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Lonely tree

photo of the week by bernadg

My mental title for this is “Tablet Reading – the Feverish Dreams edition.” Thoroughly appropriate considering that our family is in week two of a battle with the flu or something like it (one member recovered, one close, one still under, and one unscathed). Thoroughly appropriate also considering that the links themselves seem like products of feverish dreams. “Mostly Dead” moves from being a Princess Bride joke to having some real-life relevance. Someone is seriously suggesting that we open wide marriage to any number of people of any gender – because, of course, “the definition of marriage is plastic.” (Note: if you stretch a thing – anything – too far, it breaks.) Scott Hahn writing about the sacrificial aspect of the Eucharist as a part of evangelization (nothing unusual so far) – in America Magazine, the Jesuit periodical. Let’s just say this is a first. (For the magazine. A very hopeful sort of first.) Finally, a video about washcloths in space. Watch it and you’ll see why it made my Feverish Dreams links post.

:: Sam Parnia – the man who could bring you back from the dead  (The Observer)

“It is my belief,” he says, “that anyone who dies of a cause that is reversible should not really die any more. That is: every heart attack victim should no longer die. I have to be careful when I state that because people will say, ‘My husband has died recently and you are saying that need not have happened’. But the fact is heart attacks themselves are quite easily managed. If you can manage the process of death properly then you go in, take out the clot, put a stent in, the heart will function in most cases. And the same with infections, pneumonia or whatever. People who don’t respond to antibiotics in time, we could keep them there for a while longer [after they had died] until they did respond.”

Parnia’s belief is backed up by his experience at the margin of life and death in intensive care units for the past two decades – he did his training at Guy’s and St Thomas’ in London – and particularly in the past five years or so when most of the advances in resuscitation have occurred. Those advances – most notably the drastic cooling of the corpse to slow neuronal deterioration and the monitoring and maintenance of oxygen levels to the brain – have not yet become accepted possibilities in the medical profession. Parnia is on a mission to change that.

:: Legalize Polygamy! No. I am not kidding.  (Slate.com)

The definition of marriage is plastic. Just like heterosexual marriage is no better or worse than homosexual marriage, marriage between two consenting adults is not inherently more or less “correct” than marriage among three (or four, or six) consenting adults. Though polygamists are a minority—a tiny minority, in fact—freedom has no value unless it extends to even the smallest and most marginalized groups among us. So let’s fight for marriage equality until it extends to every same-sex couple in the United States—and then let’s keep fighting. We’re not done yet.

:: Mass Evangelization  (Scott Hahn in America Magazine)

What was it, I asked Chris, that transformed Jesus’ execution into a sacrifice? He was dumbstruck. I told him that for many years I could not answer that question. But St. Paul and the church fathers led me to the answer.

The transformative moment was Jesus’ offering of his body and blood at the Last Supper. Jesus spoke of that offering in sacrificial terms, commanding his apostles to keep it in perpetuity as his memorial: “Do this in remembrance of me.” He called it “the new covenant” (or “new testament”) in his blood (Mt 26:28), echoing Moses’ words as he ratified the Old Law with a sacrifice (Ex 24:8). The apostles, too, looked upon his memorial in sacrificial terms: “For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Cor 5:7).

Holy Thursday is what transformed Good Friday from an execution into a sacrifice, and Easter Sunday is what transformed the sacrifice into a sacrament. Christ’s body was raised in glory, so it is now communicable to the faithful. Indeed, it is the same sacrifice he offered by instituting the Eucharist and then dying on Calvary, only now his sacred humanity is deified and deifying. It is the high-priestly sacrifice that he offers in heaven and on earth.

:: If You Try to Wring Out a Washcloth in Space, You Will Fail  (TheAtlantic.com)

Water, in space, will not flow. It will not cascade, or drip, or fill a cup. Instead, unimpeded by gravity, water tends to collect in floating blobs that are works of beauty and science at the same time.