Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Follicle Follies/Milquetoast Messenger

I've noticed a few similarities with two priests from different parishes here in town.

One, their hair. They have what look to be very expensive haircuts. There is "product" present. A hairdryer looks to have been used liberally. You can imagine one of those $40 hairbrushes they sell at the salons being employed. There was copious use of a mirror, maybe even one of those hand-held kind they give you at the barber before you say "Yeah, looks great!" even if you don't think so.

There is something fundamentally wrong with a priest having hair this good. Outside of my own petty jealousy, it is simply distracting to see this kind of hair spectacle at mass. The priest is not a performer up on stage trying to kick the footlights out again (Hag reference for those who are interested). He's not up there to wow us with his showbiz 'do and mastery of mousse (btw, do people still use that stuff? Such a dated reference!). It makes the man come across as a dandy, a gallant if you will, preening and primping for social approval while our souls languish.

But the hair is only the physical manifestation of their desire to be liked, to be "one of us" to show us that they too are sinners...Attention--we realize you sin too, but quit acting like you have no insight on this topic because otherwise why are we listening to you? Both priests constantly tell us during their homilies that they "don't have all the answers"...How about starting with a FEW? The main goal of the talks seems to be about them and their desire to be seen as just another troubled, foolish sinner with no particular training on the topic that might be relevant. Yup, just one of us. That whole "Shepard" thing? Outdated. Just another lost sheep...oh well, let's have donuts!

One of the utterances I really don't care to hear from a priest is the following: "I don't know." Both of the priests I am discussing use this phrase. I. Don't. Know. Again, why am I listening to you? You don't know? What don't you know? Are you confused? What I think they mean when they say this is "It sounds old-fashioned, divisive and patriarchical to stand up here and tell you How It Is (as Jesus defined it) so I'll just water everything down into a bland stew of milquetoast feel-goodisms and tell you what great people you are who could be maybe just be a little better."

They remind me of those corporate trainers who come to your workplace to teach you about Risk Management. Sure, they'll teach you some stuff, but their most important goal is to make sure you are happy with them because you will be filling out a rating card at the end of the training.

The actual training is secondary to being likeable.

But as the kids say, whatever. It's just our souls and our lives. Go ahead and schedule your next 3 week haircut and focus on your own personal feelings of happy approval of the congregation.

That's why we're here afterall.