09 February 2015

Natural Woman

A few days ago was a feastday I wanted to commemorate in someway, but wasn’t quite sure what to do: Saint Photius the Great, Patriarch of Constantinople. The Eastern Orthodox considered him one of the greatest patriarchs of Constantinople. Right now, perhaps some Roman Catholics are saying, “What is this traitor about to say about the One, Holy, Catholic, and Roman Church! Next he’ll be praising the enemy of unity, Mark of Ephesus!” While at the same time some Eastern Orthodox are saying, “What is that schismatic about to say about the One, Holy, Catholic, and Orthodox Church! Next he’ll be slandering the courageous defender of Orthodoxy, Saint Mark Evgenikos, Archbishop of Ephesus!” Perhaps some Eastern Catholics are saying, “Man! I wish he wouldn’t bring them up. Next he’ll start talking about Saint Gregory Palamas.” You know, this sounds just like a very dysfunctional marriage, doesn’t it?

A tendency to want to be heard but no desire to listen is very common in both religion and, as the number of divorces indicates, marriage. Of course, before divorces became so common place, the same situation still existed, only the couple were not free to separate and create the same situation with someone else. (Do you think I’ve overstated my point?) Since I’ve already made the comparison, I’m going to make an analogy; however, this analogy will seem absolutely ridiculous. The reason I’m using such a ridiculous analogy is to make sure everyone is listening and doesn’t get confused concerning how ridiculous it is to want to be heard, but with no desire to listen.

A man and a woman are married and move into their first home together. All they could afford was a small house, just two bedrooms and one bathroom, but they were in love and money didn’t matter. Everything was great until the man installed a urinal in the one bathroom. Now money was tight, and the toilet used far more water than the urinal. For the sake of having a little spending money for entertainment, he insisted that his wife only use the toilet for number two, and use the urinal for the other.

This was the beginning of World War III!

Eventually they ended up getting divorced.

Please keep in mind that I said this would be ridiculous. Take a break now, and when you’re done laughing and can suspend common sense for the sake of this analogy, come back and read the rest.

Why were they fighting about this? Why did the man ever think that his wife would ever consider using a urinal, or even want one in her bathroom? The answer is quite obvious, he had no idea how his wife worked. I know this does seem impossible, but there is that story about John Ruskin... “You make me feel like an unnatural woman?”

Perhaps it seems reasonable for the woman to be upset. However, why wasn’t she able to simply explain what was obvious? Wait a minute, it wasn’t obvious! If he didn’t know how she worked, how would she know how he worked? Without knowing each other enough to know the obvious, perhaps this analogy isn’t quite so ridiculous given the tendency to want to be heard with no desire to listen.

Now what would happen if they took the time to listen, explored the issue, and got to really know each other? If you missed what I hoped was an obvious reference to Genesis 4:1, I’ll spell it out for you: procreation. If you’d like to know (pun intended) how this is analogous to dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox, read John 17:20–26.

Here’s are a few topics that we each need to get to know the other’s perspective before we can really begin to dialogue with each other:

1. The FiliĆ³que: When Eastern Orthodox start talking about the distinction between the Essence of God and the Energies of God to a Roman Catholic… Hey, it’s all Greek to me.

2. The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception: The vast majority of Roman Catholics do not know that the East Orthodox objection has very little to do with Mary, and is focused on Adam and Eve, as well as Satan, and… well… Saint Augustine of Hippo.

3. Papal Infallibility: Would a Greek women trust a Latin man with no understanding of her essence and energies allow him to install a urinal in her bathroom and try to force her to use it? Not only that, then he gets all confused over whether the All-Holy Theotokos could ever not be immaculate, even for just the most briefest of time?

If we just took the time to listen and get to know each other, the rest of the world might just want to get to know us.

I would like to explain this recording of Natural Woman by an all male band… Nope. Can’t explain that. I had a lot of fun sharing that house my mom found for us (the birth place of THE smalls) with Terry and another drummer named Dean before I dropped out of music school, so I can imagine Terry laughing like crazy over this song. I can also picture Dug (I checked the yearbook. What happened to the "o" Douglas?) going up to me with a look of concern and say with all sincerity and compassion, “Are you OK?” just like he used to in high school. Nonetheless, I think they did a great job. Far better than Celine Dion who my wife… I better quit now before World War III.