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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Lent / Tarot / Mover-and-Shaker: The Two of Wands

Raphael Pope Leo X Source: Wikipedia 
When you vow to do something for forty days straight you have moments like this, when you've been firing on all cylinders for several days in a row, and you are exhausted, and you really need to get away from the computer, but you cannot, because you vowed to do something forty days in a row, and you hadn't done it yet.

Will God really care if I break this vow? And only Karen and Liron are noticing these posts, anyway.

Well, if I don't do this, I'll lose sleep over not doing it, so here goes.

And golly this is going to be a real short walk off a short pier, because I'm about to say three controversial things, and I have zero time to google any arguments to support what I'm about to say.

The two of wands depicts an ambitious character thrusting his energy into the wider world, and into the future. He looks a bit like Christopher Columbus. When I see this driven mover-and-shaker, and I think in Christian context, I think of Pope Leo X, who, I think, and I don’t have time to google this, sold indulgences in order to fund St Peter's Basilica, and I think of St Peter's.

The selling of indulgences so scandalized Martin Luther that he sparked the Protestant Reformation with his so-called 95 theses, which, if you read them, is really just the same theses repeated 95 times: The Pope is selling indulgences to build a cathedral!!!

And here's my three shocking things. I'm not scandalized that Pope Leo X sold indulgences to fund St. Peter's. I regularly donate to various organizations. They send me letters reminding me to donate. They play on my guilt, they flatter me, they offer me bonuses. That's their job. They are trying to loosen my tight fingers around my wallet to get some money together to rescue dogs or cure childhood cancer or save a rainforest. Bravo to them, and bravo to Pope Leo X as well.

Second shocking thing. In the same way that I am grateful to be part of a church that produces folks like Dorothy Day and the Berrigan Brothers and St Francis and Mother Teresa, I am glad to be part of a church that produced corrupt Renaissance popes who supported artists.

Third shocking thing. I am poor, I have been hungry, I have needed medical care to save my life, and I do not want *any* pope to sell *one single artwork* to feed me or to get me that heart transplant. Vita brevis; ars longa. And that art belongs to me already. I got to suck up the Sistine Chapel Ceiling as much as any other visitor. More than bread, sometimes, poetry is necessary, said a Polish poet, living under Nazi occupation.

And you who demand that popes sell artwork to feed the poor? There's a word for you.

But I must be going. 

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