Friday, March 21, 2003

First Cut. There was this the other day in Lileks bleat:
In any case, it's obvious tonight this isn't SHOCK AND AWE, which brings me to the Library of Congress. Years ago ago I was standing in the LoC, looking up at the glorious ceiling, and I saw a curious phrase painted above:
The true shekinah is man.
That quote stuck in my mind, because I had no idea what it meant. Later I looked it up.
A visible manifestation of the divine presence as described in Jewish theology.
Sound it out.
Reading this, I wondered what the quote meant -- was this some kind of Jeffersonian neutering of God -- some kind of secular humanistic exulatation of man? It turns out the quote is from John Chrysostom [I'm still trying to pin down the source, which is why this is a first cut.] Some of Chrysostom's works

Moreover, doing some quick researching on the web, I see Thomas Carlyle commented on this in Heroes And Hero Worship:
But now if all things whatsoever that we look upon are emblems to us of the Highest God, I add that more so than any of them is man such an emblem. You have heard of St. Chrysostom's celebrated saying in reference to the Shekinah, or Ark of Testimony, visible Revelation of God, among the Hebrews: "The true Shekinah is Man!" Yes, it is even so: this is no vain phrase; it is veritably so. The essence of our being, the mystery in us that calls itself "I,"--ah, what words have we for such things?--is a breath of Heaven; the Highest Being reveals himself in man. This body, these faculties, this life of ours, is it not all as a vesture for that Unnamed? "There is but one Temple in the Universe," says the devout Novalis, "and that is the Body of Man. Nothing is holier shall that high form. Bending before men is a reverence done to this Revelation in the Flesh. We touch Heaven when we lay our hand on a human body!" This sounds much like a mere flourish of rhetoric; but it is not so. If well meditated, it will turn out to be a scientific fact; the expression, in such words as can be had, of the actual truth of the thing. We are the miracle of miracles,--the great inscrutable mystery of God. We cannot understand it, we know not how to speak of it; but we may feel and know, if we like, that it is verily so.

More. Still looking. Any ideas?

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

It has begun. I pray that it goes quick and that there is a minimum loss of life. I get worried -- the Civil War was supposed to be quick -- civilians camped out at Manassas with picnics thinking it would be quick and easy.

Some prayers:
For those in the Armed Forces of our Country

Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and
keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home
and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly
grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give
them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant
them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

In Times of Conflict

O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us,
in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront
one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work
together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus
Christ our Lord. Amen.

For our Enemies

O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love
our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth:
deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in
your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For Peace

Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn
but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the
strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that
all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of
Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and
glory, now and for ever. Amen.
il Papa aka the Pope. The Pope's position on Iraq and the war is very nuanced. See this discussion by Uwe Siemon-Netto.
Dad. My father will be playing a key role in the upcomming conflict as he did in the Gulf War. Actually, it would be more correct to say that he played a key role. My father is a Marine -- have I ever mentioned that? I have, okay.

Anyway, back in the 1970s, he worked with other members of other services to plan for war in the 1980s and 1990s. Then, in 1979 and 1980, he developed and guide through a program that would allow for the rapid projection of force. He developed one of several plans that went before the Joint Chiefs of Staff for approval and then to the Secretary of Defense and President Carter for approval. The plan developed by my father was the one that got the approval of the JSC, SecDef, and the President and is operational today. It's known as the Prepositioning Program and it will be used in the upcomming war against Iraq as it was in the prior Gulf War to ensure the equipment, fuel and supplies to support our military forces are there when needed.

For his work on this, my father was awarded the Legion of Merit, the second-highest peacetime medal which may be awarded. (If I remember correctly, this was the second time he was awarded the Legion of Merit, the first time I believe it was for combat service and he also was awarded a "V" for valor. See this page for more on these awards.

Sunday, March 16, 2003

Navel Gazing. Yeah, I'm still on "hiatus." I do want to use this as an "on-line diary" so I can record entries like yesterday's. I don't want to forget some of these things.