Friday, September 30, 2011

7 Quick Takes

7 of my favorite blog reads this week!

I'm often asked this question. And while I am under the blissful delusion that I can rant and rave on any subject of my choice, this one leaves me stumped. What's it like being Catholic? Well, it's like...well you

It's like sex. (continue reading)

2 - Bad Catholic (again): Death Metal Ain't Got Nothing On Us

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy frightfully near, when I was caught in the awkward throes of middle-school, Black Metal and Death Metal were where it was at. In fairness, I attended a British military school in Germany, which sort of implies dysfunction. But regardless, a good number of my friends were infatuated with growing their hair and dying it black, painting their nails, doing drugs, getting schwasted, wearing dead/dying/skeletal/demonic guitar players on their t-shirts, and rocking their satanic symbols; for what's metal without corporate merchandise? Oh, how the warm memories return. There was the pentagram, the anarchy sign, the various nordic runes - which they assured me all meant Very Evil Things - and, of course, the upside-down cross. I was only a little larval-stage Catholic, but even then I knew the upside-down cross was funny. "Oh hey, upside-down cross. Real satanic guys, real scary and evil. Really sets off your brooding, church-burning hatred of weak Christian values. Christians everywhere tremble when they...oh wait." (continue reading) 

3 - The Crescat: Drum roll, please

... So without further ado, I would like to announce the winners of the 2011 Catholic Cannonball Awards in their respective categories... (continue reading)
Some of the best of the average blogs out there!

Louisiana resident Kandace Smith is the latest hero when it comes to putting the birth and care of her own children ahead of herself — as she, while  suffering from cystic fibrosis, rejected abortion to have triplets. (continue reading) 
My oldest brother died when he was four of Cystic Fibrosis and my mother may be the oldest documented patient with Cystic Fibrosis ever.

It's the Catholic thing to do. Or you can keep doing what you've been doing, as the survey below reports, and continue on the treadmill to oblivion. (continue reading)

6 - The Curt Jester:   Atheism and Joy 

An AlterNet article by Amanda Marcotte reminds me of a question a reader asked me over at Google+.

  Atheist lives are bleak and lack meaning. Those in the atheist activist community find this one particularly insipid...(continue reading)
For your apologetics needs!

Recently I wrote a bunch of posts tackling the divisive issue of Christian Rock over at the ever-brilliant Basically I said - immaturely - that Christian Rock has become - thanks to the Almighty Need to Sell - a poor imitation of Pop music. That she often lacks Authenticity. That she conforms to a genre instead of attempting to write from the heart. (continue reading)

Jennifer Fulwiler
Thanks to Jennifer Fulwiler, a fellow Texan, for hosting
7 Quick Takes Friday 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Know Your Shape: And Why All This Is Important

Guest Blogger Maggie O is back! Margaret is a homeschool Junior, the fifth of seven children, growing up in the wilds of the Texas Panhandle. Her interests, other than style and fashion, include God, Mexican dancing, cooking, sewing, horses, and all arts feminine!

The Wardrobe Project: Know Your Shape

The first step to dressing well is to assess what you are trying to dress. That means measuring! For most women, taking measurements is going to create anxiety. You may have a hard time measuring for fear of what you might see. Remember always to see yourself as God sees and not as the world sees. A lot of times what the world is pushing as "fashionable" won't work for a lot of women. This is not your fault, this is merely a fault in the choice of clothes. You are beautiful in whatever shape you are. Your job as a woman is to bring out the natural beauty you have been God-given. One way to do it is through your choice of clothes. To start on making you look fabulous, we have to take measurements and find out what shape you are. 

You will need a tapemeasure, a pencil and paper. The measurements you need are your bust, your waist, and your hips. Here's the how-to:

Bust When you are measuring your bust, try to put the tape around the fullest part of your chest. Take the measurement with and without your bra--use the larger measurement of the two.

Waist When measuring your waist, put it at the smallest part of your waist. This will probably be about half an inch below where your ribs end. Do not measure at your belly button!!

Hips When measuring your hips, put the tape right at the fullest part of your bum.

Write each measurement down like this: 36 bust, 27 waist, 42 hip (these are the measurements of a pear). Now, figure out your shape below. Most women are obviously one or the other, but there are variations. These instructions will work for most women, but if they don't send us your numbers and we'll figure out your figure for you. (

Hey, Lady! Are You Some Kind of a Fruit?

Hour-glass   Your waist is less than 75% of your chest and hips, which are virtually the same.  If that doesn't make much sense, try this rule of thumb: your bust and hips are within 3 inches of each other and your waist is smaller than either your bust or hips.

Pear   Your waist is at least 75% of your chest, and your hips are at least 110% of your chest. If you don't want to do the math, you can look at your numbers and see that your hips are the largest part of your measurements and your waist is the smallest measurement. The bust is not large on a pear, so double check to be sure you are not an apple or banana before you make your final assessment.

Apple Your waist is at most 75% of your chest, and your chest is at least 110% of your hips. In nonmath English, that means your bust measurement is bigger than your hips and your waist measurement is bigger than your hips.

Banana Your waist is at least 75% of your chest and hips, which are virtually the same. In other words, your waist is within 3 inches of your hips and it is also within 3 inches of your bust. 

So Now You Know 

In all probability, when you found your size and shape you had a bad reaction. You might not be the shape or the size you think you should be. Let me quickly tell you why we are doing the project. When we started getting into the fashion culture, we noticed that the main message was that women have to be a certain weight and shape to be beautiful. When God put the first woman on earth He made her beautiful. Every woman is beautiful in God's eyes and that beauty has a purpose. As philosophers have pointed out, all Beauty points to God. A beautiful woman, if she is Godly, brings man closer to God. She does it by reflecting His Ultimate Beauty. If you feel you are not as beautiful as another woman, it merely means that you are going to be called to do something different than she. Your beauty, in whatever way it was made, has a purpose. Since Beauty reflects God, your beauty in whatever way you are beautiful has the ultimate purpose of drawing attention to God, not to itself.

So, if you are a mother, your beauty will draw attention to the ways that motherhood is good. You never know who is watching and getting the messages you are broadcasting. If  people see you, a mother, dressing beautifully and carrying yourself like a queen, you are showing the world that motherhood really is good. If people see you walking around looking shabby, they are very likely to blame the fact that you are a mother on the fact that you don't look good. You don't have to look glamorous, but if you make sure your clothes fit and your hair is brushed and you have a little makeup, people are going to look at you and see what God has ordained as a blessing for human kind through your beauty as a mother.

 If you are single, your beauty will make an impact on the world. Whether you are in a college class or if you are in the grocery store, you should wear your beauty openly and keep it sweet. Which brings me to my next point from Monica Ashour, Executive Director of the Theology of the Body Evangelization Team. In her talks, Monica shows us how we women, as women, are hiding, inviting, and exciting.

What Does She Mean by THAT?
So glad you asked... 
Hiding We can't be flaunting all our endowments in the front window. In other words. We can still be attractive without showing the world everything we own.

Inviting We shouldn't wear sacks out of a fear of looking good. I know that almost sounds like a contradiction, but we have to find a balance. We have to make being a Christian look good because it is so good, but we have to make sure we are hiding enough to be exciting and make us a mystery, so that others will want to find out why we are like that.   

Exciting The mere fact that we are women, beautiful in our receptivity, makes us exciting.

So, whatever shape you are, whatever weight you are, you are beautiful and you have to use that blessing and gift that God has given you. We are working on making the world see women as God sees women. Remember ladies, you are to be a gift to the world. Let your light shine and don't let anyone blow it out.

Tune in next Wednesday for the next installment of The Wardrobe Project: Shopping for Your Pear Shape!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Because it's Monday

...and because my friend Hannah has finally passed the adult milestone of "Full Time Status" at her job.

funny graphs - I Make How Much an Hour?!

see more Funny Graphs

Yes, youngling, keep telling yourself that coffee will help.

Happy Birthday!

18 years ago today, you blessed our family by being born.
Happy birthday, niece!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Amarillo Scuffle Between Bishop Zurek and Father Pavone

I am not an expert on this and I don't pretend to be. What I'm going to offer is the perception of Amarilloans, myself included, on the matter. This is what I'm hearing from the people, Catholic and nonCatholic, in the diocese and my own personal opinion.

People in Amarillo helped to raise money for a seminary that was going to be built here, bringing Pro-Life minded young men, their teachers and mentors to the area. We're predominantly Pro-Life, so the community got behind the plan. Then, with hardly a word of explanation, the project was suddenly tabled. None of us average Joes around here seem to know where our money went. The general assumption is that it went to other Pro-Life causes, but no one is happy about the lack of formal explanation or apology from Priests for Life. That has led to a slight lack of sympathy for Father Pavone's present predicament from some.

The Catholics and nonCatholics of the region seem to be, for the most part, supportive of the Bishop. We know him to be one of the good guys and a good shepherd of his flock. There is some comment, varying from wonder to increased respect, about his timing. Some are confused by his issuing the demand at a time when travel would interfere with a prompt resolution of the matter. Others have noted that there is no better way to cool someone's jets and reestablish the pecking order than to make a man wait on you. If this is an obedience problem then making Father Pavone wait for the Bishop will strike Texans as a bit of rough justice.

The current campaign for Priest for Life fundraising is rankling some folks here. The rumored threats (actualized yesterday with banner planes buzzing the town) from other circles to organize marches around the diocese--a Pro-Life diocese, mind you--is actively offending some members of the Pro-life community.

For my part, after the Black Sheepdog's shenanigans, I began to have concerns about all priests. I've worried specifically what Father Pavone is suffering from his popularity. I believe all priests are vulnerable to temptations, especially the ones who are burdened with a public ministry. While all this settles out, I believe that all good and worthwhile organizations can run themselves without their charismatic leaders, so I hope Father Pavone will take this time to pray and retreat from the world until the Bishop and he resolve things. I like Father Pavone. I really like that he obeyed when he was called to obey.

We need to let the Shepherd of Amarillo shepherd his sheep and pray for all of our priests.
Bishop Zurek with his predecessor Bishop Yanta.
Priests for Life was brought to Amarillo under Bishop Yanta.

Father Frank Pavone

Friday, September 23, 2011

7 Quick Takes

1 - Two science articles caught my attention this morning, so I thought I'd go with a scientific theme for today's post. I love science: running classroom science experiments, classifying plants on a nature walk, studying maps. Can science be a hobby?

2 - Scientists Reconstruct Brains' Visions Into Digital Video Whoa. Read about the experiment by clicking here.

3 - Neutrinos Clocked at Faster-than-light. Whoa, again! They'll have to reconstruct this one a few times before we totally rewrite modern physics. Read about the experiment by clicking here.

4 - If you are interested in physics, but don't have the math background to slog through the scientific journals, The Quantum Zoo by Marcus Chown is a very good read. It is, indeed, a tourist's guide to the weird world of particle physics. I checked mine out of our local library. It's one of the few books my husband and I, with our divergent interests, have both read.

5 - My son's science program, Behold and See 3 by Suchi Myjak, a Catholic Heritage Curricula Publication, is thrilling me this year. At the moment we're studying the properties and states of matter. We've just finished the third week of school and he has done his second experiment! Find it here.

6 - Speaking of science, I'm off to play with chemistry today: I'm making cheese. Mozzarella anyone?

7 -  Here's another article for you (you have to click it to see what I picked), since I found myself short of scientific stuff to write about. If you've never googled "science" I'd recommend it. You never know what you might find.

Jennifer Fulwiler
Thanks to Jennifer Fulwiler, a fellow Texan, for hosting
7 Quick Takes Friday 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Wardrobe Project

Destined for the Dressing Room Floor
Every woman has done it. We have gone to the clothing racks and picked out one stunning outfit after another, cute jeans, fabulous colors, and have wound up with a pile of rejects in the dressing room. Not only did the clothes not look good, but after that experience we didn't feel too good either.

Most women and girls suffer from poor body image.
Most women suffer from poor body image. Most girls suffer from it too. We look at magazines and the latest fashions and then find that we don't look good with the clothes we pick out under their influence. Somehow we can't figure out that the problem isn't our figures, it's what we're putting on our them that are making us look less than beautiful.

Ask most men and they will tell you, every woman is something pretty special. We are awesome. What we've got to figure out is our own brand of awesome. So let us now and nevermore address the whole anti-style (and anti-woman, frankly) push in some Christian circles with the idea that God, Himself, loves beauty. All of creation is exploding with it, down to the farthest galaxy in the remotest expanse of the Universe. Creation is, in fact, the raiment for the pinnacle of His creation (a woman, incidentally, if you look at the ascending order of creation in Genesis, from inanimate to higher and higher classes of animate) and the natural world was made not only to function, but to glorify the glorious. God loves you, Woman. Just ask Him if you don't believe me!

God loves beauty and He made you beautifully!

That's settled, then. God has created you, a gift to the world. God has given you a shape to attract the notice of your spouse and to potentially bear and nurse children. Not all women become mothers, but we have the same basic girly equipment. The equipment, however, comes in an endless variety of options--bigger, smaller, taller, squatter--that all follow certain themes. Clothing has the same endless variety of options and clothing also follows certain themes. This is neither a mistake or a coincidence. Some clothing will look good on some shapes and look ghastly on others. They are designed that way. Go figure! Clothes designed for one shape will flatter that shape and will look less than flattering on another shape.

So, ladies, the trick is to figure out what will look fabulous on your figure--then stick with those options in their endless varieties. I can't wear a standard T-shirt without appearing to gain 20 pounds, so I don't wear them. Period. I don't give it a moment's thought until there is a fundraiser with Ts at church or I spy a really neat slogan I'd love to sport around town, but then I remember my shape and realize that if the lettering is across the chest, no one is going to be reading it anyway. I'll buy it for my husband or a more T-shirt friendly friend, but I do myself a favor and save the money.

I'd like to save you some money and save you some time and distress in the clothing store, too. I want you to figure out your figure and then dress it beautifully on a budget. So, I've enlisted the help of some young ladies, gave them a budget, and some pointers, and will be sharing those pointers, the hunt, and the results with you.

Today was shopping day and we had some great finds. The outfits are pretty, modest, and stylish. The four girls came in under budget overall, with one going over due to a splurge on a jacket. We shopped at The Children's Exchange in Amarillo--a clothing consignment store for used clothing. It's possible to dress well without breaking your heart or your bank. We'll show you how.
We're calling it the Wardrobe Project. You'll be hearing and seeing more soon.

Four themes for infinite variation!

The Wardrobe Project: Posts Coming Soon...

1. Know Your Shape
2. Shop Your Shape
3. Dress(ing room) Rehearsals

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dear Maga and Paga: The Martins Go to the Fair!

September 19, 2011

Dear Maga and Paga,
I hope you are well. Give Cathy our best. We're doing just fine here! In fact, we went to the Tri-State Fair today and the kids wanted to tell you all about it. They are dictating to me their adventure! Enjoy...

Dear Maga and Paga,
I saw the animals. We went by the milk cows. We went to a farm show and I was on stage in the show. It was a magic show.  I got a gumball. I saw some horses. I saw grown up tigers and baby tigers. I saw big goats and baby goats. I saw a calf. Most of the baby goats were out of the cages. I saw enormous fans! There was only one baby goat in a cage. I got a pencil that can change its colors! And I also got a tiny pencil sharpener! I got paper bull ears! I got a small eraser! I got a coloring book with color pencils. We had a picnic! We got fruit flavored gummy faces! We brought cookies! The Ohmes' brought chicken! We brought Oreo! We brought sandwiches! We brought water. They were washing a cow. The end.
John (7)

Dear Maga and Paga,
My feet hurt cause I was too tired and too rough. I was too bratty and too sad (nu-uh!) and I was crying (not even once!). Well, not much. I won a crown and a book and nothing else and um...Goodbye! Well, I saw a camel. I saw some horsies and I sawed some dog. A little doggies. And I sawed the little goats. And I saw the horses. Then I saw some baby sheep. And I saw Simon in the parade. Yes, I did! (nu-uh!) Oh yes!
Sissy Lucia (4)

Dear Maga and Paga,
Um I ate some chicken and I ate some yummy happy things what were smushy and stick on my teeth. I said, "Little piggy! Little piggy!" with daddy when I got home.  I seen camels and the goats were bonking me on the horns and making me scratches and that was fun. I had lunch. Some cookies of sweet. And um...I don't know what I'm going to say. We look at stuff. We saw the magic tricks that disappeared with the egg and stuff. That's all I'm going to say, Momma.
I love and I have kisses and hugs and loving care and share for you,
Anna (5)

Dear Maga and Paga,
We saw a cow and he had a man with a he-haw boy (cowboy). He was washing the cow. He was saying, "Wash! Wash! Wash!" with the water! And it was a cow! And it was so funny! At the lunch after we go there I ate syrup (giggle). The big lion said, "Rawr!" and right in the little lions. The baby lions and the big lions. And he barked his face off! He said, "Blfkjkrlejkljj!" and he runned around. It was so funny!
Love and kisses,
Sylvia (3)
P.S. And he hopped, too! You forgot the hopping!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Beauty of Texas

They say that when God was creating the world, the angels questioned Him about the High Plains of Texas. "O Lord, it is so dry in summer. So cold in winter. The water is too far underground. No one will want to live there, so who will ever see Your work here?" God heard their concerns, and then...

He made Texans

Friday, September 16, 2011

7 Quick Takes

Jennifer Fulwiler
Thanks to Jennifer Fulwiler, a fellow Texan, for hosting
7 Quick Takes Friday 
1 - I broke my vow, made in 2009, to not engage combox trolls. This particular one was an apologist for divorce. The fact that people had the audacity to express sadness and regret over divorce was the fuel that fed her fire. On a silly impulse I thought I could point out the errors of her assumptions, the lack of charity and open-mindedness in her tone, and then we all could get back to a civil discussion. The fantasy world I live in doesn't even charge admission. Come by and visit some time!

2 - Speaking of trolls, don't you ever get tempted to respond to the run of the mill evangelical atheist's trump card argument of "Only stupid people believe in God!" with "You've got a point there!" Then adding, while smiling sweetly, "So, when did you become Christian?"

3 - I have all these lovely pictures of baby goats, of foundations being poured, of kids being cute. What I don't have is a clue where the wire that gets the pictures from the camera to the computer is. Pick a box, any box...

4 - I've lost 15 pounds this summer. Part of it was stress, part of it was activity, but the last 5 pounds was due to Light Weigh. Suzanne Fowler developed this plan. It's more about putting God in the empty spaces of your life rather than stuffing those spots with food. I'm working on Week 3 of the 12 week program and am learning so much about prayer and sacrifice that I wanted to let you know about it. It's worth a look.

5 - Newsflash: Men are stronger than women. After dumping the hay bale on the side of the road this week, we had to get all that loose hay put up because it was going to rain (can we get an AMEN on that?!). Baled hay can take a little rain, but unbaled hay ruins. My husband and I couldn't even work on this job together because of the craziness of our schedules lately. He worked on putting some of the hay in the barn, then ran off on another errand. I finished an errand and then took my turn. I worked for about an hour before I uncovered the only part of the bale still intact. It weighed way more than I could handle. By breaking every OSHA rule I could think of, I barely managed to maneuver it off the trailer and into the barn. I was a sweaty mess when my husband showed up to tag me out on the job. "That's in an awkward place," he noted, seeing my handiwork, so he picked up the remains of the bale and casually tossed it up onto the hay pile. It took me 30 minutes of grunt work to move that thing and he just flipped it up there like it was nothing. Awesome.

6 - Last week my third grade son wrote his first official book report. I'm certain that others believe in the sanctifying effects of book reports for first and second graders, but I decided that book reports could wait until he was seven going on eight. It's not as if scholars are crippled in high school because they didn't write a one sentence summary of The Cat in the Hat beneath an undecipherable picture in the first grade. The skill of story analysis can be learned more readily after the brain is capable of abstract thought. In the meantime, I feel that reading should be enjoyed long enough to become a habit before we make a chore out of it.

7 - Speaking of waiting, we decided to keep my 5 year-olds in preschool for now. One of them has Autism and the other has some maturity issues. As we've progressed into the third week of school and we have experienced success after success with school, I am happy with our family's decision. They both feel competent and smart and are so much more eager to try something new than they were last year. I've got my Kindergarten curriculum already purchased and waiting in the wings, but for now, it's staying in the box. The flexibility of homeschool is one of it's many charms.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011


When I lived in town, a bad Monday meant a traffic jam on the way to work.

Round bale. Large. Heavy. Round.
In the country? A bad Monday means deciding to wear socks with my ugly sandals because I'm only going to milk a goat (for crying out loud) and then winding up at the feed store in them. It's a little humbling to wear socks with sandals at the feed store, but it could be worse. Farmers will be farmers, after all, so I know they've seen worse. What made it a bad Monday is that I had to go twice. I needed two large round bales of hay and can only haul one at a time. Yes they know me and yes, they probably noticed the lovely. black. socks.

With sandals.
Black socks. Ugly sandals.
It was chilly this morning, hang it!

What made this Monday a particularly ugly Monday was that I didn't tie down my bales and the first one was a mulligan. I made it all the way home, jiggity jig, thus lulling me into accelerating too fast for the second bale after stopping at the one and only stop sign on my route.

There was a split second when I saw the bale begin to move--it was staying still and I was moving away from it, more accurately--when the entire canon of law for motion flashed into my brain. An object at rest tends to stay at rest. Round objects at rest tend to stay that way, too, but when an object underneath a round object begins to move and the round object doesn't? That tends to look a whole lot like what we like to refer to as rolling. Once that process starts, then forces like momentum and pavement come into play. Which brought into play other actions like eyes widening, heartbeat accelerating, as well as the accompanying dash home to get help and hay forks.

As it turns out two teenage girls, two middle aged women, and a 10 year old boy are just enough people to direct traffic, fork hay off the road and back into the trailer, and tamp it down. Unbaled hay takes up a lot more space than it does while baled. You have to walk and stomp on it (a.k.a. mushing) or it won't quite fit.

Hay itches, by the way. Even through ugly, black, stomping socks.

I met a bunch of new friends today. All offering to help.

I'd like to especially thank Mrs. Joplin, the kind neighbor who stopped to ask if we needed help and when we refused the offer, smiled, left, then got on her cellphone to tell her husband  to go lend those girls a hand. Mr. Joplin helped us load the last of it and tie it down. Thank you.

The other person I need to thank, I didn't actually meet. I was walking the last mile home because the Laws of Monday impelled me to leave the key in the "on" position while we reloaded 1,000 pounds of hay. (Because having a dead battery was just the way that adventure was going to end.) The other gals and the 10 year old boy who was with us hung around the van with the hood up and the trailer full of a messy pile of hay until a cowboy named Mr. King stopped and gave them a jump. I was almost home by then.

Walking in my socks and sandals and thinking very Monday-like thoughts.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Sexual Revolution

A Guest Post over at Bad Catholic reads like the life and times of the average American woman, until God and common sense intervene. Let's hear it for the boyfriend!

(click here to jump to the post)

When I was younger, I thought I was a revolutionary. Like most other people in my generation, I was encouraged to be different. I was encouraged to challenge the status quo for my own good and take control of my life. The third-wave feminists behind magazines like Bust! and organizations like “VOX” (aka Planned Parenthood) told me to reclaim my own sexual freedom and identity from a lifetime of sexual oppression. I didn’t think about how organizations such as this make some serious profits off of sexually active females. They convinced me that I needed to overcome a lifetime of sexual repression…long before I was even interested or even ready for sexual activity. They told me to challenge my religious beliefs and the morals my parents had taught me because it would liberate me. Smart as I thought I was, I fell for it. I fell for just about every single one of their lies.

They convinced me that I, still a virgin at age 20, was a victim of a male chauvinism. They fed me stories about the oppression of women through the years. They used the suffragettes as poster children for a movement that, in hindsight, would have probably shamed, shocked, or disgusted most of these women. These “pro-female” organizations presented themselves as a support line. They made themselves seem like they were intent on saving girls like me from a life of male oppression and outdated religious views that seemed to favor men. These people seemed so concerned about my well-being. I had no idea what they were all about. Comfortable as I was with these people, I soon started realizing that I was not completely like them. Supportive as they made themselves out to be, I began to notice how they reacted when they found out that I was a virgin.

(to continue click here)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Guest Post: How Being Catholic in a Small Town Made Me Ready for the Internet

I grew up Catholic in a small town which was unfriendly to Catholics. I don't think most people knew why, they just didn't like Catholics. Those who knew why, all seemed to use this vein of reasoning: the Catholic Church is evil, therefore Catholics are evil (or stupid). The big three proofs of the Catholic Church's corruption were:

The Crusades - proves the CC wants world dominion over other religions (countries) by armed force if necessary.

The Spanish Inquisition – proves the CC approves the use of torture to obtain confessions of wrong doing from innocent victims who have displeased the hierarchy.

Galileo - proves the CC is opposed to scientific research and advancement.

I am not here concerned with debunking the above statements (and they are only three of very many) but I am here questioning the underlying and unspoken premise. This premise being: “If I can show a problem in a part of the Church, then I can assign that problem to the entire Church. No one seemed bothered that these events all occurred prior to the founding of the United States! Why not blame the French for the atrocities Frank armies committed during the Crusades? Why not blame Spain for the Inquisition? Why not blame rival scientists for the Galileo affair?

I think the answer is quite simple: it was easy. It created a “them vs us” mentality which requires little knowledge. It is comforting to be on the right side and to actively oppose evil.

But, I am not really writing about the unfairness of my childhood. Especially as I am guilty of the same thing.

Dismissing a group for preconceived traits is becoming the norm today, maybe even the ideal. Group identity has ever been with us but it has multiplied exponentially with instant communication. Our world is full of divisions: glbt vs straight, conservative vs liberal, old vs young, woman vs man, Republican vs Democrat vs Tea Party vs Libertarian, urban elite vs hayseed-hicks, educated vs ignorant, socialist vs capitalist, rich vs poor, and a myriads more. All tend to use the same tactic against opponents:

“I am intelligent, reasoned, clever and correct. You are not because you are a part of the other group. Should you try to provide a defense of your position, I may blithely ignore your defense because I am intelligent, reasoned, clever and correct and you are not because you are a member of the other group!”.

Despising any member of the rival group is O.K. After all, if they were reasoned, intelligent, clever and correct then they would agree with me. If not, they are an evil which must be suppressed. I need only find a few easily proved and memorable examples of misdeeds of one to condemn the entire group for all time. Nothing could be any easier!

We need to just grow up! Look at what the other guy says; argue, debate, reason, disagree, question. By all means do engage; do not merely dismiss. Ideas have consequences. It may not be fun. It will not be easy. But who ever said life was supposed to be easy.

Tim Ohmes is a Catholic Revert, father of 7, amateur apologist, catechist, a/c mechanic extraordinaire originally from a town smaller than the readership of this blog (if you count my mom).

Monday, September 5, 2011

200 Million Girls Are Missing

Here's why...

The three deadliest words in the world...
                                                                              It's a girl.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I am better at this now (I hope)

It wasn't more than a few weeks after my conversion from being an unrepentant heathen that my husband and I were treated to a homily about how we were to see Jesus in everyone we meet. Throughout the homily I doubtfully reviewed all the non-Jesus-like jerks I knew and wondered how this was even possible. My husband and I discussed it while threading through the post-Mass crowd. It became apparent that seeing Jesus-ness in others was second nature to him. I explained that I found people more annoying than Christlike, generally, and then he made the point that if I was redeemable, wasn't everyone? I didn't like the implications of that, but I had to concede his point. He suggested that it was their redeemability that I had to look for in order to see Jesus in anyone. Easy enough for him, I thought, as we made it to the car. I maneuvered to the driver's side purely because he'd out maneuvered me in logic. I shot him one of my patented "I'm done because you won this one" looks over the roof of the car before getting in. As was usual, traffic and people were swarming all over that parking lot. Just as I was to turn left into the main flow to the road, a little old lady in a baby blue Lincoln pulled out from a parking space and shot into the gap ahead of me. "JESUS!" I shouted, and then finished lamely, trying hard to recover from the preconversion habit of using His name as a swear word, "just cut me off..."