Having been raised a Catholic in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, I’ve been following the recent scandals quite a bit. I can’t imagine the grief felt by the core group of victims. What a hardship it must be to see an ideal of perfection in a form that it so completely fallible, and in way that so violates a sacred bond of trust. I wonder, though, about the private emotional battles existing in the minds and hearts of many area Catholics who are questioning their faith in a system that may not have their best interests at heart. If the image of the Church has been put above the welfare of its parishioners, how can it possibly see for the beam in its own eye? Part of me stands in awe at the ability and ease with which the Church sought to cover up these allegations and in wonderment at the parishioners who knew what was happening to the victims and SAID NOTHING. What do you say to someone to convince them that an act so deplorable should not be openly condemned?
Archive for the 'Faith' Category
People travel the world to study the artwork and music of great men and women because of what it teaches them about themselves and history. They climb mountains and trudge through jungles to seek out the knowledge of one philosopher or another. They will pay thousands of dollars to hear a lecture by a great professor. There are beautiful minds untapped worldwide, and though they may be sparked by the law, by the microscope, or by the Word, they become flames by the work of the teacher. If society chooses to build stadiums instead of schools and cases instead of classrooms, it has already passed judgement on the importance of what I choose to do.
Without knowledge of law there is chaos. Without knowledge of medicine disease reigns. Some teachers sacrifice time and money and energy to teach people to read, but others sacrifice EVERYTHING to teach people to live. Education has built nations and lack of it has destroyed them. Knowledge is so revered that many civilizations believed that only the gods possesed it, yet society places so little value on those who seek to distribute it. If every last being on Earth were destroyed save two, they could recreate the world using our books. I am human, I am fallible, and all I have ever wanted to do from the depth of my soul is to be good enough to inspire someone else to be great. I would do it for free and unappreciated every day for the rest of my life. I believe in education like you believe in God. Judge me as you please.
But did Lennon want to be forgiven? It’s easy to do what you want with someone’s reputation once they’re dead, but what if John Lennon didn’t want to be forgiven for saying that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus Christ. It may have started as an off the cuff remark, but when Catholics and Christians condemned his and his music for the statement, burned albums, refusing to let their children by records, etc… it became something deeper.
In many ways, Lennon became more like Christ than most Christians, professing peace, harmony, and love at a time when Christians themselves were fighting against the idea of equality for all races based on… the Bible. He brought people together in a time when churches were tearing them apart under the “believe this or you don’t belong” doctrine. Lennon was closer to the second coming than most Christians will ever be, and to decry his music because of a statement is reprehensible at best. I’m glad the Vatican is moving on. I only hope Lennon can forgive THEM.
One of the most frustrating things that people say about the economy, politics, environment, etc… is, “God will proviode.” We have intelligence. We can learn things. We can support politicians who support education so that we can learn more things. Knowledge is not a punishment. We weren’t punished for wanting knowledge, we were punished for disobeying god. And that’s an allegory anyway.
God will not fix your roof. God will not fix the hole in the Ozone layer. God will not fix the economy. God will not pay your health care bills. All of that is up to us. The closest we get to god is electing the right politicians so that all of that gets done with us having to know as little about it as possible and when all goes well we can say, “See, God has provided.” It may not all be chance, but it is NOT God.
If you want something, if you need something, DO DOMETHING ABOUT IT. Don’t just sit there and pray, then complain about the state of the world. Find the cause of the problem and figure out a solution. If you can’t figure it out, don’t say, “It must have been God’s will.” Find someone smarter than you and ask for help. Is no help is available , accept that it’s just that way through no fault of your own or anyone else’s. The devil is not involved. Let it go. Stoip waiting. Provide for yourself.
I don’t know if Andrew Lloyd Webber intended his musical to tell the story of Christ or to humanize him, but the first time I saw it, it reinforced my belief that Jesu bin Josef was a political figure and an incredible philosopher, but NOT the son of God. My favorite line in the entire show is sung by Judas and states, “You’ve begun to matter more than the things you say.” I can’t imagine that God’s intention was ever for us to worship Jesus as a god, but rather to listen to his words and implement them in our own lives.
Why is it that we, as human beings, are rarely happy with what we have? We always seem to want something more, especially if we see that someone else has it. Keeping up with the Joneses has been a game played since the beginning of time, and yet we don’t seem to have learned much from it as a whole. When this “deadly” sin was first introduced, the church was engaging in all kinds of envy – the desire for wealth of other nations, land that had been previously unavailable, and the souls of heathens to increase the holy sea. The Vatican didn’t attain all of that wealth because they didn’t envy others for having it, and many times it was attained through avarice and the careful misuse of other sins (That Shalt Not Kill comes to mind).
The other side is this: when we want something, we need to force ourselves to examine the cost and consequences of recieving it. The ultimate goal is to want only what we absolutely need to survive and be reasonably comfortable. I could have a better job and make more money, but I would have to give up a lot of time with my husband and son. A larger house means larger bills, and what I already have is more than adaquate. We complicate our lives by envying those who have more than we need, and waste precious time in the struggle to attain them. But envy can be a positive force as well. Envying those with better grades forces us to study harder. Coveting the health and vitality of someone older than us forces us to re-examine our own choices in food and exercise regimines.
Money is the root of all evil, or so they say. It’s not so much the money itself, but the power and control that comes with having what others do not (and the idea that focusing on money means you’re not focusing on God). Of course, when greed was first labeled a “deadly” sin, the church was the most corrupt institution in the land, but no one likes to talk about that. In fact, avarice has long been a vice of religion, from the selling of “holy” relics and special favors to the evangelical preachers of today raising money to build a mega church and buy themselves a Hummer. I wonder how many people have been convinced to rid themselves of their greed by donating all they have to their local church.
The other side is this: putting yourself above others in one area (especially when it comes to sharing) makes it easier to put yourself first in all aspects of life. Any time you forget to think of others you open yourself up to the ability to ignore their needs completely. That doesn’t mean you should never put yourself first. It is also important to learn to say “no” when you’re feeling overextended or you must do something to take care of yourself, but, as with anything, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Being greedy with your time is the same as being greedy with your possessions. Try to make sure to do something for someone else every day, and if someone needs something that you have (and don’t absolutely NEED), it’s should be theirs. Many of us learned to share before we had any concept of religion or God. It is a basic requirement of humanity, and something we should all be paying more attention to.