Saturday, August 9, 2008

Rekindling the Hearth

I envy Rosie O’Donnell. She has the money and the panache to say anything that strikes her fancy. She is not discombobulated or out of joint. She is in many ways fighting for a comfort niche in our bewildering new global culture.

Her communication style is sometimes out of context or that is how she is often quoted. She in a fact a symbol of much of what has been happening to the American woman on the periphery of and in the center of the changing twentieth and twenty-first century role for American womenhood.

First the vote. Then the pill. The right to try and or choose an alternate lifestyle? To marry or not to marry? To have a career? - Then Vatican II drops the ball. Tries to put the genie of hope and possible freedom back in the bottle.

The biggest radical change for women at V-II was taking the kerchief off the head and labeling that protestant saint, St. Paul, as anti-female in his writing. Then they turn around and want to impose the ancient, obsolete (promiscuous male) Saint Augustine view of sexuality on the modern womb with no regard to advances in chemistry and science.

The radical turn about on abortion and to stop all birth control by Paul VI, the pope with the mail order seminary degree, wanted to put theoretical sexuality back into its medieval scheme of things. Theoretical to him, but real to the rest of us.

You do not or should not get driving lessons or articles of faith from someone who has never driven a car or received his priest’s diploma in the mail. Translate that into some pious sounding Latin and there you have the epitaph of the pope who mopped up after John XXIII and Vatican II and thought that life would go on the same as before. Forgive me Jesus for being so blunt. Thank you Rosie for inspiring me to say what I think.

There is a religious quote by this famous American original:

“Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like the United States.”

Many times this quote has been repeated in a propaganda and political context on I.H.A.T.E.U. radio by U-no-who.

I fear radical American Christianity and it's potential to take away my freedoms for the sake of some of new twisted fascist Jesus hybrid religion thing. Not every evangelical is to be feared - its the politco-s, phony neocons and former used car salesmen in sheep's clothing that you have got to keep an eye on.

Her strong reaction and perhaps fear to the potential of religious abuse by the far right is not without merit. Her words have a lot of push in them. Her small sound bite covers a lot of territory. I think she may not cover or consider other aspects of American Christianity when she formulates a publicly expressed opinion.

American Christianity is at the mall these days or within driving distance of the new American Town Square. Mega Churches fill defunct anchor Department Stores in nearly defunct malls or use obsolete sport stadiums to sell their new, mall-like, air-conditioned, feel-good, sometimes archaic Jesus brand of sales and marketing of the product. It is all about money - and - in many ways – it’s the parking stupid.

When was the last time you saw a new mall with a chapel? You occasionally find one in an airport and only in a Christian hospital. A time to pray or to reflect is a good thing and in the middle of what now serves as the town square would be even better.

American Catholicism is entrenched in the nineteenth and early twentieth century real estate linked on the east coast and to an immigrant past – and did I mention – no parking. White flight to the suburbs is an American phenomenon that the clerics in the Vatican could not quite understand, that and privacy and human sexuality.

Radical Islam is about trying to equalize the playing field in the Islamic world with a twist that it first must attack the west rather than look inward and clean its own house first. Radical Islam reminds me of a dysfunctional family. Dysfunctional families have another quote by Rosie.

O'Donnell recently commented about her role on the TV chick talk show The View and how working there "was like one big dysfunctional Irish Catholic family. Do anything except tell the truth. That doesn't fly for me."

Rosie says a lot of things with ideas too dense to be conveyed in a five or ten second sound bite. But even if she polished her communication skills she would still be a Lesbian, a loose cannon who believes and expresses her view of conspiracies at the World Trade Center etc.

There are all kinds of negative tags on this woman, but I love her. She reminds me of all the strong Irish Catholic women in my youth who had kept the hearth fire of the home going through the thick and thin of economic and personal times.

Those strong women are gone and so too is that past American family in many ways. Family and the hearth has been the foundation of man and woman kind for literally a million years. No virtual imitation of reality can replace that which is perfect or gone. New forms of the family are merging and evolving into a hopefully better future global reality.

It was this dousing of the hearth by Vatican II that has changed the R.C. church forever. You can’t have seminarians and priests handing out instruction manuals about the home and birth control and ignore advice and or gossip from the local housewives. These housewives used to congregate before and after Sunday mass in the old town square of my youth. Where have they gone? Many have gone to better places I dare say than the kitchen and the seeming drudgery of the slave-like trap of housewife-ism.

Women in the R.C. church have put up with a lot of bullcrap since Constantine disenfranchised them in the church thingy. Women have been the backbone of the civilization forever. Forget that and you lose your battle little vatican boys with your fingers stuck in the holes of the levee dikes and trying to hold back the sea of change in the 20th and 21st centuries.

In the early Christian Church, if I was a tiny frail little yeshiva overachiever like Saint Paul and I wanted and needed protection when I stood up and pronounced the radical ideas of Jesus, I would have liked to had a local woman like Rosie to take me out of the fight that was beating me up and taking me home to the hearth to heal. Putting aside private life style preferences of Saint Paul and or Rosie, the early church was ideas from Saint Paul and brawn and protection provided by the local matriarchs.

Rosie O’Donnell is as American as Apple Pie. Her sometimes angry, bellicose approach to the bull---- of the non-verbal Irish Catholic culture in which she was raised and the present nonsense, dysfunctional-ism, and dishonesty masquerading as American culture and journalism makes her a precious and rare commodity, like it or not.

In the present state of local and world affairs, all of us in our own secular and or sacred ways must keep the fire of the faith and family hearth burning in real time, in memory, in our hearts.

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