It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing.
C. S. Lewis: The Screwtape Letters
Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
She replied, “No one, sir.”
Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, (and) from now on do not sin any more.“
Back on Wednesday Glenn Reynolds linked to a post called Stripping on the side. I found it a rather sad story about a woman who made a lot of bad decisions
At work, I kept my night job to myself. No one knew I was stripping. And no one knew I was sleeping with Jay (although in retrospect I’m sure everyone suspected it). Everyone thought that Jay was a loser. I acted as if I agreed.
Jay’s not a bad guy, I’d sometimes think to myself. He lacked steady employment and had no place to live; I didn’t particularly respect his music and I’d have died if anybody at work found out for certain that we were together. But when it was just Jay and me, I felt at ease. I felt more like myself—normal, safe—without even having to realize that I’d ever felt otherwise. I sometimes wondered what Jay thought of me, whether he liked me and wanted to be my boyfriend, and then I’d remind myself that it didn’t really matter. I already had a boyfriend. Jay knows I’m in a relationship, I’d remind myself. He knows I’m practically married and that what he and I have is simply sex. We’re just using each other, I’d think.
and in return had a lot of bad results.
The name of the woman, Melissa Petro , didn’t ring a bell with me but I googled her and found a wealth of articles about her life including the NY Post Story that exposed her past, got her “exiled” and finally ending in her resignation from the NYC school system that tagged her under the rather logical assumption that parents might object to knowing the city had an ex-hooker teaching their grade school kids.
We’re different. I’m from the east she from the mid west, I’ve very conservative, she’s very liberal, I’m a 50-year-old fellow she is young enough to be my daughter (at least if I had gotten married a bit sooner).
I also found we had things in common: For example we are both trying to make a living out of freelance writing, but while she is writing for places like the Huffington Post, Salon and elsewhere, my writing is pretty much here as I try to draw sufficient monies to pay the bills from my readers rather than various publishers. (Personally I think my model might work for her both on radio and the net). I think she would be an excellent choice for the 4th Bob Beckel seat and if it was a paying gig I think she might take it.
She’s a big Obama person but hope and change apparently aren’t enough
Some days — like when my rent is due and I’ve got less than $400 to my name (not enough to pay my rent), and I’ve got no work because the subways and servers are down, and I’m in a battle with my ex over the apartment we’ve shared for the past five plus years, the cheapest apartment in Manhattan that I can’t afford — and rather than mourning the loss of that relationship, we are bickering over who will get custody of the dog, and it’s suddenly winter and I don’t own a proper coat or boots, and then the coffeemaker breaks, and the world is literally crumbling around us, and Mitt Romney just might be elected president — selling sex sounds like a reasonable solution to at least some of it.
That was a couple weeks ago. Then I got paid. And Obama won.
Now, a week or so later, the fuzzy right-in-the-world feeling of that political victory has trickled away. And so has that paycheck.
One may or may not feel sorry for her but no matter what you feel I think she got a bum deal both from enemies and friends
More disappointing than the arguably predictable moral outrage I faced, however, was the lack of support I received from the very communities who had emboldened me to speak in the first place—namely, the feminists and sex workers whom I had assumed myself to represent. One online women’s magazine (which I now write for) described as “disgusting” what they saw as my desperate plea for attention. Sex workers contacted me to dispute my account of the work as “spiritually bankrupting” and my claim that working as a prostitute had required that I sometimes be dishonest.
Oddly the more I’ve read her work, the more it seems to be, well, venting. Almost as if writing about herself, was a therapeutic event. A good example being the double standard of a Spitzer or a Weiner getting a shot while she was crashing:
After I was fired, I couldn’t pay my rent. (Even now, freelance writing and the seminars I teach barely pay the bills.) Because of the negative publicity, I lost the part-time jobs that subsidized my teaching salary. And it would only get worse: When I surrendered my fight for my job, the Department of Education contested my unemployment, even though my resignation agreement had stipulated that they wouldn’t; this was the only reason I didn’t go to trial. I moved back in with an ex-boyfriend, falling back into an emotionally abusive relationship. I was four years in recovery for alcohol and sex addiction and 31 years old. Selling sex was out of the question, even though this option haunted me more then than it had in years.
Perhaps it’s the Sicilian father in me always wanting to see people together or maybe because I still remember how crushing being alone can be I found myself oddly delighted to see she has seemingly found a nice guy:
When I met my BF, there were a couple “red flags”: he didn’t drink (alcoholic!), he was five years younger than me, he’d never had a serious girlfriend before, he worked for the NY Post. I’m glad I overlooked my prejudices and gave him a chance.
Because he works for the NY Post, something he told me in one of our first conversations, it seemed illogical to withhold who I was, and so I told him right away. He said something to the effect of “I’m sorry that happened to you” — regarding this
. Then, he told me something personal about himself to even the playing field. Right response! Moving on!
I’ve now read about a dozen of Ms. Petro’s articles and several about her It strikes me that her situation from the bad early choices , the inevitable consequences, ups and down and the daily struggle to regain personal dignity in an unforgiving world are likely more common in our modern society than we realize and that’s when it hit me…
…the pontificate of Pope Francis is made for people of this age exactly like her.
Pope Francis is constantly giving the message of welcome, from the washing of the feet to those who have been rejected from the very start
That the emphasis of this Pontificate mercy Mercy MERCY:
I am always struck when I reread the parable of the merciful Father. … The Father, with patience, love, hope and mercy, had never for a second stopped thinking about [his wayward son], and as soon as he sees him still far off, he runs out to meet him and embraces him with tenderness, the tenderness of God, without a word of reproach. … God is always waiting for us, he never grows tired. Jesus shows us this merciful patience of God so that we can regain confidence and hope — always!
The culture and its norms are empty, they don’t provide purpose or support. The drug and sex purported to be freedom provide no escape for the nothingness that surrounds them. This Pope through Christ offers purpose of life, support in need and escape from emptiness.
Neither Christ nor his Pope reject you when you fail. Francis constantly reinforces the message to the woman about to be stoned, no amount of failure or falling back will make him close the doors if you a willing to walk in and try.
The Holy Spirit knows what he’s doing, at a time when the fruits of the rejection are coming to their height and more and more find themselves outcast and abandoned and at this very time the Spirit whispers first to the old Pope who steps aside, then to the college who fills the chair of Peter and to Francis who extends Christ’s hand who have found the promises of the world empty and shallow.
And sometimes he extends that message in person. I’d get a charge out of that but when it comes down to it…
That’s why he’s here, the right Peter at the right time to help the Melissa Petro’s of the world find themselves all they have to do is ask.
And remember there are millions of Melissa Petro’s out there who need to hear that message of hope.
Update: Re-wrote redundant sentence.
It’s Sunday the last week of the month and the weekly goal has been restarted.
17 readers at $20 each will make the weekly goal. With the short fall from the beginning of the month it will however take 23 reader at the same price to make the months goal as well.
Be one of them, make it happen.