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Houston flooding, 38 dead and counting, Mumbai yes

Friday, September 1st, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — nothing origibal, others have had the same thought i



  • NY Times, Clinging to Her Drowning ‘Mama,’ a Little Girl Survives the Raging Flood
  • CBS News, Mumbai paralyzed as Flood in India kills more than 1,000
  • Must I choose between them?

    Grief and joy in shoes at mosque and church

    Thursday, August 31st, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — part for whole, what’s that called, synechdoche in Kabul, Houston ]

    Shoes outside places of worship tell two very different tales in these two recent news photos.


    The shoes here are those left behind by worshippers who entered the Shiite mosque in Khair Khana area of Kabul, Afghanistan, which was blown up by ISIS. The death toll was 43 as I am writing this.

    As day follows night follows day…

    Houston, Texas:

    This picture is of shoes donated for those in need of them at Joel Osteen‘s Lakewood Church, which had taken something of a PR beating after Osteen said it hadn’t been opened as a shelter because the authorities hadsn’t requested it — whereas many Houston area mosques were openws without any official request begind given.

    Buzzfeed reported on the resentment of OSteen that may lie behind the criticisms leveled against him on this occasion:

    The speed, tone, and volume of criticisms leveled against Osteen and Lakewood Church speak to the seriousness of the flooding crisis in Houston, but also to a larger powder keg of resentment directed at a particular strain of American Christianity — Osteen’s pro-wealth prosperity gospel, and the larger evangelical movement it’s associated with — that many see as failing to be charitable to people who are truly in need.

    That’s worth pondering — the backlash in itself is a significant “marker” in the sociology of American religion.

    WWJD? — Matthew 6.19-21, anyone? Where’s Osteen’s treasure?



  • TRTWorld, At least 43 dead in Daesh-led attack on Shia mosque in Kabul
  • Buzzfeed News, The Joel Osteen Fiasco Says A Lot About American Christianity
  • ShiaWaves, Dozens of Houston Area Mosques are 24/7 Shelters without being Asked
  • Contemplative Fire

    Thursday, August 4th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — two poems, one from Thomas Merton, one from today ]

    About an hour ago I posted Economics as if spirit matters most, with a DoubleQuote drawing a parallel between Zen Buddhist monastic tradition and that of the Desert Fathers of the Church.

    Here’s another Buddhist / Christian juxtaposition, this time in the form of excerpts from two longer poems about fires — one of which, the Soberanes wildfire between Carmel and Big Sur, is still raging as we speak:

    SPEC DQ contemplative fire


    Anam Thubten is a Tibetan Buddhist teacher, and it is his Sweetwater Sanctuary retreat that was destroyed in the Soberanes fire. Thomas Merton was a Catholic Trappist monk, and the barn that burned was at his home monastery, the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsamani in Kentucky.

    Both poems are worth readong in full.


  • Anam Thubten, Dancing With Nature’s Wrath
  • Thomas Merton, Elegy for the Monastery Barn
  • Sunday surprise the second — the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God

    Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — wishing you all blessings on the Fourth ]

    My eye was caught today by yet another disaster — which in turn reminded me of tomorrow, the Fourth of July. It’s just one example among many:

    — but it brings up again the question of whether we think in terms of “acts of God” or “laws of Nature” or — somehow — both. And that’s where thw roding of the Constitution comes in, with the phrase “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God”:

    Nature and Nature's God DQ


    If I used that phrasing — “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” — today, I might well be attempting to please or at least placate readers who variously:

  • believe in a God separate from and superior to Nature, and author of Nature’s laws
  • believe in a God essentially indistinguishable from Nature, wholly immanent, &
  • disbelieve in any kind of God, but recognize Nature as a catchall term for the Whole System.
  • I don’t suppose that would necessarily be the case in 1776, though, and wonder whether the phrase should be read as:

    the Laws — of Nature and of Nature’s God


    the Laws of Nature — and of Nature’s God

    and if the second, whether the and marks a distinction between Nature and nature’s God, or also covers the possibility of their being one and the same.

    And once we’ve cleared that up, and bearing in mind that John Donne could write “At the round earth’s imagin’d corners” — thus conflating the old, imaginative, square earth with the new, scientific, spherical one — how feasible do you think it is to hold simultaneously the idea that a given earthquake, hurricane, tsunami or volcanic eruption is an act of God and a natural disaster?

    A worldview paradox?


  • July 4, 1776, The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
  • November 18, 2013, Room for Debate: Natural Disasters or ‘Acts of God’?

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