Locking Down the Father of Lies

Every few days or weeks, a wave of new rumors sweeps through the Parish about something or other. It’s always something like “What’s this I hear about St. Jane and women priests!?” followed up with”You must do something to address these rumors!” And it always comes from the same sources, which I pretty much know by now, depending on the subject of the rumors.

The latest is that St. Jane is only allowing Communion in the Hand which, for some reason, is a hot topic of conversation and for some other reason – or lack thereof – has people up in arms over absolutely nothing. If it were an isolated incident, and if it were not so predictable, I’d probably be bothered by it.

It’s a steady stream of dreck, and figuratively speaking you just need a fly swatter.

But Who would say such a thing?!

The questions never asked, during our COVID-stressed existence are, “Who said that?” Or, “Why did they say that?”

Most of the rumors I hear are false. Some I haven’t been able to address because I haven’t known the facts. (And you might ask yourself why I did not know the facts, which is a good question, and one which I’m usually able to find out.)

The Source

In Boy Scouts years ago a rumor started that our Scout Leader was resigning. We were all shocked and surprised. That very night my scout leader called me and asked where I’d heard the rumor, and I told him quite honestly that I’d heard it from my David. He then called David.

David took the fall because I think at that point it was so generalized in some large group setting that no one knew who’d started the rumor. It wasn’t much of a fall, our Scout Leader just set the record straight.

But it was a lesson. Never take rumors as true until you know more. And always question the source.

The Father of Lies

 You belong to your father, that is, the devil, and are eager to gratify the appetites which are your father’s. He, from the first, was a murderer; and as for truth, he has never taken his stand upon that; there is no truth in him. When he utters falsehood, he is only uttering what is natural to him; he is all false, and it was he who gave falsehood its birth. And if you do not believe me, it is precisely because I am speaking the truth.

John 8:44-45 Knox translation

Very beautiful things start in the Church, things truly started as a fruit of the spirit, which get torn down and destroyed by the works of the flesh. They’re stolen, to go off elsewhere and start on a foundation of sand, deceptions, and intrigue. In the inevitable frustrations that develop, rumors and blame start, to deflect attention from where it actually belongs, and sometimes to assuage guilt.

That’s when you know you’re dealing with the father of lies, and not the Author of Life.

A Toxic Brew

It’s all unnecessary.

So I started tracking rumors to their source. Instead of answering questions, I asked them. I started giving advice instead of asking for it. Instead of watching the Parish get trampled like a doormat – that applies to groups across the board, and to no one group in particular – I re-established boundaries. People hate that kind of thing.

Toxic people are usually unhappy, and it’s usually not a lifelong way of being. Some may be going through an unhappy phase of life, just miserable in their lives. Some might not have grown up yet, and consider acting like a spoiled teenager is the norm for those approaching or past middle age.

Frustrated souls start rumors constantly.

Conclusion

Be at peace and occupy yourselves with the Father of Life, who is our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus never started rumors, though he did end many of them.

It’s easy to mess with a priest or a parish – the stupidest people are more than capable of doing it. Tho in these bizarre times, maybe it’s better to remember that age old adage – never mess with the people who know where the bodies are buried.

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The Lively Art of Writing

At the same time, I do not wish to intimidate you with my letters. His letters, they say, are severe and forceful, but when he is here in person he is unimpressive and his word makes no great impact. Well, let such people give this some thought, that what we are by word, in the letters during our absence, that we mean to be in action when we are present.

2 Cor 10:10-11

We’ve been experiencing growing pains in our Latin Mass, the Mass in the Extraordinary Form, here at St. Jane, and between that and helping many with coronastress I’ve found myself on the phone or writing letters, e-mails, and texts constantly for months on end. I haven’t written so much since I was graduated Liberal Arts school, though thankfully typewriters are out of style.

It’s helped me to realize I need to sharpen my mad writing skills.

And in the interest of doing so, I looked up an old book we worked through in High School, called “The Lively Art of Writing“. The Yoast readability analysis of my last blogpost recommended I have more structure, which is something right out of TLAoW.

Basically, before you write anything you make an outline – for blogposts that outline basically becomes your headers. I used that formula throughout my life until I kept a weblog, since it was more or less just a weblog, not the self-published magazines they’ve become.

Back to the Terrifying Reality of Writing

Modern sensibilities are terrified of putting things in writing. I get it.

“Look what you said! What did you mean by this word?! What did you mean by that phrase?! He’s talking about me! Me Me Me! You used this word wrong!!!!”

It’s easy to be misunderstood when you write something down. So when you do write things down, it’s best to stick with the facts and simply acknowledge that many will read their own interpretation into things.

Let them. It’s fine when you know that what you’re saying is genuine, non-harmful, and meant to communicate in a healthy way.

Clarifications and Terms

In our ongoing Covid realities, situations are changing constantly and it’s helpful to give updates that aren’t always possible any other way. I’ve done my share of live streams and video messages, but people usually prefer having something in writing.

The video messages go over well, and I’m overdue for another. But what I found is that many liked that the video presentations were there and that I was doing them, but they didn’t/couldn’t always take the time to watch them. The presence they brought was more comforting than the actual message, to most. 😐

Back to our Latin Mass, I was experiencing confusion regarding it. So – the only thing I’ve really done the last few months is to stop acting as a mediator and healer and allow others to start seeing the confusion for what it is. Overall it’s just a growth phase in the spiritual life of the Mass-goers here. It’s a growth phase for myself as well.

Phone Tag Lag

Writing texts and e-mails begs the question “Why don’t you just call?”

The life of the phone message can be exasperating and takes on a cycle uniquely its own. Here, and in many areas I’ve come to find out, phone messages will often show up a day or three later.

So the cycle can go like this:

  • Monday: “Father, it’s Daisy, can you give me a call?”
  • Message shows up Tuesday: “Daisy I’m returning your call, let me know what you need.”
  • Thursday – Message from Tuesday evening shows up: “Father we’re playing phone tag, I’ll try again.”
  • Thursday afternoon: “Hi Daisy, returning your call. Can you leave me a message about what you need, and we can work from there?”
  • Sunday evening message appears along with three calls from the Archbishop that he made Friday, and an emergency call from hospice: “Father, we keep missing each other! I’ll send you an e-mail, you never return your calls!”

Texting

Texting works great, and so many hate it. Immediate responses are possible, or realistically as soon as possible if not immediately. Everyone and their cousin learned how to text after Katrina hit and that’s all we could do.

It can get overwhelming when everyone texts out of the blue all at once, or when you’re exhausted and a random text floats in. But it does work.

But again, it’s writing and you’ve put it down and put it out there for people to misinterpret. “What did you mean by the Latin Mass is going through a growth phase? Are you implying that we’re immature? Maybe it’s you who are immature!”

Granted, I am always growing through life. That’s a healthy given.

The Scourge of E-mail

E-mail can be an energy-sapping reality that needs to be put in its place. Currently, my auto-responder is set to notify senders that I’ll answer e-mails on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, while monitoring for emergencies.

Research shows that in order to work at a level of thought with enough depth to expand the mind, focus, and develop ideas, you need a good three hours for the level of concentration required. If you’re checking email constantly and needing to reply to it immediately you may as well hang up your prayer life, your homilies, your ideas, and any serious work you need to get done.

The Ancient Art of Letters

The art of letter writing is something that currently eludes me.

Every now and again I just have to sit down and get some ideas out to help clarify situations or to state something, draw boundaries, etc. At times I just don’t have the time necessary for it to be an art form, but it’s at least something.

I’ve reached the end of clarifying anything to do with our Latin Mass, which is good.

I can also be extremely strong in my writing, which I’m aware transfers over into my letter writing. I’m intent on working through that into a better style of business writing, but given everything going on these days, sometimes you just have to type something up and send it.

The thing is that I write a lot. I’ll force myself into brevity, but I can sit down over coffee in the morning and type up a five page e-mail in ten minutes, edit it, peruse for misspellings and grammatical errors, then hit send.

Too, instead of sending off a one page letter, I’ll send off a five page one. 🤷🏼‍♂️

I decided to start typing into my little weblog again, and practice readability and structuring while I work on ideas for another blog I’m considering.

A work in progress

Writing is never something to be afraid of. And a lot of people read things into my writing that simply aren’t there. Well, not a lot of people. A few people do that, and I’ve more or less moved beyond worrying over it.

Texts and e-mails can lead to electronic clutter, which is a different story entirely and definitely a task to stay on top of. But writing is healthy and fun.

All the best in your writing adventures. And all the best in mine, too. 😳

Keep it lively.

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Ken-AYE

Random life

When you’re named Kenneth it doesn’t really matter what you prefer, because people make their own decisions on what your name is. (In the same way, the cover picture on this post doesn’t really matter as to the content of the post. But Fox Squirrels are fascinating creatures. Less fascinating than us, but still… More on that later.)

Kenneth

For instance, growing up my family always called me Kenneth which to this day most of my grammar school friends and all of my family still use.

My grandparents were pretty formal on both sides and called me Kenneth. The Monsignor in my Parish growing up also called me Kenneth, as did all of my teachers.

I love it.

I still remember Monsignor Melancon coming into class with our Report Cards, sitting down in the middle of the room as the entire class was rearranged, and calling our names to come up and get our reports, as we trembled in fear and expectation.

“Kenneth?”

*tremble*

“Very good.”

*reflect*

Kenny

Some of my friends shortened that to Kenny. That transferred to music, and all of my music friends have and still call me Kenny. The Archbishop of NOLA is friends with some of my music friends and has always insisted on calling me Kenny.

I love it.

Ken

The business side of the world has always decided they can’t call someone Kenny, and that Kenneth is too formal, and Kenny too informal. So they call me Ken.

I’m OK with it.

At times I’ve encouraged it because I don’t really have the time to deal with people’s personal issues over my name. I can’t help but feel that anyone named Kenneth goes through the same thing.

“What’s your name?”

  • “Kenneth.”

“What would you like to be called?”

  • “?”

Call me what you will, but don’t call me late for dinner. ;-]

But the thing is, my brother eventually took to calling me “Ken-aye”! (A for Allen of course, and a play on Kenny.)

So, to this day I often sign my name as Ken A.

I know you’re fascinated by these tidbits of info. But I’m actually fascinated by the tidbits of info which you all share with me. It’s not that I have a low threshold of excitement, it’s that you are all fascinating people. I’m just trying to share and be open while we’re all going through this COVID shutdown mess. My heart goes out to all who are struggling.

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KenA