Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Response about going to a Madonna concert

This interesting little piece about a Busted Halo's writer going to a Madonna concert was kind of interesting. This author and I communicate on occasion via email, and I felt like responding to this one. It's posted on the busted halo site with a few other responses. It's interesting, because upon re-reading it, I notice that I'm vacillating more than I usually do when sounding of on this or that issue.

Dr. Whelan's description of Madonna's slide show and profane imagery of the last two Pope's is pretty disgusting. She's also right that the 20,000 or so, who would not have otherwise thought it was cool, were more than happy to respond with applause at her representing the Pope and Church as evil dictators in line with Hitler and Pol Pot when in group-think mode.

For those not in the know BustedHalo is a catholic website dedicated to 20 and 30 somethings of a Catholic persuasion. As an Orthodox I find a little more similarity with them than with many others. Also it should be noted that the website has a strong Northeastern slant to its Catholicism, which cannot always be equated with Catholicism everywhere in the country. Anyhow, here's my response to the question "should I go to confession?".


A Balance Between “In” and “Of” the World

Confession must be done if you are convinced that you have sinned. But, as you said, you feel "ambivalent," so it's not real proper to confess something before God that you're not really sure is negative. Plus, the statement that you would gladly buy the next CD and aren't really sorry about going doesn't exactly smack of "repentance".

As for whether or not Christians should mingle in this sort of thing at all (buying CD's, attending concerts, etc)...

The microscope you use affects the results as much as the specimen on the slide. How you internalize that experience will ultimately, for you, be the ending point of its morality or immorality. I'm convinced that Christians can't hide from culture, and the more we shield other Christians from the culture by censorship and condemnation, the more we make those unpleasant aspects a forbidden fruit rather than something the Christian sees for what it is and can process effectively. You alluded to this when you said that by this stage in your life you could see Madonna's antics for what they were "and not much else".

It's always a dangerous slope between "in" and "of" the world, and sometimes we fall, but we can't be part of the redemption of the world if we don't at least witness the vices of our culture before passing summary judgment. I think we should perhaps get into the habit of taking parts of culture more seriously in general. Like you were saying about how Madonna's music was "wallpaper" for your life, many feel that way about even the chauvinistic rap or sexually explicit nonsense. But I think that's not good enough.

If we listen to crap and read crap and watch crap over and over and constantly blow it off, then we become the type of people who have accepted cultural attacks on our faith. At what point have we sold out? At what point have we lost our right to call ourselves "resident aliens" or to say that we are God's people whose true citizenship is in heaven, no matter where we live in this world?

-Ray Fulmer


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