Monday, August 1, 2011

The Beatles Perform "Let It Be"



We've moved from P'ohang to Ulsan, to the in-laws', to save half-a-month's rent before we make the big and, God willing, permanent move to the Town of Pittsford. Today, I drove the hour-and-a-half back to clean out my office.

The drive up was dismal, for the task I faced and for the fact that I had already cleaned out my Hyundai Trajet of everything, including its music. I even detoured through downtown Kyŏngju in hope of finding a CD shop, to no avail. Fortunately, I found two CD's at my office worth salvaging.

The Beatles 20 Greatest Hits and Dmitri Shostakovich's heroic Leningrad Symphony: A Symphony of War were my choices. I chose the former. While listening to the first song, that posted above, for the second time, my mind wandered.

I thought of how John had been mt first favorite Beatle, when I was young and rebelious. As I sought spiritual fulfillment in my twenties, George took over. In my thirties, as I became a family man, Paul was top dog. Now in my forties, my favorite Beatle is none other than Sir George Martin.

I pressed the "repeat" button and then listened to the familiar lyrics. The Blessed Virgin Mary came to mind, and I pulled the beads from the rear-view mirror, turned off the music, and prayed the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

I recalled that it was Our Lady of Fátima whose intercession secured me the job in America. Then, remembering that a large portion of the students I will be serving will be Saudi, Father Ladis Cizik's "look at Islam, the Koran and Mary's role in bringing about peace in troubled times," came to mind — Our Lady and Islam: Heaven's Peace Plan.

Right now, I'm doing something I've never done before; I'm reading a book by an evangelical. Nancy Pearcey's Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity was given to me as a farewell gift by an evangelical graduate student in Bioinformatics whom I've been tutoring for free for more than three years. Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, and needing a good book to read, I picked it up immediately, and have not been disappointed.

"Your earlier book says Christians are called to redeem entire cultures, not just individuals," is the Catholic thought with which the book begins. She approvingly quotes a number of individual Catholics, from St. Paul to St. Augustine of Hippo to St. Thomas Aquinas to G. K. Chesterton to Jacques Maritain to Mary Ann Glendon. As I've heard it conceded, "There are Christians in the Catholic Church."

She does, however, attempt to suggest that it was Holy Mother Church who brought about the whole dichotomy between the religious and secular world that we see today, in which religion is relegated to the private sphere. It was not us Catholics, of course, who came up with private judgment.

Despite this and other lacunae, her book is a valuable one. It has given me an insight into an intellectual evangelicalism that I had not known existed, growing up in region where the majority were Catholic and the minority Mainline Protestant. More importantly, however, it has shown me the importance of returning to America equipped with the proper Weltanschauung to engage the cultures at large and at small that I will face.

Ironically, Pearcey's worldview, the concept she stresses, is imcomplete. Ours is catholic, "from the whole." With my Islamic students, I will have a common point of reference, not even mentioned once in Pearcey's book, bout which one Hesham A. Hassaballa hails — Love for the Virgin Mary runs deep in Islam.

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2 Comments:

Blogger 유미 said...

It's sad that you're leaving: I would have liked to have met you. But I'm sure your new life back Stateside will be great. I think your life in South America and Asia will be greatly beneficial to you in understanding your new students (even if they themselves are from radically different cultures than the ones you've immersed yourself in). If they are mostly Saudi, then I think they will appreciate your more conservative views compared to the other American faculty. Only time will tell. Good luck. God Bless!

12:17 AM  
Blogger Terry Nelson said...

You are coming home! What will become of you?

Prayers.

Terry

10:50 PM  

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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.