Posted by: jamesthethickheaded | September 17, 2009

Hold that foolish thought

This blog is as much a place marker for thoughts I’d rather not lose… some mine, more those of others… as it is a place to develop and share thoughts.  Thoughts fleet in and out and its a wonder anything gets thought long enough to amount to anything more than nonsense… but in truth, I wonder that nonsense doesn’t have its merits, too.

Fact is that nonsense is vastly under-rated as a spiritual guide. It may not be terribly advanced, and maybe it won’t get us very far. But given the rudimentary place on the ladder,  where most of us find our feet remain firmly planted… unmoving on the ground level… maybe as a relief from taking ourselves far too seriously, as an escape from our insistence on being right… nonsense could at least help keep us from more serious mischief.

Nonsense can yield a touch of humorous detachment, offer a nod in the direction of humility, and lead to softening of our crusted outer shells.  This may be all there is for most of us… as I’d guess most will likely separate shortly afterwards into those who advance toward serious sanctity… or those who follow after the Holy Fools. Then again there’s that group  stuck at the beginning that …well, let’s be gracious and say they just haven’t made up their minds yet.

So as I think of it…  if we can’t swing Path A… and the risks standing pat aren’t looking so hot… then there’s only Path B. But we’ve got a serious lack of guidance here. My guess would be that  none of the Holy Fools recorded their wit and wisdom in writing. Definite strike one against Path B. Maybe it defeats the exercise, brings the faithful streaming to one’s doors, fame goes to the head, and first thing y’know… bang… you’re back at “Go” – only you don’t collect $200, the halo or the whole bit. So whatever it is they’re smoking… my guess it stays a secret. And their “it’s not quite a prayer rule”… but something more like a jokester rule…  the Wit and Wisdom of St. What’s-His-Name… inevitably remains a secret lost to humility.

And it’d be my guess is we won’t catch these guys doing stand-up on cable either. And that’s at least a foul ball for Path B as the road less travelled… as we can’t possibly learn their moves, much less send in Babawa Wawa to ask what sort of twee they could be if only they could. I think it’s a crime against humanity though I’m sure many would call it a blessing, because… well.. I’m pretty sure they’d take that question as likely the only one that wouldn’t mess with their gig. And oddly enough it’s this sort of thinking that brings to mind the possibility that of course Ms. Walters is in fact the greatest Holy Fool of all time… and that’s Strike Two…  how do you tell the difference between a Holy Fool and a Just Plain Fool… or is this itself a trick question, part of the discernment, and it-takes-a-saint-to-know-a-saint bit? I mean, if you’ll forgive the reference, as Elder Groucho of Beloved Memory once put it, “He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot, but don’t let that fool you: He really is an idiot.”

But there’s also other corollary issues with this hidden path… I mean is it only for one guy, the path is subsequently lost to the rest of us… then where’s the good news in that? Where’s the evangelism? Maybe it’s part of the edge in saintly humor and nonsense… or maybe there’s just some real risks in this. And maybe for every Fr. Anatoly (The Island / Ostrov) that survives or is recognized and glorified, far more are martyred by their friends and family who just reach the point… like in “Network” where they just can’t take it any more… before they “make it”.  I’m not sure this is dying for your faith so much as “getting died” (as my kids used to say) because you’re… well… I can only call it like I see it : “Because you’re… you’re like so annoying, man.”And that could be the third and final strike against the program… leaving me with the unpalatable hard work of Path A… or back at “Go” waiting for a better option.

But maybe that’s the ultimate in nonsense: Dying for what seems like nothing… to all but a few. Maybe that’s the point and the text of Holy Fooldom. Whatever it is… perhaps there is thus far more to nonsense than we understand: The sense in Nonsense is  “non”.

Anyway… that aside, what I really wanted to do was clip and save something seen a while back on Isabella’s excellent blog that she found on Joseph Patterson’s Mind in the Heart blog.

You cannot be too gentle, too kind.
Shun even to appear harsh in your treatment of each other.
Joy, radiant joy, streams from the face of him who gives and kindles joy in the heart of him who receives.
All condemnation is from the devil.

Never condemn each other.
We condemn others only because we shun knowing ourselves.
When we gaze at our own failings, we see such a swamp that nothing in another can equal it.
That is why we turn away, and make much of the faults of others.

Instead of condemning others, strive to reach inner peace.
Keep silent, refrain from judgment.
This will raise you above the deadly arrows of slander, insult and outrage and will shield your glowing hearts against all evil.

– St Seraphim of Sarov


  1. It is important for mankind to be gentle, kind, and loving toward others.

    At the same time, mankind must avoid condemnation of others, and strive to reach inner peace.

    It is a good idea to keep in mind an adage relating to this matter: “If you can’t say something good about someone, don’t say anything.”

  2. Another hit out of the park, JtTH. Holy Fool-ism I think is the planting of the seed of doubting OUR reality in light of whatever reality THEY are living in. One plants, another waters, but God gives the increase. I’d like to be a Fool for Christ some day…I’m halfway there. 🙂

  3. George: Thank you for visiting. I am honored. And of course you make too much sense!

    S-P: Thanks for stopping in between Turtle Races. Who’s gonna win this year’s Winston (Turtle) Cup?

    Like that: “I’m half way there.” LOL! Yeah. I think I’m there with you, too. It’s that 2nd part that scares the Willies out of me.

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