June 01, 2015

Random Thoughts


Saw today I examined the great window at St. John's depicting Christ showing his wounds to St. Thomas, and I noticed for the first time that it looked like they were meeting just in front of a Confessional. And I thought how maybe that was appropriate in multiple senses, one Thomas was receiving absolution for his doubt, and two, Christ was showing the wound we gave him, and his presence among humans meant we were forgiven.

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Chesterton wrote that peasants are the subject of poems but not businessmen and he made it sound as though that should tell us something.

But I suspect it's simply because peasants do physical, visible things while business people work in their heads doing abstract things. Money is boring to poets because it's a number. Abstractions and math aren't that romantic. No one's written a poem about computer programming either.

The Bible is a romantic shelf of books. It's not a science book as has often been said. It traffics heavily in symbols but not of the = or > or < or % variety. Whether you are saved or not saved, a binary '1' or '0', isn't romantic, so that's not given to us to know. God is a romantic, not an accountant, and nothing illustrates this quite so well as the story of leaving the 99 sheep to rescue the one.

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It strikes me as kind of funny that the role of the body during sex on the macro level often mirrors what happens on a micro. In the sex act, the male is all about movement, thrust, motion, forward ho! The female is about receptivity even passivity. And on a microscopic level, the sperm do the strenuous thing, swim -- forward, tally ho! And the egg sits in regal repose. I'm not sure it's a necessity, it seems to me, that these two things ought parallel each other so neatly. The body has purpose, that we in this gnostic age ignore to our peril.

If the outward body can mimic the inner body, why shouldn't the outward body mimic the inner soul, such as in kneeling in adoration of God, the corporal works of mercy, etc…

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I saw a little glimpse Sunday of what it means to be attracted to the Christian lifestyle. I saw it in the face and demeanor of a young girl, maybe 11 or 13, who smiled sweetly and politely thanked me as I held the church door open for her. Such a simple thing but somehow pregnant with meaning since God himself became little for our sake.

Many times it's been said that the best evangelization effort is to live in such a way that it's attractive to others, that they may long for the peace you have. But I'm not sure I've been especially drawn to devout Christians for that reason. For example, Tim Tebow seems a very legit Christian yet despite his friendliness and tranquility I'm not especially someone who thinks to himself, “I want to be like Tebow!” Similarly with even Mother Teresa, who (sadly) doesn't exactly spur emulation in me since her life seemed a constant suffering, be it from not feeling close to God or from having to give 24/7 to people in need.

But today this little girl won my cold heart. First because a polite, effusive pre-teen girl is like seeing a leprechaun or a unicorn. Pretty amazing. An outlier of untold proportions. Kids are pretty barbaric by nature, so this was like seeing a tame lion!

I am also attracted by humility, and I was humbled by the way the black Somali men next to me so reverently bowed before Christ. They even sometimes knelt when the rest of us stood. There was just something about their actions that was not in the least perfunctory or rote, a real humility before God, and that I find very charismatic and triggers a “I want to be like them” vibe.

During the homily, St. John's priest mentioned how sad it was to hear a couple people talking about the lottery and how they desperately wanted to win and be rich so they could quit work. The priest said, “is that all? You just want to be rich?”

I thought then of the sad life of pop singer Michael Jackson. Of how he was given the whole world, had pretty much unlimited money, unlimited travel, sex, food, art…And yet he was so deeply unhappy that all that money couldn't even buy him a good night's sleep. He put himself into the hands of this world's pleasures and zeitgeist and it got him only a disfigured face and a premature death. I can think of no greater example of how this world can not only not satisfy, but can actively ruin you. God has the reputation of being tough or harsh in some circles, but look at the harshness of what this world itself can do to you, even when you're on top of it.

I can say that Michael Jackson inspires me much in not wanting to be like him. And since we've all got to choose one way or another, this world or the next, I best be actively liking Mother Teresa's way!

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Humorous line from Sirius/XM host Martin Goldschmidt on his upcoming knee surgery:
I'm not particularly looking forward to the surgery. I tend to agree with Oscar Wilde when he wrote, “Lord, spare me from physical pain; I'll take care of the mental anguish.”
Ideally, I'd rather be spared from both.

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Boycotted ABC's This Week and enjoyed Meet the Press. Not a bad replacer despite Chuck Todd being not a fraction as likable as Zorba the George. But Zorba ruined it with his ridiculousness re the Clinton Foundation.

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Back in 2000, I thought that given the changing demographics of the country, George W. Bush's popular vote loss to Al Gore meant he (Bush) would likely be the last Republican president of this generation, loosely defined as twenty years.

So far I was right, although it's only been eight years. This next election will be the big test. But my theory ignores the fact that presidents can be so terrible (like Jimmy Carter) that it almost forces people to vote for the other party. So Hillary could get elected and then do something so outrageous that she actually loses Democrat support. Never underestimate the ability of a political party to kill themselves – like Bush almost did in Iraq.

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