punchy line

...and he (Simon Peter) saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth ... not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. - Jn 20: 6-7
-Jn 20: 6-7

Friday, March 29, 2013

For the Record: I am not an Unreasonable, Hate-filled, Fearful Bigot

Of late, the vitriolic rancor flung at Christians due to their beliefs about the nature of marriage and the family has been particularly vicious.

I can only conclude thus: that charity is not the native language of my generation.  Nor the previous generation, perhaps.

As saddening and sometimes maddening as this is, I maintain my hope that, despite the incivility haloing the topic of gay ‘marriage,’ most people, once you get them alone (and away from social networking sites), are able have an unheated, rational conversation about the topic.

I say this is a hope because I am still waiting for that person who would like to sit and charitably exchange ideas.

I especially want to engage with someone who may be proliferating the uncharitable language that is now so familiar to us.  For example, slogans like “FCK H8,” and “StopH8,” which are supposed characterize how Christians in some way really harbor a profound hatred for homosexuals.

I happen to be a Christian, and, believe it or not, I don’t hate anybody.  I'm just stuck wondering why you are accusing me of doing so – and don’t you realize that you are actually attacking my personal character when you do? 

What if I turned around and said of all same sex marriage supporters: “Stop H8ing God and FCK H8ing heterosexuals?”

Well that would be absurd.  I might not agree with their position but obviously supporters of same sex 'marriage,' many of them anyway, love the Lord, are heterosexual themselves, and believe they are supporting a just cause.  What about that makes them ‘haters?’  Nothing. But by the same token, how does my position make me a ‘hater,’ if I too love all people and believe my own position to be reasonable?

Without really thinking it through, one half of society has decided that smearing, labeling, and shame mongering the other half into accepting a stance that many simply do not agree with is the best tactic.  To me and to many such methods only serve to weaken their arguments because, after all, why would you distract away from your core beliefs by attacking others, unless what you believe is unsound in some way?

That and what happens is that before I can even lay down my side of the argument, I am already stuck defending my character, which gets old, frankly.  For, if I don't hate gays, as I indicated already, then I must surely be fearful of gays or social change or both.

Right. What would I be afraid of, now?  Most gays I know are good, caring people.  I like them though I dislike their sin and I pray for them, but not in a condescending way.  I’m a Christian, remember?  Praying for all sinners is kind of what I’m mandated do.  This has nothing to do with someone’s sexual orientation, just our universal fallen human nature and, because, buddy, I’m also on that list. 

Regarding fear of social change: really?  In this day and age where things change by the minute? Plus I’m the person who goes on yearly Walks for Life advocating for the rights of the unborn.  Clearly, my family and I are “out” (no pun intended) and willing to engage in social discourse.  I am still not seeing my own fear regarding change.

Lastly, the charge of bigotry.  You know, this goes both ways.  If I am bigoted due to my narrow, Christian, single-minded views, then how is that different to someone being bigoted towards me due to their own narrow, opposing view?  Am I to accuse half the nation of being bigoted against Christianity?  Isn’t that a bit extreme?

Of course it is! So when I hear such a charge flung against half the nation by the other half, it makes me wonder: if the one side doing the flinging truly believes their cause to be just, then why go to extremes (unless their cause isn’t just after all)?

For the record, therefore, and for whatever it’s worth, I am not a hate-filled, fearful, bigoted individual due to my belief in what the core structure and purpose of marriage is.  I am a rational person, who has followed a logical train of thought, and arrived at what I believe is a completely reasonable conclusion.

Also for the record, those who disagree with me are also not hate-filled, fearful, bigoted individuals either (most of them).  They too are rational people, who have followed what they believe to be a logical train of thought and arrived at their own conclusions.

No haters, homophobes or bigots need be present in this debate.  So could you do me a favor and quit accusing me of being all three at once?

Oh, and I almost forgot about the ‘wants to impose a religious state’ upon everyone accusation.  Yes, I am a Christian, but it might surprise you to hear me say that we don’t need to insert to religion into this debate at all.

There is new and current data from countries that have already legalized same sex marriage on the effects of changing the family structure, which I think we, as a nation, need to pay very close attention to before we can even continue this conversation.

How’s that for being secular?  Surely you’re not going to accuse Norway and Sweden as being instruments for the Catholic Church’s inquisition?  The statistics are coming in and looking very grim for children raised in same sex households.

In sum, your un-fearful, non-hate filled, non-bigoted Catholic mom, who prefers to wait for objective data to indicate the best direction for her country is signing off now, still in the hopes that someone out there wants to engage in way that is productive and charitable in every sense of the word.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sacramental Party Faux Pas and Crashers

In my book, partying, done well, is indisputably, and inherently a Catholic invention.  And don't we start 'em young?

I mean, you have a baby and BAM! You, my friend are now obliged to throw the holy-party-three-pack: Baptism, Holy Communion, and the Confirmation, wherein you collect as many religious trinkets as they may need to ward off temptation for the next fifty years! (and if you are Hispanic like myself, it’s required that you to select at least 20 godparents per kid before they’re fully initiated into the Church).

However, at times, one does hesitate, despite their lifetime of prescriptive Catholic partying, to revel publicly in the joys of the Holy Spirit.


I’ll speak for myself: it is the sudden moment, in the midst of all my planning for the glorious occasion, where I face the realization that I am inviting people to my party.

You know, them.  Members of the clan of humanity, whom, statistically speaking are more likely to camp out overnight to catch the premier of Hangover III than courteously rsvp to my child’s rebirth in the Holy Spirit (unless texting me fifteen minutes before the ceremony starts counts as thoughtful, in which case, yeah, they’ll do that).

Anyone else ever have that realization and almost not send the invitations?

So I made a list.  It’s a small list of the some of the biggest sacramental party faux pas and crashers that have almost caused me to avoid a beautiful, supposed-to-be-Christ centered occasion.

I say, almost, because, of course my better, Catholic partying sense has come to my rescue so-far.  We ain’t a ‘quiet ceremony with two witnesses’ kind of Church.  We are a feast day everyday, every sinner in the house and the kitchen sink is invited Church.  Nothing like making a big deal out of a big deal – and we’re kind of good at that. Just re-watch some of the footage from Pope Francis’ installation for proof!

And then these guys show up:

The ‘we aren’t going to the Church, just the reception afterwards’ crowd.

So my child is entering into God’s life of grace? That’s ankle level.  What?! There are margaritas afterwards?! Dude! We will meet you at the restaurant. (um, face palm?).

Baptisms: for some, all it says is: will I miss the big game if I attend?
Never mind the lack of religiosity, how about the lack of class?  Someone went out of their way you think of you, invite you, and yes, pay for your meal and drinks and you show up basically to be fed.  Seems that someone’s life of grace has been pretty neglected lately, wouldn’t you say?  Not mention your treadmill, most likely.

 The “Can I invite my single friend, to meet some of the other singles that will be there?” person

Seriously?  My infant, the fruit of my womb, whom I just squeezed out of my battered, still-went-to-mass-on-Sunday-anyway frame a little while ago, who will become an adopted child of God the Almighty Creator of the Universe, will be center stage and you want to play match-maker on the sidelines?

It also shows: your baby? Faith?  God?  Meh. Not so much.  My moping single friend hitting-it-off with someone: them’s the games I want to watch. 

No.  Just no.

The “We aren’t going to tell you that we’re bringing strangers to your sacramental celebration because, (insert innane reason here).”

I still just don’t get this one.

This may be a religious party, pal, but the food and beverages still don’t multiply themselves, you know.  And is it really so hard just to even text me, even fifteen minutes before the event, that you’re bringing other people?

That and the uninvited guest that comes always sits silently in a corner with a ‘deer in headlights look’ once they realize how out of place they are.  But by all means, invite your own friends to your own party, because, you know, that’s normal.

The “I’m not Catholic so I’m going say really stupid things all night to make myself feel like I’m the cool one” person

I don’t even know why I still invite this person. Maybe charity?  Maybe to meet other singles there that might straighten them out? Doh! I committed my own faux pas.

Bonus: Whoever sits next to them gets to hear all about their estranged relationships, dysfunctional family, medical history, career woes and their latest superficial acquisition – usually a watercraft or kitchen appliance. Because that’s what everyone who celebrates a first Holy Communion or baptism lives to hear about…what your lame life away from the Church consists of.

Is it too much to ask to just not make a sacramental celebration weird?  For this person, yes it is.

Have any crashers or faux pas you want to share? Leave a comment! And by all means, be merciful to these folks, they may need the party more than you do.