Sunday, March 25, 2007

Feeling Sheepish

As one who appreciates a densely packed, diction intense, and aptly turned phrased book, the words of David P. Lang in his book, Why Matter Matters, should resonate with all reasonable and faithful Catholics:
When man's delicately woven biological and spiritual fabric is not respected, when its Creator is not reverenced, then might makes right and hell torments earth.
So then, read the following and make your own inferences. Baaaaa, humbug. Things get foolisher and foolisher ...


Athos said...

In the prolepsis of this fine book recommended to me by Amy Welborn, Lang goes on:

"The twentieth century witnessed on an enormous scale the emergence of some arrogantly wicked dictatorial regimes imbued with a gnostic (and often occult) worldview: Nazism, Communism, and the Sexual Revolution that spawned the Abortion Holocaust.

"Even if modern neo-gnostics do not condemn matter per se as evil, nonetheless they (like their predecessors) persist in seeing various differences in the forms of matter as irrelevant for an enlightened understanding of reality ..." (my emphases)

The ramifications of this insight are breathtaking. Cloned sheep 15% human DNA material? What's the deal? Transsexual? Yeah, sure, why not? Designer children? We got the genes, baby!

The point: thanks to Girard and the prophets, I see paganism's recrudescence clear as day. Lang is helping me to see the gnosticism in which I lived, moved and had my being for many, many years, and how much the Church has to say about gnosticism in her teaching, sacraments, and very being.

This is a theme only now being touched in terms of the demise of Europe and the West. It's time to engage gnosticism with drawn sword.

David Nybakke said...

"It's time to engage gnosticism with drawn sword."

Dear Athos, (drawing sword from its sheath) I am right by your side prepared to give my life for the cause! Those damn gnostics are such nasty pests.

Still with sword drawn...
(Okay, checking both ways to makes sure no one is looking, I pose a sheepish question.)

(Wait, I pause once more to give my eyes a chance to sweep the surrounding area for any on lookers, and seeing none, I ask my question.)

Athos, drawing our swords, at least in the past, always caused scandal, and I thought anymore that we do not want scandal. What are we to do? Is this the meaning of a just war? And anyway, isn’t violence highly mimetic and contagious? As fathers, how is this going to look to our young ones? Will we be perpetuating the violence into another generation?

Athos said...

You dare to try to take my shiny rapier away from me, Aramis? Throw it all the way into "just war" theory ... actually, the Catechism promulgates times and places for just way, so it's more than a theory, so-called.

I just wanna whack gnostism with the broad side, that's all, brother! Just a whack! and a whack! and another whack! That'll learn'um! It will do'em some good -- get back into the the reason the Creator gave them nerve endings, and all that.

I'm sorry, that probably sounds too un-Franciscan. But I wonder what Father Groeschel would say (there's hope - he isn't a Girardian).

But I'm diddling. The imagery of a drawn sword means to represent the defense of the faith that we are called to as faithful men of the Church, fealty bound to the Holy Father and the Magisterium. As Chesterton said, "I don't need a church that tells me what I'm doing right. I need a Church that tells me what I'm doing wrong."

So take up the "sword of the Spirit (Paraklete), which is the word of God" (Eph. 6,17) with me, brother! Gnosticism is a dragon worthy of our swords.

David Nybakke said...

AH YES! Thank you brother for shaking me out of that, uh, that, passivity – yuck that passion, or rather, that passive stuff just doesn’t suit me at all! I'm with you all the way. A few good blows on the side of the noggin should wake those blokes up. Oooohhhh, you have me stirred up now Athos…where are those bloody scoundrels? Let me at ‘em!

Wait a minute - "so take up the 'sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God", but Athos, I don't got the kind of language skill and artistry that you got? Can’t I just go and whack off their legs or cut out their tongues or something?

Athos said...

I can see that you would be the terrible kind of pacifist that I, for one, want on OUR side, Aramis: vvery susceptible to mimetic influence (the kind of susceptibility saints are made on). Oh, sure. You START with the prayer and pious platitude, but when push comes to shove - yikes, get out of your way!

Porthos and I would be hard put to pull you down once the battle was over.

No, actually the kind of sword drawing I'm talking about is what we see Bailie engaging in his most recent, "Conception and the Inconceivable." It is a "two-edged sword" that St Paul talks about and we see the Holy Father wielding -- the two edges being faith and reason. You betcha!

Cf. especially Amy Welborn's entry today, "Hot and Hotter" on BXVI.

Athos said...

I'm sorry. The thing is, "Girardianism" (which differs greatly from the man Girard's actual thinking - cf. (again) his Italian interview) has this namby-pamby, roll-over attitude that favors the gnostic "I'll distance myself from reality's tooth-and-nail" stance.

One would watch as violence was done upon the innocent? No. The Catechism thematizes otherwise. One would try to stop, as best one could, the violence without being carried away forthwith.

So as gnosticism goes apace, one must make the effort. Else, one simply buckles to a different kind of violence: My attitude is superior. Be meek, or feel my pacifist rejection (scapegoating by righteous non-violence).

Think about it.

Athos said...

Okay, I thought about it. I must admit a great deal of "cognitive dissonance" fogging the brain on this "sword" issue.

Would I practice radical non-retaliation in every instance? No. Would I advocate drawing an actual sword, for example, as a "preemptive strike" if I saw a monomaniacal dictator in the Middle East sitting atop an oppressed people, possible WMD, and a huge oil reserve? No (JPII said it and I'm the Pope's man).

I'm apt to err in the direction of the non-assertive, which I do not like about myself, so there you have it: I'm arguing with myself.

It is much better to ora and labora and trust in Providence. Guess I'll give it a go. Peace. +

David Nybakke said...

No, no Athos, I was in error saying to put your sword back in its sheath. I am in the mood for some head banging -- don't go soft on me now dear Athos.

On a more serious note (not that our jousting about the sword is not serious...) you made reference to Gil’s post yesterday and I would like to add my sidebar to it and see what you think.

Here is part of his post.

That which is truly great grows unnoticed, and silence at the right moment is more fruitful than the constant activity that only too easily degenerates into spiritual idleness. In the present age, we are all possessed by a strange restlessness that suspects any silence of being a waste of time and any kind of repose as being negligence. … Even in the religious sphere we tend to expect and hope for everything from our own activity. We use all kinds of exercises and involvements to evade the real mystery of interior growth before God. And yet in the religious sphere receptivity is at least as important as activity. -- Cardinal Ratzinger/Benedict XVI

Today (3/26) is the Feast of the Annunciation.
The Marian "Yes" is the key to the Incarnation, and the capacity for the specifically Christian way of life is a function of one's ability and willingness to approximate that "Yes." The alternative to it is not often an emphatic "No." Such candid rejection is at least not lukewarm and it can be, and often is, the prelude to a most fruitful conversion. St. Paul is a perfect example of this.

The more typical alternative to the Marian "Yes" and its approximation in the life of a person of faith is: "Yes, but …" or "Yes, if …" or "Yes, until …" In other words: Yes on my own terms.

The Marian "Yes" has become to the shrugging and self-absorbed materialist: "If and when I can work it into my schedule."

I think what he is saying here is that God works with those who answer "Yes" AND it should not surprise us at how He can turn the emphatic "No" into great fruits. What is the real rejection of God though, are all the lukewarm answers we give in hopes of justifying our distracted and fragmented lives.

It is the sheepishness of the lukewarm crowd that seems to be at the heart of the problem. Maybe our swords then should be aimed at these who need the urgency of faith put back into them and not toward those who oppose us outright.

Let us not be thought of as sheep(ish)!

Athos said...

Bonnie good thoughts, brother in arms. Let's whack'um out of their distraction and complacency and point'um in the right direction! Whack! Whack!

(And, of course, welcome our own whack when and if we deserve/need it. "Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts..." can be the occasion of our getting a good whack too. Be careful what you pray for ...)