yrmencyn: (qc - drunk)
1.  I was thinking earlier today, when I was working at the DMP: I like military guys, as an instructor and as an office worker.  They're generally pretty fit, which is pleasing to the eye, and they're almost always polite -- I never, but never get called "Sir" in my job, and yet there they are saying "Yes, sir" and being all respectful.  Good times.

2.  We had a new campus preacher out today, in the plaza at 15th & High.  As I was walking by, I caught "...but we [presumably the members of his group] no longer see through a mirror darkly; we see crystal clear!"  Pretty fucking presumptuous, buddy.
yrmencyn: (vdub)
I really love the concept of dark matter.  You know, the non-visible, basically non-sensible not-really-matter (yet, uh, not antimatter) that apparently makes up the majority of the universe?  Yeah, that.  It's hilarious to me, because there are all these theories and conjectures about it, yet they don't really seem to have... evidence?  Or if there is evidence, it doesn't really show up in the sources I read.

So yes, apparently the first stars in the universe were 'dark stars' -- which is a Grateful Dead reference, y'all -- that were gargantuan, in case you were wondering.  Cause why not?  It could happen? 

Ooh, and you know what else?  They weren't spheroid, but instead were unicorn-shaped.  Because they were manifestations of the IPU (mhhnbs).  Which is appropriate, when you think about it.
yrmencyn: (qc - drunk)
I'm... really confused by this one.  OK, so, you remember I came out to my family back in January?  Well, I got a number of positive responses back, and no negative responses.  I also didn't get responses from a fair number of people; I'll let you draw your own conclusions.  Well, there was one aberrant response, which was a long hand-written letter from my Aunt S.  S is very, very, very Catholic, of the extremely Old School variety, and the letter wasn't too far out of what I expected.  Very loving, very concerned with me (and my health, and my soul), and utterly backward (in my opinion) on matters of sexual orientation (not to mention harboring some very basic misunderstandings of the current research on nature/nurture and the particularities of certain medicoanatomical concepts [although she was spot-on that "sexual expression between men" does "frequently involve sodomy" -- I really haven't the words]).

But that's just background.  As Kevin and I were walking out the front door this morning, we saw that the mail had come.  Among a number of bills and other terribly exciting junk, I saw that there was a large envelope from Aunt S.  I really didn't know what to expect, but I knew there was no way I was waiting four or five hours to open it, so I went back inside with it.  What was inside?  You would never guess.  No, really.  Inside was a cardboard plaque/print from the Confraternity of the Precious Blood, along with a prayer book from same and a letter from S.  It turns out, she's enrolled me in the Confraternity, which "means that [I] and [my] intentions will always be included in the prayers of the cloistered sisters at the Monastery of the Precious Blood."¹  Now, you know, it's very sweet, sort of.  Although upon close examination, we all decided that she probably sent off the enrollment form around the same time she wrote me the first letter, which makes this an implicit response to my coming out.  It's like she's trying to guide me back to the right path.  And, you know, whatever.  It's a little insulting, as if I myself am not able to make my own religious decisions (oh, and I'm going to hell because I happen to have fallen in love with another man), but whatever.  That's not the thing that's really bothering me here.

The thing that's really bothering is that I can't figure out how this whole enrollment business isn't simony.  Let me lay this out.

  1. Definition: simony is the selling of religious things.  Put a bit more formally, it is "a deliberate intention of buying or selling for a temporal price such things as are spiritual of annexed unto spirituals"²

  2. This enrollment is not free.  "One year, Perpetual, and Family memberships are available to living members. Enrollment is $7.00,$15.00, and $30.00."³

  3. To make explicit: punishments (excommunication, to be exact), are to be rendered against, among others, "such as are guilty of simony by purchasing or selling admission into a religious order."²

  4. Now, the enrollment does not make me a member of the cloistered sisters of the Monastery, of course.  But it does "[bestow] the Privilege [sic] of Sharing in the merits of the DAILY PRAYRERS [sic], PENANCES, and NIGHTHOUR of REPARATION of our CLOISTERED SISTERS and of the HOLY MASSES and NOVENAS offered up under the Auspices of our CONFRATERNITY at the MONASTERY of the PRECIOUS BLOOD."³

I don't know.  I'm hardly a canon lawyer, and there are some weird provisos which may be at play here (i.e. "It is likewise simony to accept temporal compensation for admission into a religious order; but contributions made by candidates to defray the expenses of their novitiate as well as the dowry required by some female orders are not included in this prohibition."²).  Nevertheless, my gut instinct is that this sounds a bit like a racket, and it makes me uncomfortable.  The buying and selling of indulgences was one of the biggest factors in the upheaval we know as the Reformation -- hell, the Dominicans relied on practices we would now call simoniacal for pretty much all of their income during the Middle Ages.  And given I spent a lot of time last quarter dealing with medieval Dominican texts, you'll forgive me if I'm a bit leery.

--------------
¹ B-----, S-----.  Personal letter to the author.  11 April 2007.
² "Simony."  The Catholic Encyclopedia (1912).  <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14001a.htm>.
³ "Join Us."  The Confraternity of the Precious Blood.  <http://www.confraternitypb.org/joinus.html<.
yrmencyn: (Default)
The Anglican Communion, following a global meeting a month or two ago, made demands of the Episcopal Church that it, basically, straighten up and get back in line with the rest of the [conservative] Anglican world.  Last night, the leadership of the Episcopal Church made a strong declaration that it would neither accept foreign parallel leadership for the conservative diocese under its jurisdiction, nor would it promise not to ordain homosexuals or bless homosexual unions.  This is absolutely wonderful.  It's just wonderful.  In this day and age, when "religion" is so often equated with "hatred" and "bigotry", it's so heartening to see people of faith -- a whole body of the faithful -- actually standing up for the human dignity of all God's children.

Whisp, where did you say that Pisky Church is that you like?  Because at this juncture, I'm thinking it might be time for me to throw in the towel with the Catholic Church and actually align myself with a faith that respects me as a person.

Responses

Jan. 15th, 2007 07:28 pm
yrmencyn: (qc - drunk)
One thing that never ceases to amaze me is how much coming out is less about people's reactions, but about your own reactions.  So far, everything I've gotten from my family has been positive, but it hasn't really elicited any terribly big emotional response.  Now, though, I just got an email back from Uncle Fr. Steve (I have two Steves for uncle so we distinguish Uncle Steve  -- Dad's sister's husband -- from Uncle Fr. Steve -- Dad's eldest brother, a priest).  It includes this snippet:
One thing I am sure of is that God does not create mistakes.  In the Book of Genesis it says that when God created every different thing, he looked at it and “ .  .  . saw that it was good.” And that is even more true about every person he creates – he chooses to make each of us at a certain place and time, with all our talents and opportunities and trials and struggles. [...] And no matter what happens, those who love you will always be there – because you belong to us.
I knew my faith was important to me, and I knew that I had made my own peace with it, but I hadn't realized how much I needed to hear it from somebody else.  I also didn't know how worried I was about Fr. Steve's reaction; I didn't realize how important it was to me.  But I can't stop crying, every time I reread that passage, because I'm so relieved.  And it sounds like the height of ridiculousness, but it's like having possibility flow back from wherever it went.  It feels like praying.  It feels like having somebody answer. 
yrmencyn: (qc - drunk)
Hey there.  Well, Easter was had.  Religiously speaking, it was actually quite a good weekend; I feel like I got a lot out of it.  Reminded me that even though I may have major disagreements with the Catholic Church and its hierarchy, the central tenets of the religion -- its true, base-level beliefs -- are things that I still believe.  Every year at the Easter Vigil mass when we reaffirm our baptismal vows, I also think very carefully about them, and I always worry that someday I won't agree with them.  Up until now, though, I've always come back to them without conditions.

Singing was also very good.  I've really and truly missed singing; it's been a good year and a half since I sang on any sort of regular basis.  I honestly don't know what I'll do next year... I know I want to sing, but I'm really less than enthusiastic about rejoining Glee Club.  It was a great time, but first of all it's of the past, and second of all I just don't think I want to dive back into the random juvenile crap that seems to go with it.  My options... still uncertain.  Singing at the Newman Center, or with another church choir?  Would involve me going back to church regularly, but at least when I was last there it was a surprisingly liberal congregation that I felt comfortable in.  Or I could go into one of the other university choirs... U Chorus is distinctly unattractive.  Mastersingers equally so.  Chorale's very attractive, but it's also the top vocal group, and my sight-reading skills are so rusty that I'd be very worried about the audition.  Eh.  We'll see.

This was a weekend of much baking.  I baked another pear tart, Mom helped me out on a couple loaves of challah (I need to post my preferred recipe online somewhere though, since I was without it and had to use a passable, but inferior, random recipe from the interwebs), and Dad made a real pumpkin pie (i.e. not with pumpkin pie filling) and one of the best apple pies I have ever eaten, ever.  All that some buttery mashed potatoes, Jody's Pineapple Salad (lemon and lime jellos with crushed pineapple, cream cheese, and 7-Up), and a Greenberg smoked turkey, mmm.  Food is tasty.

This has also been the conclusion of an already very book-filled week.  Finished up Mark Kurlansky's Salt: A World History, read the better part of John Berendt's City of Falling Angels (a study of Venetian society in the vein of his earlier Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil).  Listened to Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues and a strange philosophical treatise by Harry G. Frankfurt called On Bullshit.  I also downloaded the audiobook of the Pimsleur Company's German: The Short Course, as I've finally decided that my lack of German proficiency is just stupid.  I can now officially ask you if you speak German or English (or French, cause I sneakily have prior knowledge), and I can exchange salutary pleasantries.

When I arrived home (the Benadryl for the cat helped, by the way, thank you Mary and Amanda!), my camera was waiting for me on the porch.  It works beautifully again, and I am very very very pleased with Sony's warranty repair service, which was lightning-fast and utterly hassle-free.  Now I'm washing clothes, basically beating time until Wednesday morning, when I leave BR nice and early to drive to Kentucky.  I'll be in Lexington from Wednesday evening to Sunday morning; I actually do the presenting Saturday morning.  I have to admit, I am entirely unenthusiastic about the conference; I wish there was another student from my school attending, instead of me just being there all alone giving a paper that, while I think it's quite good, I just don't give a damn about.  Oh well, it'll look good on a resume, and it'll give me something concrete to show for my work down here (other than my degree, which is of course the biggest marker).  I'm looking forward to seeing Michele at least, so there's that.
yrmencyn: (Default)
I feel terribly weird.  I don't truck with apocalyptic yahoos who go around babbling about the end times, not at all.  And yet, ever since  late August I've had this odd thought process constantly running in the back of my head.  Katrina devastated NOLA, Rita hit parts of Texas that have never in recorded history experienced hurricane winds (including my hometown), incredible earthquakes in the Kashmir, the Kentucky tornadoes, and now the Iowa tornadoes. 

I know for a fact that this is mostly a matter of perspective.  No matter how big they were, I know that I feel especially close to Katrina and Rita because of where I'm living and where I've lived.  The Ky and Iowa tornadoes are really run of the mill tornado season with better aim than usual (and pinpointed aim on my friends); just ask Xenia, Ohio, which can't seem to stop getting flattened season after season.  The Kashmir thing... well, ok, that was pretty major, but disasters happen all the time, and not just in the past months. 

And yet, I can't stop thinking about it.  I can't find it in a news report, and I forgot to ask Kate, so I don't know when the tornadoes hit Iacty last night, but it strikes me as quite possible that it was as we were singing Aquinas' beautiful hymn Pange lingua while the present Body of Christ was processed through the church, or as I was kneeling in the chapel for Adoration of the same Body...  Then today I started crying a little while Molly was singing "The Old Rugged Cross" and the littlest altar server gave his candle to the girl next to him so he could take his turn to kneel and kiss the cross for Veneration, because I felt a wrenching sense of loss...

I know it's me.  I know this is hindsight reconstructing the events of the past to meet a certain expectation.  I know the loss has nothing to do with an event I didn't even know about until after mass, and everything to do with my own personal hangups and issues.  I hope that if the end days were coming we could at least muster up something better than annual weather systems, however destructive. 

I still want to curl up in a little ball and cry with my cat.

----------------------

Note to self )
yrmencyn: (Default)
Benedicte: Tamen en ecclesia tua non credo.

Regard now the Revenant )

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