The Odin Chronicle


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The Beatitudes may seem benign, until you realize what life would be like without them. Could life on this earth even be possible if no one aspired to such principles? How long would it be before we descended into chaos? So the first point I would make is this. The Beatitudes are a blueprint for a good and purpose-filled life. They virtually demand that we lead active rather than passive lives. They presume that we would take charge of our lives and live them with the greatest intensity and thoughtfulness. Even more, they encourage risk-taking.

In popular culture people avoid mourning like the plague. But consider that a life free of mourning is risk-averse. Such lives are pointless, Jesus teaches, precisely for this reason.

Soldiers of Odin confront supporters of Nanaimo’s Discontent City

People who mourn, however, are people who have taken risks. They have taken chances. When they had the chance to love others, they chose love. When they had the chance to help someone in need, they helped. When they had the chance to clothe the naked, feed the hungry and so on, they did it, regardless of the potential risk. And they did all this for the sake of the kingdom. Only those who never love or never care get spared the mourning. We have so few days, and why would we choose to be risk-averse and hide our lamps under a basket?

On the contrary, Jesus came to give us life, so that we might have it in abundance. How we pursue our lives is the creative opportunity — the gift — that God gives to each of us. The Beatitudes are a recipe for life lived to the fullest. They are an invitation to live life with passion. And if by chance there are moments of mourning or setback along the way, then it means we are making progress.


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We are making good use of the gifts God has given us. He and his fellow church members offered hospitality that was truly Benedictine. I cannot recall when I last went to Fargo, but it was before the Cohn brothers made the movie to which Fargo lent is name. Fargo manages to flourish in its own culture, perhaps because of the independent spirit of the prairie.

For example, at the Mass at the cathedral there was a baptism that almost stole the show. This was one tough baby, and he remained stoic despite the very cold water and being held by the pastor for three minutes or more. I was stunned by that name. Then Fr. Mark told me it was the second Odin he has baptised at the cathedral.

So just when I thought the Norse gods had faded from memory, I discovered that they have a home in Fargo. How charming. The exterior is certainly monumental, and one wonders whether the interior could be up to the challenge of carrying its own drama. It does, and it succeeds in a way that just overwhelms. Visitors cannot quite grasp the immensity of it, and these photos scarcely do it justice. Throughout the church there are sweeping vistas bathed in light, and nooks and crannies that surprise.

The photo at the bottom is of the choir loft, and were I up there I would be too nervous to sing. Blessed Too Are the Paranoid. Sometimes the Beatitudes seem idealistic to the point of absurdity. What in the world does it mean to be pure of heart? And why would any intelligent person want to be pure of heart anyway? At first blush the pure of heart appear to be little more than innocents abroad. They are the lambs who happily march off to the slaughter, oblivious to the fate that awaits them. Who in their right mind would opt to be such docile prey? Out would be ideals like purity of heart, because they only lead to trouble.

In would be a radically different perspective on the world, and better Beatitudes would naturally follow.


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The fact is, Jesus very likely meant what he said about the pure of heart, and he had not a shred of doubt that such people are truly blessed. So attentiveness to the world and its ways is a must, he suggests.

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Precisely because of that, the disciples of Jesus must be sure that their eyes always are wide open, so that they can survey the entire panorama. Do we really want to gaze out with unabashed purity of heart? Do we really want to be people in whom there is no guile? If we begin to trust others, we could very well conclude that a great many people are worthy of our trust.

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If we begin to give others the benefit of the doubt, we might find that some people — if not a whole bunch of people — are trying to do the right thing and to do the best they can. And as an added bonus, we just might realize that others trust us in return, and they try to give us the benefit of the doubt. There are indeed two ways of looking at life, and we have to choose.


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In such a world the devil roams freely, unchecked, and things only get worse and worse. People, as instruments of the evil one, can scarcely be trusted, ever. But consider the alternative — the lens of purity of heart. The pure of heart also have the courage to let the scales fall from their eyes, just long enough to realize that God does some pretty awesome things. And God does them through our friends and neighbors, and even through strangers.

Who would have thought! Meanwhile, the paranoid have their work cut out for them too, even if the world they survey is much narrower. But blessed too are the pure of heart, for they get to see God. I had two good reasons for being there, the first of which was my sponsorship of new member Maureen Wright, a long-time friend. I was also a member of the planning committee for the investiture, so I had a personal stake in the smooth running of the events. On the 19th the investees and their sponsors gathered for a two-hour vigil service at Mission Dolores, the 18th-century mission founded by Junipero Serra.

The next day we gathered for the investiture and Mass at the Jesuit Church of Saint Ignatius, a gorgeous baroque church on the campus of the University of San Francisco. It was a good liturgy by the Jesuit definition, since no one got hurt. All in all things turned out wonderfully, despite one small disappointment. At the hotel entrance, as we waited for our transport to Mission Dolores, a small crowd had gathered outside. Naturally we assumed they were there to greet us, but we were wrong.

They were waiting for the Boston Red Sox, who boarded the bus in front of ours. And unlike the Red Sox, no one asked for our autographs, except when it came time to pay the bills. It is part of a series of profiles of several doctors of the Church. In addition to hearing about monastic topics, it gives monks in formation from houses across the country the chance to meet and compare notes.

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Brothers Richard, Lucian, Eric and David are attending the two-week conference. There are times when Jesus seems to put the best face on something that no sensible person would really want. Take mourning, for instance. Barret Wallace, on the other hand, is made to look like a stereotype, a muscled up Black man with a gun as I previously stated.

I just want a Black Final Fantasy character that has a slim muscular build who carries around an awe-inspiring sword that one day my kids would want to dress up as for Halloween. Is this an issue of the Japanese studios not interacting enough with people of African heritage or is it a matter of malevolence? We notice the trend of African American stereotypes even outside of Japanese anime and video game culture. Is this a commentary on how Asian Americans are allowed opportunities that African Americans are not?

Soldiers of Odin confront supporters of Nanaimo’s Discontent City – Ladysmith Chronicle

Is this a way for Jordan Peele to say that the Japanese see African people the same way Caucasians do? Or is this a way of saying that the Japanese identify with Caucasian Americans more than the other marginalized and oppressed groups due to their colonization by the English? We as Black nerds are entitled to characters that we can identify with and can show to children for them to take pride in. Growing up I loved Goku, Cloud, and Sora.

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But it would have been nice to have a stalwart and cool character that I was a kid could look up to that I could identify with that looked like me. The bad news is that there is not a character of color that stands out in the world of anime like Goku or Naruto. Noah Washington was born in Richmond, VA. Noah has been a black nerd since birth.

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