Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thursday rememberances and rambling

Dead Kennedys
I don't know what it is about late summer that causes my intensity to ramp up. The energy carries over into the early fall. For those who know me, I am pretty intense all of the time. I am not hyper, or frenetic, just intense. If you don't know me, I seem pretty calm, until you talk to me for 5 minutes. My intensity carries over equally to what I don't care about. There is a lot about which I couldn't possibly care less, especially administrivia, office, parish, and diocesan politics, etc. I have people tell me I should go into politics. I would be horrible because I can't function in an environment in which I am not free to say to what I think and why. It is not because I am crude and inarticulate, unable to persuade, I just hate observing false niceties. I am never more ill-at-ease than when at some social event where there is a lot of backslapping going on. I shut down and fantasize about the Dead Kennedys suddenly showing up as the "entertainment", this always cheers me up as the words of Holiday in Cambodia run through my mind.

When I was younger I really had no direction, but I was intense. So, for quite a few years years I lived in my head and I pursued what I wanted to pursue, studying Philosophy and History, to include Latin, reading eclectically, and cultivating my cinematic and musical tastes. I was lonely for much of this time, not to mention broke, working as little as I could and barely scraping by. I only had one really good friend during this time.

We used to talk through the night 'til early morning about everything. We listened to and played music, went to anything that struck us as interesting, even if it meant spending our last few bucks. These years in my early twenties were so formative for me. I took my desire so seriously then and lived life to the full, knowing that I was searching for meaning, but unwilling to settle for the easy answer, and deeply suspicious of religion, having consciously rejected the fantasy-world theology in which I grew up.

For example, I remember going to see The Last Temptation of Christ. I was moved by Scorsese's film so much that I bought and read Kazantzakis' book the next day. I then re-read the Gospels. It wasn't that by doing these things I immediately determined x, y, or z, but it moved me and I freely followed that movement.

Relax, this is not installment one of a long auto-biography. Instead, it is the product of few minutes' reflection on a Thursday morning.


  1. Deacon Scott,

    I was a fundamentalist Protestant when Last Temptation came out - so I was busy calling down fire on the theaters that would show such a film. As of yet, a 38-11/12-year-old Catholic, I've never seen the movie. What do you think? Should I give it a try?

  2. Scott:

    I don't know. It is a good film, the book is better. A long time ago I thought about writing an article comparing the Christologies of Kazantzakis and the of Anne Rice from her book Memnoch the Devil. The reason is that Kazantzakis goes so far with the humanity of Christ and Rice, who has revised her view in recent years, having returned to the church, gave into Jesus' humanity as a charade.

    I recommend the film. For me at the time it cleared an opening for me consider the question.

  3. I appreciate the opportunity to get to know you better, Scott. Thanks.

  4. Thanks, Suzanne. Since I am wearing my defensive hat this morning, I'll go out on a limb and say that makes you unique, which I appreciate very much!

  5. I saw the Last Temptation opening day in Washington DC. St. Paul's line in the movie moved one of our party to laugh a bit. The picket line was unreal with a guy wheeling a mannequin Jesus back and forth on a dolly with a boom box playing hymns. Associated Press and fans of the book in the line. I only made it about halfway through the book. I thought his St. Francis was much better - his dualism seemed less out of place with Francis than with Christ. My two cents. :)

  6. Your contributions are always worth more than 2 cents, Fred! I have never Kazantzakis' Francis book.