July 2006 Archives

Just (Don’t) Say No

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As you may have guessed, I’m ambivalent about posting here. Sometimes I’m simply stupefied by the sheer pride in thinking anyone would be at all interested in anything I might post here. My rants especially unnerve me. Who am I to dictate to the world? When these thoughts come on strong, I withdraw from posting and try to maintain silence.

Yet, the other day another thought hit me; somehow, for some reason, I’m drawn to make entries here. I got myself into this and can’t seem to get myself out. Then yet another thought hit me (thought comes to me infrequently and usually with some force): nothing goes very well during those times when I say “no” to posting. Work becomes difficult, I become restless, even traffic that previously flowed smoothly snarls as I approach. In short, everything turns to ca-ca. It seems, when I say “no” to things that I am drawn to in this way, life becomes a trial.

I thought that saying “no” is sometimes a self-righteous act. It’s a turning in on myself and away from all God’s good that's all around me. It’s a bit like the Pharisees who only see things through a narrow, self-constructed prism of right and wrong. It has nothing to do with reality or God’s intention for how I should live. Things seem “out of kilter” because they are. I’m relying on my own resources and thinking in my own terms, not God’s or anyone else’s. Even when I think I’m doing this for the best of reasons, I’m fooling myself. Maybe even a rant or two has a place in God’s plan.

And while I can’t think of one good reason I should continue here or of anything I’ve written that would be of any use to anyone, it has helped me. Writing here and getting the occasional response has helped me grow in understanding and respect for others. It’s taught me to examine the intentions of others who might disagree with me and try to understand that, even if I think they are wrong, they are still God’s children. Writing has changed my whole outlook on the world and my faith over the last three years.

For example, the other day, Karen at Some Have Hats, did a post decrying the apparent inaction of Pope Benedict, in the year or so since he’s been in office, against dissenters, (and drew some harsh, even rude, criticism for her comments). When I started here, I would have been right with her, bringing down anathemas on those who dare dissent. I admit, if I lived in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, I might feel a lot differently. Still, now I’m not so anxious to join the fray.

Over the last three years, I’ve learned to respect, as the Church does, that each person has a choice for good or evil. God has given us the capacity, created as we are in the imago Dei, to make that choice. He respects it, and leaves us to it. So must we. That’s not to say we shouldn’t do our part to help our brothers and sisters make an informed decision, but we have to recognize our limits in doing so. I’ve come to accept that the Church has managed to stumble through the last two thousand years without my assistance, and to hope that it will continue for the next millennium or two in the same way. After all, Jesus assures us, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Mt 16:18-19 RSV) He gave Peter the keys, not me. It’s really a great relief.

So I’ll continue to post here as the spirit moves. I may still have a few things to learn, as unlikely as that may sound. At least it may make the afternoon commute easier.

Edgar Lee Masters


Cassius Hueffer

THEY have chiseled on my stone the words:
“His life was gentle, and the elements so mixed in him
That nature might stand up and say to all the world,
This was a man.”
Those who knew me smile
As they read this empty rhetoric.

My epitaph should have been:
“Life was not gentle to him,
And the elements so mixed in him
That he made warfare on life,
In the which he was slain.”
While I lived I could not cope with slanderous tongues,
Now that I am dead I must submit to an epitaph
Graven by a fool!

Edgar Lee Masters (1868–1950). Spoon River Anthology.

Comment Change


I have been overrun here with "comments" from people selling all kinds of things, most of a pornographic nature. In order to try to stem the tide, I have changed comment settings to require a commenter to register with a password. I hate to do that, but if this doesn't work, I will be forced to drop comments altogether.

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This page is an archive of entries from July 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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