Boston Area Parish’s Nativity Scene Puts Jesus in a Cage

This isn’t the parish creche – image usage rules don’t allow me to post the actual nativity scene.

Just when you thought Christmas couldn’t possibly be politicized more, a Boston-area parish has told everybody, “Here. Hold my beer”.

Their nativity scene depicts the baby Jesus inside a cage. 

CBS Boston has the story (images at the site):

DEDHAM (CBS) – It’s an unconventional take on the nativity scene at St. Susanna’s Parish Dedham. The baby Jesus is in a cage, the wise men are closed off by a wall.

For the parish, the crèche is meant to be thought provoking. “We try to take a picture of the world as it is and put it together with a Christmas message,” said Pastor Fr. Stephen Josoma.

That message this year questions “peace on earth”, since Jesus represents migrant children being held at the southern border separated from their parents.

The wise men are the caravan of migrants behind the border wall. They believe it’s very much the message of Jesus. “Jesus was about taking care of one another. This is not the way to take care of one another,” said Fr. Josoma.

Parishioner Phil Mandeville says Jesus was no stranger to politics. “Christ was political, he was hung on a cross for making political statements and bucking authority and that’s exactly why he died,” Mandeville said.

This has to be the dumbest nativity scene ever. And there have been a lot of dumb nativity scenes over the years. I always thought the Christmas message was to change the world, not represent it. Come on, the Holy Family weren’t immigrants – they returned to Joseph’s hometown of Bethlehem because of the census decree. They belonged there. Kinda like when you or I go visit family over the holidays. And the Wise Men represent the caravan of migrants? That’s weird – I thought they came bearing gifts, not seeking asylum or jobs. And what gifts are caravan migrants bearing, exactly? 

I get that the pastor and parish want to raise awareness to an important current issue, and are attempting to be provocative with their creche. You’d think, though, that God taking on human flesh, coming as a babe, to save humanity from sin and death, was provocative enough. Apparently that’s not so important for some Catholics.

Catholics like Fr. Josoma and Phil Mandeville.

Don’t miss anything from A Catholic Misfit – please like ACM’s Facebook page!

 Photo credit: Art4TheGlryOfGod on Foter.com / CC BY-ND

Posted in Christmas, News, Politics, What The...? | 2 Comments

PARISH REPORT: Priest Installs Mirror in Adoration Chapel to Attract Millennials

[ACMPress] SEATTLE – The pastor at Our Lady of Virtual Reality announced this morning he’s made a major change to the parish’s perpetual adoration chapel, in hopes of attracting the millennial crowd to the church.

“I’m super excited about this,” Fr. Ken Seeted told ACMPress. “I installed a huge mirror at the front of the chapel, with the goal of bringing in the younger crowd. I want them to experience this holy, sacred time of perpetual adoration.”

Most of the parishioners ACMPress interviewed weren’t aware their parish even had a perpetual adoration chapel.

“I’ve been attending Mass here for Christmas and Easter for about ten years now,” one man said. “I never knew!”

“I went inside once,” a woman admitted, “and to be honest, I thought it just was the kneeler storage room.”

Fr. Seeted said several parishioners have told him they’re looking forward to the change. “They want that personal worship experience, so I’m going to give it to them. I believe in helping people on their faith journey, to enter into a deeper relationship with the person most important to them, without feeling judged. And who knows? Maybe the Boomer Generation will use it more than anybody!”

Don’t miss anything from A Catholic Misfit – please like ACM’s Facebook page!

Photo credit: tanjila on VisualHunt / CC BY

Posted in All The News That's Misfit To Print, Humor, News That Could Be True, Parish Report, Satire | Leave a comment

Reminding Myself of the Mission

Hey, remember me? Perhaps you’ve noticed – or maybe you haven’t – but A Catholic Misfit has been super quiet the past month or three. I apologize for the lacktivity. It’s neither a sign I’m finished with blogging, nor an indication I’m lagging in faith. There are several reasons why, but the two most prevalent reasons are, a) the Church has become a total joy suck. And b) I’m tired of Catholics, I’m tired of social media, and I’m especially tired of Catholic social media. All of which points back to reason a).

It’s difficult finding humor in the faith – and I know it can be found, having written it for over a decade – when the predominant emotions in Catholic social media cycle through outrage, fear, hostility, doom, and nastiness, and then back again.

All the more reason to staying committed to A Catholic Misfit and The Catholic Conspiracy. Someone has to be be ridiculously rational during this journey through the Land of Suck, right? Nearly everybody else has lost their mind. Lord knows there’s more to Catholic blogging than calling other people heretics, anti-popes, and enemies of the faith. Yes, we’re engaged in spiritual warfare, but holy combox excommunications, Batman, do so many people have to be somber and agitated all.the.time? Satan hates peaceful, joyful warriors.

Which is why we launched The Catholic Conspiracy, if you recall. Ask any of the other writers, and every one of them will tell you yes, the Church is in crisis, and it hurts. Terribly. But they will also say, to a person, that making Catholicism real in the every day is the better portion. Writing on the beauty of the faith far outweighs merely pointing out the evil. Writing on the joys and hopes, especially in the midst of struggle, is far more powerful than adding to the despair. Writing on being Jesus for others, on seeing Jesus in others, is far more important than seeing Satan in others. Being Catholic is tough enough without contributing to the weight of others’ crosses. That’s not what we do here. We want to be Simon of Cyrene. We want to be holy. We want to be saints.

And we want that for each of you.

Tolkien once wrote that he doesn’t expect history to be anything but a “long defeat”, though it contains some glimpses of final victory. TCC’s goal is to provide such glimpses while on the journey to history’s end, offering you beauty, art, humor, joy, love, and culture.

And a fair bit of satire and bad puns, too.

 

p.s. If you aren’t reading the other TCC writers, why not?

Posted in Blogging, Catholic | Leave a comment

Stay in the Ring, and Fight!

I went to confession earlier this week, ending what had been for me two weeks of bitter spiritual warfare. I had felt drained and defeated – a result of my weaknesses, obviously – so I dragged myself to the sacrament.

Perhaps “ending” is the wrong word. Maybe “giving me brief respite” is more apropos. The battles don’t really end, they just ebb and flow, wax and wane. It depends on how open I am to God’s grace, and whether I respond accordingly.

While chatting with a friend a day or so later, I compared the Christian life to a boxing match. St Paul compared the Christian life to that of a race, and while I won’t dispute Scripture, for me, I better relate to where he wrote he has fought the good fight. Notice Paul didn’t say he fought well – he said he fought the good fight. In other words, he fought the only fight worth fighting. It was good, because it led to what was good for him, and pointed towards the ultimate Good – life in Christ, and everlasting Life in Heaven.

It’s a constant battle, between flesh and spirit, between pride and humility, between good and evil. And most times, we take hits more often than we block them. Let’s face it – our adversary is bigger, stronger, faster, better trained, and fights dirty. When I retreat to my corner after each round, more often than not, I’m battered, bloodied, bruised, and broken. My eyes are half-swollen shut, my lips are split, I have a couple cracked teeth, and my kidneys feels as if they’ve been tenderized by Gordon Ramsey on a good day. That’s how I had felt heading to confession the other day. And crazy as it sounds, my injuries were mostly self-inflicted. Yes, I battle “powers and principalities”, but they’re so dastardly, not only do they get their hits in, but they deflect and direct my own swings back onto myself.

And when I finally stumble into my corner, Christ is there. He doesn’t merely tend to my wounds – He heals them. Completely. That’s what confession does – Christ removes every sin’s stain, refreshing me and getting me ready to go back out and fight. He provides strategies on how to avoid direct hits – the grace to avoid sin – and sends me back out there.

Sometimes, it’s tempting to jump the ropes and leave the ring. It’s enticing, because if I’m not in the ring, I avoid the fight, right? Well, not really. What happens is, we still get the crap kicked out of us – we just don’t have Christ in our corner anymore, waiting to fix us up. On top of that, the whooping is more subtle. It’s not the barrages of right hooks and left jabs like those we get in the ring – it’s more a culmination of pokes in the ribs, or slaps to the face, given in a way we barely notice. Small things which break us down over time, until we either ignore them – that’s when we’ve lost the sense of sin – or accept them as a way of living – that’s when we’ve been given over to our sins – or blame others for our problems – that’s when pride has established its roots within us. All done in a way that appears inviting and pleasurable – because compared to getting the snot beaten out of us, anything else seems better.

Satan is sneaky like that. It’s part of his dirty tactics. While inside the ring, he tempts us and goads us to jump out. Then, when we’re out of the ring, he does all he can to stop us from climbing back in, dragging us down to Hell. Nasty piece of work he is.

Some people straddle the ropes, or try to stay in the ring while avoiding the fight. Neither tactic works. Straddling means not standing upon solid ground – there’s the risk of falling out. And running around the ring to avoid being hit? Eventually you tire out, left with no strength or energy to resist, and see no point in returning to your corner. That’s when the KO punch smashes into your face, laying you out like a side of beef – but even then, the fight’s not over. It doesn’t have to be, if you don’t want it to be. Christ is still there, in your corner. You only need to crawl over, and He will restore you. Completely. Without question.

Now we fare better in some rounds than in others – perhaps we last a little longer, defend ourselves a bit more successfully. But eventually, we have to return to our corner. We have no ability to solely sustain ourselves – we must go to Christ to renew our strength. We must continually go to Him if we want to survive the Final Round.

So stay in the ring and fight! Stay in the ring, because Christ is in the ring with you. The angels root for you, while Mary, the saints and martyrs continually support you. No matter how many times your nose gets broken, or your ribs get bruised. No matter how many times you get knocked down or trapped against the ropes. Just stay in there. Get yourself into your corner where Christ waits to heal you for the next round. He needs you to fight – the Church needs you to fight. You need to fight.

Photo on Visual Hunt

Posted in Catholic, Intentional Living, Sacraments | Comments Off on Stay in the Ring, and Fight!