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Archive for January 2012

29 January . Comment

Republic, lost

I can’t speak highly enough of Lawrence Lessig‘s latest book, Republic, Lost. I’ve written often in this blog about his work on intellectual property and creative commons issues. Now his latest effort has to do with fighting corruption in government. The book is a very compelling and accessible read, and I highly recommend it. He’s also worked with a number of people and organizations who are organizing to reform money in politics. One of them — Rootstrikers.org — has a great site that includes a parody of the book “Good night Moon” around these issues. Here’s a brief video that introduces his work:

24 January . Comment

The value of silence

Pope Benedict focused his statement on World Communications Day this year on silence: its value, silence as a foundation for good listening, silence in a world of noisy chaos.

I found his words very profound.

It’s hard not to wonder, of course, to what extent we are to follow what is said, rather than what is enacted. I am reminded of the dictum in the Rule of Benedict that goes: “To obey in all things the commands of the Abbot or Abbess even though they (which God forbid) should act otherwise, mindful of the Lord’s precept, ‘Do what they say, but not what they do.’” (RB 4.60)

The Pope’s message is difficult to encounter when so many church officials seem to be urging silence not for reverence’s sake, but for political reasons. Still I resonate with this reflection, written by a Jesuit, who is reflecting upon his increasing need for reverence in church and how that connects with his practice of bikram yoga:

So I want something different. Not just in my own room, but in a place out in the world, with others. A silence that is shared. I want to enter a place where quiet is not only an expectation, but is so internalized by its devotees that they wouldn’t think of breaking it. I find this then, for a few precious minutes each day, at Bikram. People are quiet because, I think, they know how good it is. For themselves and for the others. They enjoy being quiet there. In fact, I think my fellow yoga students have fun being silent. As people walk down the hall toward the hot room, you get the sense that they are going to an amusement park. Oh, come on in with me. They let us be silent in here! It’s a riot! You’ll love it!

Along with everything else, this is what Bikram gives me. Silence, and calm, and silence. Most weekday masses do their best to be quiet too, and sometimes they pull it off. Every day at Bikram there is silence. I go as much as I can.

24 January . Comment

A Catholic response to the Jesus/Religion video

So, a couple of weeks ago I asked for a Catholic response to this video, and it seems there are now many of them! Here’s one of the better produced versions -:

I love that this has become a kind of goad to individual production, and I think the more versions/voices we engage, the better!

24 January . Comment

Beautiful music to give you hope

I haven’t been blogging much — too much going on to slow down to write. But I can’t resist sharing this music video:

(Hat tip to Stephanie Lape)

18 January . Comment

Too Big to Know

I’ve had a wonderful new set of books to read these past few weeks, and I’ll try to get around to talking about each one of them at length. Until then, note that I highly recommend Lawrence Lessig’s Republic, Lost, David Weinberger’s Too Big to Know, and Stephen Brookfield and John Holst’s Radicalizing Learning.

Jeff Jarvis has a great review of Weinberger’s book. I’ll look for other reviews as they emerge to post here.

18 January . Comment

Stop SOPA and PIPA

Eric has written about this to our senators far more persuasively than I can, so I refer you to his letter. There is also additional information at the Electronic Frontier Foundation site. (There is also a useful one page handout available there.) Take action today — we really only have a brief time in which to make a difference!

12 January . Comment

Jesus and religion

Here’s a powerful spoken word poem that is making the rounds of facebook:

It’s clearly Protestant in theology, with production values strong enough that I’m having a hard time finding a similarly powerful Catholic piece. Anyone out there have some examples? I’d like to find one that takes seriously the communal character of Christian life, with an emphasis on social justice. While I appreciate much of what this young man is saying, it falls too much into the individualist mode for me to really want to use it as a stand alone.


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