Monday, July 03, 2006

L'Il Flava Arrives Soon!

My friend L'il Flava
and I have a theme song that we sing for road trips. I wish I could sing it for you, as it's a really tough kind of 197o's cop show tune, whose lyrics go ~

GANKA GANKA ga gan ga ganka
chicka chicka chicka
(and repeat)

It also comes with nifty hand gestures, especially at the chicka chicka chicka part. You just have to imagine it.

Well, at this very moment, L'il Flava is on her way to Massachusetts from the hot pavements of NYC, where she has been a theological rock star at Union Theological Seminary for the past nine years. She is now DOCTOR L'il Flava, having earned her Ph.D. in May, which qualifies her to kick serious ethical ass all over the planet.

She is a professional ethicist now, and a liberal Catholic, and will thank you all very much to not sit with her at social events and go, "So why don't you just become an Episcopalian if you wanted to be a priest?"

That's the kind of ignorant, insensitive, stupid -- and did I mention insensitive and stupid? -- thing liberals say to her all the time. As if she's somehow not aware that the Catholic Church has a misogynist past and a sexist present, and like she's not clear on why it's totally wrong and unjust to deny her the fulfillment of her vocation. Like she's supposed to explain her years and years of painful, private discernment to some person she just met at a cocktail party.

L'il Flava is really good with the chilly retort that closes off conversation, and she's not afraid to use it. I've seen her. She's always pleasant to begin with, but if someone presses her, like "But let me just say THIS ONE MORE THING THAT I'M SURE YOU HAVEN'T CONSIDERED about why you should leave the Catholic Church," she does the Big Chill.

PeaceBang happens to think that casual suggestions to strangers about what religion you think they should be is a really disgraceful, yet all-too common social blunder made by religious liberals. We're great at diagnosing other people's pathologies (because we've had so much THERAPY and we've read so many BOOKS) and at casually suggesting what religious path folks ought to traipse down, as in "My friends are so cool and open-minded. They belong to the Lutheran Church but they're totally Unitarians. They should come to our church!"

Know what I mean, jellybean? There's a difference between sincere and thoughtful evangelizing or extending hospitality in the form of an invitation to church, and casual, clubby recruitment -- not to mention making the egregious assumption that all hip and groovy people should be religious liberals. Some of them have very good reasons for remaining (or even becoming!) conservatives or even orthodox of one type or another.

Religious liberals froth at the mouth when religious conversatives try to proselytize them, but that never bothers me as much as the way religious liberals fling around religious recommendations and re-assignments like they're picking sides for kickball. At least the conservatives do it because they think my eternal soul's at stake. The liberals seem to do it to get one more cool kid for the team.

So my L'il Flava is on her way up here in a tiny rental car because although she's moving in for a month to six weeks and has tons of stuff, she is too short to drive even a mini-van, so she's going to have to cram all her wordly goods into an economy size car and get it up here. She should be here in about an hour, so I'm going to make some dinner.



Blogger Caroline Divine said...

Tell Lil' Flava I send love. And I WILL write you privately as promised on your other blog. Good for you for telling people not to do the anti-Catholic thing on her (that's right, folks, it smacks of anti-Catholicism, not just indelicacy to ask such questions) besides which she has a BRAIN, and people find or keep their religious and spiritual homes where they need to. Moral and spiritual agency anyone? As someone who was for many years a liberal or radical Catholic and decided some time back to jump ship to Episco-land, I will defend forever the decisions of my sisters and brothers to do otherwise, happy as I am. So here's to Dr. Lil' Flava. And you, esteemed PeaceBang, arbiter of elegances and theological holybabe. I salute you both.

Caroline Divine (on the road out West)

Blogger Philocrites said...

Ooh, PeaceBang, perhaps you could host a conversation about the etiquette of liberal evangelism: How to introduce Unitarian Universalism to a friend or stranger without being a total ass?


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