Monday, February 17, 2014

On being counter-cultural.

It occurred to me the other day that I haven’t really written anything insightful on this blog in a least, that was insightful to anything other than how I feel. So here’s something for your minds to chew on.

I love the culture that I have chosen, not because it is easy (on the contrary) or because it is most pleasurable, but because it is so rebellious. In the distant past, it was, perhaps, a rebellious thing to drink to excess, to treat sex as other than a part of marriage and family, to accept that there “is no truth” and that everything is permissible. Now, that is what it means to be of mainstream thought. That is the culture. So the culture I have chosen is strictly counter-cultural, and, therefore, rebellious. And I love it!

I remember very distinctly a wonderful evening I had with a close friend. We were college students at the time (well, he still is, actually, since he’s going for his doctorate) and had decided to go downtown to get a drink to St. Patrick’s health on St. Patrick’s feast day.


No sooner had we arrived in the bar area than we were exposed to women dressed immodestly, hordes of young people spouting vulgarity, a young man trying to cross the street who was too drunk to be able to successfully pick his phone up off the road where he had dropped it.

My friend and I slipped safely inside a bar we enjoyed because it was quieter, and proceeded to enjoy a fine Irish beer in the spirit of St. Patrick (a Guiness). A beer. We talked to one another about the topic of what a truly good thing beer was and what a truly Catholic thing it was that a beer blessing prayer exists, and various other things while we drank, and as soon as that warm feeling of beer washed over us we paid and were out the door, headed home as we continued to talk. And on our way back, we went to stop in to church to pray and thank God for a wonderful evening. But before we did, we were stopped by a group of drunk boys (I refuse to call them men) who gruffly inquired why we were headed home “so early” (it was really almost midnight at that point). We explained that we had our drink already and were headed into church to pray. At that point they became very belligerent and informed us we were missing out on promiscuous sex, though not in such polite terms. They let us rebels really have it. Guess we made them uncomfortable.

I am never reminded so strongly how strange I am to other people as when I inform someone who is of mainstream thought that I spend time with girls as friends alone. Seriously! I remember one young lady’s reaction when I told her about a time when I had a 3-hour conversation with a girl friend of mine. She was stunned, and it took me a moment to figure out why. The reason was because three hours with a member of the opposite sex alone meant sex! And really, the thought never crossed my mind while I was with my friend. And yet I still cultivate friendships with women without any intentions of more than just conversation and laughs. I suppose that makes me feel very rebellious!

It is fun to be different. It is a good thing to be radically opposed to the Romanesque, decadent culture of the West, to be so diametrically opposite of what it typically means to be an American male in his mid-20s. If I am to take pride in anything, it is good to be proud that I have cooperated with grace just enough to rise above the influence of the current cultural climate. Though I still have plenty of faults, it is good to reflect on how incredibly different I am from the image that our culture proposes I ought to be.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a rebel’s dream.

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