What's left when nothing's left?

In a tight wooden box in Vienna's Akademietheater, the four remnants of a family are the last survivors in the void, in a world that “may come to an end”.

The interdependence of the family members is the only basis for their relationship. So, in Samuel Beckett's “Endgame”, apparently the most important issues are, who owns the key to the food cabinet, who has intact legs to make use of it; when it's time for an equally hard to get sedative, which, as it turns out later, has long been used up; and what happens when one leaves the interdependent web to die indifferently. “One moment turns into another, bluff, bluff, and your entire life you wait for it to turn into a life.” The protagonists' single brief effort to search for God with their eyes closed is quickly distracted by the search for a supposed rat and the vigorous demand for a promised, but not existing praline. The only spark of hope that the “endgame” might yet become a “beginning game” is the passing mention that God does not “no longer exist” here, but “not yet”. heg

Optimism

A man in California is standing in front of the remains of his house, which was completely burnt down during the forest fires.

He has lived in it for twenty-five years and now it and all his property was consumed by fire. In an interview, he says: “Well, we‘re gonna put that all up again ... it’s only stuff!” He even sounds rather cheerful. mas

Human Truth

A few weeks before her private audience with Pope Benedict XVI and shortly before her death, Oriana Fallaci, an Italian journalist and writer, wrote:

“I feel less alone when I read the books of Ratzinger. I'm an atheist; and when an atheist and a Pope think the same, then something must be true about it. It's that simple! There must be human truth beyond religion!”

Police State?

A Catholic Sunday service in Jerusalem: It's hot, the door is wide open. Suddenly, an Israeli policeman comes into the room with big, fast steps, while a second one remains outside the door. The first policeman goes up to a praying person in the first row of seats, taps him, and with a gesture he asks him to empty his trousers.

The man resists, the policeman beckons in his colleague. Then the priest interrupts his prayer, steps up, and loudly sends the policeman out of the room. He walks away, shrugging his shoulders, followed by one of the Fathers. The priest spontaneously starts his sermon with a commentary in which he interprets the incident as a religious conflict: That's what it's like, when you want to live in Israel as a Christian. You'll be insulted, spat upon, obstructed in service. The father who had left the room with the policeman comes in again, bends over to the man in the front row, and gently speaks to him. The priest disciplines his brother from the altar: “Daniel, leave the man alone.” Father Daniel continues to speak to the man. Then the man gets up and leaves the room. “And again, the police state has won”, the priest says at the altar. After the service, father Daniel apologises: “Well, he had robbed someone, the police have ensured that the robbed person got his purse back.” mas

Cur Deus homo? Why did God become man? – or: Why does man go to a health resort?

When the Ruhr University Bochum was founded in 1962, I went to look at it. From the highway, I took the “exit human sciences” – it was all waiting for the youth, but it was an empty ghost town made of concrete. On the other hand, my stay in a health resort was quite lively this summer:

there were only a few percent of younger people, otherwise the audience was between 70 and 85 years of age. Still in search of the spirit, I found my way to the bookshop of the health resort.

A selection of titles:

The small exercise book: realising lifelong dreams

The 5 magical moments of life – how we seize opportunities that fate gives us

Women's Body – Women's Wisdom: How women can rediscover their original ability to self-healing

Live your momentum – how we become the creators of our destiny

Why French women look younger – attractive at any age

The meditation of the five Shamanic elements – Fulfill your desires and find harmony

All too late, I thought, the trade with the mind appeals to the remnants of adolescent dreams. But old people can be so beautiful, they can reflect their age, their shape, gained in joy and suffering. pez

Bible interpretation in the Lutheran year

On the evangelical church day, a female bishop is quoted as part of the gender discussion, saying that “a lot of theological work will be required eradicating the biblical image of male and female”.

On a secular level, this work has already progressed very well, since the law on “marriage for anyone” has unreservedly passed the institutions without a considerable debate. Where the state's redefinition of marriages and families can be arbitrarily justified, there will soon be claims for the entitlement to having a child without father and mother. After all, anything is possible and adoption is merely one of many means to assert such a claim.The organising of planned children by means of surrogacy, seed banks or even child trafficking have already become a billion-dollar business worldwide. The bishop does not seem to be aware of these consequences from her eradication fantasies. Even if she evolves the evangelical theology in the Lutheran year, she can not just skip Luther's “Sola Scriptura” and rewrite the Bible. In Genesis 1:27 it still says: “God created man in his own image; male and female he created them.” mah

“Striking without aiming”

Subtitle: Meditative archery.

“So it goes pointlessly in the woods of Catholic brochures, also in suggestions for prayer:

“Before you, Lord,

I can be

deedless,

speechless,

thoughtless,

be.

As you, Lord,

are already

before the act,

before the word,

before the thought in me.”

I don't know why, but the word “problem-free” came to my mind. It wasn't there, like for example:

...

problem-free,

because before my problems,

you already had

yours with us.”

pez

“The Submission” on the G20 weekend in Hamburg

While tens of thousands carry linen banners through a ghost town disrupted by sirens, a few thousand hooded figures force their riot upon the city, a black wall is established in the Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg.

It's not all black; in the middle is an omission, a hollowed-out cross. Francois, from Houllebeque's “Submission", runs to the wall, right under the cross. After some time, it starts to rotate, Francois climbs into the clock hand, which changes, into a chaise longue, into a concrete mixer, into a hamster wheel. It pauses, Francois climbs out of his coffin, runs up and down the wall, rids himself of his clothes, he climbs back into the keyhole, whenever the long side sinks. Soon he is exhausted, he needs a table to be able to heave himself up again, a spectator assists him. In the end the cross breaks away, the wall rises in front of a completely black room, Francois, wearing white clothes, illuminated, forms the words of faith of a foreign language. “It would be the chance for a second life. I would have nothing to regret.” After the play, at the railway station, everyone meets and squeezes into the special train: the linen banners, the rioters, the theater enthusiasts and the people jumping to assist. saw

Marriage for ... volunteers?

Since the quick decision of the Bundestag, much has already been written about the “marriage for everyone”—by angry Catholics, who ask the state to abolish civil law marriage altogether, if the state no longer wants to hold it under its special protection as article 6 of the constitutional law prescribes, but also by atheist biologists who assume the politicians to be unaware of the biological requirements, and even by old communists, who are irritated about so much parochialism and wonder why gays and lesbians now want to succumb to this reactionary coercive instrument.

Isn't this an ideal time for the Church to remember it's unique characteristic that doesn't want to represent any competition to the state: marriage as a sacrament? There's only one problem: it is not for everyone—but only for those who know what this sacrament is and who absolutely want it with all its consequences. mah

A bishop sets an example

On June 2nd, 2017, Pax Christi published a press statement: “Pax Christi International for the end of the occupation of Palestine” on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War.

The accusations listed in the statement serve the well-known anti-Israeli stereotypes. The writer and representative of the Jewish community of Linz, Anna Mitgutsch, and two other members of the IKG had already been insulted at an event organized by Pax Christi Austria with the Palestinian ambassador Salah Abdel Shafi. The diocesan bishop, Manfred Scheuer, took the chance to set an example after the report and the press release of Pax Christi on June 2nd. He shares the concerns of the Jewish communities about the growing anti-Semitism in Europe, Scheuer said in his statement of June 7th, 2017: “On the basis of the recent statements by Pax Christi Austria and the incidents related to the event on May 26th, 2017, that I have read about in the church newspaper on June 7th, 2017, I declare my resignation as President of Pax Christi Austria with effect from June 7th, 2017.” anm

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