Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fr. Joe saw "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" and thinks of Religion

I remember when "Wall Street" came out in the 1980's. I believe I fell asleep during my first viewing of it. Too much talk about money, mergers, takeovers, insider trading and not enough explosions or robots.
"Can you hear me now?"
 Later, I watched it again and saw it for what it was: A morality play for the modern age. The protagonist in the story Bud Fox (played by Charlie Sheen) was under the spell of the malevolent Gordon Gekko (played by Michael Douglas)who promised him riches. Predictably, by the end of the movie, both men's lives were marred due to their actions. However, one man felt the need for restitution and reconciliation. The other did not.
Michael Douglas (l) with Charlie Sheen( r) before Sheen was one of 2 and 1/2 men.

One of the statements made by Gekko in the movie was that "Greed is, for lack of a better term, good." He then related how the desire for possessions and ownership fosters enterprise and growth. His slick backed hair, darting eyes and cool demeanor was reptilian.
Not so much a gecko, which is kinda cute,
But another type of reptile more associated with deception and moral destruction.
Remember in the Creation Story, the serpent tricked Eve and Adam into wanting the thing they need not need. He tricked them into wanting: MORE
One of the underlying themes of the original Wall Street was the hypocrisy among the "baby boomer" generation. 
The guys who started out in the 1960's espousing love, peace and equality-
Money can't buy me love...
Would only a few years later be wanting MORE-
One of the critiques of the baby-boomer culture (children born between 1945-1964), is that this particular generation was more concerned with their own needs and accumulating wealth for themselves rather than thinking of the next generation. For decades, marketing has been focused on this group as they have grown up through the 50's and into the present day being catered to with anything from music to fashion to healthcare to shopping. The market was and has been determined by the appetites of this particular demographic. They have been conditioned to believe that can have whatever whenever however. And plenty of institutions have curled up to meet the desires of their market niche.
And  this includes religion...
"I am not sure how we can fit 'Purple Haze' into the Eucharistic prayer, but we will find a way!"

In "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps", released Friday, Gekko is back and no better for the prison time.
Shia LeBouf should have brought Optimus Prime to handle this one!
(SPOILER ALERT) Gekko who has lost his wife to madness, his son to suicide and has no relationship with his left-leaning daughter, is out of prison. He meets Jake Moore (Shia Lebouf) who is marrying his estranged daughter. Gekko soon entrances Moore into talking his fiancee, who is pregnant, into signing over $100,000,000.00 to him. He does. Gekko takes off with the money. Double-crossed! Finally, Jake tracks down Gekko in London and says he wants to make a trade. He wants the 100 mil back in the daughter's account and in exchange Gekko gets to have a place in his grandson's life. He shows him the sonogram to make a point. Gekko after some reflection denies the request. He is called "cold and lonely" only to return the cut with a passive smile. (SPOILER END)
Not caring for our progeny, our future, the next generation is one of the greatest sins we can commit. However, in the church, it can be argued that the loss of vocations to the priesthood, the decline of people joining or attending churches, the lack of concern for following church teachings and the closing of many, many churches is because we are led by a generation that has little concern for the future. In the same way, a generation led this generation to debt and social breakdown, also got the best of what was left.

Stupid hippies, they got theirs!
I think it's a bit interesting that there is a concentrated return to the values of the Catholic faith, not only it's liturgy but it's doctrine and social teaching. It's also alarming when the some of our young Shia's (sorry for the analogy) are sitting before the slick Gekkos of the church and begging to have some of the treasures of the church returned to them...
And, despite the knowledge that they are lonely and cold, when they are offered a relationship with the future of the church....
They still say "No"...
"Take this Eggo in rembrance of me...."
Major deific facepalm
It's time to realize that the future happens without some of us. One of the greatest laments of Jesus was that when he returned, there would be no faith left on the earth (Luke 18:8). When the church is constantly worried about being relevant, hip, edgy and "with-it" (that's a hippy term), then it probably won't be any of those things.

Our faith is like money (the word "fiduciary" is a word that is associated with both faith and money) and we can certainly invest it in the wrong things and not have enough to pass on to the next generation. If we are counting on the baby boomers (who are closing on their 50's now) to keep investing in the faith with money and time and not asking the next generation to invest, then our bubble will burst.

Wow...that was kinda dark. I should have seen that movie with the owls instead.
Maybe next week.