View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Thinking of Britney at Mass

At Mass yesterday, Father Gerry commented on the Gospel reading (Mt. 7:6 – “Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw you pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you.” RSV).

He gave it the traditional interpretation. The pearls are the Christian faith, and the swine/dogs are those who cannot or will not accept faith.

Perhaps the saying was originally aimed at the scribes and Pharisees. Father Gerry broadened it. He cautioned that we should not expect everyone to accept or believe. While we might hold our faith in reverence, they treat it as the butt of jokes and the object of mockery.

All well and good.

But as he was talking, I was thinking of Britney Spears.

(No, not that way)

(Bet Father Gerry never thought he’d inspire anyone to think of her.)

What if we consider the “pearls” as more than the gift of faith? What if they are all the gifts we are given?

Talent. Skill. Beauty. Creativity. Intelligence.

We are given those gifts to use for the good of the kingdom, not for cheap gain and exploitation.

That’s when I thought of her.

She has physical beauty. She has some singing and dancing talent. Yet she uses it for shallow pop that conveys negative messages.

She exploited her gifts and inspired others to follow her path. She fed the dogs.

And what has happened to her lately?

The “swine” have turned to attack her. She is mocked, hounded, exploited.

I feel sad for her.

Then I thought of all the other people who have been given gifts, and waste them on films, books, songs, images, that are devoid of merit, or that promote ideas and beliefs that mock what God has given us.

They waste what they have been given.

They do not use their talents to advance the kingdom.

Hmm. I’m getting into another Gospel reading now.

The sad thing is that we allow them to do this. We support them in their waste. We buy their books and records, we go to their movies, we even buy the periodicals that they exploit and that exploit them in return.

So – maybe we need to be more careful about how we spend our time and money. We should read and view and listen, but maybe we just need to be more selective.

And maybe we should pray for Britney. Yes, she helped to create her situation, but she is a victim of it and our skewed values.

As for Father Gerry, he can take comfort. He inspired me to edifying thoughts.


Blogger majellamom said...

Very interesting thoughts here.

As a mom, I constantly feel sorry for Britney when she is called a bad mother in the media. It would be very difficult to learn to parent in that environment...

However, her comments on "her baby is her religion" reveal a lot about where she is on a spiritual journey. I agree that we should be praying for Britney (and everyone else we know of) that are searching for meaning in their lives.

6:32 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

I feel sorry for her. She is very young and she is clearly misguided by the hollow values of her environment.:-(. Unfortunately famous people with un-balanced lives, like her, contribute to the confusion dominating the society.
I liked your comments on placing pearls infront of pigs.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Moneybags said...

I wrote a post last night and you have answered my questions through this post right here.

Thank you

1:09 AM  
Blogger LAmom said...

Very well said.

10:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If one substituted the name "JonBenet Ramsey", would one feel the same? Why not -- because she was young? When did Britney get started? How about if one substitutes the name Judy Garland? Liza Minelli? Rock Hudson? Tom Hanks? Opie? Liz Taylor? Monty Cliff? Marilyn Monroe? Magic Johnson? Bill Clinton?

They also cast pearls before swine, and their talents, wasted or otherwise, didn't make the world a better place. And as you briefly note, we have no room to judge -- it was our loose, titillated, cold, demanding and fickle culture that formed and demanded them-- and which still doesn't learn! One question: How many of us watch "American Idol"?

1:45 AM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

Actually Britney's situation isn't uncommon. She's like millions of girls in the US who are overripe at 16 and are burnt out shells by the time they reach 25.

11:37 PM  

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