IRKED.Dr. Sayer : [in job interview] It was an immense project. I was to extract 1 decagram of myelin from 4 tons of earth worms.
Dr. Sullivan : Really!
Dr. Sayer : Yes. I was on the project for 5 years. I was the only one who believed in it. Everyone else said it couldn't be done.
Dr. Kaufman : It can't.
Dr. Sayer : I know that now. I proved it.
The above quote is from the movie Awakenings. Oliver Sacks who was portrayed in this movie by Robbins Williams-Sacks wrote a hand written note to me on my theory of depression. He liked it. It was a cherished memento in times when I was down.
So my flustration with the church is they didn't practice what they preached. And therefore we all pay a tax that is higher than it should be.
We don't train people to be good Christians. There is no school to go to.
The church as I see it is basically just going through the motions. Laudato Si' got all excited- went to the seminars at more than one church. And it was all just talk. And then I decided to question after all this eloquence what was actually going to be done. Should we believe what they say ? HNC's solution-hire consultants that basically put in recyclable garbage bins. Is this the level of courageous creativity that Francis told us to have ?
If this happened in any place that I worked they would be laughed at. Taking a walk around the grounds an inspection will tell you all one needs to know about the workings of the church. Top heavy, nepotism, and unwilling to treat a sick patient.
So I did the appropriate things went to meetings, asked about process (there was none), and tested what they said they were doing. Made tons of calls and sent many emails what to do next in regards to Laudato Si'.
How outrageous it was for a homeless individual to want to be involved in the community. How bizarre for him to want to help the homeless and plant gardens. Shame on him. And each step of the way they either ignored me or misrepresented the truth.
Called over three hundred churches to see if they had an energy audit by Interfaith Power and Light. It was cost free. No obligation. That was too much to ask. So they weren't even going through the motions in respect to doing what Pope Benedict and Francis wanted. It was Benedict that was gung ho on the environment. The process examined what energy wasters could be found in a church.
Francis pointing forth Benedict's ideas, had a vision without a plan to enforce it.
In looking at processes we start with how people answer the phone. I remember when I was working at a newspaper that we had to practice how cheerfully we had to answer the phone. And one day years later running out the door the phone rang and I answered the phone as if I were still at work.
It was something that was ingrained in me.
The statue of Saint Francis pretty much says it all. Neglected. And when you ask to do anything they have an excuse.
The homeless guy was going out and grabbing plants that were going to go into the landfill and re-using them because they still had vitality. And it was free. A homeless guy did that.
Every proposal that the Archdiocese, made had a cute website and then when you contacted them they either made excuses or just didn't get back. Of course they do much good. They were the ones getting paid to implement a plan. They didn't. And here you have someone fired up and ready to go and they didn't like that at all. They hired titles and looks and not people who got results. No one else was checking up on this. And this is all low level stuff.
When my glasses broke, finally someone said come check out the collection of old glasses I have. None of them worked and they were mostly women's. So heartfelt.
What would I tell people who wanted to get involved in the church in Chicago, run don't walk-away. No spirit whatsoever.
Remember when the church had banners and color ? Nope not anymore. Didn't take the time or effort.
You would think that someone just needing the imprimatur of the church on a project that they were funding and doing the work on, would be applauded, it seemed there was a general lack of concern and one pointed out their flaws, they made the standard bearer regret it shunned.
They had security that abused the homeless and the disenfranchised and stole money from them. And if the poor raided the poor box they would be promptly arrested-not so for those white collar criminals.
My analogy is as if one asked a bloated and fat individual who hadn't exercised in years to walk a few miles. In others we must exercise our faith each day not just demand execution when we want it. Weak links in a chain. Don't rock the boat. Don't tip over the applecart. Don't test drive the car. Lassistude.
One if they are paying attention must ask how deep does this illness go. My belief is that it goes much deeper. "They" created a closed snooty system and do so right after they just heard the Gospel talking or excoriating us for doing so. We are flawed in that manner.
So I look inward and as I told my sister Bonnie as she was criticizing the school we both went to, and I had mostly gotten over it and she hadn't and I said, "I was supposed to be able to reach down into their hearts and minds and lift them up."
How many people wouldn't deal with this system or be persistent to get results. They extruded any fun from these simple projects with disinformation and misrepresentation of the truth.
And people know that they were not being truthful-it was transparent.
When they were doing renovation work they gave their parishioners no notice or or voice about what they were going to do. Pictures came out on a Saturday night with concepts on what they had already decided to do. So I asked people what they thought.
A cafeteria that was pristine was going to re-done and other things. And they were going to get a stove which no one will cook on. Someone must know a sign maker. Process flawed and yet when they want money they throw on the charm. It reminds of salespeople that would only call clients when they had something to sell and otherwise never bother them.
So many times when I noticed something was wrong I would also volunteer to make sure it could be fixed. It took over a year to replace a filter on the water fountain, which basically rendered it unusable. Don't sweat the details.
The rectory had bottled water and we got a fountain that doesn't work.
They cried poverty more than any homeless individual I knew and spent it like a sailor on leave. They refused to acknowledge their basic lack of caring for the basics of running a church. Adrift in grift. Don't take them seriously when they make another proposal. Don't write or call or waste your time being concerned about what they say they are concerned about. Put up another banner-collect money-do nothing.
Maybe they are depressed.
Who wouldn't want to beautify the neighborhood or conserve energy or help the homeless do some good work ? God Forbid we look like we are ready and open for business.
How many other people went through that treatment?
Nothing new from the church on this level and I knew it before I began and now I proved it. DOA.
And the defibrillator they were in a rush to buy. Vanished. Apropos ?
So I am indeed sorry I wasted my time on the wrong team.
I was thinking of creating a socket puppet called Father No. Don't preach from the pulpit if you really don't mean it. Take a hard look around and let things disturb you to the point of doing something about. I resent them wasting my time with proselytizing platitudes that weren't reality.
The ultimate question that I discovered was what are you doing for social justice. If I spent less time talking and criticizing and sharpening the axe...
My father wrote me a note, I didn't receive it until after he died. It was called "If." He said, "that it was the shortest word in the dictionary with the longest definition."
He then when on to talk about some of the "ifs" in his life. My failure was that I didn't invigorate the people's heart and minds and lift them out of their group think despair. In other words I wasn't their defibrillator or shock therapy. Head of a dragon and tail of a rat and yet, we have all been their before.
Who absolved the rich and worldly from picking up trash around the church or planting a garden or moving that needle or lighting one's idea candle ?
Does making the process difficult for others enlarge our status ? And what credence does it give that we are members of the body paying a higher tax for our ineptitude ?
So we go to church and do our calisthenics, mumble a few prayers, maybe sing the same songs, wait for the sermon to be over and rush out after communion to support our team, with food and adult beverages and screaming and yelling and full engagement whether they win or lose.
Imagine this same spirt transferred into helping the poor and downtrodden.
Can I get an, "Aye." Have you ever seen a fat purple, pigeon to fat to fly visiting a psychiatrist ?
Of course this is just a work of fiction. Just ask the people that I'm writing about they told me how many times I was wrong in doing the right thing.
Was it callous of me to call them on their mistakes ? It is one of life's conundrums. It would have been easier to ignore the problems and unfortunately that might not have been the right thing to do. We are called to be courageously creative.
Should I criticize them when their house was on fire and not their souls. Am I just as inept as they are ? Do I have remorse for being such a cruel microscopic examiner of their wrongs and have I taken out the point of my own eye before I took out the speck in theirs ? Probably. It seemed like they didn't care to do things better. It could be just the culture of the organization or people tired of trying to change things for the better. Group Think Stink.
From time-to-time we are all flawed even in our moments of perfection.
It is a fiction to believe that we are going to be without faults.
We all make mistakes, once upon a time I heard a story about a gentleman who was working at some big company and in transacting business he made a huge blunder. His boss of course reprimanded him for it and then said, "if you aren't making mistakes you aren't learning." And then they created the mistake board where people admitted their mistakes so others wouldn't do the same.
And that reminds me of another story. This one is about a woman working at an advertising agency. Her boss was cruel to her and consistently put her down. Any suggestion she had in meetings or proposals we're discounted matter-of-factly.
And then one day she moved to a different department within the agency and as by magic her new boss took a liking to her and her concepts. And within a short time she achieved a raise and a promotion.
What did I get after all this work which in reality was not a lot of work. Remorse. Grief. Guilt. Irritability.
It reminds me of the gentleman that throughout the years I would say, "hello" to. And he never acknowledged it. And there was a priest that I did this with for years always a friendly greeting without any positive feedback.
I made jokes about it. My creative mind stated that he was too deep in prayer to be aware of me and that I should just let it go whatever that means. Pearls are made by irritation. When do we lose the basic niceties of manners ? Personally, I take 100 percent responsibility for 50 percent of my actions.
And then one day another priest told me that fellow clergy chided him for his introversion.
So when trying to run the race of faith hope and charity it seems it doesn't always work out as well as in the Bible. Once upon a time I made a joke how about how the Bible should come with a disclaimer stating-"Your results may vary."
All this introspection is a bit annoying on my journey from Paul to Saul.
And the atheists are laughing.