Mar. 9, 2010, at 12:34pm
I was a supporter of the Iraq invasion at the time. But a comment by Daniel Pipes in the Corner this morning expresses well my worries now.
“It takes a cynical mind not to share in the achievement of Iraq’s national elections.” So writes the Wall Street Journal editorial board today. I’m no cynic, but my mood about Iraq could variously be described as depressed, despairing, despondent, dejected, pessimistic, melancholic, and gloomy.
That’s because the Iraqi regime (along with those of Afghanistan, Lebanon, and the Palestinian Authority) is a kept institution that cannot survive without constant American support. As long as Washington pumps money and sacrifices lives to maintain the Baghdad government, the latter can hobble along. Remove those props and Iranian-backed Islamists soon take over.
Tehran has aspired to seize effective control of Iraq since the U.S.-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003. With many levers at hand, from mosques to schools to militias to politicians, the Iranian despots are well placed to inherit the country.
It does no good to remove a tyrant militarily if the moral conditions that allowed his rise to power remain in force on the ground. We would have done much better, I now think, to support internal resistance.
Thanks, Rhett! Yes, I really liked that book. I can also recommend highly Langford's "Mother Teresa's Secret Fire" as well as as Leo Maasburg's "Mother Teresa of Calcutta". Both knew her very well and their books are very inspiring. Langford managed to show that at the heart of Mother Teresa's spirituality lies Christ's thirst for our inner Cacluttas, i.e. for our inner darkness, our weaknesses and sins. We often shut Him out from those, since we think they are too ugly. But He thirsts for full union, which means opening these dimensions of our soul to him as well.
Apr. 24 at 1:11pm | See in context
Thank you Marie for introducing me to Chiara. Extraordinary!
For an appreciation of a saint for whom a great deal of her life was a dark, dark night, I'd recommend reading Mother Teresa, Come be My Light.
She was able to bring her intelligence and heart to "satiating the thirst of Jesus" despite an extraordinary inner anquish.
Apr. 24 at 12:46pm | See in context
"Do things seriously, but don't take yourself serious."
Apr. 24 at 4:48am | See in context
:) I just ordered it!
Apr. 23 at 1:23pm | See in context
And don't forget Girl at the End of the World!!
Apr. 23 at 1:13pm | See in context
It's perverse- such a good word for it- and, is it what Christ was talking about when He warned us about the seriousness of putting stumbling blocks in front of people, or harming little ones? I find that because of being raised in the way you are descrcibing, my ability to trust in God has been permanently wounded. Its like shrapnel- it just won't come out, in fact it has to stay in for one's own good! (But we have the hope of resurrection!) It would be psychologically easier to be an atheist, and I can't judge anyone who needs to take that root perhaps for their sanity- but hope they will come to know the truth about Him!
When a person is raised raised believing- no, feeling- that God is "the bad guy" (and as a child, anyone who makes you feel bad, yucky inside is "the bad guy" ) and that somehow, that makes Him "the good guy" to your parents - there is something diabolical going on. Hm. It is hard to put into words. Thank you for the books Katie van Schaijik- I have read Boundaries, and now I shall have good reason to also read Codependent No More.
Apr. 23 at 1:07pm | See in context
I have the same tendency, Katie. Willing oneself to be joyful backfires, as you say, yet there is a lot of pressure, I find, within certain Christian circles to be joyful. There is, of course, a way of burdening the rest of the world with one's bad mood, which is wrong. Yet putting on an act and faking it is wrong as well. If the smile is not simply a "grimacing", merely a lifting of one's facial muscles, but a response to another person, an expression of love, even if one isn't feeling joyful, then, it seems to me, it is genuine. My smile then is a loving reaching out to another. St Therese of Lisieux was saying how she would smile to a nun each time she saw her though the latter had a difficult character. She probably wasn't feeling joyful inside, but could still radiate real love by deciding to be welcoming to the other, and real joy, because of God's presence in her soul.
Apr. 23 at 5:29am | See in context
This is new to me:
The dark night, after all, is not the result of sin, an absence of grace, but rather a presence of God so overwhelming that the soul is blinded. She experiences as darkness what is really an abundance of light and love. God allows this for the good of the soul, even though it is excruciatingly painful. While she may not feel His presence, it can be felt by the persons surrounding her, sensing God’s presence in her.
I've never come across so clear a distinction between this sense of dark night and mere suffering, or so clear an explanation for how Christian joy can coincide with inner anguish.
Reading it, I realize how much my tendency is to feel guilty about not being joyful, and then to "will myself" to be joyful, which of course backfires.
Apr. 23 at 2:11am | See in context
M.C., I've found the book Co-dependant No More very helpful and illuminating. There were "recovering alcoholics" in my life growing up, so I'd heard the term. But it it's only recently that I've begun to really look into what it is, and try to understand what it means for personal and interpersonal life. Now lights are going on.
Another great book on the same theme (which I read at Kate's recommendation) is Boundaries.
I know I'm going to spend years working out the relation between the nature of a person as a being "made for her own sake and called to make a sincere gift of herself in love" and the problem of dysfunctional relations, wherein the master/slave dynamic disguises itself as Christian community.
The "master" figure in that situation typically (and unwittingly) teaches those around him to regard their attempts to be a self as "selfish" and otherwise morally and religiously defective. He imagines that by imposing his will on others, he is being a leader and an example. The "slave" figure disguises to herself her lack of courage and strength as humility and service. She imagines that she is being loving and giving.
Apr. 23 at 2:05am | See in context
Thank you very much! i appreciate that, Kate Whittaker
Apr. 22 at 10:39pm | See in context
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