May 7, 2011

Some Favorite Franciscan Theology Fails

Any scholarly drivenness I might have--and I have precious little, unfortunately--clusters around my desire to know what it means to have a Franciscan approach. What is a Franciscan theology? A Franciscan pastoral stance? Commonplaces abound, but I have never arrived at a rigorous and satisfying account. But since it's Friday and it's late, it's better just to tell funny stories from various points along the maladventure of this personal quest. As Dean Ween put it, "When it's time for bed you shouldn't think about that stuff."

In between my religious lives I had a bumper sticker on my car that said, "Perfect Joy Is Being Franciscan." (I removed it before going to my first interview with the Capuchins, for fear of appearing presumptuous.) One time a lady on the street questioned me about it. "Perfect joy is being Franciscan? Franciscan...is that related to the Melchizedekian priesthood?"

A lady on the subway asked me if I was a Franciscan. I said that I was. "What's the Franciscan position on the three and a half year period prophesied in Daniel?"

A man carrying a large amount of art supplies intervened in a conversation I was having with a young woman who was a religion student at BU. She had thought I was a Jesuit. "He's a Franciscan. Jesuits read books, Franciscans talk to birds."

A man was telling me about how his dog had died. "Now the Franciscan position is that dogs have immortal souls, right?"

3 comments:

Barb, sfo said...

As one of the few Secular Franciscans I know who does not have multiple pets or even a garden, I love this! Why is it that everyone considers Franciscans impractical dreamers?

Greg said...

From The Versified Life of Saint Francis by Henri d'Avranches...

... he is not slow

To master sacred truth. The Holy Spirit's stronger flame ignites him,

Whence the knowledge of all words proceeds. He who had no doctor

Teach him, teaches now a multitude. Those who know him stand

Astonished as he speaks on things transcending human ken;

Lee Gilbert said...

This was hilarious, especially "He's a Franciscan. Jesuits read books, Franciscans talk to birds."

This reminds me that somewhere I read of a young man who was thinking of joining the Jesuits. He had a Benedictine uncle who asked him, "Why would you want to be a Jesuit? They live in big, dirty cities. Benedictines, however, live in the country and sing songs."