Micro Makeover For Your Life

There are times when it is so good, you wish you had thought of it first. This article is one of those times.

Mea Culpa
There has been a silence from Zoomtard Palace in recent days but it isn’t because of schisms or illnesses, but because of my workload.

In the last week and a half I have had 4 major speaking engagement thingys ranging from a four hour seminar on explaining Christianity to my explosive dismissal of the biggest challenge facing Christianity since Buddha and Mohammed released that Christmas single, the Da Vinci Code.

I am worried about old Karol, JPII, King of the Church. He gets a hard time from people because you know, he is reactionary and sometimes a little removed from reality but I think his major PR problem is just that people don’t really like Popes. Anyway, did you know he is fluent in 7 languages, is an accomplished poet, a legendary playwright, a fine actor, a superb moral philosopher, a staunch trade unionist, a goalkeeper so good he was tipped to be an international before he gave it all up for God, resisted against the NAZIs and the Soviets in WWII and that he has gone down in history as one of the most vital players in the downfall of the Soviet Union. That is all before we consider that he is God’s best friend. So even though I don’t think he is infallible or that Mary is imaculate or that condoms are evil or that women can’t be priests, I will be very sad if JPII dies because he is a towering giant of a man and perhaps the most under-rated person of our times.

Of course, he is the Prime-Minister of Heaven so I expect him to pull through on this whole flu thingy.

Churches not gay but acting ghey over gay folk
Schisms always seemed like more dramatic affairs when I heard about them in R.E.M. songs. Yet the crazy Anglicans, mere whippersnappers compared to the previous schism kings, the RC Church and the Orthodox Church have gone down that road. Here is what happened when they went medieval on each other back in the Middle Ages. It wasn’t about a doctrinal problem back then so much as a cultural issue. Two unities rose up in the church, one centred on Rome with its latin and its own set of rites and liturgies and one centred on Constantinople with its greek and its own ways of doing things. Back then Bishops weren’t equal, even they were strictly hierarchied so effectively an Eastern Christian looked to his or her patriach for leadership while acknowledging the Roman Pope as the ultimate head of the church. But crap happened and people’s egos were hurt and jealousy reigned as the churches fought tit-for-tat over preposterous doctrines like whether or not Eucharist should have yeast in it. It was about as Christian as a Fianna Fáil candidate’s nomination. It was all blood and guts and jewels and power instead of a nice meeting in a retreat centre in Co. Down.

Schism, by the way, is the word for a deliberate parting in a previously unified church. This alleged schism in the Anglican church differs in that it is explicitly about doctrine. There are two sides who are called the “liberals” and the “conservatives”. Liberals aren’t neccessarily all about the freedom of the person and can sometimes hold very conservative views. They are, however, liberal on the issue of whether Jesus was really the Son of God. Conservatives can sometimes be very relaxed and liberal when it comes to social, political or economic questions but they are old-school on the whole Jesus being Christ thing.

I hate these two terms because they don’t really describe the people involved and they definitely cast a better light on the liberal wing. Instead, I use the terms Jesusians and Christians. Jesusians aren’t so sure that Jesus was the Son of God but do think that he was a very important moral teacher. Christians, however, believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and therefore is the Christ.

I really empathise with the Jesusians in the Anglican church. I have no doubt that they are doing their best to be compassionate and just towards groups that have previously been very badly treated by all the churches. This schism has risen because their efforts to be inclusive have gone so far as to ordain bishops who are living homosexual lives. This can’t be tolerated by a big majority of the 77 million Anglicans worldwide and so we have the split.

A distinction needs to be made here. Homosexual bishops have existed down through time. I have no doubt that there have been and still are many bishops in the Anglican and Roman Catholic traditions who are gay. That is, for those of you just joining us from the 1890’s, they have sexual leanings towards men. The most influential English theologian of the 19th Century and a Cardinal (and big Republican), John Henry Newman, was it seems, a gay man. But the key for him and the countless others like him is that he controlled his sexual urges for the sake of the calling God had given him. This is no different than any other Catholic priest who agrees to celibacy and it is very much like any other clergyman or woman who agrees to limit their sex-life to within marriage. It is a historical fact that homosexual bishops have existed and done a fine good job. Homosexuality is discussed and dismissed in the Bible but homosexuals never are.

So the Christians have an issue with Jesusians when they say that ordained and practicing gay bishops are ok. The Christians say that its cool to have gay people in the church as members because we are all sinful but that accepting leadership involves accepting a higher calling to moral standards. An actively gay church leader is not the same as a church leader who strays into error, instead its a direct refutation of the teaching of the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments.

But the fundamental problem between the Jesusians and the Christians isn’t gay bishops. Of course its not! As much as the churches have been (understandably) stereotyped as judgemental and petty, they actually aren’t in the vast majority of cases. The reason that this whole conflict has gotten so serious is that it is just the visible expression of a much deeper conflict that probably won’t be reconciled.

When you ask a Jesusian Anglican why they think Christians ministers can go against the teaching of the Bible they will probably say that:

1) The Bible needs to be re-examined in the light of each generation’s perspectives on life.

2) God made gay people gay and so they should be able to live all gay-like.

They might be a bit more articulate there but what is the point of having a blog if you don’t mis-represent people? Christians disagree massively on point 1. Of course, as Zoomy has explained in depressing and mind-numbing detail elsewhere, the Bible has to be interpreted with consumate care and skill. And Prof. Zoomtard is right behind Soren Kierkegaard when he said that when it comes to matters of faith, every generation must begin again. But Christians down through the last two millenia have believed that the Bible has to be treated consistently and with a great deal of respect as it is the ultimate source on the thing we’re all so het up about. Jesusians don’t hold to that and are effectively ignoring the very strong message of the Bible that God doesn’t like sexual sin and that homosexual sex is sexual sin and their reason is that society disagrees (as it did in the time of Jesus).

The real real real problem that causes the schism is point 2. Central to Christianity is the idea of Grace. The opposite of sin is not virtue, but Grace. The following sentences are meant as a quick description of this theological idea (not as a crude attempt to convert anyone. 😉 ) Grace is the idea of massive forgiveness for any mistakes any of us have that we can access through faith in Christ. Central to Grace and therefore central to Christianity is the fact that everyone has made mistakes and so everyone benefits from this free and unwarranted forgiveness.

Some of our sins have their origin in genes. Like every straight adult on the face of the Earth, I have sinned in the sphere of sexuality and I still am willing to call it that even though it is based firmly in my genetic make-up. Evidence would strongly suggest that there is a strong genetic aspect to homosexuality. The Jesusians say “God would not punish us for how we are born” and therefore gay people should be free to disregard the stuff in Christianity about homosexual acts being sinful. Christians say, “Well God should judge us for the genetic problems we inherit but he doesn’t because of Grace”.

I fear I am not making my point clear here at all but the Jesusians, who are motivated by tolerance and compassion, end up making Christianity self-defeating and illogical because Grace, the centre point of the faith is invalidated. I can understand the “Conservatives” and agree with them to a large extent because they are not actually trying to oppress homosexuality but defend the very core of Christianity. Without Grace, Christianity is a hellish proposition and although the best intentions motivate the liberal wing, they threaten to strike a fatal blow to Anglicanism that must be avoided. That, in an unexpectedly forceful way, is my explanation of the schism.

Kilkenny
I went down to Kilkenny today to meet a hot anorak. It was notable for two interactions. The first involved some of Kilkenny’s many “cappers“, those style-gurus who combine white soled Nike trainers with Adidas polyester tracksuit bottoms, a polo shirt and a Lacoste sweater all “capped” off perfectly with a Burberry peaked hat.

There were a huge amount of them crawling around the city. There was some kind of territory dispute and a silver-backed capper chased a young usurper into a travel agency, of all places. While the travel agents tried to do their business these scangers brandished fingers and threatened each other while a pack of inexplicably Dublin sounding rural boys shouted and leaped around. Sad day when a medieval city and home to great philosophers gets over-run by people who think that Neilstown is the height of Irish cool.

This is notable only because later in the day we went for a walk around the castle grounds and we met a strange employee. He claimed to be the “Monkey Master” and we were intrigued. He showed us his “Monkey-stun-gun” but to us it looked like a litter-picker-upper claw. I wanted to get the hell out of there but John wanted to see the monkeys. The monkeys turned out to be grey squirrels. When I pointed this out to him he tapped his noise and conspiratorially said, “Monkeys are nothing but advanced squirrels-- you too!” Crazy park wardens aside, Kilkenny generally proved itself to be a poor man’s Naas.

Dilemma for me
Here is a call-out for advice. Zoomtard has a real persona behind it that while not entirely secret, is kept away from this journal so that he never leads to any difficulty for his employer. But Zoomy has recently been discovered by people who should never have known about him. Well by people I mean person. Other folks from the professional life of mine would like to get in on the action but should I let them? Should I maintain pretentious ideas about artistic distance like Ddmmyy or should I give up the Zoomtard persona and reveal the trans-gendered theologian behind the tard?

As artistic as I get
Oh wait! Before I go let me squash something else in here. Although I haven’t had a chance to read anything that hasn’t directly got to do with work for the last 10 days, I have been reading the surprisingly good “Plague” by Camus. Reading French existentialists is obviously an impressive thing to do but I can’t really draw attention to this on the bus or train except for loudly exhaling at the turn of every page and declaring, “Woe is me for I have not asked for it!” Instead, I did this.

Your Correspondent, Saving his life-saving spit.

6 Responses to “Micro Makeover For Your Life”

  1. adrian says:

    VOTE ADRIAN FOR POPE!

  2. I’d suggest giving up on the whole “anonymity” idea.

    It’s very difficult to be truly anonymous on the internet. If you know where to look in your posts, you can find clues (and sometimes big ones) as to your identity. It doesn’t help your anonymity any that you have linked to your wifes site.

    You now need to control not only the content on your site to assure anonymity, but also that on your wifes. Strictly speaking, you need to control the information on all your friends sites too, to make sure they don’t mention you in a way that hints at your identity.

    In other words, a lot of work, even if everyone agrees to watch their words. And that’s only the start of it.

  3. Zoomtard says:

    Yeah I get where you are coming from and I realise there are many avenues that will lead you to my real life name and job and so on but I just really wanted Zoomtard to be a place where I could write things without responsiblity for measuring the tone. Which sounds quite childish really.

    Alright then. This week I will rename the site, “First Name-Second Initial” in the mode of CaoimheB and I will put a big blue picture of me in full drag on the right hand site of the page. 😉

  4. karen says:

    hey zoomy,

    have you read the letters page today in that “sub-Trotskyite rag”, as i you called it. some interesting views on the gay clergy and same-sex union debate.

    on another note, has anyone else heard of the ‘Big Brother Village’ that they are building in Germany? in a bizarre Truman Show-esque move, they’ve decided to create a reality TV show, reflective of society with ‘poor’, ‘rich’ and ‘normal’ classes,and with NO ending in sight. the ‘game’ will only end when contestants decide they no longer want to continuously compete for cash prizes and leave of their own accord. it’s being cited as “the world’s most modern daily soap opera” and it starts today.

    am i the only one left in horrified silence?

  5. John says:

    I had never before seen so many “monkeys” in my life! You’re like some kind of monkey-magnet/squirrel-sponge!

    Don’t worry about anonymity, you can still keep the cool name.

  6. Hey Karen,

    You know there is a lovely Irish name, Ciara, that is quite like Karen? I didn’t see that day of the Times I’m afraid. I am however, impressed that you are able to quote me on my insult of its snotrag quality. May its snobby and pretentious pseudo liberal, quasi left, utterly boring existence be wiped out by the Good God of Journalism.

    I joined you in horrified silence at the German reality TV show. I stayed silent for the last 6 days. Only now do I dare speak again.

    I would never be so crude as to make a joke about how every 50 years or so, the Germans wreak havoc on the world. I’ll leave that to Dave but this should be punsished with EU sanctions.

    I have laundry to air.

    Zoombomb