Celebrating a New Vision, part 2

Whoa there! Yeah, you with the Elvis hairdo. Put down the muffin. Seems like you’ve had a few too many wassails of good cheer. Back away from the dessert tray. Keep your hands where I can see them […tense pause with heightened background music] Ok, that’s better. Now go sit in the aisle marked “No Children This Row”, maybe it’ll help.

[As suddenly as it began, the moment of danger passed…]

So what was I talking about? Oh yeah, faith informing reason in the public square. Well, in my last account Theophilus…

[Ahem]

What is it now? Another muffin maurader?

[glare, toe-tapping and whispered speech]

What do you mean plagarism?! He’s been dead nearly two thousand years. His stuff is clearly in the public domain!

[Everyone knows you didn’t write it, so attempting to pass off other’s work as your own is…]

Plagarism? Oh well, if that’s the case I’ll have to get a different opener. Rats!

[SCENE CHANGE]

As a technology writer for most of my life, (I was well into my genre by 9th grade), I’ve always enjoying good writing. Some of the best public policy commentary today is by Archbishop Chaput of Denver, Colorado. The theme I opened with in part 1, celebrating our diversity, is less about gender than about attitudes. One of the first attitude shifts that will start innocently small and make exponential waves is for women to stop accepting the soft porn that constitutes much of the fashion industry. That is the seismic shift, the strategic move. Colleen Campbell is one of those women leading the charge for all of us who want more out of life, not just women, because it never was and never will be a gender-driven issue. Archbishop Chaput writes with such clarity when describing the New Lens that will give us the opportunity to achieve more with our efforts, whether that is in technology, law, medicine, or social work.

Germans in the 1930s looked at everything through the lens of race. Marx saw the world through the lens of class struggle. And now we have a generation of new thinkers making exactly the same mistake, not with some bad racial or economic theory as their lens, but with gender.

Not one of these tools for understanding human experience works. All of them always lead to somebody suffering. The reason is pretty simple. We can’t explain the human person without including God in the conversation.

[You can’t argue points using religion, because I don’t believe in God.]

It’s like gravity: its truth doesn’t depend on your belief. If Colleen is one of the leaders of the strategic movement, the tactical move is to individually learn some of the rules of the game you’re in. If you’re part of an industry where men have historically made the rules, understand the rules rather than flagrantly flout them and pout afterward. That doesn’t mean the rules are right! It does mean understand your opponent and fight smarter than they or choose a different fight.
 
No matter what your girlfriends have told you, it’s not true that you can wear whatever you want and get taken seriously—Seriously. 🙂 Because of my experience in costume design, theatre and dance, I can appreciate the shoes that Leigh has on her site. Just understand that I’m an outlier.

Most men don’t understand your excitement with all things espadrille, being taken with talaria or pumped up about pumps. Frankly, they’d be a wee bit scared if someone wasn’t in the shoe biz and knew those terms without looking them up! (Crossword puzzle experts get a pass on this and lots of other wordy stuff.)

“André Malraux once asked a priest to name the single biggest lesson he had learned from hearing confessions. Without skipping a heartbeat the priest said, ‘there are no grown-up people.’” ~Archbishop Chaput

The tactical plan of “doing what the Romans do” until you can get enough votes in the Senate to change the way things get done, is just as true now as ever. (Eerie how true that still is?? Check out the 17th amendment.)

Focus forward with a plan rather than wish what ought to be or to be mired in the past of what was. To revitalize our culture, no single individual has written more, or more profoundly than John Paul II. Before there was social media, there was the reciprocal circuit {63:7} between the affirmation that ennobles everything that is human and the ethos of seeing. {63:6} We were created to be people of community, with our social sphere delivering an integral image of the human person, Man and Woman He Created Them.

{The bracketed references point to the specific sections within the Theology of the Body, where the terms may be found.}

Since I started this on Christmas Day, it’s fitting to wrap up with a Christmas carol. In the third stanza of Silent Night:

…loves pure light
Radiant beams from Thy Holy face

calls to my mind at least, that we are to be the light of life, one to another. To be holy is to be set apart. Again my favorite Archbishop:

History imposes obligations on the present, but Americans prefer to think that we invent ourselves, and that anything is possible. The result is that Americans usually have a very poor grasp of history, and we learn too little, too late, from the lessons of the past.

Outside of America, historically, beauty as an allegory for holiness goes back to at least Spenser’s The Faerie Queene of 1590 and 1596. I agree with with both Archbishop Chaput and Pope John Paul II that women are more attuned to the relationships involved in being a community of persons. In the free exchange of capitalism, that community is enriched when relationships are mutually supportive and it is impoverished when they are destructive or diminishing. Many of the heartaches detailed in the comments to Nicole’s post mentioned at the beginning of part 1 are the result of false ideas about freedom. JPII says it best:

14. It is appropriate however to recall that the feminine values mentioned here are above all human values: the human condition of man and woman created in the image of God is one and indivisible. It is only because women are more immediately attuned to these values that they are the reminder and the privileged sign of such values. But, in the final analysis, every human being, man or woman, is destined to be “for the other”. In this perspective, that which is called “femininity” is more than simply an attribute of the female sex. The word designates indeed the fundamental human capacity to live for the other and because of the other.

…Every outlook which presents itself as a conflict between the sexes is only an illusion and a danger: it would end in segregation and competition between men and women, and would promote a solipsism nourished by a false conception of freedom. [emphasis mine]

So the new vision for 2011 is to build our relationships on a bedrock foundation of equality. Celebrating our differences means we reach this bedrock by learning “which tool, when?” A backhoe and a an archeologist’s brush both have their place. We can do this, you and me, he and she. We can learn which tool when.

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Carpe Diem!

Matt

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