Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Couple Of Eye Popping, Jaw Dropping Stories, And One That's Just Sort Of Depressing

This is a delightful send up of one of NOM's more pathetic commercial efforts:  "The Gathering Storm"

I've read some articles the last couple of days that have truly left me speechless with bugged eyes.  Here's the latest on the Penn State mess.  Jerry Sandusky's defense team is going to use the 'hygiene defense'.  Jerry was only teaching those young boys shower hygiene.  Well, maybe Jerry used a condom as part of his shower curriculum. 

I guess I just can't fathom the kind of desperate narcissism implied in this defense.  Jerry Sandusky allegedly raped a boy in the Penn State football locker room because that locker room represented Jerry's ultimate place of power.  Jerry's alleged shower activities were not about hygiene.  They were all about his very real power over dependent young males.

Then there is the always insightful and relevant Maggie Gallagher and NOM.  Seems Maggie is beyond joy that Republican front runner Newt has signed her NOM Marriage pledge.  Just to keep things updated, Maggie started the National Organization For Marriage and had a lot to do with the Marriage Pledge, but now NOM is run by Brian S Brown.  Brown is a career 'marriage supporter', having come from a pro marriage group in Connecticut.  And like Maggie, Brian is such a pro marriage careerist that he won't tell us who those five major financial supporters of NOM actually are, although one is reputed to be closely affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church---like sitting in cathedral chairs closely affiliated.

Anyway, NOM is now targeting Ron Paul as the only Republican candidate who is anti marriage because Ron hasn't signed their pledge. Hmmm.  Ron has been married 54 years to the same woman and seems to have the well tested understanding that no body else's marriage really effects his.  Newt, on the other hand, just seems to be testing marriage partners, but somehow signing NOM's pledge makes Newt more pro marriage than Ron.  This is a classic case of actually 'walking the talk' having zero meaning relative to just 'talking the talk'.  But then Newt himself has said that it doesn't matter what he actually does, only what he says.  Seems to be the operative paradigm for NOM---and some other organizations that come readily to mind.  So in this way of thinking, as one commenter observed on Maggie Gallagher's post, it would be authentically meaningful for Cardinal Bernie Law to endorse a day care center. 

And we see this same Newt philosophy of talking the talk, forget the walk, playing out in this article from John Allen on the papacy of Pope Benedict.  John thinks Pope Benedict will go down in history as one of the great teaching popes of all time.  Allen is  probably right, but for the wrong reasons.  Teaching and writing are a whole lot easier than really living what you are teaching.  There's a cost to be paid for living what Christ taught, and that cost is living on the margins of society with little in the way of temporal wealth, power, and status.  These are the inbuilt price of Jesus' teachings because it's virtually impossible to understand the full meaning of His teachings while hanging on to temporal wealth, power, and status.  There are multiple gospel stories which spell out this fact.  A person can not transcend material reality by hanging onto it's most addictive parts.

For me personally, I find a lot of what Benedict writes to be worthwhile in a sort of academic sense, but almost none of it from a spiritual sense.  This is precisely because Benedict lives the way he does--in an island of temporal wealth, power, and status.  It's easy to see where belief in his Catholic Jesus has taken Benedict to the apex of Catholic power as countenanced by his Catholic Jesus.  For myself, I'm waiting for Benedict to actually heal a blind man or something.  I've long since lost any expectation that anything truly transcendent can come from belief in Benedict's version Catholic Jesus.


  1. To borrow from your Blog's sub-title, they keep drawing circles that shut us out. I'm not sure I have the fortitude to draw a circle that takes them in.

  2. I often think it's really a question of us having the fortitude to draw ourselves into the bigger circle, which includes them as well as us.

    In some respects we are all addicted to the fear of exclusion, and will ourselves salve that fear by excluding ourselves from others,or just plain excluding the others. That's why fortitude, as you point out, or spiritual maturation as I tend to think of it, become so critical to our progress on any spiritual path. Sometimes I get so angry with being angry I wonder if I will ever get this truth.

    I really wish I would see the same kind of anger in Benedict, but it's never ever there.

  3. Not spiritually worthwhile? How odd.

    Which book(s) did you find so spiritually unhelpful?

  4. It could be Invictus that I was reading Benedict to get an understanding of his theology, and wasn't particularly looking for spiritual insight. I didn't say I found his writing spiritually unhelpful, he is just not a source I would use for that. Richard Rohr, Merton, Chardin, Theresa of Avila, John of the Cross, amonst others have been far more fruitful for me--and of course the Gospels.

  5. Right spot on. And Colkoch, You have a wonderful list of folks on whom to call upon for spiritual direction. Unfortunately, this pope does not find them in the same light. A few he considers to be heretical. God Bless!!