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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
        Wednesday, March 3 2004

Jon Kennedy, webmaster

Who do you trust?

I've read about people who don't trust anyone who doesn't freely use profanity in their speech. That struck me on seeing it because my own programming is the opposite. From youngest childhood, if someone in my periphery (someone my dad was talking to at an auction or on the street, for example, or older "bullies" in the school playground) used lots of swearwords, I distrusted that person, considered his or her speech an indicator of character, and most likely a shifty, unreliable, probably violent, dangerous character. As I grew older I had friends who used too much profanity and it became more understandable, but always, I think, they were my friends despite that. Even in recent years I find that I get on with a few people who have that weakness, but that I find myself avoiding getting close to others just because my early impressions are formed by hearing what I don't like to listen to.

I was reminded of this earlier this week when I came across a quote that's been used repeatedly in the coverage of the controversial movie from Mel Gibson, The Passion of the Christ, by one of the film's critics. Hollywood producer Mike Medavoy reflected the same kind of thinking ("don't trust anyone who doesn't swear") in this reaction to the film: "What makes me squeamish about religion in general is that people think they have the answer: 'I think my God is the right God.' How do you argue against that?"

I just have to shake my head in dismay each time I read it. I know I've encountered such thinking before, but never so well and succinctly put.

Who could respect anyone who claims to be "religious" and doesn't think his god is the right god? What is a person's "religion" if it's not their "answer" to life's most difficult questions? I find that I respect the most those Jewish acquaintances I know who find the orthodox teachings the most resonant to their souls, though by definition they are the Jewish beliefs that are the most pointedly opposed to my Christian beliefs. By the same token, I felt more "at home" when touring in India than I do in some parts of the United States, knowing that a large contingency of the Indian population takes their Hindu religious commitments seriously and try to live them, whereas in parts of our own country I often encounter hedonistic, pleasure-seeking attitudes and the worship of "me-me-me and whatever benefits or pleases me." I like, and trust, people who live what they say they believe.

I guess the question isn't really "who" do you trust, but why do you trust anyone? How do you know anyone is trustworthy...worth getting to know well, invest some time in, maybe even in the public arena, vote for or decide to support in some kind of competition (like supporting one candidate for school principal over another)? What qualities do you value in the people you encounter day by day?

Webmaster Jon Kennedy 

Steven Wrightisms

18. Hard work pays off in the future, laziness pays off now.

—Sent by Trudy Myers 

Lenten thought for today

Do not sink into despair, even though you have innumerable sins. Marvel at the philanthropy of God, who was satisfied with three days of repentance (of the people of Nineveh) for so many transgressions.

St. John Chrysostom, 345 - 407 
Sent by Fr. Antonious Henein 

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