Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Getting Involved in Constructing a Better Future? Sounds Like a Plan

Odds are pretty good that you've heard something from this list recently. Or read it somewhere:
  1. The economy has collapsed!
    1. Or will pretty soon
  2. Nobody
    1. 'Buys American' any more
    2. Makes anything worth buying in America
    3. Wants to work
    4. Really cares
  3. Politicians are crooked
  4. Congress is incompetent
  5. My boss is a jerk
  6. America's president is the antichrist
    • Or Hitler
  7. All cute animals are doomed by the
    1. Disappearing ozone layer
      • Remember that?
    2. Pollution
    3. Urban development
    4. Global warming Climate change
  8. All is lost
    • "...the center cannot hold;
      mere anarchy is loosed upon the world....
      "

      (Yeats)
I've left some golden oldies off that list, like the communist menace and the coming ice age. Those, and the 'fluoridated water conspiracy,' are almost as dead as disco.

If it seems that I'm picking on American foibles, or ignoring angst abroad, it's not because I don't like America, or don't care about the rest of the world. American culture is the one I know best, so that's what I decided to discuss. Besides, this blog is called A Catholic Citizen in America for a reason. Moving on.

Doom, Gloom, and Getting a Grip: By the Numbers

I don't know why so many folks seem to enjoy being so miserable. Here's my take on that list:
  1. The economy
    • America isn't having a '50s-style 'happy days' experience today
    • The federal government is in trouble
      • But there's a whole lot more to America than the feds
    • I think we'll be okay
    • I've been over this before:
  2. Nobody...
    • Or, 'kids these days!'
    • See #1
  3. Politicians are crooked
    • Some, yes
    • This is news??
    • I've posted about original sin before
  4. Congress is incompetent
    • The current lot don't seem to 'get it'
      • But there's an election coming up
    • And see #3
  5. My boss is a jerk
    • See #3
  6. America's president is the antichrist/Hitler
  7. All cute animals are doomed by the...
    • Pandas, maybe
    • Rabbits, not so much
  8. All is lost
    • A poetry-lover like me might say that
      • But I won't

'We're on the Brink of Collapse?' Been There, Done That

At the risk of sounding apathetic or blase, I don't take the 'coming collapse of civilization' all that seriously. Partly because I've seen too many plausible-sounding predictions of doom turn out to be duds. Like:
  • No more snow in the United Kingdom
  • Global temperatures in 2000 being 11 degrees cooler (not a typo) than 1970's
    • And 'here comes the next ice age'
  • A "continent-wide black blizzard of prairie topsoil" that led to global starvation and food riots
    • In the mid-1990s1
If you don't remember any of those disastrous events - your memory's fine. They didn't happen.

Neither did the rolling predictions of the coming Apocalypse. Harold Camping's End Times Prophecy (prophecies, actually) stands (or stand) out mainly because he got on the national news. Judgment Day preachers get lucky now and then, in terms of getting a big audience. And that's another topic.

Fearing the Future, Getting a Grip

The Pope's going to Germany - the first time he's been 'back home' since becoming Pope. The motto for his trip is "Where God is, there is a future."2

I agree.

That doesn't mean that I think God will solve all our problems and give everybody the latest PlayStation, Xbox, and Wii gadgetry: along with an income that's higher than their neighbors. I've written, briefly, about the prosperity gospel before.

I've got the full authority of "some guy with a blog," but I think I'm on pretty firm ground in thinking that God isn't in the business of handing out health and wealth as payment for prayer.3

Here's more from the article where I found "Where God is, there is the future:"
" 'Yet the earth will be deprived of a future only when the forces of the human heart and of reason illuminated by the heart are extinguished -- when the face of God no longer shines upon the earth. Where God is, there is the future,' the Pontiff said on that occasion....

"...The Vatican spokesman recalled that 'from the first day of his election, Pope Benedict explained to us that the proclamation of the primacy of God would be the first priority of his pontificate. Who is God? How can we see his face? Where can he be found and how can one speak with him? How does the relationship with God guide the life of each person and his responsibility in society, laying the foundation for a search for justice and law?'...

"...the answers to questions such as these are what to expect from the Pope in Germany: 'Passing through a country where the totalitarian denial of God has demonstrated its most extreme consequences, we will reflect together on how to involve ourselves -- as persons, as believers in God, as Christians and as Catholics -- in the construction of a future worthy of man.' "
(Zenit.org) [emphasis mine]
Wait a minute: What's this "how to involve ourselves ... in the construction of a future...?!" Aren't we supposed to sit back and let God do all the work?

I don't think so, and I've written about that before, too. (September 13, 2011)

Related posts:
More related posts, (mostly) in my other blogs
In the news:
More:

1 Source:
My micro-review:
2 Excerpt from the news:
"Those Fearing the Future Should Follow Pope's Germany Trip" Zenit.org (September 20, 2011) "Benedict XVI heads to Germany on Thursday to propose answers to life's most essential questions, just as concerns about the future of the earth and the economy weigh heavily in the minds of many, says a Vatican spokesman....

"...[Director of the Vatican press office, Jesuit] Father Lombardi noted the motto the Pontiff has chosen for the trip: 'Where God is, there is a future.'...

"...The theme was taken from words Benedict XVI said in his homily in the Austrian Shrine of Mariazell four years ago, Father Lombardi explained, when the Pope 'interpreted Europe's demographic crisis as a sign of lack of confidence in the future.'

" 'Yet the earth will be deprived of a future only when the forces of the human heart and of reason illuminated by the heart are extinguished -- when the face of God no longer shines upon the earth. Where God is, there is the future,' the Pontiff said on that occasion.

"1st priority

"The Vatican spokesman recalled that 'from the first day of his election, Pope Benedict explained to us that the proclamation of the primacy of God would be the first priority of his pontificate. Who is God? How can we see his face? Where can he be found and how can one speak with him? How does the relationship with God guide the life of each person and his responsibility in society, laying the foundation for a search for justice and law?'

"Father Lombardi said the answers to questions such as these are what to expect from the Pope in Germany: 'Passing through a country where the totalitarian denial of God has demonstrated its most extreme consequences, we will reflect together on how to involve ourselves -- as persons, as believers in God, as Christians and as Catholics -- in the construction of a future worthy of man.' " [emphasis mine]
3 The Church has quite a bit to say about prayer. I think this is a pretty good place to start:
  • Prayer is a good idea
    • Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2725-2745
    • Even if we don't get an immediate 'payoff'
  • We can pray anywhere, any time

2 comments:

Brigid said...

There's an extra blank line after this: "I think we'll be okay"

Uh, I don't think they make those anymore: "Nintendo GameCube"

Not really sure about that hyphen, and I think the word 'out' is supposed to be in there somewhere: "the business of handing health and wealth - as payment for prayer."

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian Gill said...

Brigid,

Riiiight. Got it. Thanks!

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