Michaelwclark.com

Just my stuff


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Here’s my solution… but, of course, it ‘aint mine…

Painting of a green devil from about the same period as the Gawain poem. Poetic contemporaries such as Chaucer also drew connections between the colour green and the devil, leading scholars to draw similar connections in readings of the Green Knight.

I recently posted a nice article basically encouraging Jews and Muslims to better get along. I’m all for that. I also realize that people tend to be happy with their religious traditions and don’t want to change.

At the same time, I sometimes wish that those who don’t really get what Christ is about could just see and experience like I do during the Mass.

Living in Canada (a place that embraces good people from all around the world) in conjunction with practicing Catholicism (which is decidedly international) one can’t help but appreciate just how worldwide the Catholic faith is.

I feel lucky to be where I am. It’s beautiful to see people, rich and poor, and from all around the globe, united in Christ. Sure, it only lasts during the Mass. It would be great if things rippled out more. But this is Earth, not heaven. We should all be working on it.

 Mesmerizing maps show how religion has spread throughout the world (businessinsider.com)

 Thousands protest to call against curbing incense burning in Taiwan (rappler.com)


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Close, closer, closest

These were taken with my iPhone yesterday. Very low light. The Mass had ended and I was in the middle of a sublime meditation. Photos never really capture the essence of Church because they don’t convey the Holy Spirit. At least, not in the same way as actually sitting there, in person. But I thought I’d share, anyhow.

Close via Tumblr

Closer via Tumblr

Closest via Tumblr


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Should I Feel Guilty? – Game of Thrones Finale

I guess I’m a little behind. I just finished watching Season 6 of Game of Thrones. Spolier alert! Don’t read any further if you haven’t seen the final episode.

So after finishing up the series, I wondered:

Should I feel guilty for enjoying it when Cersei blew the High Sparrow sky high?

I don’t know.

Some Christian blogger argued that we have it all wrong. We like the bad guys in the show and don’t like the good guys.

I thought that was a silly take because, if anything, Game of Thrones is about the grey areas (Grey Worm?) and doesn’t deal in absolutes.

Only the most childish of cartoons and comics do that. Adult fiction is about portraying life as it is. And because nobody is perfect, this seems more genuine than many whitewashed, Christian-approved media productions.

True, Cersei is quite evil. But at least she knows it. The High Sparrow and his violent crew reminded me of those religious phonies – we’ve all met them – who prance around pretending to be holier-than-thou when really they are just total creeps.

For the record, I didn’t enjoy it when Cersei insinuated that she planned to torment, possibly torture, the High Sparrow’s angry stooge, Septa Unella. And I didn’t like seeing Queen Margaery get trapped, the only one recognizing the imminent danger.

As I say, Cersei is evil.

But I did enjoy seeing the High Sparrow get his due. For me, religious phonies are the most odious type of all.

The High Sparrow (right) and a fanatical convert (left)


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Hard work, perseverance pays off

Click for fullsize

Recently I’ve been putting more effort into publishing entries at earthpages.ca. At the beginning, I’d written a book and just wanted to get it out there. A nice soul suggested that if I wanted anyone to read it, I’d better illustrate it and add more paragraphs. I followed his advice and, over the years, am finally striking a good balance among readability, layout and detail.

Nowadays I tend to take more time writing for earthpages.ca. It’s been gratifying to see my stories hit the news headlines. If you click on this image you’ll see that I’m up there with Harvard and UCLA Law stories!


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At the feet of the Son

Image via Tumblr

After a downtown Mass I spied this prayer card and almost took it. But then I though, no no, that’s just not right. Some sweet soul left it here and it belongs at the foot of the statue where it was placed. So I took this photo, instead. Turned out way nicer than just the card by itself.

The statue is this old, slightly beat up statue of Christ with an open heart. It always seems to look away from me, as if I’m doing something wrong. But it’s probably just the positioning. That, and the fact that it’s on a stand, much higher than floor level.

Today I felt like I did the right thing by not taking this card home with me.


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The Last Day of Christmas

Image via Flickr

Image via Flickr

Last Saturday I happened to go down to St. Michael’s Cathedral, downtown Toronto. I never know when the Christmas decor will be taken down in the Catholic Church because I joined quite late in life. But I do like how they extend it.

Turns out today or maybe Tuesday is the last day. Although it seems there is some variation. I also went to Mass on Sunday eve so this wasn’t really my “last day of Christmas.” But that was at another church. And I liked the sound of it.

If the Church can arbitrarily say when Jesus was born, I can do the same for the last day of Christmas! For me, it’s Feb 13th, the day before Valentines Day. You just can’t have Christmas running into that. At least, I can’t.

This angel was looking over the manger scene.


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Our Lady of Lourdes

Over the holidays TCM broadcast an old film about Bernadette, the young village woman who allegedly saw the Blessed Virgin Mary at Lourdes. It was a good film. Made me think about the whole thing. Here’s a pic of a Catholic church named after all that.

Image via Tumblr

Image via Tumblr – Click for fullsize