See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sermonizing Michael.

Sunday morning.
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Friday night I got really pissed over some of the goody-two-shoes remarks about Michael Jackson that were popping up immediately after his death had been announced - well, in the first 24 hours after his death. I only came across one religious person's critique that I found acceptable, and it was by a rabbi. I also noted on another blog (whose owner recently posted on the niceties of a gay pride celebration) a link the author posted to some sort of preacher-man referring to the media event, and possibly the star's life, as a product of freak show culture - I didn't really read it close - but I shot back in exasperation (just like people so often do with me BTW). I left this comment:
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"Speaking of freak show culture - the Minneapolis Gay Pride celebration takes place this weekend..' Adapting a line from the post I added, 'There are plenty of folks who think America is a Christian nation. I’d like to ask them: What does The Gay Pride Parade of drag queens and leather queens and male strippers say about our country, our culture, and our celebrity-crazed nation’s spiritual health?'. See how this bible-banger shit works?"
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I wasn't interested in a response, but between that and a comment left here by someone else, "I laughed when I heard he died." I decided to turn off comments on the blog for awhile.
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After I cooled down a bit, I realized once again I'm no better than anyone else, and once again I found out the hard way that I always, always forget that. ALWAYS! I can be just as holier than thou as the next blogger; sermonizing on this or that, laughing at this person and that eccentricity, criticizing this or that behavior - because I've been there done that, getting all scandalized after someone gets caught not living up to their profession of faith - forgetting my own hypocrisy, and so on. This is one reason why non-religious folks hate religious people - it isn't always because we are such saintly disciples of Christ. So anyway...
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I'm bad.
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Enough said. I get pissed - I get over it. Hey, but now it's really going to hit the fan - the soap opera has taken off! Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton have honed in on the Jackson clan for their close-up. Janet and the rest of the family are already at the house clearing stuff out before the creditors get their hands on Michael's personal possessions - and Michael isn't even buried yet. It's gonna be like a huge chase scene in a movie, a huge brouhaha unlike any ever witnessed - maybe like the ending of "It's A mad, Mad Mad World".
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How queer.
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And yep - today really is gay pride in Minneapolis. Today is the anniversary of Stonewall, the name given the 'riots' which took place outside the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in NYC in 1969. (It is still a dive BTW.) I remember the event well - it was all over the news and the talk of morning coffee at Dayton's. Young people and foreigners may not know this, but in those days gay bars were often owned or protected by the mob or some crooked underground organization - just like strip joints and bathhouses were. The cops - here in Minneapolis and Manhattan - were paid-off, bribed to turn a blind eye. At the time NYC was undergoing one of it's moral face lifts when Stonewall erupted - the cops had been harassing the seedier gay bars at the time. Stonewall was a dive, a sleaze joint; drags, hookers, druggies, and neighborhood gays frequented the place. It was a shade shady, the cops raided, the queens protested and threw rocks and got arrested.
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Gay people around the country took notice, not a few denounced it privately - believe it or not, privacy still existed back then - but the event did indeed spark a movement. The rest is history of course, oftentimes mythologized beyond recognition, which is why today has become the gay Cinco de Mayo. Only these days critics are no longer free to call it - for fear of hate mongering - a great big freak show.
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The Whore of Babylon. (One last bible-bang for your buck.)
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Pop culture is a funny thing - we are all part of it - or at least touched and influenced by it, like it or not. Catherine of Genoa referred to it as "The contagion of the world's slow stain". John of the Cross was more explicit: "Where does this poisonous harm fail to reach? And who fails to drink little or much from the golden chalice of the Babylonian woman of the Apocalypse? ...There is hardly anyone of high rank or low, saint or sinner, who does not drink of her wine, subjecting his heart somewhat. For as pointed out in Revelation 17:2-4, all the kings of the earth were inebriated with the wine of her prostitution. She reaches out to all states, even the supreme and illustrious state of the priesthood, by setting her abominable cup in the holy place, as Daniel asserts [Dn. 9:27], and she hardly leaves a strong man who has not drunk a small or large quantity of wine from her chalice..." - Ascent III, 22:4
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(Comments off for another day or so.)

3 comments:

  1. The last couple of days I spent six hours with close and shirt tail family members. Lots of conversations about old times, sports, the Army, politics (heated), jobs, movies and entertainment. Ages from 2 mos. (didn't talk much) up to 60s.

    Not one mention of Michael Jackson. Some mention of James Dean and Montgomery Clift and how "hot" they looked. Much mention of Johnny Depp and Bradd Pitt. (from the women)

    The media as usual think that we all are obsessed by the same things they are.

    The heated political discussion was about the hypocrisy of the liberals who think that Sarah Palin's 14 and 18 year old daughters are fair game. Of course we know that the faith of liberals is far stronger than that of most believers in God. So criticizing conservative female politicians' children is permitted for feminists.

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  2. Ray, I expect they didn't want to get you upset by talking about Michael. You have to face the fact that he's dead my friend - I know it hurts - but he's dead.

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  3. I think we were all waiting for poor Michael to live one day--not die. What a horrendous shock--much bigger/more personal than I could've predicted. I had to speak to someone that night about the two deaths; she began praying Psalm 90 aloud, and it truly was solace. Later, a very serious Byzantine priest said that despite everything that could be said of either one, he had offered Mass for both Michael and Farrah the next morn. How I thank God for our Church.

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