"The body of Christ has a right hand and a left hand and more than its fair share of assholes."
There is debate as to who actually said this, but the context is more important. It was the summer of 1992 and I was in a drama troupe in residence at Epworth Forest in northern Indiana. It was the best of times and the worst of times. The six of us had a great time staging the plays we were doing, but we seemed continually out of synch with the weekly rotation of camp leaders. Even though we cleared the plays we were doing in advance with the camp deans every week we found detractors among the adult leaders in one way or another.
What got us in trouble? Maybe it was our original comic romp through the scriptures called "Reduced Bible: From Genesis to Revelation in One Hour or Less or Your Money Back" or our retelling of the Good Samaritan as the Good Homosexual or our production of "A Peasant of El Salvador" which retold the story of martyred Archbishop Oscar Romero, I can't be sure. Probably all of the above and then some. We all taught workshops as well and Liz, who was teaching a class on prayer forms and meditation, had a student question her focus on breathing meditation asking, "where in the Bible does it teach this?"
Oh, and I should mention that since some of us were vegetarians we all took a vow not to eat meat over the summer. That really freaked some people out.
During our last week a particularly reactionary, right-wing keynoter effectively replaced most of our performances with his own church's troupe of talking mimes. Yes, I said talking mimes. No, I am not kidding. I remember turning to a sympathetic pastor there in the middle of a performance and saying, "I have faith that God will save these kids from this horrible theology, but I'm not sure that God will enlighten them that this is bad art."
At the end of the summer when we were dissecting the whole ordeal with a dean that was actually on our side and trying to figure out what happened, he let us in on the above bit of wisdom. I have to say, this quote has helped me greatly through the years. Sometimes in culture wars it's not about a titanic struggle between right and left, it's about quarrelsome assholes who relish finding fault and tearing people down.
I do thank Fuzzy for reminding us that it is really important for a functioning body to have one really good asshole to get the shit out. But more than one is just too many.
40 for 40, #5