Friday, November 17, 2006

Turkey worthy

Inspired by the new document on who can and can't go to communion, I've decided to post guidelines for admission to Thanksgiving dinner.

"Where Pilgrims Fear to Tread": Guidelines for admission to dinner on Thanksgiving Day

1. Thanksgiving is a time of celebration for God's generous bounty. It is fitting that we gather together to pray and celebrate and give thanks for the many gifts we enjoy.

2. However, Thanksgiving is a privilege. Not everyone is entitled to a share of turkey and dressing--much less gravy--if they have not taken seriously the duties and obligations Thanksgiving entails.

3. Therefore, Thanksgiving participants should consider whether their actions warrant a place next the mashed potatoes; some should surely choose to sit next to the peas, though all should aspire to placement near the turkey.

4. Waging unjust wars, torture, unlawful imprisonment, and general government mismanagement all disqualify a person from Thanksgiving dinner.

5. Those responsible for reducing food programs, cutting budgets for poverty alleviation, and reckless pollution of the environment because it's good for business should sit quietly in the living room while others eat.

6. Ignoring homeless people, underfunding schools and health care for children, and relying on casino gambling to pay for government are all serious offenses against Thanksgiving.

7. General ignorance, failure to vote, and other forms of laziness, though serious, need not result in absolute exclusion. Places at the kiddie table should be made available, in the hope that partial participation may encourage greater commitment.

Not my best work, but unlike the bishops, I'm happy to take suggestions.


At 3:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Comparing a slice of turkey to the most Holy Eucharist??? You have hit a all time low.

At 4:14 PM, Blogger CtotheL said...

Well, since the meaning of the word "eucharist" is indeed "thanksgiving," I thought it was apropos.

We must keep our sense of humor...

At 6:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

uh no, not when you are comparing the Most Blessed Sacrament to a turkey...your analogy doesn't fly...eating turkey when you are in a state of mortal sin will not bring condemnation to your soul, consuming Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament will.

At 10:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somebody here needs to get a life, and it is not the blogger!

At 9:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe only God knows what is in someone's heart. So let's all try during these Holidays to be more generous with each other and maybe give each other the benefit of the double. Of course my comments also include priests of every level.

At 2:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear CtotheL,

My comment does not necessarily pertain to this specific topic at hand; rather, it is in reference to this site at large. I just discovered CtotheL's blog through a google search on a topic that for personal reasons turned up CtotheL's blog as rather high on the list. I won't go into detail about what I was searching, but needless to say, I came to search the topic in a somewhat tortured state of internal conflict, of guilt, shame and remorse.

Having read as many entries as is on the first page, I now feel compelled to offer my thanks to you, CtotheL, for what your insightful entries offered me, is what I hope to receive from the ministries at the church. I do not mean to imply that the resources before me, in our many parishes in the city of Philadelphia, do not offer such comfort, but rather, it is of a different kind. I believe that the resistance one often finds from the clergy on issues you so boldly address, precipitates from the top-down structure of the church, and therefore truncates the clergy's ability to speak openly on these issues and voice their own independent-minded opinions. I have, in many experiences, felt welcomed and comforted by the clergy, yet I believe the wholeheartedness of the exchange was limited by the documents you write of, and that the clergy are limited in what they are able to say or do as the result. In many ways, the concept of free speech and opinions do not apply to the lower-level structure of the church, as those rights are ordained only to the Vatican.

That being said, I do not mean to criticize the Vatican. I think on some level we all feel conflicting feelings. I believe the church (from the top-level, down) wants to do right, and be compassionate, and welcoming but they feel obligated to a higher order that offers no concrete and clear answer to the questions we face today. No matter how secure or insecure I feel with my own identity in the face of the church, I never feel 100% one way or the other. I believe that is the energy that fuels spirituality, that it does not end at adopting a set of ideals and follow them. Nothing is ever black and white, and often things in theory do not always apply to practice. I believe we all try in our heart of hearts, but a life without some conflict would be impossible. This does not only apply to those in more clearly challenging situations, such as homosexuals such as myself. This applies to everyone, even the most devout and those who prototypically fit the ideal model of a Catholic as the Vatican intended. We all have conflicts and problems, ranging from severe to minor, but all things are relative. I imagine my own cross to bear is no less than that of my Grandmother's who seems to fit the prototypical Catholic ideal. I think what is most important to acknowledge is that we are all conflicted, and if we look at each other's conflicts through the lens of our own, perhaps this dialogue that CtotheL suggests the Vatican engage in would be a little more possible, and a lot more rich. Rich in the tradition of the Catholic Church as is has defined itself over the centuries. I believe everything is a work in progress. And CtotheL's blog is emblematic of the passion it takes to grow in faith.

In Philadelphia, The Constitution Center opened a few years ago. I went on time with my partner's parents to see the exhibit and performance. What stood out the most is that the founding writers of the Constitution were considered renegades at the time. It was about as punk rock as it gets. they were rebels, they fought for what they believed in and their concepts were not at all widely accepted. In fact, wars were fought over such ideas. But now, today, we perceive this document as a relic of tradition. On countless times a day it affects our lives as Americans. But how it came about is a story altogether different than how we perceive it today, bringing to mind old white men in gray-haired wigs behind closed government doors.

Consider this in relative terms to the time of Jesus. He and his disciples were equally, if not further, upon the margins of society, with views so radical, he and others were persecuted for it. I don't mean to imply that all on the margins should write the future history books, and that being on the margins is always the most positive thing, but when pushing the boundaries in an effort to better understanding our beliefs, and to better love our brothers and sisters, is both as radical and as noble as it gets for being a Catholic, or a person of any belief system, organized or not. The world changes, life changes, we all go through our own self-development. As much as we do on a personal level, so must institutions...the church, our government, etc....if we all new the answers, wouldn’t the world would be a perfect place. As much as we as individuals have made mistakes, so has our government, so has our church, etc... I won't list what I believe those to be, as my opinions there are irrelevant. Moreover, what is relevant is that growth comes from one's acknowledgment of their mistakes. I came to the site serendipitously with that intention, and I leave feeling the sensation on a larger scale. So CtotheL, I thank you for offering me that priceless experience. I won't say that my problems are solved, and that I found all the answers, but I feel as though the process is a little more within reach. And what you're doing, by showing your own growth process as it evolves for the benefit of others is about as Catholic as it gets. I thank you for allowing me into your heart.


At 11:10 AM, Blogger CtotheL said...

Thanks so much for the nice comment (and compliment). When I see one this long, I usually presume I'm going to get called a heretic or something, so to read something so personal, thoughtful, and thought-provoking is a great treat and an encouragement.

I, like you, don't have all the answers. I do my best to give folks the benefit of the doubt--I don't think the pope realizes how hurtful his comments about gay people, same-sex relationships, and gay families are, for example. My conviction is only that we have more resources in our tradition that can lead us out of our stickier issues, and that we can be so much more than we are now.

But, as you say, it is always a work in progress.

Thanks again for the great post, and Merry Christmas!


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