Wednesday, September 1, 2010

One Foot - Stuck in the Muck (4.25.10)

When I was a kid in the '50's - yes, I'm dating myself - all kids had real rubber boots for rainy days.  The kind of boots that fit over your shoes.  Boots that had to be strong enough to weather your walk to school - which, in our case, was a bit longer than a mile.  Catholics had to walk.  Public schoolers got bussed!

I remember one day, walking home, having to cross what seemed like a field of mud.  Probably it wasn't that big, but neither was I And one foot got stuck!  One boot rather.  I couldn't pull my foot out without also pulling the shoe.  But to do that would have meant having to put that foot - plus shoe - smack into the same mud.  So that was not a workable solution.  Not if I wanted to wear that shoe tomorrow. 

Plus, once one boot is stuck, it's so easy to get the other one stuck too.  Now, to be honest, I am truly not certain how this story ended.  I just recall the dilemma of being maybe 8 years old.  Learning what I'm just now telling you.  With one foot stuck in the muck, trying to pull it out, trying to figure out what to do.  I suspect I learned not to take a short-cut, not if it meant crossing a muddy field.  Cuz Catholics had to walk...

Or I thought I'd learned that.

But just yesterday I realized that even though I have "left" the Catholic Church with one foot, I am still stuck in Catholic Church muck with the trailing foot.  Thankfully, I didn't just leave - without first finding an island of sanity and spiritual sustenance (a church "for all people").  So at least I'm not stuck in mud with both feet!  Nevertheless the catholic muck seems to have such a hold over this one foot, like the boot like I had as a child (I think it was a red boot).  A boot which is very stuck.  Because there is just so much muck.

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person, who has left what we were taught in childhood was the Church - only to find that in this current crisis, which is shaking the RCC to its very foundations, a big ache in one's heart, a breaking heart really, for all the innocent victims, all the other good people who are collateral damage to a hierarchy more bent on self-protection than vigilance to protect the innocent.  The reason I'm pretty sure is that right here at TPM some people have admitted as much.  And many who profess no adherence to any church are suddenly admitting they are upset at what's going on in "their" church.  It actually reminds me of people I've known who don't believe in god - till they find themselves in a jam, needing to pray hard!  This situation is the opposite, of course, or maybe not.

Maybe the concern of people like myself, who no longer identify as catholic, for the church of their youth or their schooling, has to do with a genuine desire to see a wayward institution find its way home - to the values they were taught, values they still believe in.  Values they feel are too often missing in today's world.  Values they need to see in people - leaders, especially.

So if some wonder how come I'm stuck in the RC muck, it's not because I'm sitting at home full of personal rage - just looking for a target, and finding one, continuing to rage and rage.  It's because I know this institution, the Roman Catholic Church, is part of something larger and is failing to live up to its high calling.  And I'm just counting all the ways....



Bwak, I really am working on that other post - pondering your words. But this one is an answer to something posed in a past blog.
And here's a quote I like - from evildoer:
Between resurrection and insurrection there is the common ground of the event, the eruption of a new possibility which divides time into before and after.
I think it pertains. Somehow.
Yeah, it does, Thera.
Maybe I'll find a use for it in the post I'm working on. Meanwhile, I've parked it here... ;)
I remember one winter, following my bigger brother and his friends we came to one of the frozen-over irrigation canals. One had to walk slowly and spread one's weight, which they all did just fine. At last it was my turn. Not quite half way across, I heard a huge cracking sound and I froze (no pun intended).
There I stood, with my big brother and his friends telling me too take it slow, spead me feet. If I tried to run, I would put too much pressure on one foot foot and crack through the ice. But if I didn't get to the other side quickly I would be through the surface anyway. Or so I thought in my mind.
So there I stood under the gray winter sky. Everything seemed to be in the balance.
I moved. I broke through the ice. By the time I got home my clothes had become like metal. But I survived.
And as traumatic as it seemed, it was nothing compasred to what so many endured. Someone sent me this link this weekend -
The boy scouts are worried about gays being scout masters, but don't have problem with this guy? That is some messed up shit.
Thanks so much for that reminiscence and the comment about gays versus pedophiles. And, by the way, you've also countered the Vatican meme (on and off) that "it's the gays" that molested the children.
"With one foot stuck in the muck, trying to pull it out, trying to figure out what to do."
I think you so captured the moment in childhood when the world collapsed into a singular instance of distress. Such a perfect analogy for what so many are currently experiencing.
I'm not Catholic. In fact I was raised Presybertarian, which is about as far away from Catholicism one can get in the mainstream Prostestants. ("God's frozen people" as the author David James Duncan once penned). But I do empathize with those Catholics who are trying to find their spiritual path through this ordeal.
One of the coolest people I ever met was my first place when I moved out from my parent. My neighbor in this triplex was a nun who spent most of her time down in Central America. I was seventeen and was focused on partying and such, and I definitely didn't think anyone associated with an institutional church had anything to say to me that was worth listening to.
But one day I found myself talking with her out on the front steps. She told me about the work she was doing with the people down in the villages, dealing with things like clean water and government militias. I asked her why she did what she did. I can't remember what she said exactly, but she responded by saying in effect "it was the right thing to do. It is what my faith tells me I need to do."
Bless you, acamus! You have so captured and unearthed, much better than I, the meaning of this blog. And the meaning of what engages me at this point - these series of blogs. And not only that, the reason why so many people write and work for peace and justice, from hearts of faith. That's it exactly! That's why I'm stuck. That's what motivates many bloggers here. And why we care when institutions that are supposed to spring from such "faith" go off the rails.
Gosh, you are a great help!
The thing I love about this place, and other such places, is how people choose to work together. Choose to ponder and bat ideas back and forth. And all of this, as I've said so many times in one way or another, moves the ball down the field - toward the goal. And whether or not we really "reach" the goal is not the point. It's aiming at the goal. Feeling a knowledge that we're doing what "our faith" (broadly speaking) tells us to do, we know our life has meaning. And that, each in our small way, we're contributing to something far greater than ourselves.
Plus, your comment also links up for me, much more clearly now, the reason I posted that one quote from evildoer in the first comment above. (boy do I need help here! and thanks for all those contributing!)
Oh...I used to play in the creaks and runoffs and other places from as far back as I can remember. I would get wet up to my waist but it was all par of the fun. Most of these gullies and ditches and what not would be covered with snow still but we knew that under that snow was quite likely running off from up the hill and some were quite deep. I would break through the snow up to my belly button and crawl out and be soaked. I guess my mother figured it was part of having boys in the country.
Well, I actually recall my son and a daughter of friends of ours - when they were maybe 5 or 6 - coming back from playing in the creek, covered HEAD TO TOE in mud! It was summer and Mr. TheraP just hosed them off.
But that's different that doing it in your school clothes! And remember, the catholic schools had uniforms! And they were not cheap!
That is a delightful metaphor. hahaah
Not a workable solution. Not if I wanted to wear that shoe tomorrow.
Not that you need it but I hereby render unto you the Knightly Line of the Day Award for this here TPMCafe Site, given to all of you from all of me; as a fellow catholic with one foot stuck in the mud.
Thank you, dearest dd! I surely do need your award. And your rewarding readership and comments! And especially as a fellow catholic with one foot stuck in the mud.
Please report as abuse the comment above this one. Thanks!
The one by "shoptrade331" - I mean!
Done. I'm doing it on every post he's pissed on.
Bless you, my dear! :)
Seems to me the tug that defines and separates muck from insurrection/resurrection is a pretty holy gesture Thera, as well as a lifesaving one. And that it's still possible for the Roman Church to make that tug. The question of course is How?
When he was quite little my eldest was led one Sunday on a springtime adventure by his pal- also quite little. The other parents were not concerned at all about where they went, after half an hour of our searching and calling. It turned out they were in the middle of a shallow pond with a muddy bottom. I can still feel the huge relief when the cops brought home two muddy little boys minus one of my son's shoes, and my little one's slightly sheepish "Hi, Mom!"

Wonderful comment and recollection!
A "holy gesture". I like that concept. May steal it if I may.
Peace be with you. :-)
Life without sex? bbc looks at celibacy:
And did the pope know more than he's telling about sex abuse? How are the laity reacting? You guessed it: Fewer people in the pews. Less money in the coffers.
Yes I think the pope knew more than he's telling, look at his face! Not quite beatific, is it?
Tsk, tsk. Time to require a heavy duty sex ed course (of the academic sort at least) for novices. And maybe some serious pre vow counseling! Being married in my church required it. Oh, and maybe some lengthy one to one therapy- not to say the lying down kind- for the next lot of potential papal hopefuls, assuming there will be any. Sorry, this has me pissed. Where are you John the 23rd when we need you?!
Well, the more of us that stay pissed here and the more ways we examine this and get the word out, the better chance that change will have to come. I'm working on that post related to bwak's comment (above) and I'm finding that the nuns are really in the forefront of defining and analyzing what Bwak addressed. And that's because they are more truly living out the Good News and thus the Vatican sees them as subversive! Which they are!!! Yay!
I'm nearly ready to post that next blog. Just biding my time and tweaking.... And chuckling at how in so many ways the Vatican keeps shooting itself in the foot, throwing more fuel on the fire, and inspiring the good guys to stand up and be counted as they find better and better ways to describe what that means.
I'm actually getting more hopeful as this goes along.
Someone here had an idea with which I am in total agreement, see evagrius in comments below the post this links to:
This is an interesting read. A year or more of Jungian therapy, perhaps? The sitting and staring at a wall has to be voluntary to work. Perhaps a year or five in a Tibetan monastery?
Ah, but is it too late for change or the Vatican system as it now stands too big to fail? Certainly too big and evil for openness.

Wait till you see this one!
And here:
It's time for the men in white coats. I'm for bringing back straight jackets! Just for the curia, of course. They could do them in brocade with swirly designs.
I guess if priapism is the normal condition for your inner circle, it's normal NOT to seek treatment?? Just sayin'.
Ah, yes....
They'll have to be "taken" - as they won't go willingly. And the "treatment" will consist of incarceration.
It's disgusting how these criminals excuse their behavior due a "painful" condition. And inflict pain on the innocent as a means of "relieving themselves" of their "condition."

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