Sunday, May 1, 2016

Things I've Learned

Last year at about this time I took a sabbatical from blogging, except for a handful of posts here and there.

Here's what I've learned in the last year.

  • People are, in general, worse than we give them credit for being: more malicious, more scheming, more hateful, more selfish, more stupid, more desperate.  And that includes us.
  • Love is far more powerful than we suspect.  People who trust love are people who are saints.
  • The Charlie Johnston false prophet situation has absolutely nothing to do with religion.
  • We have not yet begun to figure out how to use the New Technology, nor do we really understand how certain technologies facilitate certain sins and bring out the worst in us, with different sorts of technology bringing out different forms of the worst in us.
  • Texting is the Pornography of Communication (the phrase is from a friend of mine who is always texting).  It separates the full person from the thing you want from him or her at that moment.  It implies a kind of casual intimacy that is clandestine, but that is also easy to walk away from - just like porn.  You can end a texting conversation without ever saying goodbye, for instance - and ignore texts indefinitely, even if you've been texting non-stop for hours with the same "friend" just yesterday.
  • Most of the problems of the last 500 years have been due to World Immanentism - the belief that the supernatural (or the Divine Ground of our being) either does not exist or is utterly separate from nature and cannot interact with it in any meaningful way.  We are all there is.  This is a closed system; there is no such thing as Grace that penetrates it from the outside.  Therefore, we save ourselves - or else we don't need to save ourselves.  Unreality (my word for the fictions we create and violently assert, forcing others to believe in them) is really just Self-Absorbed Promethean Neo-Pelagianism in action.
  • NFP (Natural Family Planning - which is typically used to avoid pregnancy without contraception) is the sacred cow of the "devout" wing of the Catholic Church.  It is a sacrament.  It conveys irresistible grace.  You may criticize lying, torture, capitalism, bishops, the Pope, even Charlie Johnston - but if you dare to suggest that Natural Family Planning is merely a tool that can be abused, you will be crucified.  Nothing gives Devout Catholics more pride than the fact that they abstain from sex a few days every month in order not to have smelly, messy babies, congratulating themselves for not using the pill or a rubber while achieving the exact same result.  Such a "sacrifice" makes them holy; and avoiding having babies for any reason is no big deal when you're holy.
  • When you see the Real Church - the Body of Christ as it actually is - you know it, especially when you're a part of it.  
  • The Kingdom of God is not what we expect.  We want Our Savior to be a Super Hero, not a skinny kid from Nazareth who gets crucified.  Plus we don't need a savior.  We're doing fine on our own, Self-Absorbed Promethean Neo-Pelagians that we are.  Plus we want a Kingdom we can build and see and admire, not something unmerited, profoundly silent, beyond our control and difficult to pin down.
  • My wife of 25 years, Karen, is the only person who tells me the truth at all times, even when I don't want to hear it.  She is utterly trustworthy, the best Catholic I know, the rock of my existence (next to Jesus).
  • And, finally, if it looks like BS, if it smells like BS, and if it tastes like BS, it's BS.