The Contraceptive Sanctuary–Redux

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Why children MUST be welcome at churchHuffPo has an article praising parents who bring their little ones to church.  It is generating a lot of heat so I thought I'd revisit a post I did on this topic back when a very passionate debate erupted at Patheos about this very issue. For those who are interested, Lisa and I offer a TON of practical help for families who wish to worship together in our books, Discovering God Together: The Catholic Guide to Raising Faithful Kids, Then Comes Baby: The C … [Read more...]

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A New Year Resolution: Stop Shaming Yourself

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Four steps to graceful change in the new year. Whether or not you've made any New Year's Resolutions, this is a natural time to reflect on the changes we might like to make in our lives.Unfortunately, a lot of efforts to change are driven by self-recrimination.  We try to shame ourselves into the changes we'd like to make.  "What's wrong with me?"   "What can't I just do this already?"The Role of GuiltGuilt can play a part in the change process but there is a difference b … [Read more...]

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Pope Francis: Bring Your Babies to Church!

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In a visit to St Joseph Parish in Rome, Pope Francis stated,  "Babies cry, make noise, go here and there. But it annoys me when a baby cries in church and there are those who say he needs to go out. The cry of a baby is God's voice: never drive them away from the church!" We've discussed this a lot on the blogs.  You can check out my post, The Contraceptive Sanctuary:  Why You SHOULD Bring Your Baby To Church"  here.  That said, if you're struggling with managing your infant or young child's beh … [Read more...]

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Eating Your Salvation: Are YOU Orthorexic? Take the Quiz.

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In a recent interview, "Domestic goddess" Nigella Lawson takes on what she refers to as the current cultural obsession with "clean eating."To put it bluntly, $10 cold-pressed green juices and quinoa bowls are a lifestyle choice — it doesn’t make you virtuous. “There is a way in which food is used either to self-congratulate — you’re a better person because you’re eating like that — or to self-persecute, because you will not allow yourself to eat the foods you want,” the 55-year-old British ch … [Read more...]

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“Quit Being A Nag!” –Are You Harping? Or Just Seeking Respect.

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How do you know when it's OK to keep bringing something up?As a marriage and family therapist, hardly a day goes by when I don't hear a wife ask if she is  "being a nag" or hear a husband accuse a wife of the same.  (Curiously, I rarely hear husbands worry about this or hear wives accuse husbands of this "crime.")Nagging Defined.To be fair, there are times when a person can be a nag.  For instance, if you have articulated a concern or need to your spouse and they are actively working … [Read more...]

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The Corporal Works of Mommy (and Daddy)! –Living the Year of Mercy at Home.

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Pope Francis has declared this to be a Year of Mercy but...so what?  What does it mean to be merciful?  And what difference does this year make to families?The Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy illustrate that mercy means treating others in a way that allows them to see their worth in God's eyes.We Are All RoyalWe are all God's children and baptism enables us to be prophets, priests, and royals.  The Works of Mercy remind us of this.  We clothe the naked because every child of God … [Read more...]

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FAITHLESS: Why Don’t Millennials Believe?

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           Why are "nones" on the rise?  The answer might surprise you.I recently gave a radio interview about the latest Pew Center finding that "nones" (unchurched/"spiritual not religious") are the fastest growing demographic on the religious scene.  The interviewer asked me if I thought the increasingly secular culture was responsible for both the loss of faith and the breakdown of the family.  I surprised him by saying that the research suggests it just might be the other way around … [Read more...]

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A Response to Prayer Shaming: What Good is Prayer Anyway?

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In light of the recent tragedy in San Bernardino, the New York Daily News and other outlets (notably, HuffPo) have challenged believers by, essentially, saying, "spare us your prayers.  God isn't going to fix this."As a pastoral counselor, I hear different versions of this all the time.  Specifically, "What good is prayer if I have to do all the work anyway?"Many people have an incomplete--and frankly, disordered--understanding of the purpose of prayer.  They engage in prayer as if th … [Read more...]

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Weather Proof Your Brain: 6 Tips for Beating Winter Blues

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            "I just feel so, blah."  Said Carly, age 31. "Once the leaves fall off the trees, everything gets so gloomy and grey.  I just can't get motivated and I feel sluggish all day.  When the  snow hits, I just wish I could crawl into bed and stay there until Spring. I joke that I must be part bear, but honestly, the way I feel most of the fall and winter doesn't put me in much of a laughing mood."            According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, about 6% of people suff … [Read more...]

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Raising Faithful Kids: A Cautionary Tale

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In Discovering God Together: The Catholic Guide to Raising Faithful Kids my wife and I share research showing that the likelihood that a child will grow up to own their faith is directly related to the degree they experience the faith as the source of the warmth in their home.  Everything else--everything from mass attendance, to catechesis, to family prayer, to moral instruction--is essential, but secondary to the children's experience as the faith as the source of the warmth in their home. W … [Read more...]

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