Rang De Chunariya

26 02 2010

A bhajan in honor of Krishna

On the margins of theology – VIII

25 02 2010

Protestant folk saints in Latin America

The common idea in the Catholic world is that membership in the Roman Church is a sine qua non of sanctity. In multi-confessional states, this is all the more highlighted since Catholicism is often seen to be in competition with other churches for membership and religious hegemony. There are of course exceptions. Some societies have had religious cultures that were so dominant that they can integrate “foreign” characters into themselves without many scruples. This was true of such characters as St. Isaac of Nineveh in the Christian East, as well as St. Jospahat and other “questionable” saints who may have been based on “non-Christian” characters.
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On religious archetype

24 02 2010

image credit

What seems more reliable is the tendency of every “historical form” to approximate as nearly as possible to its archetype, even when it has been realised at a secondary or insignificant level: this can be verified everywhere in the religious history of humanity. Any local goddess tends to become the Great Goddess; any village anywhere is the “Centre of the World.” and any wizard whatever pretends, at the height of his ritual, to be the Universal Sovereign. It is this same tendency towards the archetype, towards the restoration of the perfect form- of which any myth or rite or divinity is only a variant, and often a rather pale one- that makes the history of religions possible… [O]nce it is realised… the religious form tends to disengage itself from its condition in time and space and to become universal, to return to the archetype. And, finally, the “imperialism” of the victorious religious forms is also explainable by this tendency of every hierophany or theophany to become everything- that is, to sum up in itself all manifestations of the holy, to incorporate all the immense morphology of the sacred.

-Mircea Eliade, Images and Symbols: Studies in Religious Symbolism

On the crucifix

23 02 2010

No me mueve, mi Dios, para quererte
el cielo que me tienes prometido,
ni me mueve el infierno tan temido
para dejar por eso de ofenderte.

Tú me mueves, Señor, muéveme el verte
clavado en una cruz y escarnecido,
muéveme ver tu cuerpo tan herido,
muévenme tus afrentas y tu muerte.

Muéveme, en fin, tu amor, y en tal manera,
que aunque no hubiera cielo, yo te amara,
y aunque no hubiera infierno, te temiera.

No me tienes que dar porque te quiera,
pues aunque lo que espero no esperara,
lo mismo que te quiero te quisiera.



I am not moved to love Thee, 0 my Lord,
By any longing for Thy Promised Land;
Nor by the fear of hell am I unmanned
To cease from my transgressing deed or word.
Tis Thou Thyself dost move me,—Thy blood poured
Upon the cross from nailed foot and hand;
And all the wounds that did Thy body brand;
And all Thy shame and bitter death’s award.

Yea, to Thy heart am I so deeply stirred
That I would love Thee were no heaven on high,—
That I would fear, were hell a tale absurd!
Such my desire, all questioning grows vain;
Though hope deny me hope I still should sigh,
And as ray love is now, it should remain.

—Thomas Walsh (translator)

Missing California…

23 02 2010

…where Spanglish is an official language. This post will probably be lost on all those who don’t have some knowledge of Mexican Spanish.

I can almost hear on old friend saying:

¿Diet Coke? ¡No mames, güey!

Defending the indefensible – II

22 02 2010

Some notes on the body and power

On 1 March 1757 Damiens the regicide was condemned “to make the amende honorable before the main door of the Church of Paris”, where he was to be “taken and conveyed in a cart, wearing nothing but a shirt, holding a torch of burning wax weighing two pounds”; then, “in the said cart, to the Place de Grève, where, on a scaffold that will be erected there, the flesh will be torn from his breasts, arms, thighs and claves with red-hot pincers, his right hand, holding the knife with which he committed the said parricide, burnt with sulphur, and, on those places where the flesh will be torn away, poured molten lead, boiling oil, burning resin, wax and sulphur melted together and then his body drawn and quartered by four horses and his limbs and body consumed by fire, reduced to ashes and his ashes thrown to the winds” (Pièces originales…, 372-4).

“Finally, he was quartered,” recounts the Gazette d’Amsterdam of 1 April 1757. “This last operation was very long, because the horses used were not accustomed to drawing; consequently, instead of four, six were needed; and when that did not suffice, they were forced, in order to cut off the wretch’s thighs, to sever the sinews and hack at the joints…

This is how Michel Foucault opens his work, Discipline and Punish. Again, those who want to go more profoundly into the subject can go do their own research. The main point of these observations was to deconstruct the modern perception of treating the body as a sacrosanct locus of individual rights. For Foucault, power did not cease inflicting pain on the body because of some abstract concept of being “civilized”, but more because other forms of control were deemed more effective and less susceptible to causing sympathy towards the criminal.
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19 02 2010

It’s better when you’re in a monastery in the desert listening to this chant in the dead of night. But still well done.

Defending the indefensible

18 02 2010

I will go ahead and curmudgeonly indulge in saying that I don’t know reiki from saki. But a recent segment on Religion and Ethics News Weekly (a show that I watch, often while wincing), brought up many issues that I have addressed on this blog and elsewhere regarding the nature of religion, metaphysics, and healing. In the battle between un-habited New Age nuns and the U.S. Council of Bishops, in unlikely fashion I am coming to the defense of the nuns. It’s not that I like ambient music, fancy Asian energies, or liberal religious who seem to just need a good old fashioned Baltimore Catechism brainwashing session. I rather dislike all of these things, actually, but I dislike a-historical metaphysical rationalism even more, and bishops are not high up on my list either.
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From Lope de Vega

17 02 2010

¿Qué tengo yo que mi amistad procuras?
¿Qué interés se te sigue, Jesús mío,
que a mi puerta, cubierto de rocío,
pasas las noches del invierno escuras?

¡Oh, cuánto fueron mis entrañas duras,
pues no te abrí! ¡Qué estraño desvarío
si de mi ingratitud el yelo frío
secó las llagas de tus plantas puras!

¡Cuántas veces el ángel me decía:
Alma, asómate agora a la ventana,
verás con cuánto amor llamar porfía!

¡Y cuántas, hermosura soberana:
Mañana le abriremos — respondía –,
para lo mismo responder mañana!

-Félix Lope de Vega y Carpio, Rimas sacras, Soneto XVIII
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Mardi Gras post!

16 02 2010

Spoils of one parade shared with the saints.

Valentine’s day brunch. Word of advice to men: don’t break your wife’s wine glasses.
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