Thursday, January 26, 2006

Morphine - Cure for Pain

Where is the cave where the wise woman went?
And tell me where, where's all the money that I spent?
I propose a toast
to my self-control
I see it crawling helpless on the floor

Turns out, I just like words :)

Morphine, Bootleg Detroit, is a masterpiece. Sandman is missed.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

One more from "A History of God"

At the end of Chapter 10, Karen Armstrong recounts the following story, which, by her tone, may or may not be historical fact, but is insightful nonetheless...

"There is a story that one day in Auschwitz, a group of Jews put God on trial. They charged him with cruelty and betrayal. Like Job, they found no consolation in the usual answers to the problem of evil and suffering in the midst of this current obscenity. They could find no excuse for God, no extenuating circumstances, so they found hi guilty and, presumably, worthy of death. The Rabi pronounced the verdict. Then he looked up and said that the trial was over: it was time for the evening prayer."

The sense of God in me has always been comparable to the urge for sex in that it is not the least bit cognitive. It is not reasonable. No matter how I try to think about it, discipline my mind, consider different perspectives, etc., the reality changes precious little.

To that end, I find that I can chastize God for an imagined unfairness, or question him for suffering, or shake my fist and blast obscenities; but in the end I'm always drawn again, metaphorically, to the feet of I-Know-Not-What. I confess to pride and arrogance, and that Your ways are not my ways, Your thoughts are not my thoughts.

I contemplate suffering, tempted to reduce it to nothing if not the electro-chemical reaction of a brain possessed of a body that is damaged or deprived. Perhaps our view of suffering is immature. Perhaps, as pain is the body's way of telling us that something is wrong, things like Auschwitz are a way of telling us collectively that we are in horrible, horrible shape? (Precious little consolation to the vitims, I'll concede). If we view ourselves as a whole (humanity) rather than a group of individuals(Tom, Dick, Harry...), this perspective seems to make sense. The death of a person is much like the death of a skin-cell, while it cerainly blows for the individual, it may be the best for the collective.

I suspect that we're shaking our tiny intellects and collective fists at a God that simply does not hold to the same priorities as do we.

Also from "A history of God" by Karen Armstrong

Page 392, "Does God Have a Future?"

"It may be that the compassionate religion of the One God has only been observed by a minority; most have found it difficult to face the extremity of the God-experience with its uncompromising ethical demands. Ever since Moses brought the tablets of the Law from Mount Sinai, the majority have preferred the worship of a Golden Calf, a traditional, unthreatening image of a deity they have constructed for themselves, with its consoling, time-honored rituals. Aaron, the high priest, presided over the manufacture of the golden effigy. The religious establishment itself is often deaf to the inspiration of prophets and mystics who bring news of a much more demanding God."

I believe with all of my heart that the church must abandon this bizarre battle for our culture, renounce and repent concerning it's obsession with red herrings such as homosexual marriage, and begin the REAL spiritual "battle" of self-examination, compassion even when it's inconvenient, and true charity.

Voltaire's perfect Religion

Long, now, have I struggled (both inwardly and through outward expressions) with the religion of my father. I've often found it to be contentious, overly simplistic, and generally uncharitbable, in spite of the supremely kind temprament of it's practitioners.

In reading A History of God, I've come across a quote from Voltaire which seems to express eloquently the ideal religion for which I long:

From Philosophical Dictionary:

Would it not be that which tought much morality and very little dogma? that which tended to make men just without making them absurd? that which did not order men to believe in things that are impossible, contradictory, injurious to divinity, and pernicious to mankind, and which dared not menace with eternal punishment anyone posessing common sense? Would it not be one which did not uphold its belief with exocutioners, and did not innundate the earth with blood on account of unintelligable sophism? ... which tought only the worship of one God, justice, tolerance, and humanity?

Scripting out existing database mail configuration

SQL Server Central Artical on Scripting out Existing database mail configuration I wanted to save this here so I can easily find it. Sorry ...