Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Post #8 - Notes on Process

"I am debtor for I have sat in the shade of trees I did not plant, eaten at tables I did not prepare, drunk from wells I did not dig, traveled on roads I did not grade, been sheltered under roofs I did not raise, and been warmed by fires I did not build. " (Thesis 56, Martin Luther, 1571)

"A fool's voice is known by a multitude of words. " (Ecclesiastes 5:3)

Somewhat belatedly, I thought I would put this business in some kind of perspective.

I take responsibility for what is posted here, but I do not claim to have invented any of the ideas out of whole cloth. I quote freely and often from those who know better than I or those have expressed more effectively than I a thought we share. I will try to be accurate and clear in my attributions. If I have misquoted or misinterpreted the original author’s intent, I regret any such errors.

I am aware that my liberal use of scriptural quotations involves a potential for offense or even for blasphemy. In what some call "proof-texting," one can easily cherry-pick phrases or verses to suit almost any agenda one might have. In her remarkable book, The Hawk and the Dove, Penelope Wilcock has a wise mother warn her daughter: "A funny thing happens with the Bible, Melissa. It acts a bit like a mirror. People who come to it resentful and critical find it full of curses and condemnation. People who come to it gentle and humble find it full of love and mercy...If you try to use the Bible like a fortune-telling game, it just bounces your own ideas back at you." All that I can say, to protect the reader from being misled, is that all such quotes (as well as those from poets or pundits) should be taken with the proverbial grain (or more) of salt. In the end, caveat lector -- let the reader beware.

All New Testament quotations are from the Orthodox Study Bible, while most Old Testament citations are from the Septuagint (Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton, Hendrickson Publishers; originally published by Samuel Bagster & Sons, Ltd., London, 1851), except where quoted by another author. Koranic references are from a translation by J.M. Rodwell. Please note that I have used "Shi’ite" to indicate the principal Muslim minority (also known as Shiite, Shi’e, Shi’i or Shi'ah). Note also that there are a number of organization names appearing within the text; my intent is to call attention to groups that readers might consider contacting, to discover their own possible roles in improving the prospects for a sustainable peace. I cannot vouch for all of them, as I am much more familiar with some than with others -- again, take reasonable precautions as your explore.

An Apology

Union Railway Station, Washington, DC
On the facade of Union Station, a venerable landmark in our Nation's Capital – inscribed high enough above eye-level that most travelers miss them – are some words that I have always liked: "Let all the ends thou aimst at be thy country’s, thy God’s and Truth. Be noble and the nobleness that lies in other men – sleeping, but never dead – will rise in majesty to meet thine own." Inevitably, in making assessments about the comparative correctness of different courses of action, we betray an all-too-human tendency to judge in a moral sense. Lest we get “too big for our britches,” however, Jesus warns us, in the parables of the Publican and the Pharisee, The Adulterous Woman, The Prodigal Son, and others, against judging others. In writing these posts, I will do my level best not to attack anyone personally or to exhibit an un-Christian self-righteousness. But I will almost certainly fail to pull this off completely, and so I say mea culpa in advance. Of those whom I may offend, I beg forgiveness.

No comments:

Post a Comment