Joyeux Noel (Merry Christmas)

I have, once again, watched the movie “Joyeux Noel.”  I am again encouraged, indeed I find that again I have hope for our human kind.  This movie shows us that differences are not inseparable and that there is a common humanity that we share and in which we may find peace, even in the midst of war.  

The rhetoric that they  were called upon to uphold, to fight over, to kill over, was in the end just words.  These men found that they were the same, different languages, different cultures: all human, all important.  We in our age need to take this to heart.  We are not, Christian or Muslim, Jew or Muslim.  We are not western or eastern, not good or evil (in reality we are all both).  As Americans we  have been called upon to espouse and to believe a doctrine that makes permissible the atrocities of torture, hatred and war.  Our departing government has called us “unpatriotic” if we were unwilling to support these values of “us and them,” of american might = American right: that we are good, they are evil.  However, this movie challenges that paradigm before its current form ever took shape and I, too, choose not to be a patriot but a human.

I encourage you all to watch this movie and consider our current milieu.  There are lessons to be learned and injustice to be stood against.  Today it is different titles, different groups, different cultures, however the reality is the same.  Do we choose country or our common humanity.  I choose humanity,even if it costs me my life.

Whopper Virgins

I just need to say that I am incredibly offended and disgusted with Burger King Restaurants.  If indeed they have  gone to remote places and people and introduced their product to these cultures, I think that is deplorable and unacceptable.  I for one will no longer be a patron of their restaurants.  Why introduce our fast-food culture upon a people whose cultures are not so shallow.  When we, as westerners and Americans, engage in cross-cultural exchanges, we need to be careful that we don’t pollute these places and people with our ideas and, in this case, with our least healthy form of food.  There is just something disrespectful about this commercial that causes me to react with distain.

Encountering Merton

I have heard from many along the way about an appreciation for the writings and thought of Thomas Merton.  However, up to this point, I have not had the experience of reading his writings for myself.  I am now a fan of the man and his way.   I am learning to appreciate his style of writing, for he doesn’t write like anyone I have ever read before, but there is something deep and connective in his writing.  

Quoted from Book of Hours, page 184-185.

“Contemplation is not trance or ecstasy

not emotional fire and sweetness that come with religious exaltation

not enthusiasm, not the sense of being ‘seized’ by an elemental force

and swept into liberation by mystical frenzy.

Contemplation is no pain killer.

In the end the contemplative suffers the anguish of realizing that he no longer knows what God is

this is great gain,

because “God is not a what,”

Not a “thing.”

There is “no such thing” as God

because God is neither a “what” or a “thing”

but a pure “who,”

the “thou” before whom our inmost “I” springs into awareness.”

 

As a person who has spent their life studying to know God by means of knowing revelation, and theology, while walking in devotion as a disciple.  However the reality is, as I have discovered, that we tend to focus on encounter when that is our goal and we tend to focus on knowledge when that is our goal and has been our educational discipline.  At this point, Merton’s words are a huge challenge and one that needs to be taken up.  I want to move in the way of the mystical approach to God, to encounter, to surrender even that which is precious, even our knowledge that we might enter in  to relationship with God as a true discoverer, a true learner.