I was recently re-reading Robert Frost’s famous poem, “The Road Less Taken”, and it occurred to me that the dilemma that Frost describes reminds me of the one I face between oppressive, unfettered capitalism and oppressive statism. The fact that this vicious either/or is traceable back to a sentence in Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy doesn’t undercut the distress caused by, or the need to grapple with this situation. Whatever. Descartes was a jerk.
This got me thinking about other either/ors affecting my life, and obviously the big one is this cultural desire for one of two narratives: either we want a story about a practicing homosexual who found God, became straight and got married with kids, or we want one about someone running away from the Church and finding a partner. But the idea of a celibate who tries to faithfully bear the cross of same-sex attraction in accordance with orthodox teaching while posting about My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic on his WordPress blog is just too weird for most people to handle. This is why I am at pains to articulate what this is like, even though by doing so I fear I am contributing to the stereotype that bronies are gay.
But it’s not like things were easy before I converted to Catholicism. One day during my undergrad my classmates stole my copies of The Road to Serfdom and The Illiad and burned them. The whole thing opened my eyes to the reality of academia and threatened to sour my entire university experience. But that very night the ghost of Alan Bloom came to me in a dream and told me to complete my degree. The fact that Bloom, a Jewish atheist, would come back from the dead to give me words of comfort and advice strikes me now as a profoundly Christian moment in my life. I survived my English major. My scars prove it. You may not: take Classics instead, you philistine.
I’m still upset, though. I’ve been to parishes where they use electronic drum beats. Electronic drum beats. I just wanted to listen to some Palestrina, dammit.
(semi-inspired by this)