Let there be shame and confusion

chalice

A few days ago, I was praying the Midday Prayer of the Divine Office, and I was struck by the juxtaposition of two of the psalms slated for that day (Wednesday, 31st week of ordinary time).  First there was this part of Psalm 70: O God, make haste to my rescue, Lord, come to my aid! Let there be shame and confusion on those who seek my life. O let them turn back in confusion, who delight in my harm, let them retreat, covered with shame, who jeer at my lot. Which was shortly followed … [Read more...]

“Give Us More To See”

"But how George looks. He could look forever
As if he sees you and he doesn't all at once."

Yesterday, I used Georges Seurat (as imagined by Stephen Sondheim in Sunday in the Park with George) to open up a discussion about the difficulty of pursuing intimacy with God (or, often, other people).  Play!George might approve of my framing a discussion of truth through artifice, since that's exactly how he manages to see and comprehend others in the show.  In "Finishing the Hat" (below), George explains that he can only understand or interact with people from a distance. Entering the … [Read more...]

Finishing the Imago Dei

A_Sunday_on_La_Grande_Jatte,_Georges_Seurat,_1884

So, apparently if I host an installment of the Stephen Sondheim film festival the night before a silent retreat, I end up spending a lot of time meditating on Seurat instead of Scripture.  A few weekends ago, I invited friends over to watch Sunday in the Park with George, Stephen Sondheim's musical about Georges Seurat's creation of A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.  (It's on Amazon instant streaming, go enjoy!). In the first act, Georges struggles to express himself to … [Read more...]

“In a world of wondering, suddenly you know”

inside-the-cave-pinoltepec

About two years ago, long before I converted, a student was working on his performance of "How Glory Goes" in a musical theatre masterclass that I was sitting in.  The song is from the musical Floyd Collins, based on the life of Floyd Collins, a cave explorer from Kentucky who was trapped in a cave and starved to death alone.  (An obvious topic for a musical).  Before the rocks shifted and cut Floyd off from the surface completely, there was a narrow shaft open.  A very slight reporter … [Read more...]

LARP Your Way to Truth

"It's an unorthodox epistemology, but it just might work!"

Over in the Atheist channel, Bob Seidensticker of Cross Examined is experimenting with prayer.  He's signed up for an experiment run by Justin Brierley of the Unbelievable radio show (which you may remember from the time Hemant and I tangled on air).  The program is asking for atheists to try praying for at least two to three minutes a day for God to reveal Himself to them (if he exists).  After 40 days, the atheists are going to share their experiences and, if applicable, … [Read more...]

Math-Related Prayer Hijinks

I like praying the Liturgy of the Hours because, at a bare minimum, it gives me something to say to God.  Not just the words of the prayers but, basically, "I'm really grateful for prayer traditions because I'd pretty much suck at having to make all this up on my own."  Instead of just being grateful for language period, it's kind of like being grateful for slang -- the shared set of references that characterize a relationship or a community. The trouble is, that I haven't been praying for … [Read more...]

Prayer, Belief, and More Jump Discontinuities

The post last week on being prayed for sparked some interesting questions about free will and belief.  I thought returning to that topic would be a nice complement to the discussion about choosing to alter your own will that's developing out of Tristyn's pharmaceutical thought experiment. Disagreement arose over whether a petitionary prayer to God seeking my conversion was an affront to my free will or agency.  Posters P. Coyle and Hendy made the great point that belief is not a matter of … [Read more...]


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