“Evangelical, born-again Bush did what over 1,000 years of Islamic domination of the Middle East failed to do: utterly destroy the vibrant Christian communities of Syria and Iraq. Where there were millions of Christians, monasteries and churches now there are nothing but burnt buildings, dead and fleeing men and women, and beheaded corpses.”—American Liberals and Conservatives Created ISIS Together Deal With It (via azspot)
Reza Aslan's book Zealot is rife with tons of inaccuracies about early Christianity. Why should we believe him here? I'm not arguing for Maher's point, but I can't trust either of them, frankly, because they're on the opposite extremes. What's interesting though, is that Maher & Aslan have more in common in their views of Christianity than differences.
Oh that wouldn’t surprise me at all. But this bit was good at just showing how people that “Islam is X” is almost always going to be a mischaracterization, just as “Catholicism is X” would do the same. The fear mongering in the media around ISIS and Islam to pound the drums of war has to be countered and neutralized, and I found that interview helpful in doing so.
“St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen”—(via catholicforevertilldeath)
“Let’s get something straight: ISIS didn’t behead civilians and then post videos of the killings online because they thought it would deter America and other coalition members from going to war against them. They did it because they knew it was precisely the type of behavior that would bait the world into war–and that such a war would lead inevitably to a flood of new recruits, offended by the excessive force that the western coalition will no doubt use against them. As the collateral damages pile up, retaliation will be only too easy to justify. Launching airstrikes against ISIS may make us feel like we are assuming control of the situation, but we are merely playing out a role that ISIS has written for us. The harder we strike back, the more justified their original acts of violence will appear.”—
“Coffee should be based as much, if not more, on means as ends. Which is to say, there would be no final product of coffee as we know it, without the farmers and families who grow and harvest the coffee plants and cherries. If they are being exploited and hardly profiting enough to survive, coffee itself is far from sustainable. What is the point of placing emphasis on whether a product is grown sustainably if the farmers themselves are not first being sustained? Indeed, there is little hope for rich diversity in the future of coffee so long as farmers and families continue to starve.”—aftertrade.org (via stephanieberbec)
“What do you fear, O sinner, if you detest your sin? How will he condemn you, who died in order not to condemn you? How will he cast you from him, if you return to his feet, he who came from heaven to seek you at the very time you were flying from him?”—St. Thomas of Villanova (via catholicsoul)
Reflection given at Vespers to the house community I live in here in Chicago, some is more relevant to our community… but you may find this helpful in your own way. -Br. Max
While our calendar year starts in January, I’ve more often thought of the New Year as beginning in September. September is a time of new beginnings. This is especially true this year for our community, as seven of us, including our prior, are new to this house. But even for those who are returning, we know that no two years in a formation house are ever the same. Some of our community members are away on their pastoral year, while others have just returned from one. Some of us are preparing for graduation, while myself and others are finally remembering which classrooms our classes are in on the 3rd floor at CTU. Some members of our community are longtime residents of Chicago and know the ins and outs of the city, while a few of us are still figuring out that taking the 94-E takes you South, and that taking the Eden expressway at rush hour does not, in fact, take you to paradise (though it may feel like an eternity).
We are building new routines, beginning new ministries, beginning at new schools, and ultimately, beginning anew our lives together in community, on the journey towards God. All of this newness can bring with it a great deal of fear and trepidation. The 27th Psalm this evening spoke especially to me as I reflected upon it this afternoon “Though war break out against me, even then would I trust” [pause] “on a rock he sets me safe”. These words provided me with great affirmation amidst all the newness and the many unknowns that I have been working through these last four weeks. The psalm is challenging us to trust that this newness will transform ourselves over time for the better. It is through experiencing instability that we can become more stable, through going the wrong way that we build our sense of direction, and through being the new kid at school that we form new friendships.
In meditating upon this Psalm, we find that our hope is in the Lord. That only He is the one able to make the seemingly crooked paths of our lives straight. This is because the Lord is the one who pitches His tent amidst the tribulations and troubles of our lives. We are not alone as we go through our lives. God is with us. With this knowledge that God is in our midst as we journey towards Him, I will close with the final lines of the Psalm. I pray that it offers each of you consolation as you apply it to the many newnesses of your own lives in this new year, “Hope in him, hold firm and take heart/ Hope in the Lord!”