Many of you know Matthew Lickona--from writing Swimming with Scapulars, numerous short stories, the blog Godsbody and its collaborative morph into Korrektiv ("Bad Catholics, blogging at a time near the end of the world"). The Korrektiv Press' second title is Lickona's own Surfing With Mel (Lives of Famous Catholics), a fictionalized version of real life events that reputedly occurred as two Catholic-influenced movie makers--Mel Gibson and Joe Eszterhas--try to collaborate on putting the Book of Maccabees on screen. The narrative in script form (and the real life backstory) is a bit like watching a grippingly written trainwreck in slow motion, but it isn't presented for prurient sightseeing. Between the swearing, slurs, creepiness, humor, and sadness, there are multiple moral narratives here: how do we make moral decisions when we are spinning out of control? When do you give people a chance when they appear to have the moral maturity of a rabid dog? How do you follow God in such an insanely messed up universe, messed up primarily from your own decisions? No easy answers, but it makes for fascinating reading. I encourage people who can handle the language (OK, I've warned you, Mel is not a G rated character): do buy it and read it.
I shamelessly asked Matthew Lickona to talk a bit about the book.
Metropolis, USA: Fresh on the heels of the public meeting of Fr. James Martin, Cardinal Dolan, and Stephen Colbert (“The Cardinal and Colbert: Humor, Joy, and the Spiritual Life”) at Fordham University, our local RBCU* held its own "humor summit."
Dean of Student Life, Jillian Rousseau, said "Some students were intrigued by the very idea of religious people being funny, or clever, or smart. Plus a few administrators said we can't let Fordham get away with this coup. So we began looking for Catholics to participate in the first annual RBCU "Catholic + Humor Summit 2012."
"The difficulty was finding people who were available, and well, funny," noted RBCU President Fr. Aaron Deerhouse. "And we knew we would need a published author on humor, a prelate, and a TV personality. So, um, we decided to keep the line up a secret, to build suspense. And get people to come."
Dr. Therese Juneau, Theatre Department, warmed up the crowd by telling jokes that began with "A Priest, A Rabbi, and a Secularist walked into a bar...." After that, the evening's line up were walked in, blindfolded. With a flourish and quick manacle work, they were locked to chairs and blindfolds removed. They looked at each other, confused.
Humor will save the world. or at least remind us that we're human.
Newsweek asked people to tweet reactions to its new cover story on "Muslim rage." Using the hashtag, #MuslimRage, hundreds of people responded, with many poking fun of the magazine's underlying premise. Author Reza Aslan tweeted, "Memo to those few violent MidEast protesters, this is how you fight Islamophobia. You make fun of it."
Here's a sample of a few of the funniest tweets. [click for full article]
Hello, friends. My name is Susan Windley-Daoust, and I have written a book currently called The Theology of the Body, Extended: the spiritual signs of childbirth, impairment, and dying. I am a Catholic theologian who teaches theology at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota, and this book is the result of many things: most proximately a sabbatical year funded by my university and the Louisville Institute, which awards grants to people doing research for both the Church and academy. Less proximately, this has been a work years in the making, through doctoral work in theological anthropology and phenomenology, practice in spiritual direction, being a wife and mother of five, being involved in the work of hospitality through the Catholic worker, listening to students who come from very different place than I do, and overcoming my own hesitations to focus on this particular work of Bl. John Paul II.
The joy in learning new things is only exceeded by the joy in sharing what one has learned. And then the joy is multiplied by people with different insights offering alternate challenges to the material. I am creating this website in that spirit: sharing some of what I have learned to others through book clips, and keeping many people who are interested in what is happening on the publication front. Right now, the book is being considered by a publisher. You could help this book see publication by expressing your willingness to be contacted via email when the book is available for purchase. I promise not to spam you or sell your addresses. Regardless of your willingness to be on an email list, I am happy you are here.
(Cut to a speaker at the microphone, addressing an extremely large crowd)
I would like to thank all of you for supporting me here today. Wow, it's been a good couple of centuries, hasn't it? (wild applause) Thank you, thank you. Well, we fought the good fight, we ran the race. I'd like to tip my hat to my opponent, Secular Pseudo-Tolerance, for winning this particular battle. (boos) Now, now. Let's be honest--because freedom allows us to be honest, and integrity compels it. I think people get used to me being around for them, and take me for granted. I like that, to be fair, when people act like I am an intrinsic right. No need to be showy about it. I'm a backgrounder kind of guy. But being a backgrounder may have hurt us here. People haven't felt the pain when religious liberty is suppressed in a while.
I try to be bigger than this, honest I do, and I love VBS. Every year my kids like it and they come home with good insights about the topic of the week. And this year's probably had the best "take home" CD of songs yet...catchy and fun and some were even theologically touching and deep. Then there were two songs near the end....
In order not to publicly humiliate the artist of this song, I am not going to name it, or him, or the VBS program. But for goodness sakes, I have been having a running debate with this song, which my kids want to listen to every day, for nine weeks straight. (If you are thinking, hey, you're the parent, turn it off, remember that the rest of the album is great and I am usually in the middle of helping a child potty train or something). I have officially snapped. At least my mental cry of theological anguish may entertain you.
This song is about St. Peter, and has a rousing go go go! refrain. By the end of the song, I only wish I could. It begins like this:....
A certain one there be who came to Cap'n Jesus, an' he said, "Scullmarster, What good thing must I be doin' to secure me spot is safe ports 'til the seven seas goes dry?"
And the Cap'n, he said, "What line o' barnacles izzat? If fer quiet portsa fer all time is what ye seek, then obey the High Admiral's commands!"
"Which be they?" he was askin'.
"Have ye no' read th' list?" bellowed the Cap'n. "Don't be endin' yer fellows' voyage prematurely! No swashin' another man's buckles! No plunderin' ill-gotten booty! Speak truly! Be givin' yer mater and pater their just dues! Be treatin' all as ye treat yerself!"
To a pirate marooned, or facing th' Cat O Nine Tails.
1 As th' jolly roger longs fer streams o' water, so me soul thirsts pants fer ye, me God. 2 Me soul thirsts fer God, fer th' liv'n God. When can I go an' rendezvous wi' God? 3 Me tears have b'n me burgoo day an' night, while people say t' me all day long, “Where be your bleedin' God, bucko?”...