Friday, May 27, 2011

Holy Spirit, yo

I have long had a love/bewilderment relationship with the Holy Spirit. I love Him/Her/It, whoever or what-ever It... She... He is. When I was confirmed in tenth grade, I had to have an interview with the pastor and a Sister who was working there at the time. At the end of the interview, they asked me "do you have any questions?" I said "yes, I don't get this whole 'Holy Spirit' thing." The Sister looked at the priest, and the priest looked at the Sister, and then finally they looked back at me. The Sister said "well......... you know how, when you have a friend, and you do something nice for that friend, out of the spirit of friendship?" I nodded. "Well, it's kind of like that."
I guess now that I can see what she was trying to say- the Holy Spirit is what prompts us to movement, to action, to holiness. At least, that's how I understand the whole thing... at least, currently... my understanding of the HS changes, I think, as my life rolls on. (My favorite description of the Trinity, by the way, is "Lover, Beloved, Love." Apparently that is some kind of non-Catholic teaching, but heck, I like it, and it's my blog.)
This week, I was invited to visit our parish's charismatic prayer group. In truth, I have been invited for... years... but have never made it there. I have never been a charismatic-faith kind of girl, and even more, I have an reflexive, cynical, suspicious feeling about it. Case-in-point, they invited people up to a "baptism in the Holy Spirit" and I thought, well, what are they saying? Is the original baptism not enough? Would it not be powerful enough to encourage people to renew their baptismal promises, or something? And, are they saying that without this baptism, we have less of the Holy-Spiritl? Or, that somehow we get more Holy Spirit through this un-sacrament? I dunno.
But overall, I was happy to be there, even through my initial discomfort.
I've been around charismatic Christians before, and have heard people speaking in tongues, which seems to be a really big deal to these groups. (I don't get it- what good does it do? But I digress...) anyway, what I realized last night was that these people were truly filled with love and felt God's presence so sincerely. I loved them for that, and admired them for pursuing and living their faith. I knew that the Holy Spirit was indeed present and active in this group of dear people, and that God must be pleased by their passion.
I'm willing to admit that I don't know much, and have a little bit of jealousy for those who do.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

If you're reading this, I may or may not have been raptured.

So today we are (by 6PM) supposed to have earthquakes, strong enough to open graves, etc. I've been listening curiously to all the coverage this supposed Rapture date has gotten. Slate has articles about how religious/cult groups handle it when their prophesied doomsday comes and goes, and about what happens to your pet if you have to leave it behind.
(Which brings us to my favorite scene in the Simpsons... ever:)

I remember when this same guy predicted the rapture back in '94. I remember that there were stickers on light poles everywhere. I was living in MA and volunteering with Young Life, an ecumenical Youth Ministry. I was one of the very few Catholics on the volunteer team and I watched in (silent) amazement as some of the others, evangelical-types, prepared for the Big Day. They made plans to meet just before rapture-time and pray together, and I thought that was nice. (Fast-forward to this week, where there's a Facebook event called "Post-Rapture Looting" that one can join.) I made no such plans at the time, and as nice as I thought that was, I have no such plans today. So, if it comes and I'm not ready, it'll serve me right.
I guess if this is The Day, then I'm fine with that. But I have a lot of theological issues with the way this group is ruling out people and ruling-in others. What is it about religious-types and their inability to say "you know, we just don't know. How would we know who goes to Heaven or what Heaven is?? But we think it's going to be great."
I feel bad for the people who want this to be true so badly, who have taken big risks with their lives like quitting their jobs and leaving their families behind to make van caravans (??) all over the US. Slate says they won't be too disappointed, and will just readjust their expectations... you know, if it doesn't happen. I know one thing, if I were that minister who started all this buzz, I'd disappear, either way... and leave a note that says "if you're reading this, I've been raptured!"

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bacon heals all wounds

This morning I woke up cranky. That is pretty rare, but I did fall asleep a little cranky, and it has been raining since I turned 40. Okay, no, that's not true but it has been raining, or at least dark and cloudy, for about a week now, and not much relief in sight. As I stepped out of my car last night to see that the garbage-people had left most of our trash on the curb, unhappy with the bagging or something... and felt the tree hammer my head with giant drops combined from hundreds of other little drops, I couldn't help but whine. Everyone is complaining, and honestly, however much I prefer this to snow, it feels like a giant bait-and-switch.
I had convinced myself that once it got up to 50 degrees and stayed there, that all would be well. But it's a constant 52 or so, and dark, and foggy, and gloomy- and the tree here is dropping crap all over the place, which is sticking to everything, because it's wet.
I have nothing to complain about in this cushy life of mine, but really, this... sucks. All I can do is gaze longingly at my garden, perfectly placed so as to be viewable from the kitchen window... and sulk.
Soon, I'll feel better- lunch today with a favorite friend, and dinner with another tonight... a weekend without too many plans, and a crazy, happy Sunday ahead at the parish. We made it to payday without bouncing anything, and now we have enough money to buy bacon for the next two weeks. I'm in a good place, overall. Maybe I'll just a mantra to get me through the gloomy moments. "Baconnnnnnn. Fridge full of baaaaaaconnnnn..." Mmmm, I feel better.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Canadian, please

One of the best things I've found through satellite radio (besides Johnny Dollar, America's Favorite Free-lance Insurance Investigator) has been Canada! Specifically Canadian Public Radio, the CBC. I still love NPR but Canada does what NPR does, even better. Most of my favorite NPR shows are weekend shows, but CBC does those kinds of shows all week. NPR has never been able to pull that off (see: Bryant Park Project). They seem to think it must be serious news and call-in talk shows all day long to be good enough. CBC plays fun shows like "The Debaters" and drama shows (although I don't really get into them) during the weekdays, and even some ultra-specific but weirdly fascinating shows like "Age of Persuasion" (about advertising!) and "White Coat, Black Art" (about the medical field... not about medicine, exactly, or science, but... things that matter to doctors, what it's like to be a doctor, that kind of thing). The CBC takes a long, languid approach to interviews and asks all the questions you can imagine of their guests. But they don't beat things to death.
Case in point: the day Bin Laden was killed (if it WAS Bin Laden... just kidding) the US networks, including NPR, talked about it all day. ALL DAY. They used the 8 pieces of information they had and just repeated them over and over, and expanded on those 8, and commented on the 8, and elicited comments about the 8. All. Day.
On the CBC they mentioned the killing at the top of the hour in the news roundup, and then WENT BACK TO THEIR REGULAR SCHEDULED PROGRAMMING!
I was amazed by that. They kept their culture show Q on-air, and rather than re-hashing the little bit of BL info, they interviewed the guy from Star Trek about whether there were enough acting possibilities for Asian Americans nowadays. The CBC didn't disregard the big news of the day, and I got the impression that if there was going to be more to tell, they'd tell me.
But here's the thing- that very same day was a massive national election day in Canada! And since this was morning, and there was nothing to report, they didn't bother reporting anything, until it was actually over. Well, I remember one story about people getting phone calls that their polling place had been moved (which wasn't true), but there was nothing about "I'm standing here at the blahblah polling site, and the people are standing in line to vote. You, sir, why are you voting today?" like we have to suffer every election day here, major or not as major.
So as a service to you, my dear "south of the border" friends, here's a list of my fave CBC shows:
Wiretap (a funny one. I listen to this show on my ipod while I'm grocery shopping, and often laugh out loud, confounding the angry old people who are shopping around me.)
Rewind (this one is pulled from the archives of the CBC and are so interesting, just the differences in attitudes about everything is striking in every show)
Vinyl Cafe (Canadian Prairie Home Companion. I love the stories. Somehow though every Canadian musician they feature sounds like a homey kind of Minnie Mouse...)
Age of Persuasion- (about the industry but FASCINATING! Plus, they play a lot of old ads from tv and radio, so fun)
The Debaters (they really do debate, but about funny things, and in funny ways. I often laugh out loud at my desk listening to this show)
Q (daily magazine show, culture and such- not TMZ but not artsy-schmartzy either.)
As It Happens (This daily news round-up show is worth a listen if only for the puns that they kick off the show with, based on the headlines. But also, they deal with real news and then some odd news too. A great mix.)
...and so many more. And while we're at it, here's a final word about how awesome Canada is:

(video credits on youtube)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

It's true, after all.

As a child of the (ahem) late 60's, I was raised in newly post-Vatican 2 Church. I've often heard the Church of this time scoffed at because instead of teaching the Baltimore Catechism, they taught a near-constant and simple message of God's love. Well, I'll tell you what- that simple message has helped sustain my faith and inspired my learning (like, of the catechism!) every day since I was a child, in that groovy and love-filled Church. So in case you've forgotten, here's a reminder of something very important:
God Loves You - Video-

God Loves You.

As a child of the (ahem) late 60's, I was raised in newly post-Vatican 2 Church. I've often heard the Church of this time scoffed at because instead of teaching the Baltimore Catechism, they taught a near-constant and simple message of God's love. Well, I'll tell you what- that simple message has helped sustain my faith and inspired my learning (like, of the catechism!) every day since I was a child, in that groovy and love-filled Church. So in case you've forgotten, here's a reminder of something very important:
God Loves You - Video-

Sunday, May 08, 2011


It's an almost time of year. I'm almost done with school (until the summer session starts in July) and it's almost warm enough to switch to capri pants full-time. We're almost finished with a great season of faith formation and I'm almost ready to start doing LEX again. My garden is almost planted and the yard is almost clean, which means it's almost Friday Fires time again. I love this time of year but it is racing by so quickly that I keep reminding myself to PAY ATTENTION. Maybe by paying close attention I can avoid getting to the end of spring and feeling like I've missed it.
And for crying out loud, Scott and I have been married almost ten years. How on earth? I haven't even sent out all my thank you cards for the bridal shower yet! (If you haven't gotten yours yet, don't give up hope. I still have them, and they're even stamped! I supposed I'll need to add some postage now, though... better put that whole thing on hold.)
Now it's almost time for bed, and I should get some studying in before I turn in. I'm almost ready for this Old Testament final.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Get Moving

This weekend we headed to Martha's Vineyard (that's "The Vineyard" around here... you know, it's "On The Cape." I know I've lived in MA for almost 20 years now but I still can make fun of these people and their insider names for their towns and such. They're very proud of this, and donuts to dollars someone will correct me for that last statement, saying that The Vineyard is not technically on The Cape, or something...).
It was beautiful, and we stayed in a beautiful house that our beautiful friend rented. We were there for a fund raising ride, and true to my athletic form I did not one moment of training. I, let's face it, am a sedentary person.
This is really striking me nowadays, as I'm watching my mother abandon every effort to use her muscles. She's gotten weaker and weaker over the years, and now she's to the point that she has a chair that lifts her up, and a scooter which she apparently drives around her too-small house, rather than walking. Mom had a hard job raising 5 of us and keeping the house, but I've come to see that she (like me) would really rather sit still than do anything.
While people around me (really, an astonishing amount of people!) are struggling with real, serious illness, I find myself pondering: do I throw caution to the wind and live it up, for tomorrow I may die? Or do I start the preservation process? It seems crazy to turn down a mocha chip ice cream on a sugar cone with jimmies, when life is going by so darn fast. But in any case, I am really starting to see clearly that if one doesn't use it, one loses it. I don't want to lose it, so I need to get moving.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011


So much about the news this week is fascinating to me. The night we heard about OBL's death, Scott crawled into bed with me and said "people are celebrating in the streets. I don't feel right about that." I don't either... I totally get people's happiness, their feeling of hopeful relief, and I know that something important has happened, in the death of this man. But, it reminds me of my feelings back when a locally infamous man was killed in prison, where he was serving a sentence for sexual abuse of a child (as a priest). At lunch one day, a friend told me how glad she was that this man had suffered and died, and I couldn't go there with her. A true introvert, I didn't argue my point against hers, but drove home thinking "why don't I feel like she feels? Why don't I want to feel like she feels?"
Which leads me to another fascination, which is how many places on facebook that I'm seeing people raise the question: should we be celebrating the death of this man, or anyone? I know my results will be skewed- my friend feed is full of Catholics and theology students- but I'm edified to see that it's not just me who hopes that (like Hitler, the long-standing bar-setter for people's questions about hell and forgiveness) OBL is in heaven, you know, however that works.