Things I find while traversing the Web.

Catholic Rebirth

I was raised a Catholic. Sort of. My family wasn’t particularly religious, although I did go to Catholic schools until the fourth grade. After that, I moved to the US, went to public school, and attended Baptist churches for a while where I was told that the Catholic church worshiped Mary over Jesus, and that it was the seat of Satan on Earth. (A very large number of the Protestants I know don’t consider Catholics Christians, as they claim it “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof”, and many consider the Church either the Great Whore of Babylon spoken about in the book of Revelations, or what will give rise to the Antichrist.)

After leaving Puerto Rico, for a very long time I avoided anything Catholic. First, because mass was always boring. Sit down, stand up, sit down, kneel, sit down, stand up, kneel, stand up, sit down, Amen. There was no heart, no spirit to it! Just rites and rituals, all completely devoid of their spiritual significance after hundreds of years of repetition, rituals which have made God an unapproachable, silent being. Later, that morphed into it seeming to me an archaic institution whose only hope for survival was to continue a grip on people attained during the power vacuum left by the fall of Rome. I guess I bought into all the angst, first the Protestant, then the Atheist.

Lately I’ve started to once again discover the Church, but not as most may imagine. I came to the realization that the spiritual significance of the Mass is defined not by the rituals themselves, but what the persons participating in the sacraments–whether audience or active participant–put into it. I don’t see the Church now as a source of salvation, a matter of dogma, or even as a my personal faith. Rather, I’ve discovered the aesthetic qualities of its mysticism, the beauty and peace found in rituals and ceremonies, its colorful history, and the structure put in place over the span of almost 2,000 years. Suddenly, Mass transforms from something boring to something lively, full, and mystical, a source of art which serves as not only a source of comfort, but also a place–both physical and spiritual–of wonder, where I feel comfortable allowing to myself not have to know, where I can find spiritual shelter.

I find a fair amount of this aesthetic at the local church, but thanks to the Web I can also find it online via videos and podcasts. For video, really, there’s nothing better than EWTN, which you may recognize as the Catholic cable chanel. Here people can get a taste of the Catholic world view. But since I’m usually not in front of a screen (at least not one I can watch videos), I look for podcasts. There are two podcasts I recommend very highly for anyone interested in finding out more about the Church. The first is Catholic Under the Hood, which goes over Catholic history and theology from a Franciscan perspective and is done by Friar Seraphim Beshoner. The second is The Saintcast, done by Dr. Paul Camarata (a neurosurgeon), which covers the lives of the saints, both famous and obscure. This one I’ve been listening to for quite a while, and has become a mainstay in my podcast listening schedule. I’m looking around for more.

I’m not a Catholic, per se, at least not if it means accepting all of the Church’s beliefs. (For example, while I hate the idea of abortion, I am for its legalization; I also think birth control’s a good idea in practice, if not in theory; I’m not against embryonic stem cell research; and I believe in rebirth.) If anything I’m much closer to a Unitarian. Still, it doesn’t change the fact that I’m awed by the pure beauty found in Catholicism, its art, its history, and its meaning. During times where I’m forced to stare into an eternal darkness it gives me hope, and as far as I’m concerned, hope–true or false–is still better than no hope.

As a side note, if you’re interested in a multi-faceted view of theology, check out John Hummel’s Blog The Religions blog and podcast. I had the pleasure of meeting John (Twitter folks, check out @blogthereligions and/or @johnhummel) at a recent Tampa Tweetup.  Although I wrote this before listening to his Podcast #4 (on Catholicism), I recommend you go ahead and take a listen. Interesting stuff for the theologians among us, and definitely on topic. 

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Posted by Gnorb - February 11, 2009 at 7:00 am

Categories: Philosophy, Random   Tags: ,

Why Can’t I Come Up with Any Cool Contests Like That?

All my life I’ve tried to create revelry and camaraderie by putting together contests where people could participate and compete in. I’ve seen others do this and have amazing success at it. But I… well… queue the violin: Read more…

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Posted by Gnorb - August 10, 2007 at 11:59 am

Categories: Life, Random, SEO   Tags:

Video. Kitten. Laptop. Need I Say More? (OK, Cute and Funny)

Behold, the power of the Internet! Two-hundred thousand years of human evolution and technological revolution, all so we can laugh at a kitten going buck-wild on a laptop.

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Posted by Gnorb - February 24, 2007 at 11:58 pm

Categories: Humor, Random, Videos   Tags:

Le Linkage #14: The Humans in Technology Edition

Alright, folks: time for another edition of Le Linkage, the incidental series chronicling some of the more interesting pages I find in my stumbles through the Web. Today’s episode features stories about Nigerian scammers, anthropology, human enhancement, science fiction, some humor, and of course, another simple online game. Enjoy. Read more…

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Posted by Gnorb - February 1, 2007 at 9:55 am

Categories: Games, Humor, Money, Politics, Quotes, Random, Sci-Fi, Tech   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hiroshima: What Was it Like?

This is a follow up to a previous post about the matter.

Probably the most studied war today, World War II still holds us in fascination over the immensity of the odds at stake, the fairy tale like themes of good versus evil, and as an example of the lengths we will go to in order to win at war, or the depths to which humans will sink to in torturing or killing one another. The war saw the rise of a tyrant bent on world domination, the extermination of millions through genocide, and the birth of the nuclear age.

The first ever use of nuclear weaponry in war occurred on August 6, 1949, in the town of Hiroshima, Japan. The following video chronicles a bit of that history, including eye witness accounts from the crew who unleashed Little Boy, and from victims who endured its wrath.

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Posted by Gnorb - January 29, 2007 at 1:02 pm

Categories: Random, Videos   Tags:

Futurama as Anime

I just thought this was incredibly cool: a guy decided to do a draw up showing what Futurama may have looked like as an anime. Click the image for the full size one.

Futurama As an Anime

Aside from the complete lack of tentacles, short skirted uniforms showing off white panties, mecha [Edit: D’oh! Forgot, Bender and Tinny Tim.], and the absurdly large breasts, this is still a pretty darn cool drawing. Make Leela into an android and you got yourself a series.

Now, for those of you who haven’t heard, thanks to fan demand, Futurama’s returning in 2008. Frankly, it’d be absolutely hilarious to see an entire episode drawn in this style.

By the way, the artist who did this also did a Simpsons one, and has been hired by a comic book company to make a manga-style Simpsons. Very nice.

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Posted by Gnorb - January 10, 2007 at 4:21 pm

Categories: Random   Tags:

Odds and Ends: Life, Rebooted

The title doesn’t really mean anything. I haven’t rebooted my life, though I have rebooted my eating patterns. (It comforts me little to know that if I were a caveman I would have a genetic advantage over my skinnier counterparts.) “Life, Rebooted” sounds kind of cool, though, in a “oh hey, Windows crashed again!” sort of way. Anyway, here are few odds and ends: Read more…

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Posted by Gnorb - January 10, 2007 at 8:41 am

Categories: Life, Random, Site Updates, Web Tools   Tags:

Free Cold Stone Ice Cream

Expires on January 31, 2007. Otherwise, have at it. If you haven’t had Cold Stone ice cream, do yourself a favor and try it out, then use this to pick up some for someone special. You can print it out without any of the extra Gnorb.NET stuff here

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Posted by Gnorb - November 20, 2006 at 3:37 pm

Categories: Random   Tags:

Le Linkage #11

Ok, so the election has passed and I can now get back to regular blogging, right? Actually, the election’s been over for a while and I’ve just needed a break from real blogging (as if I’ve ever actually done any of that before). At any rate, it’s (about darn) time for another episode of Le Linkage! Today’s episode features all sorts of stuff, random bits I’ve been saving for the past few weeks. Like all Le Linkage episodes, I recommend you bookmark this then visit it whenever you’re bored or (hopefully) when you need something useful. Read more…

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Posted by Gnorb - November 14, 2006 at 12:30 pm

Categories: Comics, Games, Humor, Money, Politics, Random   Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Quadruple Bypass… Burger?

I think I’m going to puke.

What a whopper! This towering 8,000-calorie beefburger’s certainly not for the faint-hearted.

It has four slabs of beef weighing 2lbs, three cheese layers, four bacon rashers, lettuce and tomato.

The Heart Attack Grill in Tempe, Arizona, has wheelchairs to cart off belly-busted customers who tackle the Quadruple Bypass Burger.

Also on the menu is the slightly smaller Triple Bypass Burger and Flatliner Fries cooked in pure lard.

And for extra credit… (sic)

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Posted by Gnorb - November 8, 2006 at 8:50 am

Categories: Random   Tags:

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