Reading for the Day: The Economist Article on the Killing of Trayvon Martin

From the 31 March 2012 issue of The Economist:

A shooting becomes an excuse for political point-scoring

(Highlights from the article)

Opening Sentence:  It took a month or so, but the killing of Trayvon Martin, a teenager who was shot in Florida in late February, has developed into a predictable political circus.

Leading Personalities:

  • Rush Limbaugh, Al Sharpton and The New Black Panther Party:  Limbaugh is a “shrill right-wing radio host,” Sharpton is “equally excitable” and The New Black Panther Party is “a confrontational protest group.”

 Maybe you didn’t know that:

  • An online petition calling for the arrest of the gunman, George Zimmerman, has attracted over 2 million signatures.
  • LeBron James wrote “RIP Trayvon Martin” on his shoe before a game on Mar. 23.
  • The entire Miami Heat team “posed in hooded sweatshirts like the one Mr. Martin was wearing when Mr. Zimmerman decided to follow him . . . “
  • The shooting took place in “a gated community.”
  • Mr. Zimmerman “had recently started a neighbourhood watch scheme and he frequently called the police to report everything from potholes to people he thought might be involved in a spate of burglaries.”
  • At the time of his killing, Mr. Martin “had been walking back to the house of his father’s girlfriend in the gated community, having bought some sweets and iced tea at a nearby corner store.”
  • The National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People . . .  “has complained that the authorities neglected the case because Mr. Martin was black.”
  • The President was quoted as saying:  “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

PARABOLA, Winter 2011-2012

This is the year of magazine subscriptions!  Self subscribed to so many new ones, she can hardly keep count.

Anyhoo, though the magazines are spilling over on self’s desk, this is an extremely fortuitous situation for dear blog readers.  Because at least they can rest assured that self will always have new material to mine for quotes!

This evening, self is reading Parabola, that excellent spiritual journal whose call to arms is:

Many Paths One Truth

Self is not the most religious person.  In California, she scarcely goes to mass.  In contrast, in Bacolod, she goes to mass several times a week.  (And yet, and yet –  she managed to produce a son who, entirely on his own volition, goes to mass regularly every Sunday!)

Which makes it all the more astonishing that, this evening, while the husband watches “Die Hard 3″ (the one that pairs Bruce Willis with Samuel L. Jackson), self is absorbed in reading a Parabola interview with a Father Laurence Freeman, of whom she knows practically nothing, except that he must be a Christian priest.  Here are several things self has gleaned from the interview:

*   On the concept of “God”

Thomas Aquinas said that God is infinitely simple, and as a concept that is extremely difficult to imagine.  What is simple is integrated, whole, one, undivided, and we experience God’s oneness to the degree that we ourselves can be simplified by it.  This is why the experience of God’s presence is therapeutic to the human condition, because we come towards this oneness in a personal state of division and complexity in the many unresolved areas of our life, of our psyche and being.

*   On the significance of “sacraments”

I think we have to realize that other religions are sacramental.  They have signs, outward signs, that bring about an interior change or awakening, to nourish, console, and rebuild the soul.  And these may be rituals or other forms of religious practice.

*   On the “sacrament of sacraments”

. . .  there is a sacramental system specific to Christianity, and at the heart of it is the Eucharist –  that is the sacrament of sacraments, and it was seen originally by the early Fathers as a medicine, the medicine of immortality.  To Clement of Alexandria it was a sacrament of healing and contained within itself the power of all sacraments, because it was a sacrament of initiation and reconciliation, as well as a sacrament of union, and it contains all forms of prayer, scriptures, intonations, and sacramental forms of prayer.

*   On the sacrament of “Reconciliation”

It originally came from the Celtic monastic tradition of the soul friend, a very deep and personal intimacy, and then it became more legalized.  At one point in history you were excommunicated if you didn’t go to confession at your parents’ church once a year.

*   On “meditation”

. . .  in this work of meditation, we dry up the root of sin within us.

*   On encountering Christ in other faiths and traditions

I certainly think that we can experience Christ in and through other faiths and traditions.  If we didn’t believe that Christ was present in other traditions, where we respect the truth and holiness of those traditions, then Christ would not be who we believe him to be:  universal, the Logos.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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