My problem with Catholicism is that it doesn’t seem to take its own shit far enough. Conversely, I think my problem with Protestantism is that it takes its own shit too far, but that’s beside the point. Catholicism just doesn’t go far enough. Why? Because, real talk, if God ever handed you the keys to the kingdom, my advice – and this is just one man’s opinion – dispense with dignity completely. Resolve at the very first step to sit, on the scale of class, somewhere below the range of your modern evangelical sermon. If Catholics could do that I might get more interested.
Let’s start with this guy Jesus, he never had much use for dignity. (Running around with a Spanish first name in the first century Levantine? Who even brought this guy?) If he did have any use for dignity you sure as fuck wouldn’t have found him stumbling down the streets of Jerusalem covered in his own blood and carrying his own cross; you wouldn’t have seen him getting to be BFFs with your garden variety hooker; or breaking bread with tax collectors for that matter; and stopping the whole damn parade to give a shout out to his boy Nicodemous up in that damn tree? Out of the question. How about being born in a manger? I don’t mean to be elitist or nothing but even the sheep at least get a fresh bed of straw or something. I could go on, but that’s not the point. The point is Jesus was not at all above redneckin’ it when the redneckin’ was good.
That’s just the crux, then, ain’t it? (Pun intended.) What makes the redneckin’ so good that we should dispense with something as important as dignity? And I’m telling you that it’s not the quality of the redneck we’re talking about here, it’s all about the prize (1 Cor. 9:24).
Look, I don’t think you really understand the scope of what I’m talking about. Allow me to illuminate. (Hold on, this is gonna take a whole new paragraph.)
I’m talking about not even having church on Sunday anymore, ‘cause you don’t wanna be all hung over on Monday. I’m talking about the rompingest, rowdiest ruckus you ever seen on the far side of what your modern evangelicals are up to. I’m talking about motherfucking Woodstock with all the bells, whistles, free love, lsd, mud, booze, conga lines – fucking whippit balloons! – Jimmy Hendrix is too high to find the right fret, how did that other guy even get on stage, who even brought the stage, oh my god I can’t feel my hands. That’s what I’m talking about. A real, live Dionysian cult. And that’s just a start, really.
Ok, wait, hear me out. I know it sounds crazy. I’m not crazy (well, let’s not argue semantics). But the road to heaven is not a lightened boulevard lined with casinos and bunny ranches. God himself is a dignified sort and he would expect his priesthood to reflect his own solemnity and humility. Church is supposed to be dignified. Right?
Maybe. Probably. I dunno. The question is somewhat null.
Null? Why null?
Well, god gave Peter the keys to the kingdom. Traditionally, that charge has been interpreted liberally. For instance, when Purgatory – Limbo specifically – got to be a bit sticky, from a PR perspective, good ol’ John Paul II quick-whipped us up a mash-up and sent all the dead babies to heaven. Or take the process of canonization, especially the expedited sort we got nowadays: we do some poking around, we think about it a bit, take a vote or two and bam! John Paul II’s up there with the dead babies now thanks to Benedict XVI.
God gave Peter the keys and said, “Here. Do you, bro.” In theory, the church is what Pete and his descendants tell us it is. Today the church’s membership is waning, but a Dionysian cult puts butts in those pews I’ll tell you.
You might think that’s beside the point. Maybe, when dispensing with the dignity of the faith, I’m throwing out the baby with the bath water. Wasn’t Peter supposed to call people to the narrow path? Wasn’t this brand of personal spiritual asceticism what Jesus foreshadowed for us?
Maybe. Probably. Almost certainly. But that question is null too. Why?
We’re not talking about Jesus, we’re talking about sinners and the chief quality of a sinner is that he’s going to hell. That would be the lake of fire and eternal damnation. The stakes, my dudes, are pretty fucking high – eternity itself.
So, why play fair?
If what’s really on the line here is whether or not this individual is going to suffer eternal torture, why not rope him in with sex, booze and rock and roll? Hell, most people on that path to enlightenment are probably never going to get out of that early sex-and-booze stage, but who cares? So long as they’ve been saved from the Pit. They need to have a relationship with god? That’s fine, fine, there’s no good reason for sex-and-booze to get in the way of that. But sex-and-booze are sins! Only because Pete made ‘em that way. There really is no reason why the church can’t continue to operate just as it does while its masses turn into Dionysian carnivals.
Here, I’ll draw you an analogy. It will be helpful.
Around the time of the Revolutionary War, combat was a very stylized affair. People lined up, marched straight towards each other, stood still, took a shot, took a minute or two to reload, shot again. The part that gets me is that before the battle the big-timers got together and decided on the rules. One of the rules was you couldn’t specifically target officers. So here’s the plan: we’re gonna let the peasantry smash each other to bits then, at the end, whoever’s got the most peasants left wins.
When you insist on the narrow path, on dignity, what you’re doing is letting the peasants smash each other to bits. Only instead of being smashed they’re instead condemned to eternal torture. The officers, they come into this knowing they’ll be pretty safe, they’ve already been redeemed. If you’re god, or Peter for that matter, and you really love everybody, especially the peasantry, as much as you claim to, why let that go on?
Let’s save these dudes, I’m saying. Guerilla warfare, yanno? If eternity is really on the line let’s make sure we win. If we get to make the rules, let’s put their butts in those pews by any means necessary. From there, if they choose to walk a path of asceticism and self-denial because it brings them closer to god that’s all well and good. But let’s not force them.
I mean, the devil sure as fuck ain’t playing fair. If you disbelieve me just let me get half a brick of dope and six months and I can absolutely guarantee that I can make the Pope himself renounce Jesus. Why are we letting the devil have all the really good tactics? Because he can’t offer the people real happiness? That’s not an excuse, because we could be offering the people real happiness and sex, drugs and rock and roll.
Jesus, for instance, was not a fair play. Sending your own son to die so you could activate a mystical loophole in the contract and get people into heaven? That’s a scumbag lawyer move if I ever heard of one. And, frankly, if I was willing to go so far as to sacrifice my own son you can bet I would not be upset that people came to church for the booze so long as they got a good chance to actually hear about the mystical loophole my son died for.
And it’s not like Dionysian cults are a sure way to damnation. It’s that way only because Pete said it is. A bit of research will certainly show that Dionysian cults have just as much success at bringing people closer to god as any other system of worship.
In short, when you’re saving people from a burning building, don’t make them take the long way out. Open up the widest staircase you can and assembly-line them down it as quick as possible. We’re talking about burning to death here. Or, well, burning forever. Saving them from that should be the imperative. I’m sure whatever else needs to be done or said can be better accomplished once they’re all safely outside.