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Sadhu and Southern Baptist, Sunday surprise

Sunday, January 20th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — preferred place for prayer — and Gary Snyder’s disciples “will always have ripened blackberries to eat and a sunny spot under a pine tree to sit at” ]
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That sadhus like to meditate in cremation grounds was already known to me — they worship Lord Shiva, who likes to meditate there himself, not infrequently covers himself in ashes, and wears a necklace of skulls..

What surprised me though, was to find Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and author of The Storm-Tossed Family: How the Cross Reshapes the Home, Christianity Today‘s Book of the Year, recommending so similar a practice..

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Sources:

  • The Gospel Coalition, A Graveyard Is a Good Place to Make Big Decisions
  • TripAdvisor, Varanasi Photo: Sadhu meditation in smashan – where dead bodies burn
  • **

    And if the sadhu‘s practice seems more extreme — fiercer, spiritually? — than Dr Moore‘s quieter — dare I, should I really say, more contemplative? — approach, that only reminds me of Klaus Klostermaier‘s book, Hindu and Christian in Vrindaban, and this marvelous graph:

    Theology at 120 degrees Fahrenheit in the shade seems after all, different from theology at 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Theology accompanied by tough chapattis and smoky tea seems different from theology with roast chicken and a glass of wine. Now, what is different, theos or theologian? The theologian at 70 degrees Fahrenheit is in a good position presumes God to be happy and contended, well-fed and rested, without needs of any kind. The theologian at 120 degrees Fahrenheit tries to imagine a God who is hungry and thirsty, who suffers and is sad, who sheds perspiration and knows despair.

    Here’s Fr Klostermaier saying Mass in Vrindaban:

    First thing in the morning I celebrate the Mass. I wonder if any person responsible for prescribing the liturgical vestments in use today ever read mass at 113 degrees Fahrenheit, in a closed room without a fan? Clouds of flies swarm around the chalice and host. They settle on the hands, on the perspiring face. They cannot be driven away, but return for the tenth time to the place from which they have been chased away. The whole body burns and itches. The clothes are damp, even the vestments. They soon dry. If a priest does not wear them all, he commits – according to existing canon law – at least a dozen or so mortal sins all at once. And it seems impossible to survive, physically or spiritually, without the Mass.

    And Vrindaban?

    Edward C Dimock and Denise Levertov, begin their delicious, delirious volume, In Praise of Krishna: songs from the Bengali, thus:

    Above the highest heaven is the dwelling place of Krishna. It is a place of infinite idyllic peace, where the dark and gentle river Yamuna flows beside a flowered meadow, where cattle graze; on the river’s bank sweet-scented trees blossom and bend their branches to the earth, where peacocks dance and nightingales call softly. Here Krishna, ever-young, sits beneath the trees, the sound of his flute echoing the nightingales’ call. Sometimes he laughs and jokes and wrestles with his friends, sometimes he teases the cowherd-girls of the village, the Gopis, as they come to the river for water. And sometimes, in the dusk of days an eon long, his flute’s call summons the Gopis to his side. They leave their homes and families and husbands and honor — as it is called by men — and go to him. Their love for him is deeper than their fear of dishonor. He is the fulfillment of all desire…

    That, too, is Vrindaban!

    Start of the Christian Church Year

    Sunday, December 9th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — the chief benefit of observing a liturgical calendar is found in the subtle modulations in rhythm across the year it affords the observant faithful ]
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    In terms of the Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran Churches — but not yet, I think, the Orthodox — this is the first Sunday in the season of Advent, a period of expectation of the coming of the Christ Child, and of his Second Coming at the end of days, and marks the start of the liturgical Year in their calendars.

    Here’s JS Bach, bringing us a Cantata for the First Sunday in Advent, and thus a fitting opening to the season:

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    Zenpundit wishes its Christian readers a Happy New Year!

    Sunday surprise, Joni I — frostbite and sunstroke

    Sunday, December 9th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — a study in dualities in songs of the wondrous joni m ]
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    Okay, let’s start with the source of that supremely compressed universe, frostbite and sunstroke:

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    I say, “compressed universe” because those two words represent the two poles of the entire universe from one angle, and wherever two such poles are present, they transcend:

  • breath, death
  • alpha, omega
  • womb, tomb
  • etc
  • Wikipedia:

    The unity of opposites is the central category of dialectics, said to be related to the notion of non-duality in a deep sense

    Heraclitus:

    The road up and the road down are the same

    Nicolas of Cusa [in Joseph Kelly, The Problem of Evil in the Western Tradition:

    God is the principle of unity, of identity, bringing together in himself all opposites and then transcending them. He is the opposite of the opposites. He negates the contradictions of the world.

    He is the opposite of the opposites!

    And Wikipedia again:

    Mircea Eliade, a 20th-century historian of religion, used the term extensively in his essays about myth and ritual, describing the coincidentia oppositorum as “the mythical pattern”. Psychiatrist Carl Jung, the philosopher and Islamic Studies professor Henry Corbin as well as Jewish philosophers Gershom Scholem and Abraham Joshua Heschel also used the term.

    That’s pretty much my reading list for eternity, plus or minus Plotinus, Shakespeare and the Upanishads..

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    So, Joni. Singer-writer in a long tradition.. Vic Garbarini, Joni Mitchell is a Nervy Broad:

    For Mitchell, ordinary life is a semioticist’s paradise, a place where coincidence and synchronicity can be the catalysts that reveal glimpses of a deeper pattern, a unity that underlies and ultimately resolves what appear on the surface to be irreconcilable opposites. In Mitchell’s tales of incredible coincidences on steamy streets or chance encounters with affable drunks in hotel lobbies, vital pieces of the puzzle drop into place, and the whole is glimpsed.

    Oh yes, Joni sees both sides now:

    War like posture and other metaphors

    Monday, November 19th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — continuing the search, plus mckibben & a touch of dylan as a sunday surprise ]
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    First a chyron, based on Trump’s words:

    Fascinating article: The Dawn of the Intra-Family Political Attack Ad

    In August, Glosser published an essay in Politico magazine chiding his nephew by sharing the family’s own immigration story as Jews who fled the shtetls of Eastern Europe. “I have watched with dismay and increasing horror as my nephew,” Glosser wrote, “an educated man who is well aware of his heritage, has become the architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family’s life in this country.”

    Is House of Cards a poem, then?

    Doug Stamper is the dog.

    In the opening moments of Netflix’s House of Cards premiere episode from 2013, Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) hunched over a dog that’d been injured by a car. “There are two kinds of pain,” he said into the camera. “The sort of pain that makes you strong, or useless pain, the sort of pain that’s only suffering. I have no patience for useless things. Moments like this require someone who will act, who will do the unpleasant thing, the necessary thing.”

    He then broke the dog’s neck. “There,” he said. “No more pain.”

    In the final moments of the final episode of House of Cards—which occurs in a truncated season made after Spacey left the show due to allegations of sexual misconduct—the president, Claire Hale Underwood (Robin Wright), cradles her dead husband’s henchman, Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly), in her lap. She has just stabbed him in the belly with a letter opener after he nearly slit her throat with it. Underwood puts her hand over his mouth and nose and tells him that everything’s going to be okay. His eyes close. “There, no more pain,” she says. Her eyes flick toward the camera. The credits roll.

    Some sort of rhyming is going on here, clearly, but does the poem mean anything?

    That “rhyme” is a DoubleQuote, really — a thought-rhyme if you like, and on a technical film-making sense a clever twist to end on. Not so much a synchronicity or coincidence, more a twist of authorial fate.

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    Twists of fate, eh? And tangled up in blue? Here are two recent Dylan pieces to note:

  • New Yorker, Bob Dylan’s First Day with “Tangled Up in Blue”
  • New Yorker, Bob Dylan’s Masterpiece Is Still Hard to Find
  • **

    Bill McKibben, with a s game / play metaphor that derives its strength from the topic, not from the metaphoric play:

    In the face of our environmental deterioration, it’s now reasonable to ask whether the human game has begun to falter—perhaps even to play itself out.

    That’s from How Extreme Weather Is Shrinking the Planet — see also THE END OF NATURE.

    Early and late, McKibben has been one of the voices crying that the wildness is shronking — from within the shrinking wilderness..

    Wilderness / wildness yes, that’s deliberate..

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    & by way of a Sunday surprise, here’s some extraordinary music for whenever you need extraordinary, need music — twists of tangled blue fate included:

    Sunday shame!

    Monday, November 5th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — my father fought and died for an end to this, well over fifty years ago, and now this.. ]
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    For the record —

    — that little yellow star resurfacing on social media in 2018 USA, for shame.

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    Sources:

  • BuzzFeed, A Reporter Got An Anti-Semitic Death Threat From A Trump Supporter
  • Twitter, Binyamin Appelbaum
  • **

    For shame?

    It’s all too easy to moralize. Happily for me, I was born on the “better angels” side of WWII.


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