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965The Belfast blog's new positive perspective

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  • Jon Kennedy
    Jan 6, 2014
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      Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
      his soj
      ourn in Northern Ireland'
      My Google+ diary and Belfast blog

      Jon Kennedy        

      JONAL ENTRY 1372 | MONDAY, JANUARY 6 2014

      Today's Scripture: . . . the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men, training us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world, awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of the great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.

      But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit, which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.

      From St. Paul's letter to Titus, chapter 2,
      from today's Orthodox lectionary readings.
      See the homiletical thought below.

      Today's diary
      Now the test begins
      the Christmas lights are down
      the stores downtown no longer stay open late,
      no one's wearing a Santa hat or singing on the malls.
      The winter dark grips harder and pulls in closer,
      the cold and damp are harder to withstand.
      Pull up your collar and down your earflaps,
      and don't forget your gloves...
      and though the winter seems unending,
      don't give in
      . Don't sleep all day.
      The spring will come, once more,
      the spring will surely come again.
      These days, even more than most of the past year, it seems every mention of the weather here has to be prefaced with, "right now." When I lived in Pennsylvania's Allegheny mountains, which has extreme weather compared with Northern Ireland's, the meteorologists could see a high or low coming and predict whole days and sometimes whole weeks of fair or foul weather accordingly. Here, it's safe to predict that it will be sunny tomorrow, then cloudy, shortly afterward drizzly, then rainy, and a bit laterif it isn't night yetsunny again. And many times it will all be accompanied by winds that make carrying an umbrella seem foolhardy.

      The saying that everybody talks about the weather but doesn't do anything about it is patently untrue. Everybody's doing something about it: talking about it. And without it, where would we be? Maybe the moon or somewhere in deep space.

      Today's inspiration

      My New Year's resolution for the blog is to be more proactively inspirational, so here on the first day after the twelve days of Christmas, "Christmas fare" is being replaced by "Today's inspiration." There's a lot of material supporting that aim on all of the online social networks and in our email, so that should be easy, but the trick will be to hold out for quality. Much of the time online, as in life, you get only what you pay for.

      This first video clip, which identifies the source of its punchline as Albert Einstein, has a mixed bag when it comes to quality. First, it would be stronger if it were not labelled "bringing religion back to school." It's about theological apologetics (making sound arguments for belief in God), not childhood education or religion, whatever that is. And of course it's hard to imagine a professor like this one being tricked twice by what is essentially the same argument or at least the same line of argument. But apart from those nits, this is worth spreading around.

      If you don't see the video here, please
      click this link to watch it on YouTube.

      Yesterday I rushed to "publish," and sent out the email of the blog without a link to the full-length movie on YouTube. My apologies to those who were disappointed. It was on the online version of the blog, but embedded videos do not show up in emails. Here's the link, in case you're still interested in seeing this excellent film.


      Today's quotes

      The contraceptive mandate [in Obamacare] is a strike by the partisans of the sexual revolution against the partisans of traditional sexual morality. . . .for forty years Americans had a settlement regarding contraception: Americans had the right to purchase it, but they did not have the right to make others pay for it. Suddenly, this compromise has ended: all health plans, even those paid for by employers religiously opposed to certain or all contraceptives and abortifacients, must provide these drugs.

      Suggestions that the government simply provide the contraceptives itself, or pursue some other way of providing contraceptives at no cost to the beneficiaries, fell on deaf ears. Failure to comply with the mandate would be financially ruinous for employers. Now the mandate is mired in litigation, with the Supreme Court due to hear two cases in the spring. That a large component of the opposition to religious liberty is motivated by animus toward traditional moral norms cannot be ignored. And [as some have said], this may well be the stiffest challenge religious believers face.
      — Carissa Mulder, an attorney in Washington, DC
      writing in "Sex, Drugs, and Religious Liberty"

      Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth. By simply not mentioning certain subjects... totalitarian propagandists have influenced opinion much more effectively than they could have by the most eloquent denunciations.
      — Aldous Huxley

      Homiletical thought: "Renouncing irreligion" seems like a backwards way of expressing the life lived in grace. But the worldly passions are behaviours acquired in a moment's prideful assertiveness and reinforced by repetition until they have to be unlearned. Unlearning begins with a commitment to do better from now on.

      In this passage the apostle is saying that in our baptism the same events take place in us that occurred in Jesus' baptism by John in the Jordan. The heavens open to receive us and the Holy Spirit descends to dwell in our humble temples.
      §     §     §
      Unless specified otherwise, none of the message memes used in this blog are the creation or property of the author, but are reposted here from the social networks. 
      Please leave comments on my Facebook or Google+ page.
      § I have now uploaded over 2,700 photos and videos, mostly from my current visit to Northern Ireland, but also including several hundred photos and videos from my summer in Pennsylvania (2012), and some photos of the family, on my Flickr site. Most of these are now organized by sets. Click here for the Flicker site.
      For more and more spontaneous posts, follow me onand (click on either icon to go to the site).

      Google+ works more automatically, so most of the pictures I post (excluding Flickr) are posted there. Feedback: Please comment on anything in today's blog on the Facebook and Google+ pages linked above, and of course via email to jrk@....

      Feedback is always welcome.

      §     §     §

      Please pray for my mission to Northern Ireland. You can read my background overview of this undertaking here. My residence/postal address is 227 Crumlin Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT14 7DY, UK. Mobile: 44 7455 980890.

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