Jon Kennedy
Jon Kennedy

Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
the Nanty Glo in My Mind'

Mid-winter reading

It's been a slow week for my muses so I'll fill today's space with some thoughts worth pondering from this week's reading, on three distinct topics.

From Seeds of the Word, Orthodoxy Thinking on Other Religions, by John Garvey (St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 2005, page 96):

Where Christians are all members of a minority, they are more inclined to see and celebrate what unites them than to argue bitterly about those sometimes relatively few points that divide them, and this becomes more apparent when they are surrounded by a non-Christian majority population. Being a member of a minority religion means that you must explain, to yourself, your children, and your neighbors, exactly why you believe what you believe. As with the first Christians, one way of doing this is seeking a point of common understanding, a shared vocabulary.

Our situation today can be seen as not all that different from the world the early apologists had to address. [Christendom] must now make itself known and understood in a world where no religion has a privileged place. Some may mourn this fact, but it may be a new and profoundly important opportunity.

Fred Reed in the Jewish Press, in a column entitled "An Intolerant Creed" (not about Islam, as I first expected in this week of media full of coverage of the "cartoon riots," but about the American scientific establishment's intolerance toward religion):

In the United States, [we are seeing] an aggressive hostility to religion, a desire to extirpate it and, though no one quite says this, to punish its practitioners. A curious witch-hunt continues in which people seem to look for any trace of religion so that they can root it out. I would call it vengeful, except that I do not know for what it might be revenge....

A common reading is that the sciences have become a sort of secular religion, with the Big Bang replacing Genesis, and evolution as a sort of deanthropomorphized god chivying humanity onward and upward. There is a large element of this, yes. The self-righteous intolerance directed by disciples of evolution against religion assuredly resembles the intolerance of religion against heresy. Does this explain the anger of the rooters-out? Is it partly that believers in America tend to be Southern or Catholic, both of which are regarded as politically inappropriate conditions?

To read the entire article, click the link, highlighted above (when you hover over).

Eugene Cullen Kennedy in an essay, "Media bias dilutes faith and the role of religion," in the Winston-Salem, N.C., Journal.

Americans don't need separation of church and state nearly as much as we need to have separation of church from television, movies and the chronically superficial way that the entertainment media deals with religion....

The supposed warlike mentality of Christians is the message that another media icon, Walter Cronkite, delivers in a mailing in which his opening antiphon is "I understand that freedom of speech is a founding principle of our nation." Then comes the "however," as Cronkite writes of his "increasing alarm" at "the intolerant influence of the Religious Right," saying that it "has gone too far" in trying to influence Congress with "its intolerant political platform."...

Cronkite apparently does not recall the decisive role that churches, including those with a fundamentalist charter, played in raising the conscience of the country against slavery and intolerance. Nor, in praising Martin Luther King Jr., does Cronkite note that he was a Baptist minister who changed the world by not allowing his faith to be confined to "a healing role in public life." In fact, King's religious background is often omitted in media coverage of his remarkable life.

Note that in these excerpts, an elipsis (...) indicates the omission of text to move on to a passage that better summarizes a point, and words in square brackets [ ] are substitutions made by this writer for a longer, less concise, or more ambiguous wording in the original text. And in the interest of full disclosure, Eugene Cullen Kennedy is no relation to this writer, and this is the first time I've come across him and his work.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

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Things to ponder—

If a 911 operator has a heart attack, whom does he/she call?

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Thought for today

The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.

Pierre de Coubertin (1863 – 1937; founder of the modern Olympic games)

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