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Friday, January 07, 2005

You know, I was thinking just the other day...

"I haven't perused new material from Cult of the Condom Newsletter lately. John Allen's been on hiatus, and Joe Feuerherd's grown a little too Guccione-esque for my tastes. Still, I wonder if there are any freshly-published brain-droppings from a sensitive boomer who breaks out in allergy-induced skin lesions whenever he encounters Christian orthodoxy?"

Thanks to Bill Cork, the answer is yes!

Of course.

This week's hothouse flower is one Tom Jablonski, whose byline threatens the world with a higher-volume spray of his thought, this time bearing the collective, parody-proofed title, Reflections From The Places I Am.

Apparently Too Twee For Words was already taken.

Oh, I can't wait!

During the children’s Mass at my daughters’ school, I sat and listened to the priest’s sermon. It frustrated me.

Rolled off the kids' backs, but appalled the boomer.


God allowed his son to be crucified, he said, “to save our souls and then we would have eternal life in heaven.” These words directed at the children troubled me.

The good news is that the priest apparently handled the topic with sensitivity and aplomb. If he hadn't, I suspect that Mr. Jablonski would have told us about it. Loudly. And it would have been front-page material for CotCN.

After they revived the poor dear with a defibrillator.

Actually, the fact Mr. Jablonski was troubled by the crucifixion is a good sign. It should be troubling: it's a topic with eternal consequences. The Scandal of the Cross still confounds today, as his squib demonstrates.

I believe that what is important about Jesus’ life is his teachings, how he lived, and that he died because of how he lived.

The problem with this reasoning--so-called--is this: the exact same thing can be said for the leader of your local chapter of the Hell's Angels or the American Nazi Party, or even Michigan's Best Elvis Impersonator--1976 Vegas Division. What makes Jesus different is Who He is, why He died, and just What Happened after His grim death.

Why do I sense that Mr. Jablonski has at best a nodding acquaintance with the New Testament? How clear does it have to be to get through?

To focus on Christ as a ticket to the afterlife, makes our current life meaningless.

Oh, Lord. This is beyond silly--it's tragic. Just the opposite. Just the opposite, you poor fellow--it invests our daily living with eternal meaning. To focus on Jesus as a mere teacher and Palestinian proto-diversity counsellor who happened to get himself killed makes him no more significant than Buddha or Confucius. Neat guys, I suppose, but neither one is going to get hours of my week in prayer time, much less my money.

What is important is how we live our lives now, not where we go once we die, or why we go where we go.

Re-heee-heee-heee-heeeeely? Three words: Smoking or non-smoking? Yet another near-continual irritant from cutting-edge progressives--denying by word or action that Hell exists.

As the Mass ran on I noticed a box elder beetle walking across the top of the pew in front of me. The beetle walked to the other end of the pew, and then turned around and walked back. When it got directly in front of me it stopped. I wondered what this meant, and concluded that if nothing else, it was a good reminder of the beauty of creation; it was neat to watch this creature walking along the pew.

Be charitable--perhaps Mr. Jablonski had exhausted his cup of Cheerios at this point?

The beetle returned to the other end of the pew, and again turned around and started walking back toward me. I got up and went to Communion, and returned to find that the beetle had again stopped in front of me. I was looking for an excuse to get out of church, so I took this second stopping as a sign that the beetle wanted me to carry it outside.

Or perhaps it was desperately trying to signal you that a Reflections re-write was in order. Or maybe it simply wanted a Cheerio. Beetles are ambiguous that way.

I gently put the beetle in the palm of my hand, curled my fingers around it and got up and walked out of church. Once outside, I opened my hand to let the beetle go. I was disappointed to find that it was gone; I must have dropped it somewhere along the way.

Or maybe it escaped, saving its own life by staying inside the warm church--I've heard tell Minnesota winters can be a little rough on insects.

One would have thought Mr. Jablonski would have, too.

Spiritless messages, spirit-filled creature.

Tedious. Funny how enlightened Catholics find the Holy Spirit everywhere but the inspired Word.

Six legs crawling, long winded drawling.

Awful rhymes, bad as mimes.

Sacramental obligations, enjoyable distractions.

Loss of the understanding of Christ's sacrifice makes worship a drudgery, I imagine--not to mention making Mr. Jablonski a perfect ingrate:

"For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die--but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Meaningless words and an empty hand.

Nah. Too easy.

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