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Holy Week, when authority is the villain

By Susie

Charlie Pierce:

Holy Week is my favorite liturgical period of the year. Christmas is my favorite season because, well, it’s Christmas, and not only is the story itself a good one, but it subsequently prompted It’s A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol, and the soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas. But the liturgies of Holy Week — especially now that they’ve wrung all the grotesque anti-Semitism out of the Good Friday services, which always made me wonder, when they were going after Jeremiah Wright, whether good Catholics like Tim Russert, and Peggy Noonan, and Chris Matthews were listening back when they were kids (or dozing, like I did) — are the most moving because the one thing they’re not about is authority.

Authority is the villain during Holy Week. Secular authority, in the person of Pontius Pilate. Religious authority, in the institution of the Sanhedrin. What matters most throughout the season is the individual conscience. As Garry Wills never tires of pointing out, Christ did not make priests. He did not make a Church. And he sure as all hell didn’t make a Pope, draped as the office is with the sad detritus of medieval royalty. What the pope said in his homily above has no basis in the gospels of the season. Christ does not ask his disciples to be “radically obedient.” He washes their feet and tells them, according to the Gospel of John.

Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me, Teacher, and, Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye also should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, a servant is not greater than his lord; neither one that is sent greater than he that sent him.

What stands out in the Holy Week services is humility in the face of unreasoning authority. What stands out, ultimately, and whether you believe in the Resurrection or not, or think the whole thing is a bunch of hooey imported from the Egyptian mystery cults or somewhere, is that, in the story of Easter week, unreasoning authority loses. It loses badly. It makes a fool and a scandal of itself through the ages, so resoundingly that we eventually had ourselves a Reformation, and the secular explosion against unreasoning authority that came after it in Scotland, and France, and, most important to us, in the British colonies of North America.

Sometimes, I think I stay in the church just to be one of the stubborn people who say this stuff. Anyway, Happy Easter to y’all.

More love

by Susie
Smokey and the Miracles:


by Susie


by Susie

From Consumers Report, some advice for those of you who have lawns to maintain:

“It’s a sure sign of spring: The robins return and millions of lawn owners head out to apply fertilizer and weed-killers to their lawns–a rite widely known as ‘weed and feed’,” Rossi writes on his Cornell blog. But unless you have a history of weed problems, Rossi recommends skipping the whole thing. He says Memorial Day and Labor Day are better times to apply fertilizer.

In the “Slacker’s guide,” Rossi and several other turf experts offer advice that will save you at least 65 hours of work this season. But one place you shouldn’t skimp is on mower maintenance, according to Peter Sawchuk who conducts the mower testing at Consumer Reports. In addition to keeping a sharp blade, Sawchuk recommends using fresh gasoline, adding a stabilizer, checking the oil and changing the spark plugs if necessary.


Wild Flag:


by Susie
I ironed for hours last night, even sheets. (Yes, even fitted sheets.) Nothing I like better than freshly-ironed sheets! Lots of people like them, just not enough to actually iron them. But I’m one of those people.

I sat down with the ironing board in front of the teevee and watched “Love Me or Leave Me,” starring Doris Day and Jimmy Cagney. (It’s the story of singer Ruth Etting.) Time just flew!

Cowboys to girls

The Intruders:

Sister Rosetta Tharpe:

It’s coming

by Susie
A revolution in the Catholic church.

Good Friday, Friday

Ha ha!

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