The gift is mostly to those of us who are blessed to spend time with these oldsters. Never think the elderly are useless. Even when they grow vague with dementia, they are our best and wisest teachers.
How to do Lent in the fast lane?
More to the point, how to do Lent when I’m catching myself running in circles?
This time of year is uber busy, fragmented and exhausting for Oklahoma House Members. How do I find time to pray more than Now I lay me and Bless us oh Lord?
What of the disciplines of fasting, alms and deep examination of conscience? Does all that go by the board when I’m stuck eating whatever is put in front of me and almost never get a moment alone?
I’m certain that I’m not the only person who finds themselves caught in a whirlpool of busyness during these days of Lent. That is, after all, our modern curse.
We are overwhelmed by a tsunami of too much: Too much stuff, too many activities and far too many people competing for our attention.
“Doing” Lent under those circumstances can easily reduce itself down to its lowest common denominator. Tuna sandwich for lunch on Fridays? Check. Grilled cheese for lunch on Ash Wednesday? Check. Confession, whether you need it or not? Check and check. And, oh yes, keep your sticky little fingers out of the candy dish at work.
Here we are, dealing with the fulcrum of history; the moment at which everything changed. We are considering the point at which the hopelessness of vanity, vanity all is vanity before Calvary was transformed into the birth of life everlasting after Calvary. Everything turns on that hilltop with the three crosses 2,000 years ago.
Lent is designed to take us there. It is meant to bring us to our knees before the foot of the cross where we can be born again.
But when you’re being drug by the runaway horse of overwhelming busyness that is our modern life, how do you do more than the minimum? How do you find the space, the quiet, the time to hear that still small voice?
I’ve dealt with this for years and to be honest, I’ve never found a fully satisfactory answer for it. Doing the minimum isn’t so minimum when it’s all you can manage. There is an element of faithfulness involved in those tuna sandwiches and skipped candy.
The trouble with doing the minimum is that it leaves you basically the same as you were before you did it. You don’t necessarily slide back spiritually the way you would if you didn’t try at all, but you won’t grow in Christ by doing the minimum. The minimum leaves you spiritually fed, but at a bare sustenance level.
Doing the minimum is just a step above not doing at all. It’s easy to slide from the minimum to less than the minimum and a deteriorating faith walk that leaves you half Christian.
How does anyone grow spiritually while living the lives we do, where emotional fracturing and distancing from faith seem built into the structure of it?
My advice, which is the advice of a woman whose Lenten practices are mostly a matter of minimums sandwiched into busyness, is to do at least the minimum, no matter what. Even if it means eating really substandard food like a spoonful of banquet carrots with a spoonful of banquet mashed potatoes with some kind of something that’s supposed to be gravy for lunch, do the minimum. Do it even if you can’t for the life of you remember your sins and have to search your memory while you’re standing in line outside the confessional.
I have a completely personal theology for doing the minimum that I call “God supplies the lacks.” What I mean by that is that I trust that if I don’t remember to confess every sin, or even my most important sins, God, Who knows everything about me, will supply the lacks and forgive me my forgetfulness, He supplies the lacks in my confession. God supplies the lacks. I don’t have anything but my own faith to base that on, but I believe it to a profound level.
I am not talking about deliberate refusal to do what you should when you have the opportunity to do it. I mean when you’re grinding metal in your life, God will supply the lacks to see you through it spiritually intact. All you have to do is your part, by which I mean those minimums offered up with the knowledge that the minimum is not really enough to keep you spiritually healthy for the long haul and a firm intention to do more and do better when you can.
This leads me to the “when you can” part of that. If your life is like Marine Corp boot camp 52 weeks out of every year, you really need to re-think your way of living. Otherwise, you’re going to be talking to God face to face a lot sooner than you expect. No one can use themselves up without breaking stride for their whole span of days.
You have to take time outs. It is essential to your sanity, health and purpose as a human being. For a workaholic, time out requires discipline. It is just as difficult for someone who is inured to a life of constant stimulation and overwork to take a pause as it is for a couch potato to get up and get moving. They are two sides of the same self-destructive coin.
Obeying the commandment to “remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy” is your best friend in this. I didn’t know this a year ago. I didn’t even know it six months ago. I had one of those spoing! moments of insight that occasionally come along. I realized that I had been breaking one of the commandments without realizing the significance of what I was doing.
It’s not easy for someone like me to quit working for one full day each week. But I have found it to be my new best friend. I recommend it for anyone and everyone as a bare minimum of Christian living. It not only rests your mind; it opens your heart to God. I was surprised by the effect this simple act of obedience had on my closeness with Christ. If your job requires you to work on Sunday and you can’t get out of it, my advice is take your sabbath rest on another day. Do not cheat yourself of this great gift of the Sabbath.
Sunday rest is another bare minimum of Christian followership. But if you add it to the bare minimums of fasting, confession, weekly eucharist, you will find that they combine to lift you out of the basement Christian walk of maintenance spirituality and into a gentle curve of Christian growth.
Doing Lent in the fast lane is often about doing the minimum. The minimum will starve you spiritually over the long haul. But if you do it with love of Christ, you will be able to make up for it at other times.
That’s how I get through it. I do the minimum, and whatever else I can in addition to that minimum. And I trust God to supply the lacks.
She can vote.
She can join the Army.
She can be participate in pornography and prostitution and no one will be tried for abusing a child.
She can be tried and convicted of crimes as an adult in our courts of law.
So, why is this “child” suing her parents for support? Not, mind you, just support. She is suing for tuition to private schools. The articles I read also said she is suing for a share of an educational savings account.
I don’t know who owns the educational savings account. If her name is on it as well as her parents, then she may have a legitimate case about that.
As for the rest of it, I am a bit confused by this young lady’s thinking.
Rachel Canning, of Lincoln Park, NJ, is suing her parents for tuition money and support. She says that her parents kicked her out of the house when she turned 18. Somehow, she thinks that her parents are required by law to keep her in the style to which they have evidently led her to become accustomed into the foreseeable future.
I’m not exactly sure of the legal peg she’s hanging this on. There must be some strange wrinkle in New Jersey law that makes this a credible case. So far as I can see, Ms Canning is an adult. No one is required to support her under penalty of law, and that includes her parents. However the court arguments I’ve read seem to revolve around whether or not Ms Canning is emancipated. Under Oklahoma law, that question would arise if she was a minor. Since she’s 18, it would not. The assumption is that adults, unless they are legally not responsible due to some sort of disability, are emancipated.
Even if she was still a minor child, I don’t know of any stipulation under the law (at least here in Oklahoma) that requires parents to provide private school educations for their children. Children are entitled to an education, and if the parents don’t provide an alternative such as private school or homeschool, they always have access to a free education in the public schools. Parents have a legal requirement to provide education, either in the public schools or by another venue for their children.
But no one is required by law to send their children to exclusive private schools.
Ditto for food, shelter and clothing. Children must have a decent place to live, food and clothing. If parents can’t provide these things, there are programs to help them. If they won’t provide them, children can and sometimes are removed from the home. However, there is a strong bias under the law to reunite families as well as many helps for parents in putting together a home for their children. At no time is anyone required by law to provide designer clothes, lavish houses, or gourmet food for their children.
You can watch a brief video from the hearing on this case by going here. The discussion between the judge and Ms Canning’s attorney is all about the way Ms Canning and her parents speak to one another in emails and texts. That may be appalling to hear, but I don’t think it’s pertinent. The issue to me is clear-cut. This is an adult, suing other adults for support. Is there any legitimate basis for that suit?
Based on my understanding, I don’t think so. Maybe New Jersey law is different. Otherwise, I don’t see a case here.
However, the question of what kind of home life, social climate and child-rearing techniques produce a situation like this is wide open. The private high school Ms Canning attends is a Catholic school. She claims in court records that the family income is in excess of $300,000 per year. It would be interesting to learn what sort of social/family environment created this young lady.
(CNN) — A high school senior’s lawsuit against her mother and father for financial support and college tuition hit a hurdle Tuesday when a New Jersey judge denied the teenager’s request for immediate financial assistance from the parents.
Rachel Canning, 18, alleges in her lawsuit that her parents forced her out of their Lincoln Park, New Jersey home, and that she is unable to support herself financially. The lawsuit asks that her parents pay the remaining tuition for her last semester at her private high school, pay her current living and transportation expenses, commit to paying her college tuition and pay her legal fees for the suit she filed against her parents.
Her parents say she left home because she didn’t want to obey their rules.
… Canning, an honor student and cheerleader at Morris Catholic High School in Denville, says in court documents she had to leave her parents’ home because of emotional and psychological mistreatment, alleging, among other things, that her mother called her “fat” and “porky” and that her father threatened to beat her.
“I have been subjected to severe verbal and physical abuse by my mother and father,” Canning wrote in a court certification. “I am not willingly and voluntarily leaving a reasonable situation at home to make my own decisions. I had to leave to end the abuse.”
Canning left her parents’ home at the end of last October. After spending two nights at her boyfriend’s home, she moved into the home of her friend in a nearby town, where she has been staying ever since, according to court documents written by the parents’ attorney.
… Canning was suspended from school for truancy last October, according to court documents filed by her parents’ attorney, Laurie Rush-Masuret. Her parents told the teen that she could no longer see her boyfriend, who was also suspended from school. Car and phone privileges were also taken away. Once she learned of the punishment, Canning cut school again and then decided to run away, her father said in court documents.
Once she left home, her parents notified Morris Catholic High School that they would no longer pay for their daughter’s tuition, the documents state.
“They stopped paying my high school tuition to punish the school and me, and have redirected my college fund indicating their refusal to afford me an education,” Rachel Canning stated in court documents.
“Ummmm,” they begin, then lean toward you to whisper, “you’ve got a smudge on your forehead.”
That happens a lot if you’re a Catholic Okie.
How would you explain the “smudge” on your forehead, if someone asked you?
It appears that the Romeike family will be staying in the United States, after all.
Their story revolves around issues of religious freedom and the rights of parents to educate their children in their faith. The Romeikes elected to homeschool their children due to a desire to educate them in their Christian beliefs. Germany’s law evidently requires all children to attend public or state-approved schools. There are no exceptions for family home schools or facilities that group together to hire a tutor and provide a group homeschool.
The Romeikes elected to homesechool their children in a Christian-based family homeschool, anyway. When the government threatened to seize their children, they came to the United States, seeking asylum. They moved to Tennessee and applied for citizenship and immigration status.
According to CNN,
An immigration judge initially granted their request in 2010 to the Romeikes and their children, saying they were “members of a particular social group” and would be punished for their religious beliefs if returned.
But the Justice Department revoked it last year.
The Board of Immigration Appeals concluded homeschoolers are too ‘amorphous” to constitute a social group eligible for protection under the asylum law.Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court refused to hear their appeal, effectively ending court based action on their situation.
The Homeschool Legal Defense Association announced today that the Department of Homeland Security has granted the family “indefinite deferred action status.” I am not familiar with this term, but based on what the HSDLA’s website says, it sounds as if the family can continue to stay in this country.
This video tells the family’s story. It’s a reminder of just how good we have it, and what freedoms we possess here in the United States. It is also an encouragement to us to stand up for our rights and work to keep them.
I watched a bit of news last night in an attempt to figure out what’s happening in Ukraine.
I flipped it off because the three cable news channels I looked at (CNN, MSNBC and Fox) were each interpreting everything according to whose side they are on in America’s partisan political brawls. It was heavy on political manipulation and light on information. Worse, it was difficult to sort out which was which.
This video comes as close to explaining what is happening and what the potential problems are as anything I found on the news channels.
Patriarch Saitsolav Shevchuk and Pope Francis say mass together. Source Ukrainian Catholic Education Foundation.
Patriarch Svaitsolav Shevchuk of the Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church warned us a few weeks ago.
“Humanity may be on the verge of a new Cold War,” he said in early February on the Voice of America. “It is about the future of democracy in Europe.” Referring to Russia, he warned of the danger of “aggression, violence and interference from our northern neighbor.”
I didn’t write about it then because I didn’t — and don’t — understand the situation. I gather that the original protests were sparked by disagreements over the current Ukrainian economic situation and whether to ally economically with the European Union or with Russia.
As I understand it, the Ukrainian prime minister backed out of a promise he had made to sign an economic agreement with the European Union. He was under pressure from Russia, which included threats of trade sanctions, not to sign. Also, the agreement would have required the prime minister to release one of his political rivals from prison.
Was it more complicated than that?
I think so. I am surmising that the underlying considerations — and the cause of the demonstrations — were not just pure economics, but the question of who would control the country. Was Ukraine going to become a European democracy, or would it be pulled back into economic and political servitude to the Russian bear?
Were there other factors we don’t know about?
But what has happened since seems, at least in terms of the broad strokes, painfully obvious.
Ukraine exploded with prolonged and increasingly violent protests that have resulted in the deaths of Ukrainian citizens at the hands of their own government.
Now, Russia has invaded both Ukraine and Crimea. This armed invasion can not be viewed as anything less than an act of war.
The question rises almost immediately: Is Russia also going to invade other former Soviet satellite states? Will they eventually exit Ukraine and Crimea peacefully, or is this a military takeover and permanent re-colonization?
I wish I could give you a more intelligent read on this situation, but I feel hamstrung by the simple fact that I don’t know who to believe. I am not referring here to Ukrainian and Russian news sources, but rather to our own. There are so many agendas operating in American news, and our president has lied to us so many times, that I’m more than a little chary of taking what any of them say at face value.
One thing is clear: Patriarch Shevchuk understood the situation and spoke with prescient clarity.
There was a smattering of applause and the room went stunned silent when Matthew McConaughey thanked God in his Oscar acceptance speech.
Did he just use that name in a way that was not mocking, leering, or jibing?
Today, the blogosphere is kicking that speech around like a kid with a shiny new ball. Because, you see, we have reached the pass where the mention of the holy name of God in a respectful way in public, but especially at, of all things, the Oscars, is, well, My dear, it is just not done.
One of the funniest and most inane of the inevitable disses about Mr McConaughey’s speech (at least that I’ve seen) comes from Time Entertainment. You know. The child of the same Time Warner that owns all those media venues that have been hard-selling gay marriage, abortion, euthanasia and now polygamy.
The article claims to find the speech “confounding,” and “semi-bizarre.”
Here’s a taste of the commentary:
What exactly did he mean by all that? After winning for his role as Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyer’s Club, Matthew McConaughey launched into a semi-bizarre tale about his inner life.
And the confused writer goes on to try to disassemble the speech. My response to Time Entertainment is, what exactly do you mean by all that? Does the name of God really disturb you that much?
Go to the bottom of the article and click on McConaughey’s speech and decide for yourself. Then the next time you watch a show or read a column that comes from the Time Warner megalith, consider the source.
Go to the bottom of this link and watch a video of Mr MConaughey’s speech here.
I put a link to this on an earlier post, but it somehow got switched for another link while I was off Sunday.
I think it’s important to see this. Note, that it is not just an attack on traditional marriage, but contains slurs against Christianity, as well. Go here to see it.
I’ve read posts about this event saying all the usual things. You know, bigoted Christians “overreact.” Natalie Grant just did it for the promotional value. That kind of stuff.
The bigoted Christians “overreact” is a standard ploy being used against us. I heard it when I said the DOMA decision was going to destroy marriage. I had it leveled against me again when I said that the storefront euthanasia practiced in Switzerland and the Belgian decision to allow euthanasia for children and those with dementia, combined with the destruction of marriage, made Western Civilization a dead man walking.
The first comments last summer made me parse my public statements just a bit, even though I knew what I knew and I was also aware that the people saying this to me knew nothing. But still, there was that niggling “What if I’m wrong?” thought.
The even more aggressive comments I got (which were deleted before they got to this blog, btw) when I said Western civilization is a dead man walking didn’t bother me at all.
These comments are like the man with the pan of water, telling the frog to calm down and stop overreacting.
There is no basis in fact for the absolutely stupid, “calm down, nobody’s forcing churches to perform gay marriages” statements. The truth is, churches in Britain have been sued to attempt to force them to perform gay marriages. The USCCB in this country has been sued for teaching Catholic teaching. And Loyola Chicago opened its campus venues to gay wedding receptions under direct penalty of law.
I think Loyola Chicago should have tried using their spines to stand upright and filed suit against this egregious law. They should never have complied with it. Whatever happened to the historic loyalty and courage of the Jesuits?
Everything I’ve described has happened in the past few weeks. We are witnessing a cultural implosion, and it is aimed first of all at the Church.
There are times when people do overreact. But this isn’t one of them.
I reviewed the book Dr Mary Neal wrote about her near death experience a few months ago.
She describes her experience in this video.