Lenten Observance: Day 30

Tao 59 & 60.  We are now 3/4 through Lent. 

59: “The mark of a moderate man is freedom from his own ideas.”  Again the idea that we get caught up in our ideas and that boxes us in so far from dealing with what comes our way.  This is something I think a lot of when I think of the Catholic Church.  A lot of Church doctrine and dogma comes out of medieval philosophy, but having certain decisions made in the past and accepted as “truth” makes it difficult for church leaders to see things another way.  For example, the whole matter of priestly and sisterly celibacy is something that came out fhe Middle Ages, largely to protect the church’s property (or a priest might will church property to his son).  That is not really an issue any longer (Protestant churches do not have church property, which is distinct from the minister’s property, disappearing into the hands of the minister’s family).  And yet, that is still a matter of Church policy and treated as if it is a truth, deviation from which would be a lie.  This despite the claim I’ve heard made by some that married deacons, who sometimes deliver the homily, really connect with the congregation, as they are going through some of the same troubles (surly teenagers, the terrible twos, and so on).  This may be a problem with dogma itself.

60: “Governing a large country is like frying a small fish.  You spoil it by too much poking.”  I find the image of poking the country rather humorous.  Again this idea that seems a bit too libertarian for my tastes.  The idea that evil can be dealt with through jiu jitsu — I”m not so sure about that.  I think when it’s done well — the civil rights efforts of non-violent resistance.  Seeing people just standing or sitting, or marching, but doing no violence to anyone being attacked violently and that seen on TV caused people to change their minds.  It was much clearer that those who were pushing so hard against progress had their own, sometimes hidden, agendas which seemed to run counter to the idea of justice.  But one might say that there the goal was to awaken the middle, who might have no strong feelings about civil rights.  I’m not so sure that it works against someone like Hitler — there, violence against anyone who didn’t support the Nazis was seen as o.k., and there was little resistance until Hitler went too far and invaded Poland and then marched through the low countries on his way to Paris.  The failure of the League of Nations to sanction Nazi Germany from their rearming, which ran counter to the treaties they had signed, made it much more likely that such violence would continue.  And though he went too far in attacking Poland, the Allies had no problem in letting him take Czechoslovakia.  I think that force sometimes requires a forceful response and cannot be jiu jitsued away.  I do think that one has to be careful as sometimes resistance is taken by the aggressor as an attack, and this results in further violence.  Still, though one can poke a fish (or country) too  much;  leaving it alone is also not the answer sometimes.

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