The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Quote of the day

“Pierre Teilhard de Chardin wrote: ‘We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.’

There is a spirit arising from Ground Zero; it is an untethered ghost of American certainties and illusions and it seeks grounding in a solid but safe human understanding, touched with just a little affirmation of its goodness. If it cannot find it within the game-playing rhetoric of political opportunism and elite hectoring, it will gather into its sorrow all of our national lunacy, and will whirl and rise, and whirl and rise, shadowing the mosque that arises nearby.

De Chardin also wrote: ‘Everything that rises, must converge.’

Our wrecked psyche is peering, wide-eyed and with hands a-tremble, over the edges of an abyss, and the abyss is peering back.

Which is precisely why this mosque needs to be built in New York, but not at the periphery of an unhealed Ground Zero.”

The Anchoress 
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posted August 19, 2010 at 3:37 pm

Nine years later, two wars later, 15,000 american troops KIA later, billions and billions of dollars later, airport super security later, patriot act taking away civil liberties later, Osama Bin Laddin still at large later, Saddam decapitated later; yes the wound has not been healed. Out that void in ground zero may surge the beasts that will eventually tear this nation apart and bring the beginning of the end.

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Civitas Occiduus

posted August 19, 2010 at 5:45 pm

I’m sorry, Anchoress, but… what?
This is one of those times when, as a student in a classroom growing up, I would have raised my hand and said, “Come again?”
I think I got what she’s trying to say… I think. The fact that I disagree tells me I probably don’t understand.
Can someone else help me unpack this?

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posted August 19, 2010 at 8:18 pm

I am with you, Civitas, sometimes bloggers get so caught up in their own world that they can come across with this Gnostic/new age stuff instead of just keeping it simple and saying things clearly.
As soon as someone quotes de Chardin to introduce a quote I know we are getting some “new age “ or “mumbo jumbo” sounding reflection.
I am not critizing the blogger, I do not read her blog, but perhaps this is her style and she has people who enjoy and understand it.
But there are many others who would read it and just say “what the heck do you mean? Just get to the point!
I am still trying to figure out what a spiritual being having a human experience is,
sounds more Vulcan or Romulan to me!!

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posted August 20, 2010 at 3:47 am

OK, everyone, one more time:
It is NOT a mosque. Is is a community centre with a prayer area on the top two floors.
It is NOT at the perhphery of Ground Zero–it’s two blocks away (or four, depending on how you measure).
And no, Civitas, nobody can help you unpack that blog post. It is complete nonsense. The concluding sentence has nothing to do with what came before.
Nice to know that she hates America, though.

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posted August 20, 2010 at 9:18 am

It occurs to me that we are only now, in fits and starts, beginning the discussion of Islam we should have had many decades ago – and absolutely, to our detriment, failed to hold after 2001.
There is something very American about those who, at the same time, can find the erection of a cultural center within a few miles of the twin towers extraordinarily offense – a ‘desecration of hallowed ground’ while, at the same time, not lifting a finger in protest over the (heterosexual) strip joints, dirty book stores, off-track betting and other Jesus-raged-against-this-in-the-Temple activities.
There is also something very, very awry in the knee-jerk response of my side of the debate (the liberal Christian) when so many of us simply rubber-stamp the opposition as hateful without considering the cultural ignorance and still bleeding wounds of an attack upon the Vaterland.
This debate is a good thing. In the end, we will better understand each other. I doubt there will be any change of heart on the matter among those of us who are firm in our support or disrespect for the Bill of Rights and the precept of separation of church and state.
That, however, is not the point – beginning, again, finally, to actually discuss the cultural chasm between conservative and liberal Christians, is.

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posted August 20, 2010 at 9:41 am

Incarceration without due process, search and seizure without reasonable cause, espionage on Americans in American soil, passport required from Americans to enter their own country, laws that require you to present your “papers” to authorities upon request, court martial for civilians, power to the state to shoot now and ask later, etc. All of these things came out from the aftermath of September 11. Are we blind to see that these developments are rapidly and determinedly encroaching on our liberties?
Are we like the proverbial frogs thrown into tepid water and then the heat raised slowly but surely by degrees until these frogs die without trying to jump out?
I don’t think Anchoress hates America, she is making a point that out of the horrible tragedy of September 11 forces were unleashed that are already having grave consequences for Americans in their own country.

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posted August 20, 2010 at 10:15 am

Dear Anchoress,
I have been reading dear Teilhard since 1972 when I was a freshman in college and I must strongly diagree with you using it to support your position that this mopsque must not be built where they want to build it. Teilhard saw the unity of all things. If righteous Muslims, like righteous Christians and righteous Jewish cannot worshyip together NEAR ground zero then there will never be healing — there cannot be healing with reconcilliation. 9/11 was an act of terrorism by people who claimed to be following the teachings of Islam. How many deaths have occurred by those who perverted the teachings of Christianity? I believe that Gound Zero should be ringed by religious buildings of all types, rather than the cold, atheist monument that is now proposed. This way all believers can pray for peace and reconcilliation for all peoples of all faiths. After all there is only one God and one heaven. Do we expect that God will tell Muslims in heaven that they cannot sit next to those who died on 9/11. Nonsense. And of course this mosque will not be “int he shadow” of Ground Zero. It is a couple of block away shielded by high rise buildings. It will not be visible from Ground Zero.
It is amazing to me that hatemongers such as FOX news can call this a ground zero mosque and stir up controversy that should not be.
We all need to examine exactly who we are an what we believe. Remember Jesus and the Samaritan woman. Our Lord would not exclude anyone who wants to pray.

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posted August 20, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin? The prieset who was involved in the Piltdown Man hoax?

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posted August 20, 2010 at 12:31 pm

I whole-heartedly agree with Sandra. If we cannot forge reconciliation, then we are sending ourselves into the fiery pit of damnation. For Christians, the Lord’s Prayer is absolutely central to our beliefs. Has anyone bothered to actually listen to the words, understood the words? “…Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others who trespass against us…” These phrases tell us that we will be judged according to how we judge and forgive one another. When will we learn to forgive and act as Jesus taught: to love one another?
My family often laughs ironically and somewhat cynically at an old hymn:
“And they’ll know we are Christians by our love! Yes they’ll know we are Christians by our love.”
If only we practice what we preach.

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posted August 20, 2010 at 1:50 pm

“And they’ll know we are Christians by our love! Yes they’ll know we are Christians by our love.”
Ah, but when you define love to mean it’s your solemn duty to attack your opponents in the culture wars – and that is the definition of a non-zero number of conservative Christians here, then all’s OK with God.
It’s your ‘duty’ to make life hell on earth for those with whom you disagree, that’s what God really meant by ‘love’.
They are practicing what they preach, Patty. Just ask them.
Strip clubs, gambling, prostitution, pornography – no huhu. A cultural center which is not gen-u-whine Amerikan and conservative Christian? An abomination in God’s eye.

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