Thursday, November 20, 2014


Like everything except Halley’s Comet, comes round every year the Feast of Christ the King.
 It was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925 to keep us mindful that humans are not supreme, in response to the rise of fascism and its personality cult in Europe and especially Italy. Christ the King Sunday has subsequently been taken up throughout the Christian church, including the Episcopal Church and Anglicanism generally, because we love to celebrate. Also, if the pope says it, we scoff that we're not under the pope and do it anyway because it's such a great idea. Why we don't just go home to Rome I've never been quite certain. Anyway, what happens? Denominations that don’t follow the church calendar miss it, but we sing a couple of great, rousing hymns and think ahead to Advent. 

To some the idea of a king is offensive and don’t like it even associated with God, both because of the authoritarian flavor of monarchy, the idea of beings ranked qualitatively when all blood is red and the royals take themselves ludicrously serious what with bowing and curtsying even to each other and keeping a list of who has to curtsy first; and because as to monarchy, even the primary terms are patriarchal, male sexist: king, kingdom, lord, lordship, father, son, even he, his as in “Blessed be his kingdom now and for ever” and “It is right to give him thanks and praise. And so, with a nod in that direction the church quietly shifts to neutral nouns and pronouns. Sovereign instead of king. Reign of God instead of kingdom of God. Blessed be God's kingdom (oops) now and for ever. It is right to give our thanks and praise. The holy gospel of our savior Jesus Christ according to Matthew. And such. Even the notion Queen of Heaven does not offset the overall maleness. Or the madness of getting caught up in it.

It does not do at all to scoff at the views, politics and social outlook of others, I keep reminding myself, with my scorn for those whose certitude on any subject is set in concrete different from my own. The ridiculousness of my own certainty is sure. Several times, I have tried to facetiously cast my own certainty in outrageous absurdity, but my attempt at humorous self-ridicule always misses the mark somehow, such that I come off arrogant and spoil it all, humiliate myself, and must apologize and go home embarrassed. Over the years, one of my favorites has been the ludicrousness of Humpty Dumpty sitting on the wall, talking to Alice.
 In the outrageous conversation, HD uses the word “glory” to mean “a nice knock-down argument,” misusing the word such that he makes no sense. Alice calls him on it and the pompous ass retorts -- Lewis says "in rather a scornful tone" -- “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.” I love that Chapter 6 of Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass and especially the outrageous pomposity of HD's ignorance, and have tried several times to turn it round on myself, but my effort always fails miserably and I certainly will never try again. Not soon. 

We still and nevertheless have the Feast of Christ the King notwithstanding the contempt of many for subtle, even unconscious, unwitting male domination in the society, and their antagonism toward those who don't perceive it.

For myself, I love seven-year-old Alice and would like a grandmother for president next time. If we could get Golda Meir. She was one tough cookie.

As we learn from Humpty Dumpty, every conversation doesn’t have to flow logically or make perfect sense, or indeed any sense at all to those in the know who know they know, and to those who know not and know not that they know not. Quite often, they are one and the same. 

Thursday morning breakfast. Tuna Melt sandwich made with canned pink salmon stirred in a teaspoon of Hellmann's mayonnaise, two slices of 35-calorie thin wheat bread, and no cheese. Strong black coffee from my magic machine. Sweet (the meal, never the coffee, never, never, never sweet coffee).

A glory of Anglicanism, or at least of the flavor that I have known, is that we do not feel called to be finally definitive, and we are not in the least bothered by inconsistency.


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