Catholic Inklings

Musings and sharings on my devotion to an ancient religion.

Posts by jschlameussperry

5 Useful Ways Catholics Can Deal With Suffering and Grief

As the reader looks at the list below, they will notice immediately that not all of these things are absolutely unique to Catholics. But, they are useful ways that Catholics can experience grief and suffering. I would have added to this list “take a break” and “find humor where humor can be found,” but not everybody can do those things—and the ones who can, do it naturally. It’s not meant to be a complete list—feel free to add your own in the “comments” section!

1) Moving from the question, “why me,” ask, “why not me?”

When we are suffering, it’s the most natural thing in the world to ask “why.” Things that catch us off guard, or at our most vulnerable, or as a series of unfortunate events can get us scrambling to find meaning in our suffering—and that’s brilliant because it acknowledges that we believe that there should be meaning in our suffering. And, as Big Bird says, “Asking questions is a great way of finding things out!” We need to ask God “why” to get us on the journey to discovering that meaning. Whatever personal meaning you may find along the way is a gift—it is the answer to “why me.” But, there is another question we have to ask alongside it; “why not me?” Suffering is a natural part of human experience. It is something that no one successfully avoids. It is something that even God chose (yes chose) not to avoid in the person of Jesus so that we could immediately find meaning in our own suffering. Jesus’ suffering led to the conquering of sin and death for us. It is our salvation, our hope and our model for how we can suffer.

[Read blog on Catholic365]

I Don’t Want To Be Upgraded

Humans are funny. On one hand, we want to avoid any kind of vulnerability at all costs. We don’t like to fail, be judged, or show any imperfection. We guard our appearance because we don’t want to look old, or fat, or out of style. Consider the amount of makeup ladies wear; consider Spanks or Just For Men hair coloring. And that’s just physical vulnerability—when we mess up, we immediately look for excuses—someone or something else to blame. We will go through all kinds of elaborate schemes to avoid feeling uncomfortable, uncertain or hurt.

 

On the other hand, we would fight to the death for our right to be imperfect, vulnerable and broken. We do it in personal relationships and as a species. And, as is reflected in our preference for stories that support and identify with our ways of thinking and feeling—we love stories where we are victorious over those who would take away our individuality, diversity, autonomy—our right to make our own mistakes and be vulnerable.

[Read Blog on GeekdomHouse]

The Injustice League–Gods and Monsters

I came across some of DC’s “Justice League Gods and Monsters Chronicles” short videos today. I could share them here for you to make up your own mind, but I don’t want to be the one who shares them with anyone. They bill it as “dark” which is usually something I can get behind (tonight’s blog was initially going to be about how awesomely dark the new Aquaman looks, but then I saw the shorts) —because with superheroes, the darkness eventually yields to light. It may be that the shorts were only showing the darkness before the light, but what I saw was so devoid of hope, kindness, caring or humanity that I don’t think I could sit through it to get to the payoff—if, in fact, there is one. What I saw was just gross and vulgar.

 
The shorts that I saw appeared to be disturbing just for the sake of being disturbing, there was a bunch of bad language in it and, Harley Quinn was unnecessarily scantily dressed.

 
The series is the precursor to a movie length feature which will be released directly to DVD and download of our Justice League heroes in an alternate universe where they keep the world in check in not-so-heroic ways. Fine. But this so far, is so devoid of anything even remotely heroic it actually made me not want to watch another minute. Clearly, it’s written for an adult audience, but even as an adult, it’s not something that I’d ever want to see more of.

 

[Read blog on The Rogue]

Nerdy By Nature

When I was a kid (and it still happens now), whenever someone called me a nerd, or weird-o, or any of the other charming titles I was given, I didn’t get offended because, in my head, they were recognizing that I liked what I liked and wasn’t put off admitting it just because it wasn’t popular. I was proud of the fact that nobody else dictated who I was going to be and I chose to be authentically, unapologetically me. They didn’t necessarily appreciate that quality in me, but I did.

 
A few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with editors from another Christian nerd blog that I’m guest writing for, and one of them said something about being a nerd and our identity as nerds, and I hesitated to accept the title. I didn’t feel worthy of the title because I’m not really an expert in anything of the nerd genre. I love Star Trek, but I don’t speak Klingon. I love The Lord of the Rings, but I’ll never learn Elvish. I love superheroes, but I’ll never do Cosplay…I wondered if I qualified…

 

[Read blog on The Rogue]

Master Sue

I know that this is an entertainment blog, and that martial arts are not strictly “entertainment,” but they are “arts.” So, I’m going to write about that today. I want to tell you about my Yoda; my Master—Master Sue. She doesn’t look like a Muppet and she’s not wrinkled and green; she’s really gorgeous. And she’s awesome. Right now she’s kicking cancer’s ass, but she can kick yours (or your Master’s), too. Even in the midst of chemo and radiation she has been present and keeping her dojo open (with the help of some terrific Instructors). And, while I could write a whole blog just on that, I’m not going to. You can see her own thoughts (which are better than mine) on her Facebook page: A Warrior’s Journey.

 
Anhoo, she learned Martial Arts at a time when ladies generally didn’t do that, and she suffered for her art—it was old school training, and I’d say that it made her tough, but I know she already was. But, tough as she is, she is also one of the kindest, most encouraging people I’ve ever met. She teaches with precision, compassion and wisdom. I’ll get in trouble for saying this (because I’m not allowed to do negative talk), but I’m a spaz. I think I have an undiagnosed auditory processing delay, but I’m also clumsy; and she’s been able to teach me. She finds ways to teach everyone—no matter what level of spaz they are.

[Read blog on The Rogue]

Soul Soothing Sounds of Star Wars

Saturday night I purchased a Star Wars album on iTunes because my stupid phone won’t let me have my Star Wars CD on it since it last updated. Anyhoo… I got to listen to the album on my way to work Sunday morning, rather loudly, in my car. This particular version comes with the “Fox Fanfare” and then goes into the “Main Title” for A New Hope. I often have an emotional response (not bawling or anything) to some of the Star Wars music; particularly Princess Leia’s theme and the Throne Room Finale—but that morning, going from the “Fox Fanfare” into the “Main Title” really got me. It was like all the excitement of every Thanksgiving night that I can remember as a kid, when there was a Star Wars marathon on and my whole family would settle down in front of the TV with leftover sandwiches to watch all three movies, the joy of seeing Return of the Jedi in the theater with my Dad and siblings, the honor of hearing John Williams conduct the Boston Pops on Independence Day at the Clam Shell all came rushing back on me.

 

And for your listening pleasure, I offer this YouTube collection of Mr. Williams and the Boston Pops…

 

[Read blog on The Rogue.]

Jane Says…

There are certain books that I read over and over because no matter where I am in my life, they speak to me. They have spoiled me for inferior books. Like The Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia, I couldn’t even guess how many times I’ve read another favorite—Jane Eyre. Some of the best lines ever written come from this poor, plain girl who has suffered so deeply, been overlooked so thoroughly and came to know herself so completely.

 
She comes to a point which should be the happiest day of her life—Mr. Rochester is finally going to marry her (after shunning rich, snotty girls)—she will have value in a monetary and social venue, value in love to another human being (whom she also loves), and will be recognized. She never in her life had any of those things. She was really alone. And then, her wedding day, at the Church, all dolled up with new duds, about to finally belong (in the most perfect sense of the word—not as property, my feminist friends) to someone else when, with a sentence, she is stripped of everything she ever wanted.

[Read blog on The Rogue]

The Vision is a Vision!!!

WARNING: SPOILERS

I actually got to go to the movies to see a movie! My family and I went and saw Avengers: Age of Ultron. It started off wonky—it looked like a video game. I actually thought that we were watching a training simulation or something at first. I’m still not sure whether the movie adjusted or I did, but it seemed to correct itself. I thought the rest of the movie looked great.
And it was great. I’m a sucker for superheroes anyway, but I loved the character development, what we learned about the lives of the heroes and that Captain America remains single; cause that means I still have a shot.
My favorite part was every bit of dialogue that The Vision was involved in. It was soooooooooo theological. I always appreciate the theological, moral and spiritual nature of superheroes—I look for it—but Vision was just so straight up godly. When he first shows up, Tony Stark tries to figure out what The Vision is and what he’s about. His response to the questioning begins with a very simple, “I am. I am for life.” Bam.

 

[Read blog on The Rogue.]

The Michael Scott School of Grieving

I guess that a lot of people who write do this, but I have a tendency to write about what I need to hear at the moment. It’s a sort of therapy, I suppose. This week (who am I kidding—it can be found in my blogs for weeks past), what I’ve mostly been dealing with (actually, “dealing” might not be the word…more like “avoiding”) is grief. I left a job that I loved after 16 years and left people who had become my family. This meant leaving the parish that was my family’s home base for everything—worship, volunteering, school for the kids, their parish activities—everything. Since I wont be heading out that way anymore, it’s even going to impact where we bank, shop and get our prescriptions. We even chose the location of our home based on the location of that parish. Now, for the first time ever, the parish my family will be attending, will not be the parish I will be working in. Everything is different. And I like change as much as the average person.

 

I’ve been working in my ministry for years on helping others to work through their grief, and so I’m trying to be very much in tune with what stage I’m at. I’m kind of all over the place with it—I was at acceptance months ago…or maybe just resignation…but anger just showed up this past Sunday when I attended Mass at my new parish for the first time. The Mass was nice; it’s just that Good Shepherd Sunday brought up themes for me that hit me right to the heart. I’m sure that was a good thing—it made me face the anger that I was denying and might bring me to my next goal—depression (I’m awesome at that one!). And, naturally, that made me think of Michael Scott.

 

[Read blog on The Rogue]

Le Petit Prince

I saw today that one of my favorite books, The Little Prince, is going to be an animated movie. I tend to stay cautiously optimistic (which a co-worker pointed out to me today is just a form a of pessimism…) about things I might be enticed to be excited about, but it looks gorgeous!! I really like the way they are framing the story in the life of a child who is being driven by her mom into a premature adulthood. The little girl befriends an old man who, it seems from the trailer, teaching her to be a child.

 
The Little Prince is one of those books that is so beautifully imaginative and thought-provoking and formative—every child should have it read to them. And then, every child should read it again when they are big—because there are two stories in there—one for kids and one for adults. And they are brilliantly woven into the same sentences. Everyone should hear them from both sides; partly because reading it as an adult reminds you to read it as a child. Can you tell that I like this book? Besides wine and cheese, this is one of my favorite things to come out of France.

 
Please take a look at this lovely trailer:


The Little Prince – International Trailer 2 by Orangefr

[Read blog on The Rogue]