The Sarabite: Towards an Aesthetic Christianity

There is a continuous attraction, beginning with God, going to the world, and ending at last with God, an attraction which returns to the same place where it began as though in a kind of circle. -Marsilio Ficino

Friday, December 01, 2006

Tune in, turn on......


Under no circumstances whatsoever would I recommend anyone send any child to any modern university.

-Dr David Allen White, in an interview posted on the Cornell Society for a Good Time.

I know this position well. The Society of St. Pius X encouraged me to drop out of Berkeley in the first place in order to pursue the "higher things". While I don't regret the "life experiences" (can you put being a monk in the Mojave Desert on a resume?), I disagree with the good doctor 100%.

Traditional Catholics in the Society of St. Pius X are so ignorant of history that they are laboring under a paradigm of one period of Church history when they really should be looking at another. St. Basil the Great still went to the Academy in Athens. There were Christians in Antioch even when pagan prostitutes were parading through the streets naked. We are Christians, not Essenes. Christ said we must be the light of the world, not a light hidden from view. There is a severe lack of reality in the SSPX perspective. But I have said this before.....

There is something more dangerous going on theologically, and it is something that misses the spirit of the Gospel entirely. I also watched this enlightening video about the Transalpine Redemptorists on Papa Stronsay on the Devout Life blog, and one young postulant said something to the effect that life of the island is better there because all of the monks' actions earn merits toward their salvation. Now, he is a better monk than I was probably, but I still think that he's nuts. You don't earn your salvation. Life is not about not sinning and doing your darndest not to screw up. It is about love, and love "covers a multitude of sins". One of the greatest acts of love of God is repentance and that is available to everyone, and it is especially easy to those who have sinned much, for they are forgiven all the more.

Look at the Pharisees: they spent all of their time in the Temple and synagogue, reading the Law and praying. In the parable of the Publican and the Pharisee, we can speculate that the Publican probably was not in the Temple all that often, and he certainly was not reading the Law all of the time. (Hustlin' ain't easy....) But when he was in the Temple, who went away forgiven? Religious people are the ones who really get it in the Gospel, those who don't want to get their hands dirty and don't want to risk their salvation on things that might be intuitively right, but go against the "letter of the Law".

Many say that we might be "endangering our salvation" by doing this and that, by living in such and such a place, etc., but here is news for those people: your salvation is always "in danger". That's free will, so welcome to the human race! Anyone who has read the lives of the Desert Fathers or has lived in a monastery for more than two minutes knows that even there "you are not safe". How many monastic cowls are floating about in the fires of hell? At every moment, God is asking us if we love Him, and yes we waiver, we are cowardly, and sinful. Is that news to you? Get a grip, for crying out loud! Being above the world, away from the world, and apart from it doesn't free you from yourself.

True, that doesn't mean you can go strolling into porn shops or even worse, start working for the IMF (bunch of heartless crooks!), but it does mean that you have to look at being a Christian as something you can do right now. So what are you waiting for? To move to a rural area in Idaho where you can go to the traditional Latin Mass everyday? Learn to be a human being, and maybe then you can be a Christian.

Be cool, stay in school.

10 Comments:

At 10:15 AM, Blogger Pseudo-Iamblichus said...

Speaking of grips....

Cuz you's a hustlin' a#@ youngsta, clockin' yo' grip.

 
At 7:33 PM, Blogger Sean said...

"can you put being a monk in the Mojave Desert on a resume?"

Worked for me!

 
At 5:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're forgetting sex - not the act, but the distinction. For Young women should not be attending modern universities unprotected. Young Christian women in ancient times were normally living under the protection of the patriarchal household, and the handful of spectacular exceptions prove the rule.

 
At 9:14 AM, Blogger Pseudo-Iamblichus said...

Maybe you're right, but let's face it, there is plenty of goofing around going on out there that not going to a university does not automatically mean that "the lily" (c'mon Sean, you know you want to jump in here) will be safe. In the vast majority of "Christian" societies in the past, it would be interesting to find out how many maidens were really maidens on the wedding night.....

As for protecting your women, I am ethnically Mexican and from a very conservative family so I know all about that. A young man can go out 'til the wee hours of the morning and commit all sorts of unmentionable debaucheries and no one thinks anything of it. Meanwhile, if a young lady of the household merely touches the door knob in order to feed the dog, everyone asks, "Where are you going?", as if she were going out in order to pursue a career as a street walker.

But to steal one of Sean's lines (again), a double-standard is better than no standard at all. You go, player!

 
At 2:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We mustn't stop learning! And we mustn't hide in these days of secularism.

 
At 12:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the vast majority of "Christian" societies in the past, it would be interesting to find out how many maidens were really maidens on the wedding night.....

This is easy to do - look at the church records and compare dates of marriages and dates of births of first child.

 
At 12:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And no one is saying that we need to stop learning. Saying that you don't think it's a good idea to send 18yos of both sexes to experience the year or two of communist formation that is modern dorm life isn't the same thing as saying you want to hide your kids in a cave. Beyond the nookie, beyond the drugs, can we please think about the assault on human dignity that is the co-ed bathroom? I think if we can't agree that previously unintroduced 18yos of both sexes should not be showering in the same room as each other we don't share enough beliefs about reality to have a conversation.

 
At 2:13 PM, Blogger Pseudo-Iamblichus said...

"This is easy to do - look at the church records and compare dates of marriages and dates of births of first child."

Yeah, like that is going to tell you a heck of a lot! What about all of the "casamientos peronistas" as the Argentines call them, where a couple had to get married because of an "accident"? Or the rather quaint Mexican custom of stealing your bride, with her rather confused assent? Or of course, if you think concubinage was absent from traditional Catholic societies, you are dead wrong. A lot of my female ancestors were concubines to wealthier men (I won't reveal their names in order to let the dead rest in peace.) That is why the Catholic Church had the law disqualifying illegitimate sons from Holy Order.

You're living in an Anglo-Saxon, crypto-Protestant, Traddie dream world. Real Catholic (and Orthodox) culture was far more earthy, forgiving, and human than any technicolor 1950's Catholic fantasy.

 
At 4:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a thin line between acknowledging the comprimises and problems of "real life" and glorifying them while spitting disdain at those who try (even if clumsily) to avoid the occassions of sin.

 
At 12:17 PM, Blogger Bernard Brandt said...

I dunno. The three holy hierarchs, SS. Basil the Great, St. John Chrysostom, and Gregory Nazienzen (or as my first, late wife Carolyn used to call them, "Ss. Manny, Moe & Jack") were educated at Athens and Constantinople, but they also received a rather strong Christian home education from their parents, and Constantinople at least was a Christian city from its founding.

St. Benedict of Nursia, on the other hand, was going to that 4th Century cesspool which we call Rome for his education, when he was inspired to hightail it to the wilderness.

I suppose it depends on the level of rearing a child receives before university, and the university that he is sent to. I was an atheist when I hit U.C.L.A. back in the '70s, and it hit back (hard!). I suppose that I survived the experience, and on Nietzsche's principle (Anything that doesn't kill you outright makes you stronger.), it was worthwhile.

If, however, parents have spent some time trying to "keep the young'uns pure", they might want to consider distance learning.

 

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