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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Meaty Monday

Since it's Halloween season....

...which, by the way, used to be just Halloween, but now, since the decorations go on sale in August, the houses are decorated by Oct. 1st and the parties started last weekend, we can safely call Halloween a season....

...I thought it might be okay to quote someone who would cause your hair to stand on end. Proof that no matter what our differences, we can find some sort of common ground.  I read an essay the other day by Penn Jillette, the bombastic magician and atheist, and found myself in total agreement with his premise, if not his conclusions.  I'll stand by with a blow dryer and a brush to help you look normal again after you read it. I don't think it will make you feel happy.

"Christian used to be a throwaway word. People didn't used to use it much. People didn't start self-labeling or getting labeled Christian until the last part of the 20th century. Before that, you might identify as a Baptist, or a Southern Baptist or a Methodist. But there wasn't one identifier that put you in a fold with all the other believers.
In fact, every religious cult was afraid of every other religious cult. The bugnutty Pentecostals didn't want the bugnutty Methodists to have too much power. There was no "Christian nation" for the simple reason that the Christians were afraid of one another. America was founded on Christians not trusting each other, and they sometimes seemed more willing to reach out to the godless than to someone from another sect."  Penn Jillette
He was making a political point about the power of the religious right in the op-ed piece and the rest of the article will cause your standing up hair to burst into flame, so I won't bother you with a link.  (Los Angeles Time Op Ed, Oct. 2, 2011, for the thick skinned) But that notion that America was founded on Christians not trusting each other rang like church bells to me. Why did the Puritans come here?  Because they were booted out of England by other Christians, that's why.  What happened to them formed the basis of our separation of church and state, which was an amazingly good idea coming from people who thought anyone not white wasn't really exactly all the way human and who thought that dunking people who might be a witch to see whether or not they floated or drowned and if they drowned they weren't a witch and if they didn't drown they were burned at the stake.
This is all in reference to our recent discussion about the mistaken notion that various religious orders are separate sects, a fantastic notion in the true meaning of the word fantastic. (–adjective
1. conceived or appearing as if conceived by an unrestrained imagination; odd and remarkable; bizarre; grotesque.
2. fanciful or capricious, as persons or their ideas or actions.
3. imaginary or groundless in not being based on reality; foolish or irrational.)From a reader:
So now I'm really confused. If Jesuit's, Dominican's and Franciscan's all have the same basic believes of the Catholic Church, which is basically to lead us to a closer union with Jesus Christ. What is the difference of being Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist, or Catholic, in leading us to a closer union to Jesus Christ? Oh, I forgot about the Pope.

First of all, the various religious orders do not have the same "basic beliefs" of the Catholic Church, they have ALL of the beliefs of the Catholic Church, or they are not an order, they are suppressed or ex-communicated.

So, yes, we can start with the Pope.  That's not a little thing.  Jesus put someone in charge, so for His followers to not believe that there's someone in charge because Martin Luther and King Henry the VIII didn't like that idea is a big problem.  

But the various Christian denominations have a lot of other deal breakers going for them, important things like what they believe about the Holy Trinity, whether or not Jesus'
Presence in the Eucharist is real or symbolic, works vs. faith (which, as far as I can tell, totally confuses everyone, especially the 'faith only' crowd).  The list is unbelievably long.

So long, that I can tell you I once met a former preacher who told me about his life in the tents.  He was a tent preacher and he was from a family of tent preachers.  He was a believer, too, not one of these phony Margo Gortner money grabbers.  He told me about a huge donnybrook between two Christian sects in the same town.  One believed that you should always dip the bread in the wine and the other believed that you should have them separately.  There was a huge fight that left all sides not on speaking terms.  I guess a bunch of them were comprised of those people who don't want the food on their plates to touch.

Let me tell you the rest of his story, too, as it is pertinent to our discussion today.  He traveled the country preaching in tents for most of his life until one day he arrived in Florida. He was admonished by the Christians there for allowing black people into the tent and when he scoffed at this ridiculous notion, his tent was burned to the ground.  He quit preaching and applied his skills of persuasion to selling vacuum cleaners door to door.  True story!

So you can see why Mr. Jillette's thoughts struck me as they did.  It's why I wrote this, so long ago.


Anonymous said...

Are your products blessed? Are there special ways to handle blessed items? If you don't know an item is blessed, should you treat it as if it is just in case?

Thanks, Sister. God bless!

Sister Mary Martha said...

No, they are not. It is against Church doctrine to sell blessed items. Blessed items should be handled with respect, so when in doubt....

Muffy's Marks said...

You're getting the idea, Sister!! Now if only proclaimed Christians, would follow the golden rule, "Love one another, as I have loved you." We'd all be in a better world, without all this foolish power struggles among churches.

Donna. W said...

Well, Sister, at least YOU are blessed, because separated brethren and sistren like me can start looking at the Catholic Church with an open mind.

NCSue said...

You've been given an award, Sister Mary Margaret. Go here to see it:

Sister Mary Margaret said...

@NC Sue - It's Sister Mary MARTHA, not Sister Mary Margaret!

I know, I know, what's the difference? Well, for starters... I am me and she is she. Also, she is a Lakers fan and I am a Spurs fan, so we probably can't even be friends during certain times of the year! (J/K, SMM!)

Sister Mary Margaret

Anonymous said...

Sister, Can you tell me who is the patron or patronness of those with Alzheimers or dementia? Is it the same as patron of those with special needs or mental retardation? Some searching has led to St Dympha, but I thought that mental illness was different? I did search through a couple of years of older posts, to no avail. Thank you and keep up your great ministry.

Arkanabar said...

Ask St. Dymphna for her prayers. Dementia has a physiological origin, but it's still a disordered way of thinking, which is close enough to mental illness for us.