Google Proposes to Buy Catholic Church

Google Proposes to Buy Catholic Church

Financial and moral bankruptcy makes Catholic Church ripe for the plucking.

In an unlikely marriage of high tech and high mass, Google Inc. has vowed to purchase the 2000 year old Christian start-up and convert it from a parochial relic of medieval luminosity, to a go-to search engine of latter day enlightenment. In other words to reimagine the Church, not as some vestigial sanctuary of last resort, but as a relevant refuge of first resort – and without all the resort fees.

 

Google promises to create an online spiritual haven far beyond the binary limitations of earthly design – a transformative resort where true seekers can purge themselves of barnacled beliefs and pardonable, but entrenched assumptions in preparation for boundary-dissolving experiences. These experiences, they say, will illuminate both the poignancy and absurdity of life’s predicament. And Google hopes to accomplish all this, not with a prophet, but at a profit.

 

Some say we should genuflect to our digitally savvy superiors and welcome them with a hearty “All hail the coming of our spiritual overlord – Wi-Fi? Why not?”  More cautionary voices insist we, “Slow down there Mr. Univac. Your glorified abacus is just an electronic toy here to serve us. Remember, you’re made in God’s image and not vice-versa.” These are the typical binary talking points you get on earth whenever transformative change is in the air.

 

Reflecting the volatility of their proposed purchase, Google’s bid was not filed with the SEC, but rather with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Crosses – or as it more commonly appears in writing: The Bureau of AT&✝. In their bid, Google pledges to create a welcoming, spiritual resort that honors all paths and not just the ones that hold rummage sales in church basements. A place where worshipers feel they’re on vacation instead of on trial. No longer will adherents have to nourish their souls on the stale, old piety of centuries old dogma. The Church, reborn under a new rubric, will become a divine haven where spiritual gamers (Google’s nomenclature for parishioners) can now operate in a cosmic resort of first resort.

 

In its filing Google claims that the underperforming Church had saved fewer souls per capita in the last 20 years than at any point in its 2000+ year history. It also revealed that the overprotective Church has shielded some its more villainous executives (priests) from legal action for grooming impressionable parishioners into playing unwelcomed games of hide the salami. Normally the Catholic Church strives mightily to encourage revelation, but these recent revelations have sapped the church of much of its’ moral authority and financial strength. As the once robust Church continues to lose value and luster in the eyes of its stakeholders, it has become particularly ripe for the picking – a kind of low-hanging, sacrosanct fruit just begging to be plucked. The filing indicates that financing the purchase of the Catholic Church will not be an issue since Google now has more money than God.

 

Parishioner Protection Plan

Google’s filing proposes wholesale changes in the way spiritual gamers interface with the almighty in the “here and now” retail environment of Earth. Brimstone and mortar are out. AI and VR are in. In digitally modernizing the Church, Google believes in freshening its appeal by changing its domain name from catholicchurch.org to catholicchurch.omg. Additionally, the legume counters at Google believe the middlemen (the clergy) should be eliminated because these intermediaries tend to drive up the cost of enlightenment by failing to suppress (or at least responsibly channel) their sexuality. They have proven a financial liability of late due to their sinful, but predictable, expression of certain taboo acts with some of the more impressionable parishioners – one spasm of dangerous ecstasy, one lifetime of infinite regret and irreparable damage. There’s not enough holy water in all of Jerusalem to wash away those sins. Clearly these malefactors must be rooted out and defrocked. Especially since frocking is what got them into such trouble in the first place. Sometimes Hot Cross Buns can be too much of a temptation.

 

In Google’s estimation the Church’s entrenched and unaccountable hierarchy too often adopts a holier than thou attitude. They serve more to complicate and hinder the process of enlightenment, rather than facilitate it. As of late the clergy have made the entire church-going experience more costly at the retail level, thereby necessitating the wholesale structural change of eliminating their “liaison services.” The second structural alteration is to spin-off some of the Catholic Church’s more obstructing retail trappings: celibacy, confession and Papal infallibility, to name a few. While it’s true there may be very few bidders for such killjoy Catholic assets, there’s always some renunciate sect willing to acquire a perceived level of legitimacy by paying for and equating this kind of dopey and unnatural asceticism with supposed enlightenment.

 

Succor-starved gamers reborn into Google’s reformed Church will find great comfort in digital churchware updates to their catholicchurch.omg accounts featuring search engine optimization and, more importantly, malware protection against Luciferian Hackers who seek to steal their souls while they sleep. This bonus protection plan for the faithful comes at no additional cost, providing you contribute regularly to the online virtual collection plate.

 

Google’s spiritual business plan (this may be a contradiction in terms) is to allow spiritual gamers to experience God in a more direct and intimate manner through its newly optimized plug and play search engine, rather than going through “imported” priest Father Dapo Igwebuike of Nigeria for whom English is a second language. The third prong (1st is eliminate the clergy, 2nd sell of non-performing assets) in this “one tine short of a pitch fork” restructure, is to banish forever the hymnal “Bringing in the Sheaves” and replacing it with the Carpenters catchier and more relatable “I’m on the Top of the World (Looking Down on Creation).” Google hopes to instill a little swing into the outdated joy of “bringing in sheaves” – who brings in sheaves anymore? Clearly these dirge-like sing-a-longs have to go.

 

Google believes this seismic shift from pursuing spirituality through ordained facilitators, to a more direct connection with our dear Lord is more than just a matter of semantics. In launching this spiritually-reformed platform of user friendly content, Google admits that while the devil might be in the details, the angels are surely in the ethers. Ethers controlled by Google and imbued with their newly-patented 6G “numinous connectivity.”   

 

In Google’s attempt to purify the Church and shine a spotlight into its darkest corners, it proposes to abolish canon law – the ecclesiastical law, laid down by papal pronouncements. Its reconfigured church will have no separate laws unto itself that serve more to protect and evade accountability than providing pastoral guidance. The reconstituted Google Church will be fully subject to civil law.

 

Even though Google is now a division of Alphabet Inc., it is nonetheless spearheading this friendly takeover of the legacy religion – at least friendly at this juncture. Google excels at search engine optimization – who doesn’t feel both relieved and technologically enabled when faced with the simple, inviting portal of its uncluttered homepage? Type one little word into its search box of wisdom and you’re whisked away to a noble realm where knowledge is power – or at least to a Wikipedia page with some non-footnoted, half-assed, user-edited entries that somewhat pertain to the topic being researched.

 

Google believes they can improve upon their search engine savvy in the quest for spiritual wisdom. Although they admit such a deep dive into the inner registry of God’s operating system may require the development of a 9-dimensional touch screen to truly access the ineffable majesty of God. Will we be able to discern the difference between organic rapture and virtual rapture? Until we do, Google believes Virtual Reality will just have to do until actual Reality can be trusted. Meanwhile Google hopes to render the two indistinguishable so you won’t have to.

They’ve even created a spiritual benchmark whereby aspirants can chart their cosmic progress by cultivating the opposite of schadenfreude. They call it sigmundfreud – where instead of secretly reveling in someone’s bad fortune (schadenfreude), you’re both legitimately happy for someone’s good fortune and sad when difficulties befall them. It should be noted that eventually you get beyond this dualistic concept, but for now it’s important to develop good karmic habits before you’re in a position to undergo boundary-dissolving experiences.   

 

However…

Google executives believe they can fast track the search for God by removing obstacles to its understanding. For example, they want to do away with the notion that the search for God is “out there” amongst the constellations and something separate from the individual. They hope to obliterate the fallacy that although we may feel distant and alienated from God, we are inextricably connected by silver chords of communion. For a quick comparison, this higher Godly love I refer to is enduring and transcendent, as opposed to the needful kind of love referred to in the hit song, 18 Wheels and a Dozen Roses.  

 

As Google Mergers and Acquisitions Chief Sheila Winsome explained to me:

“It’s a fool’s errand to look for cosmic consciousness outside of ourselves. We believe this search is actually an inner journey that Google hopes to bestow upon our end users on user-friendly platforms – real warm and fuzzy stuff. We believe, not only is it a fool’s errand to search for God outside of one’s self, it’s epically diverting to grow up laboring under the illusion that there’s little ole me and big ole, punitive God lurking in the unfathomable inky depths of the known universe. At Google we strive to break the paradigm of the known universe. Of them and us, or, more specifically, of you and it (God). The known universe has its place – right there in front of us with its connect-a-dot clarity. The known universe is kind of like a preexisting condition whose tunnel vision symptoms often prevents us from seeing the bigger picture. Google’s challenge in this acquisition is to repurpose the Church as a vehicle for drawing back the curtain on the known universe to reveal the unknown universe we’ve forgotten about. Because there it is, just one thin veil away from the clunky senses we’re issued in order to operate on this planet in this realm.

“This myth of separation exacerbates this so-called search and is part of the mystery of life Google hopes to demystify. We did it with Big Data, can we do it with bigger God, and can the reinvented framework of the Catholic Church be a vehicle to get us there? I mean how does one formulate a business plan for something so phenomenological? Well if any entity can accomplish this, it’s the concentrated energies of Google brought to bear on this elusive question of who we are, where we are, and how did the Internet know I was thinking about buying a snow blower?” 

Genesis of Google’s Proposed Purchase

Yes, the Search for God is a Thing and Probably Requires an Engine – A Search Engine

Brenda Beerstein, is the Primate Wrangler in charge of Google’s Virtual Rain Forest Canopy Room – a place where Google executives go to cultivate quantum epiphanies. She explains the crystalline moment where the proposed buyout went from idle chatter to idol chatter:

 

We were all up in the canopy, brachiating amongst our indoor play structure as we usually did from 10 to 11 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We began our usual routine of spit-balling ideas, munching on magic mushrooms and contemplating stealthy methods of taking over the world in ways the unsuspecting masses wouldn’t even realize, when our alpha male, Sergey Brin, began making small mouth noises understood to be, “Do you think the Catholic Church is a thing?’

To which fellow alpha male and Google co-founder Larry Page responded, “Prolly,” as he swung from artificial limb to artificial limb (I’m referring here to artificial tree limbs and not the other kind of artificial limbs that an amputee might use – I hope that doesn’t sound tone deaf…I mean tone hearing-challenged.).

“So, if it’s a thing,” Sergey continued, “why don’t we make it our thing and re-thingify it by reimagining it into something more numinous, relevant and multi-dimensionally transparent?’

“You mean like when we tried to expose Victoria’s Secret or deconstruct the Colonel’s 11 secret herbs and spices,” Larry interjected. 

“No Larry, those weren’t things,” Sergey continued as he mounted the rope swing. “The Church is a definite thing and we can reshape it for the enlightenment of all. Bigger. Better. Googlerrific. That way, in the future, when a telemarketer autodials us they’ll have something meaningful to say besides, “Please don’t hate me. This job is the best thing that ever happened to me.” And that’s just the beginning. Envision a world with no hidden fees – no spa fees, no convenience fees and no facility fees.”

Sergey continued cultivating his epiphany as he groomed his compatriot Larry by picking virtual lice from his head.

“Listen Lar {pronounced “Lair”}, imagine a world where phone trees no longer tell you to ‘listen carefully because some of our options may have changed.’ A world where you won’t be denied service if you walk up to a drive-thru window. If we do this right we can create a transformative experience in ways that go well beyond eliminating simple annoyances and into the realm of facilitating expanded awareness. And maybe, and here’s the beauty part, maybe once we’ve repurposed the Catholic Church, we enable people to recognize that they each possess enough self-awareness to transcend the illusion of duality against a radiant backdrop of God’s unalloyed love or some such heavenly splendor. And we wouldn’t be selling them anything either. Because it would be truth. That would be exceptionally cool. Plus we can probably monetize the whole thing with little unobtrusive ads. We’re good at that. I’ll call legal and get the ball rolling.”

With the brainstorming session ended, they removed their clip-on prehensile tails, placed them in their individual cubbies and made their way to the Google cafeteria/feeding ground, where there awaited a smorgasbord of sustainably grown earthly delights, harvested by simple natives with pure thoughts who were paid a living wage and whose uneaten leftovers would be environmentally recycled in an energy-neutral community compost bin.

An Intra-office Memo “Lost” by Google Takeover Specialist Wyatt Tilton and Conveniently Resurfaced and Presented by Yours Truly 

To gain greater insight into the proposed takeover, I purloined a certain communication to share with you:

As mentioned earlier, before anyone sees the sign of the cross on our home page, this controversial acquisition must first be approved by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Crosses (The Bureau of AT&). As with all consciousness-altering opiates in need of government regulation (religion being Marx’s opiate of the masses), our faith-based purchase is a potential powder keg of unintended consequences as digital technology attempts to grip the elusive majesty of a less binary and more cosmic platform.

As others have elucidated more elegantly than me, we must remember that the deep-seated longing to pursue elevated forms of awareness begs the question: Are we really pursuing something that is apart from us? Or, more plainly, are we pursuing anything at all, or just remembering our unadorned origins – before our pristine and fully aware consciousness was appropriated by some murky force and, for unknowable reasons (the mysterious reasons that religions go to such lengths to explain to its dissatisfied customer base), installed into these Flesh Suits we walk around in while experiencing the drama we’re immersed in. These temporary Flesh Suits come equipped with enough filters and autonomic regulatory systems so we may operate successfully enough on Earth for a time, but at the cost of obliterating our original serenity. I guess ignorance is the cost of doing business here. I mean we know there’s light and wisdom to be found, but there’s so much to unpack. So much to deep dive into. It’s impenetrable from the human perspective – although there are some nice moments (drive-thru Starbucks, pausing a favorite show to go to the bathroom etc.) that tend to make our benightedness tolerable. If we just didn’t judge so much, we’d be miles ahead. And that’s how I hope to reimagine the Church.

You’re with me, right? Alright I need a break. I’m heading to the Feeding Ground. I think they’re serving sustainably caught coelacanth.

Notes Continued After Lunch: The Church is ripe for takeover (or “reassimilation into the mainstream” as we publicly prefer to couch our friendly repurposing of the Church). The Church’s current shareholders, its parishioners, have been appalled at upper management’s serial misdeeds and are willing to listen to our overtures to take the ship that Jesus designed and Paul built, onto a more enlightened tack. Clearly the Church, whose legacy and glass are both stained, needs a major renovation in order to become relevant again – and I’m not talking about an open floor plan with granite countertops and towel warmers.

The first part of the remodeling would be to immediately “demo” celibacy in order for the Church to become solvent once again. Right now they’re hemorrhaging cash and eroding trust. Celibacy is at the crux of this fiasco.

And although Christ’s profound moral philosophy is a superb model for personal comportment, I don’t think even he could’ve foreseen the competition from newly ingrained societal distractions like Instagram, Facebook or the avalanche of electronic screens so second nature to our culture – ubiquitous screens like the one you’re looking at right now. In appealing to an increasingly secular audience the Church must walk a fine line in not being perceived as sacrificing the tenets of timeless truth to the expediency of moral relativism. It also must be remembered that all our nuanced marketing campaign is set against a backdrop of an increasingly non-scholastic Catholic laity that doesn’t know their Assumption from their Ascension.

While this purloined communication isn’t exactly inflammatory, it does go a long way in explaining Google’s ethos on this matter.

 

The Long and Winding Road Less Travelled  

Many institutionally historic brands like United Airlines, Hostess Twinkies and even Fruit of the Loom underwear have emerged from bankruptcy to become relevant again. And while some early Fruit of the Loom investors took it in the shorts, in its current incarnation Fruit of the Loom has been a good fit for many latter day investors (not to be confused with Latter Day Saints). Google believes a similar redemptive template can be applied to the Catholic Church’s resurrection, even though its bankruptcy is more a moral deficiency than a financial one. Some background is justified in order to understand the genesis of this proposed purchase – genesis in the sense of “origin” and not the Genesis that’s the 1st book of the Bible (or even the Genesis with Phil Collins for that matter).

 

At one time the Roman Catholic Church (or the church that the Apostle Paul built – without any blueprints btw) had a monopoly on all of Christendom’s power and was the sole entity representing the superb moral philosophy of Jesus Christ. But, as with most things of an earthly nature, man started fiddling with it and then came the Great Schism of 1054 which had more to do with East-West political divisions than ideology. That’s where the Eastern Orthodox Church (the one with beards, beads and even funnier hats) came into play.

 

The real balkanization of the Church occurred in the 16th century when Martin Luther and King Henry VIII created their own subsidiaries after the Church turned a deaf ear to their earnest petitions during the Protestant Reformation. Some view the Reformation as just another Christian church turf battle over the Estate of Jesus Christ. If only he left a written ironclad will, instead of his supremely exquisite 2nd hand gospel, there might not be such internal squabbles. Since the Reformation, numerous factions have splintered off into evermore tangential movements – but don’t tell the fervent adherents to those splinter groups they’re “evermore tangential.” That’s how holy wars start.

 

It’s one thing to criticize someone’s political beliefs. Politics are manmade and therefore perhaps fallible. But tread on someone’s conception of the Almighty – and them’s fightin’ words. People have faith that their religion is God-inspired. The fact that it supposedly comes down from on high renders its tenets infallible or at least perfectly defensible. And yet when you think about it, religion is also manmade or at least man-interpreted.

 

Believers usually defend their faithful model of the universe’s purposeful organization. After all, its’ pedigree is allegedly divine. Most are fearfully hostile, protective or disillusioned if their paradigm is questioned, broken or reimagined by anyone. This instinctual effort to impose order on the mysteriously unknowable, is how so many splinter religions are formed. In the Muslim world it’s Sunni and Shi’ite. In Judaism you’ve got your Orthodox, Hydrox and Reformed Jews (I know. Hydrox is a cookie. Just havin’ a little unleavened levity).

 

The categories are different in other spiritual methods. For example, in the areligious path of Buddhism, if you fail to achieve Nirvana, you can still get Near-vana. Not a bad deal. It should be noted that although Pat Sajak is not a Buddhist he gets near Vanna on every show. Sometimes life is all about the cosmic joke.

 

Christendom has parsed Christ’s divine message into such sects as the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the

Jehovah’s Witness Protection Program. Christianity includes in its big tent, Shakers, Quakers,

Seventh Day Adventists, Ladder Day Fireman and Latter Day Saints such as Drew Brees, Archie Manning and Sean Payton. Christianity’s denominations run the gamut from Anabaptism to Zoroastrianism. What’s galling about all this sanctioned factionalism, is that we all recognize intuitively there is only one path to God. Unfortunately it’s popularly expressed in 3218 different sects.

 

Unplanned Interruption

I’ve just had an epiphany! It’s been right there in front of me all the time. Apparent to anyone with a saddle-shaped mind. I realize now why there are so many different sects. It’s that people just love to have sects – whether it’s in a church, on a prayer mat or just kneeling in a pew. Sects has always been a very powerful drive.      

 

More Explanatory Background Than You Need

At the First Lateran Council convoked by Pope Callixstus II in 1122, the Church made a cardinal error by imposing celibacy on its clergy. Damning up one’s sexual energy is like trying to spend less than $100 at Costco – it ain’t gonna happen and it’s not really worth the effort. The church elders should have recognized that whether you’re trying to rein in your profligate spending or your unsatisfied carnal lust, either way you’re going to end up blowing your wad. So why not be fruitful and get the damn crab legs without all the hesitation – you know you want it?

 

But celibacy requirements had more to do with the Church’s long term financial concerns than redirecting sexual energy into more Godly realms. In 1122 the “powers that were” (which in 1122 were “the powers that be”, I’m trying to stay in tense here), didn’t want the Church’s wealth divvied up among prominent families like the Medici’s and the Borgia’s and passed down like a  family heirloom. So celibacy became the order of the day to retain the power and the wealth within the Church and sequestered from affluent families. Not a bad strategy, except that celibacy ain’t exactly enforceable (many early Popes had wives and children).

 

Celibacy is also completely unnatural. To be pro-celibacy is like being pro…umm, I don’t know what to compare it to it’s such an asinine concept. It’s a quaint idea (like fasting) in diametric opposition to God-given orgasmic release. In moderation, a little bit of celibacy, just like a little bit of fasting, can be a cleansing and restorative practice. Inevitably though, you’ll want to satisfy your organic pangs. In any event, the randy clergy was uncooperative and still wanted to party like it was 1121, so quite naturally the ranks of the episcopate and priesthood attracted a greater number of cheats, misfits and lately, a predation of sexually immature priests. I think that’s what you call a collection of priests these days – a predation of priests.  

 

The Church’s descent into darkness continued: there were Popes, anti-Popes, the selling of indulgences, Holy Crusades and Spanish Inquisitions. This descent into darkness could hardly be avoided. After all, it was the Dark Ages and the Church wasn’t alone in trying to keep the Earth flat. However, in the centuries that followed, this kind of benighted extremism morphed peaceably into rummage sales, toy drives and the apex of kitschy Catholic fundraising: bingo.

 

From ideological purity requirements to feckless attempts at promoting relevancy, the Church has a serious PR problem. Throw in a recruiting pitch to priests that read like a Monty Python sketch and you’ve got a bad business plan for a for an awesome business. It was as if the Church’s hierarchy pretended to be a repository of virtuous tenets and the laity pretended to observe them. In the search for spiritual succor the laity ignored the vulgarities and rampant pedophilia, and instead focused on the securitizing well-being generated when one feels they’re being superintended by an all-knowing and beneficent parent. And thus was born Cafeteria Catholics – who choose those dishes which provide spiritual nourishment while passing on the ones causing indigestion: “Hmmm, the Golden Rule and Jesus’s moral philosophy look especially good today, but I think I’ll pass on the rhythm method and confession. And I wish they wouldn’t even put out those steam trays of lawsuits and pedophilia. Nobody wants that.”  

 

Despite its manifest imperfections the Catholic Church has proved enduring in its hegemony over Christian fans, in much the same way the Beatles tower mightily over Rock and Roll. Just as the Church has spawned many splinter groups, so have the Beatles generated many magnificent splinter bands. Sometimes one’s abiding religious faith, or who your favorite rock band is, is just a matter of what you listened to growing up. In other words, are our beliefs an informed choice or just a habit picked-up from one’s circumstances and the gentle peer pressure of group think?

 

Google’s Brilliant Idea for Vetting Priests (If they decide to continue with Priests)

While Google prefers to eliminate the Executive Branch of the Church (the clergy) altogether, some Googlers have suggested that licensing Priests would winnow out those with the sexual maturity of Dennis the Menace. Still others cheekily trumpet the talking point that if priests are outlawed, only outlaws will be priests. But just as gun owners must pass a rigorous background check (sort of) before discharging their weapon, a faction of Googlers believes priests should be similarly licensed before they discharge theirs…so to speak. To that end, Google has devised a licensing questionnaire/litmus test for any priest hoping to carry a loaded cross, or seeking a permit to carry a concealed penis. Through the SOIA (the Stealing of Information Act) I was able to obtain Google’s proposed qualifying questionnaire/litmus test for aspiring priests and present it forthwith:  

 

Proposed Background Check Questionnaire for Individuals Applying for the Priesthood:

 

  1. Please complete the sentence: I believe denying myself orgasms for the rest of my life is a good idea because… (And no, this isn’t a trick question.)
  2. Do you realize there are plenty of other religions where you can get your ya-ya’s out and still be a holy roller?
  3. Except for Christmas trees, have you ever flocked anything without consent.
  4. Just what are you running away from anyway (not a trick question)?
  5. Did you know that it’s inappropriate to thank an altar boy for his service by inviting him back to your sparse quarters for a congratulatory back rub and a glass of sacramental wine?
  6. Do you find yourself asking young men too many questions about what kinds of things they like to do with their girlfriends?
  7. Do you understand that celibacy is not fun? Especially when the Olafsson twins show up for services wearing a pink halter top? BTW, the “Olafsson twins” is a euphemism for Ingrid Olafsson’s endowments.
  8. Do you realize that celibacy’s compensation (more energy for counseling the flock) pales in comparison to a really good schtupping?
  9. And just to be clear, we’re going to ask you once again to complete the following sentence: I believe denying myself orgasms for the rest of my life is a good idea because…

 

The Catholic Church – a Big Tent of Divergent Views or a Cloistered Club of Pea Brain Provincialism?

The anachronistic Church walks a fine line between honoring antiquity and embracing modernity. It must be seen as a steadfast and true compass amidst a sea of secular relativism and existential uncertainty. The Church must provide a faith someone can cleave to when they haven’t formulated one of their own or they’re just looking for a safe harbor to park their anxieties. In some ways it’s handcuffed in trying to update itself because it’s mired in Dark Age dogma. Ironically, many are cross with a Church whose trademark symbol is the cross.

 

The Church is saddled with the difficult task of updating itself. On the one hand, the Church does not want to alienate fervent Catholic traditionalists like the more conservative Opus Dei types. And yet it does not want to marginalize the more progressive faction of its laity from which it draws invigorating institutional vitality and new members. The Church is straitjacketed by its own hidebound strictures in nimbly attending to either group. There is simply very little wiggle room in the Church for alterations to the millennia old format it seems to be following more by force of habit than anything else. After all, to the loyal and faithful followers, it’s the eternal Church – a Church that is somehow sanctioned in its position as the chosen ambassador between God and his children. As Jesus said in Matthew 16:18: “…and on this rock I will build my church.” Clearly the Church endeavors to represent enduring and unassailable wisdom in superintending all of creation. The laity draw great strength and comfort from this constancy.  

 

If the Church Were to Lurch

Any amendments or alterations to the Church’s creed would be met with suspicion and would be tacitly admitting the Church was wrong about their entire concept of God and man in the first place. That’s frightful. Alterations to the Church doctrine would be cultivating that filthy word all faith-starved laypeople dread to hear – fallibility. If the Church were to flinch, the once solid ground of understanding you once stood on, would now begin to shift uneasily beneath your feet. You might frantically wonder, “Well now I don’t know what to believe. I thought the Church knew, but judging by their recent equivocations, they don’t seem to know either. Well then, who the Hell does know? Great, and now I’m hyperventilating.”

 

It must be remembered that much of the Church’s divine theology, tenets and proscriptions were formulated against a backdrop of a benighted era. If only the Roman Empire had not crumbled, perhaps we could’ve transitioned straight to the Renaissance and skipped the appropriately named Dark Ages. But as it was, the Dark Ages were so bleak that at one point they lost track of the wheel, and for a period of time had to drag things everywhere – hence the expression, “Jesus, what a drag this is.” In the Dark Ages a rat was known as lunch. Not the best time to be alive – especially if you were on a rodent-restricted diet.

 

The Renaissance that followed the Dark Ages was an improvement over the stygian culture of leeches and closeted cannibalism. But still, even during the Renaissance (translated roughly as “rebirth”) most of the population was informed by superstition, nourished by toadstools and cleansed by meteor showers. In an era when the death, famine and pestilence were known as Tuesday, it was easy for the Church to cultivate a spiritual regimen for a population whose IQs were about 110 (and that’s everybody’s IQ added together). The church kept the earth flat, eclipses terrorizing and Hell at a very unpleasant 160°.

 

Nowadays (pronounced: today) if the Church were to lurch, or even slowly vector, towards a modern theology tailored to a more sophisticated laity that has never known bubonic plague, a flat earth or fear of eclipses, then suddenly the Church’s beautiful model of a dependable and explained universe that allayed one’s insecurities is, if not shattered, then at least severely stained. And the only stain the Catholic Church publicly tolerates is in its windows. In some ways The Young Rascals more prosaically encapsulated this anxiety-producing lack of surety I refer to with their 1967 hit single “How Can I Be Sure (in a World that’s Constantly Changing).”

 

Spirituality is what’s happening to us while we’re busy making other plans – like joyfully fabricating a goofily detailed story about a fictional takeover of a major religious institution by a high tech megacorporation. This previous sentence alone is the ultimate “note to self.” Note to Self: Undertake those activities that tend to relieve suffering (yours and others) while engendering connection – anything to prevent the ego from metastasizing and obliterating God. Note to Others: I realize this prescription for the pursuit of happiness is probably more about my demanding ego than your more specific difficulties in educing God’s grace, so all I can offer you is my perspective.

 

But as we press on we realize that religion, broadly speaking, is man’s rudimentary and earnest attempt to codify the ineffable, i.e., the felt presence of immediate experience. <pause, breathe, continue> I mean what is the nature and significance of this thing we’re eternally bathed in: consciousness? We’re so familiar with it, it’s so ever presently pervasive we dismiss its splendor out of hand. And this inability to recognize the transcendence of the felt presence of immediate experience is easy to do when you’re emptying the cat box or listening to someone lie about how successful they are.

 

Unless You Enjoy Mental Quicksand, Don’t Read This Analogy

Using words or religions to capture and express the majesty of God is like an ant trying to describe what shampoo is. And I’m not anti-ant, but these barely–brained invertebrates simply don’t possess the capacity to express what this liquid cleansing agent for hair is. And in a circuitous attempt at paralleling ants’ inability to describe shampoo, to humans’ inability to describe or teach God, let’s analogize ants to a low energy orbit of an electron cloud around an atomic nucleus (who doesn’t do this daily?). We moderately-brained vertebrates, for whatever reason, have been endowed with more energy or light than an ant thereby becoming excited to a higher energy orbit of an electron cloud than our dutiful, but limited ant. From this more self-aware perch (as opposed to a self-aware trout), shampoo is perfectly fathomable – an astringent solution whose surfactants are capable of being worked into a lather to cleanse hair. But even at this level we cannot penetrate the empyrean splendor of the Cosmos. In essence, in relation to God and from this limited human perspective, we are ants. In other words, ants are to shampoo as humans are to God. The trappings of our bodies eclipse our heavenly vision. So we create religions to explain it.

 

Even if an ant could perceive shampoo through the filter of its microscopic CNS, I imagine it couldn’t muster enough brain power to get past, “Must bring carbohydrates to Queen.” So, if pressed on the matter, an ant conveys no true understanding of shampoo even if it were to be immersed in it; such as what happens occasionally when an exuberant dog is brought to a groomer after having broken into a honey jar and then having rolled on an ant hill. And such is the plight of man. We are (in the absence of deep meditation, psychoactive drugs or lucid dreaming), incapable of describing what God is (“God” being the ants’ “shampoo” in this tortured analogy). For God is an experience and not a subject to be studied or achieved. And as far as this byzantine shampoo analogy goes, I guess it only proves one thing. Cleanliness is next to Godliness.

 

OK, I’m Woke – I Guess

Such is man’s dilemma with popular religion. We don’t really know what we’re talking about and we get fairly far afield in tidying-up something so completely unfurled. In essence, we’re just trying to understand the felt presence of immediate experience. Thomas Jefferson understood this and recognized the importance of sequestering man’s imperfect concept of God’s expression from the affairs of government. Neither should meddle with the other as long as they’re behaving well (plenty of subjectivity in defining “behaving”). His “wall of separation” between church and state displays the workable wisdom of perhaps our most intellectually gifted forefathers and Google proposes to practice this maxim with unerring fidelity (arranging words are fun). ♫So hoist up the John B sails, see how the mainsail sets. ♫  

 

Spiritually we’ve created quite a thicket of insoluble cellulose in not seeing the forest for the trees (read: not seeing God for the ego). When you’re bereft of ideas on how to pursue pathways to God and yet requiring spiritual succor, for better or worse you tend to adopt others’ pathways. This is the kind of personal chaos that happens when you don’t have a plan. You become a part of somebody else’s plan. Since you don’t really have a plan to begin with, why not become a part of Google’s plan? Google (through its YouTube division) didn’t let you down when you wanted to see Shakira shake it or Julia Child bake it or even Zarathustra spake it. They’ve earned your trust. What could possibly go wrong with a Google-based theology – at least any more wrong than you’re currently experiencing.

 

 

The Devil is in the Details and Here are a Few of the More Tangential ones:

  1. Under Google’s enlightened management, Bishops will now be allowed to move in any direction and not just diagonally
  2. The cloistered world of canon law, which puts priests beyond the reach of civil law, will be abolished
  3. Phone trees will no longer be able to say “Please listen carefully as some of our options have changed” or “If this is a medical emergency hang up and dial 9-1-1.” This singular stipulation will make the entire purchase worthwhile.
  4. And no more of hotels charging $25 after-the-fact “spa fees” just because there’s a drinking fountain in the lobby or toilet paper in the john.  
  5. Google shall enter into an exclusive deal with Nike to market “✝ Trainers” (Cross Trainers), as halos for the feet.

 

In Closing

Google vows to repurpose the antiquated, non-woke Church by modernizing many of its hoary and moldering tenets. They hope to give the Church more pew appeal and to generally lively-up the lumbering giant just like they did with another lumbering giant – Weyerhaeuser. Google’s plan to eliminate the cereal misconduct of the clergy by prohibiting any and all cereals inside the rectory, is much easier accomplished than eliminating the other kind of serial misconduct which feeds a different kind of hunger.

 

In undertaking this purchase, Google is not just buying a church. It’s also buying a country – Vatican City – and a seat in the United Nations in New York which includes 5 prime parking spaces in Midtown Manhattan worth at least $40 million.

 

This “friendly takeover” has rival religions and tech companies fearing this purchase will grant and memorialize Google’s monopoly on the Source Code. They caution that if the merger is approved Google will possess, not only the Source Code for virtually all of the world’s computers, but also God’s Source Code for operating the entire Cosmos. In their apocalyptic dissent, rival companies warn that in the aftermath of this tetra-megamerger, Google will not only be too big to fail, it will be the only thing that could fail. This is not the kind of Universal Oneness they had in mind.

 

The Bureau of AT&✝ however, has indicated that it foresees great benefit in Google injecting fresh cash and biting ethics into the wayward legacy religion. Some say Catholicism is worth saving, if only for bingo night. Others maintain that by redeeming the once august institution, Google will foster hope and provide instructive guidance to billions of misbegotten seekers who, in the absence of a moral imperative, would pee in sinks and not shower before getting into a public pool if it weren’t for the countervailing force of guilt the Church employs with immaculate skill. Many parishioners wear their guilt like a halo, and it prevents those virtuously-infected from committing such dastardly and selfish acts. This halo acts like an anti-barking dog collar, muzzling anti-social acts before they’re committed. It gives Free Will a little upfront cost thereby providing a moderating and welcomed chilling effect on misbehavior.    

 

It remains to be seen whether Google’s gambit will have a salutary effect on society at large or on individuals at small. Will it pay spiritual dividends to make the venture worthwhile? Will it produce a profit or a prophet? As mentioned earlier, if the merger is approved by the Bureau of AT&✝, Google will possess not only the operating system for virtually all the world’s computers, but also God’s source code for operating the entire Cosmos. So while it may be too big to fail, it may also be too big to succeed.

{The story ends, evocative music plays questioning the fate of mankind as we look away from the screen and our thoughts turn to more pressing matters like Justin Bieber’s latest Tweet.}

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