Posted by: jamesthethickheaded | October 2, 2012

That Other Fragment

So in recent days there’s the bit on the fragment found by some scholar that’s no doubt re-invigorated that need to be provocative by suggesting two millennia of christians were fools and just missed a key piece of evidence. Don’t you know, it’s all based on a fragment whose provenance is unknown, whose author is unknown… but hey… let’s not let that slow us down. Fact is that it’s authenticity unquestionable because it’s been found by a contemporary “authority”. Contemporary authorities would of course never have find their motivations driven by such callous things as money, grant cycles, publish-or-perish mandates… or even setting that aside as unfair innuendo… something far simpler like an insatiable curiosity, a fascination with the hubris of the present, and some far more common maladies of all of us. Nah… that couldn’t happen.

These stories are completely unbiased and objective and base their conclusions solely on the data… like that astrophysicist Carl Sagan who applied his considerable knowledge of real merit in one field to a completely alien field… like paleontology about which he knew absolutely nothing… to determine that a meteor caused a climate change that resulted in the dinosaurs disappearing almost coincidentally without notice…. a mere 10 or 20 million years later. Clearly cause and effect. Heck… like the good scientist he was, I’m certain he even was careful enough to collect a sample of planets with dinosaurs, and repeat his experiment to make an initial test of his theory before concluding that according to scientific method… he was 100% spot on. Right. And of course… all the paleontologists completely missed this…. so that it was just hanging out there for a guy in an entirely different field of knowledge to come along and say the emperor has no clothes. But did that stop the Faculty Councils from failing to ratify the tenure of paleontologists who had the temerity to question Sagan’s “facts” that just somehow seemed to conveniently meld with a couple of “reasonable” pet theories of the anti-nuke political agenda so many academics liked to ingratiate themselves to…. i.e. their own donors. Nah. And in truth, we do this all the time. We want to believe certain things: They seem reasonable. Yeah… but so did the flat earth at the time, and the sun revolving around the earth. Reasonableness together with wishful thinking doesn’t make something true… much as it may seem odd for a religious person to try to point this out to a scientist.

Facts are funny things. Expertise is apparently fungible if you’re well-connected enough to support the right views with the right people at the right time. Literally… there’s money, prestige, and position on the line.

So does it surprise anyone that some scholar finds a fragment that is literally no more than the equivalent of something scribbled on the bathroom wall? No. The surprise is what supposedly serious people seem to make of it. So let’s clue them in how people in the contemporary era speak in case they’ve forgotten: “Jesus said to them my wife… As IF!!!!! LOL! ROTFL!” Oh… but I guess we missed the part where stand-up humor and graffiti were both modern contrivances as well.  I mean… just look at history: Not a lot of jokes there. And look at the Bible… where are the jokes? Okay… case proved: Historical people had no sense of humor. And now at last, we can be thankful to know better, realized we’ve been the fools folks have always told us we are, and hey… how about golf next Sunday a.m.?

Yeah. I guess that’s what they’re thinking we’ll do, huh? Or maybe… dolts that we are, “Nah, you know, it’s all good… doesn’t matter. Hey… the lies, the impossible dogma… all that confusion? Who needs it? Yeah? Aw… who am I kidding? Of course… me! I need it. It’s like I’m so idiot-like, dependent and deluded and stuff. Yeah… really. But if like the old delusions were just so… like last year and all… and y’know… lame and stuff. I’m cool. Really… it’s okay… I can swing with your new stuff. Honest… I’m in.So how’s about I come over to your church… whaddya call it? Oooh… how about Our So-Called Lady of the Stoners and What’s Happening Next? And … uh… btw, don’t get me wrong… but any chance you guys do communion with… like a reefer…n’stuff? …like it’s some kind of incense and all-in-one kind-of-a-deal…’cause I’m good with that…if that’s hip and all.”

No. I don’t think so. The thing that’s most tiresome is that these folks seem to think that we’ll fall for this on the one hand, and so they have to dispell the darkness by illuminating our dullardness. Only… then they want to annoint themselves as… well… not to actually activate our unthinking approach to religion, but simply to replace our prophets and messiah with… a lesser god… however they choose to conceive of that lesser god. In other words, the effort is not correct a misapprehension of the deity, but in truth to replace or pull down the deity. Like we’re going to be thankful and welcome them as heroes. Clearly the resistance is to the notion that the deity could be incarnate on the one hand, and that a man could be anything other than a man as we know ourselves on the other… is pretty high. And not only are these two are simply two sides of the same coin, but the truth is… if medical science is what we think it is… and still at a pretty basic level, then we don’t know ourselves very well even in the physical realm. The psychological and spiritual? Don’t get me started.

So it’s refreshing to begin the day or sprinkle the midday with an entirely different thought from Abbot Tryphon’s “Morning Offering” who found another fragment… similarly about a woman. Only the woman in question here is no mere wife, but God’s own betrothed Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary… these days a state of womanhood clearly assumed to be another figment of the male imagination… as our sex-soaked culture finds the only thing more impossible than the Incarnation and a God who loves us is the possibility of applying a different yardstick to the genuine authenticity of the human person other than how much of “it” they are getting or not getting. For the Gospel according Helen (Cosmo) clearly states on each cover… it’s monthly screed that good and bad “it” isn’t the point. No… in some weird way, it’s all about numbers and counting. And however it is that Helen told you to do it last month… ah.. that’s so last month. Gotta start again, doncha know? Right… there’s a whole new way you have to learn this month. And I have to admit… no matter what month it is, the one constant is that I can’t understand the math: Believe me… I thought I was missing something, but it turned out when I thought I was missing one thing, they called it five things. Confused? Well, I’m not… ’cause now it’s clear that while I’m doing Cal-cu-lus, Cosmo’s readers are doing Cal-cu-them… or something like that.

But enough’s enough. Here’s what Abbot Tryphon found:

“Under your mercy we take refuge Mother of God; may our petitions not be abandoned into temptation, but from danger deliver us, only pure & blessed” 2nd Century Egyptian papyrus fragment

And as he adds:

“It is liberating to discover we need not search the Bible to understand the meaning of the Word of God for ourselves. There is no need to reinvent Christianity for this modern age, in a feeble attempt to make Christianity relevant. We can even avoid the prideful arrogance of thinking we can decipher the meaning of the Bible, for we need only look to the Church for the truth that has been preserved from the very beginning. We can say with certainty that we keep to the faith of our fathers. The veneration of the Holy Virgin Mary is but one example of our connection, unbroken, with the Early Apostolic Church.”

And for my part, I’d add: Sure… it could really be that simple: Stop fidgetting with what to believe like it’s a game of delay, delay, delay. Ask somebody for directions, and let’s get on with it. Start living! for God’s sake. And I mean that. Literally.

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