Archive for March, 2005

Some Icons

When I meet former readers of Caelum et Terra they inevitably ask me what I
have been writing since the magazine ceased publication. The answer is that
aside from one book review for New Oxford Review (the review itself is not online) I have written nothing until I started
posting on this website.

I have been writing theology in line and color, however. That is, I have
been painting icons. I have completed around fifty icons in the last three
years. Below are some examples of my recent work.

Daniel Nichols

Christ The Way

Mother of God Eleousa

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Local Heroes

Nothing particularly Catholic-related this week–the heroes referred to are the musicians of my local small-city symphony orchestra who dared to perform Mahler’s 1st this past weekend. Read it here.

Now that I think about it, though, there are some implications of a C&T-ish nature in the story.

Maclin Horton

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Use the contact information below to fight for Terri!  And don’t forget to pray first.

March 7, 2005 – As you may already know, Terri’s case has reached a critical point. Judge George W. Greer has ordered that her nutrition and hydration be removed on March 18, 2005. This will begin a long and painful death process for Terri if his order is carried out.

There are still some things that can spare Terri, and disabled people like her, from this type of forced death. Some of them require your help.

1. Florida’s House and Senate are considering a dehydration and starvation protection act that would require stronger evidence of informed consent prior to removing assisted food and fluids from an incapacitated patient. If you are a Floridian, a disability advocate or an elder care advocate, you can let Florida’s lawmakers know that you want them to consider such an act.

Contact Florida’s Lawmakers:
www.flsenate.gov – Senate
www.myfloridahouse.com  – House

2. The US Congress will consider a bill titled  the Incapacitated Person’s Legal Protection Act on Tuesday, March 8, 2005. This bill, if signed into law, would entitle incapacitated persons to the federal review of their rights (known as habeas corpus) and would help ensure that they have been fairly represented. You can encourage your representative to give favorable consideration of this act.  Habeas corpus protections are currently available to the worst convicted criminals; this new law would make it clear that disabled Americans are entitled to at least as much legal protection.

Contact your representative here.
www.house.gov/writerep  – US House of Representatives
www.visi.com/juan/congress  – US Congress

3. Seventeen doctors – neurologists, physicians and pathologists, have signed statements in Terri Schiavo’s guardianship proceedings to support new neurological testing protocols for her. This is important because of recent findings that may support the position that Terri is not in a persistent vegetative state and can be trained to communicate in spite of her limitations. Disability advocates across North America are calling for an immediate moratorium on deprivation deaths for disabled people like Terri until these new protocols can be enacted as an updated avenue of testing. We ask that you contact your state representatives and ask that they consider such a moratorium.

Contact your state house and senate.
www.house.gov/writerep  – US House of Representatives
www.visi.com/juan/congress  – US Congress

4. The Justice Coalition has petitioned the Governor of the State of Florida to invoke statutory protections for Terri Schiavo pending an investigation into abuse, neglect and exploitation against her.

Sign the petition here: www.justicecoalition.org/petition2.htm

5. Terri’s family have filed a number of motions and petitions to the Sixth Judicial Circuit of Pinellas and Pasco Counties and continue to process several different appeals in the Florida courts and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Read the latest here: www.terrisfight.org

6. National press and media continue to misreport and misrepresent Terri’s situation. Such reporting does a tremendous disservice to vulnerable people and elderly and disabled persons throughout the United States. You can help by contacting the editors of your local newspapers and letting the truth be known.

Download the talking point list here: www.terrisfight.org/talk.pdf

7. Over 200 internet bloggers have joined forces to support Terri Schiavo by publishing articles, commentary and information about her situation and legal case. You can join their ranks, read their updates and pass the information along to your friends.

Check out the blog sites here: www.blogsforterri.com

Finally, on behalf of the family and legal team working hard to protect Terri Schiavo and vulnerable citizens like her, we thank you for your time and compassion and we hope that you will contact us with links, suggestions and your personal stories. Your continued support is beyond value.

Emai the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation here

Julianne (Loesch) Wiley

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The Terri Schiavo Case

I’m going to confess that I haven’t been following this as closely as I probably should have. Worse, my first reaction was, well, it’s probably one of those very gray-area things where it really isn’t 100% clear who’s right and what should be done.

But the more I learn the more wrong that seems to be. It looks like something really monstrous is happening here.  Fr. Rob Johansen is on the spot–read his list of things the judge in the case has just ruled that Terri’s family cannot do, and if you’ve been negligent like me, prepare to have your eyes opened.

Maclin Horton

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Self-Anointed Solomons

About the Supreme Court and last week’s capital punishment decision: Justice Kennedy  "continues his dreamy approach to the law".

Maclin Horton

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(Continued from February 28–click here to read Part 1)

It was a fairly small orchard, and one in obvious decline. The owner, Royce Hyde, had inherited the orchard and clearly his heart wasn’t in it. He had a full time job selling insurance and ran the orchard on the side, keeping his expenses to a minimum, neglecting the constant upkeep that is the orchardman’s task. The trees, aside from the most popular varieties, were overgrown and unpruned.

The work crew consisted of three men in their seventies, retired orchardmen who picked fruit every fall for sheer love of the harvest, and me.

Two of them, Herb McKinley and Ward Runyan, were classic rural old guys, clad in overalls and workboots and ball caps. The other fellow, George Kunkelmann, was more the modern retiree type; he wore polyester clothes, loafers, and a white belt. He owned an RV and he and his wife went to Florida every year after the apple harvest was done.

Herb was tall and dignified, a Presbyterian of Scots-Irish stock, with a sharp wit and an ever-present twinkle in his eye. Ward was an Irish Catholic, wiry, blue eyed and quiet. His usual mode of conversation was to repeat the last phrase addressed to him, followed by a "yep":

"Morning, Ward, looks like it’s going to be a nice day."

"Nice day, yep."

"Radio says chance of rain later, though."

"Chance of rain, yep."

George was the irascible one, gruff and grouchy, a Lutheran of German heritage.

I had always gotten on well with my grandparents’ generation, so it was pretty easy to get on with the three old orchardmen. For one thing, unlike so many on the other side of the cultural divide of those times, they didn’t treat me, with my ponytail and odd ideas, with hostility. Rather, they were bemused.

Picking apples turned out to be the best medicine for body and soul I could have found: good hard work, lots of sunshine, the company of kindly old men (well, except for George), the serenity of working high in the trees, surrounded by green leaves and fruit. And the fruit! Understand that if you are picking apples all day the only ones you are going to eat are those that are stunning in their perfection.

The orchard was an old one, and a lot of the varieties that grew there are rarities today: Ranbos, golden with a rosy blush; Wolf Rivers, the size of small pumpkins, each enough for a pie; Russetts, with a rough copper-colored skin; Snows, named both for the white specks on their red skins and for their late harvest (I literally picked the last of them in a snowstorm), and many others.

We would work, and work hard. These old men were a challenge to keep up with. But at noon we would break for a leisurely hour long lunch. We would retreat to the outbuilding that housed the cider mill, pour cups of cider, and unpack our lunches. After the meal Herb and Ward would light their pipes, George would fire up a cigar, I would smoke cigarettes, and the conversation would begin in earnest. Much of this consisted of Herb, eyes dancing, gently teasing George, much to the taciturn Ward’s amusement. This would continue until the hot-headed George would let loose with a string of mild profanity, as his tormentors chuckled quietly behind their pipes.

But conversation would often take a more serious tone, ranging among local folk tales, nostalgia, and what I would now call cultural commentary. They spoke of a way of life, the farm and orchard economy that existed in the old days, before the freeway came through and brought so many alarming changes. They spoke admiringly of Royce’s father, a "fine orchardman" and spoke in understated disapproval of Royce. They clearly suspected that he was milking his neglected orchard for what profit he could squeeze from it and hinted that he would end up selling the land to developers, which in fact he did a few years later. They did not understand how he could neglect his trees and his responsibility to the land his father and grandfather had worked.

They spoke fondly of the times when all work was done by men or horses, before the noise and busyness of the automotive culture had intruded into their corner of the world.

The world they described sounded like an attractive one to me, and many of the exploitative attitudes they loathed, this neglect of land and trees, this hustle and bustle, were things I too loathed. It gradually dawned on me that these honest, hardworking old guys were a lot more admirable than most of the ragtag hippie characters I had met on the road. I had long considered myself a progressive, but it slowly occured to me that it was not, perhaps, progress I sought after all.

This is not a conversion story, exactly. It doesn’t end with coming to Christ or returning to the Church, not yet. This isn’t about the seeds in my soul bursting into blossom or laboring to bear fruit. It is more about how the Gardener prepared the soil. I still had a long way to go and I would travel a good part of the way still in the countercultural milieu. Nixon would unexpectedly end the draft as I was awaiting the conscription notice to appear any day in my mailbox. I had several more hitch-hiking trips in my future, a long stay in a commune, and much more, but something had changed that fall, working with these fine old men, a change of perception so subtle I didn’t even recognize it until long after it had happened. I had regained my strength and in some quiet way had begun to regain my sanity in the shadows of the apple trees that fall, in the company of these three thoroughly decent orchardmen, with their tales of a lost world, so superior in so many ways to the one that was then emerging and now reigns triumphant. These three old men, with their pipes and cigars, humor and memories, had opened a door to a rapprochement with tradition, an open door that led, eventually, to a reconsideration of the Faith I had rejected in my early teens.

But that is another story.

Daniel Nichols

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Here is the latest exchange on film from Touchstone’s blog. There’s some interesting stuff here about the fundamental difference between, say, a movie and a book–nothing that C&T readers haven’t already read or thought, but good to hear elsewhere.

It’s interesting that the two people who are taking the more anti-film (and, implicitly, anti-TV) view don’t seem to be proposing that Christians abstain entirely from the viewing of motion pictures. There is mention of maintaining a critical attitude and so forth, and I doubt that either would quarrel with someone who decided to abstain, but they don’t seem to be recommending it as the norm.

This reminds me of what I always thought was a problem with Caelum et Terra: once you’ve analyzed various negative effects of technology, entertainment, and so on, what should you do and/or prescribe? As a practical matter, one has to recognize that a radical break with society is simply not feasible (never mind at the moment whether it’s desirable or advisable) for most people. So in the end, what changes? Many people who constantly watch movies and TV would claim they are maintaining a critical attitude.

Perhaps, where movies and TV are concerned, a minimal response would be to just say no to certain things. R-rated movies, say. Draw a clear line and stick to it. If more Christians did that the market for trash might at least shrink. But of course movies get R ratings for different things, some far more objectionable than others.

I wish some of the people in Hollywood could feel the level of animosity I have for them as a result of their putting me in the position of constantly struggling with their assault. One of my sons once brought home from college a girlfriend who was an aspiring actress. At one point the conversation drifted into the Hollywood-sex-violence area, and I opined that sometimes I really would like to bomb Hollywood. I think the poor girl was genuinely alarmed, which probably means the animosity came through loud and clear. I won’t actually commit any violence, but I wasn’t exaggerating the emotion.

Maclin Horton

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Fear and Loathing in Aspen

You know what this is going to be about, don’t you?

Maclin Horton

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