Obama: Contra Secularists

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Secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, William Jennings Bryan, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King–indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history–were not only motivated by faith but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. To say that men and women should not inject their “personal morality” into public policy debates is a practical absurdity. Our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

This quote is from the President’s “Call to Renewal Keynote Address,” on June 28, 2006. Emphasis mine. I used this in my Rotary address earlier today!

Marriage: Light. Hurt. Healing

wendellberry2From Wendell Berry’s New Collected Poems (2013) entitled “Marriage (to Tanya)” p. 81. Beautiful wording to ponder!

How hard it is for me, who live
in the excitement of women
and have the desire for them
in my mouth like salt. Yet
you have taken me and quieted me.
You have been such light to me
that other women have been
your shadows. You come near me
with the nearness of sleep.
And yet I am not quiet.
It is to be broken. It is to be
torn open. It is not to be
reached and come to rest in
ever. I turn against you,
I break from you, I turn to you.
We hurt, and are hurt,
and have each other for healing.
It is healing. It is never whole.

Epiphany: The Journey of the Magi

MagiThe poem The Journey of the Magi (1927) by T.S. Eliot.

A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The way was deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.”
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires gong out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty, and charging high prices.:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we lead all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I have seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

August Burns Red: Creative Captivity

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Here are the lyrics:

This is a barren wasteland,
A lonely place where inspiration goes to die.

Rescue the beauty that’s left.
Restore the character that’s long since gone,
Because these colors must never fade.
The beat must carry on.

We will fight to save this.
We will fight to keep it alive.
This is a cause worth fighting for.
We will rescue and restore.