Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Habakkuk's Warning

An alcoholic face.  A narcissistic smile.  And, not surprisingly, the slippery slope - the hypocrisy - coming to light.

As Pope Francis said recently, "St. Peter did not have a bank account."

How long till Dolan resigns?  Or is replaced?

How long, O Lord, how long?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pope Francis and a Plenary Indulgence

To all those of goodwill, the new Pope, Francis, offered a "plenary indulgence" along with his first Papal Blessing.  "What in the world is that?" you may be asking.  Or maybe not.  But simply by watching, you already received one, or so the church teaches:  You received the Powerful Blessing. Of a Humble and Holy Man.  (The whole idea of an indulgence actually turns on whether or not you believe in Purgatory, a concept which has no basis, to my mind, in scripture - thereby making this statement heretical and worthy of this blog!)  

For a fun consideration of indulgences, you can read my blog on that topic from several years back.  The original blog was posted at TPM and when they closed their reader blogs, I selected about a third of them and posted the blogs - along with comments.  Some of the comments are priceless, so if you have the time, read the blog here.  Otherwise, right here where it's heretical nature belongs.

Of course, heresy is in the eye of the beholder...

Monday, February 11, 2013

Employers "in loco parentis"

Long ago there was a debate:  To what extent were colleges in a parental role vis a vis their students?  Seems to me that pretty much got settled.  Grades are no longer sent to parents, but not students.  (Now it's the reverse.)  Smoking is allowed.  Drinking is allowed.  Cutting classes is allowed.  Students are no longer required to live on campus, nor monitored for how late they stay out at night.  Students are considered adults, responsible for their own behavior. 

But here we are again:  Employers in loco parentis!  Employers, indeed, claiming to take over a religious role for employees, claiming... do you believe it? ...  to take over the role of conscience for their employees.

All because some employers cannot abide that employees exercise their own consciences.  Exercise responsibility for their own private lives.  In one area onlycontraception.  (Which means controlling women's behavior, mind you.  For I've heard no uproar over limiting drugs like Viagra.)

Now, colleges, for example, still consider themselves responsible for the safety of students.  They can't just leave patches of ice in the parking lots.  They can't just let gun-toting murderers run rampant on campus.  So, with the exception of some very conservative religious institutions which require students to agree to adhere to a strict code of conduct, most colleges today are able to draw lines between the public and the private.  (They provide safety within the college environment.  And they allow wide latitude with regard to student's private lives, so long as their behavior does not endanger the safety of others.)

But some employers, claiming consciences which speak for all, claiming a kind of infallibility, based (it would appear) on a claim to extreme holiness - now assert a right to a parental role with regard to their employees.  With regard to their female employees.  With regard to their family planning or their medical care.  In effect they want to punish women for private decisions they make with their doctor, decisions which have nothing to do with the workplace.

The mind reels!

It seems to me that today the root of so many problems in our society relates to a lack of logic, bordering on insanity.  Think about it.  How of many of our problems relate to a desire (by some) to control the private lives of others?  Or a desire to punish others for private behavior?  Or a desire to relieve themselves of any responsibility for the welfare of others?

Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, disability, food stamps - no one forces us to use them.  But they certainly should be available for those of us who need them or who qualify for them.  As should contraception - as a covered medical option.  With fairness and equity for all.

We don't exempt some employers from paying taxes to social welfare programs.  We don't exempt some from laws requiring worker safety, hours worked, or the minimum wage.  So why is medical care different?

So why meddle in the medical?

Employers, is it so difficult for the professedly holy among you to understand?  Is it so difficult to accept that free will is a gift from God?

Honestly, I'm tired of the insanity!

[Cross-posted here.]

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

OMG!!! My checks don't weigh what they say!

Just think.  If the republicans are right, then what's to become of the checks I use to pay bills? And god forbid if you use virtual checks and pay your bills via the web!

Because after all, a platinum coin, according the R's, would have to weigh in platinum its own face value. 

So when I mint money via paying a bill with a check...  these bozos think my actual, physical check should be worth what I write it for?  Even worse, if you pay your bills over the web...  your virtual check weighs nothing!  Credit cards?  OMG!

Politics - conservative style (Gangnam Guy, where are you?)...  is now interchangeable with this blog!

It seems to me that the repubs are going to bury themselves in craziness.  They are so far round the bend....  in an effort to try and defend insane policies!  And these are the folks pushing gun ownership??? 

Ban Nonsense!  And ban those who spout nonsense - from purchasing, owning, using, even carrying a gun!

Desmond Tutu: God (she's) not a Christian.

What a wonderful, wonderful treat is in store for you!  Here.  Oh, the joy of being old and telling it like it is!  The joy of being famous and holy and old and getting away with it!

Here's a flavor:
The two elderly spiritual leaders, for one short, unforgettable moment, became kids again, horsing around and thoroughly enjoying each other’s company. 

At one gathering in Oslo, after a particularly rambunctious episode, Tutu admonished the Dalai Lama in mock seriousness, “Look here—the cameras are on you, stop behaving like a naughty schoolboy. Try to behave like a holy man.”
Now Tutu tells it like it is:
 “The glory about God is that God is a mystery. God is actually quite incredible in many ways. But God allows us to misunderstand her”—at this, the audience went wild; the applause was loud and spontaneous—“but also to understand her.”

“I’ve frequently said I’m glad I’m not God,” Tutu continued. “But I’m also glad God is God. He can watch us speak, spread hatred, in his name. Apartheid was for a long time justified by the church. We do the same when we say all those awful things we say about gays and lesbians. We speak on behalf of a God of love. The God that I worship is an omnipotent God,” Tutu intoned, opening his arms wide. He paused to let this sink in. Then he said, sotto voce, “He is also incredibly, totally impotent. The God that I worship is almighty, and also incredibly weak.
“He can sit there and watch me make a wrong choice. Now, if I was God,” he said as the hall burst into laughter, “and I saw, for instance, this one is going to make a choice that is going to destroy his family, I’d probably snuff him out. But the glory of God is actually mind-blowing. He can sit and not intervene because he has such an incredible, incredible reverence for my autonomy. He is prepared to let me go to hell. Freely. Rather than compel me to go to heaven. He weeps when he sees us do the things that we do to one another. But he does not send lightning bolts to destroy the ungodly. And that is fantastic. God says, ‘I can’t force you. I beg you, please for your own sake, make the right choice. I beg you.’ When you do the right thing, God forgets about God’s divine dignity and he rushes and embraces you. ‘You came back, you came back. I love you. Oh how wonderful, you came back.’”
I agree with all of it, except the concept of going to hell. 

Whatever/wherever "hell" might be, to me it's an eternity of knowing (the consequences of one's choices), but with no possibility - any longer - of making good on wrong choices.  So an eternal anguish for those who've harmed others - children and women and gay people and people of different religious faiths, colors, political views.

I, being idealistic, hope it includes some way to mourn and grieve and find ultimate compassion.

Monday, January 7, 2013

People of Conscience Should Boycott Bigotry

This blog by Bill at Bilgrimage together with these thoughts from Colleen at Enlightened Catholicism prompted the following musings:

The time is coming, perhaps it's already here, when catholics of good conscience will simply refrain from attending masses where their beloved brethren are not welcome. Where they are are instead preached against and expected to adopt the masochistic role in a sadomasochistic (church?) relationship with those who castigate them. Wherein to "attend" or "belong" means to disown themselves and be disowned by their detractors.

It's time for the baptized to claim the priesthood of that baptism and to stand up, shake the dust off their sandals, and abandon a church where its hierarchy practices apartheid. A boycott is not only called-for. It's a matter of conscience!

One of the things that drew me to my present little parish was its subtitle: A Church for all people. I rightly assumed that meant gay people too, though I'm not gay. But that was important to me. We are also one of the few churches on a Sunday where blacks and whites worship together (about 40% black, mostly Ethiopian - with the Gospel read in Ethiopian in addition to English).

Those people who oppose gay marriage are deeply in trouble. For they imagine they can hold back a tsunami (of justice) - simply by ranting and raving that tsunamis are coming! Let them take cover if they're scared! But they have no right to restrict or admonish me for delighting in Life in Abundance.

I am horrified when our gay brethren are asked to suffer due to self-righteous bigots who expect them to take on a submissive role in an S&M ritual conducted by a church! Really... that's what it is!!!

Shun all parishes that conduct such perverse rituals! This has nothing to do with Jesus - who ate with ANYONE! This has nothing to do with a feast where all are invited to partake.

We Orthodox sing a lovely hymn at communion time. And recently I understood it in a new way - which pertains to what I've said. We sing over and over: "Receive the Body of Christ." I looked around. And I understood this as a commandment: To welcome each and every person. To "receive" each one. THAT is what communion is! And THAT is what the pope (and his minions) have FAILED to learn.

If you are a person of conscience, can you simply stand by as fellow human beings, fellow Christians, fellow baptized persons are castigated, cast out, or expected to be masochists?

Consult your conscience!  Shake off the dust from your sandals!  

End Gay Apartheid in the RCC!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dolan: Blessing but not Endorsing ... Yeah, right!

So I wake up this morning to the news that red-faced Cardinal (!) Dolan will bless a presidential candidate on the night of his acclamation as official candidate.  But that's not an endorsement...  the Cardinal's office assures us.

Look...  If Jesus had blessed a Roman emperor....  If Moses had blessed the Pharaoh...   Do I need to go on?

Did Dolan's mother never tell him:  Actions speak louder than words?

Did Dolan never consider the principle:  Lex orandi, lex credendi?

When it comes to ethics it is hugely important to make sure that one's actions do not even give a hint or a whiff of impropriety.

Ok, what's gonna be the result of this blessing genuflection?

I seriously doubt it will sway any worldly votes.  Though it may energize some Romney supporters.  On the other hand...  it is just one more nail in the lengthening list that should be nailed to the Vatican wall or hammered onto the Vatican's rusty coffin of misbehavior.

Are there no good men left?  Men, who are humble.  Men who avoid the limelight.  Men, who, upon being asked to bless a candidate - at a national convention - likely with TV cameras running... would say, without hesitation:  It would be inappropriate for me to give the appearance of endorsing... 

But no...  the good men are never asked!  Or if they are, they refrain so quietly we never even know about it.

So what's gonna be the result of this blessing?  A serious backfire.  More folks heading for the church doors.  A sense of something gone terribly wrong.

RCC to the faithful:  No pastoral care for thee.  Alliance with worldly power for me.