Posts Tagged ‘the Church’

“And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard (Ge.9:20).”

While discussing the symbolism in the Book of Genesis we dealt with the butterfly effect in an earlier instance. We shall consider the vine and husbandry associated with it. What does this effect signify? A symbol introduced under the Old Covenant, the import of which becoming far greater in the end explains the butterfly effect. The Spirit’s intent is two fold: It glorifies the Son as the heir of all things (He.1:2) and secondly establishes the Alpha and Omega aspect of Jesus Christ.

In order to illustrate this effect let us consider the symbolism of the olive leaf  introduced in the episode of Noah and the flood. After the ark of Noah came to rest upon the mountains of Ararat, he sent a a dove to investigate. We read that she brought back ‘an olive leaf pluckt off’ Whereas in the Genesis account it is casually presented the symbolism however becomes preeminent in establishing the salvation plan of God. Thus what was a trifle  casts a long shadow to the end times. The idea of the dove not finding ‘no rest for the sole of her foot’ acquires a greater significance when we associate the Holy Spirit is represented by a dove.  At the baptism of Jesus we read in the gospel of St Matthew thus, “…And he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove(Mt.3:16). It points to the outpouring of the Spirit upon all flesh on the day of Pentecost. The church is compared to a wild olive tree(Ro.11:24) “”And (graffed) contrary to nature into a good olive tree..:.The Spirit in reorganizing two narrative bodies one from God the Father and the other from the point of view of God, the Son establishes the branch from the olive tree to the Church. By the same token the vine is another symbol which is what we are considering at present.

“I am the true vine and my Father is the husbandman (Jn.15: 1).”  Considering the number of parables which our Savior Lord said in this context we shall treat  the image of Noah  planting a vineyard as intentionally set down and the Spirit instructs us to remember our place in terms of the Husbandman.”For without me you can do nothing (vs.15:5).”

Noah was drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. What shall man make of jealousy of God? Or the verse “And it repented the Lord that he made man…(Ge.6:6)” In order to understand where Ham failed we may recall the first of Ten Commandments. “Honor Thy Father and Mother…” Carrying tales or judging ‘seemingly different lifestyles of’ brethren’ must be seen as lack of reverence for God.





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Francois Rabelais-(1495?-1553)
There is not a single reliable portrait of Rebalais extant. Not one of them is like another. One engraving produced towards the end of the 16th century seems more true to the real person. Here quoting from one of the introductory remarks attached to Gargantua and Pantagruel we read thus ‘his features are strong furrowed with deep wrinkles; his beard is short and scanty; his cheeks are thin and already worn-looking. On his head he wears the square cap of the doctors and the clerks, and his dominant expression, somewhat rigid and severe, is that of a physician and a scholar..’Details of his birth and date also seem rather vague. Making up for scant information of his life his references in his romances to names persons and places become more valuable. In his patrons and intercourse, friendships, his sojournings, and his travels we have a treasure trove of details.
Like Descartes and Balzac he was a native of the Touraine and by general opinion he was born in Chinon, whose praises he sang with which such heartiness and affection. Because he was the youngest his father destined him for the Church.While a novice his future patrons Brothers du Ballay were studying an the University of Angers. He entered the monastery of the Franciscan Cordeliers at Fontenay-le-Comte. It was here his powers were ripening and he began to study also think. The encyclopaediac movement of the Renaissance was in the air and Rabelais threw himself with all his energy into it. The Church position favored Latin and study in Greek was thought as dangerous. In their eyes it invited free thought, heresy. But Rabelais pursued it with vigor.
He was well versed in science, philology, and law, already becoming known and respected by the humanists of his era, including Budé. Harassed due to the directions of his studies, Rabelais petitioned Pope Clement VII and was granted permission to leave the Franciscans and enter the Benedictine order at Maillezais, where he was more warmly received.
In 1532, he moved to Lyon, one of the intellectual centres of France, and not only practiced medicine but edited Latin works for the printer Sebastian Gryphius. As a doctor, he used his spare time to write and publish humorous pamphlets, which were critical of established authority and stressed his own perception of individual liberty. His revolutionary works, although satirical, revealed an astute observer of the social and political events unfolding during the first half of the sixteenth century.
Using the pseudonym Alcofribas Nasier (an anagram of François Rabelais minus the cedille on the c), in 1532 he published his first book, Pantagruel, that would be the start of his Gargantua series. In this book, Rabelais sings the praises of the wines from his hometown of Chinon through vivid descriptions of the eat, drink and be merry lifestyle of the main character, the giant Pantagruel and his friends. Despite the great popularity of his book, both it and his prequel book on the life of Pantagruel’s father Gargantua were condemned by the academics at the Sorbonne for their unorthodox ideas and by the Roman Catholic Church for their derision of certain religious practices. Rabelais’s third book, published under his own name, was also banned.
With support from members of the prominent du Bellay family, Rabelais received the approval from King François I to continue to publish his collection. However, after the king’s death, Rabelais was frowned upon by the academic elite, and the French Parliament suspended the sale of his fourth book.
Rabelais traveled frequently to Rome with his friend Cardinal Jean du Bellay, and lived for a short time in Turin with du Bellay’s brother, Guillaume, during which François I was his patron. Rabelais probably spent some time in hiding, threatened by being labeled a heretic. Only the protection of du Bellay saved Rabelais after the condemnation of his novel by the Sorbonne. du Bellay would again help Rabelais in 1540 by seeking a papal authorization to legitimize two of his children (Auguste François, father of Jacques Rabelais, and Junie). Rabelais later taught medicine at Montpellier in 1534 and 1539.
Between 1545 and 1547, François Rabelais lived in Metz, then a free imperial city and a republic, to escape the condemnation by the University of Paris. In 1547, he became curate of Saint-Christophe-du-Jambet and of Meudon, from which he resigned before his death in Paris in 1553.
There are diverging accounts of Rabelais’ death and his last words. According to some, he wrote a famous one sentence will: “I have nothing, I owe a great deal, and the rest I leave to the poor”, and his last words were “I go to seek a Great Perhaps.”(ack:wikipedia)

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Science and Religion, as we look back into our past, have had a very uneasy relationship. The life of Galileo is a case in point. In his case he upturned an Edict, the Church had laid down on untested grounds: the Church position that the earth is the center of the universe. Authority of the Holy See springs from the Scriptures and it is plain for any right thinking person the Church, historically, has never had a single interpretation. Divisions in the Church in most cases have arisen, – from Quarto-decimen controversy to infallibility of Popes, on the reading of the Scriptures.
In 1633 Galileo at the age of 69 was judged by the Inquisition to have violated the Church edict. His crime? He validated the Copernican view that the sun, not the earth was the center of the universe. Galileo had succeeded in lifting the veil a little, past the prevailing understanding of the universe. Science, thanks to Galileo could look still further into space, standing from the shoulders of his findings. We know now that the Milky Way to which our sun is but one star and the Earth is not flat as believed once. Truth travels slowly as a child comes to man’s estate by many trial and errors. Mankind similarly has to pass through stages where Science is but one tool to test the quality of Truth.
When Truth speaks it has its own majesty that resonates in every man (who has sensed truth ever so little) and in the myriad manifestations of Nature. Science is merely man’s attempt to understand Nature a little better. As early as the 13th century Thomas Aquinas, a theologian had warned of the danger of literal interpretation of the Bible. Galileo using the newly invented telescope studied the universe. He made his discoveries (written in vernacular Italian than in scholarly Latin) and had a broader public.
In 1616 Robert Cardinal Bellarmine warned him. He cautioned the scientist that the Copernican view of the heavens should be treated as a hypothesis and nothing more. When his old friend Mafeo Cardinal Barberini became Pope Urban VIII in 1623 Galileo felt confident enough to write his controversial book in the form of a conversation. During the Inquisition Galileo seems to have said, ‘The intention of the Holy Spirit is to teach how to go to heaven and not how go the heavens.’ Galileo was found guilty. In an age when heretics were burnt at the stake he was treated relatively lenient. In 1980 Pope John Paul II appointed a commission of scientists, historians and theologians to reexamine the evidence and verdict. The report concluded that ‘the judges who condemned Galileo committed an error.’ (Ack:Frederick Golden-Time/ science-March 12,1984)
Church was all too powerful but its solidity was its undoing. The church had no room for manoeuver whereas ideas of man came thick and fast and in all shapes. The church that relied on set dogmas and interpretation, lost the battle when causes so vast and powerful came from all directions. Born out of ideas that had no concrete shape but given a form in the way man put these into. Like the coat of arms rampant lion on the shield which made the bearer act as valiantly as lion. These ideas smelled new and vibrant while that of the church had only the comfort of something so old and fixed. Faith of the church could not shake the proof of events.
Think how mind of man was invigorated by dissemination of ideas! The printing that came with movable types spread them around and the popularity of coffee shops brought those who lived in ivory towers,and man on the street meet. The Church held man by Sundays or special events in the church calendar. Whereas ideas went on every hour of the day,months and year.
The church never knew what hit her. The rabble was much more relevant than the cloth of the clergy. Their ideas of incense and incantation impacted the hearts less than the everyday speech of blood,sweat and tears. The big causes the Church espoused, like inquisition and crusades the World Wars were the very examples that made them irrelevant to the masses whose causes were all small as their daily bread.
Galileo may have been frightened out of his wits because of what the Church could do to his body but truth of his times was on his side. Having put his vision down all he needed was to let it fight his battle for all time to come.


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‘Can Evangelicals regain their clout after election losses?’ reads one news headline.  I cannot help thinking what the founder of Christianity would have said had he lived now among us. ‘My kingdom is not of this world,’ said he when he was hauled up before Pilate. Who was Pontius Pilate but a Roman who served the interests of Imperial Rome? Evangelicals these days have taken on themselves to do the hatchet job for powers that be. ‘If my kingdom were of this world then would my servants fight’. If the Evangelicals had no vested interest in serving this party or another  they should have no problem whichever side won or lost. They merely exercised their rights as good citizens. That is all. The so called clout attributed to them smells bad , as explosive mixture as God and mammon.
In Obama’s landslide victory it goes with out saying in an election fairly won, which represented American values,-a party that was retrogressive or one that stood for changes?

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