Sunday, July 23, 2006

Psalm 89

Psalm 89 (RSV)

1 I will sing of thy steadfast love, O LORD, for ever; with my mouth I will proclaim thy faithfulness to all generations.
2 For thy steadfast love was established for ever, thy faithfulness is firm as the heavens.
3 Thou hast said, "I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant:
4 `I will establish your descendants for ever, and build your throne for all generations.'"
5 Let the heavens praise thy wonders, O LORD, thy faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones!
6 For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD? Who among the heavenly beings is like the LORD,
7 a God feared in the council of the holy ones, great and terrible above all that are round about him?
8 O LORD God of hosts, who is mighty as thou art, O LORD, with thy faithfulness round about thee?
9 Thou dost rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, thou stillest them.
10 Thou didst crush Rahab like a carcass, thou didst scatter thy enemies with thy mighty arm.
11 The heavens are thine, the earth also is thine; the world and all that is in it, thou hast founded them.
12 The north and the south, thou hast created them; Tabor and Hermon joyously praise thy name.
13 Thou hast a mighty arm; strong is thy hand, high thy right hand.
14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of thy throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before thee.
15 Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance,
16 who exult in thy name all the day, and extol thy righteousness.
17 For thou art the glory of their strength; by thy favor our horn is exalted.
18 For our shield belongs to the LORD, our king to the Holy One of Israel.
19 Of old thou didst speak in a vision to thy faithful one, and say: "I have set the crown upon one who is mighty, I have exalted one chosen from the people.
20 I have found David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him;
21 so that my hand shall ever abide with him, my arm also shall strengthen him.
22 The enemy shall not outwit him, the wicked shall not humble him.
23 I will crush his foes before him and strike down those who hate him.
24 My faithfulness and my steadfast love shall be with him, and in my name shall his horn be exalted.
25 I will set his hand on the sea and his right hand on the rivers.
26 He shall cry to me, `Thou art my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation.'
27 And I will make him the first-born, the highest of the kings of the earth.
28 My steadfast love I will keep for him for ever, and my covenant will stand firm for him.
29 I will establish his line for ever and his throne as the days of the heavens.
30 If his children forsake my law and do not walk according to my ordinances,
31 if they violate my statutes and do not keep my commandments,
32 then I will punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with scourges;
33 but I will not remove from him my steadfast love, or be false to my faithfulness.
34 I will not violate my covenant, or alter the word that went forth from my lips.
35 Once for all I have sworn by my holiness; I will not lie to David.
36 His line shall endure for ever, his throne as long as the sun before me.
37 Like the moon it shall be established for ever; it shall stand firm while the skies endure."
38 But now thou hast cast off and rejected, thou art full of wrath against thy anointed.
39 Thou hast renounced the covenant with thy servant; thou hast defiled his crown in the dust.
40 Thou hast breached all his walls; thou hast laid his strongholds in ruins.
41 All that pass by despoil him; he has become the scorn of his neighbors.
42 Thou hast exalted the right hand of his foes; thou hast made all his enemies rejoice.
43 Yea, thou hast turned back the edge of his sword, and thou hast not made him stand in battle.
44 Thou hast removed the scepter from his hand, and cast his throne to the ground.
45 Thou hast cut short the days of his youth; thou hast covered him with shame.
46 How long, O LORD? Wilt thou hide thyself for ever? How long will thy wrath burn like fire?
47 Remember, O Lord, what the measure of life is, for what vanity thou hast created all the sons of men!
48 What man can live and never see death? Who can deliver his soul from the power of Sheol?
49 Lord, where is thy steadfast love of old, which by thy faithfulness thou didst swear to David?
50 Remember, O Lord, how thy servant is scorned; how I bear in my bosom the insults of the peoples,
51 with which thy enemies taunt, O LORD, with which they mock the footsteps of thy anointed.
52 Blessed be the LORD for ever! Amen and Amen.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

World Jump Day


Today is World Jump Day. There are, of course, those who wanted to counter the project with a Contra Jump. And for those without a sense of humor: check out this site and this one.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Patriotism, Twain-style



written by Mark Twain around 1900



It is agreed, in this country, that if a man can arrange his religion so that it perfectly satisfies his conscience, it is not incumbent upon him to care whether the arrangement is satisfactory to any one else or not.

In Austria and some other countries this is not the case. There the State arranges a man's religion for him, he has no voice in it himself.

Patriotism is merely a religion -- love of country, worship of country, devotion to the country's flag and honor and welfare.

In absolute monarchies it is furnished from the Throne, cut and dried, to the subject; in England and America it is furnished, cut and dried, to the citizen by the politician and the newspaper.

The newspaper-and-politician-manufactured Patriot often gags in private over his dose; but he takes it, and keeps it on his stomach the best he can. Blessed are the meek.

Sometimes, in the beginning of an insane and shabby political upheaval, he is strongly moved to revolt, but he doesn't do it -- he knows better. He knows that his maker would find it out -- the maker of his Patriotism, the windy and incoherent six-dollar sub-editor of his village newspaper -- and would bray out in print and call him a Traitor. And how dreadful that would be. It makes him tuck his tail between his legs and shiver. We all know -- the reader knows it quite well -- that two or three years ago nine-tenths of the human tails in England and America performed just that act. Which is to say, nine-tenths of the Patriots in England and America turned Traitor to keep from being called Traitor. Isn't it true? You know it to be true. Isn't it curious?

Yet it was not a thing to be very seriously ashamed of. A man can seldom -- very, very seldom -- fight a winning fight against his training; the odds are too heavy. For many a year -- perhaps always -- the training of the two nations had been dead against independence in political thought, persistently inhospitable toward Patriotism manufactured on a man's own premises, Patriotism reasoned out in the man's own head and fire-assayed and tested and proved in his own conscience. The resulting Patriotism was a shop-worn product procured at second hand. The Patriot did not know just how or when or where he got his opinions, neither did he care, so long as he was with what seemed the majority -- which was the main thing, the safe thing, the comfortable thing. Does the reader believe he knows three men who have actual reasons for their pattern of Patriotism -- and can furnish them? Let him not examine, unless he wants to be disappointed. He will be likely to find that his men got their Patriotism at the public trough, and had no hand in their preparation themselves.

Training does wonderful things. It moved the people of this country to oppose the Mexican war; then moved them to fall in with what they supposed was the opinion of the majority -- majority-Patriotism is the customary Patriotism -- and go down there and fight. Before the Civil War it made the North indifferent to slavery and friendly to the slave interest; in that interest it made Massachusetts hostile to the American flag, and she would not allow it to be hoisted on her State House -- in her eyes it was the flag of a faction. Then by and by, training swung Massachusetts the other way, and she went raging South to fight under that very flag and against that foretime protected-interest of hers.

Training made us nobly anxious to free Cuba; training made us give her a noble promise; training has enabled us to take it back. Long training made us revolt at the idea of wantonly taking any weak nation's country and liberties away from it, a short training has made us glad to do it, and proud of having done it. Training made us loathe Weyler's cruel concentration camps,* training has persuaded us to prefer them to any other device for winning the love of our "wards."

There is nothing that training cannot do. Nothing is above its reach or below it. It can turn bad morals to good, good morals to bad; it can destroy principles, it can re-create them; it can debase angels to men and lift men to angelship. And it can do any one of these miracles in a year -- even in six months.

Then men can be trained to manufacture their own Patriotism. They can be trained to labor it out in their own heads and hearts, and in the privacy and independence of their own premises. It can train them to stop taking it by command, as the Austrian takes his religion.


Visual by www.PDImages.com

Monday, July 10, 2006

Don't Worry, Be Happy


Today is Silence Day. This is the date in 1925 on which Meher Baba began the silence that would last until his death years later. There are many links to information about his life and writings at this wiki entry.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Martyrdom of the Bab



Martyrdom of the Bab. The Bab was a Persian merchant who claimed to be a manisfestation of God and was the forerunner of Bahá'u'lláh. The word "bab" means "gate" in Arabic.

He was executed on this day in 1850 at the age of 31 after a 6-year ministry.

Information on the photo used above is available here.

Selections from the Bab's writings are available online here, here, here and here.

Psalm for Sunday

Psalm 48 (NRSV)

1 Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised in the city of our God. His holy mountain,
2 beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, in the far north, the city of the great King.
3 Within its citadels God has shown himself a sure defense.
4 Then the kings assembled, they came on together.
5 As soon as they saw it, they were astounded; they were in panic, they took to flight;
6 trembling took hold of them there, pains as of a woman in labor,
7 as when an east wind shatters the ships of Tarshish.
8 As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the Lord of hosts, in the city of our God, which God establishes forever. Selah
9 We ponder your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of your temple.
10 Your name, O God, like your praise, reaches to the ends of the earth. Your right hand is filled with victory.
11 Let Mount Zion be glad, let the towns of Judah rejoice because of your judgments.
12 Walk about Zion, go all around it, count its towers,
13 consider well its ramparts; go through its citadels, that you may tell the next generation
14 that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will be our guide forever.