Happy Fruits of the Papal Synod To Me!


My birthday was this weekend. I'd been plucking at the petals of it, questioning whether I wanted to be alone or not to be alone, feeling selfish for wanting it, and stupid for doubting its possible benefits, and finally decided that it's just not a moral issue whether or not I spend a day alone. My husband was home from work to manage the kids, I don't care much for cake, and I knew there weren't any parties coming my way.So that's what I got for my birthday-- a day. I thought I might spend … [Read more...]

The Disembodied Life: When Spiritual Rewards Become a Vice.

I had a writing deadline today, and every time I sat down to write, the words I needed were not there. Thousands of other words were there, and they were fun to explore, so I started thinking that this deadlined writing job was maybe not for me. Maybe I should just clear my slate of any obligatory writing, so that I can do only the fun stuff.It's not as if the little freelance jobs are supporting our family, or propping up my spiritual life, or... I don't really know what they do, actually. … [Read more...]

Trusting Other People’s Journey (And Our Own)


I don't know why it's so hard to accept God's mercy. I don't know why we cling tighter to our sin. It's so much harder to keep God out of our lives, than it is to let Him in. (Rhyme!)We have to keep distracting ourselves, finding fault in others, rationalizing mystery, talking ourselves down from wonder, calling connections coincidences, expunging the meaning from everything we encounter. It's so much work to be unimpressed by everything.I imagine someone saying to me, "I'm going to put … [Read more...]

Love Miser: Withholding Love Always Backfires


It's been a big birthday weekend. None of our kids had birthdays, but there were three different parties, four different children who hoped to receive our gifts this weekend, and I think I did better than I usually do at fulfilling their expectations.I tend towards miserliness when it comes to kids' birthdays, always doing the run through Goodwill first, just to see if there's something unusual, or large, or unopened that might work, and there never really is, so I'm not sure why I keep … [Read more...]

What Makes Faith Believable?


Prosperity Gospel is pretty noxious. There's no reason to believe that our faith will protect us from suffering or make us rich. But sometimes, perhaps in rejection of prosperity gospel, a different but equally noxious faith narrative finds a voice. It goes something like this:I used to have lots of unique, interesting friends with 3D personalities. I used to enjoy parties and eating, and leaving my house occasionally--but then I became serious about my faith, and traded my sinful … [Read more...]

A Time Capsule of Shame: What We Can Learn From Litter


Sunday was a glorious late summer day, 65 degrees and sunny, so I took a walk, and just kept walking, around one more bend in the road, one more corner, until it no longer made sense to turn around and go home. Instead, I had to keep going around the block, because the shortest way home had become forward rather than behind me.It was more miles than I usually cover, along sparsely populated country roads, which seem to collect more litter than other streets, or at least they are not often … [Read more...]

A Pragmatist, an Aquinas Scholar, a Pentecostal Catholic, and a Grandma Walk Into a Bar…


The movement from the sublime to the mundane always feels like a fall, even if it's not. After the retreat I felt like a drink, and decided to go ahead and stop in at an open-house party where I hoped I might experience just the slightest hint of earthly inebriation to keep the buzz going.It was a going away party for a childhood friend named Gabe, who was packing up his small business as a music producer to join a large studio in California.I had hoped to see some school friends at the … [Read more...]