Sunday, November 14, 2010

"You should write a letter about that."

Hell hath no fury like an Anglican scorned.  When you cheese off an Anglican, they do something very bad: they write a letter.

I don't know whether this is true of all Anglicans or just Canadian ones.  Canadians in general have a propensity for letter writing, so when some dipstick news announcer from the US says that we played no part in either Gulf War, we collectively write a big letter saying how upset we are.  When our politicians get drunk and blurt out that the last referendum was lost due to money and the "ethnic vote" (whatever the frig THAT means), we write letters saying that that wasn't very nice.  We are a nation of "I" statements.  Sigh...gone are the days when we got drunk, burned down the White House, got bored and came home.

But I digress.  Back to Anglicans.  Sparing you the names and gory details, I am in the middle of a letter-writing campaign now.  Not one of my own, nor is the campaign aimed at me, mind you, but vituperative nonetheless.

In short, someone wrote something that hurt someone else's feelings, and now that person has written a letter in response that will hurt other people's feelings, and the cycle will go on, probably ending in a cataclysm of Biblical proportions.

Have you ever seen the movie "2001"?  Stanley Kubrick at his self-indulgent best, but I can't help thinking about the scene at the beginning with the chimps.  They start off saber-rattling over the pool of water, but then one of them gets the idea (perhaps due to the effects of the Monolith) that there is a more effective way of scaring off their rivals than jumping and hooting at them.  So he grabs a bone and clubs one of his rivals in the head.

From there, man-apes in rapid order developed knives, spears, nunchucks and the atom bomb.  You see what I mean?

No?  Well, what I mean is that there is a certain level of decorum that is appropriate to some of the more cunning monkeys, but that seems to me to be obviously incompatible with Christian morality, if not the simple parameters of human decency.

Of course, Christianity has a great history of letter-writing, the lion's share of the New Testament is in the form of Epistles, letters which were written to guide, instruct and sometimes correct nascent Christian communities, but I wonder in what spirit some of our letters are being written today.  What ends are they meant to achieve?

The irony (I use that in the Alanis sense of the word) is that the people who write these letters will likely see each other in social circles in the near future, and pretend that these letters did not actually get written or read, that everything is normal and ok.  A true testament to Anglican and/or Canadian niceness is to pretend that nothing happened.  The goals that they were meant to achieve will not be accomplished due to our inbuilt desire to avoid open conflict, which is why we write letters from a distance: we dare not confront.

Why do you think I write a blog?

Jumping and hooting, anyone?

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