24 December 2009

The Christ Mass

The Christ Mass is upon us once again.

May we shake the dust of Wal-Mart off our feet, and embrace the Mass in truth.

What is the ritual of the Christ Mass meant to celebrate?

The entrance of the Savior into the world. . .

In other words:

The Incarnation. The Divine Word God taking on human flesh, for the ultimate purpose of offering Himself as a sacrifice to God to atone for the sins of the world. . .

Or, as it is beautifully expressed in Philippians:

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

He humbled Himself. . .


The degree to which the Word humbled Himself is beyond our comprehension. . .that the Word God, by whom all things were made, should leave the majesty of Heaven and enter our depraved world, and minister to depraved sinners, and sacrifice Himself for depraved sinners, is beyond true comprehension.

Jesus Christ is the sinner’s only friend. . .

If you will, take a moment and think about that.

In the history of the world, has there ever been found an answer to the sin of the world?

Misery is the world’s constant.

Jesus Christ is the sinner’s only friend. . .

In a dark paradox, our depraved world loves to engage in hidden sexual sin, and also loves to expose hidden sexual sin. . .sex ‘scandals’ are the world’s ‘guilty pleasure’. . .we can simultaneously feed our lust for lurid acts of the flesh and our lust for self-righteousness vicariously with the sex ‘scandal’. . .

Recently we have seen the flesh frenzy at its most fevered in the Tiger Woods’ ‘scandal’. . .and if we are to believe the reports photographs were taken by one of his ‘mistresses,’ then Tiger has been captured in the very act, and dragged out for all to see. It reminds of the following:

And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto Him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto Him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting Him, that they might have to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down, and with His finger wrote on the ground, as though He heard them not. So when they continued asking Him, He lifted up Himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again He stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up Himself, and saw none but the woman, He said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Jesus is the sinner’s only friend. . .

Let us contemplate our most despicable moments. . .they may well be things we have never voiced to anyone. . .things we believe only we and our victims know (we have victims, whether in thought, word or deed, and in things done and left undone, we have victims).

Let us bring to our consciousness ourselves at our most horrible moments. . .

Let us forget when we have been victimized, and let us bring into the mind’s light those awful moments when we have been victimizers. . .

Let us see ourselves at the very moment when we have been destroying others, whether the destruction was physical or psychological.

Let us freeze the picture of ourselves as monsters, criminals, terrorists, brutalizers. . .

Now let us move that image of our wicked selves to the foot of the Cross:

Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father. . .

Let us see ourselves at our worst, and now we see what the Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself for. . .

Jesus is the sinner’s only friend. . .

Jesus is the sinner’s only hope. . .

Satan stands before God and accuses us day and night (Revelation 12:10). . .Satan gives God Almighty the last details of our crimes. . .Satan knows we have no part of heaven. . .but for those who claim Jesus as friend (John 15:13 – 14), there is no condemnation. . .no matter how ugly our lives, God will not look past the Blood of the Lamb.

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is My body. And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is My blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. . .

Will you drink the Blood of the Lamb this Christ Mass?

For those poor, wretched, miserable sinners who have been granted the ability to look two thousand years into the past and see the King’s star shining over Bethlehem , the Word God gives them the greatest gift of all, the Light of Life.

There are those who have received the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and still seem to stumble in the darkness of the world—to those, we pray the peace of God which passes all understanding be upon you, and be a blessing to you in your tribulation. Our Lord said Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

Are there those outside the family of God, walking in the world, but with a heavy heart? Are there any who see the true condition of the world and of themselves, and feel, if we may borrow the words of Jude (13), they are wandering stars to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever? If there are such, we pray the Christ Mass deliver the glad tiding:

Unto you this day the Savior is born. . .

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. . .

22 December 2009


Noise: Uh, well, I liked this film. But it’s not for, uh, all tastes. But I could watch it almost as many times as I have watched The Exorcist and The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. Of course, those are great films. . .two of the All-Time Greats, in fact. Noise is not one of the All-Time Greats. Truthfully, as a movie, Noise is mediocre, and that’s being charitable. And I’m only being charitable because of the movie’s two *stars,* who shine brightly in my personal night sky.

Most people, I suspect, would watch this thing and then say, man, that sucked. Well, yes. . .but I sure do love this movie. I sure do. A treasure to my eyes, I found it in the dumpster of Netflix *Watch Instantly.*

I was sifting through the Instant movie trash, looking for an Ally Sheedy movie—Ally being one of my favorites—and I found this reject from 2004. And I was startled to discover Sheedy’s co-star in this low-budget indie *psycho-drama* is Trish Goff! Yes, Trish Goff, who, in my studied opinion, is the second greatest Supermodel of All-Time (second, of course, to the one-and-only Kate Moss).

(Actually, Goff is the *star* of Noise, while Sheedy has the supporting role—not that it matters to any but the most dedicated of the Cults of Second and Third Tier Female Celebrity).

Imagine! A movie with Ally Sheedy and Trish Goff!! It is as if it were cast with only an audience of men like me in mind. A small audience, no doubt. For how many of the few who count Ally Sheedy as a screen legend are also admirers of the unbearable lightness of waif-being that is Trish Goff? There can’t be many, there can’t be many. But for us few, Noise is celluloid grail.

The story, the familiar story of a troubled individual moving into a new apartment and then being disturbed by a crazy neighbor, vaguely reminds one of all the better-made movies in the *weirdo upstairs* genre, from Polanski’s The Tenant all the way down to Sigaw/The Echo.

In Noise, Trish Goff plays Joyce, an insecure recent divorcee battling a drinking problem (a gorgeous insecure recent divorcee battling a drinking problem). Joyce’s insecurity, stemming from a difficult childhood, manifests an aloofness and a perfectionism that make her appear stuck-up. Joyce is not a very likable character—is the character supposed to seem unsympathetic because of her damaged ‘inner child,’ or is the character off-putting because of Goff’s SuperMannikin acting?

Part of the problem is the Pittsburgh, PA-born Goff’s voice, which exhibits traces of several different European accents—an annoying affectation, or an unconscious result of her many years in the cosmopolitan fashion industry? Well, it doesn’t really matter, for whatever reason, Goff’s character is rather cold and distant. . .but Goff always looks great (and that’s the main thing, isn’t it?), even in the scenes when she hits the bottle and is supposed to be on a downward spiral. Believe me, you’ve never seen a hotter barfly than Noise’s Trish Goff. . .I mean, Barfly’s Faye Dunaway barfly looks like a genuine barfly compared to Noise’s Goff barfly.
But anyway, stuck-up Joyce moves into a new apartment and discovers, much to her dismay (as they say), the woman in the room above, Charlotte, is very NOISY (blaring TV all night long, dragging heavy objects across the floor, and, after a plot twist I won’t reveal, furiously engaging in loud anonymous sex). Charlotte is also very kOOky and very unkempt (even her apartment is unkempt—in one of the film’s few clever touches, Charlotte’s dirty flat features dangling strips of flypaper). The great-but-sadly-aging Ally Sheedy is the noisy, kOOky, unkempt Charlotte, and Ms. Sheedy plays her like a forty-five-year-old version of her Breakfast Club character, Allison Reynolds. Just imagine the Breakfast Club freak girl thirty years later, poisoned with decades of anti-depressants and battered by life’s hard knocks, and you have Sheedy’s Charlotte. Anyway, and predictably, Joyce confronts Charlotte about the noise, and, also predictably, a battle of wills (as they say) ensues.

There’s no point in further belaboring plot details, as this movie, as indicated earlier, will appeal only to a very narrow segment of cinephiles, but I will mention there is a strange *twist* at the end of Noise. The characters essentially reverse, with Charlotte now competent, clean and orderly, while Joyce becomes incompetent, unkempt and chaotic. While one can reasonably forecast Joyce’s demise, there is no logical explanation for the sudden reversal in Charlotte. Now, sometimes these kinds of movies end with the cheap cop-out *it was all in her mind*. . .but because of certain plot developments, one cannot say Charlotte was always ‘normal,’ and that Joyce had only been projecting her own *disorder* onto Charlotte. . .so this leaves one with only a supernatural alternative, which sends off the movie with a rather shabby Twilight Zone feel. Most, of course, wouldn’t even bother to be puzzled by the movie’s ending, as the film is not worth the effort to try to decipher. . .yet even those of us who will constitute Noise’s small core of fans and who will no doubt engage in repeated viewings, will, I imagine, never be able to successfully reconcile the film’s odd dénouement (to use a term far above the film’s station).

There are two other points—one not worth mentioning, one worth mentioning.

Not worth mentioning:

Adam Ferrara has a small role as a police officer, which he plays exactly the same way as he does his Rescue Me firefighter character.

Worth mentioning:

While Noise can be watched over and over by all who enjoy staring at Goff, and who have fond memories of a younger, fresher Sheedy, it must be admitted that a Goff-Sheedy pillow fight would be more dramatic than Noise, and provide more of the thrills their fanatics seek.

12 December 2009

The Chicanery of Goldman-Sachs

Goldman-Sachs, Hank Paulson, Lloyd Blankfein, Stephen King, Roberto Bolano, 2666

08 December 2009

Tiger Went Down To Perkins And Saw A Woman In Perkins. . .

AP, 8 December 2009: Fire department medics responded early Tuesday to a 911 call at Tiger Woods' Orlando-area home and took an adult to the hospital. An emergency dispatcher took the call from Woods' home at 2:35 a.m. and transferred it to Orange County Fire Rescue, Orange County Sheriff's Office spokesman Jim Solomons told The Associated Press. An adult patient was taken to Health Central Hospital in Ocoee, the same place Woods was treated after he crashed his sport utility vehicle outside his home last month, fire rescue spokeswoman Genevieve Latham said. The patient's condition was not immediately known.

Man, Tiger’s life is heading into Mike Tyson territory. . .

I would have to guess the woman taken to the hospital was Woods’ mother-in-law. . .if that proves to be the case, then it looks like Tiger’s insatiable lust for white women with big fat fake titties, and the domestic chaos resulting from his secret fornications being exposed, has stressed his mother-in-law to the point of hospitalization.

Hey, Tiger, think your old lady is mad now, with you banging every low-rent white tramp that crosses your path? Just imagine if your swinging dick has caused your mother-in-law to have a heart attack. . .hmmn, what’s the price tag on that divorce??

Listen, here is the dilemma for many, many men. We’d love to fuck everything that moves. . .and when that hole is right there in front of us, we are under its spell. . .and we do not spend one single fraction of a second pondering the consequences. What if we are caught? What happens to our family? How will I appear in the eyes of my children? Does not even cross our minds. Does not even cross our minds. The furthest thing from our minds is the consequence of fornication. We just dive right into that strange hole.

Luckily, most of us are not in the position of Tiger, being able to pick up any piece of strange that crosses our path. . .our adulteries are kept within our hearts.

All the hassle, all the drama, all the family misery he has caused will likely allow Tiger to keep his pants zipped. . .for a while. . .I would guess he will be able to patch his family back together, with solemn pledges to be a better father and husband, etc. And whenever he feels the temptation to sneak off with a waitress or hotel maid, he will remember all the 911 calls, etc. and will, by force of will, resist banging some white temptress. But time destroys everything, and there will be a day, when time has lessened the trauma of this current drama, and Tiger will figure he can be smarter this next time, and he will resume his addiction to white tramps. . .guaranteed. No way out of the cycle. . .unless he knows Jesus Christ and is granted deliverance (but that’s a whole other can of worms).

Look how Samson ended up. . .blind, under a pile of rubble. . .all because he:

Went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines.

Tiger went down to Perkins and saw a waitress in Perkins. . .

[By the way, golf is a stupid, stupid *sport*].

Tiger is still going to be rich, he’s still going to be a famous golfer (?!?!), but I bet right at this very moment, he has a great understanding of Proverbs 22:1:

A GOOD name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.

UPDATE: AP, 8 December 2009--Tiger Woods' mother-in-law was admitted to a hospital with stomach pains early Tuesday, a hospital spokesman said.

It was the mother-in-law, but not a heart attack. Uh, how much will the mother-in-law's ulcer cost Tiger? $10 million to the revised prenup??

06 December 2009

Tim Tebow Crying (His Tears Smear John 16:33)

Excuse me? What are you crying about? What are you crying about with JOHN 16:33 PAINTED ON YOUR FACE? A lost football game?

Did Jesus ever cry because Nazareth lost to Capernaum in the Galilee championship?

John 16:33 reads:

These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Let’s give old Tebow the benefit of one doubt: let’s not assume old Tebow painted John 16:33 under his eyes because he equated playing Alabama with tribulation.

Let’s be charitable, and assume old Tebow simply wanted to share a little of the gospel with the tens of millions of TV adoring infidels whose hearts desire was to spend hour after hour after hour in devotion to a trivial sporting contest--hours they would never even consider devoting to our Lord. Let’s be charitable and assume old Tebow just wanted to shine the small light of one gospel verse into the dark hearts of millions of infidel football fanatics.

That granted, Tebow, by weeping like a child after losing a trivial football game, gives a schizophrenic testimony for the Lord.

If old Tebow wants to cry like a little girl who has lost her favorite dolly. that’s fine--but he first needs to wash John 16:33 off his face.

John 16:33 is about showing courage and maintaining a calm assurance in the face of genuine adversity, with this courage and assurance being due to an unshakable faith our Lord, our First-Goer, has overcome the world.

You don’t paint John 16:33 under your eyes if you are going to break down and bawl like a baby over the loss of something as inconsequential as a FOOTBALL GAME. [This also shows too much attachment to the world’s values].

John 16:33 is discredited in the eyes of any infidels who bother to look it up, for they will note the obvious disconnect between the scripture’s meaning and Tebow’s not good cheer-like behavior.

You do NOT paint our Lord’s words on your face in some half-assed, poorly thought out attempt at *discipleship.*

You do NOT treat the gospel like it is some afterthought, some cute uniform decoration.

NEVER disrespect the gospel as if it is some ribbon pin for the fad cause of the day.

Jesus said to count the COST of discipleship first before going off half-cocked like some paperweight Stephen.

For Tebow’s next game, he would do well to paint Luke 14:28 - 30 under his eyes:

For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.

05 December 2009

Daniele Mastrogiacomo's *Days Of Fear*

Days Of Fear: A Firsthand Account Of Captivity Under The New Taliban, by Daniele Mastrogiacomo. In the name of Allah Most High and All-Merciful, Sayed Agha, Ajmal Naqshbandi and Daniele Mastrogiacomo are sentenced to death for acts of espionage within Taliban territories (p. 136).

In March 2007, the Italian journalist Daniele Mastrogiacomo, his interpreter Ajmal Naqshbandi and his driver Sayed Agha set out to interview the Taliban military commander Mullah Dadullah. Instead, the three men were taken hostage by the Taliban and held for fifteen days.

As an account of Mastrogiacomo’s nightmarish two week ordeal, Days Of Fear is a morbidly fascinating account of the human psyche being ground in the crucible of carnal man’s ultimate fear—imminent extinction, execution, death.

Mastrogiacomo’s terror is nearly all psychological. The only physical abuse he suffered, excepting the chains on his wrists, came in the early moments of his capture. Blindfolded by Taliban soldiers, Mastrogiacomo discovers, to his horror:

I suffer from claustrophobia. I was aware of this but didn’t realize that I suffered to such agonizing extremes. I must always be able to see a little light, even when it is dark. With my eyes closed and covered, I can’t breathe properly. I feel like I’m suffocating, buried alive (p. 47).

As he instinctively tries to free himself from the blindfold, a Taliban gives him a couple of rifle butts, one to the head. This *cures* Mastrogiacomo’s claustrophobia rather quickly. . .

The carnal man needs to believe he is in control of his life:

A man's heart deviseth his way (Proverbs 16:9).

But when the illusion of control is torn away, such as it was in the unfortunate case of Daniele Mastrogiacomo, look what results:

My heart is beating hard. I’m terrified. I ask where they’re taking me. I ask thousands of questions, one after the other. I’m afraid they’re going to kill me. A single shot to the back of the head, my body abandoned in a ditch, eyes blindfolded, hands tied. A lifeless bundle without form, dried blood around the bullet hole. . .It’s over, I say to myself. I find myself praying, my entire life passes before me as if it were film. My children, my wife, my mother, the newspaper, the sea, my sailboat, my father and my siblings. There’s no time, I need to see more. The film is running fast, in black and white, the images pile up, crazed. It’s over, goodbye mad, unpredictable world that I so desperately love and so violently hate. Goodbye to everyone. My hour has come. I raise my eyes, still blindfolded, to the sky and ask for God’s help and His pardon. I ask that He protect my children. I am no longer afraid. I’m ready. Then, suddenly, I feel that they won’t kill me. I’m certain of it. I don’t know why. My instincts tell me so. I want to believe it. Maybe my death is too absurd an eventuality for me to imagine, or perhaps I’m too important for our captors. I know that they won’t do it. Not yet, not now. My legs are trembling as we move left. They make me lower my head and they shove me into the trunk of the Corolla. I squirm. The blindfold slips down over my nose and mouth. I see some light, now, but I can’t breathe. I’m going to die suffocated. I cry out a dozen times, “Please! Please!” I want them to stop, to take the blindfold off me. My breathing is shallower, faster, the blindfold over my nose and mouth begins to grow damp. My mouth and throat are dry. I make a desperate attempt to get hold of a stray piece of fabric with my teeth and pull it off my nose and then my mouth. It is a long, difficult procedure. I try to control my breathing as if I were underwater. I’m convinced I am going to die. I tell myself that it would be a damned stupid way to die, but I also remind myself that many, many hostages have died precisely this way. I am tossed from one side of the trunk to the other as the car drives over particularly rough patches. It is torture. I have been taken prisoner by a group of Taliban. I do not know them, nor do I know their intentions. I’m alone, left completely to my own devices, I have no contact with the outside world, I am obliged to do everything these young soldiers want me to do, to follow orders issued by people far away from here. My death could come in any moment. The thought overwhelms me, it accompanies me faithfully for fifteen days and fifteen nights. Its particulars arrive in waves and with such force that each successive wave takes my breath away. I will have to learn to control my panic attacks in order to maintain a modicum of psychological and physical well-being. My body grows increasingly weak and beleaguered (p. 61 – 62).

Stripped of control, forced to acknowledge his true condition (O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps), that he is a weakling subject to unseen powerful beings, Mastrogiacomo immediately develops what one might call an Existential Bi-Polar Disorder. One moment, death seems certain. . .the next, life.

[Truly, this Existential Bi-Polar Disorder ought to be the true condition of everyone. But the masses, deceived by the lying vanities of the world, overlook the razor-thin tightrope which holds them over the pit of Hell. But they are just as much the hostage of unseen powerful beings as Daniele Mastrogiacomo was there, in that Toyota Corolla, and are just as close to their deaths. . .but the masses are drugged to an almost fugue state by the opiates of the world, the flesh and the devil.]

This extremely detailed case study of Daniele Mastrogiacomo’s Existential Bi-Polar Disorder is the lurid appeal of Days Of Fear. . .the appeal of the horror movie, the thriller, the ultimate in suspense, an insanely monumental and rickety nightmare rollercoaster, a video game, virtual terror. . .the appeal is pure sensation. . .the sensation of dread. This is enough for me to read and recommend the book. It succeeds as a true tale of terror. . .though, in the interests of full disclosure, it must be noted the climax of fear, Mastrogiacomo’s witnessing the beheading of his driver Sayed, is related in a peculiarly emotionally flat manner. On the back cover of the book, there is an excerpt from a L’Espresso review:

It has taken time, two years, for Mastrogiacomo to put what must be said down on paper. He has had to digest his experiences over time in order to render the profound meaning of his ordeal clear.

It must be Mastrogiacomo still has difficulty processing the execution of Sayed. There is the distancing of the severely traumatized in his account of the severing of Sayed’s head:

They push him down into the sandy desert floor. Sayed can’t breathe. Now, they’re on top of him, they turn him over and as they do I see that the knife has already been drawn. One of our jailors holds it in his hand. I can’t see the blade but I see something that cuts into Sayed’s neck. A quick, neat cut. There are no spasms, no moans or cries, nothing. The scene plays out in an icy silence. Then, a hand. One of the Taliban works on Sayed’s neck, front and back. Sayed’s body is inert by now. His head is removed and they lay it on his torso. They clean the knife on his white tunic (p. 136).

One must understand and forgive Mastrogiacomo’s reticence here. It cannot have been easy for him to chronicle his fear, to relive again those frightful fifteen days, and so if he draws back a bit at the most terrifying moment, ita sit. . .

As I said, Days Of Fear succeeds as a true tale of terror, and for me, this is sufficient. But the book is also being marketed as giving Westerners a close-up look at the Taliban. One of the back jacket blurbs:

Mastrogiacomo draws from this experience not only a hostage’s tale of captivity, but also a story that lies at the heart of the eternal human drama: that of man’s encounter with the Other.

And, ironically, Mastrogiacomo is challenged at the moment he is freed by the man he came to interview, Mullah Dadullah:

In the end, you have obtained much more than an interview. You have seen how we live and how we think. Do you think yourself capable of telling the truth about us? You journalists never do. You owe your life to our Supreme Commander. It was Mullah Mohammed Omar himself who suspended your death sentence. He decided not to have your head cut off (p. 154).

Here Mastrogiacomo fails. He tells the reader nothing but a few banal observations of the day-to-day activities of the various low-level teen and twenty-something Taliban who guard him.

Mastrogiacomo was never capable of connecting with the Other. He could not speak their language, nor did he know their country. He was dependent upon for-hire Others to guide and interpret for him. Like most Western journalists, Mastrogiacomo was nothing but a war gawker, hoping to fly into Afghanistan from Rome to get an interview with which to pad his resumé, and then quickly fly back home. In the end, Mastrogiacomo was the moth who flew too close to the flame. . .he was burned without ever understanding the fire.

In covering the Other, what the West calls *firsthand reports* are nothing more than the glimpses of journalistic Peeping Toms. . .they no more understand the Other than the spying masturbator understands the woman he sees through a bedroom window. This is not to belittle Mastrogiacomo or Days Of Fear, but only to disclose that readers will gain no understanding of the Taliban Other. If readers are not interested in a real life Edgar Allan Poe tale, then don’t bother with this book.

[We judge Mastrogiacomo a carnal creature, and not a joint-heir with Christ, because even though he occasionally mentions *God* in his narrative, he never identifies God, and never mentions the Lord Jesus Christ. On the text’s evidence, we therefore conclude Mastrogiacomo’s *God* is the generic god of the modern scientific and technological man, in Mastrogiacomo’s particular case, the baby-boomer scientific and technological man, whose god is nothing but a vestigial remnant of parents’ faith—a mere rosary, a mere rabbit’s foot, a mere talisman to ward off anxiety when 20mg of Prozac are not available.]

02 December 2009

Something To Be Thankful For On Thankstaking

On the Thankstaking holiday, I took my kids to the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in Washington, D.C. Since America is built on the robbery, mass murder and displacement of the native population, then what better place to celebrate the day Americans give thanks for all they took from the Indians?

I expected the NMAI to be a downbeat, solemn place, an American Holocaust museum—but it was surprisingly cheerful. If there was one single exhibit which captured the native’s curious good cheer, it was this odd example of Indian adaptation:
The beaded Apache cell phone case: the red man’s craft in service of the white man’s technological wizardry. . .a game attempt to keep native tradition alive in the occupier’s culture.

Of course, the reservations do not reflect the same degree of cheer. They are forlorn bantustans of alcoholism and depression [one could make the case the reservations exhibit a more advanced stage of the disease known as Americanism]. But from the small window available to peer into reservation life, one does not get the impression the natives have sacralized their suffering to the degree of the Judaics, who have made their holocaust an object of worship and a means of redemption, sanctification and justification. One senses in the natives a stoic acceptance of their bitter lot in life. . .it is as if they had collectively internalized the Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. . .

I would speculate, without being able to offer any supporting field data, the natives’ much more benign processing of their holocaust is due to their beliefs in a *Higher Power* and an *after-life.*

And, paradoxically, the Indians’ faith in a *Higher Power* and an *after-life* may have been reinforced and refined by the beliefs of their victimizers. As a brutal, bloody and extreme example of the kind of *preaching* observed in the following case by the imprisoned Apostle Paul, it could be argued the insincere Christianity of the white invaders did, indeed, deepen the natives’ faith in a *Higher Power* and an *after-life:*

Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. . .

Therefore, one could reasonably argue the defeated natives found the white God, Jesus, more powerful than their gods, and thus many from the vanquished tribes *accepted* Christian conversion. . .if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em:
As my kids and I were examining the collection of Indian bibles, we discussed the rather inelegant introduction of the gospel into the Americas.

God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds. . .

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

So God has always used men and women to deliver the gospel, and given the imperfection of what is called *human nature,* we cannot be surprised, as we survey the history of the gospel, from Eden until our present day, that it is sometimes preached on a trail of tears. . .

And as we must believe God Almighty was able to implant the genuine faith of Christ into at least some number of those natives who *accepted* their conquerors Christianity, we also must, as my kids and I were at the NMAI on Thankstaking, be thankful God was able to salvage some eternal good from the white invaders’ wickedness.

[Additionally, I would hazard to guess those natives who truly receive the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, having been torn from their terrestrial homes by white *manifest destiny,* are less subject to the temptation of the devil’s nationalism, and have a deeper awareness of their true status as pilgrims and strangers (Hebrews 11:13), without citizenship here (Philippians 3:20), and are therefore more inclined to set their eyes on things above (Colossians 3:2). May the peace of God which passes all understanding keep them until the Day of the Lord.]