Monday, May 08, 2006

I Like To Think I'm Smarter Than This Blog Lets On

I've been meaning for a while to get on this damn thing and say a few words about King Dork. Those few words being: Frank nailed the dead father. Seriously, that aspect of the book blew me out of the water with how much it sort of paralleled my own coming to grips with the passing of my father. I've never gone quite as far as the character in the book, but trust me, I've cooked up some pretty ridiculous theories.

A few months after my dad died I started entertaining the notion that my dad wasn't really dead. My mom lied to me about his passing and then staged a funeral to fool my brother and I. The pieces were all there. My dad was cremated before I ever got a chance to see the body. My dad didn't want to be burried in a cemetary, so we burried the ashes in the back yard, so there was never a tombstone. My older brother Alex didn't fly in for the funeral, because why would he come all the way from Alaska to attend a funeral for his dad who isn't dead? All of this made perfect sense to me at the time. This sort of reminded me of a conversation I had a few months ago with a black co-worker who believes that Catholics and Jews changed the Bible in order to deceive black people. He had his pieces there. He made these points about linguistic changes that occurred within the first couple of centuries of Christianity, the plight of the black man in America, and the propensity for wafer thin theology in many of the black churches. Just like my staged funeral theory, it sort of made sense. Except for one thing; it's inherently stupid.

And I think that's probably the main lesson I'm learning in life right now. Just because the pieces fit, doesn't mean the puzzle is finished. There was one particular grain of truth behind my staged funeral theory. And it's a rather simple one; there's details behind my father's life and death that I don't know. When I step back it only makes more sense. When you're sixteen and your dad has just fucking died, there's certain things people aren't going to tell you, and for very good reasons. When I gradually realized that I was being left in the dark on certain things, I started to entertain some of the stupidest ideas imaginable. But, I like to think that's natural. Nothing makes less sense then losing your father at such a young age. Of course one is going to try and make sense of it.

For the moment I have to accept what I don't know and have faith that it will all make sense some day. I don't know why my dad didn't want to be burried in a cemetary. But, I know it wasn't because he was still alive. I don't know why my brother didn't go to my father's funeral. But, I know it wasn't because he was still alive. And sometimes it's when we don't have the answers that we have to put our foot down most firmly. I'm thinking that maybe the best reply I could give to my black co-worker is to look him in the eyes and say "Dude, you're just wrong".

And this is where I've developed a brand new appreciation for the Catholic Church.

When people were still talking about The Da Vinci Code, a friend asked me if I thought that Jesus had a wife. I reply; " No, I think that's a condemnable heresy, and just bad history". To which he replied; "I just like to think that Jesus was more human than the Church teaches he was". To which I reply; "The Church teaches that he is fully human, how much more human can you get?"

And I realized later that this young lad was merely harping on one particular piece of what it is to be human. And this is that ideal moment for the Catholic Church to be butting its nose in. Of course Jesus had sex, he was human. But wait, there's more to being human than just having sex. Of course embryos aren't human, they have no arms or legs or consciousness. But wait, there's more to being human than being counscious and having all the parts present and accounted for. Of course Teri Schiavo wasn't human, she couldn't feed herself. But wait, there's more to being human than just being able to pick up a spoon and fork.

And the more I study the Catholic Church's anthropology, the more it seems to me that she never actually tells us what a human being is. She never comes out and says A + B + C = human. Rather she seems to be giving us a lot of harsh reminders about what a human being isn't. And it seems to me that when the Catholic Church doesn't have the answer is when she has to put her foot down most firmly, look us in the eyes and say "Dude, you're just wrong". We need the Church to remind us not to harp on the individual pieces, because the puzzle isn't finished yet.

I like to think a similar thing could be said about me. One could read this blog and say; "Well, this guy's just an obsessive religious nut with daddy issues who desperately needs to get laid". And that statement would be very much true. But, that's not what I am. Or at least, it's not the whole picture.... I hope.