Thursday, March 20, 2008

Christian Civilization

I have set several Google News Alerts on various topics, which means that when Google's bots run across one of my words or phrases, I get an alert with a link to the blog or website where it appeared. Naturally this is an inexact science, so that many of the alerts have no connection whatever with the interest that prompted them. Sometimes those are the best of all, as they expand my horizons in much the way that a perusal of an old, pre-computer library card catalog could do. One arrived earlier this week with a link to this website: Tradition in Action. It's a treasure-trove of nostalgic etiquette, precise rankings, protocols, traditions and carefully nuanced hierarchies aimed at restoring something fancifully imagined as "Christian Civilization." The wealth of information is truly wondrous. In fact, the only thing that seems to be missing is something that predates any of these, namely, God's love for us as expressed in Christ... How would that love be expressed in a system where maintaining the order is more important than enabling the flourishing?

Yesterday I was fortunate to be able to listen to a goodly portion of the arguments before the Supreme Court regarding the D.C. gun control ordinance on the radio. For four years in the 1980s I worked for a legal publisher, and so have read a lot of Supreme Court cases, but I'd never before gotten to hear the actual proceedings. It was quite interesting and enlightening. I'm glad to live in a time when that is possible. Alas, it seemed to me, and is also being said today in the news, that the decision is going to go against D.C.'s restrictions, based on a reading of the Second Amendment that makes its first clause merely tangential. Surely the framers, who wrote so carefully, did not intend such an interpretation. But I suppose there's such a strong element of violence in our culture that a ban on handguns such as D.C. has enacted is certain to be seen in these days as a greater threat than the guns themselves. So much for "Christian Civilization, " and the ability of regulations and protocols to "restore" it, whatever it might be. Not a place where weapons are the way to deal with conflict, surely.
Today I'm grateful for: unmistakable signs of spring: melting snow and returning geese; abundant sunshine; an acceptable resolution to a problem; these three days of prayer and quiet before Easter.
Holding in prayer today: Sisters of St. Joseph around the world and all Christians everywhere during this Triduum and Easter; my family; friends and sisters recovering from illness and injury; JS and her family on the death of their father yesterday; RH, AH; K&S, Uncle Barry.
I took the photo of the gesse on Tuesday, March 18 in Polk County, Wisconsin.

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