The American Gift of Forgetfulness

Presuming the residual antipathies Lex quoted in I see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot to be characteristic of UK media figures, we have one more reason to regard tasteless American ahistoricity as a feature rather than a bug, because endocrine-system reactions to “Roman Catholic” are, I believe, just about inconceivable here, and certainly not because we’ve all translated into a higher plane of flawlessly nontheistic rationality.

I was going to make this a comment on Lex’s post but then realized that I wanted to pile on the links, which would choke the comment-spam filter faster than a Greenpeace activist on a tour of a nuclear power plant. So away I go with a barrage of autobiographical details, which is the price of a post written by me that’s anything other than hopelessly abstract. Gosh, you’re thinking, I can’t wait to see this!

  • I am largely a product of Colonial Presbyterian, spent my thirties at Grace Vineyard (Arlington, TX), and currently am a member of Covenant Chapel Evangelical Presbyterian, where I help out some. A few years back, when I got caught in one of the gazillion Sprint layoffs, by far the most effective “job club” I attended was run out of Holy Trinity Lenexa by a lay leader named Judy Ambler who is, as far as I’m concerned, a saint by as rigorous a definition as anyone could ask for.
  • My sister, who is if anything even more a product of the late ’60s – early ’70s “Jesus Movement” than I am, is at St Paul’s Catholic Church (Jacksonville Beach, FL), where she helps out a lot, doing the equivalent of running a couple of small businesses.
  • My geographically closest relative, a first cousin once removed, is some kind of higher-up at Catholic Charities and attends Mass frequently, possibly daily, at (I think) Christ the King. We do lunch a few times a year; at our last get-together she told the tale of her birth, which was sufficiently premature that she was not expected to survive.
  • Her aunt = my maternal grandmother, the only relative who lived near enough to the hospital to visit it with any regularity, and who was Assemblies of God (this being Springfield, MO, the A/G Vatican), came every day to the neonatal ICU, laid hands on the incubator, and prayed — knowing perfectly well that my cousin’s parents were not only Catholics but were, at the time, sufficiently leery of Protestantism, to say nothing of Pentecostalism, so as to for some years shun contact with her (a standoffishness that steadily eroded over time, not least because of her demonstrated concern for my cousin’s life).

I doubt that I am the only reader here, or even the only contributor, who could tell such stories.

And I was sitting in the neighborhood bar drinking a Guinness while I wrote it. God bless America.

2 thoughts on “The American Gift of Forgetfulness”

  1. Amen, Jay.

    Thanks for passing that along.

    The Holy Spirit will heal the disunity among believers in His own good time.

    For now, thank God, we no longer kill each other over these things. That is progress.

  2. Religious groups in America live side by side in peace because they only compete in the free-market for adherents. Groups that alienate to many potential “customers” by destructive acts fade away. In other places, religion and state are linked and religious questions become political ones and politics is ultimately about violence.

    Our current religious turmoils resulted when a narrow elite created a privileged status for one religious viewpoint and used the power of the state to suppress all others.

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