Mad Monk of the Midlands

Name: Mad Monk of the Midlands

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Mad Monk of the Midlands Chills Out

With interest spreading about Eastern religious concepts like reincarnation, I began an exercise in trying to ascertain who or what I might have been in a past life. My wife surmises I was a SQUIRREL, given my penchant for hoarding substantial piles of books, magazines and old newspapers. A recent experience, however, has given me a different insight: I might have been a monk! Here's the story: We took our gas-miserly little Yaris up to a secluded place along Minnesota's Gunflint Trail. It's a place without a TV, a place where your cell phone plainly reads "no service." Now I must tell you, this isn't quite the Middle of Nowhere, since they do have electricity, indoor plumbing, and an 800-land line number. But by and large, the place is quiet, except for the birds and insects and wolves (at night), and a nearby murmuring stream, and it's definitely out of the way. In the moonlit, windless night, the silence is nearly absolute: no passing cars, no sirens, no train whistles, just the murmuring stream, a loon call at twilight, and perhaps a wolf's howling. And I loved the seclusion and the quietude, the opportunity to contemplate. It seems in modern society, we're mostly too busy to contemplate. We want continual stimulation and instant analysis. When we go for a walk, we don't listen to the birds and the wind in the trees, we stick in ear-buds to hear pre-programmed sound. Sit in a room with several people, even a waiting room with strangers, and someone will quickly start talking, maybe a simple comment about the weather: silence intimidates us. But I loved the silence, and not having to talk. Like a monk in the middle ages, who had to take a vow of silence for certain times of the day. If you're always talking, how can you let in the voice of God? If the televisions are blaring in the crowded sports bar and the TV screens are everywhere these days, all that pre-programmed sound is going to block any original insights. He who cherishes serenity, I mused, just might have been a monk in a past life!

When I travel, I love to look at the countryside. But kids only want to look at their Gameboys or their videos. God's Creation is not good enough. Virtual heroes taking out virtual villains are preferable to Holsteins grazing in a harvested field or the rolled stacks of hay left out in a field that look exactly like something Monet would have painted. I rebel against Media World, even though I make my living from it. The Titans of Media World are the New High Priests of Modernity. They want to call the shots and direct our behavior. Example: check out the local news at six. They've got a murder, and that's the lead, of course. You too, should be scared, that's the subtext, be very scared and stay home and watch our news, and we'll tell you how to stay safe. Hey, eighteen people have been murdered in Minneapolis so far this year, and YOU COULD BE NEXT! Of course, they never say that 499-thousand-982 have NOT been murdered. That's because, if you start calculating the odds, and decide you actually can go outside, you won't stay in and see who's sponsoring C S I tonight.

Bristol Palin and Jamie Lynn Spears
Republicans and Barack Obama have said, it's no one's business that the teenaged daughter of a vice-presidential candidate is five months pregnant. It is unfortunate that this young woman, Bristol Palin, will now be dragged into the national spotlight. But she should be thankful she's a Republican. Can you imagine the hue and cry that would be raised by Rush and Sean Hannity were this the child of a Democrat? See, they'd rail, this is what happens with Democrats: more out of wedlock children, rampant pre-marital sex, another potential welfare mother, more children growing up without a father, no wonder the Republic is in such dire circumstances!But aren't there a few questions to be asked? For one, is this the end result of the Republican's "abstinence-only" mantra for sex education? And why are the social conservatives James Dobson and others so all fired up about Sarah Palin? Wouldn't Dobson prefer that she stay home with her five children? I've heard him say on his radio program that it's honorable and important for someone to be home with the children, and by that, Dobson certainly means the mother, since he KNOWS God intended men by nature to be the breadwinners. Would Dobson even think to ask, if Sarah had been home with her children more, maybe the result would not have been an unplanned pregnancy?Just a few questions and only because it seems ironic that this has happened to those who profess to be the caretakers of the FAMILY, the ones who are aghast at the moral decay of the nation. I mean, didn't I hear some righteous lamentations from these same folks when Jamie Lynn Spears popped up on the covers of the celebrity mags as an unwed expectant mother? I wonder who Jamie Lynn will endorse?