Thursday, March 17, 2011

Giving: From the Heart, and Other Vital Organs

Quite a few folks in Japan can use help just now. I wrote about that yesterday:
Here are the links I listed, of Catholic charitable outfits:
I'm pretty sure that CRS and CI are okay: they've been around for years, and my household has given to them before - and probably will again. But, as I urged yesterday, do your own research.

I wrote that for two reasons: first, because I live in America, and don't want to be sued by some nitwit1 who felt bad after giving to CRS - and talked to a lawyer; second, because it's a good idea.

Back to giving, and research.

Smart Charity

It'd be nice if everybody who sent an email pleading for donations to something like the 'Save the Armadillo Panel,' or an envelope with a picture of a sick child and a request for money, had a heart of gold.

Unhappily, the deplorable Mr. Grimes isn't alone. (November 26, 2010) Some charities really do a good job of helping the folks they say they do - others may mean well, but don't get the job done - and some are outright frauds.

The trick is to figure out which is which, before giving them your money.

I did a micro-review of one article on 'how to give' in another blog:
Perhaps more to the point, here are links to two pretty good 'charitable giving advice' articles:

Warm Sentiment, Cool Head

I don't have anything against emotions. More to the point, the Catholic Church says that emotions are okay:
"The term "passions" belongs to the Christian patrimony. Feelings or passions are emotions or movements of the sensitive appetite that incline us to act or not to act in regard to something felt or imagined to be good or evil.

"The passions are natural components of the human psyche; they form the passageway and ensure the connection between the life of the senses and the life of the mind. Our Lord called man's heart the source from which the passions spring.40

"There are many passions. The most fundamental passion is love, aroused by the attraction of the good. Love causes a desire for the absent good and the hope of obtaining it; this movement finds completion in the pleasure and joy of the good possessed. The apprehension of evil causes hatred, aversion, and fear of the impending evil; this movement ends in sadness at some present evil, or in the anger that resists it.

" 'To love is to will the good of another.'41 All other affections have their source in this first movement of the human heart toward the good. Only the good can be loved.42 Passions 'are evil if love is evil and good if it is good.'43"
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1763-1766)
There's more, quite a bit more. (Catechism 1762-1775, for starters)

The way I see it, emotions aren't good or bad by themselves: what counts is how they interact with my reason and will. (1767) And, happily, doing good (or evil) doesn't depend on feeling strong emotions. (1768)

Don't take my word for it, by the way. As I've said before, I've got the authority of "some guy with a blog." I strongly suggest following those links, and checking the Catechism out yourself.

About emotions and reason? I think that 'giving from the heart,' giving in response to a surge of emotion, is nice. I also think that it's a really good idea to get reason engaged before acting on those emotions.

It's sort of like putting out a fire. Firefighters around here often attach a hose to a fire hydrant, and stream water from the hose onto a fire.

Opening the hydrant's valve without the hose would soak everyone and everything near the hydrant - but probably wouldn't have much effect on the fire. The water is useful only if it's directed where it's needed.

Enough with the metaphor.

And Now, Something Emotional: Pictures From Japan

Tsunami aftermath in Kesennuma: Ships lie stranded in Kesennuma in Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan, on March 16, 2011. The area was devastated by a massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11. (Kyodo, used w/o permission)Friday afternoon's earthquake was the most powerful in Japan's history, I've read. The official death toll keeps increasing - because that's an actual body count. Folks in Japan have been keeping track of how many bodies, and pieces of bodies, they find. The actual number of dead may never be known. Estimates are upwards of 10,000. That's not good. On the other hand, it could be worse. The last big one, the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, killed about 140,000 people.

Mother reunited with child after quake: A woman hugs her child in the quake-hit city of Kesennuma in Miyagi Prefecture on March 16, 2011, as they are reunited after five days. A massive earthquake and tsunami struck the area on March 11. (Kyodo, used w/o permission)In a way, the sub-freezing temperatures and snow they've been having in Miyagi Prefecture are a sort of blessing. Folks who survived the earthquake and tsunami - and found a shelter - aren't in quite as much danger from disease in this weather. All that cold preserves the corpses that haven't been found yet. When it warms up, survivors will have diseases like cholera to add to their concerns. (Apathetic Lemming of the North (March 14, 2011))

Quake aftermath in Kesennuma: People stand beside piles of debris in the quake-hit city of Kesennuma in Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan, on March 16, 2011. The area was devastated by a massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11. (Kyodo, used w/o permission)Under normal circumstances, Japan doesn't have trouble getting food to folks who want to eat. The country's transportation system is, in some ways, more up-to-date than America's. Or, rather, was. The last I heard, they still hadn't found a few trains that went missing of Friday, and this photo shows what Kesennuma looked like on March 16. As you see, the city is in very good condition: folks there knew where streets should be, and have cleared at least two of them.

So, once trucks with relief supplies get to Kesennuma, they shouldn't have too much trouble reaching the survivors. I don't know how many bridges and tunnels need to be repaired first.

Helicopters? Japan has a limited number of those useful vehicles: and some of them have been tied up in efforts to keep nuclear reactors in Fukushima from getting too hot.

Still, things could be worse.

Life in quake-hit Miyagi Pref.: A woman pushes collected rain water in a bucket on a cart in the town of Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture, on March 16, 2011. A devastating earthquake and tsunami struck the area on March 11. (Kyodo, used w/o permission)Folks in Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture have cleared paths - which give folks access to rainwater.

That's a good thing, since the municipal water systems are out of commission, along with cell phone service, electrical power - let's face it, quite a few folks in Japan aren't having a good week.

At all.

Which is why I've done two posts now, about opportunities for practicing charity.

If you don't feel like helping folks in Japan, both Catholic Relief Services and Caritas Internationalis help lots of other folks, too. Or, you could find another charitable organization.

Have I given to either outfit recently? No: my household isn't destitute, but we're not looking for ways to take care of our charitable obligations, either. 'Japan relief' is on the agenda, though.

Blaming the Victim, Getting a Grip

Do I think Japan 'got what was coming to them?' How should I know? I'm not God. From my perspective, it doesn't seem likely: but the Governor of Tokyo had a different opinion:
Does it matter? Again, from my perspective, no. Right now, there are cold, hungry people in Japan who can probably use help.

Looks like I'm not the only one who sees it that way:

S. Koreans donate for Japan quake victims People donate money to rescue efforts for Japan's massive earthquake at Jogyesa Buddhist temple in Seoul on March 15, 2011. Many organizations in South Korea are raising donations to assist Japan's recovery. (Kyodo, used w/o permission)
(Kyodo News, used w/o permission)
Folks in South Korea, donating money to help Japan deal with the March 11 earthquake. Photo taken March 15, 2011, at Jogyesa Buddhist temple in Seoul.

Japan will, I think, recover whether or not I give a few dollars to help out. But charity, along with faith and hope, is an important virtue. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1813, 1822-1829) I think it's a good idea to practice it now and again.

And that's another topic.

Using your head:
Other somewhat-related posts:

1 Not that you're a nitwit: but this blog can be read by anyone with an Internet connection, a browser, and an understanding of English. Or translation software. And America's judiciary, at least, has a track record of listening seriously to strange claims. In my opinion.

And that's several more topics.

No comments:

Like it? Pin it, Plus it, - - -

Pinterest: My Stuff, and More


Unique, innovative candles

Visit us online:
Spiral Light CandleFind a Retailer
Spiral Light Candle Store

Popular Posts

Label Cloud

1277 abortion ADD ADHD-Inattentive Adoration Chapel Advent Afghanistan Africa America Amoris Laetitia angels animals annulment Annunciation anti-catholicism Antichrist apocalyptic ideas apparitions archaeology architecture Arianism art Asperger syndrome assumptions asteroid astronomy Australia authority balance and moderation baptism being Catholic beliefs bias Bible Bible and Catechism bioethics biology blogs brain Brazil business Canada capital punishment Caritas in Veritate Catechism Catholic Church Catholic counter-culture Catholicism change happens charisms charity Chile China Christianity Christmas citizenship climate change climatology cloning comets common good common sense Communion community compassion confirmation conscience conversion Corpus Christi cosmology creation credibility crime crucifix Crucifixion Cuba culture dance dark night of the soul death depression designer babies despair detachment devotion discipline disease diversity divination Divine Mercy divorce Docetism domestic church dualism duty Easter economics education elections emotions England entertainment environmental issues Epiphany Establishment Clause ethics ethnicity Eucharist eugenics Europe evangelizing evolution exobiology exoplanets exorcism extremophiles faith faith and works family Father's Day Faust Faustus fear of the Lord fiction Final Judgment First Amendment forgiveness Fortnight For Freedom free will freedom fun genetics genocide geoengineering geology getting a grip global Gnosticism God God's will good judgment government gratitude great commission guest post guilt Haiti Halloween happiness hate health Heaven Hell HHS hierarchy history holidays Holy Family Holy See Holy Spirit holy water home schooling hope humility humor hypocrisy idolatry image of God images Immaculate Conception immigrants in the news Incarnation Independence Day India information technology Internet Iraq Ireland Israel Italy Japan Jesus John Paul II joy just war justice Kansas Kenya Knights of Columbus knowledge Korea language Last Judgment last things law learning Lent Lenten Chaplet life issues love magi magic Magisterium Manichaeism marriage martyrs Mary Mass materialism media medicine meditation Memorial Day mercy meteor meteorology Mexico Minnesota miracles Missouri moderation modesty Monophysitism Mother Teresa of Calcutta Mother's Day movies music Muslims myth natural law neighbor Nestorianism New Year's Eve New Zealand news Nietzsche obedience Oceania organization original sin paleontology parish Parousia penance penitence Pentecost Philippines physical disability physics pilgrimage politics Pope Pope in Germany 2011 population growth positive law poverty prayer predestination presumption pride priests prophets prostitution Providence Purgatory purpose quantum entanglement quotes reason redemption reflections relics religion religious freedom repentance Resurrection robots Roman Missal Third Edition rosaries rules sacramentals Sacraments Saints salvation schools science secondary causes SETI sex shrines sin slavery social justice solar planets soul South Sudan space aliens space exploration Spain spirituality stem cell research stereotypes stewardship stories storm Sudan suicide Sunday obligation superstition symbols technology temptation terraforming the establishment the human condition tolerance Tradition traffic Transfiguration Transubstantiation travel Trinity trust truth uncertainty United Kingdom universal destination of goods vacation Vatican Vatican II veneration vengeance Veterans Day videos virtue vlog vocations voting war warp drive theory wealth weather wisdom within reason work worship writing

Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

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.