Allow me to first explain off the short, quaint, and, indeed, funny quip that Randy has printed to your left on the Me Duce Tutus Eris main page. The blog is about religion. It is about spirituality. It is at its core about the meeting of God and the human. My personal search for understanding, however, may fluctuate, but I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea that I at some point found God. No, I’ve never been a cokehead turned cokehead-Christian. No, I’ve never felt the need to “turn my life around and hand it over to Christ.” And, most certainly, no, I don’t lose and then find God now and again. This is simply because I firmly believe that my desire to learn, understand, and to dissect faith is all on its own an expression of my faith as a Catholic. If there aren’t any turbulents to rock the proverbial boat, well that boat probably isn’t a very strong one. However, I do like how Randy put it (the moniker), because it does add comedy to my already comedically rich life.

Now, on to the current events portion of today’s lesson! Yesterday afternoon, twice I caught only the bits of two NPR pieces that seemed deeply engaging to me. Interestingly enough, the producers at NPR saw it fit to butt them end-to-end, which is why they’re producers at NPR, I suppose. The 2007 winner of the Templeton Prize (For progress toward research or discoveries about spiritual realities), Charles Taylor, was interviewed concerning his views on spirituality and humanity. In short, Mr. Taylor believes that by discounting or otherwise ignoring the presence of spirituality in public discourse concerning everything from social concerns to violence to human interaction, an end cannot be reached in thought and conception. With my interest piqued, I listened intently to the full interview earlier today when I had time. Mr. Taylor makes many excellent points that I may have not been able to articulate as I had wanted over the years in Me Duce Tutus Eris (Hence, Mr. Taylor wins the Templeton while I just get some snide comments from Randy). He lays out on the table almost completely the evolving purpose of doing this: spirituality, whether in the form of organized religion or not, has a massive effect on our lives day in and out. By ignoring this, we do ourselves a disservice. Of course, Mr. Taylor’s philosphical thought rests nowhere near where many “religious” folks’ do. The level at which he approaches the reality of spirituality as a matter of faith is complex and utterly human at its base. Give the clip a listen.

Buddy ChristFollowing that piece came an excellent editorial from one of my favorite Roman Catholic priests, Fr. James Martin. Fr. Martin was introduced to me through the Jesuit weekly, America, where his writings offered often fresh views and opinions. I’ve also had the opportunity of enjoying one of Fr. Martin’s books, My Life With The Saints, a spiritual memoir as well as a primer on the saints of the Catholic Church. He spoke about how media outlets, especially television, take the opportunity during Lent to go all Da Vinci Code on the general public. Lent for many is a time for reflection and penance. Yes, it is a time in which many of the Christian faithful at least think more about their faith and are certainly more susceptible to watch whatever Discovery Times may throw their way concerning Christ’s wife, or James, the brother of Jesus, or Lazarus, or Judas (a hot one as of late). You can go on and on and on about this. This year, James Cameron, of all fucking people, has decided to unveil to all of us the tomb of Jesus. This is, of course, interesting to me, but come on, seriously, if you take Jesus and his impact on the entire world as some sort of circus side show act, you’re going to strip away the faith of it all. As the brunt of a joke, Jesus loses the impact of his life on Earth and the joke of Buddy Christ (an incessantly hilarious figurehead, thanks to Kevin Smith) is perpetrated even further (seriously so, though) by Christians in an endless myriad of ways – “Christian” dating, “Christian” surfing, “Christian” skating, “Christian” fucking truck pulls, “Christian” target shooting. Name it, the joke is there and Christianity moves further and further away from understanding faith as they pass it from the mysterious to the merely unprovable and, finally, to the joke bin. Fr. Martin put this in simple and clear terms:

While serious scholarship always adds to our understanding of Biblical events, the essentials of belief will remain mysterious.

Faith is not about facts and why so many of the Christian faithful feel the need to validate their faith (key word here) with facts is beyond me.

With this, I leave you with a blessing passed on to me (as part of a two-CD St. Patrick’s Day mix!) from a good friend of mine, Tim:

An Irish Blessing

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Now, go have a goddamned Guinness!