That Perpetually Lost and Confused Feeling is not a Bug, it’s a Feature

The headline sets aside the question of pre-Fall living, which none of us are doing.  It's the 16th of the month, which means I'm pre-prayed.  Naturally I completely forgot and re-prayed this morning, which you're allowed to do.  I can't remember what thoughts I had this morning, but here's where my thinking went last time I reflected on today's Gospel: Lord, I don’t understand everything. I’m struggling with difficulties that are leaving me feeling completely lost and maybe even abandoned. Help … [Read more...]

Letter to a Discouraged Evangelist

I wrote the following in response to a "What would you say?" question from Sherry Weddell, who shared in a private forum the comments she'd received from a discouraged-but-faithful Catholic.  The details hardly matter. We all know the territory.  Here's my answer, and couple follow-on comments come after. *** Dear Friend in the Field,You're absolutely right. Catholics are horrible and evangelization can drive you mad. It's pretty common for people who are serious about the faith to go through p … [Read more...]

Preaching: What Works? Why Does it Matter? – Updated

Father Longenecker* writes about his frustration as a homilist here, and he raises a good question: Does good preaching matter?  And if so, what kinds of homilies (or lectures) are effective, and what effect do they have?I'm going to answer as someone who teaches the Catholic faith outside the pulpit, who's been subject to the very best and very worst of Christian preaching and teaching, and who spends an awful lot of time with Catholic lay people who say the things they don't say around … [Read more...]

Don’t Kill People with Disabilities. Especially Family. @BADDtweets

I'm reminded by Ruth at Wheelie Catholic that May 1 is Blogging Against Disablism Day.  My message this year is real simple: Don't kill innocent people.  Specifically we'll talk this year about the people in your family. Do not kill them. 1. Don't kill your children.  Even the disabled ones. If you are hoping to have a child, do not make plans to kill that child if he or she isn't good enough for you.  That's fake parenting.  There are plenty of real parents out there who understand that when y … [Read more...]

Three Great Ways to Help Parents Teach Their Children the Faith

In a follow-up on the topic of getting the parent-Church relationship right, here are three best practices to add to your arsenal: 1. Peanut Butter and Grace Susan Windley-Daoust writes: Jen, thanks for the Patheos article on what's wrong with parishes doing religious ed as first responders. A number of people have forwarded it to me, saying, PB and Grace is addressing this!Well, we hope so. If you want to take a look, its a new small Catholic press dedicated to making family faith … [Read more...]

Christian Community and the Loss of Penance

In a private forum, someone asked why Catholics don't talk about acts of penance so much anymore.  Why so little discussion of fasting, self-denial, self-mortification, and the like?  It's out of vogue.I floated a thought or two (summary: I'm Exhibit A for Poor Penitential Performance), and someone came back with the observation that penance is something we're expected to do all on our own. It's not communal.I replied: I think that's true. We have all kinds of self-chosen suffering tha … [Read more...]

Atheism, Beauty, and the Loss of Penance

My young daughter, whose cuteness makes her look even younger, sat on the stool at the jewelry store, stone still, waiting for the two gloved salesladies to punch holes through her earlobes on the count of three.  Stoic child, but if you can read her you knew she was nervous.  This was something she wanted, very much wanted.  She knew it would hurt, because we all reminded her of that fact, repeatedly.  She also knew two other things: Her older sister had done it and she was just fine now, and th … [Read more...]


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