The pope proves he has the right manly stuff

This evening Carol showed me one of those cyber posters with a painting of Adam and Eve and a punchline wondering why artists always paint them with navels. Actually, the punchline wondered why they always had belly buttons, but as long as we’re being picky (as that particular poster seemed to have been) bellies don’t have buttons. There is nothing on the belly we can fasten pants, shirts, vests or other bellies to. They have navels.

To be honest, I’m surprised Carol didn’t know this gag. It was a classic brain teaser when we were kids. “An archeologist walks into a cave and sees two dead bodies. He immediately knows they’re Adam and Eve. How?”

Please don’t tell me you don’t know the answer. If you intend to, then you need to put your phone down and reread the lede paragraph (and, although the spelling is pretentious, in this context it’s correct).

That being said, I’m not sold on this whole “no navel” business. Why do we assume that just because Adam and Eve weren’t born, but created from dust, mud and ribs, they wouldn’t have navels? Sure, a navel wouldn’t be necessary, but does that mean they wouldn’t have been there?

Don’t fundamentalists get upset with scientists for saying essentially the same thing? If the theory of evolution is correct, then God isn’t necessary to human life. But it doesn’t mean he isn’t out there. And the Bible does say God created Adam and Eve in his image. How do we know God doesn’t have a navel?

If I seem to be picking at gnats, I feel I’m in good company with Pope Benedict this week. He took control of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (read “nuns” in the common vernacular) and handed the reins to a male Bishop. And we all know that unmarried men who run around in robes are completely equipped to discern the spiritual needs of women in the twenty-first century.

Ostensibly the move was because of the conference’s professed stand on same-sex marriage, contraception and abortion, except that the conference has no official position on any of those issues. And that, it turns out, is the problem. The conference takes no official position. It seems they should have.

Here’s what I don’t get. The conference is an organized arm of the Catholic church. By default their official position is identical to the church’s unless they say otherwise. But that’s not good enough for women. They actually have to come out and say, “Whatever the men say, we’re for it.”

But that’s church teaching too. Men make the decisions, women go along. Because Christ is head of the church and men represent Christ in families.

Ironically, this follows almost by two weeks, my Easter blog on the need to give believers the space to find the truth. I guess the Pope doesn’t read my blog.

This kind of lock-step dictation of personal faith was exactly the kind of church policy that caused evangelicals and fundamentalists to hold the church in suspicion when I was a kid. I was raised Baptist Preacher’s Kid (BPK) and BPKs believed in free will. The church, any church, didn’t get to dictate our conscience.

After all, Jesus said Christians will be known by our love for one another. Not by our doctrinal purity. These days it seems that the religious right, encouraged by the Corporate Christian Complex (CCC) marches in lock step with the Pope. Only this Pope seems determined to roll back two centuries worth of Papal revelation.

As a BPK I learned that there was a deep divide between Catholic and Baptist practice. The church enforced one mind and one doctrine through theological inquisition. We embraced our right to free belief by breaking up into smaller and smaller congregations aligned around pure doctrine. Even if there was only one person in our congregation, at least it was pure. Same result, smaller assemblies.

Jesus would be so proud.


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