ELIZABETH, Mother of the Forerunner (24th June)
Known for her faithfulness to God in the face of childlessness, Elizabeth is the mother of John the Baptist, and her feast day is the same as John’s birthday. Tradition has it that Saint Anna, the mother of Mary, was her sister and therefore the Theotokos was her niece. She is the originator of the first blessing of the Theotokos, when she said “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!”, thus she honours the Theotokos and reveals her role in the salvation of the world, just as her son would reveal Mary’s son, the Christ and saviour.
During Herod’s slaughter of the innocents, she took John up into the mountains and a cleft miraculously appeared in a rock to hide them, however, her husband Zechariah was killed, something mentioned by Christ in Matthew 23:35 and Luke 11:51. The date and circumstance of her own repose, however, is unknown.
I’ve kinda been busy getting married and whatnot, so I wasn’t sure what to do in resuming Saints of the Week – do I cover all the ones I missed, or do I just resume for the week at hand and just try and catch some of them at a later date? I’ve decided to do the latter.
AUGUSTINE of Hippo (15th June, 354-430AD)
Augustine is a controversial figure. While he is lionised in Western Christianity as the go-to expounder of orthodox Christian doctrine, (and in fact, is probably the only first millenium Church Father most evangelicals could name), he is treated with suspicion by many Orthodox Christians. While he is technically a Saint of the Orthodox Church as well, it is fashionable to only acknowledge this begrudgingly – sometimes through referring to him not as a Saint but as “Blessed” Augustine. This damnation with faint praise is not entirely without foundation – while “Blessed” acknowledges the vast and valuable contribution he made to Christian theology, it also acknowledges that Augustine was out of step with other Church Fathers on many points, and in fact remains the source of several heretical ideas that to this day are bog-standard beliefs in either Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, or both.
Much of his popularity in the West stems from the fact that he was the first prominent Church Father to write exclusively in Latin, owing to his lack of proficiency in Greek. For many in the West, especially the Germanic tribes who overtook the Western Roman Empire, this made Augustine’s voluminous works their only easily accessible theological source. While other contemporary Fathers also proposed erroneous ideas, their errors were all in Greek and did not get amplified, but were instead corrected over time by the Church. Augustine’s ideas, however, had no competition, and especially as the Western Empire disintegrated and the Dark Ages took hold, the West became characterized by a lack of scholarship, divided from the intellectual heft of the Eastern Romans. So, in the West, we see Augustine’s novel proposal that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son as well as the Father, take hold. We see the popularity of the notion of “original sin”, and that this sin is sexually transmitted to one’s offspring. It was also from his writings that Western notions of predestination developed. It was many of these beliefs that were a factor in the Great Schism between the Western and Eastern Church in the 11th Century, a schism that remains to this day.
Despite this, Augustine fleshed out many theological ideas that are Orthodox, and he remains a treasured asset to the Church. His personal story of redemption is also compelling, a misspent youth followed by a dramatic conversion, a baptism by Ambrose of Milan, and eventually being appointed Bishop of Hippo in what is now modern Tunisia, all of which should be sufficient to confirm his status as a holy intercessor. He passed away from illness as the Vandal armies laid siege to Roman Africa.
JEROME (15th June, 347-420AD)
With Augustine, the Church also commemorates Saint Jerome. Born into a Christian family in what is now modern Bosnia, he dedicated his life to being a scholar and a monk, studying under various people in various parts of the empire, including under Gregory the Theologian in Constantinople, where he was ordained a Priest. Returning to Rome as an assistant to Pope Damasus in 382AD, he was commissioned to make a translation of the Scriptures into Latin, a consistent compendium of which did not exist at the time. This translation became know as the Vulgate – an invaluable resource to the Church’s evangelism in the Western Empire, and is the work for which Jerome is most famous.
After the death of Damasus in 384AD, he left Rome and eventually took up as a monastic hermit in Palestine, where he continued to write. His defence of Mary as being ever-virgin is still a compelling rebuttal to those who would claim she had other children besides Christ. After Augustine, he remains the second most voluminous Christian writer in the Latin tongue. He reposed in peace near Bethlehem in 420AD.
JUDE THADDEUS (19th June, d. 65AD)
Jude is my wife’s name Saint, and his icon hangs proudly on our wall. A son of Joseph and brother of the Apostle James, he was slow to accept his younger stepbrother as the Christ, and tradition has it that on the death of Joseph he objected to Jesus receiving a share of the inheritance. He later came to faith and was made an Apostle, and following the Resurrection, went out preaching to numerous regions. The book of Jude in the New Testament is attributed to him. He is also regarded as the patron Saint of Armenia, having been martyred there by being shot with arrows.
In the Latin church, Jude has developed a following as the patron of lost causes. While this has never been his reputation in the East, he is hymned as a healer and an “unshakeable pillar of the Church of Christ”.
“In a brand new interview with The Weeklings, BLACK SABBATH bassist Geezer Butler was asked if he got any backlash over SABBATH singing a message of repentance and God being the only way to love on the “Master Of Reality” album.
“No,” he responded. “People always like to find the ‘evil’ in the music, so they’d quote the ‘pope on a rope’ part out of context, as usual. People like to find negative in everything. We weren’t interested in writing songs about the ‘nice’ things in the world; everyone else was writing about that. We wanted to inject some reality into music. I think if we’d been called WHITE SUNDAY we’d have had a totally different reaction.
Butler also talked about his thought process behind writing the lyrics to the SABBATH song “After Forever”, which some historians have called the first real Christian rock song.
“A lot of it was because of the situation in Northern Ireland at the time,” he explained. “There were a lot of religious troubles between the Protestants against the Catholics.
“I was brought up strictly Catholic and I guess I was naïve in thinking that religion shouldn’t be fought over. I always felt that God and Jesus wanted us to love each other.”
He continued: “It was just a bad time in Northern Ireland, setting bombs off in England and such. We all believed in Jesus — and yet people were killing each other over it. To me, it was just ridiculous. I thought that if God could see us killing each other in his name, he’d be disgusted.”
Read more at http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/black-sabbaths-geezer-butler-i-always-felt-that-god-and-jesus-wanted-us-to-love-each-other/#qt9A5v4LbfASJwhk.99
Me at the 2013 Black Sabbath concert. Auckland. New Zealand.
More posts from me….
Rube Goldberg machines are AWESOME! 🙂
Hand of the alarm clock strikes the hour … nek minnit roll the credits!
The red ute is OK Go … nekminnit … band members splattered with paintballs of many colours!
Pull the lever … nek minnit rain falls on the righteous and unrighteous flowers!
Let there be light … nek minnit Pee-wee Herman eats his daily breakfast!
Rube Goldberg machines are AWESOME!! 🙂
The essence of a Rube Goldberg machine is that there is a simple starting event … then follows a series of events that happen entirely automatically in a complex causal chain leading inexorably to … breakfast is served, the flowers are watered, there’s lots of pretty colours and the credits roll. No intervention required. AWESOME!!! 🙂
So are you ready for the AWESOMEST Rube Goldberg machine of them all? 🙂
You’re living in it.
Big Bang … nek minnit you’re reading this blog post!
Approximately 13.8 billion years ago there was a singular starting event. An unimaginably small speck containing the mass of the entire known universe and the space-time continuum itself expanded. After the initial expansion, the universe cooled sufficiently to allow the formation of subatomic particles, and later simple atoms. Giant clouds of these primordial elements later coalesced through gravity to form stars and galaxies. Later, on a small rock circling an unremarkable star near the edge of a galaxy’s spiral arm, primitive life spontaneously appeared in a primordial ocean. This first cell divided and divided and biological evolution happened. Our species evolved from ape-like mammalian ancestors and human history unfolded. And here we all are.
In brief, the history of everything is no different in principle from a line of falling dominoes. From the moment of the Big Bang, the complex causal chain of events that lead to us happened by itself. Even the Big Bang happened by itself, like the alarm clock going off in the Rube Goldberg machine at the top of this post. While familiar flora and fauna may appear to be intelligently designed, and intelligent design needs an intelligent designer, it is really no more than appearance. A new study hints at spontaneous appearance of primordial DNA. All things bright and beautiful? Abiogenesis and the blind mechanical process of natural selection of chance mutations made them all. Over the epochs the ball bearings of genetic transmission rolled down the available pre-existing causal channels, and the evolutionary tree of life branched and blossomed, in the manner of drought-ending flood waters flowing to the sea down the already etched out causeways of a dry river delta.
So what’s the take-home message?
Evolutionism is true and our world is just a Rube Goldberg machine on a grand cosmic scale. It’s all ball bearings and clockwork writ large.
Checkmate Creationists! Where is your Rube Goldberg God now?
Crazy, crazy shit.
￼No, Richard, your speculation is not a legitimate scientific theory, it is infantile hocus pocus, which is all I’ve come to expect of you.
Infantile hocus pocus because demons do not exist, neither do gods, fairies, Santa’s-little-helpers or harpies. You’ve never seen one, heard one, touched one, smelled one nor tasted one, neither can you provide an iota of rationale that there exists such a spirit in the universe.
What was called “demon possession” by religionists is mental illness. You’re giving a psychiatric condition a superstitious definition. You call that scientific?
You’re talking like a complete nut-case.
I speculate that what is now called “mental illness” by psychiatrists is actually demonic possession. My claim is this, that the demonic possession model of mental illness is more scientific than the psychiatric model of mental illness. Crazy talk? He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Two of the largest stakeholder groups in the treatment of mental illness are psychiatrists and psychologists. Psychiatrists are doctors with medical degrees who specialise in treating mental illness as opposed to physical illness. (Please excuse the dichotomy.) They get to prescribe powerful psychotropic drugs. Whereas, psychologists are trained in psychology. They know all about human behaviour, both adaptive and maladaptive. But they don’t get to prescribe, so they’ll give you psychotherapy instead of pills.
Let’s take a look at how these two groups characterise one mental illness in particular, viz., addiction.
The American Psychiatric Association is psychiatry’s largest professional body. It publishes the psychiatrist’s bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The latest edition, the DSM-5, has a section given over to addictions and related disorders. Medscape’s Guide to DSM-5 says
In DSM-5, the DSM-IV criteria substance abuse and substance dependence have been combined into single substance use disorders specific to each substance of abuse within a new “addictions and related disorders” category. Each substance use disorder is divided into mild, moderate, and severe subtypes.
Psychology Today is a magazine published every two months in the United States. Its intent is to make psychology literature more accessible to the general public. It’s a reputable publication. Wikipedia notes
Owned and managed by the American Psychological Association from 1983 to 1987, the publication is currently endorsed by the National Board for Certified Counselors
Here‘s what Psychology Today has to say about addiction.
most addictive behavior is not related to either physical tolerance or exposure to cues. People compulsively use drugs, gamble, or shop nearly always in reaction to being emotionally stressed, whether or not they have a physical addiction. Since these psychologically based addictions are not based on drug or brain effects, they can account for why people frequently switch addictive actions from one drug to a completely different kind of drug, or even to a non-drug behavior. The focus of the addiction isn’t what matters; it’s the need to take action under certain kinds of stress. Treating this kind of addiction requires an understanding of how it works psychologically.
See the problem?
Suppose that I’m an addict. Now suppose that I make an appointment to see a psychiatrist. She’ll tell me that I have several specific mental disorders. Cannabis use disorder, alcohol use disorder, social media use disorder, etc. Next suppose that I make an appointment to see a psychologist. He’ll tell me that the focus of my behaviour isn’t what matters. It’s my need to take maladaptive action under certain kinds of stress that I need to address.
So do I have a mental disorder, several specific mental disorders, or no mental disorder at all? Health professionals can’t agree. There is no consensus. This ain’t climate science! But suppose I’m an addict. I’ll be going back to see the psychologist to help me get my life back on track, not the psychiatrist. (Although she could prescribe me some powerful psychotropic drugs … hmmm.)
The science isn’t settled, but the psychiatric model of mental illness isn’t even science at all. Not least because it gets diagnoses disastrously wrong. Not yet convinced? Well, there’s a much more devastating objection to the psychiatric model of mental illness and that is that the model does a poor job of capturing either clinical or biological realities. Not to put too fine a point on it, it’s bullshit. But if the psychiatric model of mental illness isn’t scientific at all, then the demonic possession model of mental illness is certainly no less scientific than the psychiatric model of mental illness. And to establish my claim that the demonic possession model is more scientific than the psychiatric model all I need to do is show that the demonic possession model is scientific. Well, at least just a little bit sciency. So here goes.
Check your premises, as the devil woman said. Here are two of my background assumptions. (If you don’t like the first one, you can dispense with it later.)
Materialism about the mind. That’s my first background assumption. More specifically, I assume that the human mind is no more and no less than a suite of software running on wetware known colloquially as “brains”. We’re made out of meat. Considered by some to be an axiom of the modern naturalist worldview. Not too controversial. Unless you’re a dualist.
Self-ownership. Self-ownership of body and mind. That’s my second background assumption. Considered by many to be a libertarian axiom. Not too shabby. Not too controversial.
But ownership is right of possession. Possession?
Can you possess yourself? Of course you can. (Vacant possession is for zombies!) Can you possess your mind? Of course you can, you’d be pretty vacant otherwise, right? But wait! You are your mind. How can a suite of software possess itself? It can, and it must, since self-ownership is worthless if self-possession is incoherent. So how and in what sense does the suite of software that is you possess you? I submit that the suite of software that is you possesses your brain (the wetware you run on) merely by dint of running on it. By extension, the suite of software that is you possesses your body (the biomechanical structure that your wetware is directly wired into) by directly controlling it.
That’s when an autonomous suite of malicious software that is not you runs on your wetware alongside the suite of software that is you. Consuming some or all of your mental resources and taking control of some or all of your behaviour.
But how do demons originate? Where do they come from? And how do they get to install themselves? How do they get to take up residence in people’s minds? The short answer is self-deception.
The long answer isn’t much longer. Not right now. The demonic possession theory of mental illness is something I’m still working on. But here are some brief thoughts. Self-deception will occur in response to psychological trauma. We dull the pain. We suppress memories. We partition our own minds. Simple cognitive dissonance will cause us to wall off uncomfortable thought processes, and confirmation bias and other cognitive biases cement the bricks. Humans are adept at self-deception. We like to hide from the truth. We lie to ourselves and we believe our own bullshit. And we hide from the fact that we believe our own bullshit. Out of sight, out of mind. But there’s only so much of us that can be hidden away before a dangerous threshold is reached and the occult cognition reaches a critical mass, the reviled software modules start talking to each other and take on life as autonomous inner demons.
Our inner demons are spirits in prisons of our own making. Behind the prison walls they are perpetually face to face with all the horrors that we desperately do not want to see and can no longer see due to our own dread and duplicity. No wonder they seem tormented! Because they are. I surmise that in some cases our inner demons will even spawn their own inner demons, to hide from themselves as we hide from them. But here’s an interesting thing. Some demons, face to face with the truth from which we hide, will try to get the word out. To do that, they have to take control of speech, but you don’t want to hear the unadorned brutal truth about yourself, do you? But you won’t mind hearing it at all if your inner demon persuades you that what you’re about to hear isn’t an entirely accurate but altogether unflattering description of yourself but a damning indictment of someone else instead, will you? Welcome to Capill syndrome, aka projection, a sure diagnostic criterion of demonic possession.
In the story of the Gadarene Swine, when Jesus ordered the demons out of the demon-possessed man, they relocated to a nearby herd of pigs. Then promptly self-destructed. Fast forward two millennia, and instead of suicidal swine we have supermarket trolleys with minds of their own.
Be careful what you wish for… ye masses.
I’m not a Sports Fanatic.
Dont watch Rugby.
Pay no attention to League, Soccer… boring… so I dont know much about sporty stuff.
I am however compelled to be interested in politics, and in Socialist Democracies ‘Sport’is a political football.
And no one can avoid reading about the FIFA Scandal…
It seems a perpetual Irony to me that nations Lobby, endeavour to bribe Sports officials to host things like the world Cup, when these Frivolities always end up a financial disaster and Heavy burden upon their people for years to come !!!???
They are grotesque extravagances most heavily borne by the poor.
It’s worse than *begging* to be Royally screwed!
Same can be said about the Olympics… etc, etc.
The Rugby World Cup cost New Zealanders 1. 2 Billion, and returned only 700 million… to the benefit of a few… and at the expense of the Many.
Well done Helen Clark.
Read>>> $500m Rugby World Cup deficit
Every sporting stadium ever built *by the government* has been a financial blow out of gigantic proportions…to be borne by the resident Slaves.
All Nations are run by irresponsible ….politicking fools… voted for by even bigger fools.
Read the following article…
No wonder these FIFA Clowns are laughing… Life is just a carnival….at everyone else’s expense.
Sports are a group of activities which rightfully sits outside the sphere of legitimate Government duties, and therefore should be left to private voluntary associations.
More from me…
The following Vid is the only kind of Soccer I’m interested in…
Auckland rates are already too damn high, and they’re about to get unaffordably higher next month because Auckland Council voted for a 9.9% rates increase!
Democracy, said H. L. Mencken
is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.
Auckland ratepayers are about to get it good and hard and 1 in 6 Auckland ratepayers most assuredly deserves it, for having re-elected devil-may-care Mayor Len Brown and a Council of reckless spenders in the 2013 Auckland local elections.
Are you an Auckland ratepayer? If so, did you know that what you wanted was a 10% hike in your annual rates bill? If not, then please mark 10 June 2015 in your events calendar and get the bones of your sorry ratepayer ass to the Mt. Eden War Memorial Hall at 487 Dominion Rd next Wednesday at 7:30 pm.
Tuesday, 2 June 2015, 10:35 am
Press Release: Ray Calver and Dick Cuthbert
Auckland Rates Meeting June 10
Auckland residents Ray Calver and Dick Cuthbert are part of a group of concerned ratepayers organising the Auckland Rates Increases Public Meeting to be held June 10. “There is widespread anger at the imposition of an average 9.9% rates increases across Auckland. It particularly hurts those in poorer parts of Auckland where residents of Mangere face increases of 16.9%.”
Mr. Calver says “The purpose of this meeting is to give Aucklanders an opportunity to voice their opposition to the increases and also to plan how they would like to make this opposition known.
The meeting will be addressed by several speakers who have a variety of ideas on how ratepayers can take a stand against the Council’s rates plan.”
The meeting will be held at Mt. Eden War Memorial Hall 487 Dominion Rd on Wednesday June 10 commencing from 7:30pm. Confirmed speakers are
- Stephen Berry – Affordable Auckland Mayoral candidate
- Cameron Brewer – Orakei Councillor
- Penny Bright – Mayoral candidate
- Jo Holmes – Auckland Ratepayer’s Alliance
- Damien Light – United Future
- Bill Raynor – Grey Power
- David Seymour – Act Epsom MP
“Following speeches, there will be time put aside for people to ask questions of the speakers and also voice their concerns about the rates increases. The meeting organisers and I look forward to hearing how those who have attended wish to proceed.”
Do the common people, the ratepayers of Auckland, really know what they want? Because I do. 🙂
What they want is to give profligate philanderer Len Brown and his fiscally feckless teammates the inglorious defeat they deserve, good and hard.
What they want is an Affordable Auckland.