Archive for December, 2009

Of all the annual, year end lists, this might be my favorite.  Lake Superior State University (Go Lakers!) have released their list of words and phrases that should go away.

Tweets, sexting “unfriended” in U.S. banned word list

By Carey Gillam Carey Gillam 52 mins ago

KANSAS CITY (Reuters) – If you recently tweeted about how you were chillaxin for the holiday, take note: Fifteen particularly over- or mis-used words and phrases have been declared “shovel-ready” to be “unfriended” by a U.S. university’s annual list of terms that deserve to be banned.

After thousands of nominations of words and phrases commonly used in marketing, media, technology and elsewhere, wordsmiths at Lake Superior State University on Thursday issued their 35th annual list of words that they believe should be banned.

Tops on the Michigan university’s list of useless phrases was “shovel-ready.” The term refers to infrastructure projects that are ready to break ground and was popularly used to describe road, bridge and other construction projects fueled by stimulus funds from the Obama administration.

And speaking of stimulus, that word — which was applied to government spending aimed at boosting the economy — made the over-used category as well, along with an odd assortment of Obama-related constructions such as Obamacare and Obamanomics.

“We say Obamanough already,” the LSSU committee said.

Also ripe for exile is “sexting,” shorthand for sexy text messaging, a habit that has caused trouble this year for public figures from politicians to star athletes.

Similarly, list makers showed distaste for tweeting, retweeting and tweetaholics, lingo made popular by users of the popular Twitter networking website. And don’t even get them started on the use of friend as a verb, as in: “He made me mad so I unfriended him on Facebook,” an Internet social site.

Male acquaintances need to find another word than “bromance” for their friendships, and the combination of “chillin” and “relaxin'” into “chillaxin” was an easy pick for banishment.


Also making the list was “teachable moment.”

“This phrase is used to describe everything from potty-training to politics. It’s time to vote it out!” said one list contributor.

“Toxic assets,” referring to financial instruments that have plunged in value, sickened list makers so much the phrase was added to the list, along with the tiresome and poorly defined “too big to fail” which has often been invoked to describe wobbly U.S. banks.

Similarly, “in these economic times” was deemed overdue for banishment due.

Also making the list — “transparent/transparency,” typically used, contributors said, when the situation is anything but transparent.

One list contributor wanted to know if there was an “app,” short-hand for “application” popularized by the mobile iPhone’s growing array of software tools, for making that annoying word go away.

And rounding out the list — “czar” as in car czar, drug czar, housing czar or banished word czar.

“Purging our language of ‘toxic assets’ is a ‘stimulus’ effort that’s ‘too big to fail,'” said a university spokesman.

(Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

via Yahoo!

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I have to say, when Mark Shea hits the ball squarely, he invariably knocks it out of the ballpark.  I try not to repost articles that were linked at New Advent, seeing how most of us start our day there, but if I do repost something, it seems to be a Mark Shea article.  I don’t know why, it just seems to be.  Anyway, here is another gem from him on the Catholic Exchange website

In Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead , two hapless characters who occupy a few minutes of stage time in Hamlet wander around, trying to figure out why they are there and what the story they are in is all about. They engage in comic banter and wordplay and, periodically, react to the main characters of Hamlet when they occasionally wander into the scene. Eventually, as we know from Hamlet , Rosencrantz and Guildenstern wind up getting killed in place of Hamlet, who is the actual center of the story. Their lives are essentially secondary—adjuncts in the service of the plot of Hamlet .

That’s not the only time a device like that has been used to tell a tale. A Japanese film called The Hidden Fortress gives us a tale of adventure as seen from the perspective of a couple of slaves. It was the inspiration for a rather more famous film called Star Wars , which showed us the entire narrative of a vast galactic conflict from the perspective of a couple of slaves called C-3PO and R2D2.

We are in a similar position to these bit players, slaves, droids, and also-rans. We assume the story of the world is about the famous and powerful. So, for instance, right now the headlines are consumed with Obama, bailouts for giant corporations, and the comings and goings of the powerful. Yet while all the while this kerfuffle is going on we may be missing the real story.

To see that, all we have to do is look at the supposed Big Stories of 2000 years ago. All the major players of antiquity—Augustus Caesar, Herod the Great, Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate, Caiaphas, Herod Antipas—they are all forgotten. The main reason anybody remembers them today, if they do, is because they happened to live in the time of an utterly obscure manual laborer and itinerant preacher who was born in some rathole village nobody ever heard of, who grew up to cause a small commotion in some jerkwater province on the edge of nowhere and, for his troubles, wound up horsewhipped and spiked to a cross as a lesson to the legion of other faceless riff-raff who periodically trouble the smooth running of the System.

Any decent citizen of the time would have known for certain whose story belonged on the front page and who deserved the two line death notice on page D10. And any decent citizen would have been wrong. Pilate, Caesar, Caiaphas and the rest were the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of their time: bit players in the Real Story featuring Jesus of Nazareth.

We can forget just as easily today that where Christ is, there the main story is. That is but one of the reasons that God warns Israel so sternly that he is the Defender of the stranger, the orphan and the widow. It’s just another way of saying, “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:35-36; 40).

That’s not to say God doesn’t choose people for special roles in history. It’s to say we often don’t know where the spotlight really is being thrown. And we often don’t remember that the Chosen are always chosen for the sake of the Unchosen. If that sounds like boasting, just remember that Jesus was The Chosen One: all the rest of us are chosen in him. And to be chosen means something much more like being selected out of the lineup at Auschwitz to die in the place of another man (like St. Maximilien Kolbe) than being winner of the lottery. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”

However, just as the story is not necessarily where we think it should be, so it is also not over when we think it is either. Just when you figure the credits are going to roll, Jesus is raised from the dead and all the bit players, also-rans, second fiddles, sidekicks, extras, doowop singers, droids, slaves, and chorus line members are revealed to be, with Jesus, what the whole thing was all about. For “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29).

I read this and ask myself how I am cooperating with God’s storyline, both my little story and His greater universal one.  After all, the story of our salvation IS the greatest story ever told.  And we need to trust that we have a role in it, though we may not see it now.  Remember, now we see darkly but that doesn’t negate that God’s plan is unfolding to us and perhaps through us.  So I ask myself, am I cooperating with God’s storyline?  (Longtime readers know that discernment is an issue for me.) 

As Mark says, we might think that we know who the ‘big players’ are, but what we can’t see in our ignorance, smallness and humanity is how God works greatness out of the humble and despised.  Perhaps God is working through us, our neighbors and our family.  Grace, like the Force in Star Wars, flows through us.   We need to feel the abounding grace.

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Wisdom from my blogging friend Ryan at Without Having Seen.  This is his comment in reply to Patrick Madrid‘s post on what to do with a Facebook friend who may or may not have been out of line in a discussion.  I think that Ryan has again charitably and faithfully stated catholic (universal) truths, and I’m reprinting it here to benefit my readers, too.

Thy Handmaid’s son said…The issue isn’t whether abortion is murder or not. That’s a given: yes.

The issue is whether, in the context of a discussion, this truth is the paramount one in the hierarchy of truths. The Code of Canon Law, which is an invaluable resource for instruction about the heart and mind of the Church, gives us an interesting clue on this point. The very last canon, which deals with the transfer of pastors, says this:

“In cases of transfer, the prescripts of can. 1747 are to be applied, canonical equity is to be observed, and the salvation of souls, which must always be the supreme law of the Church, is to be kept before one’s eyes,” (CIC 1752).

The salvation of souls is the supreme law of the Church, and if I might add, its primary mission. In fact, I need not, because the Catechism says it better (CCC 849-51). Salvation, and thus missionary work, must be grounded in truth. The fundamental truth of all human affairs is that God’s great love for us wills to save all men, and we must order our presentation of subordinate truths in a manner that will make them most credible. Missionary work, our proactive, evangelical share in this saving plan, requires patience, the Catechism tells us (CCC 854). That is because people are all coming from different places and experiences and will respond to different individual true statements in different ways; this also largely depends upon the person by whom they hear the truth proclaimed.

When dealing with someone on an issue, particularly a thorny one, I ask myself a few questions, since the salvation of souls – and not the simple proclamation of truth – is the highest law of the Church. The questions include: “Will this person listen to me? I am a 32 year old man with such-and-such a personality, this sort of relationship to the person, and this sort of reasons and experience to fall back on. Will he listen to me? Can I express the truth clearly and charitably? Are my motivations pure – that is, about my love for this person – or are my motivations tainted by anger, spiritual ambition, or what have you? Is it a truth that I need to proclaim? Can the person wait to hear it, or must it be spoken now, with dire consequences otherwise? Am I well disposed to help the person cope with any emotional fallout that might arise, to really care about the PERSON and not just the argument?”

If it sounds like I am making a very complicated issue of a simple debate, that’s because it’s not about an issue, but about souls. The salvation of souls is the supreme law of the Church. For my part, I try to make the supreme law of my conduct to be faith, hope, and charity. These three alleviate the burden of having to win debates, do it myself, and cater to my own interior motivations. I am free – when tuned into these divinely given virtues – to say, “Hey, maybe I don’t win this today, but Jesus wins in the end, so I am free just to pray for the person and trust God, if that’s all I can do now.” BAM! Pressure gone.

It is no lie, if a post-abortive woman asks, “Am I a murderer?” to respond, “You are a beloved daughter of God, who wants you only to know his love, to repent of the sins of your past, and live new life with him – just like everybody else.” It is no lie, nor is it an evasion. It is defering one truth in favor of a much more important one.

December 28, 2009 11:55 PM

That is awesome, Ryan.  You gave me something to ponder, a better way of thinking of evangelization.  Ya just taught me a lesson!  thanks!  <3

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Have mercy on me, O God, according to your great mercy. And according to the multitude of your tender mercies blot out my iniquity. 4 Wash me yet more from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 5 For I know my iniquity, and my sin is always before me. 6 To you only have I sinned, and have done evil before you: that you may be justified in your words, and may overcome when you are judged. 7 For behold I was conceived in iniquities; and in sins did my mother conceive me. 8 For behold you have loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of your wisdom you have made manifest to me. 9 You shall sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed: you shall wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow. 10 To my hearing you shall give joy and gladness: and the bones that have been humbled shall rejoice. 11 Turn away your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 12 Create a clean heart in me, O God: and renew a right spirit within my bowels. 13 Cast me not away from your face; and take not your holy spirit from me. 14 Restore unto me the joy of your salvation, and strengthen me with a perfect spirit. 15 I will teach the unjust your ways: and the wicked shall be converted to you. 16 Deliver me from blood, O God, you God of my salvation: and my tongue shall extol your justice. 17 O Lord, you will open my lips: and my mouth shall declare your praise. 18 For if you had desired sacrifice, I would indeed have given it: with burnt offerings you will not be delighted. 19 A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit: a contrite and humbled heart, O God, you will not despise.

Psalm 51

Just a reminder that I reject the dunghill theory of Luther’s.

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Today’s Random Macgyver Post is via kalleanka71  on YouTube, combining two of my most favorite-est shows:


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…whenever we say “yes” to God’s will.  –Fr. Tom, Midnight Mass homily

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God’s amazing plan…

We remember it today, we celebrate it, and hopefully we are awed by it. 

May peace be with you all throughout this year.  May the wonder of God’s creation and Jesus’ incarnation stay with you long past the removal of your Christmas lights.  Please keep me, my family, your pastor, the Church and Pope Benedict in your prayers.  You are in mine.

God bless you.

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