Monday, September 9, 2013

9-11 2013: No Show Today.

As you’ve probably guessed, Father Troll has been very much pushed to the sidelines of my life during the past year. In fact there have been times when I’ve seriously considered killing him off altogether; perhaps by being accidentally shot by while addressing an enthusiastic NRA rally, or as a result of some terrible explosion occurring while he and Bishop Quinine launch themselves into space aboard a home-made rocket in an attempt to become the first missionaries to Pandora. (How could those two not find themselves obsessing about physically gorgeous nine-foot tall blue people who’ve apparently never heard of the importance of misogyny and homophobia to spirituality? And since Avatar was produced by a company owned by Rupert Murdoch they’d have no problem convincing themselves it's not fiction: “I ask you, My Beloved Sinners, would the fine Christian who owns the Fox Network and The Sun ever present something which isn’t true?”).

Partly these feelings have been exacerbated by the passing of the golden age of blogging: there really isn’t the same amount of material to riff on that there was a few years ago. More so, however, they result from a number of changes in my personal life: with a number of projects of which I’m immensely proud growing apace finding 45 minutes to transcribe the rantings of a demented old parody has become harder and harder. It’s one thing to make those around me laugh by slipping into Father Christian’s voice and denouncing whatever has just caught my attention, but very much another to translate that into a few hundred pithy words which will both offend and amuse the appropriate people - who are themselves spread across a number of very different continents, cultures, generations, sexualities, and genders.

More importantly, the circumstances which gave birth to Father Christian have greatly changed. Akinola has retired to enjoy his sumptious retirement gifts, and his replacement has mercifully failed to sustain the buffoonery on a global scale. Jensen has stepped down to do whatever it is fundamentalist archbishops do once they’ve bankrupted their diocese, and even Venables is more in the category of “whatever happened to…” than he is a figure of influence in the church we love. Despite ludicrous predictions to the contrary, Duncan’s new “province” remains as much a part of the Anglican Communion as Scientology, and in terms of current growth only marginally more successful. All of which has often found me wondering if there’s still any need for Father Christian and his retinue? Perhaps having served their purpose it’s better for them to join those upon whom they were based into a well-deserved (albeit long-overdue) slide into obscurity.

Yet the reality is that fundamentalism is far from dead. To forget this is to risk forgetting lessons etched in both the blood of those killed 12 years ago, and the tears shed afterwards by all those who loved them. Bin Laden might be dead, and closer to home sites like Stand Firm might now be a pastiche of what it was five years ago (that there really does exist people who can keep a straight face while reading Fischler’s Facebook: Purveyor of Hate or Ould’s Sex and Jihad – the Failure of Modern Hermeneutics is beyond doubt, but I defy anyone to produce more than a handful who have finished elementary school and are not males with an emotional age of less than 25), but the evil old refrain continues regardless. People continue to reject and persecute others, and deny them basic human rights, because of a conviction that god says they’re wrong. Old men continue to grow in wealth and power by manipulating these convictions, and young men – for fundamentalism is above all else primarily a disease of young and immature men – continue throwing away their lives in attempt to find acceptance in the eyes of those whom they seek to follow.

In response to my last 9/11 post a young fellow from Sydney (why was I not surprised to learn of his location?) left a comment here expressing outrage at what he considered to be my unwitting concatenation of Wahhabist Islam with contemporary Evangelicalism and medieval Catholicism. He never responded to my explanation that there was nothing unwitting in the slightest about my having drawn a link between what are actually just different manifestations of the same obnoxious cocktail of insecurity, poor-education, ambition, fear, and pride. The theological minutiae of what the consumer then sticks down the front of his underpants is a most an after-thought: a gnat with which to garnish one’s camel.

As I said, the young man to whom my response was directed discontinued the dialogue, but I didn’t expect otherwise. Yet he has remained very much in my thoughts, as well as my prayers, and not least because I’m old enough to appreciate his earnest enthusiasm and to grieve at what becomes of his kind when the well of his energy has been drained by those who purport to lead him. And so it’s for his sake, as much as for those whom shared a chuckle from the other side of the aisle, that the terrible Father Christian Troll will live on. Probably not with the same frequency he once did, but hopefully once the chaos of the next few months’ deadlines have passed with more vigour than he’s displayed in the past year.

That’s because young men like him thrive on arguments, and in any case reason and logic have never played any part in the construct of their beliefs (regardless of how much they claim to the contrary). One can at best hope to rattle the cage of delusions a little, and then be there on the ground to support them when the bright shining future once promised by their golden calf of certainty has left them used up and alone. And Father Christian is one of the most effective means by which I’ve ever been able to rattle cage bars.

So until we next meet here, please take care to love those around you. Give thanks when those dearest to you come home from wherever they have been for the day, and make a place in your heart for those whom were on this day – or any other day – not so blessed. And remember that the God who makes the sun shine upon us all has no need for a faith which would leave others in the dark.

18 comments:

Brother David said...

"It’s one thing to make those around me laugh by slipping into Father Christian’s voice and denouncing whatever has just caught my attention”

Oh, how I would love to hear an audio podcast put up in the place of the good Padre’s written edifications!

Anonymous said...

It is a blessed relief to learn that Our Beloved Bible Teacher is to live on. Old men from Africa and hate-mongering idealists from Sydney are still in need of stern correction. Without Fr Christian laughing at them, many of us would cry.

Small Farmer in The City said...

God bless Fr Christian and his amanuensis for their contributions to the humanity of the Church!

Leonard Clark said...

¨One can at best hope to rattle the cage of delusions a little, and then be there on the ground to support them when the bright shining future once promised by their golden calf of certainty has left them used up and alone.¨ Father Christian

I love this: ..¨rattle the cage of delusions...¨ and of course you invented it at the Anglican Communion. There have been others, but nobody does their frothy insanity like you do.

No doubt you are busy doing what ought be done out there amongst your *other* flock...I wish always that you and those around you are happy, healthy and spread the kind of Christian (Dr. and otherwise) that saves lives as well as Souls.

Thank you for staying. You are beloved and add much loud laughing (and instigate little dances of glee) to my life.

Somewhere at the foot of wherever it is I think I am, I remain your loyal reader and amigo,

Leonardo Ricardo/Len

(I notice my favorite commentor, and another loyal follower of yours to the Norte of the border, continues to thrive at St. Dorians by the Pyramid)- Brother David, what is it you eat? Why is it you continue to look more guapo decade after decade? (no doubt it´s some kind of brujo mixture sprinkled daily around the head and shoulders? Please send by seperate cover, I beg of you as I just turned 70 years old)

klady said...

Thank you for this reflection on conditions past and present that gave birth to Fr. Christian. While I have missed his voice, I appreciate the need to step back from the toxic swamps in which he and Quinine have roamed. Funny you should mention medieval times. I've been recently reading up on chevauchées as background for understanding a young friend's choice of the theme of juvenilty and the Hundred Years War for a senior thesis. The juvenile male mind (and its adoring females - I assume that Stand Firm still has their retinue - though I suppose they bring to mind Lady Macbeths - mucking up the metaphor) certainly can wreak havoc. Also recalling Herman Melville's phrase describing the "Indian haters" in The Confidence Man: "monk warriers." Humankind needs a Cervantes every so often to knock the warring Righteous Knights off their horses and a Jonathan Swift to expose their Reason and Cruelty. Carry on Fr. Christian!

clumber said...

My dearest Father Troll! How good to hear your keyboard voice once again leading us away from the apostate proclamations emanating from the literal and fundamental right side of the pews!

I too decried the statistical curves proclaiming the end of the golden age of the blog, and, having fallen out of favour with all those faceless facebook minions, I too decided that there were finer pursuits in life! And yet, what should fall into my lap but the glorious naming of the wooly waffle himself, Mr. ABC, complete with a clumber in the henhouse, my dear son Bramble! (See also, Barkings of an old Dog

I swear that if the BBC does not start a comedy show based on the ABC family I shall be sorely disappointed! A tweeting daughter, a clumber trying to make sense of the CofE world, a brainy corporate trined CEO of the CofE! And then throw into the mix a pope who can be held in stark contrast to the heady ABC tiltings at Credit Union Windmills!

I tell you privately, Father Troll, whilst the low hanging fruit of the old days of blogs might well be picked, plucked, and pooped out, the careful observer, such as you+ and +I, can still find nuggets of gold the size of small Volkswagens amid the proclamations, foot insertions, misogynistic edicts, and grey men's stammerings! These are great days for you+ and +I, my dear Christian! Keep hope, my good man! StandFirm might be a shadow of it's former self, but we can look forward to so much ahead of us. Acts 8, a new PB, the UTO scandal!

As a dear friend of mine is wont to tell me, the church was created for our amusement! Grab the brass ring, man! There's so much ahead of us all! Loose the hounds of hades to sniff the butts of the guards in the bastions of the church, I tell you! The gravy days of satirizing the church await us all, or at least those with eyes to see clearly and spine strong enough to endure! Ever onward, Father!

I'm also wondering why all of the word verification things end in FU for me...

Grandmère Mimi said...

Thank you for the heartfelt post, Sir. I'm pleased you will not kill off Fr Troll entirely. A come-back is easier than a resurrection. Who knows but that his voice might be just what we need at some time in the future, whether soon or late?

May God bless you and everyone here.

Anonymous said...

There you have it, folks. All the non-modern societies before the 20th century and modern traditional cultures (such as China, Vietnam, and Japan) can be freely equivocated with Al-Qaida because they don't approve of gay marriage.

The Rev. Dr. Christian Troll said...

Oh dear Anonymous: is that really the best you can come back with?

Once upon a time your sort at least tried. But this is just lazy - not to mention embarrassing.

Although perhaps I am being unkind. Were you home-schooled? Or could it be that you've spent too much time basking in the spittle of somebody named Jensen? Please let us know: I'd hate to be guilty of jeering at someone whose idiocy is the result of an unfortunate disability.

Anonymous said...

The way I see it, the atheists have been, according to you, leading morality while the church is forever playing catch-up, and yet it's somehow important for people to believe in Christ... whose only record of existence is in the same book that makes the incorrect proclamations regarding homosexuality.

Don't you think young people are noticing that the Church is borrowing from secular humanism, but secular humanism isn't borrowing anything from the Church? People follow the leader, but seldom do people follow the peon

Anonymous said...

You know, I feel deeply sorry for my previous comment. You should be free to find God, and it is evil for me to discourage you.

Anonymous said...

I always feel like seeking a debate with you, but I never feel good afterwards. Not because you're a bad debater, but because this kind of aggression never is nice.

George Waite said...

We atheists have been leading; the Mainline Protestants just have bigger places to meet and copy machines.
Nice to see that they're trying to be useful as they decline into irrelevance!

Nij said...

Rattle on those cages, Fr. Troll, or at least check out some more recent arrivals on the contemporary battlefields of dizzy drivel!
More, please, and thanks! :>)
nij

Born Again Agnostic said...

Glad to see you back. I thought you’d given up on Fr Christian. But as long as (we have seen in the UK) those who claim to be true, Bible Believing Christians seem obsessed with demanding the to persecute and malign homosexuals - and seeing this as the apotheosis of the Christian Gospel, then there is a need to remind these souls, so eager to wallow in the cheap righteousness of finger pointing (as with all moral cowards, they lack the courage to turn a mirror on their own behaviour and question their over interest in matters peripheral to Biblical morality) of their follies. 1 Timothy 1:15 and all that... but who is interested in such a gospel or Bible verse when Lev 18:22 gives a warm glow of self-satisfied, self-righteousness and foolish souls take this as their cue to believe as long as they are not queer then they are spotless...

Alan Rogers said...

Father Christian, please don't quit! If I may venture a small opinion about Viagaraville: They admit, surprisingly, that they believe in a limited atonement. They also believe that marriage is not a sacrament. Funny how these core believes can morph into the "orthodoxy" we enjoy today!!!

George Waite said...

I'm an atheist and I believe in a "limited atonement"-it's a group comprised of precisely nobody and nobody's getting out of life alive and nobody's coming back to sit at the right hand of anybody else, anywhere.

Alan Rogers said...

George, I suspect that many of the religious limited atonement people are Atheists as well.