September 25, 2013 § Leave a Comment
When the House of Representatives of the United States of America cuts its most vulnerable citizens off from a daily sustenance that is their only succor and then almost a week later, you type “apple” into Google Chrome and what comes up is not the fruit from which the corporation gets its very name, but that very corporation, and the suggested searches are
a t & t wireless
you know you’re living in a land of mass consumption for the rich and shreds of the trash for the poor.
If you don’t get my point, type “peach” into the search field and see what comes up.
I’m seriously contemplating expatriating to Canada. Seriously.
September 15, 2013 § 4 Comments
Okay, members of the Party of Faithful, Conservative Catholics [TM], here’s a concept for you.
I know you see the way the world is these days. It isn’t ideal. We all see it and we all know. We didn’t want this any more than you did just because the rest of us may not subscribe to what you call ‘the straight and narrow’ (which, interestingly, is slightly different, and by slightly, I mean much more so, than what Jesus would call the straight and narrow based on his Sermon on the Mount, particularly as documented in Sacred Scripture by St. Matthew). A friend of mine recently had this to say on that, though (the emphasis being my own):
“For those who despair at the seemingly endless conveyor belt of news stories about violence and murder remember this: In the Middle Ages it is estimated that 1/3 of human fatalities were caused homicide or war casualties. One third of all people died at the hands of another person. The fact that murder and violence are now considered news-worthy is a sign of the ever increasing civilization of human culture. The arc of history bends not only towards justice, but peace.”
This goes for the endless conveyor belt of media and commentary on sexuality, drugs, art, etc.
When I saw this shared by a friend on facebook who is a non-Catholic with many non-Catholic friends who probably don’t have a very favorable (or accurate) representation of Catholicism, that’s when I started to think of something to say.
I and others within and without the Church are curious about the direction in which you’re pushing the Church that houses far more than just you, who are, even though you hate to admit it and are obviously very insecure about it based on how loud you are, a very vocal minority.
It’s fascinating that you’re willing to sacrifice not only as people, but as members of your party many of the people who would listen to you, especially in the Western Church: women.
It’s long been known that at least in Western Christianity, the most faithful, most ardent, most dedicated members of any religious community or congregation have usually been women. As it turns out, more women are being college educated than ever before in the history of man, mainly out of necessity due to the nuclear family (which you people championed, remember?) actually doing pretty well within the general middle class and outside of the demographics that don’t do marriage well or at all, really (what would generally be considered the working class). Women are waiting longer to get married, have kids, etc., and they’re not living with husbands before marriage as well. Meaning they have to find something to support themselves. Meaning they have to actually have a passion, learn about something, and then go out and pursue a career in it so that they can live a fulfilled life because that’s pretty much what Western Christianity inspired us to do with ourselves (don’t you remember?) Do you honestly think that you’ll turn back that tide with crap like this? While women settle down and become homemakers all the time even if they did start a career in something usually male dominated, do you think women will just forego college altogether? It’s an American rite of passage for the middle class. You’re crazy. You’re off your rocker if you think this will actually convince people not to send their daughters to college.
I’m not asking you to shut up. I’m not asking you to get on board with anything with which you genuinely disagree. I’m just asking you, as your sassy gay friend, to look at your life, look at your choices, Party of Faithful, Conservative Catholics [TM].
August 6, 2013 § Leave a Comment
I came upon this piece yesterday. I’m wary of the blog since a friend showed me this last year and it less than enamored me, but I thought I would read it in good faith for the sake of impartiality. I didn’t like it. The reason why wasn’t obvious to me at first (the N in my Meyers Briggs is sometimes quicker than the T, but the latter always catches up with time).
The latter piece clearly has petty vindictiveness written all over it once you read the conclusion. The former, I realized after I spent some time thinking, tries to be insightful and thought-provoking in a very clever way, but what it really ends up being to those who see right through it is a cry for help from the Party of Faithful, Conservative Catholics [TM].
I tend not to like pieces like this because the spirit in which they’re written is just as misleading as the one with which they claim popular media writes. They present a narrative that I believe their authors really wish were true and that they’re probably trying with all their might to see, but just isn’t real. Benedict and Francis, while both are orthodox, are different people plain and simple and the traditionally minded people who enjoyed the papacy of Benedict for obvious reasons are just having a very hard time adjusting to the Church Francis is guiding us to become. Moreover, those who would try to downplay the differences between Benedict and Francis are super pissed that the media, while it has the tendency to lose its mind in its reporting over the slightest nuance, has picked up on this difference and won’t leave it alone, and those Catholics are simply at a loss.
Benedict, being an intellectual, is a man of the word. He would often say things that were challenging, no doubt, but he wasn’t so challenging, which is a huge difference between the two. Francis is challenging. He challenges the Church. He challenges the wider culture in a very interesting way. While he’s orthodox, he’s also very down-to-earth, simple, and engaging, and he does this not only with his words but his attitude and the overall way he lives his life. He’s into shaking things up which, from the very beginning, was refreshing to a lot of people, and to others was deeply troubling. You can’t ignore the opposition, unpopularity, and utterly trite excuses for controversy Francis faced when he was elected. Not wearing the red loafers. Not wearing the same liturgical vestments as Benedict. Washing the feet of two women, one of them a Muslim at Holy Thursday mass which he elected to say NOT in St. Peter’s Basilica, but in a juvenile detention center. Not patting traditionalists on the head, scratching behind their ears, and rubbing their belly by openly promoting the EF through celebrating it or even talking about it. Being overtly anti-capitalistic in such a way even George Weigel couldn’t mince his words or say that some of them were irrelevant precisely the way he did with Benedict. Does anyone remember anything that can be construed as remotely controversial happening when Benedict was elected? Seriously, if someone does, by all means bring it up since I’m blanking.
I honestly think many Catholics are scared right now. In the wake of a wider culture that views them with less and less relevance and respect by the day, they’re scared of persecution. They’re scared that the Church they wanted to be a haven for them is slipping through their fingers. Because a growing trend these days is to think of Catholicism as a religion of beliefs that merely contain trappings like a Church and sacraments rather than a Church (before all qualifications) that has beliefs and sacraments, they’re scared of people being misled to believe immutable beliefs will be thrown out for heterodoxy. They’re even more scared of change concerning the things they know are technically mutable (pastoral approaches to hot button issues, the role of women in the Church, etc.). A Catholicism built primarily upon mutable beliefs that are held fixed by the binding ones (eg. ‘no altar girls because women will get the notion that they can be priests’, ‘reception on the hand should be outlawed because it weakens belief in the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist’, ‘attractions to the same sex must be stigmatized or else any neutral or, God forbid, positive light shone on them will give a positive light to same-sex sex’) is one that can’t survive nuance in thought and those who don’t consciously note this sense it like a bloodhound. My hope is that Francis ushers us out of a Catholicism that focuses on belonging to a Church by means of orthodoxy and into a Catholicism that focuses on being a Church to a world that Catholics are constantly complaining is dying but will do almost nothing but try to shout and shame back to health.
August 1, 2013 § 2 Comments
There has been a considerable amount of buzz surrounding the Pope as commentary on World Youth Day has been made. A bigger buzz has been made among both Catholics and non-Catholics alike concerning some comments he made in an interview however. Here is an article with the following quotes of his concerning his attitudes toward gay priests, particularly those rumored to be within the walls of the Vatican:
“If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?”
“The problem is not having this orientation. We must be brothers. The problem is lobbying by this orientation, or lobbies of greedy people, political lobbies, Masonic lobbies, so many lobbies. This is the worst problem.”
“You see a lot written about the gay lobby. I still have not seen anyone in the Vatican with an identity card saying they are gay.”
I’m a fan of a Facebook page called Catholic Memes. I find most of what they do to be insightful, tasteful, intriguing, and moreover, downright hilarious. A couple recent post of theirs, however, caught my attention and a considerable amount of attention from others:
Simply because I don’t have the time or energy to give two craps about what other people are saying about it and so be drawn into the madness, I refrained from looking at the comments. Of course there are going to be a ton of people who agree with the spirit in which this meme was created, a vocal minority who disagree, and almost none of whom who can make their point quite effectively and yet pithily enough.
My short take on the memes: cute sentiments, but not based in truth and more likely to just turn those with whom you disagree away.
I’ll begin with the joker meme. Neither of the two popes’ approaches to the topic is contrary to the other, as was geniusly put in an NCR piece by Jimmy Akin, but the two are not the same. Benedict, who I’m sure was very well-meaning and benevolent, did iterate the need to treat others with respect, but he was quick, like so many Catholics, to speak of the demands of love.
The way love is most commonly defined in Catholic thought lends it to being used by many Catholics in an uncannily similar way to which the term “state’s rights” is used by American conservatives. It looks good enough on paper, but when it comes to practice, someone consistently gets the shaft, and one has to wonder if that devil was in the details all along.
Francis, being much more plain in his speech didn’t peddle a bunch of theology, but simply spoke from his heart and his experience. He put himself in the hypothetical scenario and made it much more real. ‘This is what I do when I interact with a gay person.’ Another thing is *GASP* he actually called gay people gay, not the politically correct Catholic term du jour. What a scandal. Basically, he took a few small steps to make a position on a group of people that isn’t always very palatable much more so. I don’t think it’s a mistake that his language earned him praise and Benedict the usual response, and I don’t think it’s a complete misunderstanding across the board. To claim that it was the same message getting two completely different responses is naive at best and disingenuous at worst.
Then there’s the other, which is clearly a joke and is meant to make you laugh more than it’s meant to make you think. While Francis’ face in the bottom frame looks pretty hilarious in relation to the upper two, it did make me think. A lot.
Jokes are funny when they’re somehow based in truth. A lot of people did have reactions of amusement to this one because they honestly believe the media to either be that daft or dishonest when reporting on the Catholic Church or faith. I, on the other hand, found it ludicrous and irrational, so the humor as a notion isn’t lost on me, the humor itself most certainly is.
Yes, there has been an overwhelming media response to what Francis said that greatly differs from the response to what previous popes have said. As I stated before, there’s a reason for that, one that a lot of Catholics are simply missing out on when they react this way. Francis sent us the message that he doesn’t think guys liking guys and girls liking girls (though specifically speaking of guys in the priesthood) is all that bad, especially if they seek God in good will. He upheld Catholic teaching without furthering the war of semantics or using unnecessary and fishy language like “disordered” since he expressed having no negative or positive opinion of the orientation and only disapproves of the sex. What’s the problem?
He stepped across party lines and showed love and respect for gay people (specifically priests) in a way that many orthodox Catholics probably felt wasn’t possible. That’s what the “problem” is.
I have no doubt that most Catholics don’t hate gay people and honestly feel that they love them. For them, though, since love is simply “willing the good of another”, and since the ultimate good to them is holiness, orthodoxy, and the Faithful Conservative Catholic [TM] way, the way in which they express love is often categorized as rude, unnecessary, bigoted, or even “hate speech” by the rest of the population. Joe Catholic can’t fathom that maybe treating gay people with respect as human beings who happen to be a bit different from him in some way, who are big boys and girls and make their own decisions, even if those decisions are different from the ones he might make, and by GOD, simply not saying something about “it” as if these Godless homos never heard someone disapprove of them or what they do or think in the slightest and he’s the only ones who can save their immortal soul, won’t preclude his commitment to orthodoxy.
Well here’s news for you, Joe Catholic: You can and Francis just proved it.
Catholic memes is a great page with an awesome witness to Catholicism in all its splendor and potential humor. It can also be a breeding factory for hacks like those above. My hope is that more Catholics get out of the tent of hyperdoxy and open their eyes to example Francis has shown us: If a person is gay and seeks God and has good faith, who am I to judge him?
From there we can move on to: If a person is gay and perhaps doesn’t seek God and maybe doesn’t have good faith, how can I love him in such a way that would make him want to seek God and have good faith if that’s what I really want for him?
July 22, 2013 § 2 Comments
It turns out George Zimmerman has managed either to repair his damaged reputation or utterly mystify the public, however you may see it.
Personally, I’m as stumped as anybody. I mean, I never claimed to know anything about or have any particular opinion of George Zimmerman himself other than that he is, as far as I can tell, pathetic and un-masculine. He’s a former bouncer who was let go for being too aggressive with the establishment’s clientele, has an ex-girlfriend who pursued a restraining order against him for physical abuse, and is alleged to have sexually abused his neice, but decides that in order to save his life he has to shoot a minor who is eleven or twelve years his junior rather than physically resist him in a fight that results from George following the guy for looking suspicious, not trying to communicate or any such thing. I wonder if he announced himself and tried to communicate with the family trapped in their vehicle. In any case, the author of this Jezebel article puts it quite well:
“Whatever the circumstances around Zimmerman’s truck rescue, it’s a good thing that the person in the cabin wasn’t armed and didn’t feel threatened by Zimmerman’s entry into their vehicle, or, you know, Zimmerman could have gotten himself shot.”
July 21, 2013 § Leave a Comment
When I read about the Zimmerman verdict on Facebook while checking my phone on the L going home last Saturday night, I felt a twinge of something I couldn’t quite name, that somewhat scared me, and that I suppressed for a while until I saw the backlash of people who either supported George Zimmerman or didn’t care about the matter altogether, trying to employ any number of excuses to trivialize the topic. I felt dread. I felt a dread similar to the dread I feel walking around the community in which I live in both broad daylight and dead night time. I felt the dread that even though I am a shy, quiet, introverted young artist who graduated from undergrad with honors and maintains a 3.9 pursuing a masters, even though I’ve never been in trouble with the law in any way, shape, or form, even though I’m well-spoken with a newscaster’s accent (or as many would call it ‘no accent’) and am an all-around regular person whom most wouldn’t consider a member of the so-called “black community” apart from my skin tone, when someone happens upon me, they don’t hear my voice. They don’t see the degree hanging on my wall. They don’t see me in class discussions. They don’t hear me performing my art form. They don’t see me in group settings in which I’m much slower to speak than my counterparts and am much more observant.
They see dark skin and a male form. Period. They see this and automatically the stigma that has been placed upon it is placed upon me.
I’m reminded of the system both in which I operate and that I defy. I’m reminded of why I feel like some sort of ‘anomaly’ and why Trayvon was an example of the norm to be broadcast before the country and the world. And then I realize that when people see me, they see someone like Trayvon, who, from what has been said of him, doesn’t even come close to describing me apart from the obvious. This is not to say anything negative about Trayvon.
I was a big ball of pent-up emotion for this entire week. Some of that has released itself, but not all. I don’t even feel that what I’m writing now can scratch the surface of what I’ve thought and felt for this week. It can’t. I’m grasping at air trying to put something that weighs so heavily upon me into the best words I can find. It seems to be the trend to touch this topic and then go with bloggers. I don’t know, though. I may come back to this in the future as I sort myself out concerning it because I just don’t have the words to say what’s troubling me about this. I’m thankful for those who have not only supported me, but have supported those like me everywhere dealing with this topic.