7 Quick Takes, vol. 129

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What time zone do they use in Antarctica? I mean, think about it, every time zone in the world intersects there. Which one would you pick?

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Can anyone explain to me the logic behind a two year old who sees a hat on the floor and thinks he must go out of his way to step on it?

Yes, I am aware that two year olds are not strong on logic. But nobody, not even a two-year-old, does things without some sort of purpose. The brain directs them. Why does it default to “must crush anything I can put my little feet on”????

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I read a very interesting book recently. It’s called The Cloister Walk, by Kathleen Norris. It is a series of reflections on life as it relates to monastic life, written by a non-Catholic woman who was so drawn by liturgy that she became a Benedictine oblate. The real value in this book is that it is written by someone not steeped in all the Catholic terminology and world view, and thus reflects on it with a certain objectivity. It’s not a Catholic book, but it gave me a lot of spiritual food for thought.

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For instance: she quotes a Benedictine sister as saying: “So much of Catholic moral teaching has to do with knowledge, intention, and consent of the will.” It really struck me because that’s exactly right. The quote is in the context of a discussion of celibacy, and how it relates to sexual expression. She doesn’t pull back from observations that some who practice celibacy try to turn off their sexuality, pretend it isn’t there–always with disastrous results. But she doesn’t buy the idea that celibacy itself is the problem. Celibacy, she argues, for those who have integrated it properly into their self-image and sexuality, frees them to love everyone, to extend hospitality to all, to an extent that those of us who commit to a single person can’t reach, simply by virtue of our commitment.

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And of course, she won me over by calling sex an idol in modern life, and talking about how it makes women available all the time, turning them into objects instead of people. Right there I knew this woman had her head on straight. 🙂

Incidentally, the book was not all about matters of sexual expression. Not by a long shot. That was just the part that struck me so forcefully that I had to share it.

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Changing topics: Julianna is really pushing the edge of beginning to talk. She has quite a few proto-words now…they just don’t sound like normal kids’ proto-words. Her brain is more or less beyond the repeat-syllable stage. For her it’s all about trying to get those dratted muscles in her mouth and lips to work together. But she says–and means–blue, ball, moon, and several others. But for all who have been saying, “I can’t wait for you to talk so we know what you’re trying to tell us!” be warned: you’re still not going to know what she’s trying to tell you. Communication with Julianna will involve deep thought and interpretation for quite some time after she begins talking for real.

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Children's Miracle Network, founded 1983 with ...

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Speaking of Julianna, her picture is up at a cash register at Wal Mart on a donate-a-dollar card for the Children’s Miracle Network. I had forgotten I had given permission for them to use her picture however they wanted. People have been calling and stopping us all week, saying, “I saw her picture and I HAD to give!” 🙂

Have a great weekend, everyone!

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 129)

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The Most Important Days of the Year

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Röm.-kath. Pfarrkirche St. Martin in Tannheim....

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For any Christian, the memorials we observe for the next four days are the most important days of the entire year. Everyone has lots to say on these topics this week…but I would rather rest and reflect during this time. So I give you last year’s thoughts on Holy Week.

The Yuck Factor

The Reality of Good Friday

I will return to the blog on Monday. Happy Easter!

What exactly did the Pope say?

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Pope Benedict XVI

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You might have heard recently that the Pope changed the Church’s position on condom use. When I read that headline, my eyebrows shot up, because I was sure it wasn’t correct, knowing as I do

  1. how easy it is to take things out of context and make them sound quite different than they were intended;
  2. how richly nuanced my Church’s teaching is on matters of sexuality, and how badly they are distorted; and
  3. how badly the secular world wants the Church to change this particular teaching.

Still, all the flap threw a lot of people, because let’s face it, a lot of Catholics don’t appreciate the rich nuance of the teaching any more than non-Catholics do. This is the fault of the Church leadership, both ordained and lay leaders (like myself, an NFP teacher). But I sympathize; it’s a hard topic to address, because

  1. the walls of defense around people’s minds on this issue are understandably thick and tall;
  2. the teaching on contraception, in particular, is so often understood as a negative (“you can’t use birth control”) instead of something that involves both negative and positive teachings, the negative less important than the beautiful, beautiful positive; and
  3. this positive involves a whole language about love that stands so far above the way we think of love that the language has to be learned first, and we haven’t done the proper catechesis.

So I was thrilled when our associate pastor spoke about the Pope’s remarks on Sunday. Rather than flap my own inexpert fingers anymore, I’m going to link you to his remarks. The one caveat I will add is that although Fr. Schrader is correct that the Pope is speaking from his heart, and not making a formal Church pronouncement, the reality is that anything he says will always be identified with the Church—and really, that’s as it should be. It’s a heavy responsibility, but there it is.

Anyway, I know that this is not a topic that many of you would choose to read about, but I’d love it if you’d do me a favor and read it anyway, especially the long, beautiful, but frank quote from Benedict that got so twisted when it was turned into a sound byte. This is a topic that’s near and dear to my heart, and I think if more people really took to heart his words, the world would be a better place for it.