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Why yes, I have spent the past few days exploring the Catholic blogosphere [Jun. 23rd, 2012|10:23 pm]
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Atheists say that it's not necessary to wear green clothing on Saturdays. And I see where they're coming from. Wouldn't it be really convenient to wake up on Saturday and not have to worry about digging through your dresser, looking for your one pair of good green pants? Wouldn't it make life easier?

Of course it would! When I was in my twenties, I'm not embarassed to admit I spent several years wearing whatever colored clothing I felt like on Saturdays, because I thought I knew better than everyone else. I thought I wanted an easier, more convenient life. Television and movies and glossy fashion magazines all say that's what we should want, and why not believe them?

But here's the secret that modern society has forgotten: there's more to life than just being comfortable. True, it would be easy not to wear green clothing on Saturday. Yes, it would be comfortable not to sleep with a salmon carcass tied to the sole of each foot. And sure, it would be less painful not to poke yourself in the thigh with a sewing needle every time you hear thunder. But is that what we've come to? Believing that the whole point of existence is avoiding pain?

The drive to commodify every aspect of modern society has led us to believe that we can experience life without pain or discomfort, but anyone who examines the world honestly - anyone who takes a step back into the quiet places behind the din of television and rap music and Planned Parenthood meetings - knows that pain and discomfort are just as fundamental to life as joy and convenience. And so when atheists say that life without an obligation to wear green clothing on Saturday would be easy, they're chasing a phantasm, something that can never be.

And even if life could be easy - even if iPhones and McWhoppers and Nike shoes could solve all of our problems - would an easy life really be worth living? It's not the iPhones and Nintendo Wiis that bring us true joy, it's the longing for something outside our own narcissistic navel-gazing, something greater. That's what atheists keep missing. I don't want to wear green clothing on Saturday. I think poking my thigh with a needle during thunderstorms is probably unhygenic. I I I I I I I I I. And the tragedy is that after you look through the protective armor of iPhones and Facebooks, all you have left is a scared child, desperately shouting "I" and "me" at the universe in the hope that it will notice him.

Wearing green clothes on Saturday might not make sense for "I" or "me", but beyond that voice of selfishness is something greater - a true human being with true human dignity. Once you abandon your fear and lose that protective armor, you learn that you don't need iPhones and iTunes and iGoogle to make the universe pay attention to you. The universe loves you exactly the way you are, and would you really reject that love just because you don't want to wear some green clothing one day of the week, or stick one needle into your thigh during a thunderstorm? For such love is a million times louder than your cries of "I", a million times more profound than mere convenience, a million times more important than a thousand fashionable airheads telling you that there's no reason Saturday is any better for wearing green clothes than the rest of the week.

And that all-consuming love, which so many people die without ever hearing or understanding, is why I wear dead fish on my feet every night when I go to bed.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: gwern branwen
2012-06-24 02:50 am (UTC)

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> Yes, it would be comfortable not to sleep with a salmon carcass tied to the sole of each foot.

What the scoffers and agnostics don't realize is that each of these tasks was given to us for our greater good; like Chesterton's fence, we ought not to casually abandon the wisdom handed down to us!

If we did not wear our tefillin-salmon, how would we have ever learned of the myriads of health benefits from fermentation? This is something, in their arrogance and scientism, they will never realize unless and until they are graced with true knowledge.

Edited at 2012-06-24 02:53 am (UTC)
[User Picture]From: Louis Burke
2012-06-24 07:58 am (UTC)

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I'm too stupid to figure out whether this is a joke or whether it serious.
[User Picture]From: twoswords
2012-06-24 08:08 am (UTC)

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Poe's law in action!
[User Picture]From: purejuice
2012-06-24 03:38 pm (UTC)

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this is very funny. but as you know ritual is -- may be the only -- consolation that there is. i've been thinking about ritual labor for a long time and would love it if you turned your headlights on that.
food for thought:
http://o-wool.blogspot.com/2009/02/therapeutic-benefits-of-knitting.html
and as i'm sure you know, there's a psychiatric social worker in philly who has her halfway house ladies (alcoholics and drug addicts, i believe) knit through detox. she's written about it.
http://www.interimhouse.org/site/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=35&Itemid=35

there's a whole lot more to it than stitchery, obvs, much of it entailed in this book.
http://www.amazon.com/Akenfield-Portrait-English-Ronald-Blythe/dp/1585790095

i do go on. but this is interesting. thanks.
[User Picture]From: marycatelli
2012-06-24 05:57 pm (UTC)

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One might also note the importance of mortifying the passions and developing self-control before it is needed to do what is right.
[User Picture]From: celandine13
2012-06-25 10:17 am (UTC)

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I approve. Enthusiastically.
[User Picture]From: madresal
2012-06-25 03:08 pm (UTC)

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Awesome.
[User Picture]From: bluebuddha
2012-06-25 05:47 pm (UTC)

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Nicely written. Obvious enough to make the point, not so simplistic or ludicrous as to be condescending. Been reading your stuff today after having come from the “Unequally Yoked” blog.

I look forward to reading more.