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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Something Other Than...

Ems here:

Funny quote of week: 

While carpooling several of the boys' teammates up to the soccer fields, the van was so full that kids had to sit on either side of the baby's car seat. Red-haired Mikey, on one side, asked Matt, "What's your baby's name?"
Matt replied, "Simona." 
Giving him a horrified and quizzical look, Mikey responded, "What?! Your sister's name is SEBULBA?!!"

Who needs a saint name when we can do a Star Wars theme?

Poor Simona has had many erroneous mispronunciations of her name--such as Samoa and Sonoma--but this was by far the most hilarious! I was cracking up in the front seat.

In other news, I'd like to thank the television networks for taking every interesting show off the air so that I am forced to read books. In particular, I'd like to thank Jennifer Fulwiler for writing a book that was entertaining as well as edifying--despite that fact that swordplay and magic were rather conspicuously absent. I mentioned her book, Something Other Than God, in a previous post, but since I've actually read it now, I thought I would discuss it a bit.

First, I just want to give a shout-out to converts. Folks who are raised with a belief system from their parents--or with no faith at all--who search and research and question until they discover Truth and follow it no matter the consequences, are such amazing people. And when they publish a book, we all get to share in the fruit of their labor! Jennifer (we're tight like that) was a militant atheist, so how she came to believe that there is a God is powerful;  how she came to be Catholic, very nearly against her own will, is astonishing. 

A couple big sticking points with her conversion were "Catholic policy" issues--contraception and abortion, in particular.  How could she embrace a religion which she had always believed to be essentially anti-woman, anti-freedom, really, at its core?  Deciding to give the Church a chance to explain itself, she dove in to the encyclicals of Pope Paul VI, specifically Humane Vitae (On Human Life).  She notes that the Pope predicted a couple of things should contraception become accepted and widespread: (1) it would be bad for marriages and (2) it would lead men to disrespect women.  It didn't take Jennifer long to see the writing on the wall--sky-rocketing divorce rates and magazine articles that screamed to women about how sexy we could be--pretty clearly, the climate in our country had shifted.  Quoting the Pope, Jennifer states, "He said that once men got used to the widespread availability of contraception, they would 'forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires'."  

Reflecting that in today's culture the measure of a woman's value is largely in her sexual appeal, "When, exactly, did the standard of beauty become a dictate that we must all look like Stripper Barbie?," Jennifer eventually draws a conclusion, the same one as the Church, that when you separate the procreative (life-giving) and the unitive (loving, pleasure) of sexuality, it becomes disordered.




Food for thought indeed, as we raise our boys to see past the surface, past the temptation of glossy pictures, to admire the qualities that elevate women to wives and mothers and women of grace--swimming like salmon against the current of blatant sexuality and rampant hedonism. We pray our daughters have the strength to resist a world that rewards crudeness and immodesty. I just read a Yahoo news story in which a college girl puts herself through school by stripping on the weekends (she makes 180K a year)...how hard would that be to turn down? But at what cost to a person's self-worth? And what message does this send to young girls? Be debt free, sell your body? So many things wrong with this news story, not only one is the abhorrent cost of college these days. Ok, rant over.

Anyway, if you are intellectually curious or looking for a bolstering of faith, Something Other Than God will do the trick, painlessly and with easy humor.

 Favorite line from the book:

"Now, a century and half later, a woman could hardly consider herself truly beautiful without a tight abdomen, perky breasts, a taut posterior, wrinkle-free face, and even, to quote one of the magazines in front of me, 'ultra-sexy upper-arms.' Upper arms? Did our ear canals now have to be sexy, too?"

So I ask, who is pro-woman and pro-freedom? Because the kind of freedom depicted in magazines at the supermarket checkout lane more closely resembles subjugation...I'll take the pedestal, please.


Easy Rule #51124: Ask questions and dig deeper--the truth can take it.

Here's a little sweetness:










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