Jun 18 2009

Thursday Roundup

I’ve got a couple of long single-topic posts in mind for tomorrow, so I’ll do a small roundup today.

Here’s a fun article: Confessions of a Computer Hater. (I wonder, though, how he gets his articles from his typewriter to the web?)  I’ve known a few people like him, who were intelligent enough, but they just couldn’t manage to make computers or other machines work.  A classmate of mine was an incredible artist, but I think he made it through an entire year of computer class without learning how to load a file from disk.  He just wasn’t wired for logic.  I don’t know where he is now, but if he’s using a computer, I bet he’s cussing it.

I have to argue one point, though.  The reason we don’t have Dumb Computers like he wants isn’t because computer people don’t think that way.  It’s because it’s not nearly as easy and cheap as he thinks it would be.  The problem is that for a computer to be able to do the things the average user expects today—editing files, email, web browsing, getting images from a camera, etc.—it essentially needs to be smart enough to anticipate the user’s needs at all times.  Basically, it has to be smarter than the human who’s using it.  That’s not easy and cheap at all, but they’re working on it.

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Here’s a good article about God-lovers and people-lovers, and how the differences between them have affected the Mass.  Just a few days ago I heard someone mention Jesus’s commandment, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”  But that was His second commandment.  The “greatest and first commandment” (maximum et primum mandatum in Latin), which doesn’t get mentioned nearly as often today, was, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and with thy whole soul and with thy whole mind.”

As Fr. Longenecker says, we have to love God so that we can love His creation, both in ourselves and in our neighbors.  Without starting from the love of God, I think love of self too often turns into self-indulgence, and love of neighbor become a social function rather than an outpouring of Grace.  Love of God has to be the foundation.  Maybe that’s why Jesus called it the “greatest and first commandment,” instead of saying, “Here are two commandments in no particular order.”

It’s probably true that at times in history, that first commandment was overemphasized and the second one ignored.  But by the time I was growing up, the second one dominated almost completely.  The new Mass often seems to go along with this, bringing the focus down to the people, encouraging them to pay more attention to each other (especially in the new fan-shaped churches) and less to God.  But when Mass becomes about community and loving your neighbor, where do you go to focus on loving God with your whole heart, soul, and mind?  And if people get their “love thy neighbor” quota filled at church, what about all the other neighbors they meet throughout the week outside church?

We need to follow them both, but we’ve gotten them backwards.  As Fr. says, it makes a lot more sense to love God in Church so we can then go out and love our neighbors properly outside church—all our neighbors, not just the ones who go to church with us.

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And lastly, here’s the conversion story of Fr. John Corapi.  He’s got a pretty inspirational story, from a life with some major highs and lows, and he’s a good speaker.  If he’s ever in the area, I’d sure go see him speak.

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