Friday, January 27, 2012

circling the wagons

At a memorial service, longtime Penn State football coach Joe Paterno was eulogized in front of 12,000 mourners. Paterno, who died Sunday, had been fired for not doing enough in the sex-abuse scandal that has rocked the fabled football team. An undercurrent of seething anger at Paterno's treatment by the university was palpable at the service. Joe was a legend. Joe was a man of stature and character. Joe deserved better. Tarnish the belief system at your peril!

Messing with people's beliefs -- suggesting those beliefs might be less than complete or downright corrupt -- brings down the wrath of God. Circle the wagons. Protect the sanctified. Kill the messenger. The good outweighs the bad ... protect and extol the good!

At the Vatican, an archbishop was shipped out after detailing the corruption rife within the awarding of Vatican contracts. Everyone had been content with the status quo. Nepotism played a role. Everyone made money and there was a lot of money to make. Kill the messenger.

All this is easy-peasy on the social front -- being aghast at the worm in the apple, trying desperately to retie an untied shoe lace. But I think the same problem can be found closer to home -- within ... building, brick by believable brick, some structure which is honorable or good or sustaining only to come upon the stumbling block that runs amok with allegations/facts that assert that what can be very, very good can also be the source of what is very, very bad. How hard it is, after all that sweat, to find that the temple is built on sandy soil.

And the more virtuous the enterprise, the fiercer the battle to maintain and protect ... to revile and discount the sandy soil. What is good is good, period. What is bad is bad, period.

Socially, personally, what a difficult and arousing thing it can all be.

Socially, personally ... what a lot of complex tears can be shed; what a lot of defensive maneuvering can be employed. And how infuriating to have to concede that my complex and adorable temples can be summed up by anything as mundane as a bumper sticker:

"Don't believe everything you think."

Read 'em and weep!

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