What Happens When The Church Goes AWOL.
Some time ago, I stumbled upon an old documentary on Youtube which I found, 43 years after it was made, fascinating to watch. I have fished it back and link to it above.
The issues are the same we have today: a godless existence makes one completely focused on oneself; the “spiritual” search which then begins rapidly becomes, as it must always be when God is out of the equation, a mad rush towards total selfishness and, possibly, self-destruction.
The background is a wealthy, extremely scenic, apparently idyllic county just north of San Francisco. Lots of money; lots of divorces; lots of alcoholism; lots of shrinks; lots of suicides.
Several stories are illustrated here: from the milder case of search of a spiritual meaning to one’s life, which the church clearly cannot convey anymore, to much harder cases of self-devouring self-centredness. From the Chicago couple with the wannabe cuck dad to the rich women looking for semi-erotic (for a woman, probably fully-erotic) sensual “all-selfish” experience, to the tragic case of the wealthy (obviously, divorced) mother of four ridiculed by her own children for her teenage rebellion and total lack of motherhood and responsibility, we see all the spectrum of behaviours that are adopted when one’s life becomes disconnected from God. I know, connecting one with God should be the job of the Church; a job at which the Church has now been failing tragically for many decades.
The mother of four is, if you ask me, the most tragic example of this mad rush to egotistic self-satisfaction, but I’d say the rot is widespread. Still, the mother of four who doesn’t want to be a mother anymore (a shocking thinking, totally alien to Italians, where a mother of 100 still mothers her daughter of 75 like it’s the most normal thing in the world, because it actually is) was, to me, the shocker and real eye-opener.
The theory of the documentary is that this wealthy but shallow, rudderless, hippy-infested region in 1978 could become Middle America in a not too distant future. 43 years later, it is fair to say that whilst the extreme cases still look extreme, and the self-absorbed behaviour still looks self-absorbed, we can clearly detect from the obviously critical tones of the documentary presenter that the same mentality that seemed destructive to him in 1978 has many elements of “normality” in 2021; a year when, no doubt, such a documentary would doubtlessly include some same-sex, revolting “couple” of sort. No, in some respects it has not become as bad as the presented feared (family values are still strong in the sane part of America); but yes, in other respects it has become much worse than it was in 1978, when a lot of adults and young parents still had some sense transmitted to them by their own ancestors.
I suggest you find the time to watch, and to reflect on what happens when the Church goes AWOL.