A few quick updates as I hopefully get back into the swing of things? Maybe? Here’s all that’s been going on since I last fell off the internet:
(1) I took a leave of absence from social media because I had started losing my temper at people who were wrong. The break was surprisingly beneficial — I say surprising because my primary mode self-correction consisted of watching Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. Best I can tell, it’s what happens if you cross C.S. Lewis with Tom Clancy with Hollywood Sci-Fi with an Evangelical Presbyterian. Season 3 is when it gets blatant.
Didn’t see that coming, though, tip: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. is a straight-up pro-life morality tale, except seedy and brilliant — if you happen to like campy sci-fi comedy-adventure infused with a potty-mouthed and hilarious Theology of the Body theme. (Parental supervision strongly recommended. None of this is for little kids.)
(2) Had to take a healthy, athletic teenager to the ER for extreme shortness of breath on exertion associated with a respiratory virus of unknown nature. She’s fine now. Also, our ER experience provides a few theories on why certain minority communities might be experiencing a higher rate of COVID-19 morbidity and mortality. –> All is not well in public health, guys.
(3) I’ve got two more here at the castle who’ve succumbed to a respiratory ailment of unknown nature, possibly the same one as the teen, possibly something else. In the effort to keep those three distanced from the remaining residents, I was doing an awful lot of zig-zagging around providing food service and so forth. That’ll keep you busy. I finally gave two men a kitchen in the camper in the yard so they could do some of their own cooking. Mr. Boy was appreciative, SuperHusband is not amused. Heh.
(4) Oh oh! and during all that? Our 18 y.o. came back from college for the one week we get to see her until Thanskgiving, we think, and it was absolutely vital, if she wished to return to school, which she does, that she not catch any kind of respiratory ailment. Huge thanks to the friends who housed her, fed her, and did airport shuttle so that she could limit her time with us to sitting outdoors and far away. Fun times. People prayed for us, though, and it was fine.
So that’s been most of it. In writing news:
NCRegister: “On the Limits of Identity Politics” If you missed it, it’s up and some people liked it. There should be another piece running soon on a Catholic approach to the problem of gender dysphoria, but I don’t see it yet? Next in my queue is an essay I’ve been failing at pulling together for an embarrassingly long time, but which introduces Cathy Lins, who specializes in parish mental health ministry, and who has a brand new forum here: Trauma-Informed Parishes. Go say hello to Cathy and soak up everything, because she knows what she’s about.
FYI the rumor that I “started a new job” at the Register is a product of Facebook’s determination to turn everything, at all, ever, into click-bait hype for your friends. What happened is that I realized I had put my blogging status at Patheos and here at the Conspiracy in my “about” details, but that the Register was missing. Crazy me went to rectify that oversight and next thing we know everyone’s congratulating me on my new promotion.
Um. I’ve been promoted to someone whose author bio is slightly more accurate? Kinda?
Books I finished reading, highly recommend, and plan to review in the days ahead:
- Julie Davis’s Thus Sayeth the Lord: A Fresh Take on the Prophets
- Sherry Weddell’s Fruitful Discipleship: Living the Mission of Jesus in the Church and the World
Blorging: Ads aren’t functioning as well as usual (possible cause: widespread power outages?) so it’s a great time to wade through my latest entries at the mosh pit of religious plurality, if you haven’t taken the plunge lately:
- “Speaking of Clerical Corruption”
We the laity are capable, if we work together, of investigating allegations like the ones above, and we are capable of creating landing places for discarded priests, seminarians, and religious to build new lives for themselves after they are persecuted for whistle-blowing. It’s too big a job to be done by one person, and too important a job to be left solely to one faction or another among the increasingly fragmented faithful.
- “Education vs. Childcare vs. Public Goods”
Because of these harsh economic realities, there is tremendous pressure for schools to open back up, full-time as-per-usual. Parents need the low-tuition* childcare that schools provide, and to not provide that care is to leave parents in a serious bind.
Catholic social teaching has a different answer, and yes I know when I say it most people will swear it’s preposterous, but here me out below. There’s another way, and its worth considering.
- “Breathtaking Beauty in Church Controversies over Kinda-Boring Stuff”
If you are like me, you never for a moment even considered the possibility that the I in “I baptize you . . .” was a make-or-break part of the baptismal formula. (I also never contemplated varying from it.) It was simply there, and it seemed logical, and what else was there to know? Now we have something to ponder. What’s going on with this one little pronoun the CDF is so worked up about? Turns out the answer is more interesting than I had guessed.
And today, prompted by this morning’s readings, and weirdly taking a twist into presidential politics (I didn’t see that coming even if you did): “How to Treat Gentiles and Tax Collectors”.
–> If you don’t care to think about the voting question, scroll directly down to the bottom to see the photo that inspired me to wrap up my meditation on what to do about terrible Catholics with a link to the Epic Vacation series here at the Conspiracy, because, top of page 2 of the E.V. category, I was reminded of my “What it Takes Not to Be a Nazi” photo tour and reflection on visiting a WWII cemetery, many memorials, and a concentration camp in eastern France.
Book reviews! Spoiler alert: I answer the question of what to do about terrible Catholics in those 300 fun-filled pages of The Beast. So far there’s one review up at Amazon, which I dared read because the reviewer kindly gave the book five stars. I quote the review in full:
Jen Fitz’s clear, sensible advice for the modern evangelist is a must-read. She has years of experience with dealing with many situations a lay Catholic may experience in explaining their faith. The book is well-organized and helpful for anyone who wishes to learn more about how to spread the Gospel.
Thank you, anonymous reader!
FYI – if you’ve read the book and would like to say something good about it, I’d be most grateful if you’d say so over at Amazon, where book publicity ekes out its living these days. Even more? I’d like you to loan your copy to someone who could use the inspiration or affirmation.
Today we illustrate our post with this photo of Ella the Snow Dog (CC 2.0) because:
- Presently the 9th grader’s multi-year campaign to get a dog is gaining momentum but also hit a snag in the road called “Parents are doing their best to make sane, responsible decisions,” and
- It’s mid-August in the Deep South, so even though it is unseasonably cool (low 90’s!?!!), “snow” is a very popular theme around here.
FYI because I love you, I scrolled through many pages of search results for “cute dog photo” in Wikimedia to bring you the very best. You’re welcome.