America’s socio-psychic health

Thanks to MinnPost.com for publishing this opinion piece on socio-psychic dynamics of the American political culture in 2017 as seen through the ancient myth of Narcissus.

Click Recalling Narcissus -and the roles of Echo and the pond to read the story on MinnPost. Then, if you choose, leave a comment on the MinnPost page or here on Views from the Edge.

In any case, as always, thanks for dropping by the evaporating pond!

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, March 23, 2017.

Syria piece re-published today

Today MinnPost re-published yesterday’s Views from the Edge piece. They do a fine job of editing and draw a wider audience. Here’s the link: Irony of Ironies: Honoring King, then entertaining a potential strike on Syria. It appeared here yesterday as “The Abel Project in the City of Cain.”

Thanks to MinnPost and to you for coming by.

Noah’s Ark: Only TWO Worms – “NO FISHING!”

A Grandfather’s Concern: Literacy, Literalism – and the Measure of Truth” – a social commentary published several years ago on MinnPost.com – came to mind today as I read the humorous comments “Owning a Canadian” about the Bible and homosexuality. I post it here with a name that better reflects the tongue-in-cheek spirit in which it was written.

Jack at age two

I’m worried about my grandchildren. They live in Kentucky.

A New York Times story by Laurie Goodstein re-published by the Star Tribune (12.12.10) as “Creationism meets the Constitution” triggered the concern.  Its focus  was the separation of church and state, occasioned by a proposed Christian theme park.  But my concern was for my grandchildren.

Kentucky ‘s Governor and the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet seem enthralled with a new Christian theme park  called “Ark Encounter. “ Ark Encounter will be developed by “Answers in Genesis,” developers of The Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky that shows humans and dinosaurs living together on a planet that is 6,000 years old, a kind of Disneyworld for the illiterate.

Ark at “Ark Encounter”

My concern is for Jack and Mimi’s survival.  I’m proud of Jack.  He’s 10 years old now.  He’s a thinker. His emails to me are flawlessly literate. According to his dad, he doesn’t need Spell-Check.  He knows how to spell.  In addition to being literate, his emails are sometimes literary.

“The developers of Ark Encounter, who have incorporated as a profit-making company, say they expect to spend $150 million, employ 900 people and attract 1.6 million visitors from around the world in the first year. With the Creation Museum only 45 miles away, they envision a Christian tourism corridor that would draw busloads from churches and Christian schools for two- and three-day visits.” (NYT article)

If he goes the literalist route, Jack might find himself like the little boy who, when asked whether Noah did a lot of fishing on the ark, answered no…because he only had two worms.  Eventually, his native curiosity and literary bent would free him for the less obvious symbolic  riches of sacred text.

But the issue is not only in Kentucky.  It’s everywhere that people refuse to read the Bible literately as literature.  It may be sacred literature, but it is literature.  The folks from “Answers from Genesis” who are building the Ark Encounter insist that the Bible must be read literally.  According to my dictionary, “literal” means “restricted to the exact stated meaning; not figurative.” Genesis is factual but not figurative.

My hope for Jack and Mimi is that they’ll board a different ark – the ark of literacy that will rescue them from the sea of literalism that misses nine-tenths of what is sacred – the poetry, the metaphors, the similes, the parables, the literary allusions of The Song of Solomon, the Psalms, or the prophet Habakkuk who climbed up, figuratively, on “the watch tower” to see what God would say to him about the world in which he lived.

The more I think about it, the less concerned I become…unless, of course, Jack and Mimi, succumbing to peer-pressure, conclude that to be a person of faith means you have to swallow a camel.  While some of their friends are trooping off to see the young giraffes in Noah’s ark – “We think that God would probably have sent healthy juvenile-sized animals that weren’t fully grown yet,” said the head the project, ”so there would be plenty of room” – I hope Jack and Mimi stay off the buses to Ark Encounter. More than one person’s faith has been killed by encounters that pitted faith against reason.

I hope Jack and Mimi stay home to read their Bible not as a collection of “literal” facts but as sacred literature that will lead them into the deepest sacred recesses of the soul and into the heart of the world itself.  When someone asks whether they take the Bible literally, I hope they’ll be able to answer that they don’t read it literally; they read it literately.  Otherwise, there would be no worms.

– Gordon C. Stewart, originally published as “Literacy and Literalism” on www.minnpost.com.

Sister Brigid McDonald calls Vatican’s reprimand of U.S. nuns group a ‘misuse of power’

Sister Brigid McDonald calls Vatican’s reprimand of U.S. nuns group a ‘misuse of power’.

Click title above for the story. Well-known here in the Twin Cities as a faithful Catholic witness for peace and justice, Sister Brigid McDonald was interviewed by MinnPost.com. Click the title to read the interview.

Earlier on Views from the Edge we posted “The Shadow of the Grand Inquisitor.” The good Sister is not intimidated by the Shadow.