Universal Contrition

Millennial shares a Twitter feed describing the raw searching underway in the Catholic Church.

I’m currently attending morning men’s meeting at a local non-denominational congregation. Many of the men are ex-users, ex-cons and ex-adulterers. The most vulnerable break down in tears when confronting the consequences to those they love. As we are studying Revelation, I offered this yesterday:

Among the great consolations of the Book of Revelation is this: every tear is a promise from God to touch our lives.

We forget that we are in a great struggle against our dependency on sin. Often, that struggle comes to focus as a failure to recognize that others suffer. As Martin Luther King, Jr. observed:

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Do not let your anger with the Church destroy the humble men and women that have devoted their lives in service to Christ. Stick your nose under the tent of Church administration. Insist on having a seat at the conference table with the prelates, bishops and cardinals. But don’t destroy the institution commissioned by Christ.

The Great Divide

The Bible documents the progress made by the Holy Spirit in preparing men to fulfill the role that was forsaken in Eden. It comes with a cost, though, and that cost is no longer supportable. The division between men and woman must be healed.

It was this concern that compelled the writing of Ma.

Being a single man, there’s only so much of this road that I can walk down. In the preface to Ma, I emphasize the grace of the gifts that women possess, and much of the book is a celebration of feminine spirituality. That’s not nearly enough, though. As I man, I feel compelled to take ownership of the problems that men create for women.

The book addresses head-on the central problem: while a craving for physical intimacy is the force that most often compels us into relationships, it’s also frequently the fuel that destroys them. I’m not thinking only of hedonism: powerful men often use naïve women for sexual pleasure, and those women can find themselves eaten up by the spiritual side-effects of conflict.

So Ma will shock most Christian readers, because it starts with two scenes of physical intimacy, rendered in detail. I try to evoke the full power of such experiences, their mystery and wonder, and the two extreme contexts in which they are corrupted: the casual hook-up and the emotionally impoverished political liaison.

The book progresses from those experiences as a slow-motion train wreck, in which the men are confronted with choices between healing their women and the glory of virtuous accomplishment. They are two very different people, and readers will almost certainly sympathize more with one than the other. Along the way is a lot of speculation about the intersection between science and spirituality, social philosophy and cosmic adventure, but in the end the story is meditation on how to redeem the love shared by men and women.