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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

1 Maccabees, Chapter 13, Verse 17-18
17 Simon knew that they were speaking deceitfully to him. Nevertheless, for fear of provoking much hostility among the people, he sent for the money and the boys, 18 lest the people say “Jonathan perished because I would not send Trypho the money and the boys.”

Simon Maccabee now with the assumed death of his brother Jonathan becomes the next leader of the Jews but unlike his brother Jonathan does not become the high priest. Yet because it is not certain that his brother is dead he is prepared to pay the ransom that Trypho demands which is money and two of Jonathans sons as hostages which guarantee that when Jonathan is set free he will not revolt against Trypho. Trypho invades the land of Judah bringing Jonathan along as prisoner. If Simon refuses the exchange the people will hold him responsible for Jonathan’s death. If he accepts he is making a deal with a deceitful, treacherous, and ambitious animal called Trypho. Simon has no choice and pays. Trypho of course reneges, marches and ravages as he goes. Simon delays his march on Jerusalem. Thus Trypho prevented from taking the city of God, like Napoleon at the attempted taking of Moscow must retreat back to Syria when a seasonal snowstorm comes and before he goes kills Jonathan and probably his sons as well. This is tribalism at its worst.[1]

Tribalism and Fear - Unworthy of Christianity[2]

Marilynne Robinson, noted author, express’ some of her fears to what is happening today in many of the churches and inside many of us, namely, new forms of tribalism and fear are reducing our wondrous God to a ‘tribal deity’ and our own ‘local Baal’. The God of all nations, all families, and all peoples, she asserts, is too frequently being invoked by us as a God, more exclusively, of my own nation, my own family, my own church, and my own people. She cites various examples of this, including her own sadness at how sincere Christians cannot accept each other’s authenticity: “I must assume that those who disagree with my understanding of Christianity are Christians all the same, that we are members of one household. I confess that from time to time I find this difficult. This difficulty is owed in part to the fact that I have reason to believe they would not extend this courtesy to me.”  This, she rightly asserts, is unworthy of God, of Christianity, and of what’s best in us. We know better, though we usually don’t act on that and are thus indicted by what Freud called “the narcissism of minor differences.”  And this takes its root in fear, fear of many things. Not least among those fears is our fear of the secularized world and how we feel this has put us on a slippery slope in terms of our Christian heritage and our moral values. To quote Robinson here: “These people see the onrush of secularism intent on driving religion to the margins, maybe over the edge, and for the sake of Christianity they want to enlist society itself in its defense. They want politicians to make statements of faith, and when merchants hang their seasonal signs and banners they want them to say something more specific than ‘Happy Holidays’. Robinson, however, is distrustful of enlisting political power to defend Christianity. Why because “this country [the United States] in its early period was largely populated by religious people escaping religious persecution at the hands of state Churches, whether French Huguenots, Scots Presbyterians, English Congregationalists, or English Catholics”.  She adds: “Since my own religious heroes tended to die gruesomely under these regimes. I have no nostalgia for the world before secularism, nor would many of these ‘Christian nation’ exponents, if they looked a little into the history of their own traditions.” Inside our fear of secularism, she suggests, lies a great irony: We are afraid of secularism because we have, in fact, internalized the great prejudice against Christianity, namely, the belief that faith and Christianity cannot withstand the scrutiny of an intellectually sophisticated culture. And that fear lies at the root of an anti-intellectualism that is very prominent inside many religious and Church circles today.  How much of our fear today about Christianity being on a slippery slope can be traced back to this prejudice. Why are we so afraid of our world and of secularized intellectuals   This fear, she asserts, spawns an antagonism that is unworthy of Christianity. Fear and antagonism are very fashionable within religious circles today, almost to be worn as a badge of faith and loyalty. And is this a sign of health? No. Neither fear nor antagonism, she submits, are “becoming in Christians or in the least degree likely to inspire thinking or action of the kind that deserves to be called Christian”. Moreover, “if belief in Christ is necessary to attaining of everlasting life, then it behooves anyone who calls himself or herself a Christian, any institution that calls itself a Church, to bring credit to the Faith, at very least not to embarrass or disgrace it. Making God a tribal deity, our local Baal, is embarrassing and disgraceful.” Fear and antagonism do nothing, she adds, to draw respect to Christianity and our churches and to the extent that we let them be associated with Christianity, we risk defacing Christianity in the world’s eyes.  But saying that in today’s climate is to be judged as unpatriotic. We are not supposed to care what the world thinks. But it is the world we are trying to convert. And so we need to be careful not to present Christianity as undignified, xenophobic, and unworthy of our wondrous, all-embracing God.  Why all this fear, if we believe that Christianity is the deepest of all truth and believe that Christ will be with us to the end of time Her last sentences capsulise a challenge we urgently need today. “Christianity is too great a narrative to be reduced to serving any parochial interest or to be underwritten by any lesser tale. Reverence should forbid in particular its being subordinated to tribalism, resentment, or fear.” 

Why not invite your unfriends over for hotdogs and a cold beer!

National Hot Dog Day[3]

National Hot Dog Day seeks to appreciate hotdogs.  The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council created the National Hot Dog Day to honor the all-American hot dog.  The first National Hot Dog Day was held in 1991, where a hot dog luncheon was served on Capitol Hill.  Since then, it has become tradition to serve hot dogs to Capitol Hill staffers, lawmakers, agency officials and baseball legends. Frankfurters, which are very similar to hot dogs, originated in Frankfurt, Germany.  In the 1880s, Antonoine Feuchtwanger began to sell hot dogs in St. Louis, Missouri.  Eventually by the 1890s, it is believed that Chris von der Ahe, a German immigrant who owned the St. Louis Browns, began to sell hotdogs at baseball games.  Since then, hotdogs have been deeply rooted in American baseball culture.  
National Hot Dog Day Facts & Quotes

·         The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has stated that hotdogs contain carcinogenic (cancer causing) compounds, are high in fat, cholesterol and salt.  In fact, a recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health has found that a single daily serving of processed meat can increase the risk of colorectal cancer by 21%. These will kill you quicker than a gun!
·         According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, the proper etiquette required to eat a hotdog is finish the hot dog in five bites.  In the case of a foot-long wiener, only seven bites are appropriate.
·         Across the United States, consumers spent more than $2.5 billion on hot dogs in 2014. Los Angeles residents consume more hotdogs than any other city.  In 2014, Los Angeles consumed more than 39 million hotdogs.
·         Every year on July 4th, Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs hosts a hot dog eating contest in which contestants must consume as many hot dogs as possible in 10 minutes. The current male record holder ate 69 hot dogs while the female record holder inhaled 45 hot dogs in only 10 minutes.
·         A hot dog at the ball game beats a roast beef at the Ritz. - Humphrey Bogart, Famous 1940s actor.

Daily Devotions/Prayers
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Novena of St. Ann-Day 3




[1]The Collegeville Bible Commentary, 1986.
[2]http://www.irishcatholic.ie/article/tribalism-and-fear-unworthy-christianity

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