Do it for Peeps.

If you’ve been playing along at home, you know that the recent lull in activity here on What’s Left Undone has been due to concentrated efforts to, as Rob the Advisor Who Advises advised, “beat the thesis into submission, making it cry ten pages at a time.”

As with all of his advice, I listened carefully…and then rejected it out of hand.

Ha! Kidding. Not really. He’s a great advisor and I actually did just what he said. So my thesis is now out in the world, battered and bloody, and I’ve finally got time to think about other things.

Like Robert Duvall.

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Back off, Grim Reaper. I will shank you. 

You’ve been thinking about him, too, I know. With the spate of celebrity deaths in 2016, you’ve been as worried as I’ve been about Bobby D., who is a national treasure and a prince among men. We’ve only got two more days to keep him safe (I’m trusting that 2017 is going to ease up a bit on the whole untimely death thing), so if we all turn our thoughts and prayers towards keeping Robert Duvall on the planet, I think we can do it.

I’ll give you a minute to pray….

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Okay. Thanks for that. I trust that God was listening, even if you didn’t go outside and sit in a marsh to talk to your Lord.

Something else has been going on here in the Headquarters of WLU, too. You know how you notice something, and then it’s everywhere? Like you meet someone from Austria, and suddenly, everywhere you turn, it’s the Von Trapps and Linzer tortes and Strauss waltzes? This is called the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, and it’s happening to me,with this guy:

 

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The fellow above is Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and he’s long-faced because his head is filled with serious thoughts about theology and the nature of the universe. {Let this be a warning to you, children: you need to temper serious thoughts about God with fun ones like “I should have had Diane Lane’s part in Lonesome Dove” or else your face will Stay That Way, just like your mother said.}

Teilhard, as he’s known (although I’d like to think his intimates called him “Peeps”), was a French Jesuit priest and a paleontologist. That’s quite a combination, isn’t it? He served in WWI, got a PhD in geology, did years of fieldwork in China under adverse conditions, wrote about nature and spirituality and the cosmos, and left behind some very interesting and controversial ideas about evolution and our relationship with Christ. He also, and this is where I come in, wrote a book called The Omega Point.

The short, cocktail-party version of The Omega Point is that we humans signify a great advancement in evolution in that, unlike animals, we have knowledge of our own knowledge — a sort of heightened, intellectual self-awareness. Thus, we are evidence of evolution’s ever-upward movement, a continual refining of humankind with one goal: reunification with God.

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This clears things up nicely, no?

As we evolve and rise towards God, led by the ministry and example of Jesus Christ, we are moving towards the Omega Point — the point at which we humans are as evolved as possible, and ready to converge with the cosmos. Upon reaching the utmost of our evolutionary potential, the convergence with God will be brought about by parousia, the Second Coming of Christ.

Speaking of this process, and of the Omega Point, Teilhard wrote: everything that rises must converge.

Now, here comes the part where you earn appreciative looks from your fellow cocktail-party goers: Flannery O’Connor, a devout Catholic, was a great admirer of Teilhard, and took the name of her short story from that line in The Omega Point!

 

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Drop the mic on that one and skedaddle off to the bar while your friends look at your departing back with awe and envy. And you didn’t even need to get a Masters in Theology and Literature; I gave you that one for free!!

You’re welcome.

So now you understand where I initially came across Teilhard (“Peeps”) — it was during my thesis prep, because, as we all know, my thesis is a brilliant look at how understanding the biblical Book of Job in context illuminates the theological message of Flannery O’Connor’s short stories, and one of the stories I used was Everything That Rises Must Converge. But now you’re wondering how that justifies the whole claim to Baader-Meinhof syndrome?

Patience, Grasshopper. I’m getting to that.

I was down at my Mom’s for Christmas and combing through her bookshelves, as one does, and what do I discover? Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Books by Peeps, right there in the living room! Quelle surprise! Two days later, I look at the Facebook, and what do I find? My dear friend DBH, a priest, has posted a prayer by Peeps on his timeline.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: you’re thinking “Please, Lord, don’t take Robert Duvall.”

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Totally gratuitous second Duvall picture. See how I did that?

But you’re also thinking, “Hey, blogwoman, everyone and their monkey knows about Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and just because you’re late to the omega party doesn’t mean you can claim Baader-Meinhof or any special relationship to Peeps.”

Okay, fine. But I’m standing firm. And I want to share the prayer DBH posted, because, as he pointed out, it’s particularly useful as we head into a new year:

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.

I’m about as good at being patient as I am at Advent, which is to say, I stink. But it’s worth a try, right? Let’s do it for Peeps.

Happy New Year!

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