Monday, February 20, 2006

Sunday (written on Monday) and other things...

Sunday afternoon: After returning from Mass yesterday we decided to have an day outdoors. It was in the mid-40's and the forecast was for a 'wintry mix' sometime in the evening or after nightfall, (I don't think it ever developed more than clouds.) One son built and lit a pyramid fire (his first) in our firepit (which had not been used this year yet). I got out our portable wind-up phonograph and played some old 78 rpm records. Mrs. Curley and I danced to a few songs and realized we are out of dancing shape. I also danced with my young daughters. The boys played badmitton with Mrs. Curley. We did not cook by the fire, but we did eat by it. Then we sang songs and said the rosary. The older ones told stories by the fire as Mrs. Curley and I put the younger ones to bed. Overall it was a very rewarding day from start to finish.

Sunday morning: Speaking of the the 'start', our pastor was in top form today. His wit is so understated-if you are not paying attention you will miss it, because he doesn't pause for a laugh. I thnk this is because he is not telling jokes-he has this habit of stating truth in humorous ways. For example, in speaking of Hell yesterday (yes, he speaks of Hell), Fr. John commented, (not a direct quote, but close enough), "I think one of the worst parts of Hell, other than the all the pain and the rotten company, is how it is eternal." (my emphasis).

Flannery O'Connor revisted: I have now read an entire book of Flannery O'Connor's short stories and one of her novels (Wise Blood). She is a good writer, no doubt, but I think I am through with her. I tend to read for information, inspiration, or entertainment. Her books do not provide any of these three things for me. Why do I feel compelled to share this? Maybe I feel guilty that I just can't understand her attraction to so many people I respect. Now reading this .

Request for opinions: (UPDATE: I have rewrittend this a little to undo the confusion I found reading it myself. Here we go again...)We have been using the Our Holy Faith religion text series (Neumann Press) at home for several years now. There are portions of these texts which need updating (some of the feasts and the Church calendar have changed), but overall they have been pretty good. The Baltimore Catechism questions are part of each chapter. However, we came across this in the Grade 7 book:

When Abraham and Sara were very old, God sent them a son, Isaac....Sometime
later-we don't know exactly when-a terribel fear seized Abraham. His Canaanite
neighbors offered human sacrifice. They thought they must sacrifice to the gods
the very best they had, so they would offer their eldest son in sacrifice. Even
though the clan of Thare did not offer such sacrifice, Abraham wondered if God
wanted him to prove his lover by sacrificing this long-awaited son. No he
thought, it could not be. And yet, must he not be glad to offer his beloved son
to God?

The clear implication in the text book (and it is not disppelled anywhere) is that the sole reason Abraham took Isaac up the mountain was because he thought that maybe God wanted him to copy his Canaanite neighbors. The text book does not present this as a test or trial of Abraham til a few pages later, and then does not clarify. Obviously the text book version is in clear contradiction to Genesis. The text book goes on to say that God revealed to Abraham that He did not want human sacrifices, etc. I had trusted this book, and series, (and the publisher for that matter) for its orthodoxy, but this account of Abraham seems to be pure speculation. The Haydock Bible does not give this interpretation. I don't have the Navarre Bible for Genesis. What say y'all?


Steven said...

Dear Sir,

Flannery O'Connor is an acquired taste. You have to figure out what she is up to before you can see the real inspiration that is behind it.

However, from your description, you don't read a lot of fiction any way, and even among those who do, Flannery O'Connor presents some major difficulties--so I wouldn't feel bad about not "getting her."



Stella said...

Flannery O' Connor is a genius at word usage and character descriptions. As "good writing" I have found them helpful models in trying to better my own writing. I think along with you where you mentioned your "three reasons" for reading.


JCurley said...

TS gave me (or directed me to) a few pointers to understand F. O'Connor a few weeks back. It helped in the understanding somewhat, but still didn't make a difference in my enjoying reading her. I will accept her as an aquired taste...

Thanks to both of you for your insight.

TS said...

Regarding the Abraham story, that does sound awfully speculative! Reading Abraham's mind are they? I checked a couple commentaries and there are a couple lessons going on. One was that God made it clear thru this that he didn't demand human sacrifice like the Caanites, but it was also a test of Abraham's faith. Christians of course have always seen in it a foreshadowing of Christ. I can provide the exact wording if helpful. Scott Hahn's got a good junior high/high-school level book on the bible available.

Bill said...

Dear Mr. Curley,

Sometimes you can find patristic comments on something at google with this sort of search string:

abraham isaac

or perhaps

abraham isaac



Cheers -


Bill said...

whoops - that second one should have been

abraham sacrifice

Cheers -


JCurley said...

Bill-Thanks for the tip. From my quick try, it looks like a wealth of information may be available to help me find what the fathers say about this.

Thanks much.-Jim