Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Challenge: Compare and Contrast

Anyone want to take on and compare/contrast the following two (3) statements?

From Pope Benedict:

"Today, nations once rich in faith and vocations are losing their own identity, under the harmful and destructive influence of a certain modern culture," said Benedict, who has been pushing for religion to be given more room in society. (Huff Po 10/5/08)

-and -

Benedict says that "now with the collapse of big banks we see that money disappears, is nothing and all these things that appear real are in fact of secondary importance." He urges those who build their lives "only on things that are visible, such as success, career, money" to keep that in mind. Benedict says "the only solid reality is the word of God." (Yahoo 10/06/08)

and from a member of Al-Qaida

"The enemies of Islam are facing a crushing defeat, which is beginning to manifest itself in the expanding crisis their economy is experiencing," said Gadahn, in a clip of the message distributed by the SITE Intelligence Group, a Washington-based monitor of militant Web sites.
"A crisis whose primary cause, in addition to the abortive and unsustainable crusades they are waging in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, is their turning their backs on Allah's revealed laws, which forbid interest-bearing transactions, exploitation, greed and injustice in all its forms."
(Yahoo 10/06/08)

There's the obvious difference in tonality - one, Benedict's, is a stern warning made out of charity, the other, Gadahn's, is vitriolic and made out of hateful glee. The challenge is to get beyond the tonality and into the substance of both. Two phrases stuck out immediately to me, "turning their backs on Allah's (God's) revealed laws," and "the only solid reality is the Word of God."

I can't help but understand that they're drawing from the same anagogic well, if you'll allow the image, in their criticisms of the financial crisis however differently they express it.

Any other takers? No responses will be turned away.

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Earl Capps said...

There is some truth in both about the failure of living a life based on total self-interest. To say blind, short-sighted greed caused this would be correct.

Benedict does offer a more positive take. We have become increasingly focused upon material wealth that every little market movement can lead to a high boom or a low bust, as we rush in greed to grab while the getting is good, or run in panic.

Maybe we should shut down the markets for a week and make everyone go spend time with their families, volunteering in their communities, and yes, spending a little more time in church reconnecting with our faith.

Benedict points out, money and material wealth isn't everything. Perhaps if we considered his point of view, we wouldn't be as worried about the present situation and more appreciative of the things we have.

I've got a 401K that has been swinginly wildly. Sure I've lost a bunch of money lately, but do I worry about it? A little, but not too much, because the most important treasures I have in my life aren't measured in a 401K statement or a stock market report.

Mattheus Mei said...

excellent! Your statement reminds me of Matthew 6:19-21.

"Do not store up for yoursleves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.

As Christians our treaure is not material things but that which is ethereal made manifest on earth in our relationships with one another and the deeds that we do.