Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Potpourri for 8/4/2015

Between now and yesterday:
  • Dealing with stress: At the end of the day, once the kids are in bed, I like to de-stress. Sometimes I get extra stressed by trying to find ways to relax. Lately, movies have been the thing but I got super stressed out trying to pick between Rebel Without a Cause and V for Vendetta. I ended up just playing video games instead.

  • I have a hard time explaining my job to people. When someone asks about work, I might tell them that I have been shooting and editing video, making palatable music to score the videos, teaching adult classes on a faith-related topic (usually on the Bible), planning big programs, teaching children, or whatever. It's never really the same job two weeks in a row.

  • Black Sabbath's Master of Reality is a great anchor for me when I'm having a hard time.

  • Last night I was reviewing old Church documents pertaining to the Eucharist. I'm giving a talk tomorrow night and I'm really not ready for it. On a more conceptual level, it's fascinating how the idea of presence affects behavior. Think of how a classroom full of kids act when a teacher leaves the room or how mood changes when your feeling lonely and a friend unexpectedly shows up. Jesus would tell a story of a man who owned a vineyard but lived off property. His workers began to take charge and assume ownership and whenever he sent a messenger (and eventually his own son), the workers would beat, abused, and, in some cases, kill them. Jesus' posed the question: "what will the owner of the vineyard do when he returns?" For good or ill, presence affects behavior.

    As the early church keyed into understanding that Jesus was present in the Eucharist it affected how they conducted themselves at their celebration of the Lord's Supper, how they lived their lives once they left, and how they treated the "leftovers" for the meal. They would retain some of it to bring to sick people who couldn't gather with the community. That began the practice of housing those remainders in special containers that we now call tabernacles. That continued sense of Presence influenced how they designed those containers and eventually contributed to the developing aesthetics of church architecture. Reservation of the Sacrament also gave new insight to those who would pray before it, deepening their connection with Jesus who felt no further to them that a few feet away.

  • I just watched the 5th in a series of Planned Parenthood sting videos. Prior to that, a friend of mine had posted an anonymous online testimonial from a woman whose mother felt so loved and supported by Planned Parenthood after her miscarriage. The story paints the picture of a hateful, judgmental protesters outside of a clinic and the loving people inside of the clinic.

    The purpose seemed to be to recast the argument, that maybe Planned Parenthood are the good guys and the pro-life masses are, as the testimony said, not pro-life but "pro-birth", caring very little for the real lives of pregnant mothers. In fact, the testimony said that the woman was shouted at and judged and she was not undergoing an abortion, just an extraction after the trauma of a miscarriage.

    I know a lot of people who have spent a lot of time in front of abortion clinics. I can't speak for the people who scream, shame, and insult pregnant woman (I don't know anyone who has done that), but I think I can speak for the people I do know. My friends look to offer alternate counseling or to connect woman to support services in case their concerns are financial. Support services and support for the mother is a primary concern for them. They also pray and I think most often it's silently or quietly. In my town, I think the were not at the entrance of the property but across the street. Again, I can't talk for everyone but that's been my experience with them.

    Instead of recasting the argument with new data and flipflopping who is designated as the good guy and the bad guy, I think it would be better to complicate your image. New data should frustrate bad hypotheses. In this case, this 5th video in the undercover Planned Parenthood videos investigating their approach to fetal tissue donation is severely complicating. If you have a strong stomach and want to consider complicating your hypothesis, give it, and the others, a watch. Even if you feel differently than I do about abortion in general and Planned Parenthood's policies involving tissue donation, I have a feeling that it might complicate your hypothesis as many of you have often complicated mine on other occasions. All respect if you don't agree with people like me, but it would be worth having a conversation about all of this.

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