Catholic Inklings

Musings and sharings on my devotion to an ancient religion.

Tag archive: God

Call Me Maybe | Catholic365

People can be so annoying. Pretty much everyone in the world has “friends” (or even family) who they never hear from…until they need something. Or there’s the person that every single time you run into them you get the “broken record” run down of everything going wrong in their life. You might see them coming and duck to avoid them, but they find you…oh, they find you…and they don’t take a breath. There’s no getting a word in here!

 

(Read blog on Catholic365)

10 Things I Want My Kids To Take To School

As I stood with my oldest son waiting for the bus to take him to his freshman orientation at half past ridiculous o’clock this morning, I was very much feeling like one of those creepy Old Spice moms. It was his first time taking a bus to school—he went to Catholic elementary, and we lived out of district, so I drove him every day—AND I worked right across the parking lot from where he and his brother were. We chatted a little as we waited for the bus, and he made a point (as he does) of making sure that I see how he towers over me now. I tried to hold it together when I saw the bus coming, but the sound I made startled the poor boy. I said a quick good-bye (kissing him before the bus arrived to make sure I didn’t embarrass him) and then bolted for the house to cry in my coffee like a jerk. He got on the bus like nothing, greeted the driver (politely!) and went about his day.

I was sucked right back to his first day of pre-k. We stood outside the school with the other kids and their parents, but back then, he would let me hold his tiny, pudgy hand—I couldn’t imagine the meat hooks he’d have now. When it was time to go in, that little, independent man said, “I don’t want to go in there.” I said, “You have to.” And, blurting out a little, “Okay!” he cheerfully ran inside—no kiss, no good-bye—just ran off to meet his destiny.

It’s bittersweet watching my boys grow up—I’m proud of who they are and what they are becoming, fearful of any pain or disappointment they may experience, suspicious (yet hopeful) of whatever girls might look at them, wondering if my husband and I gave them what they need to be good, holy people and anticipating how they will live out God’s calling for them.

So, I give them a little advice:

  • Know who you are, and be true to it. Don’t let other people decide your tastes, interests, values and goals. True cool comes from being authentic—don’t be a phony. Remember Milli Vanilli, and Jose Canseco. They are old people who failed on an epic scale. Google it. Peer pressure is for chumps—it’s just insecure kids trying to get you to be insecure with them. You’re strong—be strong.
  • Don’t gossip. Whether the information is true or not, harming another’s reputation is damaging to them, to the person you are trying to sway the opinion of and yourself. Would you want that news shared about you? Then, don’t share it about others. Would you want someone trying to decide your opinion of another instead of leaving that up to you? Then don’t do it to someone else.
  • Tell the truth. Don’t exaggerate, take responsibility for your mistakes and say only what is true. Consider President Nixon…or Miley Cyrus…train wrecks. Don’t be one.
  • Don’t say everything that occurs to you. Think about how it will affect others. Will it be hurtful, or build up the other person? If you are going to disagree with someone—is it important, or are you just showing off or being disagreeable for no reason? Did they say that Lord of the Rings is not the best book series ever? Defend it! Did they say that spring is the best season? Who cares! Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
  • Life is not a competition. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing, or has, or is wearing. Be content with what you have—I’m not getting you that stuff, anyway.
  • The second guy always gets the foul. If someone does or says something to you that you don’t like, respond—don’t react. Not only will you be the one to get in trouble for lashing out, you give up your freedom in that situation. Instead of choosing how you would like to respond and keeping a cool head, you are giving up your will and becoming what you didn’t like to begin with. Like a supervillain.
  • Guard your heart. Make one or two good friends—friends who will have your back and who’s back your feel comfortable having. Choose friends who will support you in doing good, will tell you when you’re wrong and who you can have fun with. You don’t always have to agree; it’s better if you don’t! Don’t give your heart—in friendship or in love—to someone who doesn’t respect you for who you are.
  • Thank your teachers. Boy, do they put up with a lot. And they show up every day to try and get something useful into your noggin. Be grateful for all the people who are there helping, teaching, cleaning the school, driving the bus—and let them know that you are grateful.
  • Check yourself before you wreck yourself. Or I wreck you. Or your dad, grandparents, or aunts, or uncles wreck you. We are in your corner and are always here to support you. And correct you. Because we love you.
  • Besides having us in your corner, more importantly, you have God. Don’t forget the help, guidance, unconditional love and perfect, free gift that God is to you. God is there for you. Include God in everything you do and you won’t go wrong.

None of this advice is anything they haven’t heard before—and it’s certainly not a complete list—but it’s stuff I pray they’ll remember when they are away from me. Most of me is really looking forward to the great things that will unfold for them as they continue to grow and strike out on their own. But, a tiny part of me will continue to drink slightly salty coffee many mornings as I remember the cuddly little monsters that they were when they were small.

God Doesn’t Need You

Back in the day it sometimes happened that women who were in abusive marriages were forced to stay with their husbands because they had no means of supporting themselves and social stigma would have made life unbearable for them if they had left; leaving their own lives, and sometimes the lives of their children in danger. They were entirely reliant on their spouse. They didn’t remain in the marriage because they wanted to, or because they were freely choosing it; but because they were stuck, fearful and had no other viable options. Such a situation is not the life-giving vocation that God intended marriage to be, and is not the loving relationship that God wants for anyone.

God is entirely self-sufficient. God is perfect, unchanging, eternal, omniscient and omnipotent all by Himself. God doesn’t need you to be happy. God doesn’t need you to follow His laws to be fulfilled. God doesn’t exist because of you, and heaven will not fall apart if you don’t eventually wind up there. God will be perfectly content whether you ever offer Him anything or not.

God neither gains nor loses anything by being nice to us. God neither gains nor loses anything by us accepting or rejecting Him. That puts God in a very interesting position. It puts God in the position of true generosity, perfect freedom in gift giving and removes any motive from initiating a relationship with us except the motive of love. God created us entirely out of this self-giving love, but doesn’t need us to reciprocate to be happy. God desires that we reciprocate for our own benefit; because love desires the good of the other and always wants to share the joy that it possesses. But God will not cease to have joy simply because someone rejects it.

[Read blog on Catholic365]

Key and Peeling Out

Key and Peele isn’t for everyone—I love it (it’s so, so funny!!!), but sometimes it even makes me cringe. But, most of it is hilarious and clever. There was a clip recently that hit on a problem in the Christian community that I thought was worth talking about. The scene shows a Bible Study group praying together when suddenly above them illuminates and the voice of God booms out. At first, everybody is excited—what will God say to them?! They can’t wait to hear the message…until it comes. God says, “Sell everything that you own and give it to the poor.” Countenances drop, shock sets in—then panic—and they pretend to believe that the house is haunted as they peel out of there in a mob.

I wanted to share that clip, but I couldn’t find it. So, I’ll share this one instead. It’s equally awesome, and is a commentary on a nonsensical discrepancy in our society.

Anyhoo, this knock at Christians is well-deserved. Jesus did flat out tell a guy (who represents all of us) to sell his stuff and give it to the poor. The early Christian community lived it like Jesus meant it. They shared what they had and no one was in need as a result of it. 2,000 years later, we’re living like it either doesn’t apply to us personally, or like we never heard it.

[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]

Flea Market Joy

This past weekend, my eldest and I hit a local Flea Market. He found some treasures, and so did I! I found a few Star Trek Next Generation collectables (a phaser, communicator and a Lore action figure that the guy threw in for free) and a Doctor Who comic book in excellent condition, in a sleeve, from 1981. It was the Fourth Doctor, who happens to be one of my favorites.
I usually only collect The Tick comic books (because I’m a lady on a budget), but I was psyched to find this one. It’s called “Doctor Who: City of the Cursed.” It’s about a society that lives under laws that forbid emotion of any kind. The reason is that, in the past, there was a lot of crime and violence and they saw the root of it as being emotion. Now they have a thing called the “Harmonizer” that you go into if you accidentally have an emotion and it removes it for you.
The Doctor needs to make a quick landing to make repairs to the Tardis and, naturally, shakes things up. But, he’s not the only one shaking things up—there’s a band of rebels who are trying to overthrow the big, brainy dudes on the cover. The rebels have each taken on one emotion, and have even taken that emotion as their name. So, there’s a guy named Very Angry, another called Half Daft, etc. There’s also a guy named Freddy Feel Good. He’s a clown who gets killed. But, he’s a clown…so I didn’t mind. The rebels have a prophesy that promises a “Great Emoter” who will have all the emotions and teach the rebels how to really feel.

[Read blog on The Rogue]

Dracula: Doing The Wrong Thing For The Right Reason

I finally got to see Dracula Untold the other night. I’ve been wanting to see it since I saw the first trailer months before it was in the theaters. I thought it was pretty good—it included the proper history of Vlad and included some very interesting moral questions.

I’ve always been sympathetic to Dracula. Don’t get me wrong—vampires are the worst (besides European dragons—I don’t get all this Hollywood propaganda to make dragons attractive to kids. Train dragons? To do what? Steal your gold, burn you to death, eat you and then sit on your treasure with lust in his heart for eons?). But, the story of Vlad, imprisoned as a young boy and hardened into a vicious warrior is sad. It doesn’t require a lot of imagination to understand why he became so nuts later on; with all the impaling people and then inviting his buddies to dinner only to lock them in the room and murder them, and other crazy antics that eventually earn him the legend of being a blood-drinker.

[Read the blog on The Rogue website]

But Not Gigolos

The other day, while chatting with my family, the topic of politics came up. Yeah, yeah—you’re never supposed to talk about politics or religion, but God knows it’s impossible to avoid either of those topics in my house! We spoke of our disgust for our current political state—how there is no party that represents our beliefs and values consistently, and our need for GOOD politicians. My mother said, “Maybe when Ben grows up, he could get into politics. He’d be a good politician.” “Not my son!” I snapped back. The thought of my son being in the midst of that element was too much for me. Ben asked why and I said, “Ben, I would support and be proud of you in almost any line of work that you feel God calls you to. Almost. Not a drug dealer, or gigolo, or politician, or anything like that.” And then, in a clearer moment, I got to thinking…how selfish is that? Not the drug dealer or gigolo thing; but my not wanting him to be a politician. If that’s where God calls him, I have to be okay with it and pray that he would be a good one.

[Read blog on St. Aloysius website]

Invisible Boyfriends and Weddings For One

Science Fiction has been warning us for years—apparently, people need to be watching more TV and movies—because we are missing the message. As humanity progresses (and I do love the progress and tech that is being developed), we are becoming more isolated and out of touch with one another. Our society is at an all time low as far as human relationships go. Now, you’re probably saying, “Duh, Jen, who doesn’t know that?” But, did you know that in Japan (crazy Japan…) you can book a dream wedding for one? It’s aimed at girls who can’t seem to find a husband but still want to have the wedding experience. It pretends to build up the poor, young ladies’ self-esteem. Nothing says, “You’re special” like pretending to get married with a fake groom that you’ve never met. And if that doesn’t do it for you, Japan is working on some serious humanoid robots to keep you company.  I mean, if you’re having a fake wedding, you’ve pretty much given up, anyway, right?

the people who are sitting are actually robots

the people who are sitting are actually robots

 

[Read blog on St. Aloysius Website]

Listening Ears

Do you have trouble paying attention at Mass? Sometimes it’s hard—there are so many distractions around us, and inside our heads (cute babies, shopping lists, the ‘oh crud—did I remember to…?”). When we’re supposed to be singing a hymn, sometimes I catch myself looking at the notes and how some of them look like smiley faces. If we’re open to it, anything can become a distraction. And it seems like there’s a lot of “down time” in the Mass for that to happen—time when we are not speaking or singing…just sitting and the priest is doing his thing.

[Read blog on Catholic365.com]