Rebel With Plenty of Cause
Once again Mark Morford 'splains it all to us. Because YEAH, REALLY, has God got nothing better to do than fret about the minutiae of our activities and serve as a handy-dandy excuse/rationalization therefor? Oh, I think God has a LOT more on his divine plate to worry about.
But I've always thought that. Even as a tiny parochial school urchin, oppressed by the Stormtroopers of the Vatican, the Dominican nuns of Our Lady of Perpetual Help school, I was deeply suspicious of their strident claims that God (or my tattletale guardian angel, narking me out to the boss) was watching every single smallest littlest thing I did and setting it down in a big old ledger, with which, when I died, I would be confronted.
"Really?" I thought. "I very much doubt it." And if that was true, that sure as heck wasn't any God I wanted to believe in. So, since at the age of 6 I couldn't mount a flagrant rebellion and hope to go unpunished, at school or at home, I adopted guerrilla tactics.
Hey, they MADE me do it! I behaved like Sister's perfect little candidate for sainthood in class, and, in the depths of the rebel heart that beat under my uniform, I plotted escape. I tried not to be too impatient, even though I knew it would take years. But I also knew it would come.
Oh, during my teen years, the rebellion got a lot harder to hide, because when you're a teenager it generally is, even when you have nothing serious to rebel against.
So my frustrated and baffled parents sent me for many earnest discussions with a rather sympathetic parish priest, dear Father Molloy, who seemed privately to be egging me on to revolt, actually. Being intelligent, perceptive and sympathetic in a way fairly unique for his time, he knew I was never going to be a sheep of the flock, and, rather stunningly, seemed to be more interested in my actual spiritual welfare, wherever it took me, than in making me bend to Rome.
He turned out to be not what my parents had hoped for by sending me for those little talks. They figured he'd knock some sense into me. Instead, he recognixed the sense I already had, and encouraged it, for which I forever bless his name.
He even tried to discourage my parents from sending me to a Catholic college; was in fact horrified at the idea, said it was the one sure way to make me lose my faith.
He was right to a certain extent: I did indeed stop being a Christian, though I'll always be a cultural one (that's not something you escape, ever, and I don't think I'd even want to). But I was able to find real faith, the path I belonged on. Bonaventure gave me that, along with a lot else, and I was glad. Maybe St. Francis is too, even.
And if that's what kicking back---at all the petty rules and restrictions and fears and paranoia organized religion tries to put on you, to cramp your soul and break your spirit and make you an obedient, dull, unquestioning, utterly manageable member of the cult---can do for you, then I say bring it on. What we realize ourselves NOT to be defines us just as surely as what we come to know we are. The only way to know that is to fight FOR as well as against. And we should be grateful.