Saturday, April 17, 2010

NPR redux

For years our kitchen radio had a short in it that made the stations on the left end of the FM dial almost impossible to receive. The local NPR affiliates were in that range (Isn't it an interesting coincidence that NPR stations so often broadcast on the left end of the FM dial?). This means among other things that I wind up listening to more conservative talk radio while I'm washing the dishes than anything else.

During Lent I usually go on a media blackout, which means that that radio gets much less use. This calms me down and clears my mind.

When I started listening to the radio again after Easter week I found out that suddenly and for no apparent reason the left end of the FM dial is now fully available without any trouble! This has meant that I now listen to a lot more NPR than I was able to for years. I once commented on why I like NPR. The things I said there still hold true. NPR is still much more interesting than talk radio by a long, long shot. The only talk radio I ever find anywhere near as interesting is Michael Medved and Bill Bennett (who is now not available in Milwaukee radio, as far as I know).

What do I like about NPR? It is international, for one thing. You hear sympathetically about all kinds of countries. You get a taste for a variety of cultures, in the USA and abroad. Second, it is concrete and personal. You hear the stories of real people in their own very interesting and unusual voices. With great musical accompaniment. Third, you hear about non-mainstream arts (some good, some very not good).

And, not all the stories have the "spin." It is not a relentless ideological harangue, like conservative talk so often is. It isn't all ideologically driven, although a lot of it is.

I wish "conservative" radio were more interesting, but the problem is that radio news is so expensive to produce well. NPR gets at least some government money, plus they get contributions from listeners, plus they run ads. Three sources of income! Although I know they operate on a shoestring in many ways, they also seem to be able to get their tape recorders (or whatever they use these days in the digital age) all over the world. Plus, they have great production values.

By the way, I don't contribute to public radio or television. Not because they are ideological, but because they run commercials. I won't ever contribute another dime to them until they stop running commercials. It really irritates me.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Shepherd's Crook

It is amazing how one little sentence can open up new vistas for you in your understanding of Scripture. In today's Office of Readings (the office formerly know as "Matins,"), Theodore the Studite (wouldn't you like to go through life known as "the Studite?") says about the Cross, among many other very awesome things, "By the cross we, the sheep of Christ, have been gathered into one flock, destined for the sheepfolds of heaven." This made me think of Psalm 23, which I learned as a child in the KJV version. "Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me." The victory over death and the devil gained by the Cross helps the Father look at the Cross of Christ as a comfort, a consolation.

Psalm 23 is an amazing foreshadowing of the entire Gospel. It is especially reminiscent of the Gospel of John. It contains allusions to baptism ("he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul"), Jesus as the Way ("he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake"), The Eucharist ("Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine cup runneth over"), Confirmation ("thou anointest my head with oil"), the life of Grace and forgiveness ("Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life"), and everlasting life ("and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever"), victory of light over darkness ("Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me"), victory over the enemy ("Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies"). And, right in the middle, is the Cross, just as in the Gospel.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What is behind the new atheism?

Does today's Gospel explain this, or am I just resorting an ad hominem fallacy?
And this is the verdict,
that the light came into the world,
but people preferred darkness to light,
because their works were evil.
For everyone who does wicked things hates the light
and does not come toward the light,
so that his works might not be exposed. (Jn. 3:20)

I might add that the same judgment applies to me.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Leave it to my son

I post a request on Facebook "Robert F. Gotcher wonders whether anyone knows where I can get ahold of some online texts of prefaces from the OF in English and/or Latin?" He comes up with the actual, entire Missale Romanum (2002) in Latin online at the Clerus web page. How soon until priests have their laptops at the altar?

For all you fellow slaves to the keyboard (are you listening, Fr. Z?)

Taking a chicken fat break every now and then is a great way to keep from turning into a hunched-over lump of lard.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A correction

Kevin Miller comments on my post about Mercy Sunday, setting the record straight:
Robert - I think my concern was more that the Divine Mercy novena - much of which ends up being during the Octave - focuses heavily on the Passion rather than on the Resurrection. It isn't so much the focus on mercy and therefore, in a sense, on us, that was my concern. If the prayer said in the chaplet changed, on Easter Sunday, to something like "For the sake of his glorious Resurrection ...," then I'd perhaps have thought differently.

Why stay Catholic? I guess this sums it up.

Timothy Radcliffe, former Master of the Dominicans:
Christianity is not a vague spirituality but a religion of incarnation, in which the deepest truths take the physical and sometimes institutional form. Historically this unity has found its focus in Peter, the Rock in Matthew, Mark and Luke, and the shepherd of the flock in John’s gospel.

From the beginning and throughout history, Peter has often been a wobbly rock, a source of scandal, corrupt, and yet this is the one – and his successors – whose task is to hold us together so that we may witness to Christ’s defeat on Easter Day of sin’s power to divide.
Brother Bob, even a Dominican clock is right twice a day!

[By the way, Radcliffe is not saying that somehow Benedict XVI is a source of scandal; in fact, he says:
Pope Benedict has taken a strong line in tackling this issue as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) and since becoming Pope. Now the finger is pointed at him. It appears that some cases reported to the CDF under his watch were not dealt with. Isn’t the Pope’s credibility undermined? There are demonstrators in front of St Peter’s calling for his resignation. I am morally certain that he bears no blame here.]