Good news for lesbians who want to have biological children related to both parents: a new stem-cell technique could allow scientists to convert female cells into sperm. Use that sperm to fertilize an egg, and voila: children with two female biological parents.
I have been planning to discuss on this blog in-vitro fertilization and other acts that remove the unitive aspect of the marital act. This would certainly qualify.
When your team loses the big game and the only article of clothing you have is a huge arctic coat AND the forecast for the next day is a high of 80 degrees do you still have the responsibility to wear the coat?
Its actually painful that this was a good game. When your team loses and it was a blowout, its easier to deal with. Long battles that are settled in the final moments are painful because it could have gone either way ...
Fans are allowed a certain short time frame to mourn a loss. I don't know how long that is. I am not seething with rage but I am sort of down I admit. I wish I could say that I enjoyed the game that so many people are saying was the best one they had seen. If it had been any team other than New England or New Orleans, I could have enjoyed it from that perspective. It would have been better only for Giants fans ...
That said, I STILL enjoyed the excitement Peyton Manning showed during the game. Eli sure picked the right time to have a coming out party. That play where he escaped the sack and hit the first down (amazing catch as well) is a career defining play. I know its one I won't forget. It put a dagger through my heart because I deep down knew they had that extra intangible that makes champions.
I'll make this analysis easy ... fortunately the local news did all of the work for me.
The Super Bowl is set, and the matchup features plenty of Bayou State talent. The New York Giants and the New England Patriots boast nine players with Louisiana ties in the big game ...(source)
What the local news did not do is perform the hard hitting analysis that will reveal why you should be rooting for New England on Sunday. That is what I am for. First off the MSM neglected to let you in on a little secret. New England owns the sheer number count 5 to 4 over the Giants in this Super Bowl. Below is your list showing even more why everyone in Louisiana (especially those who love LSU) should be rooting for the New England Patriots ...
Only the Roman Catholic Church is authorized to decide what wine can be labelled sacramental, the Supreme Administrative Court ruled on Tuesday. In a lawsuit filed by a wine-producing company against the Church, the court said that the Church has autonomy to decide which wine may be used in Catholic worship.
Apparently a wine maker was suing the Church for the right to label their wines as sacramental wines.
... the label gives the information that this particular wine is good enough even for the Church and the Church freely chooses to use it at the Holy Mass. It may of course give a signal to other customers as well about the quality of the wine. But the absurd argument of the complainant was that he, as a wine producer, is entitled to such permission by the Church for every wine that has objectively fulfilled the criteria set by the Canonical Law.
The article even uses the word transubstantiation.
Sportswriters, Coach Majerus and the battle with Archbishop Burke
Monday, January 28, 2008
Ed Peters hits the nail on the head
But folks, after reading a raft of pep rallies published for Coach Majerus over the weekend, I've reached a conclusion: if sports writers are really qualified to parse Catholic moral theology and ecclesiastical discipline against a world class theologian and canonist like Abp. Burke, then I'm more than qualified to coach college ball. Hey, I've watched some NBA All-Star videos, I saw "Hoosiers" (which, okay, wasn't about college basketball, but so what?),and people still talk about that right hand hook shot I made in the eighth grade basketball camp.
Laugh if you want, but that's about the level of ecclesiastical sophistication that sports writers are bringing to bear against Abp. Burke for his reaction to Majerus' support for abortion and experimentation on embryonic human beings. But let's be very clear about something here: Coach Majerus, not Abp. Burke, violated the wall of separation between Church and Sport, and now it's up to Majerus to repair the damage he did. In the meantime, the more his allies in the sports media try to defend the coach's blunder, the more they show themselves to be way, way out of their league. (source) via Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
I listen to sports radio. There is a air there that reeks of avoidance of the real problems of the world. You are not going to hear anything particularly controversial even on the boldest of sports talk radio. That simply isn't what its for. For most of us its an escape. I want to debate something inconsequential, in the grand scheme of things, so I debate the place of this years Patriots team on the list of best teams ever. I can get riled up at my opponent and get some good manly clashing of ideas. Its almost like a sport of its own. I know the rules and listeners can judge us like a boxing match, scoring points and figuring up a winner -- at least in their mind. In the end how good the Patriots are is not important. Abortion is important. Feeding a family is important. The war in Iraq is important.
Occasionally they dabble in what they consider edgy fare, usually the common slightly dated social themes applied to a specific case in sports. The real battles on those fronts were won by brave souls destined to remain in our history books. Thats not to say that barrier breakers in sports are not important. Its also not to say that current social battles in sports are not important. They are ... just like they are in my career field. Sports hiring and policy is evidence of the fallout of the real social battles. Its hardly ever at the forefront (there are certainly notable exceptions like Jesse Owens). In reality sports talk is pretty much on the same page. After all, everyone is for just minority hiring. Everyone is against steroids. There is just not much to debate there except crossing the t's and dotting the i's. That part is fun. I have an idea, you have an idea. We can be part of the solution.
This story is different though. It matters. It IS at the forefront for our time and our generation. When they teeter into the real problems of the world it makes it quite evident that the focus of their journalism is on everything but ... and that is where their focus should remain because, after all, thats the role they fill for the Average Joe like me.
The kids attended their first ever Mardi Gras parade in Denham Springs. It was a great family friendly atmosphere and I plan to go yearly from now on. Honestly, it was my first parade since middle school (not counting the Catholic school parade last year) ... That would make something like 20+ years for those counting. The only problem was that loud sirens and the ears of young children do not mix well.
My house is currently covered in beads ... its a very colorful and festive place. We will enjoy the moment.
My kids are already asking when the next parade is .... This will be fun!
This is an interesting read on the process of re-opening, merging and closing of parishes that is going on in the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
In February 2006, having absorbed nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in damages to dozens of schools and churches, the archdiocese underwent a forced, temporary reorganization of parish life.
It announced the permanent closure of 10 of its 151 parishes or missions, although it later reduced that number. It shut down all operations in 23 others in Orleans, St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes.
Although the 23 church parishes remain technically open, members have been assigned to neighboring parishes for worship, education and other ministries until the archdiocese can sort out the future and develop a long-term plan for recovery.
It is evident that much pain will ensue in the decisions that have to be made. Katrina isn't exactly yesterday to New Orleans like it might be for the rest of the country. We would all do our best to pray for the leaders of the Church that they might be able to navigate the difficult waters of the future and return a city filled with vibrant life to its Catholic roots.
Web page challenge issued 6/4/99: E-Mail me a verifiable quotation from an orthodox Christian theologian who wrote prior to 1900 A. D. in support of contraception. I do not believe that one can be found!
I found a very beautiful quote on the site ...
Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor, Paedagogus
We must regard the woman's crown to be her husband, and the husband's crown to be marriage; and the flowers of marriage the children of both, which the divine husbandman plucks from meadows of flesh. 'Children's children are the crown of old men.'
It is not an accident that what happened to me tonight came to pass. I received a tremendous grace from God. I will try to explain it here ...
Last week I brought a book to my adoration hour. I was thoroughly engrossed in it enough to stay awake through my 11pm hour. This week, I planned to bring the same book. When I went to thumb through the books on the shelf I remembered that I had brought the book to work in order to read a few chapters during lunch. That left me feeling somewhat discouraged, but alas I have many books at home I have not read. I grabbed a random one off the shelf ... the topic happened to be marriage.
The book was "Male and Female He Created Them" by Jorge Cardinal Medina Estevez. It starts off listing the many offenses against marriage: fornication, adultery, polygamy, sodomy etc. It was a thoroughly distasteful read. It was followed by a more pleasant exposition of the biblical support for the teaching of the Church on marriage. What I found was that I had forgotten there is so much in the Bible that refers to marriage, especially the Old Testament. It is so very clear the way God intended it -- that is, one man, one woman -- until death. My reading continued and as is often usual in my adoration hour, I fell asleep.
Midnight rolled around and I hopped in the car to head home. Immediately God revealed to me the gift of the wedding anniversary of my in-laws. Today is their 35th wedding anniversary. In their marriage I see an image of the faithfulness of God to the covenants He has made with us. For God, His covenant is forever. It is His people who have been unfaithful. His example, however, is one of faithfulness. For those who remain married are also committed to longevity. It is also a gift that my wife and I were able to celebrate it with them, including our children. In reality, the fruit of their marriage eventually resulted in the joy others saw in our children tonight.
The peace that my wife and I have received in our marriage is one that we received from the example of our parents, both having remained married. It is the basic gift of life my wife received from them, as I did from my parents to support the foundation for all that my children will know of life, love and even God. It is also the great gift of handing on the faith that my wife and I have been able to grow in the grace and love of our Lord forever learning new ways to serve each other and God. So while the world may see insanity in the longevity of marriage, what the Christian sees is a great triumph and even more importantly an image of fidelity that points directly to that even more perfect attribute of God towards each of us.
Blogging has been light ... I am struggling with the writing side of things so naturally I figured firing the head coach is out of the option so I made a big shakeup in the assistant staff. Introducing my "Offensive Coordinator" and new theme: Sainte Chapelle.
There is a reason for this. 1) I have been to Sainte Chapelle. 2) I think it captures my heritage as well as that of Louisiana (i.e. French) 3) Its WAY Catholic -- not that a theme with a picture of the Pope is LESS Catholic 4) AANNNND since the French are not currently on the standard conservative boycott list I figure I can get away with it even with my more conservative readers ;) ... I admit I never could make myself stop buying French wine even when Freedom Fries were all the rage ...
I am curious for those who visit enough to note the change whether or not you find it an improvement. For those who are visiting for the first time I am linking up some crude images showing the difference. There will likely be some minor typeface tweaks (a big ARGH! goes out to "web safe typefaces")
Parks --especially for children -- are hardly made by the state any more, often considered waste. Today they are increasingly made by corporations. Often they allow people to visit their play areas and nice strolls for free. They saw a need that had been eliminated and tried to fill it. Seems like a good deal. We retain the areas for kids payed for by corporate dollars and not tax dollars. A win/win for everyone right? Consider that both major malls in our area have huge play areas. Chick-fil-a, Burger King and McDonald's are regular gathering places for parents looking for a clean place for their kids to play. Every large book store in town has a Thomas the Train set. Now that I think about it, you can even replace your state funded library reading time with a trip to a big box book store but you cannot leave with a book unless you are willing to pay. Meanwhile, the story teller at the library reads to increasingly smaller crowds and local libraries -- a staple for local homsechoolers -- find themselves desperate for usage lest their funding be cut even more. The price of admission to these corporate parks, of course, is the expectation of buying something. So while it may be great for balancing local budgets its terrible for my pocketbook. Over the past year my wife and I traced every financial budget crisis we had to "eating out" ... It costs me, on average $15-20 to feed my family at any of these places. Those excursions we used to take to our modern day corporate parks are slowly coming to an end and we will be left with the increasingly underfunded state options, where you can borrow the books and walk away knowing the dent in your pocket came from the tax money you already doled out in the past. You feel like your dollars are well spent on the parks, even if the rest of the state is content to pay to have their children play at McDonald's.
There are exceptions to this rule of course. The state parks in Louisiana are much improved from when I was a child. Also the BEST kids play park in the area is a city funded park in a small town south of Baton Rouge. Still are we seeing a trend away from state funding or is it just me?
Homily on NFP provokes congregation member to stand up and shout at priest "When are you going to stop?"
After reading much of the commentary I decided to hold off on commenting. It all seems too perfect. Good orthodox priest preaching the truth on a difficult subject. Bad person (a lesbian to boot) stands up to the priest at mass in a public and disrespectful manner. Bishop moves the priest. Its clear the conclusion ... right? The bishop is one of the bad guys ... you know ... the ones that marred the faith with their less than stellar handling of the priest abuse scandal? Most of the commentary I read seemed to suggest that it was all cut and dry. And then a few people with saner heads poked a few holes in the seemingly obvious conclusion. Robert at HMS summarizes these thoughts quite well.
In fact, we don't even know if this is the reason he was moved. I agree that Bishop Doran and the Rockford diocese have a well-deserved reputation for promotion of the pro-life, pro-family Gospel message, so I wonder if there is something else going on here that we don't know about and can't know about. You know, we have to avoid rashly using a post hoc ergo propter hoc interpretation.
We shouldn't jump to conclusions especially when the priest is supportive of the bishop in a manner that sides with what we know about the bishop. Something doesn't add up so I recommend skepticism of the "obvious" conclusion ... besides, my wife made the interesting suggestion that they may be moving him from parish to parish to give the same homily. :)
An 82-year-old child molester, Tommy George, has been given a sentence of PROBATION by a jury here in Waco, Texas. (Read all about it here). How can this happen? A friend and colleague at Baylor offers an answer: "This is a Texas-Jury: `This is a guy we all like from the community; we know his kids; we can't lock him up.'"
My wife went to a talk by a man who handles these types of cases. He told a story about a man that was a neighborhood favorite who was accused of molesting children. They went to arrest him and apparently could not on some technicality so they went back to get their ducks in a row to pick him up the next day. That night he committed suicide. The local residents became irate and blamed the police despite the overwhelming evidence against him. They just refused to believe that such a loved person could commit such crimes. He mentioned that all too often the most difficult process is fighting with friends and family who refuse to believe the truth about these perpetrators. It points out, sadly, how the testimony of a child is hardly considered credible. It also further underscores how on guard we have to be with our children. As my wife likes to say "I bet even Hitler was 'nice'"
I begin this post by pointing out that I have received a few hits in recent days because of the search phrase "Why is the Catholic Church obsessed with sex?" That term hits this blog because of a short post I entered back in 2006. In that post I captured something from a forum I visit that succinctly summarizes other so-called Church obsessions throughout history. The problem is that out of context the post may make very little sense. Also in light of the pro-family demonstrations in Spain generating a flurry of "anti-gay Catholic Church" comments, I felt it best to explain the really quite simple teaching of the Church on sex.
Before I get to the goods, I want to take a short diversion. Shrine of the Holy Whapping pointed out an interesting National Catholic Reporter piece the other day that I think points out something very interesting about Pope Benedict XVI. The concept is what they call "affirmative orthodoxy". A quote from the Pope are in order:
Christianity, Catholicism, isnít a collection of prohibitions: itís a positive option. Itís very important that we look at it again because this idea has almost completely disappeared today. Weíve heard so much about what is not allowed that now itís time to say: we have a positive idea to offer, that man and woman are made for each other, that the scale of sexuality, eros, agape, indicates the level of love and itís in this way that marriage develops, first of all, as a joyful and blessing-filled encounter between a man and a woman, and then the family, that guarantees continuity among generations and through which generations are reconciled to each other and even cultures can meet. So, firstly itís important to stress what we want. Secondly, we can also see why we donít want something. I believe we need to see and reflect on the fact that itís not a Catholic invention that man and woman are made for each other, so that humanity can go on living: all cultures know this. As far as abortion is concerned, itís part of the fifth, not the sixth, commandment: ďThou shalt not kill!Ē We have to presume this is obvious and always stress that the human person begins in the motherís womb and remains a human person until his or her last breath. The human person must always be respected as a human person. But all this is clearer if you say it first in a positive way.(source)
It is from this angle that I will attempt my explanation.
The Catholic teaching on sex can really best be summarized by stating what it IS FOR as opposed to what it is AGAINST. I want to rewind in time before the ready availability of artificial contraception. Conditions during that time make it very clear the intent of natural sex between two persons. Set the stage in your mind and then read the following:
Sex is both intended to be fruitful and to be unitive. If two people are considering the act, they must consider the consequences and prepare for the outcome of its fruitfulness. Every person on this earth has a mother and a father and the Church fights for the right of children to know their parents. This all naturally works within marriage between a man and a woman and with sexual acts rendering the unitive and procreative (fruitful) aspects fully in tact.
This is the very clear and obvious natural order of things. From this everything else flows. As Zippy Catholic recently stated on his blog:
The Church after all tells us that as something falling under the natural law sexual morality is accessible, at least in principle, to our reason. But it also makes the rest of Catholic teaching on sexual morality coherent rather than ad hoc. Immoral sexual acts in general then become of a piece: sodomy is wrong because it is a modified/unnatural sexual act; masturbation is wrong because it is a modified/unnatural sexual act; contraception is wrong because it is a modified/unnatural sexual act; intercourse with a transgendered person is wrong because it is a modified/unnatural sexual act; bestiality is wrong because it is a modified/unnatural sexual act; etc. etc.(source)
It is important to note that ecompassing the natural order of marriage (in a secular sense where persons essentially live together in order to raise children and give them knowledge of their parents) points out why divorce and infidelity fall into the "piece" of immoral sexual acts. That said, the sexual act is distinctly different from the person committing it. Most of society has figured this out in their easy division between the act of contraception and what the Church teaches about them as a person otherwise. The Church could not retain a dissent rate so high on contraception if it were such that people were defined and derived their dignity from the immoral sexual acts they performed. As I have stated in the past
Everyone knows the Church teaches against artificial contraception yet few people think that Catholic Church hates the majority of people in the US for using artificial contraception. However, when a priest in the Church comes out in a consistent manner against homosexual acts then it is clearly because the Church hates gays ... How does that follow? While the acts are obviously different they have some similarities and it can be said that they could be condemned for a common reason. They are both sexual acts that render the procreative aspect null. Both are condemned by the Church. Things I sadly have done in the past are condemned by the Church. If you were to follow the "hates gays" line of reasoning then the Church hates all of us. (source)
But is is clear the Church doesn't even hate gays, despite the insistence of so many that the Church does. In fact, the catechism makes a clear distinction on this point.
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
or as Pope Benedict says in the first quote I cite
The human person must always be respected as a human person. But all this is clearer if you say it first in a positive way.
The Church is not obsessed with sex as much as it is obsessed with the right order of things in terms of the procreation of children and the carrying forth of the Faith. It just so happens that sex is part of that right order. The obsession comes from those who are attached to disordered versions of the act who are bound in their disobedience to claim that the simple image of family depicted by the Church is a direct offense at their worth. After all, if you do not perceive your dignity as being that given to you by God, then you can wrap your dignity up in terms of your actions. That the Church gives all sinners their dignity is inconsequential. Those bent on accusing the Church of an obsession regarding sex are offended because they define their own person, not by God, but by their own actions.
This sort of happened to my LCD yesterday except it wasn't a Wii. It was a wooden sword. It was painful but do laugh anyway. Part of me thinks it was a blessing from God. I have ranted on overuse of TV in the past. Enjoy ...
Argh!!! The Saints lost ... that makes the NFC totally irrelevant to me now. I guess that puts me full time rooting for the Patriots in the post season. Yes I am a Patriots fan. Have been since the 1985 season and even moreso the short few games of Tommy Hodson at the helm in the early 90's.
I am somewhat of an anomaly around here in the land of LSU. I MUCH prefer pro football to college ball. Don't get me wrong, I am going to root for the local team. My wife graduated from there. My family has long ties to the university. I feel somewhat compelled to care because of my upbringing but in reality I don't really care that much. I like Les Miles if that's worth anything. I know that I will watch the national title game. Still, it won't be the same for me ... not like it was when I was a kid. Not like it was when Adam Vinatieri sailed that kick through the uprights for the first Super Bowl win for the New England Patriots in SB XXXVI.
The NFL doesn't suffer from the same dishonesty that NCAA ball, especially the Bowl Division, suffers from. Every year you have grades scandals, boosters caught dropping six figure bundles in the hands of high school coaches and recruits. Of course that never seems to happen at my friends favorite schools, or if it does then it was a teacher with an axe to grind or some other excuse. Everyone knows it goes on and nobody really cares to do much about it. We are talking institutions of higher learning. That is what they are supposed to be right? Now are there problems with the NFL? Certainly, but not to the point that it affects the game. In the highest level of NCAA football 90% of the teams have no legitimate shot at a national title before the season starts and well over 50% don't even have a mathematical shot at a national title each season. You can complain that Hawaii didn't belong on the field with Georgia but the fact is they cannot belong because every recruit knows Hawaii will never play for a national championship. Kind of hurts recruiting you know ... and the system is such that Hawaii CANNOT improve short of being elected to the club.
In the NFL every team has a shot. This isn't just in theory. This is reality. The rags to riches stories in the past few seasons bear testimony to that fact. New England is good. The Saints made the NFC championship game. Tampa Bay even won a Super Bowl. There is a real playoff that decides the winner on the field and there is no shifty underground trying to pay players that you are not supposed to pay. Everyone knows they get paid and that they get paid a whole lot. I think the whole above board nature of it creates a stunningly good brand of football. The cap system has evened the playing field and even though people lamented that this would destroy the dynasties that draw people to the game it has not. In fact, it has created one of the best dynasties that I can recall in the NFL ever. To me, the NFL is in its prime. College football is past its prime and the patchwork BCS is all the evidence I need of that. It was much more interesting to me as a kid. College football would do better to move to a playoff or move back to the days of major bowls with conference tie-ins. Just quit pretending you are crowning a legitimate national champion. I know it looks nice on bumper stickers and hats but the NCAA doesn't recognize it. I wish more fans would do the same.
College ball ... no thanks. I will support my non-BCS alma mater. I will even attend a game or two BECAUSE its my alma mater (after all, its supposed to be about education right?). For the rest of it, I'd rather catch the superior play and FAR superior modern-day competitive system of the NFL. I just wish the NFL would start a minor league system in the spring and start taking kids like MLB and the NBA do. I think it would do everyone a whole world of good including the big money universities AND the young kids trying to make it to the NFL.
P.S. My fantasy team finished 5th, which is about where I hovered in the standings all season ... yuck!
I was reading about the doctrine of the Eucharist last night and I realized that many non-Catholics have great difficulty understanding just what the doctrine of transubstantiation teaches. Dave Armstrong gives a nice summary, including the necessary explanation of accidents and substance which are the key to understanding this great mystery.
Transubstantiation is predicated upon the distinction between two sorts of change: accidental and substantial. Accidental change occurs when non-essential outward properties are transformed in some fashion. Thus, water can take on the properties of solidity (ice) and gas (steam), all the while remaining chemically the same. A substantial change, on the other hand, produces something else altogether. An example of this is the metabolism of food, which becomes part of our bodies as a result of chemical and biological processes initiated by digestion. In our everyday experience, a change of substance is always accompanied by a corresponding transition of accidents, or properties.
In the Eucharistóa supernatural transformationóa substantial change occurs without accidental alteration. Thus, the properties of bread and wine continue after consecration, but their essence and substance cease to exist, replaced by the substance of the true and actual Body and Blood of Christ. -- from CHN
A common objection of detractors of the Church is that when the consecrated host is subjected to scientific inquiry, what is observed is no different than bread prior to consecration. This is of no shock to Catholics. As Frank Sheed noted in Theology For Beginners:
One is occasionally startled to find some scientist claiming to have put all the resources of his laboratory into testing the consecrated bread; he announces triumphantly that there is no change whatever, no difference between this and any other bread. We could have told him that, without the aid of any instrument. For all that instruments can do is to make contact with the accidents, and it is part of the doctrine of transubstantiation that the accidents undergo no change whatever. - Theology for Beginners (c) 1981 by Frank J. Sheed, Chapter 18 referenced online at EWTN
A good summary of what the Church teaches regarding doctrine of transubstantiation can be summarized as it is in Ludwig Ott's Fundamentals of Dogma
Christ becomes present in the Sacrament of the Altar by the transformation of the whole substance of the bread into His Body and of the whole substance of the wine into His Blood.
The accidents of bread and wine continue after the change of the substance.
Be careful when discussing this doctrine with others not to insert into it understandings beyond what is taught.
First off I want to wish the readers who stop by here an early Happy New Year ... its been a busy one for me as many attempts to keep this blog up have come and gone, yet, here it is. Its the end of the year and surely one of my resolutions will be to write more. I hope I can follow through this time.
The major news sites will look back and review their top stories of the year ... most of those stories were not covered here.
I decided to be a crowd follower and post a year end summary of my top stories (newsworthy items that is) ...
The rise of "new" atheism Anti-Catholic movies make a big splash ... or not in the case of the Golden Compass. Tony Blair's conversion to Catholicism .. quite simply because I do not see the parallels the press sees when they say he is the biggest convert since Cardinal Newman.
Personal "Best of" awards
1. Best six bucks spent all year Winner goes to purchasing 48 longer wood screws than the cheap ones our builder decided to use in hanging the interior doors at our house. Now when a 40 lb child hangs on a door it doesn't submit to gravity quite as easily.
2. Almost best new parenting idea Winner goes to flushable diapers. Greener than disposables as it reduces landfill space. Almost as inconvenient as cloth because you still end up washing the outsides. Likely more expensive than both methods combined yet I found myself doing it whereas cloth diapering left me longing for the glory days of disposables.
3. Biggest waste of time for Full Circle blog technology Winner goes to using Jott to create blog entries. Yes, I can call in blog entries. Its not worth the hassle I put into it as I only used it during the test phase. But if I ever liveblog something ....
4. Best use of time for Full Circle blog technology Winner goes to Google Reader Live Blogroll. IMHO it still stands ahead of the feature created by Google themselves and I never have to maintain my blogroll other than adding new favorites to my Google Reader which I would do anyway.
5. Best gift Santa brought to the kids Winner goes to Automoblox
The year in our family
Our entire lives leading up until February of last year can be summarized in the Birth story of Peter. Our lives since have been dominated by caring for our little bundle of joy and the tough decision to homeschool and then to NOT homeschool our oldest son. Next year we MAY homeschool. Stay tuned.
One of the things I have noticed since becoming Catholic is that there is a tyranny of perfectionism that infects certain circles of orthodox Catholicism. It is a strong sense of pride that I think it is easy for all of us to fall prey to. I have in the past, as has my wife and we have both suffered many ill effects from it. The basic source of it is in fact that it is pride. In finding our Catholic faith we find that it presents the Truth. This quickly leads us to a sense of pride in having found the "right" religion, but at what expense if we hold so strongly to that rightness? The fact it is right should not detract from our need to be humble about it. After all, if not for the grace of God we would not have been able to find it. It is, after all, a gift from Him. This sense can then extend into other aspects of our lives and you find yourself judged for having too many kids, or not homeschooling, or supporting this candidate over that or even how you rear your children. In the end lifestyle and other non-doctrinal choices take on dogmatic force because after all, if you are right about your religion you find yourself empowered and clearly incapable of being wrong about anything else.
It is even further exaggerated by the call of our faith TO perfection through Christ Himself. Nothing unclean can enter the Kingdom of Heaven. We MUST become perfect. This can often get us into the fray of placing a very high level of expectation on our lives and soon scrupulousness is an unwelcome companion in our lives. Often false idols of "perfection" come into our lives to rule and oppress us. In the end we can find ourselves disillusioned with our faith for seeing it more like a list of burdens and rules. Pelagianism can then reign supreme in our mind and rather than finding ourselves happy that we received a gift we find ourselves disappointed that we fall short of the false "perfections" we think we are called to. The fact is, we are on a journey and it is one where we are COMPLETELY dependent on the grace of God -- something that demands a call to repentance and to humility. It isn't about the things we ourselves do alone. It is about our participation with grace -- something we would do best to ask for frequently. We fall short because we are not there. As my wife said, it would be like calling yourself a failure in one year of homeschooling because you failed to impart your entire education into the brain of a child in one year. No, that is unrealistic.
Our faith and its expectations should not distract us from the prize but rather serve to keep us humble and away from the pride of rightness and perfectionism. Oh how often we find even in our rightness how wrong we are. Humility is a better friend for the long haul and a truer path to sane living in Christ.
originally posted Monday, May 21, 2007 -- updated --
OK, I like the blogroll concept and Google Reader doesn't have that (it does now). So I just wasted a few hours coding the capability in PHP of a Google Reader "live" blogroll. I am not the only person in the world who would like that feature. I have even seen a few people say that is the only thing keeping them on Bloglines. **Thats a hint Google Reader development team.
"Freshness" is defined as "in the last 25 pages of my favorites" which appears to be in the last 4-5 days ... maybe a week. Also it is only as live as Google deems it live ...
There are two Feed URL's. One is a PHP script that generates the RSS feed information when it is accessed. I subscribed to that one with Google Reader so that Google would hit the feed on occasion. That link takes about 10 seconds to run. Google is patient so I am letting them hit that feed. That script also generates a file which I can also access. It returns nearly instantly and is much better for use as a blogroll.
The "live" blogroll is on the right. If anyone is interested in the junk PHP code I wrote leave a comment here or use the Contact me feature of the blog and I will post it here.
Google has implemented a blogroll feature on Google Reader making this code nearly obsolete, that is, except for the "freshness" of it. I am including two feeds below so you can compare the differences. My feed will be the first, the second will be Google Reader.
You will notice that the first column only has a subset of the Google Reader blogroll. The ones in that list which are not in the first you will note have either ceased updating or have not been updated in a while. If I put my own blog on my blogroll it would fall off occasionally. I consider it a feature so I will stick with mine until Google adds a similar control feature.
There is a neat RSS application that allows you to add a feed into your Facebook profile. Naturally, most of this stuff is severely dated. Now all I have to do is categorize it as "Personal and Family" and it will show up on my profile. I like Facebook so much more than MySpace.
Roman Catholics have overtaken Anglicans as the country's dominant religious group. More people attend Mass every Sunday than worship with the Church of England, figures seen by The Sunday Telegraph show.
Bishop Schori quite simply fails to realize that American Catholics do not tend to heed Mother Church on this particular teaching. In fact, Catholics contracept at the same rate as the rest of the nation. Fortunately this concerns our bishops who released the first document on the topic since the late 1960's in recent days. That would lead me to think that most new Catholics are NOT coming from large orthodox families with 12 kids. They are coming from conversions and from replacement rate Catholics. Furthermore, the Catholic Church in the United States is increasing in numbers despite the fact that ex-Catholics would supposedly make up the second largest Christian church in the US if they were all together in one denomination.
So our members are leaving in droves, contracepting just like the rest of the crowd and yet our numbers rise?
Care to explain those dwindling numbers again?
I'll give you a hint. The GROWING churches in this country have something in common and it has nothing to do with the birth rates of its members (a few of them being -- Assemblies of God, Orthodox, Catholic, Southern Baptist) ... The majority of churches whose memberships are decreasing also have something in common (a few of them being -- United Methodist, Evangelical Lutheran, Episcopal, Presbyterian Church USA, United Church of Christ)
This is a "fresh" blogroll. It tends to list blogs most frequently updated at the top. It will also drop blogs not updated for a few days. Never fear though, if you post, it will show back up. If you are interested in how I did it see this post.