρις)[charis]

                   "charity" the giving of gifts

                   "charisma" A sign of being gifted

                   "charismatic" Possessing great gifts

                   "eu charis tia"- the greatest gift

Derivatives in Latin of "Gratia" ("thanks, grace")

                   gratitude, grace, thanksgiving(as in 'eucharist')

So, we are meant to be pipelines to others and not barrels to be filled. All good gifts come from God to us in order that we allow those gifts to pass through us to others and ultimately back to God as praise (blessing).. And, as with Muhammed Ali, we point to Allah when we win, for God is the ultimate source of all that we have been given and we can scarcely take credit to ourselves when we help others.

When we take all the credit for what we have or do, we constipate our pipe. God(within each of us) gives to God( within everybody else) through us. 
                                                                            Charlie Mc

Friday, July 24, 2015

Fetal "Research"??

                                                              Fetal Parts??

In the wild, when an animal dies, flies come and lay eggs upon the carcass. The larvae (maggots) from those hatched eggs eat the flesh of the dead animal. Hyenas come and work at eating the remains as well, and buzzards circle overhead and land to get a piece of the action. Eventually dry bones are left to ultimately be worn to dust which becomes part of the soil from which plants grow. Those plants get eaten by animals who ultimately die etc…etc…

Nothing is wrong with this process. It is natural. So too when a human dies, his body returns to the natural “dust” whether quickly into the earth or very slowly in a sealed tomb. There is nothing evil about this happening, despite all our attempts to prevent it from happening or from having to watch it happen.

Where evil comes in is where we interrupt the man’s life by unlawfully killing him.

This is where the Supreme Court of the United States has come in to rule that some killings are not in themselves evil. Capital punishment for certain crimes is lawful, so increasingly is assisted suicide in many places and situations, and so too is abortion, if the woman so chooses, without regard to any rights to continued life which the baby within her might have. Now since the law allows this, the law is now being asked to decide what may or may not happen with its corpse after death. May body parts be sold for scientific use and is there some kind of “morality” involved in what can be done with these parts?

Certainly Hitler and the Nazis thought it was "moral" to make lampshades out of the skin and rugs out of the hair and jewelry out of the bones and teeth of exterminated Jews after they determined that a Jew was not a fully human person.

It seems the door was opened when the law determined that the life of a person can be taken “for sufficient reason”. The law no longer says that blacks , native Americans, women and minorities are less than full persons who cannot be owned or used by others to their own advantage; but has failed to extend those rights to the unborn child.

It is most disconcerting to realize that a majority of the public are horrified by the profitable distribution of aborted fetus parts, yet feel quite comfortable with Planned Parenthood and with the Supreme Court’s decisions to grant “personhood” to corporations, yet deny it to future children.

A person is not determined to be such by its exterior, but by its interior. Its interior includes the God given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. A person has these rights from conception, not from when they reach the age of being able to defend themselves, nor from birth. As the person is sacred, so to are these rights.
As from the earliest written Gospel , Mark, in Jesus' keynote address: "The present moment is the right time, change the way you think for the Kingdom of God is WITHIN you. Believe this good news."[Mk.1:15-16]
It’s time for the USA to "change the way it thinks."

                                                                                                         Charlie Mc