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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A Culture of Life

I went to a lecture tonight in Newman Hall in which Monsignor Swetland of St. John's Catholic Chapel and Todd Daly of Urbana Theological Seminary spoke on promoting a culture of life in America. This was a finale to the week of prayer for Christian Unity. I enjoyed it very much.

Todd Daly spoke on Baconian philosophy of the body. Francis Bacon was one of the fathers of the scientific method, and in the 18th century, the idea of the body being the repository of the soul became prevalent. By studying the human body as a set of intertwined discrete organs and studying and performing medicine on them as you do to a machine that needs tuning. Mr. Daly and Msgr. Swetland both proposed that Christians should view the body and soul as one. That is, humans are essentially corporal as well as spiritual beings, and you cannot affect one without affecting the other.

Important points:
We should take care of the least in our society. Those who are helpless and possibly hopeless. This makes sure that they aren't exploited by those who would marginalize them.

We should evangelize our culture, and not just people. By finding your personal vocation from God, your purpose on this world, you can create a culture of life wherever you are, whatever you're doing. Also, if God is calling you to something that's risky or unprofitable monetarily, do not push out those thoughts because of impracticability.

We should vote. Many of us should become political leaders commited to a platform of a culture of life. Vote for leaders that will make for the most just society, and do not make your vote on a single issue. Do not vote for a candidate that will marginalize a particular age group, race, or religion.

Culture is a combination of how we grow our food, eat, and worship. As a practical matter every day, eating meals together with family and friends creates a culture of life because it strengthens community. Being an active member in a church community does this also. Make yourself a burden on others. Do not make yourself as autonomous as possible, relying on nobody. It creates division within the body of Christ if you do not let others support you. The way I personally think of this is that I always accept gifts without feeling the need to give anything in return. Likewise I give gifts without expecting anything in return.

These are some of the points as I remember them. Oh, and Msgr. Swetland made a funny when talking politics:

"We don't vote for the lesser of two evils. It's the evil of two lessers"


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Happy Birthday Observations

On January 12, 1982 you were born at 102 Lawton Ave. in Brookline, MA.
Your mother had a hard time getting you out of the womb because of your
big head. Your head was so big compared to your long thin body that
sitting up was a comical task. Your center of gravity was in your head
instead of you belly until you were about 12 months old. One of your
favorite activities as an infant/toddler was stacking blocks. You would
sit on the floor, literally for hours, stacking, unstacking, stacking,
unstacking and it seemed to please you without end. You always had a
happy and pleasantly calm demeanor except for a few weeks after your
birth, when I would sit up at all hours of the night rocking you because
you wouldn't sleep and your mother had difficulty nursing you.

You loved school from the very beginning. Your participation in baseball
was admirable, not being particularly athletic, you did well, but most
importantly you were an excellent team player. You never seemed to be
upset or express complaints about anything...sometimes that bothered me,
but generally I also considered this to be your ability to cope with
adversity. You caught on to the difference between right and wrong and
have developed a keen discipline in keeping to a high standard of
morality (as far as I know). I know however, that no one is perfect, but
you appear to have a strong integrity. I have always been impressed by
your sticking to your goals for yourself.

I have always been proud that you are my son. So if a son could succeed
at being a son, you have, and it inspires me too. So remember, it is not
from ourselves that we learn to be better than we are, so strive for
humility first, before you strive for the praise from others. And as
Mother Theresa said...."We cannot do great things, we can only do small
things with great love."

Love You, and Happy Birthday,


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Wonders of Proper Relaxation

I've started a new routine this past week in which I go to the gym in the late afternoon, around 5:30, and I run for a couple miles around the indoor track, and perhaps do some free weight exercise or two. After that I get in the hot tub for about 10 minutes. Then I get in the pool for another 10 minutes. I then get out of the water, towel off, sit down, and read a book for 15-30 minutes. Then I leave. Tonight I saw some fellow graduate student navigators, Natalie and Joel, working out while I was running.

It is extremely beneficial to my body to do this routine. Given that my back is not in the best of shape(chiropractically speaking), it often gets sore very easily. Being in water helps a lot because it relieves the pressure to a large extent that gravity puts on my back. Both the hot tub and the pool have very strong jets that I can massage my back on. The gym I'm going to is right in the middle of the campus of University of Illinois, where I go to school. It was just opened last spring and it is quite luxurious.

Love is the greatest thing in the world, but we mostly settle for so much less.