Monday, March 05, 2007

A Concluding Un-Scientific PostScript

Yes, I watched the Discovery Channel special "The Lost Tomb of Jesus" last evening. I even stayed up past my bedtime to watch the hour-long post-show wrap-up so ably moderated (refereed?) by Ted Koppell (and his hair... which has only gotten larger with age... it should have its own by-line now.)

Seriously, though, I thought that the filmmaker and the "theologian" who represented the film did themselves a great dis-service by continually retreating to the line "we are trying to promote discussion" and "after all it's just a film."

And the other guests brought up many salient points.

Why weren't other DNA tests done on the other ossuaries?

Why was it felt necessary to introduce cheesy dramatizations, unlabelled as such?

Why did the director(s) frequently misquote or adumbrate the information which the few real experts added to the film?

Of course, those who follow such things can see where the film is going with its intimations....
Jesus the philosopher,
Jesus the preacher of radical "equality",
Jesus married with children,
Jesus still dead....
These all together look suspiciously like a post-modern picture of our Lord hideously painted by "historians" of religion over the last two or three generations. Anyone who has studied religion at the graduate level in the last decade or two will recognize this picture of Dorian Grey. Those who admire the portrait inevitably sell their soul.

Even the religious studies panelists on the program (who foreswear any religious commitment as an article of their secularized faith) recognized the inadequacies of this approach. Assume something must be true and then marshal bits of evidence which "prove" it to be so while ignoring the inconvenient historical and sociological facts. As the SNL Church Lady said, "How conveeenient!"

But the best comment of all came from a friend from my home parish. We had lunch today and he pointed out that the very existence of this type of program is a signpost showing how eager this generation is for things of the spirit. There is a vacuum here which this type of program is recognizing and attempting to fill.

People are taking up the false mysticism of modern religion because they are starving for the truly mystic.... the Eucharistic presence of Jesus, the glories of our Mother Mary, the via negativa and the via delorosa.

This is a wake-up call to all of us, folks. We better start offering true Food for the Soul to Gen- X-ers and anyone else who will listen.

To coin a phrase..... Catholicism is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death.


Lily said...

"People are taking up the false mysticism of modern religion because they are starving.."

Exactly so. A Spirit-rendered heart recognizes this to be at the very center of such "findings."

I have a handful of family and acquaintances who are seeking Him in 3 or more ways. They are former Catholics. Reiki, enneagrams, labyrinths, feng shui, Native American spirituality, Buddhism, Temple, and going back to "megachurches.." They are finding peace and thrill of heart, fellowship and even social activism based on new energy, but while they don't know they are circling Him, I think they do know this is not their center, not their Eucharistic Lord. The Lord of their confessed sin, of their absolution, of their true healing and deepest rightings and reconciliation. They have underestimated their anointing.

And what's going on in Europe, especially in Catholic countires, is heart-breaking. But His apostles and disciples remain in every land.. and the Holy Spirit gives them and us what to say. As always, the gates of hell shall not prevail. Most of us are not fishers of men, but we laborers can help harvest. I'm grateful when any of us take that seriously, and do our something about it.

May God bless you.

Phil B. said...

Thank you Lily.

Several of us were musing today on the mega-church phenomenon.... and how Catholic parishes can respond to it and not lose the heart of Eucharistic piety... which, as you indicated, is what makes us us, and makes us holy.