Monday, February 4, 2013
I Gave Birth To A Toaster
I think our pastor, Fr Ed, has had some sermons and/or “punch lines” that he really likes, and in yesterday’s sermon he repeated one of them. “If you asked any pregnant woman what she is planning to give birth to, none will say: ‘I don’t know.’ There is no doubt about what they are pregnant with: it is a baby. It is not a monkey or a giraffe or a toaster. They know.” He then went on to talk about the “de-evolution” of our society, where many people today have convinced themselves that they don’t really know what is in a pregnant woman --- “it’s just a blob of tissue.”
I liked Fr Ed’s term, “de-evolution,” I think that’s a new one.
I’ve reflected in the past on my own confusion with the issue, how some people cannot, or will not, accept what is obvious science: pregnancy in a woman is a human baby --- it’s not a toaster. (I suppose it’s even scarier those few who, like a woman recently in the news, say: “I know it is a human being, but I don’t care. We have to choose what lives are worth saving.”) In my mind, I want to call those people just plain stupid, but that is a gross simplification. Fr Ed didn’t get to discuss this: what goes on in the mind of such a person. But that didn’t stop my mind from thinking further on it.
I think that something akin to Father’s “de-evolution” term must apply to those whose minds (and mouth) cannot speak what they know to be true. In their heart they know it is a human life, a baby, but they “don’t want to know” that. They don’t want to believe that. So they engage in a kind of make believe --- maybe if I say to myself: “it isn’t true” often enough, I’ll believe it. (And maybe if I say it often enough to someone else, they’ll believe it too!) Instead of acting like knowledgeable adults, these people act like children, creating a fantasy they want to believe. They’ve kind of “de-matured,” and regressed into a childlike “wish” state.
“De-evolving” and “de-maturing” individuals seem to be in ever increasing numbers in our society. In a way, it makes me understand why they want to be taken care of by the government --- or somebody. They don’t think (or have the confidence) that they can take care of themselves. They don’t want to recognize some of the harder facts of life, to face them and mature through them. They’d rather be like children: “Here is what I want. I want it now.” And have someone immediately give it to them. And to be always happy.
But that is just not how life works, not the physical human life, nor the spiritual life either. And if someone tries to “make” our life that way, they are not helping us.
Just as a physical human being grows and matures through trials --- and learnings – so a spiritual human being grows and matures through trials, and learnings. We grow in holiness our whole life. This growth means we learn more about our God, our beliefs about Him, and we grow closer to Him. Until, in heaven, we are united with Him. But just like a woman who might believe, or want to believe, that she might give birth to a toaster, some people want to believe they can be totally holy now. “I’m a good person; I don’t need to worry about getting better.” They think they understand their religion and its teachings “enough” and they know about God “enough.” And so they don’t think about either. They think they have more important things to do.
How sad. They don’t know what IS important.
If this attitude toward their spiritual side is not a “de-maturing” in faith, it certainly is not growth. And, I think, such an attitude actually starts or accelerates a “de-maturing” process. If you don’t think about something, you tend to forget it, or parts of it. And you begin to remember, if you try, things that you want to believe happened or things that were said. You create “good,” but false, memories. “My church teaches me to be a good person --- and I am.” “My priest told me abortion is okay sometimes.” “My pastor said to follow my conscience and I’ll get to heaven.” “We’re short of priests in some areas; anyone who believes he is a “good” person --- woman, man, divorced, homo/bi/tri/a-sexual, --- should be allowed to be a priest.” “I’m a good Christian, because I believe in God and in His Word --- as I interpret it.”
Such an attitude toward faith and God is just the opposite of what it should be. Instead of professing a curiosity about God and wanting to know more about Him, some people think they know Him well. Instead of seeking to know His will, they want to show God (if He’s looking) their will. Instead of seeking to follow God, they’re content to lead their lives as best they can --- and “maybe God will follow me.” It’s not with sarcasm that some describe them as “wanting to BE God,” because without saying it they lead their lives as if they were.
And so with their logic of “there is no absolute truth, just my truth,” I would not be totally surprised if some day someone (maybe even a guy) walked up to me and said: “Look! I just gave birth to a toaster.” And that being “their truth,” they would be surprised and upset if I didn’t believe them.
It’s funny, really funny --- you have to laugh, or you’ll cry --- how many people today say “this is my truth” and want me to accept it, but they will not accept nor consider my truth, the one I am constantly seeking from God. I can’t understand how so many think should “celebrate diversity” as something we strive for, when each and every person is a unique, important, and sacred being already. How diverse can humanity get? And yet those celebrating diversity will choose to kill some others, especially those least able to defend themselves.
I guess despite all my reading and seeking to grow in wisdom and holiness I’ll never understand that type of thinking. And as I grow closer to The Truth, they would probably look at me and say: “He is getting farther away.” Whether one of us is maturing or de-maturing we could probably never agree upon, but I guess we could agree that we seem to be getting further apart.
Jesus said: “You must become as little children to enter the kingdom of heaven.” I wonder if that’s what they think they are doing, by making believe things are as they want them to be. And I wonder if God will accept them there, in heaven, as the type of “little children” He wants.Or will He say: “No spoiled brats allowed.”