Monday, February 21, 2011

Bikeless Chronicles, part 2: Mom, I dare you to prove me wrong.

Are you familiar with Captain Subtext from Coupling? Watch this video. Captain Subtext and the Truth Filter go on until about 1:30.

Having a subtext filter is especially helpful in dealing with the passive-aggressiveness that my mom threw at me. Here's what my mother said to me tonight, slightly paraphrased:

"You know, there are a lot of Catholics out there who take birth control and who like gay people, and they still come to church. They don't abandon their faith."

And with Captain Subtext's Truth Filter:

"You know, despite your ideological differences, you can still come to church. I'm worried that you have abandoned your faith."

Gee, thanks, Mom.

I told her, also slightly paraphrased:

"Look, I'm not abandoning my faith. I'm not abandoning my practice."

She interrupted, trying to sound clever, "Oh, but you're abandoning Catholicism."

"I'm not even abandoning Catholicism! You think I am, because you haven't checked it out yourself to see what it's all about. And until you do see for yourself that the beliefs are the same, don't tell me that I'm abandoning my faith."

"I don't think you're abandoning your faith," she backpedaled.

"Oh, whatever," I said, rolling my eyes.

"I'm not comfortable with it."

"You're not comfortable with it because you don't know what it's about. You refuse to come see that there is nothing wrong with the messages we get."

Subtext: "I dare you to find something objectively wrong in the mass I attend."

Seriously, would she rather I go to church in bad conscience? Would she rather I listen to some judgmental hate-thy-[gay, female, non-Catholic, etc.]-neighbor sermon and conveniently dismiss it and/or contradict it in both word and deed? How hypocritical. That's not the function of church.

Would she rather I continue to worship as a bad Catholic, picking and choosing what messages to live? And what the heck is so anti-Catholic about saying the freakin' NICENE CREED every single week, plus apostolic succession and sacraments and all that?

Yeah, Mom, I dare you to find something objectively wrong in the mass I attend. I dare you to find something counter to the Gospel. I dare you to find something counter to loving God and loving one's neighbor as oneself. I dare you to tell me that what those gay, female, and married priests say is a bad or wrong message.

I dare you, Mom. Bring it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Bikeless Chronicles, part 1: reading about forbidden love

Padre Alberto's latest book [Amazon link].

Some of you may remember Fr. Alberto Cutié from his extensive media presence on his various radio and television programs in both English and Spanish (and a Twitter feed, too!). Some of you may remember him from the news a couple years ago, when he was caught on the beach with his girlfriend, Ruhama. Subsequently, he left the Catholic church, was received into the Episcopal church, married the lovely Ruhama in the Episcopal church, became a priest in the Episcopal church, and now has a baby daughter!

During part of my bikeless commute, I read his latest book, Dilemma: A Priest's Struggle with Faith and Love. As a self-proclaimed bad Catholic with Episcopal leanings, I was certain I would enjoy the book.

As you can see from the book cover image above, Padre Alberto's distractingly handsome face is all over the front cover of the book, complete with the distinctive white collar and the word DILEMMA printed across his chest. It's not the easiest book to read on public transit in a town with such a strong Catholic history, but I suppose that dealing with difficult or embarrassing issues head-on is part of the point. Additionally, a couple friends and I have started referring to Padre Alberto as Fr. Hottie.

Fr. Hottie skillfully recounts his experience with the baffling hypocrisy of the Roman Catholic hierarchy with regards to its priests' mental and emotional health. Through Fr. Hottie's pretty blue eyes, we see the church as a questionable employer who doesn't quite take care of its employees or clients, whose higher-ups have lost sight of what it's like on the ground, and where a person really can sleep his way to the top.

Fr. Hottie also documents his ideological shift from Rome to Canterbury, wading through issues including homosexuality, birth control, papal infallibility, and priestly celibacy. The tabloid exposure of his relationship with Ruhama precipitated the final push on the road to Canterbury. For all the support that Fr. Hottie got during the media mayem, he also got a lot of negative fallout about betraying the one true church. This sense of betrayal undoubtedly stems from the spoon-fed propaganda that the Roman Catholic church is the one true church, whereas those Protestants were total jerks about that Reformation thing.

Huh. Aside from the publicity, this sounds a lot like my own ideological struggle and the shit-fit that my parents had when I told them that the husband and I have started attending an Anglo-Catholic church that better fits our ideals and spiritual needs.

I very much enjoyed Fr. Hottie's book. This book was exactly what I needed to read at this point in my spiritual journey. I has given me a lot to think about, especially in the coming weeks, when my husband will be presented to the local Episcopal bishop. Yet for some reason, I still can't quite bring myself to participate in the reception ceremony. Who knows? With Fr. Hottie's book in the back of my mind at next month's ceremony, I may yet change my mind for next year.

Gracias, Padre Alberto.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Bikeless chronicles, part 0

This is the first of a few posts about my misadventures of my sadly bikeless commute.

The universe has been ganging up on me, conspiring to keep me from riding my bike to and from work. In roughly chronological order, here's what the universe has thrown at me:

1. Winter - Dark, cold, rainy. While I have lights and a reflecty vest for the dark, the cold and rain just make biking downright unpleasant.

2. Christmas - The Christmas season brings up lots of evening activities, like my friend's Lillajulafton, or little Christmas Eve. It's a Swedish thing, and I got to wear my "got glögg?" t-shirt. The opportunities to wear such a t-shirt occur so seldom, that I'd rather not get it sweaty and then show up to the party.

3. Colds - I caught a doozy of a cold right after New Year's. It knocked me out for a good week. Can't breathe, can't ride.

4. Repavement - Just when I got over my cold, I noticed that my bike route was being repaved. It was down to dirt for a couple weeks.

5. Injury - Walking to my bus stop after work one day, I rolled my right foot on a seam in the sidewalk. This happens to me a lot, and I can usually walk it off because my ankles always bounce back. This time, however, my foot--not my ankle--continued to hurt horribly. I hobble to my bus stop, hobbled onto the bus, and saw from the window that the repavement was all done on my bike path! Grrr!!! So I hobbled home and sat on the couch with a bag of frozen peas on my foot.

6. Insult - Yes, added insult to my injury. The weather been GORGEOUS out here (sunny and unseasonably warm), and I can't ride my bike with a sprained foot. Furthermore, Tuesday morning, just two weeks after I sprained my right foot, the left one rolled! Again, walking downhill on an uneven sidewalk, of which there are many in this town.

As such, I've been stuck on Muni for way too long. But at least the Muni commute gives me anecdote fodder, reading time, and knitting time. My next few posts will be about stuff I've seen, stuff I've read, and stuff I've knit on the bus.