Michaelwclark.com

Just my stuff


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cruel nature

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the psychiatrist c. g. jung once said something to the effect that he was horrified by a God who would create a world where living creatures eat one another… every now and then i think of that… actually, not every now and then… quite often… but I have to accept my limitations and not judge God for creating such a place… and Jung’s unwillingness to do that, imo, was one of his greatest faults… anyhow, phil. discussion aside, i saw this bird literally pluck this poor little fish out of the water and just happened to capture it…


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After the fall

When I went to Mass yesterday (I tend to go almost every day) there was a sign on the Church door saying that the pastor had passed away on Saturday. He was quite young and it was an unexpected shock. A very nice, gentle priest, I sat through the Mass feeling the emotions beginning to surface. He was not the priest who converted me to Catholicism, but he did head the parish where I converted (priests relocate every few years). So it’s pretty sad. But on the plus side, afterward it seemed like I could feel his presence a bit as I went about my day, like an angel with his personality stamp watching over me. That’s what it felt like, anyhow.

But what I really want to write about is the photographs I took a few days back. Turns out Father might have actually passed on Friday night (November 1). A friend told me that he was scheduled for a Saturday morning Mass but didn’t show. That’s when some other priests discovered him. He’d already left us by that time. So quite possibly Friday Nov. 1st was his last day on Earth.

Earlier on Nov. 1st I attended Mass at his parish and soon after went outdoors for the photo shoot. I was in super good spirits, just having been to Mass. It felt like God was with me big time during that shoot.

Now, I recall while posting my photos here, thinking it a bit strange that I was captioning one of them with a poem about dying (Joy Will Find a Way). I mean, as far as I know, I’m not ill and I wasn’t aware of anyone else being unwell either. I also called another photo “Ready to Fall.” That photo was of a red maple leaf about to fall off a branch. The red maple leaf is a strong Canadian symbol (central to our flag) and this priest was a very proud Canadian. He never failed to sing Canada’s praises on Canada day (some priests entirely overlook it).

So I’m wondering if on some intuitive, artistic level I was picking up that Father was about to leave us. (A similar mystery occurred when I wrote a rather foreboding poem about “death in the skies” a couple of years before 9/11.) Anyhow, I’m not sure, and quite possibly I was just thinking about Remembrance Day, which is coming soon. But I might also have been subconsciously sensing that these photos were taken on the last day of Father’s walk on Earth.

So I dedicate both of these photos to him. A very nice, intelligent but, above all, humble priest.


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A word about Earthpages

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Today I was thinking about Earthpages. I’ve been doing that blog since about 1999! And I have literally hundreds of good articles stored on the back burner that aren’t showing right now.

I had to do this because one of my major sources only allows 100 articles at a time for use on other websites. And I play by the rules. No sense in trying to pull a fast one and publish more than 100 at a time. That’s just not the Earthpages way, nor my way.

You may have noticed that some articles at earthpages.org reappear virtually unchanged after a few years. Sure, I may beef up the image a bit, or add a few new “related articles,”  but several recent articles published at earthpages.org have already appeared some years ago.

Weakness? Not at all. I’ve kept the best ones online, the one’s that people like (I can tell by viewing my stats page). And not unlike the ever rotating but always changing Earth, certain elements of Earthpages reappear, slightly modified, while others drop off.

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Cool huh? Just think of what the Earth looked like millions of years ago. According to continental drift theory, the continents were all in different places. Dinosaurs ruled and died out. And a whole bunch of other changes came and went. But many aspects of the Earth are still largely the same… The amount of water on the planet, for instance.

And so it is with Earthpages. It’s changed a lot since the early days. But in its slow, cyclic way, it keeps its central identity. New articles come and go. Some stay online. Others are archived. Meanwhile, old gems reappear, just as the revolving earth keeps showing its recognizable but ever changing face to satellite cameras and astronauts.

Not sure if that’s making sense to everyone. But that was my thought about Earthpages today. Slow, steady, cyclic change. New stuff, old stuff. It’s all good!


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I don’t have any kids but if I did…

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I’d probably be asking the same kinds of questions that the questioner asks re one of my more recent volunteer answers at allexperts.com. Myself, I was an Anglican who never went to church as a kid, except for a tiny bit of Sunday school when I was very young, and the usual weddings and funerals.

Having converted to Catholicism in 2001 for spiritual reasons (certainly not for political reasons or to become a member of some kind of jumped up social club), I would really wonder, if I had kids, whether to send to them to a Catholic or a public school.

Read the full question and my answer here: http://en.allexperts.com/q/Catholics-955/2013/4/catholic-school-education.htm


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Christian pop comes of age

I remember while doing my PhD in Ottawa, there was a group of Bible-based Christian guys living in a house near my apartment. To me they seemed nice enough, even if, so I thought at the time, they were sitting around loafing all day.

Turns out I later came to believe they were for real and, instead of loafing, they played a part in my rediscovery of Christianity (the religion of my childhood but one that I didn’t really practice as a kid).

One day I was talking to one of the guys about how I liked the Bible, and out of the blue he said “read Isaiah 55: 6-9.” When I later read the passage in the privacy of my home, it hit me really hard.

Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Verses 6-7 summed up where I was at back then, searching every false dream and getting nowhere. And 8-9 sum up how I feel about God today.

Anyhow, to get back to the music, the Christian guys were into Christian rock and I could often hear it blaring from their home as I walked by. To be honest, I thought it was lousy back then. And I still think a lot of it isn’t that great. But after dating someone who knew about that music, I started to appreciate just what Christian pop has to offer.

So providence being what it is, I happened to come across a box set of Christian pop in the dollar store. Mostly older stuff that doesn’t have much current marketability. But I bought it and liked it. And now I listen to WOW Hits and, every now and then, streaming Christian radio.

I still enjoy mainstream pop. Unlike ultra-conservative homilists who say everything about mainstream Western culture is bad (I converted to Catholicism in 2001), I believe God works in the arts too (duh…). And it’s really nice when a song hits with everyone, not just a select band of religious believers, which can get a bit cliquey and stagnant.

One of my most exiting pop discoveries is the American singer Mandisa. I think this woman is just waiting to hit the big time. What a voice. And what utterly groovy music! Combine that with a good, sincere message, and you’ve got… My Deliverer.

I probably listen to this song at least once a day, preferably through headphones while out for a nighttime stroll. It rocks. But I don’t think it would work through cheap computer or laptop speakers. So although I’m posting it here, give it a fair chance and listen through a good sound system. 🙂


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…a review I wrote a few years ago and recently revised.

Earthpages.org

godkings

Title: God Kings – The Descendants of Jesus
Genre: Documentary – Ancient History, Religion,Occult
Production Company: Reality Films

Is the Jesus story an ancient Roman marketing plan? Did Christ have a wife and daughter? A twin brother? These and other controversial questions are posed in God Kings: The Descendents of Jesus, a new DVD by Philip Gardiner.

Borrowing from the Gnostic Gospel of Philip (which was discovered near the Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi in 1945), retired professor Hugh Montgomery openly challenges mainstream Christian belief by arguing for an alternate history of Jesus and the Christian Church.

Legend has it that Constantine, the very first Christian Roman Emperor, conquered the pagan Romans in the name of Christ. Apparently Constantine was empowered by a vision (in some accounts, a dream) of a cross in the clouds that he encountered on the road to Rome, just before the…

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What If – Nichole Nordeman

Here’s another Christian pop tune that I stumbled across in my travels. I like the song and don’t really know if it needs a video. But this video seems the least intrusive of all the others I saw at Youtube.

One of things I like about music is how it can create its own visual landscape of the imagination. So if the video just gets in the way, you can always sit back, turn your head the other way, and listen.