Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The World

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1

Something which has always bothered me about my religion (I am Protestant) is that we are expected, no, required, to disdain, if not actually hate, the world in which we live. It is all evil, there is very little good within our everyday existence.


Go back up and read that first line again.

Got it?

I stumbled upon the following at, of all places, Wikipedia -

Comparing "Catholic imagination" to "Protestant imagination"

This terminology was popularized by the Roman Catholic priest Andrew Greeley who wrote:
The central symbol (of religion) is God. One's "picture" of God is in fact a metaphorical narrative of God's relationship with the world and the self as part of the world. ...The Catholic "classics" assume a God who is present in the world, disclosing Himself in and through creation. The world and all its events, objects, and people tend to be somewhat like God. The Protestant classics, on the other hand, assume a God who is radically absent from the world, and who discloses (Himself) only on rare occasions (especially in Jesus Christ and Him crucified). The world and all its events, objects, and people tend to be radically different from God.
Runar Eldebo, a Swedish seminary instructor and correspondent for Pietisten (an online ecumenical newsletter), provided a Lutheran slant on Greeley's distinction between Catholic imagination and Protestant imagination. Invoking Karl Barth, Eldebo wrote:
Protestant imagination is dialectic and makes people pilgrims. It is deep in conflict and antagonistic to the ingredients of a common, human life. Catholic imagination is analogical. It is founded in creation itself and views creation as God in disguise. According to Catholic imagination, God lurks everywhere. According to Protestant imagination, Karl Barth for example, God is hidden everywhere but found only in the revelation of Jesus Christ. Therefore, according to Greeley, Protestants are never at home on earth, they are pilgrims on their way. Catholics, meanwhile, like to dwell on earth. They enjoy life and are not in a hurry to get to heaven because God lurks everywhere, especially where you do not expect her to be.
American Catholic writer Flannery O'Connor illustrated the sacramental understanding of the world in her work "Novelist and Believer":
St. Augustine wrote that the things of the world pour forth from God in a double way: intellectually into the minds of the angels and physically into the world of things. To the person who believes this – as the western world did up until a few centuries ago – this physical, sensible world is good because it proceeds from a divine source ... When [Joseph] Conrad said that his aim as an artist was to render the highest possible justice to the visible universe, he was speaking with the novelist's surest instinct. The artist penetrates the concrete world in order to find at its depths the image of its source, the image of ultimate reality.
God created the Earth and everything in it. Some would argue that there is no evil in Nature, it is only Man who is capable of evil. If we are separate from the rest of Nature, and Genesis 1:26 - 29 gives me the feeling that we were indeed created to be above Nature...

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27    So God created mankind in his own image,
        in the image of God he created them;
        male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

...then this "hate the world" thing might be wrong. There are days when it feels wrong.

So I'm kinda thinking that I have a bit of that "Catholic imagination" thing going on. Perhaps it's genetic, as near as I can tell a large chunk of my ancestors were Catholic. My paternal great-grandfather (French-Canadian roots) converted from Catholicism in order to marry my grandmother. One of his sons (my Uncle Charlie) converted to Catholicism to marry my aunt.

The WSO became Catholic at her husband's wish, he wanted his children raised in the Catholic faith, as he and his brother were. When my opinion was solicited I indicated that if God had no problem with it, why should I? At least the grandkids would be attending church, that's not a bad thing, trust me.

Not all of the world is as beautiful, nor as delightful, as our own little corners may be. There are places where we humans have turned it into an open cesspool, or worse. Poverty drives a lot of that, stupidity and greed a lot more. There are people who want what others have, and that right there is evil, especially if they act upon that impulse.

The world is what we make it. Yes, there is great evil in the world, most of it is due to greed, nothing more, a bit more due to government stupidity. (A good example of the latter is here, that story stunned me it did. I'll never drive that section of highway again without thinking of that man. It's not far from where I grew up.)

Do what you can to make the world a better place, a good place to start is being nice to those around you. Kindness and courtesy go a long way.

In truth, love is all you need.


  1. Hey AFSarge;

    Glad you are posting and I read the story of Romaine, very sad and I know cases of that happening all over the country. Excellent post.

    1. It's good to be back, though I wasn't gone that long, mentally it felt like forever.

      All that business with Romaine happened when I was very young, I don't remember anyone talking about it. Happened not far from where I grew up, I know that section of I-91 very well, won't look at it the same ever again.

  2. Excellent post Sarge, concise and on point. Sad to read about Romaine and quite telling that no state official ever offered condolences to the Tenneys, THAT jumped out at me. Not every change is good.

    1. Thanks Nylon12. To think that they could have tweaked the layout just a bit and Romaine would've kept his farm. Had he been rich, no doubt the state would have moved the road. I've seen that before.

  3. Wonderful post. I am Protestant and my wife a Catholic, so I can appreciate your post perhaps more than the average Bear..

  4. Thanks, Sarge. I never realized that Catholics and Protestants professed such different views of our relationship to GOD. I just took it for granted that all Christians were pretty much the same. Nothing against the Protestant point of view, but I think I'll stick to my Catholic way of looking at the world. I prefer seeing HIS beauty in things whether I'm relaxing in the back yard, taking photos of butterflies and moths or wading my local trout stream enjoying the peace that I find in the plants and animals and gently flowing water. No matter which way you personally look at it, may HIS peace and blessing be with you and yours..............

  5. This Lutheran Badger finds great beauty and wonder in the world God created. I love it, as He intended, but also know that the best is yet to come, in the afterlife. I have no control over this, so I will enjoy here, while I am here.

  6. The world is a wonderous place and the more we understand about science, the more of a miracle it is. It's an elegant rock in a vast void, clinging to a star for warmth (but not too much) and with a moon that keeps the core molten and the tectonic plates moving and swallowing carbon through induction (or we'd end up like Venus). I don't know how you could view the planet as evil. It was given to us collectively in trust. And we build gardens (as you did with your home) or we don't. It's all choice. And we're here in school to learn and to return, one day. Whether we do or not is up to us.

  7. Should read Rare Earth (why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe) Ward, Peter D. Brownlow, Donald.

    **Two geologists fyi, GREAT read..

    1. PS: Those two were NOT original members of the band.. :)

    2. VX #1 - I'll have to look for that. Sounds good!

    3. VX #2 - Took me a minute, then the light came on. Good one.

  8. What LL said. "It's all choice". God's gift to man--free will. As Mr. Franklin said "...if you can keep it".

    Our planet is a huge, endlessly complex system. Ignore it at your peril. Just ask Kalifornia.

    Money can buy a lot of things, but not true love. And without true love, how can anyone be truely happy?

    I wandered down the YouTube rabbit hole the other day, and was intrigued by this video--

    1. Interesting video. That area is far too sparse (tree-wise) for my tastes.

    2. I probably drove relatively near to that guy's place weekend before last. Brewster County is where Big Bend is located. Based on the terrain in the video, I'd say he's in the vicinity of Terlingua, or at least that side of the county. I don't know if I could pull it off, and I don't think (no...I'm positive) Mrs J isn't interested, but it appeals to me.

    3. Don't get me wrong, certain aspects did appeal to me. But it would have to be in a place with more trees.

    4. "That area is far too sparse (tree-wise) for my tastes".

      Agreed. He certainly went from one extreme to the other. I found his comments on making choices food for thought.

      BTW, condolences and prayers to you and yours. When you first posted, I was in the midst of making travel arrangements to fly out to Oregon for a funeral service a week from now. Commenting was just a bit beyond my grasp at that moment. She was part of my extended family, very old, a stroke had confined her to a wheel chair some years back, she was ready and had said as much. Not looking for sympathy here, just didn't want you to think I had blown off your loss.

    5. I didn't think that at all RHT447, some folks commented, some didn't. People react to grief in different ways, in themselves and in others. I respect that.

      Though she was ready to go, it's still hard to say farewell. Condolences.

  9. I was raised Catholic.
    Divorce spoiled that.
    After some time drifting I’ve come to reach an understanding of God.
    Now I also have a religion that I can reconcile with what I was taught and my particular understanding.
    It’s settled somewhere among the points of view and is still evolving.
    ~ Skip

  10. well, dang it, the dusting I did earlier finally caught up with me after reading Romaine's story. Now that my eyes have cleared, many thanks for the post and glad you are back. Regarding world views of different belief systems, what you related makes me think of the differences between the donkeys and elephants - the former thinks man is inherently 'bad', maybe even evil, and needs constant government supervision, regulation and intervention and who are 'forced' to do bad things by their environment/poverty/oppression/etc... The latter views man as overall as a collection of individuals who are responsible and accountable for their own actions and who should be left to their own devices as much as possible. Although some in the latter party are trending toward the need for more government intervention in all aspects of life.

    1. Those "trending toward the need for more government intervention in all aspects of life" are what we like to call RINOs (Republicans In Name Only).

      I'm what you might call a "small-r republican."

  11. The dour Protestant no-good-on-earth outlook is one espoused by the more protestant Protestant sects. The more 'Catholic' a Protestant sect is, the more the outlook tends to be 'Catholic' if'n you know what I mean.

    I have run across this in my various outings and brushes with other Christians not of traditional Catholic faith. I grew up with the joy of the world given to us, the wonders, the mysteries, and always wondered why non-Catholicish Christians didn't see the same thing I did.

    It was especially evident in the Youth for Christ club in Junior High. Boy, that was a culture shock. I learned that my God and my Christ and my Holy Spirit were sometimes radically different than those/him of the Evangelicals. Serious culture shock. The mellow, everything in moderation Christ was missing in their lives.

    And, well, seems to be missing in our current Roman Catholic leadership. The whole Amazonian fertility goddess statue incident is a perfect example: And to make matters worse, Frances the talking Pope apologized for the statues being removed from the church, not for having the statues in the church. Once again, Mother Church steps farther away from me, not me from her.

    But back to the point...

    Way back when, on my mother's side of the family, a branch of her ancestors basically were Puritans. Socialistic communist Puritans. When I did some research on these wonderful people, well, thanks, Mom, for your side of the family marrying back into sanity, so to speak. Whew. Talk about a no-fun-on-this-earth outlook on life! To not enjoy what He has given us, well, how horrid.

    Very good post.

    And Eminent Domain has been used way too often in an inappropriate way. They could have routed around Mr. Romaine, but, no, the wishes of politicians and soulless bureaucrats was more important than that of a single man. Some things government does shames us all for allowing it.

    Much like what is happening these days on Capital Hill.

    Good post. Got my mind wandering in 20 different directions. Made me think. Always a good thing.

    1. If God didn't intend for a thing to be enjoyed, it wouldn't be. (With certain caveats for mental illness, of course.)

  12. A Biblical read will always set ye on a right track. God is everywhere present and His love abounds to His creatures in His plan and the unfolding thereof in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, Messiah. PTL.

  13. I think you have a lot of that Catholic imagination going on. Heck, you're only a couple generations removed from Catholicism, and if some sinners hadn't been selling indulgences, you'd still be! We're always taking in new recruits by the way. We even have a signing bonus- bread and wine (the body and blood) weekly!

    1. Ooh, signing bonus!

      Don't think I haven't considered "returning to the fold."

  14. Super post and wonderful comments. This is what the interwebs is supposed to be.

    It's all so far above my paygrade that I've no way of knowing, and that's okay with me.

    "and in the sky, The larks, still bravely singing, fly"

    God showers me with love in everything I see, hear, smell, taste, feel, remember, anticipate, imagine.

  15. Welcome back, Sarge.

    Romaine wasn't the only one who got in the way. I remember "The Ballad of John Prather" being a popular hit at the Ship Ahoy restaurant there in Tularosa, NM. Seems old Man Prather didn't agree that he needed to move his spread just because the USA and USAF needed a place to learn how to bomb and blow up things...

    It's rather sad that "Progress" (tm) takes its toll...

    Here's the YouTube of that song:


    1. Eminent domain sticks in my craw. No government in the US of A, at any level, should be allowed to seize someone's property. It's just wrong and has often been used to steal a man's home out from under him.

      Damn all politicians.


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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