During lunch today, NPR was playing in the dining hall and we heard a story about schools switching their student’s email over to Google Gmail. I didn’t know that this was any kind of an issue; my school uses Gmail for our email–just like my high school did–and I didn’t know that other schools used anything else. The story featured a student at Yale University who is opposed to the school using Gmail because of “privacy” concerns. He admitted that he uses Gmail for his personal email, but that is different because he chooses to do that and he can choose to stop at anytime; he opposes the school forcing him to use Gmail for his school email.
This boy reminded me of the people who are making a big deal about only filling in the first box on the Census (*rolls eyes*). The alternative to Gmail is having email on some email system run by your school. So either your email will be on computers owned by Google or on computers owned by your school. What is the difference? And why are you concerned anyway? You should only be using school email for school purposes. Personally, I hate email. I read my school email every day because I have to and it is the main email on my phone (which is a Google Droid), however I only check my personal email about once a week. And I love Google.
Are people too over-concerned about “privacy”? If you are not doing anything wrong, I don’t see that you should be freaking out. That doesn’t make any sense, to me, at all. What do you think?
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Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For all who eat and drink without discerning the body, eat and drink judgment against themselves. For this reason many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. (1 Corinthians 11:27-32, New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition)
It is in this passage that we find the basis of Section 915 of the Code of Canon Law:
Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.
It has been rare that CCL 915 has ever actually been put to use. Recently, a Catholic blogger and expert on Canon Law has made the case that if there ever was a time to use CCL 915, it is the case of Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi. Speaker Pelosi’s views on abortion, which contradict Church teaching, have long been known but the issue came back to the forefront recently during the health-care debate, particularly due to the concern that the new health-care bill allows for public funding of abortion. It is the second clause of CCL 915 that is viewed as applicable to the Speaker, the problem being that Mrs. Pelosi refuses to come in line with Church teaching and, being a public figure and a lawmaker, is a problematic public example of rebellion against Church authority.
I don’t necessarily have a problem with the use of CCL 915 in the case of the Speaker, my problem lies in the political nature of the issue. There are likely millions of American Catholics who vote in favor pro-abortion candidates, and who support the “pro-choice” position. In fact, if I had been able to vote in 2008, I probably would have been one of them (a position I am forced to seriously reconsider looking toward 2012, with hope that a good alternative will be available in lieu of not voting for President at all). Now the issue becomes, is there “obstinate perseverance” in going against Church teaching? In my case, I am personally firmly opposed to abortion in all cases, but I hate it as a political issue where such a grave matter of life becomes a trifle, as do all political issues in America. My problem is the fact that Bishops constantly speak out with warnings about politicians and CCL 915 but they never warn the average Catholic of the same. And my problem is with Bishops speaking out about abortion but not against Catholic politicians who support the death penalty, unjust war, and are divorced, all public and obstinate violations of the teaching of the Church. I have a problem with the Eucharist being used as a political tool.
When I was seven-years-old, I swore off green beans for 40 days. At eight, I learned that the true reason that I was supposed to give up something for Lent was to show that I loved Jesus more than what I was giving up. I loved Jesus so much more than doing my chores. My mom didn’t agree that chores presented a reasonable Lenten sacrifice, and she had powerful allies. Our Parish Priest and assorted nuns at school confirmed that allowing over six weeks of filth to accumulate in my bedroom was not in keeping with the spirit of Lent. Even today, I would much rather give up homework than chocolate or Xanga but I know better. I know today that Lent is not the opportunity for a New Year’s resolution do-over.
When millions of us take part in the Sacrament of Reconciliation on Mardi Gras (French for “Fat Tuesday”), and receive our traditional ashes on our foreheads the next day, we will be starting a period that is not just about giving something up, but about bringing ourselves closer to Jesus Christ. While the most well-known practice of Lent is doing without luxuries, as well as fasting and avoiding meat, it is this practice that is least related to what Lent truly means. We often speak very publicly of what we are setting aside, be it alcohol, caffeine, television, sugar or sex (many try). In fact we speak so publicly and loudly of it, that we seem to need the reminders of our Ash Wednesday Gospel readings from Matthew 6 so much more as our pride, hypocrisy and gloominess often appear to know no bounds. It is these three things that Jesus speaks of–almsgiving, prayer, and fasting–that make up the Christian unification with Christ in the desert. For Catholics, Wednesday begins one of the two seasons of preparation for the cores of the Christian calendar; Lent being our preparation for Easter and Advent for Christmas. We should ask ourselves, though, is giving up candy or American Idol actually bringing us closer to our Lord, or is it just a way to go through the motions and make ourselves feel better? There is nothing wrong with giving something up, in fact we should, except that we should focus on testing ourselves while simultaneously doing those things that make us more like Christ. Do without something that truly requires discipline to avoid, while adding something that equally requires commitment. For example, make peace with your sworn enemy, or right a long-past wrong. All the while pray without ceasing and perhaps literally leave yourself with just one coat.
Lent is our preparation for death. The death of Good Friday. It is a call to kill all the personal needs that scream for our attention so that we hear only Jesus Christ. It is when we kill our selfishness, our desire, our greed, our worldly tastes that we become ready to have life, resurrected, on Easter Sunday.
I believe in aliens. I believe that they exist and I believe that God created them just as He created us. I also believe that it is very possible that God provided them with a revelation of their own. As we search the galaxy–if I am right–we will eventually find other life. Or it will find us. Imagine us arriving on Cassius 15 in the Vextar Region of the Rimbula galaxy.
Us: Hey, aliens! What do you know. Let’s be friends! Meet our leader and the guy who lost.
Aliens: Yes, we shall be friends. Let us each learn about the other’s cultures and beliefs. What is it that you humans believe?
Us: Well, we like pizza, sex, Facebook, pictures of kittehs, and American Idol. Most of us believe in God, or god, or something like that. But we’re Americans who discovered you, so our God is the one who counts, He even told us so in this book.
Aliens: God!! We believe in Him too. He also gave us a book, and it says we are made in His image and that He became one of us to save us. We call Him Jesus.
Us: Hey!! Our book says that too! WTF?!!??!!??
Both look up to the heavens.
God: Look…uhhhmmmmm…*scratches forehead*…whew…this is awkward…I don’t know what to say here…look…I never thought you guys were gonna meet.
Original post: http://scrambledmegsntoast.xanga.com/719698420/gods-humiliation-and-shame/