Grateful . . . . and
I do not have a photo this time because the object of my gratitude is too modest and camera shy and she would kill me if I were to put one up. The gratitude is, however, in no way mitigated by this lack of pictoral representation! Janelle not only instigated this amazing contest, she has tirelessly and expertly steered it forward until it has taken on a scale and relevance that none of us predicted. I am so grateful for her support and work in all things “ Charlie”, but this one takes the cake!! Thanks, Janelle, I am so grateful.…and now on to something you know is also dear to me heart….
. . . . Orthodoxy
Hi y’all! Sorry it has been a while . . .
The trouble with an orthodoxy is that you can’t argue with it. Orthodoxy is about “facts” that are unshakeable, unquestionable and absolutely and fundamentally true. The trouble with the truth is that it can change. The world was once flat. That was the accepted truth. Anyone who disputed it was either crazy, ignorant or ungodly. Then science discovered that it was not flat but round, and the “truth” changed. The new truth was universally demonstrable as soon as a human sailed off to the east and came back from the west. When another “truth”, that the sun moved around the earth, was challenged by scientists, it was not so easily demonstrated for all to see. The Church found this new notion blasphemous and clung to its old “truth,” persecuting any who dared disagree. Even though we now know that the church’s stance was erroneous, at the time it was an unassailable orthodoxy. Science and human knowledge have always been the enemies of orthodoxy, because science is the means by which the curious human discovers new facts about his world, perpetually overturning the previous paradigm. This fits perfectly into the church’s story of Adam and Eve. Betrayed by their curiosity (and a snake,) they ate from the tree of knowledge and learnt stuff. Science was born in direct conflict with God’s word. Any fundamentalism is built on orthodoxy. By its very nature it must deny science and knowledge and instead cling to the old established truths that sprung originally from the mind, tongue or brain of some revered being, real or imagined. Thus the fundamental orthodoxies of the Christian Right, the Catholic Church, the Taliban or Al Quaeda are more or less the same. They are inspired by the teachings of a prophet or god and brook no argument, question or deviation. The orthodoxy is paramount and any intrusive “facts” that offer any counterpoint whatsoever must be denied, ignored or twisted to suit the original truth. To the fundamentalist, the 14th. century navigator must have gotten lost, lied or was borne along on the breath of the Devil. The fact that the earth was flat was indisputable.
We have the same kind of blind orthodoxies in our culture today. We hear orthodoxies that our President was not born on American soil, despite written, signed proof that he was. We hear that women’s bodies naturally reject the sperm of a rapist and that this country was founded as a Christian nation. Despite the evidence in front of their eyes and microscopes, the fundamentalists will not swerve from their beliefs. When a group of fundamentalists flew a plane into the twin towers on 9/ 11 they did so, convinced in their orthodoxy, that they were doing God’s work by destroying the unbeliever. When another group of fundamentalists blow up a women’s clinic they believe the same. In fact they both shout “God is great!” as they commit their ungodly acts of violence with the same clear-eyed, ecstasy of the fundamentalist martyr. What makes me very nervous at this point in our history is that a growing number of Americans, dulled by an inane addiction to mindless entertainment like Reality TV, too lazy to employ any critical thinking about anything and willing to let others do all their thinking and deciding for them, are happy to exchange scientifically supportable facts to be replaced by dogma, propaganda and rumor. We have stepped on the brakes of progress and seem determined to run the clock of our civilization back a few hundred years in terms of social justice, women’s and minority rights, religion and debate. The Tea Party, whose manifesto reads almost word for word like that of the Taliban in terms of a zealous adherence to an unshakeable orthodoxy have already dragged many reasonable Republicans into their madness and are intent on doing the same for the country. With an imagined history of America and perverted interpretation of the Constitution, these fundamentalists are taking advantage of the destabilizing forces at work in our economy and society to bring about an America as foreign and corrupted as the Taliban hope to do in Afghanistan. America has always been proud of its scientific, secular outlook. It was born out of the age of reason, not the Middle Ages.
In conclusion let me remind you all of what John Adams signed his name to in the preamble to the Treaty of Tripoli in 1797:
“As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion. . . .”
It has been suggested that we need another photo contest. I agree!! The inspiration for this new contest is the wonderful 365 grateful project by Hailey Bartholomew from Brisbane Australia. Basically, to combat depression, Hailey started taking a photograph each day with a little written description about it, to visually document something she was grateful for in her life. Hailey says “ Hailey’s 365 Grateful Project has become an inspiration to many, including us, with a documentary being made about the extraordinary power of gratitude.
When we came across this 365 Grateful project online, it reminded us of a past contest that we had. Ours was in 2003!! and was called The Official Charles Shaughnessy Website Holiday Gratitude Contest!
We love photos & we love what expressing gratitude can do for the human spirit, so we are having our own 365 Grateful Inspired Charles Shaughnessy Gratitude Photo contest!
This is how you enter:
Take a photo, it MUST be a photo that YOU have taken, of something that you are grateful for or that fills your heart with gratitude when you see it. You can enter ONE PHOTO per day, but you can enter every day, if you want, until we end the contest.
Please send your entries to firstname.lastname@example.org To be included in the contest, in the body of the email, you MUST include a SHORT (about 50 words) description about the photo and why you chose it, the date that you are submitting each photo, at least your first name and the city and/or state & country you live in, then attach a photo big enough for us to use, to your email. If you are on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter, feel free to include your sign on names for those networks. We will tag you if we can.
The contest will go on for several months at least, and though we don’t mind if you use older photos that you already have as well, we hope you will take new photos whenever you feel the inspiration of something that makes you feel grateful, snap a photo with your phone and submit it with a little description. It will change the way you see the world when you see it through capturing the things with a camera, that make you feel grateful.
Will there be prizes from us? Of course! But remember . . . you do NOT have to accept a prize! We want you to do this because it makes you feel good to think about the things you are grateful for each day and take a photo of them. That’s the real prize! If one of your photos is chosen as a winner, you will be contacted by email & can decide then. We will need a full name and address at that time to send the prize to.
The photos will be showcased on my Official Charles Shaughnessy Fan Page on Facebook, each day in it’s own album. If you want to see the photos so far, be sure to LIKE my page first then go to this Gratitude Photos on Facebook Link to see all of the photos that have been submitted so far.
This is VERY IMPORTANT!!!
***Please Note & understand that by entering the 365 Grateful Inspired Charles Shaughnessy Photo Gratitude contest, you still retain the copyright & ownership of your own photos, but you are giving Charles Shaughnessy & Shaughnessy Productions the right to reproduce them online in association with this contest. Send your entries to email@example.com
I am very excited to be presenting this contest & opportunity for you to capture & write about the things in your life that you are grateful for. I hope you enjoy this challenge & that it fills your hearts by participating in it. Have a great time snapping photos! By the way, what I am most grateful for is in the photo at the top of this page. My family.
“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.”