Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Rational, Thinking Argument for Praying the Rosary !

 Last spring I summarized a chapter of the following book to present to the Men's Group.  I plan to format this rational argument for praying the Rosary into something better laid out for presentation on my website, or perhaps another publication further down the road.

Enjoy !!


Chapter Eighteen, Rediscover Catholicism – Study - St. John the Baptist Men's Group
Saturday, April 12th, 2014 prepared by David Foster
Even though the author almost acknowledges that without a complex, reasoning, thinking,rational explanation, few would consider praying the Rosary, he fails to meet his audience, those who do not pray the Rosary even though they are nominally Catholic,by offering any rational reason to pray the Rosary, and furthermore, he reinforces there objections by starting out with an irrational, miraculous assertion that there are benefits to praying the Rosary.
I would like to remedy this by offering three SIMPLE,rational reasoning arguments for praying the Rosary.

Part One:

“Your mind cannot do two things at once.” - or Can it ?!?
One does not think to themselves “O.k., now lift the left foot, move it forward,place it down gently and securely.Is it secure? Yes? O.k., now, keeping your balance, lift the right foot and move it forward. Place it down gently and firmly,in a secure manner, before regaining your balance and lifting the left foot.” People just walk.
Many muscles move, but we only think about walking. This is how many things can by done by the mind at once. Instead of thinking of the many details, we are mindful of the one group, whole or context of the many details.
Military Pilot – listen, think, and speak ALL AT THE SAME TIME.
Choir Director – 5 fingers, two hands, two feet, reading, turning pages, listening.
Soccer Player – running,looking, dribbling, planning,. . .
Line Cook – boiling, frying, grilling,deep frying, roasting, plating,toasting,- all the dishes of each table of anywhere from 1 to 12 patrons.
Artists – observing, laying out, judging relationships.
Artists must account for many things at once while drawing. Here is an example of an exercise that forces the mind to think of the many details as one context.
Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
The Vase/Faces DrawingA side benefit of learning to draw is getting to know your own brain a bit better - for example, how, for you, these two modes compete and cooperate.Here is a quick exercise designed to illustrate the mental conflict that can occur between L-mode and R-mode.
This is a famous optical illusion drawing, called "Vase/Faces" because it can be seen as either two facing profiles or as a symmetrical vase in the center.Your job, of course, is to complete the second profile, which will inadvertently complete the symmetrical vase in the center.
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Before you begin: read all the directions for the exercise.
Print the Vase/Faces Template.(Right handers click here) (Left handers click here)
Redraw the profile already printed. Just take your pencil and go over the lines, naming the parts as you go, like this: " Forehead... nose... upper lip... lower lip... chin and neck." Then, go to the other side and start to draw the missing profile that will complete the symmetrical vase.
Now, do the exercise.
Click here, for an explanation of this exercise. Tuesday, April 8, 2014 C:\Users\R.David\Documents\R David Foster\2014\St. John the Baptist Men's Group\April 12th Study of Chapter Eighteen - The Rosary - Rediscover Catholicism 003.odt Page 3 of 8
“Did you experience some conflict during the drawing?“This Vase/Faces exercise helps each person to experience, in their own minds, the mental "crunch" that can occur in drawing. Let me tell you why this mental conflict happens. First, I asked you to name each feature, thus strongly "plugging in" the verbal system of the brain. Then I asked you to simultaneously complete the second profile and the vase. This can only be done by shifting to the visual, spatial mode of the brain. The difficulty of making that mental shift causes a feeling of conflict and confusion - and perhaps even a momentary mental paralysis. Didn't you feel it? The solution to the conflict, of course, is to draw just what you see without naming the parts.”
If there is such frustration and conflict over drawing a line, then no wonder there can be frustration with anything that forces the mind to balance the details with the context, including praying the Rosary.

Part Two – An example of two different contexts:

Changing the Context can change the entire nature of a problem. Is it wrong to kill? The answer depends entirely on the context. Kill what? A virus, a plant, an animal,a person, a soldier, a murderer, an attacker – the answer to this question entirely depends on the context!
Changing the Context can change the entire nature of a problem. This is the power of the Rosary, especially when applied to following Jesus, the Anointed One, the Messiah, the Christ.
An Episcopalian (American Anglican ) Priest from Texas, Wes Seeliger, presented two Contexts of the Church, to address his concerns.
Western Theology
Ideas taken from, “Western Theology” by Wes Seeliger. Pioneer Ventures Publishers, Houston, TX. 1973
Summarized by Brennan Manning in Lion and Lamb, Chapter 3 – “Freedom Under the Word.” pp. 37-41 (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co. 198 6)
Brennan Manning was a Franciscan,
who passed away April 12th, 2013.
“There are two visions of life, two kinds of people. The first see life as a possession to be carefully guarded. They are called settlers. The second see life as a wild, fantastic, explosive gift. They are called pioneers. These two types give rise to two kinds of theology: Settler Theology and Pioneer Theology.
According Wes Seeliger in his book Western Theology, the first kind, Settler Theology, is an attempt to answer all the questions, define and housebreak some sort of Supreme Being, establish the status quo on golden tablets in cinemascope. Pioneer Theology is an attempt to talk about what it means to Tuesday, April 8, 2014 C:\Users\R.David\Documents\R David Foster\2014\St. John the Baptist Men's Group\April 12th Study of Chapter Eighteen - The Rosary - Rediscover Catholicism 003.odt Page 4 of 8
receive the strange gift of life. The Wild West is the setting for both theologies.
In Settler Theology, the church is the courthouse. It is the center of town life. The old stone structure dominates the town square. Its windows are small and this makes things dark inside. Within the courthouse walls, records are kept, taxes collected, trials held for the bad guys. The courthouse is the settler’s symbol of law, order, stability, and—most important—security. The mayor’s office is on the top floor. His eagle eye ferrets out the smallest details of town life.
In Pioneer Theology, the church is the covered wagon. It is a house on wheels, always on the move. The covered wagon is where the pioneers eat, sleep, fight, love, and die. It bears the marks of life and movement—it creaks, is scarred with arrows, bandaged with bailing wire. The covered wagon is always where the action is. It moves toward the future and doesn’t bother to glorify its own ruts. The old wagon isn’t comfortable, but the pioneers don’t mind. They are more into adventure than comfort.
In Settler Theology, God is the mayor. He is a sight to behold. Dressed like a dude from back East, he lounges in an over-stuffed chair in his courthouse office. He keeps the blinds drawn. No one sees him or knows him directly, but since there is order in the town, who can deny that he is there? The mayor is predictable and always on schedule. The settlers fear the mayor, but look to him to clear the payroll and keep things going. Peace and quiet are the mayor’s main concerns. That’s why he sends the sheriff to check on pioneers who ride into town.
In Pioneer Theology, God is the trail boss. He is rough and rugged, full of life. He chews tobacco, drinks straight whisky. The trail boss lives, eats, sleeps, fights with his people. Their well-being is his concern. Without him the wagon wouldn’t move; living as a free man would be impossible. The trail boss often gets down in the mud with the pioneers to help push the wagon, which often gets stuck. He prods the pioneers when they get soft and want to turn back. His fist is an expression of his concern.
In Settler Theology, Jesus is the sheriff. He’s the guy who is sent by the mayor to enforce the rules. He wears a white hat, drinks milk, and outdraws the bad guys. The sheriff decides who is thrown into jail. There is a saying in town that goes: Those who believe that the mayor sent the sheriff, and follow the rules, they won’t stay in Boothill when it comes their time.
In Pioneer Theology, Jesus is the scout. He rides out ahead to find out which way the pioneers should go. He lives all the dangers of the trail. The scout suffers every hardship, is attacked by the Indians. Through his words and actions he reveals the true intentions of the trail boss. By looking at the scout, those on the trail learn what it means to be a pioneer.
In Settler Theology, the Holy Spirit is the saloon girl. Her job is to comfort the settlers. They come to her when they feel lonely, or when life gets dull or dangerous. She tickles them under the chin and makes everything okay again. The saloon girl squeals to the sheriff when someone starts disturbing the peace.
In Pioneer Theology, the Holy Spirit is the buffalo hunter. He rides along with the covered wagon and furnishes fresh meat for the pioneers. Without it they would die. The buffalo hunter is a strange character—sort of a wild man. The pioneers never can tell what he will do next. He scares the hell out of the settlers. He has a big, black gun that goes off like a cannon. He rides into town on Sunday to shake up the settlers. You see, every Sunday morning, the settlers have a little ice cream party in the courthouse. With his gun in hand the buffalo hunter sneaks up to one of the courthouse windows. He fires a tremendous blast that rattles the whole courthouse. Men jump out of their skin, women scream, dogs bark. Chuckling to himself, the buffalo hunter rides back to the wagon train shooting up the town as he goes.
In Settler Theology, the Christian is the settler. He fears the open, unknown frontier. His concern is to stay on good terms with the mayor and keep out of the sheriff’s way. “Safety first” is his motto. To him the courthouse is a symbol of security, peace, order, and happiness. He keeps his money in the bank. The banker is his best friend. The settler never misses an ice cream party.
In Pioneer Theology, the Christian is the pioneer. He is a man of daring, hungry for new life. He rides hard, knows how to use a gun when necessary. The pioneer feels sorry for the settlers and tries to tell them of the joy and fulfillment of life on the trail. He dies with his boots on.
In Settler Theology, the clergyman is the banker. Within his vault are locked the values of the town. He is a highly respected man. He has a gun, but keeps it hidden in his desk. He feels that he and the sheriff have a lot in common. After all, they both protect the bank.
In Pioneer Theology, the clergyman is the cook. He doesn’t furnish the meat. He just dishes up what the buffalo hunter provides. This is how he supports the movement of the wagon. He never confuses his job with that of the trail boss, scout, or buffalo hunter. He sees himself as just another pioneer who has learned to cook. The cook’s job is to help the pioneers pioneer.
In Settler Theology, faith is trusting in the safety of the town: obeying the laws, keeping your nose clean, believing the mayor is in the courthouse. In Pioneer Theology, faith is the spirit of adventure. The readiness to move out. To Tuesday, April 8, 2014 C:\Users\R.David\Documents\R David Foster\2014\St. John the Baptist Men's Group\April 12th Study of Chapter Eighteen - The Rosary - Rediscover Catholicism 003.odt Page 5 of 8
risk everything on the trail. Faith is obedience to the restless voice of the trail boss.In Settler Theology, sin is breaking one of the town’s ordinances. In Pioneer Theology, sin is wanting to turn back. In Settler Theology, salvation is living close to home and hanging around the courthouse. In Pioneer Theology, salvation is being more afraid of sterile town life than of death on the trail. Salvation is joy at the thought of another day to push on into the unknown. It is trusting the trail boss and following his scout while living on the meat provided
by the buffalo hunter.The settlers and the pioneers portray in cowboy-movie language the people of the law and the people of the Spirit. In the time of the historical Jesus, the guardians of the ecclesiastical setup, the scribes and Pharisees and Sadducees, had ensconced themselves in the courthouse and enslaved themselves to the law. This not only enhanced their prestige in society, it also gave them a sense of security. Man fears the responsibility of being free. It is often easier to let others make the decisions or to rely upon the letter of the law. Some men want to be slaves. After enslaving themselves to the letter of the law, such men always go on to deny freedom to others. They will not rest until they have imposed the same oppressive burdens upon others. Jesus described them this way: “They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them” (
).Jesus wanted to liberate His people from the law—from all laws. Under His Word we become free, people of the Spirit; and the fellowship of free people grows up, as in the New Testament, beyond all kinds of theological disagreement. Paul writes in , “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” If we are not experiencing what Paul calls in Romans “the glorious freedom of the children of God,” then we must acknowledge that His Word has not taken
sovereign possession of us, that we are not fully under the sway of His Spirit.”The “Western Theology”
Dichotomy – Two opposing Contexts.

Settler                                                                                             Pioneer
- context                                                                                         - details
Courthouse                                   Church                                              Covered Wagon
Settler                                       Christian                                            Pioneer
Mayor                                        God                                                Trail Boss
Sheriff                                       Jesus                                                Scout
Saloon Girl                                   Holy Spirit                                           Buffalo Hunter
breaking the law                              Sin                                                 wanting to go back
Bank Teller                                  PRIEST                                          COOK
Bank Manager                              *Bishop                                              Dishwasher
obeying the law                               Faith                                                spirit of adventure
hanging around the courthouse               Salvation                                       JOY of the unknown

* In the summary quoted above, the priest and bishop were combined into clergyman. I know this, because my family received the actual book, from another Episcopalian Priest while we were in Texas, in 1982, and I read the actual book thoroughly,as the basis for my Youth Sunday sermon at a United Church in Etobicoke. The actual book does have the priest as bank teller and cook, and the bishop as bank manager and dishwasher.
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Part Three – Be SO aware of the details of salvation, and the life and ministry of Jesus, that you can muster many contexts, so that you may resolve the conflicts that arise when bogged down in details!

So . . . let's use the right brain,that is good at relationships and contexts,to serve up miraculous solutions to everyday problems,by Praying the Rosary, and finding appropriate, meaningful, contexts for the many details of salvation.
The left brain will recite the prayers and the right brain will imagine the contexts of the Mysteries. Neither will interfere with the other's progress. Or – the left brain will consider the Mysteries, while the right brain will ponder the words of the prayers, expanding the context of their meaning.
The Rosary . .
Write out all twenty Mysteries in order in two minutes, timed.
This is your Menu as a line cook,a person baptized to be priest, prophet and king; to minister,proclaim and administer your corner of existence, serving spiritual sustenance to lapsed Catholics, and perhaps others, who also may be in need of solutions. You will need to do many things at once,in your imitation of Jesus and the evangelization of your acquaintances and friends,including using words. Line Cooks have no need or time to consult the recipes as they prepare the meals. They must know immediately where to start on any combination of orders so as to have all the dishes up at the same time.
1. ____________________
2. ____________________
3. ____________________
4. ____________________
The revelations you receive in your contemplation provided by praying the Rosary, are the details of the recipes of the items on the spiritual Menu, to serve your Christian Cook spiritual sustenance for your fellow pioneers.
Each set of mysteries has
a beginning, the start;
a middle, the high point of special emphasis
and an end, to direct your thoughts beyond...
I think it goes something like this:
“ When Philosophy reaches the summit of achievement, it will find Religion sitting there patiently waiting for it to arrive.”
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Hopefully these contexts will offer those who rely on complexity,rationalism and reasoning, a reason to pray the Rosary.
I could say much more about this,and so much so, I have completed five animation episodes promoting a balance of context and details, being and doing, female and male, wholistic and reductionistic, meditative and analytic, as well as a book discussing this animation, entitled HESUS JOY CHRIST – Discussion of the Animation .
The animation is freely available at :
And although almost all of the writing in the book is available freely at the above website,
the book is available for purchase at:
or just google “ HESUS JOY CHRIST “ .
Interesting Note: Western Theology - A protestant priest, Wes Seeliger,less likely to acknowledge Mary's role in salvation as a provider of context for Jesus, is, to make a point, using a discussion of context,which is summarized by a Roman Catholic(?) Franciscan, Brennan Manning.
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