Friday, January 14, 2011

When to Call Tech Support, When to Read the Bible

I'm moving data from the computer I've been using for about five years to my new one. It's a Christmas present from my son-in-law, and that's another topic.

Some of the data is information I use with 3D graphics software. Yesterday, I'd noticed that the method I was using of setting myself up in the new computer would take me - months. Probably a year or more, given the fraction of each day I'd have for the process. There was a lot of data on the old machine. I was pretty sure I knew a way to load the data faster - but wasn't all that sure.

So I called tech support, confirmed that the data could simply be copied, and moved on.

WHAT?! Relying on the wisdom of man, instead of God?!! What kind of a Christian do I think I am?

A smart one. And a Catholic.

Sacred Scripture

I think it's a good idea to define terms. Like "Word of God:"
"WORD OF GOD: The entire content of Revelation as contained in the Holy Bible and proclaimed in the Church. In John's Gospel, God's 'Word' means his only-begotten Son, who is the fullness of God's Revelation and who took flesh (the Word incarnate) and became man for the sake of our salvation (65, 81, 101, 241, 461; cf. 2653)."
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, Glossary)
Okay: so depending on context, when I use the phrase "Word of God," I mean the Holy Bible; or My Lord, Jesus. Which doesn't mean that I think Jesus is a book.

As a Catholic, I'm expected to study the Bible. (February 2, 2010) The whole thing. Which makes sense, considering what it is.
" 'Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit.'42 'And [Holy] Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, they may faithfully preserve, expound, and spread it abroad by their preaching.'43"
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 81)

The Bible: Not a User's Manual

If I call the Bible a "user's manual for the soul," I hope I'll be very careful to define what I mean by that. That's because of what the Bible is, and what it isn't.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has a copy of the Bible online: it's the one I link to for quotes in this blog. The NAB Bible home page has a link called "Tips for Fruitful Reading of Scripture." It leads to "Understanding the Bible," Mary Elizabeth Sperry, Office of Media Relations, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

There's a 10-point list there, which includes this item:
  1. "Know what the Bible is - and what it isn't. The Bible is the story of God's relationship with the people he has called to himself. It is not intended to be read as history text, a science book, or a political manifesto. In the Bible, God teaches us the truths that we need for the sake of our salvation."
(USCCB, "Understanding the Bible")
If 'Bible-believing' folks in the 19th century hadn't been quite so insistent that the Bible was a science textbook: well, that's water under the bridge. (See "Science, Religion, and being Catholic")

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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.