Sunday, September 26, 2010

Spin Me Round

Here's where to send/drop off the archbishop's DVD, if you get one: DVD to ART.

OK, I get it now.
Like it, don't like it, Facebook works.

1. On Thursday, my BFF bink created a Facebook group DVD to ART. She wrote:
"On 9/22 the archbishop [ John C. Nienstedt, of Minneapolis and St. Paul] mailed Catholics a DVD warning that if Minnesota legalizes same-sex marriage, the sky will fall.
RESIST your temptation to return the DVD; toss it; use it as a frisbee! Give me your DVDs and I’ll recycle them into art: transforming a message of fear into hope."
2. Within 24 hours, Andy Birkey of local news site Minnesota Independent had posted "Minnesotan seeks to creatively reuse Catholic church’s anti-gay marriage DVDs", and Hart Van Denburg of City Pages posted "Archbishop John Nienstedt's anti-gay DVD becomes art fodder":
"An Artist in Residence at the Basilica of St. Mary, [bink] says she wants to take the negative message from the archbishop and transform it into something completely new, inclusive and positive. "I don't really want it to be "anti" anything," she said. "I want it to be a different message." [italics mine]

3. And on Saturday, less than 48 hours after bink first posted DVD to ART, the pastor of the Basilica of Saint Mary called bink in and "suspended" her from her role as Artist in Residence, which she'd held for fifteen years.

bink knew this would be the outcome if/when word got out about her art project, and she was willing to accept that. (It just happened really fast.) 

She blogged, "I'm both startled and humbled to find that I've join the ranks of people before me who been silenced or ousted, one by one, for disagreeing with the church.
Maybe in 500 years, I, like Galileo, will get my suspension lifted."

Galileo tattoo from Discover Magazine
Eppur si muove means "And yet it moves" in Italian. Galileo supposedly muttered this phrase in 1633 after the Inquisition forced him to recant his knowledge that Earth moves around the Sun.

I'm stunned at the speed of it all. It's one thing to spend the summer reading about social networking, another to experience its power personally.

I'm also stunned to witness up close and personal--once again--the brutal way the Catholic Church metes out its peculiar brand of justice: 
Bam! You're outta here. No appeals, no recourse, no nothing.

I am not normally given to patriotism, but the Church makes me want to kiss the U.S. flag in gratitude for the ideals it represents: ideals like free speech, checks and balances on power, due process. 

Yeah, we Americans don't always live up to them, but by god, at least in theory we hold them dear. 
The Church does not.

I love the Church, though, as a repository of some of humanity's most amazing stories.
They are the stories that inspire bink to respond to the archbishop's DVDs with love and creativity.

In the long run, I believe, that response is made of the stuff that truly has the power to transform.
Not the speedy change of Facebook, but the low, slow work of evolution.
And if we're going to survive, we have to evolve.

"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change."
--Charles Darwin
Michael Bayly at The Wild Reed blog also wrote about bink's and other responses to the archbishop's DVDs:
"What To Do With the MN Bishops' DVD", and "Local Catholics Seek to "Create Some Good Out of an Unfortunate Situation"".
TOP image: "Saint Jerome Writing" by Caravaggio
Gutenberg's Bible was the Vulgate, largely Jerome's Latin translation.


Candace said...

My congratulations and my condolences -- I am truly stunned and yet hopeful that even with all the people out there doing nothing absolutely to help anybody, in any way, shape or form, there are also and STILL people like bink.
Thanks for letting us know.

Candace, Still in Athens.

Margaret said...

Oh squee indeed! What an altogether good undertaking of bink's! (Jesus would so approve.)

Fresca said...

Thanks, Candace! I find it heartening too!

MRET: At Mass yesterday we sang a hymn containing the line, "God whose purpose is to kindle..."
and that asked for forgiveness for the sin of complacency.
God likes fire. (God LOVES Kirk!)

Margaret said...

"God whose purpose is to kindle..."
*sob in the spine*!

You know how David was called "a man after gGod's own heart"? So with Kirk, maybe.

momo said...

No time yet to give this the comment it deserves but I want to say that I'm profoundly sad and also seething, and that as a professional Latin Americanist, I have lots and lots of history from which to understand both the oppression and bink's profoundly spiritual and principled actions.

ArtSparker said...

Thanks for posting, it's fascinating, good for Bink.

It;'s just so typical, not just of the Catholic Church, but of old men desperately holding on to something that they don't want other people to have which is seen in the political field.

When I am grown to man's estate
I'll put away my childish things
And tell the other girls and boys
Not to meddle with my toys.

- Alexander Pope

And yes, the original is elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

That's a Caravaggio. It's in the Galleria Borghese in Rome.

Fresca said...

MRET: David & Kirk... both good Jews!

MOMO: Well, Liberation Theology was part of Lucinda's early faith formation, so you're in the right neck of the woods!

SPARKER: I agree, people who see through eyes of fear their privilege slipping away are not likely to be the most generous open-hearted people.
Love the Pope! (Alexander, of course.)

ANON: Thank you! I added Caravaggio to the blog. I love his work, but obviously don't know it all that well...

Jennifer said...

Wow, that really is a shocking example of the speed and power of social networking services. I'm sorry bink got suspended for her very positive protest. Thank goodness the Internet can also work to foster such positive things and not just the heavies who want to come down on the people who plan them.

Fresca said...

JENNIFER: This reminds me of something I'd written that you'd liked too:
"The Internet isn't kidding."
Shocking to be reminded of that in the flesh.
The Internet is a huge force for good, that's for sure. Gotta take the not-so-good too along with it, eh?