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

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Banal theories...



A post with no headers or subdivisions or links to what I'm talking about.
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I posted this clip a couple of days back and then pulled it thinking I'd use it another day when there is nothing to blog about.  But like Andre in the film - I just keep talking and talking so I always have something to write about.  Banal theories - love that line.  I have a lot of them, as well as pointless stories.
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Although this morning I'm sad over a number of things, some of which I can't control.
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The oil spill/leak in the Gulf for instance. What a terrible disaster, it affects people, wild life, industry - the ecology: mercy, mercy, mercy me. Seriously!  I see the photos, it is a disaster and it will only get worse.  It makes me sad.
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The immigrant problem. I am apolitical about the issue - I can empathize with both sides, but my sympathy is with the poor men, women and children who struggle. I see souls. Souls who need salvation - like me and you. So I pray to Our Lady of Guadalupe, San Jose, and San Toribio. Minneapolis has a very large Latino community - I love Latino people and pray for them - I'm especially concerned they remain Catholic.  Actually, that is my greatest concern.
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Banal theories - I told you I love that line. I suppose I have a lot of them - and so it seems other bloggers do as well.   Blogging is like My Dinner With Andre in some ways - forgettable diatribes about nonsense - today everything seems like nonsense to me.  Today is one of those days I wonder, "Is the world nuts or is it just me?"  (Note to crazy people, forgive me for using the "nuts" word.)
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I read a post last night by a priest sort of warning about charismatic founders of new religious communities - and I thought, "I write about these things quite frequently, yet people always get annoyed with me and think I'm criticizing them."   (Honesty is often perceived as cruelty by the effeminate.)
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"But you are crippled Blanche, you are!"  Baby Jane told her sister.
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And so yes - maybe I was writing about them - but criticizing them?  Not so much.  Pointing out that they are crippled?  A little bit.  We all are in some way.  So I wonder if Father was doing that too?  (Now I do sound crazy, don't I.  Well maybe I am Kathy Bates.)
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People criticize me all of the time of course - because "I'm out there, George!  I'm out there!"  They seem to criticize me precisely because I'll point out a few things just as Father does in his post.  So what?  We all make mistakes and it's good to know we are all quite fallible.  It just makes me sad when we pretend we are something we are not.  This probably makes no sense, I know.
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As my regular readers know, I'm sometimes sad about church people - I don't want to get too involved with them.  Recently someone asked me if I wanted to gather some information for the Church - I can't say on what, where, or whom.  I thought about it.  I would be acting "undercover", infiltrating a group, spying.  I just kept thinking, "That's what Judas and the scribes and pharisees did."  I got this creepy feeling in the pit of my stomach.  If something seems bad - it is - follow your gut.  When you sense something is wrong - something is wrong.  But good or bad, I can't do it.  That is not part of my religion.  No offense to my friend who suggested the plot to me.
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The other day, I was reading something from Garrigou-Lagrange and came across a bit of paper I used for a bookmark.  It was a newspaper clipping from several years ago now.  A church lady friend cut out the news story, neatly pasted it on a recipe card with a note explaining when the item appeared in the papers.  She had informed me about the case earlier but I told her I didn't believe it could be true and did not want to discuss it.  To prove to me it was, she gave me the news article which detailed how a married man had been convicted of a crime.  The man in question was a highly respectable member of the local Church, quite active, a third order member, a founder of a religious community, known for his devotion, happily married, and so on.  He did something naughty with a client.
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While it is true I never liked the guy, he was sort of a traditional snob, very proud of his academic achievements, and terribly knowledgeable about liturgy - no English translations for him;  I always treated him with respect and kindness.  In other words, I was friendly and helpful towards him when he asked for a favor - I even did some art work for him gratis.  I did my best to avoid talking about him, although the church lady must have known somehow I wasn't fond of him, which is why I imagine she gave me the news clipping.  Rather than turn me against him completely, his public failing helped improve my attitude towards him.  Despite the fact the entire town knew about his crime - he never changed his mode of life.  He remained as devout and faithful as ever, although he seemed much less officious when dealing with inferiors.  He seemed more down to earth.  I admired him for that. 
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Why do I tell this story?  The man is dead now - when I heard his story I was much younger - and he the same age I am today.  (I thought he was so old that such a crime would be impossible for a man his age.  The Devil laughs at youth.)  Anyway - it was a good lesson for me.  For me it demonstrated first hand what happens when a person, motivated by personal antipathy, even envy, attempts to dig up dirt on another person, exposing their faults, in order to discredit them or turn others against them.  It's creepy isn't it - the fact that we keep going over the same lesson plan until we get it right I mean.  I'll bet this fellow struggled all of his life with these issues.  God allows us to fall that we may become humble and charitable.
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Not infrequently things which bother us in others sometimes reveal more about ourselves than it does the other person.  What annoys us in others often enough is mirroring what we ourselves are guilty of, or in other words, exposes the log in our own eye.  So like when Baby Jane told Blanche the truth, that she was crippled, Blanche might have responded, "And you're mental and your make-up is hideous!"  Does that make sense?
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No, of course it doesn't.  Finish your dinner.
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Anyway, I'm still sad.  Blogging is like My Dinner With Andre - a lot of banal theories and hot air - and like the film, very forgettable.  Although I'd like to see a remake of the film, only this time they would be drinking heavily.
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Icon source and meaning.

25 comments:

  1. Oh Terry, you are never "banal"...never.
    And your honesty, sincerity, love for truth is all over the place.
    I'm not being insincere, here (just ask the members of this community about me being insincere:<)...I am usually very blunt and can give wounds, if the situation demands!)
    We humans are such complicated things; we want to be good, and are not. We want to be holy, and are not.
    We want to love God, and do not.
    That makes us beggars and losers...just fit for the Kingdom of God...yeah...as long as we keep telling ourselves and others that "we are not worthy that He comes under our roof", we're okay.
    We just have to keep ploddin' along.
    Together.

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  2. And as a post-script: This guy is boring as hell; I fell asleep during his "monologue"...Terry, you never put me to sleep...this guy needs a hobby or maybe a drinking problem or something to shut him the hell up!

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  3. Terry,

    This is very, very off-topic, but, I don't know, it seems like you would know this...if we're told something by a priest in confession (not as a penance, but as more of a piece of advice say) that we're to do (he tells us, rather emphatically, never do X, though X is not a sin in itself), are we bound or obliged to obey, assuming we're not in a situation like some who are bound by obedience to their confessors/spiritual directors?

    By the way, thanks for this clip. And I'm sorry for my semi-political rant the other day. I don't know the answers.

    This clip calls to mind this sense I often have about life in general that it's all more mysterious and even weird than even the Faith can illuminate. Not that our Faith is wrong at all or that it's insufficient for what it is. I guess I just find it all (life) very difficult and sometimes not easy to make sense of--even with our divine Faith--and so I like your honesty and the way you tend to highlight the seeming absurdity of things without going over the edge and saying it's all bonkers.

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  4. Yeah, Terry, there sure is plenty to be sad about in the news.
    Your comments about infiltrating and spying remind me of a discussion I had with family members lately. We all agreed we couldn't be very good undercover agents because we look so shifty and twitchy when we're trying to lie. I guess it is a good thing to be a bad liar. I doubt that one could be a professional spy without damage to one's soul; yet sometimes spies save lives. One of those "does-the-end-justify-the-means" things.

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  5. Patrick--

    If I may chime in...

    Your confessor won't advise you to do something sinful, however they MAY tell you to do something that may make you VERY UNCOMFORTABLE..that happened to me awhile back about confronting a coworker...if the request is truely impossible it may be because the confessor doesn't know the big picture, then make an appointment to discuss the matter further.

    All the truely DIFFICULT "assignments" I've had, although excruitatingly difficult and soul-wrenching at the time, (one really particular bad situation my confessor at the time described as "This isn't just Lenten penance for you--this is all year long penance..") really made me grow in holiness...and that's what it's about. And you can always pray that the angels and the saints and all the souls in Heaven help you out..I've done that often and it sure is comforting that you have a whole football stadium full of folks praying for you and on your side :)

    God Bless you in your situation and I'll pray for you.

    Sara

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  6. NP--

    Drinking Problem won't help this poor fellow..when I get a few drinks in me then I start babbling like that :)

    Sara

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  7. Sara,

    Thank you so much.

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  8. ... thought provoking dialogue, quite frankly ... quite a few different essays possibilities arose in the grey matter listening to it while be amused by the images it invoked and the other associations (i.e. culture, religion, faith, sin ...) to what is was being shared ...

    Example:

    "...it is not just a question of individual survival, Wally, but it is that someone who is bored is a sleep, and that somebody who is asleep won't say "no". I keep meeting these people ...

    Word association - "apathy"

    T— yes, "Banal theories" ranks up there with "Social X-rays" (Bonfire of the Vanities - [Nan Kempner])

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  9. "New York is the new model for the new concentration camp where the camp has been built by the inmates themselves, & the inmates are the guards and they have this pride and thing that they built, they built their own prison ... living in a state of schizophrenia, both the guards and prisoners ... no longer have ... have the capacity to leave the prison they made or even see it as a prison ...

    Word association: Sin, blindness, madness ...

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  10. Sara: I know.
    I was just referring to Terry's comment about maybe "drinking heavily" to make the thing work:<)!
    He's just TOO sober to listen to (the guy in the video, not Mr. Terry!)

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  11. Terry--

    On Fr Z's blog there is a link to an op-ed piece written by your Archbishop...

    The only issue I have with it is the statement that children should be raised with a mother and a father...

    Utah feels the same way...so as a single gal I cannot foster parent or adopt a child...even though I have a nice home, the time and finances to do so..especially in a day and age when there is a critical shortage of foster parents..

    The Archbishop does bring up a good point..families come in all different shapes and configurations nowadays...

    Sara

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  12. Terry,

    Great post. As a "church person" myself, I can sympathize with your reluctance to associate. Zeal without zealotry is a tough trick. I find a great deal of sadness for the same reason and I am sure I am guilty of the same faults.

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  13. The remake could be "drinking with Andre."

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  14. When I was in college, I LOVED this stupid film!!! I thought it was SO full of insights....hahahhahahahhahahahha!!!!

    I saw it again about ten years ago and cracked up at how terribly banal and stupid their conversation is! What was I thinking back then??

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  15. "The only issue I have with it is the statement that children should be raised with a mother and a father...

    Utah feels the same way...so as a single gal I cannot foster parent or adopt a child...." 3puddytats

    Is this what the Archbishop stated? I haven't read the other post, or is it the "ideal" that should be sought?

    There is a difference. Children, when it is possible, should have parents—a mother and father raising them. But we know that it might not be possible ... even single individuals raising a child, be it male or female parent, are advised to have a male (or female) family member to assist if that influence is missing from the traditional parenting situation.

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  16. "I'm especially concerned they remain Catholic. Actually, that is my greatest concern."

    Me too!! A growing number of Hispanics here in my vicinity are calling themselves "Christian" (very Protestant label as far as I'm concerned) and abandoning their Catholic heritage. I'm not sure what is causing this change, but I'm most perturbed over it. Perhaps it's a change that's initiated by the cultural shift they experience when they enter this country. I don't know the reason, but I'm most disheartened by it.

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  17. Fr. Angelo - you are guilty of none of this in my opinion - you have a supeb blog and write very well - your writing is very important. I am grateful for you and your order - what a gift to the Church in our day. God bless you.

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  18. pmi--

    Here is a bit copied from the Archbishop Nienstedt's op-ed posted on FR Z's blog...although the issue he's discussing apparently has to do with Minnesota's upcoming proposed constitutional admendment on marriage only between a man and a women, he does seem to drive home that children need to have both mother and father...

    "What will happen to children growing up in a world where the law teaches them that moms and dads are interchangeable and therefore unnecessary, and that marriage has nothing intrinsically to do with the bearing and raising of children? Do we really want first-graders to be taught that gay marriage is OK, or that the influence of a mother and a father on the development of a child somehow doesn’t matter?

    We all know that not all children live in the ideal situation. Many parents are doing a magnificent job working hard to raise children in less than ideal circumstances. Every son or daughter is a child of God who deserves our concern. But gay marriage would certainly be a declaration by the government that we have officially abandoned the ideal that children need both a mom and dad."

    I do not want happening to Minnesota what happened in Utah,
    by the passing of this amendment eliminated single people from being foster parents or adopting children...

    Incidently, in Utah you can still be fired from your job or kicked out of your apartment if you are homosexual...EEO really hasn't settled in here yet...

    Sara

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  19. Patrick, I usually try to accept the confessor's counsel as if I were a little child, but if I fail in keeping it I don't upset myself over it since it wasn't binding - as a penance would be. Once after confessing using a certain word in anger - the serious sin was the anger - the confessor told me never ever to use that word again. I took his advice to heart, although over the years I slipped once or twice, for which I made an act of contrition and confessed it at the next opportunity.

    However, if what your confessor told you is a problem or troubles you in any way, try to ask him or another priest about it in your next confession.

    God bless you.

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  20. Tom - it kills me too - many prayers and love for these folks.

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  21. Fr. JM - thanks - you are too kind - God bless you.

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  22. Oh - PML - I thought this scene was thought provoking too. How do you know who Nan kempner is - wait - you were in fashion once right? I can't remember now.

    Gette - I was terribly impressed with the film at the time too... LOL!

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  23. Terry

    Maybe I could email you sometime. This was a bit more troubling. I hadn't thought about this for some time, though it came to me today. The confession was about 2-3 years ago...

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  24. T- that is "home fashion & redo" as in Elle Decor sister of ELLE ... same-difference really ... As far as, Kempner, one just picks up these things reading ...

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  25. Mr.Terry wrote -"No offense to my friend who suggested the plot to me."

    Was this your friend?

    (Sorry it's long I couldn't find a shorter version. "Double Naught Jethro" is worth my time though.)

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