Thirty six years ago, Voyager I, the unmanned spacecraft was launched into space from its Terran home. Scientist have confirmed it has now entered interstellar space some 12 billion miles away. The vastness of the universe is mind boggling to me. When we look at the stars at night we are seeing light that left those far away suns thousands to millions of years ago. The universe is so large that it is impossible for us to view the universe as it is; we can only see it as it was. It's like looking into one large time machine of the past. Psalm 8 considers our small, seemingly insignificant place in the midst of the the ever-expanding cosmos.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them? (8:3-4).
But the poet then remembers that the universe does not determine our place in it, but rather the One who created the universe:
Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
and crowned them with glory and honour.
You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under their feet,
all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas. (8:5-8).
Speaking of the cosmos, there are those who oppose spending money on space travel and studying the cosmos because they say the money should be used for needs here on earth. I understand the argument to a point; after all, one could use such an argument for many things. Let's not spend money on that second car and make do with one because that money saved can be used to feed hungry people. Let's not go on vacation to the beach this year. We can have as relaxing a vacation at home, and then we can give the money we saved to the food bank. Let's not buy the new set of golf clubs or the expensive boat so we can use the money to help the less fortunate.
I am not suggesting that how we spend our money does not matter. Indeed, it does. But the one thing I have noted over the years is that those who play "the money could be better spent elsewhere" card don't seem to employ the argument when it comes to their luxuries. When people play this card what they are in reality saying is, "What they are spending their money on is unimportant to me."
By the way, speaking of space exploration, here are some of the following things we now have because of human forays into space:
- invisible braces
- ear thermometers
- long-distance telecommunications
- cordless tools
- water filters (which have saved many, many lives in countries with bad water)
- kidney dialysis machines
- CAT scans
- fiber optics
As long as we continue to read Romans chapters 9-11 as being primarily about the divine predestination of individuals, we will always misunderstand what St. Paul is saying... 'nough said.
The video below was posted by my daughter, Courtney on Facebook. It concerns racial stereotypes, and not the stereotypes that are obvious even to those whose intellectual bulbs are dim, but to the subtle stereotypes we employ that often go unnoticed. In this video, they are accentuated in a way that is very funny, but makes the point well. It's worth sharing.
Some interesting facts about John Chrysostom, the fourth century priest and bishop of Constantinople can be found here. Here's a preview: "Christmas first appeared as a special feast during John's life. It was celebrated at Antioch for the first time about 378, eight years before Chrysostom was ordained there."
Quotes of the Week (Possibly, but Not Necessarily Said This Week):
"I almost wanted to vomit."-- Sen. Robert Menendez blasting Russian President Vladimir Putin's op-ed in the New York Times.
"What is wrong with you that you cannot seem to imagine a life without elective office?"-- MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell interviewing former Rep. Anthony Weiner.
"I'm a little bummed out because it looks like the Anthony Weiner madness is finally over. It was so good for talk show hosts, one of the best things that ever happened. As he drove away from reporters, he gave them the finger. So at least he went out with dignity. That's the important thing." –Conan O'Brien
"I researched 'the teenage brain' and found that their cerebral frontal cortex is not fully formed until they're twenty-five. So basically I had to accept that I was dealing with four mentally impaired people for the next decade. Mentally impaired people with car keys. Oh the horror!!!!!!!!!!! If I don't find a way to laugh at it I'll tear my hair out." --Susie Essman
"It may help to know that anchoring one's views by means of a creative handling of scripture was part and parcel of Jewish interpretation for generations before Jesus came on the scene. One of those creative techniques was to deliberately isolate a few words or a verse from its surrounding context and work it to make a point."
"Jesus seems to be quite at home with this type of creative use of the Bible, not just here but elsewhere in his debates with the religious leaders."-- Peter Enns
"Behind 'orthodoxy' stands the mass of uneducated Christian folk. The orthodox Christian does not need a perfect secular education to grasp the truths of his or her faith, as is often attested (Lactatius, Inst. Div. 6.21; Clement, Strom. 1.99.1; Tertullian, Praescr. 7.9-13; Origen, Contra Cel. 3.44. 'Any Christian manual laborer can find God!' (Tertullian, Apol. 46.9). The victory of orthodoxy was thus also a 'majority decisions': the followers of the heretics were numerically outnumbered; orthodoxy, easily comprehended by the masses, constituted the 'Great Church' (Origen, Contra Cel. 5.59: megalē ekklēsia; the term was coined by Celsus). Whoever has this 'Great Church behind him succeeds. It is a simple law of gravity."-- Peter Lampe, quoted by Michael Bird
Interesting and Somewhat Useless Trivia:
No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver and purple.
Caesar salad has nothing to do with any of the Caesars. It was first concocted in a bar in Tijuana, Mexico, in the 1920's.
I Love Irony. It's So Ironic:
"Next to the national anthem, the song most associated with the game of baseball is 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game,' an early-20th-century song usually played during the seventh-inning stretch. Ironically, it was written by two men who had never attended a baseball game."
"Jack Norworth wrote the words in 1908, after seeing a sign that said, 'Baseball Today -- Polo Grounds.' Albert Von Tilzer added the music. The song gained popularity in vaudeville acts, and now it's played at nearly every baseball game in the country."
This Week in History:
On September 36 1936, 17 year old Cleveland Indians' pitcher, Bob Feller strikes out 17 batters in one game, changing the American League record books.