Cruel Rules


There is trouble brewing in Milo’s Finishing School. Factions have formed, debates have been joined, tempers have frayed. Much popcorn has been popped by those watching from the sidelines, but the food fights among the cool kids have gotten quite animated, and the whispering in the DMs has reached fever pitch. Rival cliques have been plotting ways to take over the chat and drive out the thots and the trolls, while the trolls themselves dance gleefully in the margins.

None of which, arguably, should come as a surprise given the stated mission of the School:
We take the mischievous, the perverted and the delinquent...and turn them into certified internet terrorists, by teaching them the fine arts of trolling, abuse and harassment.
Except that, as we have seen, there are Rules by which the students are expected to abide and which the recording admins are expected to enforce. Or are they?

Even among the admins, there is a debate. On the one hand, there are those who would argue that Milo’s whole purpose in setting up the School is to encourage the students to break the rules—a.k.a. test them by trolling. That is what makes the chat fun, or so those in the Troll Camp would argue. On the other hand, there are those who insist that Milo made the rules for the chat and because he made them, everyone should expect to abide by them to the letter until Milo determines otherwise. From this perspective, Milo is the sole font of mercy; it is the role of the admins to dispense justice in his absence.

I swear I am not making this stuff up, although even Milo has gotten worried about how much time I spend studying the chat.

“We are living an allegory,” I try to explain to the chat, at which I receive DMs about how I am trying to impose Christianity on people who have come to the chat to have fun, not learn lessons in scripture. “I don’t feel that Milo’s chat is a Church,” one told me. “It’s a chat. And it’s Milo’s chat, at that. He shares content as he sees fit.”

“Beating Christ into people is what got many to leave the Church in decades past,” another told me. “Mother Superior running the chat like a boot camp won’t go over well with any except the devout, and they’re not the ones we’re aiming to reach, I think?”

The anxiety on both sides—the Trolls and the Lawyers—is, however, exactly the same: “If we do things this way, people won’t want to be part of the chat.” Which is where things have gotten truly ugly—just like in the history of the Church!

I call the Troll leader St. Paul. He is the one openly calling for mischief, having been trolling the chat from the very beginning by saying contradictory things just to get people riled up. He is a consummate fool, insisting that Milo’s wisdom is not about following the rules, but about living according to their spirit. He is also the one who has insisted most forcefully that having too many rules drives people away, just as St. Paul insisted that it was not necessary for Gentiles to be circumcised in order to become members of the Church.

The head Lawyer, a.k.a. St. Peter, appropriately represents himself in the chat as a rock—a statue of the great orator Demosthenes. He is worried that people have been leaving the chat because the rules have not kept it orderly enough. In his view, people do not like the trolling because it interferes with Milo’s purpose in having the rules in the first place: to wit, making the chat a place where people can share valuable insights and know how to behave. Like St. Peter, he would have the chat circumcised, brought under the dispensation of the Law so as to keep it intact. (Sorry, bad pun there.)

“We are all here for Milo.” On this credo, everyone would seem to agree. But what does it mean to be here for Milo? What does it mean to do what Milo wants?

I asked the chat, a.k.a. the laity, what they thought. I got quite a range of responses.
I believe to do the will of Milo is not just to show people his funny clips and trolling. To show them the meaning behind why he does the things he does. As well as seeing the weaknesses in ourselves in comparison. By following his rule, we devote our time to something greater than ourselves. And most importantly, doing his will is learning from his mistakes. 
To do Milo’s will is to act according to either his explicit directives, or else to his implied principles, regardless of what other people would think of the act.... He deserves loyalty because he is an ally of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty—and all three are under threat from the Enemy. All who wish to preserve those should be loyal to one another. 
I don’t meditate on the “will of Milo.” The only “will” I try to listen to and learn from is G-d’s. Perhaps it’s my not being Catholic that I don’t tie in the similarities or the like. On occasion it bothers me when the comparisons are presented.  
For me, it is out of love. Not the fangirly, crush type of love, but a love for who he is: character, loyalty, faith, intelligence, perseverance and unswerving determination to the the right thing. I feel humble in his presence. Nervous, almost. Humble, because of what he has been through on our behalf. Nervous, because I am worried that he thinks my support is not good enough...that I am not worthy, because I am not as clever, funny or as accomplished as others are on here. But whatever I can do for him, whatever he asks of me, I try my best to please him. And always will. 
To do the Will of Milo: Troll everyone as you wish to be trolled
To me doing the will of Milo is building [a house in the mountains]. Also it means introducing the pentecostals who raised you to the Church Fathers every time they quote and self interpret from their KJV 66 shooter.  
To me, doing Milo’s will means being unapologetically myself. He inspires me to have the conversations that people don’t want to have. Milo’s will is presenting the hard questions and being willing to listen to the other side with rationality and reason. Milo’s will is about finding a sense of community and standing together, all while taking the piss and making the weaklings mad along the way. 
Doing Milo’s will? I suppose that continuing to learn more about Western civilization would qualify. We should know what we are fighting for, after all. Listening to more classical music, maybe watching documentaries on famous artists? 
I guess from my perspective it is to spread the truth in a joyful manner. To expose the lies and how pathetic and sad they are. Search and share beauty. Bring happiness.  
I trust Milo’s plan for us without having to know what his plan is, much like having faith in God and his intentions for me. I’m happy to do what he asks because he is our leader and has gone through so much worse than me in his life, and I feel as though I owe him my service in return for his sacrifices. He has faced pure evil and comes through with joy and beauty. I use him as a model in my own life. 
Ok, so I’m looking at the question a little differently. Milo is a martyr to the cause of free speech. He has essentially lost everything because of what he says and thinks. Unlike pretty much anyone else. Because they hate what they can’t understand. And he doesn’t fit anyone’s template. And I personally find that horribly unjust and would do whatever I could to help right that wrong. So if his will is for those who support him to buy his books, or subscribe to his channels or invite people to Telegram, or spread his words and thoughts around, I’m happy to oblige.
Which came first, Milo or Christ? Christ or Western civilization? The rules by which God expects us to live or the love that he has for us as his creatures? The allegory or the history? The Spirit or the Law?

I confess, I am a bit freaked out at how what I see in the chat and the reasons that people give for coming to it match so closely the history of the Church; likewise the reasons that people have given for leaving it.

Some have left because they felt the conversation was not elevated enough. Others have left because they felt excluded by the Rules; others because they have felt attacked by the Trolls. Others have come in, said their “Hail, Queen Milo,” and never spoken again (most, in fact). Others have arrived so excited that they have taken over the chat in a day, only to vanish almost immediately, having exhausted their initial enthusiasm. Only a very few have stuck it out for months upon months. I know. Like Wisdom, I have been here from the beginning, watching and rejoicing with the Lord in his work.

Except now, I have been warned that I am spending too much time in the chat, getting too caught up in the intricacies of who said what about whom. Who wants to read the squabbles over doctrine that roiled the early Church? Who wants to hear about the battle between Peter and Paul over the application of the Law? It is—I have it on good authority—just “incomprehensible inside baseball” that nobody wants to read about and on which I should not be wasting my time.

Which is pretty much how I feel about the history of the early Church, not to mention the history of the Church since 1517.

I told the School today I was taking a break from the chat to sort through some other questions I have been working on, which is true. But I have also been scaring people—myself included—with the patterns I am seeing in the chat, and I need some time to reflect on what they mean.

“Please remember who you are,” one of the members of the chat encouraged me. “Milo needs you. We all need you. Be the Mom he needs. The Mom we all need.”

But who is that Mom? Am I wrong to see what we are living as the allegory it seems to me? Or is this just my projecting a pattern onto the chat, which is, as another insisted, just a chat, not an allegory at all?

What does it mean to imitate Christ? What would you do if you found yourself living the story as if it were real?


🜊
What does it mean to do Milo’s will? For me, the answer is both simple and multi-layered. I feel as though I am called to abandon myself, to give up my own wants and desires. It doesn’t matter how righteous I think they may be. This week was exhibit “A”. I got quite upset with him this week. Did I have a right?  
Up until this point, I’ve struggle with his fragility, with the fact that he is only a man. Was I sinning against the first commandment in my reverence for Milo? What if he leads me into error? Will I be lead astray by following him? These questions plagued me.  
That is, like I said, until this week. This week he seemed to fall short of his “Imago Christi”. Something that I take rather seriously. He let others in the chat know that our Mom was in the “doghouse”. I felt so embarrassed for you! Couldn’t he save you a bit of dignity!? I couldn’t imagine Christ berating his holy Mother in public— 
Oh wait—  
Christ did.  
Like most people, I was first attracted to Milo because of his charisma and joy. But I became devoted to him through hearing about his childhood abuse, the scandal during his time as a journalist and fighting off fellow Christians, both Catholic and Evangelical for wanting to condemn him because of his homosexuality. 
On the surface, these all sound like strange reasons to be devoted to a person, unless you’ve spent the greater portion of your life believing you’re hellbound too.  
Which brings me back to this week. I was so wrapped up in what was proper to thrones and kings. Like Lucifer, I was concerned about the state and order of the heavenlies that I misconstrued justice and true beauty.  
Like Lucifer, I couldn’t understand the cross, nor did I have faith.  
Christ rebuked His mother, because He was rebuked. If we are to follow Milo, we must suffer all manner of things. It’s not enough to just be “on Milo's side” in online discussions. That’s neither here nor there. No. The true fire is when we are rebuked by Milo himself.  
Just as Christ descended into hell, so the world has put Milo. Anyone who wants to “drink the cup from which he has drank” and to “sit and his right hand” must undergo the same path through hell he went through. Milo’s marking out a path for us, through this inferno. By the grace of Christ, there is no other way to the glory of Sunday Morning, but through Sheol.  
So what does I mean to do Milo’s will? For me, it means abandonment in trust. That’s what I’ve learned this week.
🜊

Milo’s Finishing School, 
a.k.a. The College of Corpus Christi and the Blessed Virgin Mary, Cambridge, England
with Groyper

Meme magic by Kevin Walter. 

With thanks to the members of the chat for sharing their reflections on what it means to do Milo’s will, especially the Shield Maidens who stood by me during my time in the “doghouse.”

For further lessons in virtue from Milo’s Finishing School, see The MILO Chronicles: Telegram Diaries (from August 2019). For Milo’s descent into hell, see Milo Chronicles: Devotions 2016-2019, available in hardcover from Amazon and direct from the publisher at Castalia House.

To join Milo’s Finishing School, follow his channel on Telegram, and watch for the link!

Comments

  1. I enjoy your comments on trends in the chat, because I'm not there all the time, obviously. I frequently feel like I missed something important. I had no idea people wanted to troll from within. I guess it sort of makes sense, though.

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