Patheos has picked up another new blog, and in keeping with this age of hybridism I think we could call it a kind of hybrid, too.
Leah Libresco is a smart young cookie and a lifelong atheist, who has managed to find herself a devout Catholic boyfriend, and she runs the whole topic of religion through her wringer at Unequally Yoked, where she writes:
I grew up with atheist patents in a pretty secular neighborhood (when we learned about the Reformation in AP Euro, one student asked if Lutherans still existed today). I didn’t know any particularly religious Christians until college, when I joined a debating group that had knockdown, drag-out fights that often pitted Libertarians against Catholics. Not falling into either of these categories, I tended to pick fights with everyone and came in for my share of questioning in return.
And then I started dating a nice Catholic boy. (I traded my Mass attendance for his presence at ballroom dance lessons, and it’s worked out pretty well so far). So between one thing and another, I was spending a lot of time arguing with smart Christians and I needed to step up my game.
Since we don’t exactly have an “atheist portal” where Leah may relax and put up her feet, I am, in manner of speaking, acting as her Cyber Angel; through the ether my wispy hand is grabbing hers and I’m showing her where the bathrooms are, where the dogs that bite are kept and giving her an introduction to the Catholic side with whom she will no doubt find herself engaging, sometimes.
Bl. Pope John Paul II famously remarked that we have to live with “the world as it is”, full of different people, opinions and thoughts, while always remembering that our purpose is to remain true to Christ and His Word within this increasingly differentiated world. A true weakness of the internet is the propensity for everyone to end up in their little echo chambers, all nodding their heads and validating their opinions by leaving them unchallenged. I spoke about it in Rome, and just recently the echo chamber came up again over a “thems” and “theys”/straights and gays dust up during which I wrote:
It’s easy to simmer in the ghetto, easy to get comfortable with assumptions, stereotypes, paranoias and fears, because there is nothing to challenge them. Actually meeting the people we think we know all about (gay people; “illegal” immigrants who have been here for twenty years, the progressive blogger everyone told you was a meanie, but is just worried; the conservative who seems so terse but is just shy) getting to know them, working with them, agreeing on some things, disagreeing on others — when you do that, suddenly the “other” is a person struggling along, just like you, being battered in some ways, soaring in others. That’s when caricatures crumble.
And others, of course, culled from the same groups, are just miserable bastards you can’t do much about but kiss ‘em up to God, and move on.
I have always said I have the best readers in the world, so I anticipate that y’all will make Leah feel welcome (though some of you with a bit of reserve, which is fine — I’m all for reserved-yet-mannerly) as she continues her adventure here, at Patheos.
And now, I do believe I will go introduce her to Marc Barnes at Bad Catholic, because these young’uns have way too much energy and bite for this old lady to keep up with. I believe Leah has already made the acquaintance of Mark Shea and The Crescat.
UPDATE: All-unaware that Leah was coming aboard, it turns out he’d written affable words about her, just today, wondering: Why can’t there be more cheerful, open-minded, intellectually curious, non-dogmatic, happy and likeable Leah Librescos and a lot fewer jerks like Dawkins, P.Z. Myers, and Jerry Coyne?