Awake O Dreamer, Blaphemer

Man in his pride knows best.
So says the arrogant spirit
Because God made you
In His image,
You crack the door
Of your sciences,
For less than a peek,
And marvel at your prowess.
In awe, you assume
The accomplishment your own.

No thanks for eyes, ears,,
The touch, the smell,
The faculties of intellect
And will.

Mine, all it mine you say,
And set out in sinful disregard.
No honor to the Name,
Simple blasphemy your frame.

Wake up, O Dreamer
You revel in your ignorance,
While angels wait
To open your swollen,
Lustful eyes,
To your shame
And repentance.

O, Man,
Humbly gaze on Truth,
And purity’s delight.
Say but the word
That your soul may be healed.

©2012 Joann Nelander

The Lord’s Command to Baptize

From the treatise On the Trinity by Saint Hilary, bishop

The Father’s gift in Christ

Our Lord commanded us to baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. In baptism, then, we profess faith in the Creator, in the only-begotten Son and in the gift which is the Spirit. There is one Creator of all things, for in God there is one Father from whom all things have their being. And there is one only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all things exist. And there is one Spirit, the gift who is in all. So all follow their due order, according to the proper operation of each: one power, which brings all things into being, one Son, through whom all things come to be, and one gift of perfect hope. Nothing is wanting to this flawless union: in Father, Son and Holy Spirit, there is infinity of endless being, perfect reflection of the divine image, and mutual enjoyment of the gift.

Our Lord has described the purpose of the Spirit’s presence in us. Let us listen to his words: I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. It is to your advantage that I go away; if I go, I will send you the Advocate. And also: I will ask the Father and he will give you another Counselor to be with you for ever, the Spirit of truth. He will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine.

From among many of our Lord’s sayings, these have been chosen to guide our understanding, for they reveal to us the intention of the giver, the nature of the gift and the condition for its reception. Since our weak minds cannot comprehend the Father or the Son, we have been given the Holy Spirit as our intermediary and advocate, to shed light on that hard doctrine of our faith, the incarnation of God.

We receive the Spirit of truth so that we can know the things of God. In order to grasp this, consider how useless the faculties of the human body would become if they were denied their exercise. Our eyes cannot fulfill their task without light, either natural or artificial; our ears cannot react without sound vibrations, and in the absence of any odor our nostrils are ignorant of their function. Not that these senses would lose their own nature if they were not used; rather, they demand objects of experience in order to function. It is the same with the human soul. Unless it absorbs the gift of the Spirit through faith, the mind has the ability to know God but lacks the light necessary for that knowledge.

This unique gift which is in Christ is offered in its fullness to everyone. It is everywhere available, but it is given to each man in proportion to his readiness to receive it. Its presence is the fuller, the greater a man’s desire to be worthy of it. This gift will remain with us until the end of the world, and will be our comfort in the time of waiting. By the favors it bestows, it is the pledge of our hope for the future, the light of our minds, and the splendor that irradiates our understanding.

Update -Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem – Remember (experimental villanelle)

Yad Vashem – What’s in a Name

I was reminded of a piece I wrote, God Remembers Their Names on the occasion of Pope Benedict XVI speaking at Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum and then I came upon this : A Hand and a Name by Renee Ghert-Zand.

 

“How ironic it is that celebrities, who live increasingly public lives, would metaphorically die to have their names and handprints immortalized in concrete, while the victims of the Holocaust would have done anything to have been able to live out their natural lives in obscurity, their names never appearing on one of countless Nazi extermination lists recovered and now housed forever at Yad VaShem.”

Yad VaShem Hall of Names by David Shankbone

 

Yad Vashem – Remember (experimental villanelle)
 

Stolen name replaced by number,
Savaged soul and broken heart.
Hell, a people to encumber.

Blind eyes outside in darkness.
Dead souls dismissed the human face.
Stolen name replaced by number

Raising from the ashes,
Pledging nevermore.
Hell, a people to encumber

Yad VaShem, the vault of memory,
Yad VaShem, the ground of tears
Stolen name replaced by number

Shoah: families, children.
Here named, remembered, mourned
Hell, a people to encumber

Faces pictured in the silence.
Tears cried forevermore.
Stolen name replaced by number
Hell, a people to encumber

Copyright Joann Nelander

God, the Fine-tuned Universe/Multi-verse

Middle-age should be a thoughtful time.  You be the judge:

(Speaking of Santa Claus) as unbelievable as those tales are from the north pole, the tales from Jerusalem leave it in the dust. Snakes that can talk, the Universe built from nothing in 7 days flat, procreation without copulation, walking on water, building a single ship to accommodate 3 million animals (1,589,361 species times two), turning water into wine, feeding 5000 people with a couple small fish a few loaves of bread, rising from the dead, etc… It certainly flies in the face of reason based on everything I’ve seen in this world, but it is firmly believed by at least a billion big humans on the planet tonight.

Just because it is the person’s will and desire to make it true, sadly does not make it truth.

I don’t doubt there is much more to this world than what we can see, hear, smell, feel, etc…. Quantum physics has gone much further and deeper than regular old atoms/matter… There are most likely many more dimensions than the four that we experience. I don’t even doubt the power of prayer or other group-think exercises.. I wholeheartedly support many of the values espoused by many of the religions of the world. I just am not buying the unbelievable stories sans proof and with so much proof against.

As to the four last things…

death — empirically it’s looming for all of us, no way around it.. is it final? not too sure — if consciousness survives to go another round, it probably has a more scientific multi-dimensional explanation.

judgment / heaven / hell — empirically haven’t seen any evidence of these, but it sure sounds like a good concept for a king to control a kingdom in the here and now. If I were the man behind the curtain, I’d be telling my subjects all about the this stuff to make sure they didn’t cause too many problems for me.”

This enlightened summation of the Bible, doesn’t actually deal with the Bible.  Nowhere here is there evidence of serious inquiry. The understanding and reflection of holy men and scholars are rather ceremonially dismissed with ridicule and from a distance of disdain. The Holy Scripture, an anthology and compilation of priestly, prophetic, scholarly and apostolic construction guided by the Holy Spirit, suffers a verbal sortie of “trash talk.” I look for a sense of respect for the sacred and fail to find it.

What I see in the derision is a sophomoric  cliff notes overview filled with disdain and a lack of true familiarity with the revealed Word of God. The foray is little more than a stylish dance of words and ego perhaps for the amusement of others. What is gained? What is lost? Knowledge? Grace? Having brushed aside the pesky gnat of Holy Revelation, the author reaches for the stars or to be more exact, to other dimensions. Though playful, the piece uncovers a well of cynicism usually reserved for the old and broken.

Does the grandeur of the Universe or a multi-verse diminish or dismiss a Creator?  Doesn’t the smallest living cell give us a sense of a plan? Doesn’t  a plan of necessity infer a planner, somewhat like finding a copy of Hamlet would point to a Shakespeare. Darwin conveniently starts with a creature with cells, so he doesn’t theorize about how they came to be- just how and/or why they might have changed.

Do untold dimensions rule out a Heaven or Hell, or increase the likelihood in the realm of the possibilities raised by new dimensions governed by rules unlike those of our own universe and time?

If the Universe, Time and the Laws that mapped out the direction of our destiny came into being with the Big Bang, what of these other dimensions, other Times and possibilities? “Eternity”, according to Dinesh D’Souza, “has become a coherent concept.” New universes, new dimensions, ergo new equations? While new stuffs and equations don’t equal life or worlds, we can dream dreams and wonder.

Stephen Hawking reveals that even he doesn’t know who or what put the fire into the stuff and equations. (“Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?” Stephen Hawking)

By reaching for fantastic and even far-fetched ideas, the question of a Creator/God doesn’t go away. D’Souza does note that while there is evidence for the Big Bang there is not an iota of evidence for the multi-verse. However, in the multi-dimensional scenario, our existence is no longer improbable. In our Universe fine tuning is necessary for us to exist. Fine tuning is of course indicative of a plan. However in a multi-verse,we are no longer privileged and unique but possible and expected to have popped up along the way. By the same token, however, with the new multi-dimensionalism, the multi-verse, emerges new laws, new realms and new possibilities. The existence of Heaven and Hell now becomes as probable as any other combination of world characteristics. The pièce de résistance… there is nothing in the multi-dimensional theory that precludes a Creator. One can still see in the grandeur of the scheme of things, the One who schemes, just as a thought reveals a thinker.

Matter which is the stuff of atheistic materialism now serves to raise questions to which we thought we had the answers. Quantum theory pokes all kinds of holes in our understanding of matter. Atheists are big on matter but are they prepared to deal with Dark Energy and for that matter, Dark Matter. Ordinary matter and energy make up only 5% of the matter and energy in the universe. If 95% of all energy and matter is made up of dark energy and dark matter doesn’t that make all arguments about matter, as atheist insists on it operation, irrelevant. How can you make any claims for it, if you can only account for 5% of it, or so asks D’Souza.

We haven’t even touched on mind, consciousness which acts as an observer of the creation about us. What are the rules governing mind which is not matter/material. Mind and consciousness do exist but they are immaterial. If you doubt that, tell me how much a mind weighs? What are its dimensions, its length and width?

In the end, Quantum Theory is not an escape from God. It, rather, gives us pause to marvel at how God has chaos under control. Which brings us back to the Bible, the very beginning, Genesis: “the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters.” Genesis 1:2 “The waters” in biblical-speak refers to primordial chaos and “a mighty wind,” a poor translation of the Hebrew phrase “ruach Elohim” (literally the “wind/breath of God. ) While Science investigates Nature, God is not probed like a microbe or star dust. He is seen with the eye of Faith, keeping in mind that “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, nor the heart of man imagined, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”1 Corinthians 2:9

Life After Death: The Evidence