Sounds Of Silence : End With Rejoice
Walter, your observations certainly would resonate with many - of all religions - the joy in witnessing the love of newly marrieds, the joy of parents at the birth of a child, the joy that comes from friends and relationships or from being in a place of beauty. But those moments come to all human beings - they are not necessarily tied to being christian or being Catholic except your specific case of those who feel relief after going to confession - only a minority gain "positive" feelings from confession though, according to statistics.
And these observations do not actually address the questions I asked. My question is about the Why - why is the general perception of, and apparently also the general experience of christianity so joyless? Why is christianity so unattractive to so many in the current era - among the first generations to have choices that those living in earlier centuries did not? This does not address individuals, not exceptions to the general, which is what your observations address. The common perception of christianity seems to be that it is joyless - and this perception is apparently pretty obvious to Fr.
James Martin also - why else would he write an entire book about it? Jim himself, in his interview about the book, talks about priests and bishops et al who never crack a smile. The neoconservative Catholics are acting as temple police everywhere these days -pouncing on "abuses" in the liturgy they will have a field day on that come December - a whole new set of possible abuses for them to discover and report to the bishops , horrified that people in the community might converse in the church before or after mass. They even hate the exchange of peace. Is it surprising that outsiders and even insiders see the church becoming more cold and more joyless with each passing year?
What do most christian churches emphasize? What is the primary emotion that this emphasis arouses?
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What do Catholics hear from childhood - Christ suffered indescribable tortures because human beings are so bad, so sinful, so guilty of so many things that Jesus was tortured to "redeem" them. What kind of God would ask that? And they are reminded of this in every church, where the crucifixes emphasize suffering most Protestant churches' have "empty" crosses which emphasize the resurrection - a far more positive and joyful emphasis. The Catholic church emphasizes all the missteps one can take, and that they must repent, and do penance. It's true - we are sinful, we must repent.
But, it is so unbalanced - Jesus talked about love far more then he talked about sin. Where is the "good news"? Anne, you make good points, although I think there is more to the answer, as you imply. In a Catholic Christian wedding, as opposed to other weddings of our culture, it is a total commitment, not until you get sick, not until one of you does something the other objects to, not until one seeks a divorce for whatever reason, not qualified by a prenupt agreement.
It is all in, radical, the two become one flesh, as our faith tends to be, The special joy we experience in a Catholic Christian wedding is in that unqualified permanent commitment to the other and the free choice to relinquish certain freedoms in order to become one with the other. Yet perhaps you know a few wonderful people such as those I know who radiate faith, who really are one with Christ and the Church?
Those people in my experience tend to be joyous. But you legitimately ask for more reasons. I think a larger reason for lack of joy as you mention is lack of faith. Napoleon experienced first communion as the happiest day of his life because he believed he was for the first time receiving the body of Christ into himself within the context of a supportive faith community, and he radiated with that thought.
If you don't believe in transubstantiation, for instance, how could you possibly take joy in that as he did? You would be participating in a false hommage to that which sustained billions for two thousand years. And that would induce guilt, not joy. We live in the age of uncertainty, the age of logical positivism. It has not provided a viable alternative, but it certainly has come a long way in destroying belief in what Paul warned all Christians of: if Christ is not risen, then all your faith is in vain.
Since many Christians, including Catholic Christians, have considerable doubt on that issue, they are more cultural Christians than Christians of living faith. And without Hope and living Faith, there is no joy in Christianity. As Chesterton pointed out, Christianity has been found difficult and not tried. Cultivating faith, hope, and love is a hard, long business for most of us. Too many throw in the towel midway through the journey. I think Ignatius addressed that in his exercises. It's tough working through them, but the stage of contemplation, intimate colloquy with God, is the end sought.
And that is a happy, joyous state. Confession, for example, does not call for us to wallow in guilt. It calls us to face our faults, resolve to do better, and get on, with a clean slate. But it does call us to repent, as John the Baptist did, and resolve to do better. Likely those that don't experience that joy in confession don't really complete that process, for pride, lack of resolve to do better, or another reason.
For most of us, being a Christian is a real challenge. Anne, I admire your courage and honest questionings.
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However, I wonder if your inquiries have become a shield against experience. You can stand in your swimming trunks all day long and discuss the tide, rip currents and temperature, but you won't get wet until you jump in. I know tons of joyful Christians, both Catholic and Protestant. And, all of them are doing "hard time. Many are tempted to bitterness and skepticism. But, temptation does not alway mean we have to fall into misery and be robbed of joy.
At least twice this month I woke up crying that I had to face another day. I thought of my friend who said, "I'm surprized you haven't tried suicide. I am being brutally honest. I hope I do not offend you. Nevertheless, I hang on because I know someone. And this someone is my joy. I will get through my struggles. One day at a time. Maybe, one hour at a time. This difficult time I am enduring will eventually pass. These troubles do not rob me of joy. They used to. But, I have learned to pray.
I challenge you to pray. Especially, pray for God to fill you with his Holy Spirit. If this sounds silly then that is only an indicator of how desperately you need this experience. Anne, you are loved. That is what you need to know. You are loved. Walter, sometimes I honestly wonder if you spend much time with those who are not Catholic. Your comments are naive at times and seem to reflect a lack of experience with religious people of other faiths, and with good people of no faith.
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I have attended many weddings over the years, and most have not been Catholic weddings. I have seen the same love, the same promises, the same commitments at all of them - Jewish, secular, Protestant and Catholic. And the same joy. And there was not one couple whose vows said I will stay until something bad happens and then I'm out.
All were making promises for life - all had no real understanding of what they were promising because they were too young, too inexperienced, too romantic. And sadly many of those marriages fail - across the board. And the divorce rate among Catholics is similar to that of the population as a whole.
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As far as the rest goes, it too is peculiar to Catholicism. But the lack of joy is not confined to Catholic christians, but seems to pervade christianity as a whole. And I think the churches, including the Catholic church, should be asking Why rather than simply lecturing. The churches may need to do some serious reflection, but before they do, they need to do some serious listening.
I once read a column by Fr. Martin that simply put down those who are spiritual but who no longer participate in organized religion. Instead of simply condescending to them, dismissing them as shallow, lazy, uncommitted, etc why not spend some time listening to them? One question might address the perceptions they have - and some questions could specifically about whether or not they see Christianity as joyless.
And if they do, and obviously Fr. Martin thinks that most active christians do not radiate joy but almost have to be ordered to be joyous, it seems that instead of simply judging, they should look inward and ask themselves why so few see joy in Christianity, why so few exhibit joy as Christians. Anne, separation divorce is built into the faith system of most non-Catholic christian denominations. It is there and it is known. It makes a difference. If you don't see that as it is, I can't explain it to you.
Just as if you don't perceive how doubt can take the life and joy out of sacramental encounters, I really don't have another way of explaining it to you. Walter, this is not meant unkindly, but really, you are a little over the top with this one - you seem to know very little about other faiths. Certainly divorce is not "built in" to the faiths I am familiar with.
Perhaps you confuse the harsh approach taken by the Roman Catholic church v. Your conclusion is both somewhat shocking and wrong.
The church's annulment laws are a sham - there is a reason it's called Catholic divorce. Those Catholics who are willing to go through a bunch of hoops, part with some money, have a willingness to be humiliated and sometimes to lie, have no trouble getting an annulment. Some Catholics refuse to do so on principal - and I salute them for their stance. The response of most non-Catholic christian faiths is both more compassionate and less hypocritical.
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Bruce, Walter, and Louis. I appreciate all of your comments and posts. I confess at this point to feeling a well-needed humbling, professionally, which happens now and then when I post on forums such as these. I make my living with words in academic and corportate environments. Yet it is clear that in spite of numerous attempts, and my rephrased and changed questions, my meaning was not clear to any of you. You all interpreted my posts through a particular lens, but all of you failed to understand my points which were meant globally rather than particularly, among other things.
However, I take that as my failure to communicate well rather than your failure to correctly understand what I was attempting in vain to say. This forum is not conducive to a lot of editing and rewriting, which is something I do a lot of in my work. That is a luxury in this type of forum. I wish you all God's peace - especially you, Louis, as you continue to find a way to get through each day. I well understand from my own life that faith in God helps people through difficult challenges. God has often given me peace when I have been dealing with fear and anxiety. Perhaps you call that Joy - I call it peace.
God is the source of that peace, that lifting of anxiety - but God is not the object. Even though the annulment system is marked by hypocrisy and is often very much a sham, it is better than what the church did before it was adopted. I have read that the pope wants to get rid of annulments, and become even less compassionate towards divorced people than the church is now. As bad as the current system is, it is better than nothing. However, since he seems intent on returning the church to the pre-Vatican II days and demonstrates not the slightest hint of real compassion towards anyone, it is likely that even more Catholics will be forced to decide whether to stay or go.
And most will go. Anne, I don't claim to be expert in comparative religions, but I would ask you which faith does not have the dissolution of an existing marriage accepted and built into its system, that is an established and accepted procedure to dissolve the marriage bond as part of its everyday theology, other than the Catholic faith? Not any protestant sect I am aware of, not the Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, etc. The very idea of divorce is inconsistent with Christ's words in the NT: two become one flesh, what man and God have joined together, let no man separate.
Why not encounter rather than avoid the issues raised by judgemental words, "naive," "uniformed," and various other aspersions in place of encountering the ideas discussed which may lead where you don't want to go? Your disagreement with a nonacceptance of divorce is your disagreement first and foremost with Christ's words in the NT, not the Church.
If acceptance of divorce is part and parcel of these faith systems and not part of the Church, then your statement that this is "both shocking and wrong" seems a disingenuous attempt to skirt a fact. Not that you totally avoid an issue. Your statement that the young for various reasons don't take the marriage vows they are making seriously is a roundabout confirmation of not genuinely encountering a sacrament, making it more a cultural rather than religious experience. That is one example of the faith problem I mentioned. Anne, I will pass on what I hope will be taken as a constructive criticism which you are free to dismiss as uninformed.
You can appear at times to turn a deaf ear to facts or ideas which if provided an openminded consideration might interfere with enhancing your generally pejorative view of the Church. Walter, I do not expect you to be expert in all religions. However, when you make sweeping statements that there is more joy at Catholic weddings than others because others have divorce "built-in" you are simply wrong. Perhaps that is what you have observed at non-Catholic weddings, but it is not what I have observed, and I have gone to more non-Catholic weddings in my life than Catholic weddings.
And would you please provide us with some external references that prove your claim that divorce is "built in" to other religions and faiths? You imply that somehow non-Catholic weddings produce more "joy" than do weddings in other traditions and apparently base this conclusion on some idea that marriage is not taken seriously by other christians and other faiths. I am sorry, but in my experience with people who are not Catholic, - couples and families - I have never encountered a wedding in a faith environment where divorce is expected, or "built in. The Catholic church requires its members to go through the annulment process if they wish to remarry in the church.
Other than that, there seems to be very little difference except for the fact that other faiths seem to be a bit more compassionate in how they handle divorce, requiring fewer hoops. There are exceptions - orthodox Judaism requires a formal process in a rabbinical court that is similar to annulment in the Catholic church, and the Mormons also have a similar process, called a temple divorce.
Anglicanism is deliberately not "centralized" and divorce and remarriage is handled somewhat differently by different "branches" of Anglicanism there are three main "streams" within Anglicanism. Weddings in the Orthodox churches do not have the same kinds of vows "unto death". The commitment is considered to be implicit in the rituals quite elaborate. Quite interesting.
I live in a largely Jewish neighborhood, have many Protestant friends and family, and a very, very close friend who is Orthodox, and have been privileged to witness many formal ceremonies within their faith traditions as well as the lived faith of all of them. Divorce and remarriage in the church is permitted in Orthodoxy without having to go through ecclesial courts although there is required counseling, a period of separation from the church, and a different ceremony for a remarriage wedding. So perhaps your observation that some religions have "built-in" divorce mlght include them, since they do not exchange the same kind of vows as Catholics, Episcopalians, and in various Protestant weddings I have attended.
The Jewish weddings I have attended are like the Orthodox in that the verbal commitment explicitly contained in spoken vows that Roman Catholics and Episcopalians and some other Protestants use are considered to be implicit in the rituals. Then if her family refused to take her back, a divorce could literally force a woman into prostitution, destitution, or even death.
Women had no rights at all. Jesus's exhortations at that time were meant to protect women from the harsh consequences of the prevailing patriarchal system in the event of divorce. Reading the bible without context is like not reading it at all.
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Just as you can get married in the church, so can you get divorced. A thoughtful, informed Episcopalian couple, as I understand, knows that if in the end things don't work out in the marriage a divorce will be available to them. Despite any word to the contrary, they know their marriage is frangible, permanent or temporary at the couple's discretion, within their church. And that is an essential, not superficial, difference. No doubt Christ was aware of the plight of the divorced woman of His time, and it likely played a role in His thinking.
But two becoming one flesh clearly places equal responsibility on the man and the woman. To claim that Jesus' words here merely are to protect the woman from losing her property and social status and not that God has made the couple indissoluably one flesh, that faithfulness and permanence at the essential core of marriage, equally applicable to man and woman, with no right of human beings to break the bond established by God, is where casuistry crosses the over line to rationalization. That is not to say the Church doesn't have a problem with divorce, nor that the process of annulment doesn't become a "sham" when administered improperly.
The Church simply is recognizing that Christ is intolerant of some things, as he is of divorce here, and trying to be true and consistent to herself by being true to His word. It's a really hard one, as the church must find a way to come to terms with divorced Catholics. But the church, with all its failings, here and elsewhere, is Catholic, not Catholic lite. In your final comment in 28, I think you may have identified the issue and the differences in perspective.
You consider the "Peace of Christ," our common and desired emotional state, to be peace, not joyful. I, and perhaps others, would consider the holder of that peace, which is certainly the possession of a good, to experience a form of joy. Just before I began this final entry, I received an email from a beloved year-old parishioner. NET Bible The happy sound of the tambourines stops, the revelry of those who celebrate comes to a halt, the happy sound of the harp ceases.
New Heart English Bible The mirth of tambourines ceases. The sound of those who rejoice ends. The joy of the harp ceases. Noisy celebrations cease. Joyful harp music stops. New American Standard The gaiety of tambourines ceases, The noise of revelers stops, The gaiety of the harp ceases.
Jubilee Bible The mirth of tambourines ceases; the noise of those that rejoice ends; the joy of the harp ceases. King James Bible The mirth of timbrels ceases, the noise of them that rejoice ends, the joy of the harp ceases. American King James Version The mirth of tabrets ceases, the noise of them that rejoice ends, the joy of the harp ceases.
American Standard Version The mirth of tabrets ceaseth, the noise of them that rejoice endeth, the joy of the harp ceaseth. Brenton Septuagint Translation The mirth of timbrels has ceased, the sound of the harp has ceased. Douay-Rheims Bible The mirth of timbrels hath ceased, the noise of them that rejoice is ended, the melody of the harp is silent. Darby Bible Translation the mirth of tambours ceaseth, the noise of them that rejoice endeth, the joy of the harp ceaseth. English Revised Version The mirth of tabrets ceaseth, the noise of them that rejoice endeth, the joy of the harp ceaseth.
Webster's Bible Translation The mirth of tabrets ceaseth, the noise of them that rejoice endeth, the joy of the harp ceaseth. World English Bible The mirth of tambourines ceases. Young's Literal Translation Ceased hath the joy of tabrets, Ceased hath the noise of exulting ones, Ceased hath the joy of a harp. Crimson And Emerald : Dabi is ecstatic to see Endeavor his father pushed down a rank. Especially since Hawks, whom Dabi's idol Stain complimented, was the one who took the number two spot form him.
Films — Animation. And he summed up the general sentiment thus: " Everybody was there Then again, on the "Karaoke Party" DVD bonus feature, he's heard singing "Stayin' Alive" from inside the dragon, so it's seems he's Not Quite Dead —until he was eventually digested, of course. In Shrek the Third , the crowd witnesses the on-stage death of Prince Charming and proceed to treat it like the happy ending to a play complete with an "Awww!
Of course, while Charming was the hero in the play, most of the audience still didn't really like him. In The Black Cauldron , after the Horned King is absorbed by the Cauldron, his put-upon toadie Creeper, after a moment of mourning, starts laughing maniacally. The Vicar turns to Lady Tottington and reassures her that they feel her pain. The minute he turns his back, he and the rest of the villagers start rejoicing.
Frankencreepy : When the castle explodes and Velma and her friends are believed to be killed by the explosion, everybody in town celebrates. Films — Live-Action. The line was first used in a more expected sense when the knights were reunited, but then things got desperate for Arthur's company though it's also a pun , by the way.
And here lies old King Frederick He stole for forty years The day he died the people cried. They cried? They cried "Three cheers! Now, that's a funeral worth having! Guy: Man, that has gotta suck! Girl 1: Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy! Girl 2: Amen! There is a Russian joke with a punchline of "We were burying my mother-in-law, got two accordions torn". The punchline is so worn out that at this point that overused gags, links and humorous stories are called "bayans" accordions in certain sections of ru-net.
The trope is the base for the old joke, "Q: What do you call 10, lawyers on the bottom of the ocean? A: A good start. I don't like to get in lines. Who wins? Older Than Radio : In the original novella A Christmas Carol , the Ghost of Christmas Future shows Ebenezer Scrooge a young couple who have been saved from financial ruin by the recent death of their creditor Scrooge himself, unbeknownst to him.
Since the man only needed a few more days to secure needed funds to pay off the debt, days which "old" Scrooge would most likely not grant, the "float time" to when the debt is transferred to its new owner gives the couple financial security, presumably for the rest of their life. The young bride even mentions that to feel joy at another's death should be wrong, but she can't help herself.
This scene is not usually included in adaptations. Older Than Radio : The reactions of the villagers after Max And Moritz have been ground alive into pellets and eaten by the geese. Dragon Bones : When Ward's abusive father dies, nobody celebrates in an inappropriate way, but almost no one is sad, either. The house ghost Oreg actually a magically-bound immortal slave gives Ward and his younger sister Ciarra new clothes for the funeral.
While the clothes are an appropriate dark blue, and might be an attempt to ingratiate himself with his new master, Ward, they are also very beautiful, and would have made a nice present for a more conventionally joyful occasion. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz When Dorothy Gale arrives in the Munchkin village, she is appalled and apologetic to discover that her house has landed on and killed an inhabitant of Oz. The Munchkins respond by breaking into a song and dance about how happy they are that the witch, is in fact, dead, and make Dorothy a national hero. In the film version , Judy Garland 's shocked expression throughout most of this is priceless.
The same thing happens later when she accidentally kills the other witch, and the guards respond by thanking her. A room full of telemarketers are reduced to skeletons by a demon in Good Omens. This means that all the people they were due to call didn't get a little angrier, didn't curse them or spread this annoyance onwards. So in balance, these hideous deaths made the world a little better. Although not so much better that Terry didn't insist it be undone by the end of the book.
Done with a building. The Tau blow up an Administratum tax bureau and the guardsmen cheer. Keep in mind these are people taught from birth that aliens are evil and want to sacrifice their babies to the Dark Gods. Which leads to the following stanza: The neighbors heard his mournful squeal; They searched for him, but not with zeal. No trace was found of Jabez Dawes, Which led to thunderous applause, And people drank a loving cup And went and hung their stockings up.
Live-Action TV. But there is at least one episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine where an imminent invasion of the Ferengi Alliance was met with near-indifference. Rom: Think of the terrible repercussions to the Alpha Quadrant! Worf: I cannot think of any. Kelso: You think it's funny that one of the surgeons paid his dwarf cousin, Lance, two hundred dollars to show up at rounds and sing, " Ding dong, Kelso's dead!
Tough room. Uncle Phil: Yeah. All: as crowd Hooray! Crow: Are you sure he's dead? Mike: as paramedic Oyah. All: Hooray! TV's Frank: It's true what they say, one life can touch so many others. Mourner: viewing his dead wife You did a real good job on her. David Fisher: Well, we do our best. Mourner: If there's any justice in the universe, she's shoveling shit in hell right now. Dick: cheerfully Dr. You got your wish! Harry begins clapping, stops when nobody else joins in.
Nevertheless, the lyrics are open to interpretation in regards to what the attendees actually thought of the deceased, except for the versions which include this final verse: It was twenty years ago me boys that old Pat was put underground And every year to celebrate they all push the jug around They gather at the graveyard and pour vinegar in his ditch Cuz everybody hated that lousy son-of-a-bitch! Ha ha, you're dead The joke is over You were an asshole And now you're gone As your ship is going down I'll stand by and watch you drown Ha ha you're dead, ha ha you're dead, ha ha you're dead.