Hilary Rosen, Ann Romney and the Credentialists – UPDATES

Although I use it during the day mostly to promote Patheos writers, after hours I consider Twitter to be something of a virtual pub; it's a place to wind down, engage in some casual conversation, yell about baseball and then say goodnight.Last evening, I tootled in to find the tweets flying fast and um, furiously. "Wha'd I miss?" I asked someone.It seems lobbyist and Dem operative Hilary Rosen had gone on CNN last night and spoken unwisely not once, but twice, first declaring that the … [Read more...]

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What the Hell is WRONG with these people? – UPDATED

What the hell is wrong with people? What the hell were these parents thinking? What was the school thinking? Is self-respect a concept utterly lost to this country?These "adults" -- school administrators and parents -- clearly need to have their heads banged together until the stupid falls out:As reported by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, a recent winter sports pep rally at Rosemount (Minn.) High featured a comedy skit which took advantage of unknowing captains of the various winter … [Read more...]

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Welcome to my Breakdown – UPDATED

That's a song by Alice Cooper, right? Or lyrics?Actually I have another song, "Mama's Got a Squeezebox" in my head, but the words are "Mama's got a Burn Out..."The details aren't important, but I somehow managed to commit myself to several different, rather big, projects whose deadlines all fell between last Thursday and today. Actually, the big commitments end on Thursday, after I speak at a parish in New Jersey on Wednesday night (oh, by the way, I'll be speaking at Holy Cross Church, … [Read more...]

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Bad Benedictine; "I love you, go home!"

As I anticipate coming into my tenth year as a Benedictine Oblate, I rejoice that the effect of Benedictine spirituality in my life has helped me to become less savage than I was, although I am still quite feral in some ways. But, as I explain in my latest column at First Things, there is a part of the Holy Rule of St. Benedict that still has me stymied: Benedictine Hospitality, and St. Benedict's dictum that we must receive everyone we encounter as receiving Christ. I have a long way to go, … [Read more...]

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Challenges, Rewards of Teaching Deaf Children

Catechist extraordinaire Lisa Mladinich, whose weekly column "Be an Amazing Catechist" has become a first-stop resource for RCIA facilitators and CCD teachers, has for the last two weeks been focusing on the challenges and rewards of serving the Deaf community of faith. Last week, she looked at the great needs within the church - what they are, and how well we are addressing them:In November 2009, Pope Benedict met with 400 deaf and hearing Catholic clergy and lay people, from sixty-five … [Read more...]

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US vs Tiger Mothers, Lion Fathers – UPDATED

Our Sunday Visitor is carrying a piece of mine looking at the controversial question of whether the berating Chinese "Tiger Mother" is truly superior to the doting and timid "you're so special!" Western mode of parenting. I am of two minds on it:In America we have allowed genuine excellence to be sacrificed upon the altar of our children’s self-esteem, and our barely earned praise has become a kind of cheap grace. In our schools, every test gets a star, every assembly gets a “participation cer … [Read more...]

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The Audacity of Wonder – UPDATED

Illustration Source)Over at First Things, my Tuesday Column is looking at our mania for credentials and how it closes doors, narrows minds and holds wonder at arms length:He has authored over a dozen books, written a syndicated newspaper column and countless essays and articles covering a broad range of subjects—sports, politics, mobsters, union thugs, cultural touchstones, booze, and blades of grass—all of it written in a smart, literate voice of the casual sophisticate who takes his sub … [Read more...]

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A Golden Voice with a Word in Season

Every time I talk to Pat Gohn speak, I find myself marveling at the resonance of her lovely alto. She has one of those voices that belongs behind a microphone or a podium, and that -- coupled with her ability to reason smoothly and articulately -- makes her podcasts at Among Women such soothing, thoughtful programs.She's got a voice like rich honey.This week's podcast is not quite so soothing, however. Pat is mellifluous as ever but her guest is a bit on the hyper side and she can't shut … [Read more...]

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A father muses on his frailty

The recent birth of his son, Cormac got Joseph Susanka musing about fatherhood, but I think his sentiments can be easily understood by all parents:For a father, there are few moments filled with more deeply conflicting emotions than when he holds his newborn child for the first time. To that tiny little infant, mewing and squirming in his arms, he is the ultimate, a godlike power. In the coming years, this child will trust him absolutely, love him unreservedly, and rely on him completely for … [Read more...]

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Parenting is daily catechetical ministry

In her excellent piece, on praying with children Kathy Coffey writes:Ever hear of an exercise class where you just talked about it? No coach would allow the idle chatter of “It’d be nice to stretch or do sit-ups.” The people who benefit from jogging do it regularly. So our children must see us making sense of our experience through the lens of prayer, trying to understand where God has been active, leaving an unmistakable but invisible imprint.Kathy is very right, of course. Our children nee … [Read more...]

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