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"


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