Friday, May 2, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday

1.  Yesterday I saw a Barred Owl.  It was on the ground, it flew into the tree.  It was nothing short of cool.   We watched it until it grew bored and pumped its great wings and vanished into the trees. Looking at these creatures, it is amazing. 

2.  Great News!  My oldest son got a job at his school!
Cue the celebration!
3.  Wasted words.  I'm giving up the Combox wars.  It happens all the time, I'll read an article, respond, and it turns into High School debate time.  I don't want it. It's not interesting, and it isn't discussion, most of the time, it's agree or go away.  Bleah. Who needs it?  The thing is, I like reading things, I like commenting, I like staying informed.  But I realized it was a means of not being isolated, of making a mark in the broader community, but it was not the mark I wanted. Most people have figured out not to fight the internet, but I had sites I liked visiting if only to know that day, my brain jogged around the park.   It was like grass, here today, burned tomorrow.  To be called conservative by liberals, and a liberal by conservatives, left me feeling like each site considered me the flying monkey of the enemy. 
Where's my banana?

4.  So what to do now?  Offer my own two cents of course, for a nickel. 
Intellectual club sandwiches served free of charge for special blockheads.
I should stipulate, I've always identified with Lucy Van Pelt.  My brother Joe can testify to this truth.
5.  So what started this? 

I read an article over at an online magazine, and I commented.  The tribe at the site had deemed a popular Catholic writer a heretic for declaring as excessive either dismissal of the value of the state in serving the poor, or the absolute virtue of the state in providing charity.  They felt otherwise.  They declared him the uncharitable heretic for pointing out that faith in the state created utopia is as heretical as putting full faith in the idea of sola rugged individual.

I found myself in agreement with the targeted scapegoat.   The state may serve, but cannot fully substitute for the charity of the human person to human person.  It may compliment, supplement and augment.   I'm not sure what they wanted as an alternative, only that this writer humbly submit to their scorn, acknowledge their favored ideology as pure, himself to be a heretic and take the subsequent much deserved in their opinion, lumps.  

I wondered, how spending mental and written energy ferreting out bloggers to take down, helped deal with the inequalities they felt this blogger failed to properly acknowledge by not agreeing with their non articulated orthodoxy.   This was an echo chamber, deeply committed to reminding everyone, only to repeat the echo.   Catholicism is not an echo chamber, it goes out, it goes into people's hearts, it imitates the universe, being universal, it ever expands. 

6.  So here's what I wrote: 

The reality is that we must in our own lives, to a person, to a people, to the world, be charitable; the Calcuttas of our world, the poor are everywhere. They will always be with us, but that by no means eliminates the charge upon all of us who have, to be generous.
It is a hard truth, one we've forgotten in the comfort of our capitalist Catholicism, which is not a demand we become socialist or confiscate wealth. We are called, to "sell what we have" and build up treasure in heaven. Being lazy, we like easy answers. I'll be the first to say, my initial reaction to that is, "You first." because I have a nice home, I have ten kids, I have bills. Surely someone else should take care of this.
Government to the rescue! Taxes and state redistribution seems like an easy answer. But I'm then reminded of the words of Christmas Present, the stinging rebuke to my comfort, "Are there no work houses? Are there no prisons?"
Merely confiscating the wealth of those we don't know, to give benefits to people we don't know, brings us only irritation, envy, resentment and inefficiency. Only true generosity, rendering to the poor the good we have to share, will bring about the true spiritual benefits of charity.
Poverty is never just money, it is the feeling of being isolated, alone, without recourse, without hope, without help, without someone who cares if you exist, without the ability to somehow, get out of the pain. If we would really change the world by how we live, we must recognize, it won't be without sacrifice, and it won't be if we do not freely begin to serve. Not easy medicine for any of us.

7.  I won't link to the place to give it traffic, since that is what the site wanted.  Plus, I now have the hard consequence of having begun this thinking in the first place, it can't just stay words.  

Here's what I didn't write on the site: 

It is discomfiting and inconvenient to our sensibilities to recognize the world and our lives do not live out the faith we profess, not fully.  Knowing this, we face two choices, prayer & service, serious study and sacrifice, a call to do something more than we are doing, starting with serious prayer for all those we scorn, or doubling down on what we already do, i.e. continuing to be as comfortable with our reasonable understandings of things, comfortable with our lives and sedated as possible in our current existence. 

If we are honest, most of us hope we can eek out a last minute deal with the Almighty by being okay, gambling we can slip into purgatory because we weren't ax murderers who ate puppies and gouged customers with cheap imports made on the back of child labor while underpaying anyone we had to hire. We weren't cartoon villains and pure evil.  We were comfortably bath water warm. 

Except we aren't called to be good or to win, or to be right in the comboxes.  We're called to be saints.

I'm so doomed. 


No comments:

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!