Martin Moone & The Rev. Cleaver

  • Posted: January 19, 2021
  • Category: Blog
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Given that network programming has fallen into an abyss of woke nonsense, I am forced to wander the thickets of streaming services in my search for worthwhile ways to kill time. The often fruitless prowl is reminiscent of my hunting days, back before I was ensorcelled into the alien sensibilities of marital bliss. As I once watched leafed branches for the twitch of an ear, I now scan the menued preview bars for the flicker of something neither banal nor woke.

While our culture has been gut punched by the loss of what once bound us together – shared TV programs, I must admit to the guilty pleasure of the hunt, the view in my sights of an obscure gem, hidden in the great junkyards of shlock and dreck stretching to distant horizons on Netflix.

My latest treasure, “Moone Boy”, is streaming on Hulu. “Moone Boy” is in the genre of ABC’s “The Wonder Years” and ABC’s more recent offering, the popular but misbegotten “The Goldbergs”. “Moone Boy” is built around a 12 year old boy named Martin Moone, growing up in the Ireland of 1990. Martin has an imaginary friend, an adult figure no more mature than Martin himself.

One cannot escape wokedom entirely. Martin has a clueless father and a wise in the ways of the world mother, but then – that is not exactly a rainbow flag. As for the rest of his family, Martin has three older sisters, one of whom he shares an unhappy bedroom with. While I did not have an older sister myself, many of my friends did and Martin’s sisters seem well cast, awkward irritable adolescents neither cute, sassy smart nor interested in Martin.

As a young boy in 1990’s Ireland, a uniformed Martin attends Catholic school, as do his sisters. His family attends Catholic Mass and it is the hub of their social circle as well. Unlike virtually every other modern show, these Catholic identifiers are not the subject of snark and condescension. On the other hand, it is clear that none of the characters on the show, or presumably the show’s writers, know anything about the Christian faith, Catholic or otherwise.

But what cuts to the heart of the matter is that very truth. I have been among and around Catholics all my life. With some few notable exceptions, my Catholic friends knew or know very little about Christian faith, Catholic or otherwise. It is a fact that those in my circle most antagonistic to Christian faith grew up in families and circumstances very like Martin Moone.

But it is not like the rest of the Christian professing West has anything better on offer. The mainline Protestant churches that once rang with the zeal of the Wesley’s, Luther and Bonhoffer, the Puritans or Martin Luther King are now zombies. Their fine buildings now empty of their former spirit, replaced by a spasmodic spirit lurching in a strange parody of life.

I have been among and around Christians all my life. As our culture has grown colder, our leaders and teachers have retreated, in confusion, in doubt, in pathetic attempts to be “relevant”. Much of our Scripture has been abandoned, seldom visited. It is as if great stretches in the Bible have been stamped with large red letters,  “Here there be dragons”.

I am probably unfair in my generalization, painting with too broad a brush. But then I write a blog, and isn’t that what we get paid to do?  It is a fact, however, that the Christian presence in the culture and public life of our country is either mean parody or toothless travesty. And there is no one to blame but that grinning fool in the mirror.

It is not that there are not Christian role models in high places. We have a Methodist Pastor in our Congress, a 7 term member of the House of Representatives, Rev. Emmanuel Cleaver II. He  also serves as the Sr. Pastor at St. James Methodist Church in Kansas City, Missouri. A politician and a spiritual leader, shades of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard!! Just a short time ago, Rev. Cleaver opened the 117th Congress’s oath taking with a prayer that drew desultory sniper fire from the back benches.

Rev. Cleaver concluded his prayer with the traditional “Amen”, followed by an innovation of what is apparently his own coinage –“and Awoman”. The usual suspects on the Conservative side of the talking head circuit exploded with the usual outrage at progressive gender obsessions. The increasingly irrelevant pedantic nit pickers stumbled into the aisles astutter in the need to share their latest foray into Wikipedia – “Amen” is not a word expressing gender, but Latin for “Let it be so”.

Ah, the niceties of gender and the Christian religion. Definitely a stretch of the Bible labeled, “Here there be dragons”, but its unexplored and unexamined depths are irresistible to political sensibilities eager for the opportunity to build their brand, particularly those ensconced in empty suits of religious caricature.

Of course his words invite laughter, but somewhere along the line we have lost our ability to laugh. But to do anything else is to bring ridicule upon one’s self, after all, crossing swords with the progressive consensus on gender and Christian faith is to dance in a lightless room with blindfolds on. My own thoughts were more taken by the god to whom a Methodist minister prayed. Reportedly, The Rev. Cleaver opened his prayer, calling out to God in these words:

“We ask it in the name of the monotheistic God, Brahma, and “god” known by many names by many faiths.”

One does not know whether to laugh or cry. A Methodist pastor of long standing, first ordained in 1972, prays to “the monotheistic God, Brahma, and “god” known by many names and many faiths” unremarked, yet engulfed in controversy because he dared to pair a nonsense word with another meaningless word.

I have previously trolled the murky depths to which the Methodist Church has fallen (Methodist Anschluss –, so The Rev. Cleaver’s understanding of prayer and deity do not surprise. Though one does wonder, as well as grieve, for the parishioners of St. James Methodist in Kansas City.

And that is the great sadness, the parishioners of St James, as well as the great mass of other parishioners in the care of The Rev. Cleaver’s fellow travelers. These poor sheep of God’s flock are in the care of fools. The Apostle Peter described these leaders and teachers well –

“They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam, who loved the wages of unrighteousness. . . These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm.”

It is the great affectation of the Adorable world that we are enlightened beyond any culture that has come before, at least any Western culture. Though it must be said that it is an article of faith among us Adorables that non-Western cultures possess an innate authenticity, an authenticity that we can only humbly admire. That understanding is the bedrock of what is known as “cancel culture”. There is little or nothing to be learned from our past, because our forebears were so unenlightened and burdened with superstition, “isms” and unaware of CRT (Critical Race Theory).

And yet in one’s idle fancies, one might compare The Rev. Emmanuel Cleaver II beliefs to those of another culture equally proud of their enlightenment, the Greeks of Athens. I think Paul the Apostle might have been smiling on the inside when he engaged the learned elite of Athens outside the Parthenon as reported in the Book of Acts of the Apostles:

“Men of Athens, I see that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through your sacred areas I found an altar with this inscription:


One suspects the Rev. Emmanuel Cleaver II would have felt right at home in the intellectual salons of Athens two thousand years ago. I suspect the philosophers of the time would have been eager listeners of his advanced understanding of spiritual matters, digging right into the advances the Adorable world has made in Gaianism, critical race theory, etc.

It has always puzzled me why so many that lead and teach the flocks of Christ do not believe in Christ, or at least presume to ignore Him – all in the service of “good works”. Would a person contemptuous of arithmetic become an engineer?

It is easy enough for us, the great unwashed masses in the pews, to blame our own lack of discernment on the failures of our shepherds. From Adam on, the human race, particularly its male half, has been quick to blame leaders, wives, friends and enemies for their failures. Flip Wilson once achieved celebrity by loudly proclaiming what we all think, “The Devil made me do it!!”

The precise problem with “Awomen”, or even if there is a problem, is a fraught question, perhaps akin to another pressing theological puzzler, “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” Of course “Awomen” invites a belly laugh, but is simply the whiff of putrescence rather than the canker itself.

Yet it is “Awomen” that has brought the pundits to the ramparts rather than The Rev. Cleaver’s calling on The Unknown God instead of the great I Am in our cathedral of government. That intersection of the Conservative and the Religious is periodically exercised over the lack of modern respect given to The Ten Commandments. And yet, do we even know what they are?

The First Commandment is probably the most important one. That is certainly the case with other Top Ten Lists, including our own Bill of Rights – the first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States. And what is the 1st of the Ten Commandments?

“You shall have no other gods before me”

Pretty hard to misunderstand that one. One wonders how The Rev. Cleaver II squares that one with his conscience. That is the thing about faith and politics. There was a man of character and great wisdom, Seneca by name, in the circle around the Emperor Nero, the same Nero that fiddled while Rome burned, slept with his sister and murdered his mother. There is a saying attributed to Seneca:

“Qui, cum canibus concumbunt cum publicus surgent (He who lies down with dogs gets up with fleas)”

Lying down with dogs and getting up with fleas was something Seneca knew about first hand. A recent biography summarized Seneca’s life in the book’s title, “Dying Every Day; Seneca at the Court of Nero”. Perhaps there are some in Christian circles that might profit from a wider perspective than that offered by a seminary education, maybe even reading that biography of Seneca.

If there is a superstar in today’s Evangelical culture, it would be Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham. An outspoken supporter of Donald Trump, Franklin Graham publicly expressed his displeasure over The Rev Cleaver II’s use of “Awomen”. Franklin Graham unfortunately remained silent on the subject of the conflict between the 1st Commandment and The Rev. Cleaver II’s prayer. Perhaps a prayerful friend of Rev. Graham might gift him a copy of “Dying Every Day”.

That intersection of the Conservative and the Religious, a puzzling conundrum to be sure. A great block of people, holding to traditional values and claiming faith in Christ, are the most loyal supporters of Donald Trump, virtually the antithesis of all we claim to hold dear. But then we have just shown our true colors; a righteous outrage at the risible “Awomen” while yawning with indifference at the greatest insult possible to the God we claim to love.

Perhaps that is why we were and are so loyal to President Trump. He understood us.

One Response to “Martin Moone & The Rev. Cleaver”

  1. bob keller says:

    I’m sorry Bill, but Trump understood you and pretended to agree with you. His only God is himself. Thank God is gone tomorrow.

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