Face-a-Booku! And Catholic Mass

So, upon leaving my job I decided to get keep in touch with people I knew through Facebook. I sort of wish I had not. Most of my friends and acquaintances are free-wheeling, atheistic, liberals and free lovers. I am none of these things. I did, however, connect with a bunch of Lafferty fans on a page I had been following for some time. That was cool.

My mother also posts on Facebook, and while it is better than all the liberal crap (which consists of calling anyone not in lock-step with them assholes or bigots or motherfuckers – you name it) she posts some eye rolling stuff as well. The other day she posted a “mugshot” of Obama and his arrest plate (what do they call that thing the processed holds in front of him?) date said 1968. Mom, for God’s sake, Obama was 7 in 1968 and that is the oldest seven-year old I have ever seen.

I will remain “active” for a time and then disappear. Not from my mother or family, mind you, that’s ridiculous.

I saw Word Perfect Office on repackage sale at Target yesterday and bought it. Man, 1997 was a long time ago. And the software hasn’t changed too terribly much. I remember liking it so much, but perhaps that was because it was my first. I am going to stick with Scrivener as usual. I think I just like getting new software. But so far nothing has come close to Scrivener. I sort of like the new Word (well, the one before they tried this retarded “we’ll lease it to you on the web” bull crap that is so Microsoft) and I have to learn it for my new line of work.

Which is all for naught since I haven’t written anything in almost a year. I can’t wait to finish school and get a job. I am going to write like it was crack, all day and all night. And read too.

Last night, because it was only $1.99 I got Bishop Robert Barron’s Catholicism for Kindle. I’ve dug (you dig?) Bishop Barron from when I found him on YouTube talking about Bob Dylan and The Matrix movies. It says it’s available at this price for a limited time.

Speaking of all things Catholic, I attended Mass today. Most uncomfortable thing I have done… in recent memory. I went by myself because I know no one to drag with me. Perhaps I should not have gone on a weekday. People going during the weekday, they freaking mean it. So I was with a “pros”. Ever jump in the middle of something? A dance, a complex board game, or how about a song that you barely know but everyone else does? I thought that thing by my ankles was a foot rest. Apparently it’s a lever that brings down a pad to kneel on.

I just watched what everyone else was doing. Luckily I was at the very back. It was the most awkward experience ever. I also thought the priest was a little flat and the song they picked to sing was terrible. There was a point where everyone shook the hand of the person next to them. The guy next to me said something to me, but I missed what it was (too many years of loud amplifiers) and stuttered out a “same to you”. Which caused an odd look. Whatever.

At the end I got another odd look because people started coming out from behind their pews, I asked the guy next to me, “Is this the communion thing?” Well, shit, buddy, I don’t want to get in line for something I’m not supposed to! He answered me politely enough. Of course when he and his family came back from communion they made sure to sit four rows in front of me.

I read a little about the Mass before I went (alright I read about it sometime last year) but I don’t want to be the jackass that stayed seated while everyone went up for something I was also supposed to because I misremembered or misunderstood something.

And then when it was over the priest gave me a weird look as he passed by. Weird as in I don’t know if it was antagonistic, fearful, bored or what. It certainly wasn’t friendly. I’m sure I probably seemed like an idiot, or, closer, someone who had never been to church before. Not very welcoming at all.

But that’s alright. Actually, it was kind of funny how much of an outside they made me feel! I mean I really am, but… wow.

The interior was beautiful, I managed to sneak off a few pics before anything started.

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4 thoughts on “Face-a-Booku! And Catholic Mass

  1. I’m ‘Eastern’ Orthodox rather than Roman Catholic but I had many of the same issues once I left atheism for Christianity. While I had done a lot of reading in regards to Orthodox theology and history the mechanics of actually attending church were overwhelming. Fortunately the parishioners and priest at the church I went to in my initial foray were much more welcoming than what you experienced — and this was a real worry for me as I’d read that ‘many’ Orthodox churches in the US were insular and suspicious of people from outside their cultural group.

    I also didn’t walk up for Holy Communion during my first visit but a young girl brought me a piece of antidoron (this is the unconsecrated bread remains from which consecrated communion bread is cut) where I was sitting and the priest spoke with me after the service. In the Orthodox Church (and I believe that it is virtually identical in the Roman Catholic Church) anyone can walk up during Holy Communion but when you kneel you are supposed to cross your arms across your chest with one hand on each of your shoulders. This indicates to the priest that you shouldn’t receive the communion bread and wine (examples being that you are not an Orthodox Christian, are undergoing some penance, or don’t feel that you’ve properly prepared yourself for Holy Communion for whatever reason) but he will still give you a blessing and in the Orthodox Church a cube of the antidoron.

    1. I hope you remember I’m not a man of short replies (and I don’t mind long answers myself!).

      I cannot say I am a man of faith. I happen to be pretty much where I have been for the last two years. I don’t think atheism is the answer to anything (the anti-answer), and the Roman Catholic faith, taken holistically (in the Hegelian sense – the True is the Whole), seems to me to fit more pieces of the puzzle than anything else.

      So prayer still shocks me. To see someone do it. I cannot do it. Hymns I can’t really stand especially by a bunch of people who can’t sing and aren’t into it.

      Part of it was me. I don’t open like a little iddy biddy flower in the presence of strangers or strange situations.

      And frankly it was more like a dance or a game you try to jump in the middle of. One misstep and you can’t get back on, each successive step just makes you more confused.

      And the priest didn’t really seem too into what he was doing. Seemed like a drained middle-aged man to me.

      Their website matches what I found there in person. Most of the websites I’ve seen are almost walking advertisements for potential converts. The place I went to their RCIA link goes to a blank page. Their Matrimony page has a phone number on it saying to call this chick 6 months before the date. There is no become a member page, no pictures page. The “pastor’s corner” page is blank and always has been. There is no contact information beyond telephone numbers. Etc, etc.

      I never meant to imply I thought that was Catholicism. Well! Went to one… they’re assholes! I evidently happened upon a community in disrepair and probably not aware of how they’re perceived by a newcomer. Or, they’re a bunch of old crones who didn’t want to have to deal with some unknown idiot.

      There seems to be a very nice one a little farther from me. I can try that one.

      1. When I finally decided that I wasn’t really an atheist any longer I made a roughly year-long survey of several different faith traditions and was somewhat surprised to find myself settling on my old punching-bag Christianity. Initially I had intended to join an Episcopal or Unitarian Universalist church because they most closely aligned with my libertarian social philosophy but the more that I read the more that it seemed that either Roman Catholicism (RCC) or Eastern Orthodoxy (EOC) was the authentic Church. If I was going to take Christianity seriously it seemed that I should join the authentic Church rather than one that had simply changed what it taught so that it mirrored 21st century Euro-American social values.

        I imagine that various Roman Catholic churches run the gamut from unfriendly to new visitors to openly welcoming. As I said my initial concern visiting an Orthodox church was that I’d be met with suspicion if not outright hostility by its parishioners. Because of Orthodoxy’s small footprint in the United States and the unconventional way that it is organized here as opposed to how it is organized in the rest of the world US Orthodoxy is susceptible to a certain cultural insularity — i.e. Greek families go to Greek Orthodox parishes while Syrian families attend Antiochian Orthodox parishes. I’ve been fortunate in not encountering this particular issue myself but virtually every book that I read about converting to Eastern Orthodoxy warned me about it. It was almost enough to send me to a Roman Catholic church even though I had come to believe that Eastern Orthodoxy’s claim to being the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church was the stronger of the two.

        I don’t (and didn’t) have a problem with prayer though my understanding of what it is has evolved from then to now. I also didn’t really have an issue with the singing, and actually thought it for the most part to be quite lovely, but I’m a huge fan of Bob Dylan, Dan Bern, and Lucinda Williams so my taste in vocals is suspect. What drove me mad though was the invisible knowledge everyone seemed to have as to when to stand, what book we were supposed to be using, where in the book we were supposed to be at any given moment, etc. Highly frustrating and for 2,000 year old institution it seems like they should have put together a better system to help newcomers follow along. I’m also socially inept in a non-structured environment so it seemed to me the way to interact with new people in a church setting was to talk about theology. As it turns out most people, church going or not, are really not interested in theology.

        1. I feel the same way. I discarded 99% of what is out there out of hand. I had already discarded my libertarian, Randian philosophy, so I didn’t have that issue. But if you are going to change your life that dramatically, you have to be serious, else you may as well not bother.

          As for the singing, perhaps you were luckier than I – no one could think this was lovely. Love Bob Dylan.

          That was the insane thing about my experience as well. Stand up, kneel, “amen” here but not here, sit, stand. And only about 90% of the congregation would at one time do any or all of this, and not always the same people! Is he not standing up because… why? Should I also not stand up?

          The RCC does have the RCIA, but I’m not sure if they really discuss theology in any technical sense. I am of such a bent or nature that I cannot understand being religious to the extent you go to church and yet have no interest in theology.

          I suppose, in a way, it is akin to someone liking the use of their powers of logic at work or on puzzles but would fall asleep if they had to discuss epistemology.

          Also one thing that struck me is I hear a lot (in Catholic circles, anyway) about evangelization, even something they call the New Evangelization. So I sat at the back of the church also as an escape option (like at the car dealership). “Thank you, thank you, people, but I’m just observing, no, I’m not ready yet, no, please give me some time… no, I don’t want to sign that! Help!”

          The complete opposite of that I hadn’t thought of.

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