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Protestants and Catholics

Saturday, September 2nd, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — this from the Pew Forum ]
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After 500 Years, Reformation-Era Divisions Have Lost Much of Their Potency
“Pew Research Center,” August 31, 2017

As Protestants prepare to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, new Pew Research Center surveys show that in both Western Europe and the United States, the theological differences that split Western Christianity in the 1500s have diminished to a degree that might have shocked Christians in past centuries. Across Europe and the U.S., the prevailing view is that Protestants and Catholics today are more similar religiously than they are different. And while the Reformation led to more than a century of devastating wars and persecution in Europe, both Protestants and Catholics across the continent now overwhelmingly express willingness to accept each other as neighbors and even as family members.

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Now, if Islam manages to heal the worst of its divisions in, say, a century or so, what will we have to say, looking back on the two processes?

And whoah, Buddhism? Where’s that at?

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

Afghanistan

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?

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Sources:

  • 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
  • Okay, Renaissance photography?

    Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — Caravaggio at Berkeley, maybe ]
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    So, David Burge has tweeted that this photo looks “like a Renaissance painting of stupid”:

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    First, let’s get Karl Popper out of the way: I don’t think that’s a fa;sifiable statement. But does it ring true for me?

    I’d go with Caravaggio, maybe, a bit of a street-brawler himself, who can project himself into the brawl of the arrest of Christ —

    — and notice whose hands, fingers interlaced, are calm amid the hurly-burly,

    Caravaggion himself fled Rome to escape a death penalty for murder, perhaps that’s a pre-requisite for his tenebrist style of painting, perhaps not, who knows? And the photographer? Dare I ask? Apparently the photo credit goes to Marcus Yam/LA Times via Getty Images.

    **

    The photo again, since it may have risen out of screen, out of mind.

    The photographer certainly (my view) has an eye for framing, but that’s largely what photography is all about, isn’t it?

    That slashing diagonal — powerful. Who’s the guy standing, left, a bit detached? Not a Buddhist, I think, in that balaclava. Is that individual. isolated, or the entirety of the clash, what Burge sees as painterly — forget the Renaissance for a while here — ?

    Black-clad anarchists attack conservatives at Berkeley rally runs the headline in the South Chibna Morning Post, and they’d know, right? South China, Northern Cal..

    I’m weary.

    The brush strokes — there are no brushstrokes in photography. Unless you use an app to put them there. Is there a brish stro0kes equivalent? Chiaroscuro — light-dark contrast — arguably, the sun’s too bright for much of that in Berkeley, and the anarchists’ black will have to make up for it. Not so when Christ is arrested — that’s simply dark, and Caravaggion illuminates the players.

    How much light-dark contrast does the headline’s reference to “black-clad anarchists” add to the viewer’s perception of the image? Is it the word “black” or the word “anarchist” that does it?

    **

    Following the news is a complex affair.

    But a lover affair in any case, if that’s your preference, as it is mine — it gets me from Berkeley and stupidity to Caravaggio and Chirst, okay?

    What the tweet proclaims..

    Monday, August 28th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — c’mon, WaPo ]
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    What the tweet proclaims at time of posting [upper panel].. and what you get when you go there [below]:

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    Sources:

  • WaPo, tweet
  • WaPo, article
  • Unified is not duelling: please make up your mind, WaPo.

    The Barcelona Response

    Monday, August 28th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — from a half-million-strong march to the hug of a victim’s father and an imam, Barcelona and Spain repond to terror with nobility and grace ]
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    Telesur‘s headline read Nearly 500,000 March for Peace in Barcelona, and their subhead:

    Marchers, on Saturday, displayed signs and banners with various slogans. Some read, “No to Islamophobia,” “The best response: Peace,” and “I’m not afraid.”

    The march:

    A makeshift shrine to those killed in the attack:

    A monarch visits the survivors of terror:

    NPR reports on the celebration of Mass in La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona:

    Mass Held In Barcelona To Honor Victims Of Terror Attacks

    Spain’s King Felipe and Queen Letizia and other dignitaries attend a solemn Mass at Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia Basilica on Sunday for the victims of the terror attacks that killed 14 people and wounded over 120 in Barcelona, Spain.

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    We remember the sacred magnificence of the ritual setting, Antonio Gaudi‘s Basilica of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, in which this Mass was offered:

    And Spain’s considerable Moorish history, exemplified by the Mezquita of Cordoba:

    **

    We witness the profound gesture of the father of the youngest victim, as reported by Daily Sabah, Europe:

    Father of youngest victim of Spain attacks hugs imam in defiance of terror, Islamophobia

    The father of the youngest victim of last week’s tragic terror attacks in Cambrils and Barcelona hugged a local imam in an emotional protest against terror and Islamophobia.

    Xavier Martinez, who lost his three-year-old son Xavi in the attack on Las Ramblas avenue, embraced Spanish imam Driss Salym in the town of Rubi, near Barcelona on Friday. The video of the two hugging, defiantly showing unity and compassion, was widely shared on social media.

    Here is the BBC’s video:

    **

    Oof, the imam’s tears at the end of that clip.

    Many cities have shown their resilience when attacked, and we are proud of them: Barcelona best of all.


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