Monday, April 25, 2005

Speaking of Ratzenfreude...

If you haven't laughed this week, have a gander at Matthew Fox's recent absolutely ear-splitting, froth-spitting, aneurysm-causing, fist-clenching, teeth-gritting, logic-flaying, anecdote-flinging SCREED against Benedict XVI.

At least now we know where Jack Chick gets all his material.

I’m waiting for Fox’s lawyer-spirit to bypass his mother-spirit’s unsuccessful efforts to calm his ranting father-spirit and sue it for defaming his scholar-spirit’s reputation with such a pitiful display. I can actually hear him stamping his feet and turning back into a five-year-old. I've seen a man so angry once he fell down just standing. Fox is doing the same thing in this screed. One charge tumbles over the next without a moment to present itself as anything but a flimsy thread in a massive bizarre rag. This ex-dog of the Lord[1] is the only fox I know that quacks. Meine Ratzenfreudigkeit erkennt keine Grenzen! (All mirth aside, he has my lowly prayers.)

I'm sure my Ratzenfreudigkeit paints me as an elitist, capitalist, Eurocentric, racist, ________ oppressor. But, if I may say so, the truth is more complex. I have a deep respect for the noblest aims of liberation theology (have you seen my sidebar?) and I do believe justice -- good ol' "Catholic Action"! -- is an essential component of the Gospel. I simply don't think lambasting Benedict XVI as a neo-Nazi (!) has any place outside the loony bin, especially when the reality is this hoary Grand Inquisitor officially suppressed only 24 dissidents in over two "fascist" decades.

When it comes down to it, Fox resents the former Teutonic Inquisitor for excommunicating him and now being more influential than him. He's indignant but lacks the eloquence or the raw power (both, in fact) to do anything about it. Hence, this screed. The problem with academics like Fox (and myself, in a way) is that they can't often release their anger in more traditional, carnal, manly ways (i.e., running around with sharp, heavy things in their hands, jousting, kicking some dude's ass, breaking stuff, eating big pieces of undercooked meat, etc.), so they have to emit immensely powerful bursts of prolix hissy fits that manage to quell their stifled machismo. _Fight Club_ and _Broadcast News_ were brilliant movies if for nothing else than portraying this reality so well.

This is why Fox and his neo-cosmic-earth-mother-father spirit mumbo jumbo is so pathetic. They are the theological equivalent of pasty Goth kids: so über-unconventional and so über-raw that they quickly wither away into self-perpetuating caricatures. Today's sex-priests talk a good game about the carnal depths of the human person and the sacred interpenetration of the yin-yang, male-female fields, but they are so out of practical, living touch with how real men and women -- and gods for that matter -- act. No one, neither man nor woman, approaches a meal like it's a celestial force waiting to interpenetrate our otherness. We approach food for what it does according to what it's meant to do: fill us and please us. By extension, no man wants a woman to be his interpenetrating feminized soul-pair; every man wants his woman to be his woman, with all her dissimilarity and inaccessibility and casual sexiness. No woman wants a man to be her masculinized phallic ballast in a sea of cosmic disunity; every woman wants her man to hold her. The glitterati would call this sexist; I call it plainly sexual. Sexism forces men and women to submit against their natures and wills to the order and will of another. Sexuality enables men and woman to offer themselves in accordance to another with their fecund natures (given by God) in harmony with their wills (offered up by love).

The odd man out is today's polymorphous anti-sexuality, which is not sexist only because it's not even sexual. Today's anti-sexuality, far from enabling people to offer themselves "freely," actually prevents people from giving themselves based on anything other than a roving will. A man cannot give a man his nature, and thus not his whole self, because a man cannot accept a man's whole nature (i.e., in his fecund depth as an image-bearer of the fecund, triune Creator). The same paralysis of love goes for women. Anti-sexuality tries ship the cargo of love without loading them in the chamber of nature. But our natures demand the cargo ships, which is why every homosexual relationship all but automatically polarizes into a "male" (bear/dyke) and "female" (twink/honey) structure. Even when men and women refuse to embrace each other (via contraception, adultery, divorce, porn, etc.), men and men and women and women end up holding each other just as men and women hold each other. The failure of we heterosexuals to live up to the mysterious gift of marital union have carved the path of less resistance for homosexuals to fail at sexual uniformity.

The problem is that today's sex-priests have utterly confused the telos of gender without being able to shake the functional nature of sexuality. Rather than functions being defined by nature, nature is today defined by function. This is why babies can be aborted: until they are rationally and biologically functional, their nature and rights *as humans* are contestable. This is also why Terri Schiavo could be killed without much ado by so many people: since he functionality was basically gone, her rights and nature as a real person were also erased. Finally, this rampant functionalism is a big part of why gay marriage (along with female ordination, along with licit therapeutic pedophilia, along with polygamy, “swinging,” etc.) is making such inroads. As long as marriage is seen a functional agreement between partners (and who would presume to decree how many?), rather than as a divinely ordered *covenant* that holistically ties into all levels and modes of creation for specific reasons, then marriage will be putty in the hands of the law. And as long as we view gender as a functional (or dysfunctional) construct, we can mold it any way we like. Hence, Fox's reference to exclusively "male genitalia" for priests is so naive. His own (undoubtedly) polymorphous and functionalist theory of sexuality undercuts any real, stable meanings for "masculine", let alone for "genitalia." A penis is not a "male" penis, but is in fact simply an object typically used to stimulate some other "feminine" object. This is why someone like Joe Perez will always only have an audience in Harvard divinity school tea rooms. In defining a cosmic homotheology based on the affinity of phallus with phallus and vagina with vagina, he just as surely confuses the sexual meaning of reality as a man with "two left feet" confuses a dance.

The affinity of like and like is grand, but it's only half the story, and a sterile, clumsy, all too obvious one at that. The union of left and right, however, Him and Her, God and Man -- this union is the stuff of dreams, nay, the stuff of waking. Men and women, like the hemispheres of the brain, belong together precisely because they are so different and don't belong *together*.

[1] For my non-geek readers, Fox is an ex-Dominican and in the Middle Ages Dominicans were known as the "Domini canes," the dogs of the Lord.


spockvondeutschland said...

I love your page but what is going on with the incipient vowels in your Greek words (aletheias, agwnisai, erchomenon)? Is there a font disconnect?

The Cogitator said...

Lieber Herr Spock von Deutschland,

I'm not sure what problem you're having with the Greek in my header. I format my blog based on how it looks in Firefox and I just copied that verse from the Septuagint. I'm no computer or Greek whiz, at all, so maybe I can correct things. Glad you like my page! Don't be a stranger!

spockvondeutschland said...

I am viewing the page in Firefox so that is not the issue. It is version in case that matters. When I looking in page source it shows as blank still but when I paste the blank character into Word, it shows up as the correct character! I don't know why...

By the way I am from the U.S. but I am fluent in German.