Monday, September 27, 2004

The thrill is gone (but not the trrrrrill!)

Midway through this four-day weekend and the sails are sagging. I've been working on consistently getting to bed earlier than my usual 2 or 4 AM. It's been working, and part of the proof lies in the fact that I'm tired now, at 1:15 AM, and have been so for a good thirty or forty minutes.

You'll notice again that the majority of my blogging has been the Christian quotes. No news, no essays, no quodlibetical ramblings from yours truly. Odd, the thrill of obscure self-publishing is gone. For whatever reason, my blogging bug has bitten the dust. Or, at least, has become dormant, ready to spring to bone-crunching, curfew-shattering life without warning!

I finished Dan Brown's _The Da Vinci Load Code_ (DVC). Now I can still renounce its errors and say "yes, in fact, I have read it." For a string of car and plane rides acting as props for prolonged discussions of "symbology and history, _DVC_ was more exciting than I expected, but often predictable. Silas, the hulking Opus Dei albino assassin monk, was a richer character than I expected. There was a smattering of interesting art trivia. But considering Brown's other egregious errors, I'm hesitant to put much stock in even his most trivial trivia.

I kept waiting for the much-discussed scene in which Leigh Teabing tells the "real story" of the Church, including the political elevation of Christ from man to God that occurred at Nicea and the secret sex life of the Messiah. (War makes for strange bedfellows. "Constantine, that dirty pagan Sol Invictus worshipper, corrupted the Church with the Edict of Milan! So much for Matthew 16:18!" Uncanny how anti-Catholic fundies and expressly non-Christian wing nuts end up in ideological bed.) Once I got there, I was glad I hadn't eaten. Brown did little more than embarrass himself with a nauseatingly shallow historical and theological spin job of basic pre- and infra-Nicene Christology. It wasn't offensive; it was too preposterous and blithe even to get a rise out of me. All I could manage were a couple incredulous sighs and groans such banalities were glistening atop the New York Times bestseller list. Ach, my ulcer, let's move past it.

Just tonight I finished Karl Keating's _Catholicism and Fundamentalism_, which is, ounce for ounce, even after 16 years in print amidst the Cath-Prot apologetic wars, still a winner. It's a cornucopia of interesting fundamentalist objections and personalities, complemented by succinct and charitable rebuttals to dozens of anti-Catholic claims. It's a must-read for getting your bearings in these discussions.

I'm currently reading Roald Dahl's _The Umbrella Man_, "a baker's dozen of barbed, witty, obliquely macabre short stories." I just love Dahl's stuff. Now if only I could find "The Pig" in print, or even online.

As for this four-day weekend, Tuesday is Teacher's Day (and Moon Day), and Viator deigned to give us lowly teachers Monday off as well. Score! Not only is it a four-day WEEKEND, but it cuts the WEEK down to three days. Twofer score!

Fr. Ramon needs to go to Taipei tomorrow, so we won't have our RCIA time together. He certainly deserves the break. And hey, on an otherwise free day, I'm not complaning about the break either!

Teacher Elliot has been doing pretty well lately. Saturday was one of the most beautiful days of my life, in fact. I woke up and met friends for lunch to celebrate Terri's birthday and return to Taiwan. Then, at her behest, we drove to the Taichung Metropolitan Park, which was a glorious. It was an otherwise hot bright day made cool by a delicious breeze, especially once we got atop Da Du Mountain to the park. We walked the trail around the park and then played a little Frisbee in the wind. I eventually got back into town at dusk and met some friends for dinner. This was followed by a nice night in the park (the one at the science museum near Caves bookstore). There were few visible stars with the cloud cover, but the air was cool and intoxicating. My allergies have subsided and my spirits are lifted.

This morning I got to Mass a little early and had some very nice time with the Lord before the Mass started. I have, of late, recognized my need to seek God's will about my future. Many very, very important decisions are looming on the horizon. On the one hand, they are not so daunting because they don't require immediate decisions. On the other hand, I face grave forks in the road because what I do now ultimately ties into which path I take down the road.

Tonight, I preached at the Shelter about God’s love. I have no clue how people received it, since I heard no responses from anyone, but for me, it was a powerful and touching message to hear. I preached from the beginnings of chapters 1 and 2 of the Song of Songs, pressing the point that God is not just our Father and Lord, but actually the LOVER of our souls. “At the Cross, God kissed the world,” I said. “Faith and prayer and love are how we kiss Him back.” I tied this, justifiably enough, into the Pauline image of the Church as the Bride of Christ. The two shall become one flesh. It was deep, truly a bit overwhelming, and exactly what I needed to hear.

And now, my dears, I’ll clean my filthy little body and put it to rest for the night. Adieu!

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