Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The Jawbone of an Ass

There's no use sugar-coating what I've got to say in this blog. I'm not inclined to try, either.

No doubt, there will be readers who conclude that I am nothing but an angry but well-educated bitch who shouldn't be allowed into any church, much less the “Church founded by Jesus Christ himself” --the Catholic Church, of which I became a member on April 2, 1989. Perhaps they are correct.

The fact of the matter is: I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore.

I do not accept the notion that a “true Christian woman” must be at all times and in all places passive, submissive, docile and silent. I will not accede to the proposition that in order to be an authentic follower of Christ one must sit quietly as a doormat and endure one abuse after another which is perpetrated in the name of and under apparent authority of “the One True Faith.”

For many years, and especially within the Catholic Church, I have encountered what appears to be a prevailing opinion: that being an Imitator of Christ is synonymous with merely putting on a tame and subdued demeanor at all times -- that one must never question authority and one must never complain.

I can never accept this. Jesus, who was the “Rock of Offense”1 constantly challenged the religious leaders of his day and in a decidedly non-pacifistic fashion physically attacked and beat the money changers with a whip he fashioned from cords while he drove them from his Father's Temple.2 The Apostle Paul made it a habit of pissing off various leaders so much that a substantial portion of his writings were produced while he was incarcerated-- and his letters which we now venerate as scripture include some rather scathing language leveled at the Judaizers3 and their followers, not to mention a cuss word or two that are masked by more politically correct terminology in our English translations.4

St. Jerome, a Doctor of the Church, is remembered for his hot temper and vitriolic pen, and not for a docile temperament. For Jerome “anyone who taught error was an enemy of God and truth, and St. Jerome went after him or her with his mighty and sometimes sarcastic pen.”5 And in modern times Mother Teresa of Calcutta was described by biographers as stubborn, controlling, unrealistic, demanding and difficult to work with.6

I am full of character flaws-- a fact that has been explained to me on numerous occasions by multiple sources. But I am also someone who has loved Jesus Christ and his Gospel very deeply and intensely, and not without sacrifice. Though I am no friend to the concept of “Catholic Guilt” I take my own sins very seriously. And even though it may appear otherwise at times, I do rely on the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ in the hope that he will be faithful to complete the good work that he once began in me7 in spite of myself.

You will have to decide for yourself whether the content of this blog is merely a demonstration of my character flaws and my sinfulness or whether I have presented a true and valid challenge to the status quo that plagues the Body of Christ in this culture we live in.

Though we have examples of Christians who have been recognized as saints throughout history who have been feisty, ill-tempered and combative, I would be delusional to count myself among them simply because I am often feisty, ill-tempered and combative. Rather I would ask you to consider that the Lord has delivered his messages through unseemly and unsaintly messengers before. Remember Balaam's donkey8?

Perhaps, despite my personal failings, there will appear here in this blog some nugget of truth that will challenge you to demand something more and better from your Church.

Whether I am actually being used to accomplish the Will of God or not I can only truly claim one accurate label:

I am the Jawbone of an Ass9.

1. 1 Peter 2:8, Isaiah 8:14
2. Matthew 21:12-17, Mark 11:15-19, Luke 19:41-48, John 2:14-17
3. Galatians 3:1-5
4. Philippians 3:8
5. AmericanCatholic.org, "Saint of the Day: September 30, St. Jerome," retrieved 9 November 2010.
Appears to have been republished from: Foley, Leonard O.F.M., ed. Revised by Fr. Pat McCloskey, O.F.M. Saint of the Day: Lives, Lessons, and Feasts: 6th revised edition. Cincinnati, Ohio: St. Anthony Messenger Press, September 2009. 408 pages. ISBN 978-0-86716-887-7

6. Greene, Meg. Mother Teresa: A Biography (Greenwood Biographies), Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press (August 30, 2004) 176 pages. ISBN 978-0313327711. p. xii & 140.
7. Philippians 1:6
8. Numbers 22:23-30
9. Judges 15: 15-16


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