Friday, May 15, 2015

Modernity's neutered gospel for the Ascension, and more

  • Ascension Thursday Sunday. Hilary White perfectly parodies the non-threatening ecumenicism that's acceptable "Christianity" in this (ugh) "post-Christian" age, in which the Christian heresy of secular humanism (the comfy Church of Niceness) is the West's state religion. I went to High Mass yesterday at our cathedral, which was hosting the now-nameless Traditional Latin Mass Community of Philadelphia (what I call St. Clement's Jr. in honor of their serving crew — for many years, St. Clement's Episcopal was literally the only place in town where you could see and learn these practices). (No pictures yet because I forgot my camera's chip.) Now nameless because they're moving to another host church. Not their fault but "Traditional Latin Mass Community" sounds like condescending liberalspeak, like "parish community." Literally true but it makes my skin crawl. Anyway, the orthodox know that "up" is metaphorical, an image Jesus' viewers would understand; really, he transported himself (yes, sort of like "Star Trek") to another dimension/state of being. So Anglican Bishop Spong's argument that Jesus would have burned up in the atmosphere is silly, a cartoon making fun of orthodoxy.
  • Dog Mountain. I'm fine with this, chapel and all, as are most people. Man and dog have been friends, not just co-workers, since pre-history; people had burials for dogs that far back. Because it's scientifically proven that they know how we feel and they love us back. As long as we don't have requiems or other Christian burials for them, great. (Cats and other pets too.) The rainbow bridge is like limbo: you can believe in it if you want to. There's the hardline option: "Dogs don't have immortal souls!" A nicer and still true thing to believe and say is they don't need our intercession; there is no hell for them. (A lot like unbaptized babies.) A loving dog is an icon of God's love, almost like a human; in that spirit there are pictures of at least three dogs I'd put on that chapel's wall. By the way, the dog is now officially a sub-species of the wolf. Cool.
  • "So why do you live halfway in the '50s?" (Including the early '60s. As late as 1965 it was all still there.) A reader answers for me, on the reactionaries' point, with merit, that the '50s were part of modernity so they were part of the problem. I think that a lot of these traditionalists are just too demanding and oftentimes drift off into bizarre, esoteric ideas. Sure, the '50s weren't perfect, but no time truly is. We remember and glorify those days because the state of both the church and society was sure better then compared to today. By accepting the '50s as the standard, we aren't shooting for perfection, just an anchor in a time that did exist and is in the memories of many still living. It's a living tradition, still in living people's memory. And American liberty worked for us so I won't throw it out.

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