Monday, September 12, 2011
Yesterday in Catholic churches, and in a large number of (dying) mainstream Protestant churches who adopted the same lectionary*, Jesus tells his disciples to forgive someone who has offended them, not seven times, "but seventy times seven times."
And it was also, of course, the tenth anniversary of the Muslim jihad attacks on the US.
I came across an opening line from a Presbyterian minister, which said with some smug satisfaction that he'd like to see how preachers handled this, especially after the last decade of post 9/11 "triumphalism and partisanship."
I had a distinct urge to find the guy and wring his neck, and while he was turning purple and choking, I'd ask him if he'd have taken the same attitude toward 12/7/1941. I tried to find his email to tell him so, but that was (blessedly for us both) unavailable.
As I said to a friend yesterday, I really have no particular problem with Catholic dogma: all the supposedly strange things like Three Persons in One God, Jesus being both divine and human and born of a virgin and rising bodily from death, the sacrament of the Mass as a real transformation of bread and wine into his body and blood, purgatory, etc. The whole thing.
But what I have a real problem with is Catholic and Christian morality. All the cheek turning and endless forgiving and being meek and humble of heart. It's even more irksome to me than that sexual morality, which I at least understand. And the captivity of Christianity to the liberal peace-and-justice culture which largely owns it makes it even worse. These holier than thou religious eggheads who likely applaud the ACLU's attempt to rid the US of all public vestiges of its Christian identity and then who want the Joint Chiefs to use the Sermon on the Mount as a policy document.
There were lots of great minds in Christian history who seemed able to navigate the dauntingly highminded ethics that Jesus proposed and still to function as men in this fallen world. But that is because, though Christian, they were in touch with reality.
*Lectionary is the annual pattern of Scripture readings prescribed for each day of the year.
at 9:50 AM