Friday, December 16, 2016


Whoops, I forgot to post last week's arts and culture column which was about an exhibit at the Bowers Museum. 

This entailed a very gnarly drive to Santa Ana. If you live in LA, "no-one" goes, except under extreme duress, to Orange County (and I'm quite sure vice versa). Don't ask me why. Possibly because the drive is on the 5 freeway, which is not exactly scenic. Also, I suppose, there's a difference in sensibility, which I won't get into.

Anyway, I bravely made my way down and back. Here's how the piece that resulted begins:

Years ago, I attended a retreat led by a priest named Father Bill.

Father Bill combined high intelligence, a black sense of humor and a tender heart. He’d been educated, among other places, in Rome. He’d studied with the pope. He’d come back to Southern California and landed at a parish where he’d thought to impart some of his deep theological insights. Instead, the people kept stringing up tinsel, lights and tissue paper cutouts. Every time he turned around they were loading up the sanctuary with Sacred Heart prayer cards and plastic statues of Mary.

One day at the beach, pondering his dilemma, he set up his chair near a young father and his little girl. The father was trying to nap and the little girl would bring her pail down to the water, fill it with shells and, staggering under its weight, bring it back. “Daddy, Daddy! Look!” The father would open one eye, say “That’s nice, honey” and roll over on his other side. The little girl would totter back to the shoreline, fill her empty pail with shells, and drag it back: “Daddy! Daddy!”

Suddenly Father Bill realized this little girl was like the Latinos at his church. They wanted to throw a party for the Father they loved! They wanted to shower Him with trinkets and gifts!

He heard a “voice” saying, “If I want to change the Church, Bill, I’ll do it.”


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