Monday, February 17, 2003

A productive week, and if you want proof, just know that I had an article due on March 10. In a truly shocking development, I wrote and turned it in last week. Yes, indeed. Made progress on the Bible study and signed off on another small project. Two columns and a book review piece to write this week, but I hope I’ll be able to knock off another chapter of the Bible study, as well.

I’ve put together a page with information on my Prove It books. You can find it here.

I’ve got the table of contents for each book, order information, and excerpts from the two books whose digital forms still existed. Go to it, send the URL to your DRE, youth minister, religion department, not to speak of your favorite teen in faith crisis, which is probably any of them you choose!

See, I haven’t just been lounging around aching to blog. But I have done a little of that too. Spouting off in Mark’s comments boxes was about as much as I allowed myself, though.

Sitting here watching ABC’s Music Man with Katie, stunned, absolutely stunned at how AWFUL Matthew Broderick is. If you caught it, did you ever see a performance that made you want to just kick someone in the pants to get them going more? In the effort to not tread on the memory of Robert Preston, they managed to fashion a performance drained of any energy at all.

If there’d been an energy boosting button marked “Bueller” on that remote, I’d have pushed it the first time he opened his mouth.

Not to speak of a washed-out palette for the whole production and a rather startling homogeneity in way too many of the performers’ appearances – not nearly enough variety in body type or facial features – the barbershop quartet was the worst – they could have been quadruplets. It’s as if individuality has been bred out of the population – or at least out of show business. And maybe it has.

Katie’s mainly perturbed with the girl playing the mayor’s daughter, claiming that her enunciation of “ye gods!” doesn’t cut it, At. All.

Well, two more weeks and Six Feet Under revs back up, so perhaps the television will be worth having again, for at least an hour a week, unless they go and pull a Sopranos - type decline on us.


There may be three people in the room. Four, even. Joseph stubs his toe on one of the 1,251 Duplo blocks scattered on the floor. “Ow! Hurts!,” he cries, and no matter what, no matter if I am up to my elbows in pizza dough or juggling knives or half-comatose on the couch, and no matter if everyone else is sitting around with empty laps – it’s me. No one else can give comfort but me. No one.

I should be flattered. And, I suppose I am. After all, how would I feel if he insisted on running to another to tend to his wounds?

But still, I could use a break. I don’t know why, at 20 months, he’s decided to get so awfully clingy – he goes to a babysitter three mornings a week, after all, and he does fine, waving goodbye to me with a big grin through the window. That’s the exception, though. At the moment, when we’re home, it’s all mommy, All The Time. I leave the room, it’s a crisis. And don’t even talk to me about bedtime. Don’t even.

I don’t know why my arms and my kisses are the only ones that offer succor, but they do.

Life is filled with hurts far more serious than a twinge from a Lego. We are disappointed with others and ourselves. We lose, we are frustrated, we are treated unfairly and unjustly.

To whom – or what – do we turn when our pain becomes too much to bear in silence? The child insists, right or wrong, that his mama is the only one with the answers. In a room – which is his whole world – filled with choices and options, he runs for her, and in but a minute, quiets.

In our own pain, do we feel the same compunction? There are lots of things that can deaden our pain for the moment or help us pretend it isn’t important.

Quite simply put, we can ask anything or anyone to save us. Perhaps the beginning of peace is understanding that when it comes to saviors, though, there is really only one.

When we hurt, is God our first and only resort – or our last?

Because he’s short and still, in his primitive way, understands that he is not in control, Joseph spends much of his day asking for things.

Crackers, cheese, milk, juice, water, “stordg-ee” (story), blocks, “ta-bee” (TV), “lellow” (a favorite yellow shirt), “E” (the oddest. You’ll never guess. A pen or pencil), and of course, what good is an E without “pay-puh?”

Anyway, we have a new twist in the litany of requests.

In an ingenious time-saving move, he’s started providing his own answer.

”Cwacker?” and before we can respond, he finishes the thought: “Yash.”

”Juice? Yash.”

It reminded me of prayer. I mean, really – when we pray, we might as well provide our own answer most of the time, right? We’re not presenting our needs to God trusting in whatever answer He gives – we’re presenting them in the hopes that He’ll answer them our way:

”Please make sure I get this job. Yash.

”Give us a safe journey. Yash.”

Okay, sure, Jesus tells us in so uncertain terms to ask for what we need, and says that the Father will provide, but He never said that the perceived need and the answer would match up the way we think we want it to.

But Jesus also told us to pray in this way:

…Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…

- an idea that C.S. Lewis took further when he wrote:

To be in the state in which you are so at one with the will of God that you wouldn’t want to alter the course of events even if you could is certainly a very high or advanced condition.



From the NYTimes Magazine:

A severely disabled attorney associated with the group Not Dead Yet relates several encounters with Peter Singer

He insists he doesn't want to kill me. He simply thinks it would have been better, all things considered, to have given my parents the option of killing the baby I once was, and to let other parents kill similar babies as they come along and thereby avoid the suffering that comes with lives like mine and satisfy the reasonable preferences of parents for a different kind of child. It has nothing to do with me. I should not feel threatened.

Ever wonder what happened to Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, aka "God's Banker?"

Hanging out in Sun City, Arizona, that's what.

Liberal Democrat and on-the-edge-sort-of-still-pro-lifer Dennis Kucinich says he might run for president.

US Ambassador to the Vatican James Nicholson aggravated by that stubborn Pope

Springfield (MA) priest still refuses to buy into bishop's support of convicted priest:

In the 1990s, the diocese settled suits for $1.4 million with 17 men who accused Lavigne of abusing them when they were minors. Though the diocese began the process of defrocking Lavigne about two months ago, it will continue to pay him $1,000 a month and cover an $8,000 medical and dental package, Scahill said.Dupre has said that the diocese's continued financial support of Lavigne is mandated by canon law, a rationale Scahill took issue with yesterday from the pulpit. 'I remain unconvinced that the Holy Spirit of God and the will of Jesus Christ would endorse a manmade canon so protective of a multiple-offending abusive cleric ... so abusive to his victims and so unprotective of innocent children,'' Scahill said.

Who will be the next Archbishop of Philadelphia?

From the LATimes (LRR)

Assyrians struggle for identity here and in the Middle East

More than two millenniums ago, their ancestors created one of the world's great empires, covering much of what is now Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Among the earliest peoples to convert to Christianity, they claim inventions including the wheel, the Zodiac and fractions. But today, with their people scattered in 40 countries, Assyrians are one among many peoples who survive from the ancient days of the Middle East, half forgotten by the world."I don't know anybody who's ever heard of Assyrians," said Anil Varani, 20, youth group vice president of the Assyrian American Assn. of Southern California. In the 13 years since she emigrated from Iran, she has usually told others that she's Babylonian -- a related people at least vaguely familiar to more Americans, she says. Some Assyrians say Jews are one group of people who seem to be more familiar with them. But because the Hebrew Bible describes Assyrians as cruel and ruthless conquerors, people such as the Rev. William Nissan say he is invariably challenged by Jewish rabbis and scholars about the misdeeds of his ancestors.Asked whether many Jews still bear grudges against modern Assyrians, Yitzchok Adlerstein, an Orthodox rabbi who teaches at Loyola Law School, replied: "They still survive?"

And, on a related note: Chaldean Catholics between Iraq and a hard place

At the Weekly Standard,Matt Labash takes a humorous and depressing look at anti-bullying programs

A few thoughts on the NYTimes magazine article blogged above:

The scenes, of course, are horrifying: the comfortably endowed academic making the abstract case for the worthlessness of the life of the real woman sharing the stage with him. One wonders what works in the soul of such a man.

What’s not directly addressed in the article, however, is the soundness of Singer’s logic. If, he argues, abortion can be an acceptable choice up to the moment of birth – why not infanticide the moment after? In this way, Singer is at least more consistent than abortion supporters who have created an imaginary line made of nothing but the lining of the womb that somehow separates disposable life from protected life.

Last week, Peter argued that in a blog I’d tossed to Greg at HMS, I’d made too casual and unthinking a connection between the rising level of infant homicide rates over the past three decades to the existence of legal abortion. In my own defense, I’d first like to say that I had sent that article Greg’s way in the hope that he’d expound on it, not that he’d actually take note of my five-second consideration of the stats! But that’s okay. Keep my name alive any way you can, Greg. Fine with me!

But Peter’s blog got me thinking. Over the past thirty years, various researchers have attempted to associate the prevalence of induced abortion with a host of ills: increased levels of child abuse. Breast cancer. Increased rates of infertility, ectopic pregnancies and placenta previa.

And every time, observers scoff at attempts to link these phenomena, and as always, skepticism regarding cause and effect correlations is in order, and that’s fine and good.

But one is left with the impression that a relatively high rate of induced abortion could not possibly have any effect on individuals or the population as a whole. Which seems to me even more ridiculous than blaming everything on legal abortion. After all, induced abortion is a profoundly unnatural act, on every level. It wrenches a system, merrily preparing itself for one goal, and violently interrupts that process. You’re telling me that’s not going to have an effect, especially if done more than once? Very hard to believe.

Links to research on the physical and emotional impact of induced abortion

Saints to note this week:

Tuesday: St. Bernadette of Lourdes

Thursday: Blesseds Jacinto and Francisco Marto

Friday: St.Peter Damien

Saturday: St. Peter the Apostle

Later this week, I'll be tossing out some thoughts on the Pope and the war. As if something else actually needs to be said.

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