Monday, February 13, 2012

A Little Look at the Big Picture

Normally, I'd have another post about "Caritas in Veritate" today:
That didn't happen. Partly because I spent the time I'd set aside for that post to write about a particularly looney - and downright bad - stunt that America's government is pulling:
I'll get back to that particular instance of conscience vs. the Federal government again.

If you're not entirely satisfied with what that lot in Washington have been up to: there's an election coming up in November. Just a thought.

You Think You've had a Bad Day?

Maybe this sort of thing sounds familiar:
  • 'Everybody except me has turned away from God!'
  • 'They've silenced all the other believers!'
  • 'And now they're after me!!'
That's not an exact paraphrase of 1 Kings 19:14, but you get the idea. I've been over the run-in between worshipers of Baal and folks who didn't sacrifice infants1 before. (January 16, 2011)

God gave Elijah a to-do list; and reassurance that he wasn't alone, not even close. Things turned out okay. For Elijah. (2 Kings 2:11) For the political leader who had tried to stamp out allegiance to God? Not so much. (2 Kings 9:32-37)

Distressed, Not Depressed

Elijah's bad day came to mind today when I heard my wife talking on the telephone with one of our kids. The family member at the other end of the line was distressed about current events. Understandably, I think: so am I.

I'm probably not as distressed, though. I think that's partly because I'm learning to look beyond what's close at the moment. Also because I know a very little bit about the immensity of God's creation.

It's not that what's happening here and now is unimportant. Just that it may not be quite as important as it seems.

I'm distressed - but not depressed - by efforts to force Catholic doctors to abandon either their beliefs or their profession. Which is remarkable, since I've been diagnosed with major depression. Among other things, and that's yet another topic. Topics. (January 8, 2012, September 14, 2011, March 4, 2010)

Living With Immensity

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the sky proclaims its builder's craft."
(Psalms 19:2)
Approaching the other end of the size scale, matter and energy act in fascinating and unfamiliar ways. (Apathetic Lemming of the North (February 7, 2011))

Then there's the matter of time. There's a lot of it. Around 13,750,000,000 years, give or take. I doubt that I'd have the patience to work with time on that scale. But like I've said before: God's God, I'm not.

I'm not bothered by the idea that God made something that's a tad larger than some folks thought, and that's yet again another topic:
I'll put more links near the end of this post, as usual.

America, Time, and Perspective

I don't go along with the fashionable disdain of American culture: but folks in this country do have some quirks. One of them is what strikes me as an oddly distorted sense of time.

It's hard to shake the impression that many of us see anything that happened more than five or 10 years ago as 'long ago.' Thinking of Henry VIII of England, vikings, and Roman emperors as roughly contemporaneous probably wouldn't interfere with most folks' daily lives.

I think, though, that it's a good idea now and then to step back and and look at the little slice of time that we call "history." I put together a table showing which millennium some notable folks lived in. I also put in Abram's move out of Ur, and one of the earliest law codes: and information technology milestones, from cuneiform to the Internet.

"Recent" Events

Unlike most timelines, this one includes three millennia that haven't happened yet.

No, I'm not positive that humanity will have three more millennia in which to repent, reform, and build a better world. But I wouldn't be surprised if we've got a whole lot more time than what's elapsed since the the birth of David.

As for the notion that we're living in a specially awful period? I'm not so sure about that. Folks living on the north shore of Crete when Thera exploded might have an alternative view. Then there were bothersome times like the Antonine plague, and the administration Elijah tangled with.

To be announcedFinal Judgment
+3,000 years
+2,000 years
+1,000 years
TodayInternet, searchable text developed
Movable type developed
Henry VIII
-1,000 yearsAbu Kasim, Leif Ericsson
Oleg the Wise
Chandra Gupta II
-2,000 yearsJesus, son of God
Ying Zheng (嬴政)
Alexander the Great
-3,000 yearsDavid, son of Jesse
Code of Hammurabi
Joseph, son of Israel
Abram leaves Ur
-4,000 yearsYu the Great (大禹)
Abjads (phonetic symbols) developed by Semitic workers in Egypt
Cuneiform adapted to record Sumerian language
Large pyramids
-5,000 years Cuneiform developed (for business records)
PreviouslyCreation of time, space, energy, matter, stars, planets, and life: followed by fall of man

I think God's not finished with us yet. 2 Peter 3:8-9 and all that.

I also think we've got a lot of work to do. And that's still another topic.

Related posts:

1 Arguably, the chief distinctions between what Jezebel and company did, and current American habits, is that worshipers of Baal burned infants for overtly spiritual reasons. (Jeremiah 7:31, 19:5, 32:35; 2 Chronicles 28:3) People in America, and other up-to-date countries, kill babies before they're born: for overtly secular reasons. If only out of enlightened self-interest, I really think we should stop.


Brigid said...

No start parenthesis: "Currently: "Caritas in Veritate")"

This, and the rest of the list, are missing single ending quotes: "'Everybody except"

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian Gill said...


Fixed - and changed. Thanks!

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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.