Monthly Archives: June, 2013

Booking Through Thursday: Summer Reading

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It’s late, but it’s the right day, hooray!

What’s the worst thing you ever did to your reading material? Sand in the bindings from the beach? Dropped into the pool? Covers smeared with sunscreen?

And, if you’ve never done actual summer-time damage … have you ever damaged your book/magazine/paper? Dropped it in the bathtub? Used it to kill a bug? Spilled with coffee?

I don’t spend much time outside ever, so I don’t do a lot of outdoor reading. I did manage some beach reading on both of our international mission trips, though. I got sand in both of them. One was borrowed. Oops. Friends are more forgiving than libraries, though.

I have never been guilty of a non-beach related book offense. I used a phone book to squish a bug once because I could drop it from a distance. I can’t imagine using a book I actually liked, or even one that’s remotely useful. I have also never understood reading in the bathtub. I don’t take soaking baths, and I am way too clumsy to take even a paper book in with me if I were to try it. I’ll stick with reading fully clothed (or at least swimsuited) for now.

Roamin’ Home (Review: “Confessions of a Mega-Church Pastor”)

Photo courtesy of Goodreads.

Photo courtesy of Goodreads.

I love conversion stories. As a cradle Catholic who lapsed for a few years, I have my own story of coming to know Christ and his one true Church, but I am always fascinated by the journeys other people have taken to get to Catholicism. Some of my favorites are the stories that came with the greatest personal risk. Allen Hunt, author of Confessions of a Mega-Church Pastor: How I Discovered the Hidden Treasures of the Catholic Church, made the riskiest leap I’ve seen so far. It’s stories like his that leave me convinced of the great blessing of my having been baptized into the Church as an infant and the incredible responsibility I have not to ever leave her.

Read the rest at Austin CNM.

What I Wore Sunday, Vol. 36

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I probably should have taken this week’s photo before I went out, but a little humility never hurt anyone. A little humidity, however, might.

Polo from Aeropostale Outlet. Skirt from Old Navy. Shoes from Payless. Flower pin from HEB.

Polo from Aeropostale Outlet. Skirt from Old Navy. Shoes from Payless. Flower pin from HEB.

I wore my favorite skirt again since it’s been a while since the last time. I love this polo from Aeropostale. It fits well and is very high quality. If I’d known how much I’d like it, I would have bought it in more colors!

As the caption says, my pink flower pin is from HEB. If you don’t know HEB, you must not have lived in Texas. It’s a Texas-only grocery chain. I got my first fancy hair clip (not this one) when I was having an unpretty day, but they grew on me, so I’ve collected more over time. This one is from the little girls’ accessories section at a grocery store, and I am not ashamed!

I had a good day today. I was woken up by a mostly pleasant phone call (which I screened), then I prayed Morning Prayer and started watching Facing the Giants over breakfast (see this week’s 7QT for my mini-review). I cooked lunch to have leftovers for the rest of the week, finished the movie, blogged, and pre-read the readings for Mass.

At Mass, the priest focused his homily on St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians, connecting it to the Gospel and the past few weeks of Jesus’ power changing the way society worked. The Galatians had been converted while Paul was there, he said, but as soon as Paul left, they started arguing over whether you had to become a Jew to be a Christian. St. Paul reminds them that the New Covenant doesn’t require the acceptance of (or circumcision’s mark of) the Old Covenant. Jesus tells the apostles that the old prophets have passed away; they now have to recognize him as the Messiah. Good times all around.

And now, with this post and its accompanying Instagram, I will have finished all the things I wanted to do today. I feel so accomplished!

7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 222

— 1 —

I’m going back to starting my 7QT with a video. This one has the profanity one ought to expect from The Lonely Island, but it’s also about grammar! I am delighted to note that I caught on to the surprise ending well in advance, as you should if you know anything about semicolons.

— 2 —

Feedly has finally gotten rid of Google Reader as its backend. I’m still miffed about Google axing Reader, but Feedly has been okay so far. Some of the images in posts don’t align correctly, but I can usually figure it out (although Tumblr gifsets can be tricky).

The biggest consequence of the new Feedly cloud is that all of my unread counts were set to zero. That didn’t bother me at first. Then I upgraded and realized that it meant all of the posts I still needed to read would be marked as read, which is, of course, the same as going to zero unread posts. Brain fail. For me, that was easily 100 posts. I panicked and tried to get back to the old, non-cloud Feedly. I could/can, so I spent the better part of two days trying to catch up on my feeds. I came across a couple of posts that I want to respond to, so here goes that.

— 3 —

Simcha Fisher seems to capture sarcasm in a way I never could. (A friend of mine tried to write like Mark Shea once. It failed kind of a lot.) She posted recently about modesty, focusing on the skewed use of the term “custody of the eyes” to mean only “don’t look at the extra exposed skin on that man or woman because it will cause you to lust.” Her trademark sarcasm pointed out that there are worse consequences to looking at people the wrong way than lust. I agree that restricting “custody of the eyes” to modesty is too narrow, but I was mostly surprised that other people don’t even think of it as more than modesty.

I use the broader definition of “custody of the eyes” all the time (and by “use,” I mean “think about”). It’s why one of the standout moments from my sister’s Confirmation Mass was when my grandma gave me a good solid clap on the shoulder as she was going to Communion and I was praying after receiving. It jolted me: physically, because it was, as mentioned, very strong; and mentally, because I stopped praying. I love my grandma dearly, but I was definitely upset that her desire to say hello trumped my desire (my right?) to pray at that particular intimate moment with Jesus.

The conclusion of that story is that I try to respect other people’s Communion time in the same way I hope they will respect mine. I purposely avoid making eye contact with anyone, keeping custody of the eyes. I don’t try to talk to people who appear to be praying (kneeling, eyes closed, and/or hands folded), and I hate it when people do that around me, especially in an otherwise silent or quiet church. Church is where you pray. The narthex is where you ask how your grandma’s doing. (Pretty good; the transition to life without her husband will be tough.)

— 4 —

I haven’t yet tried to keep up with all of Pope Francis’s speeches and homilies. I tried that with B16; it was a daunting task. I have a favorite quotation now, though.

Jesus. What is the most important thing? Jesus. If we push ahead with planning and organization—beautiful things indeed—but without Jesus, then we are on the wrong road. Jesus is the most important thing.

I would like to take the opportunity now to make a small, but fraternal, reproach, among ourselves, all right? All of you in the square shouted out: “Francis, Francis, Pope Francis” … but where was Jesus? I want to hear you shot out, “Jesus, Jesus is Lord, and He is in our midst.” From now on, no more “Francis,” only “Jesus.” All right?
(source)

If you’re in it for just this one pope, you’re doing it wrong. It has to be all about Jesus.

— 5 —

Mr. Marc Barnes of Bad Catholic is a great essayist, if perhaps a bit too intellectual for the average Joe. I usually skim his posts, to be honest. I saw many of the Facebook links to his criticism of “Modest is hottest” (which I also hate), but I don’t know that I’ve ever read a post by him I liked more than its second follow-up, “Modesty Sets Fire.” He starts out with a Catechism-related bang (win), continues to a great discussion of why modesty is about subjectivity and action (another win), and finishes with the quotation by Catherine of Siena that I love so much I use it as my email signature (all the win!). It’s also much shorter than some of his other posts, which is nice. I think I have a go-to post to recommend to Bad Catholic newcomers now.

— 6 —

I’ve been working on clearing out my DVR of recorded movies. I watched 50/50, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen. My entertainment philosophy is that, if a movie has a good enough story and compelling enough characters, I can handle sex, profanity, and violence. 50/50 fit that marker nicely. I felt connected to Gordon-Levitt’s character, the ordinary twentysomething who is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer (the title refers to his chance of survival), and his best friend, played by Rogen. It was only about 90 minutes long, so the pacing was perfect. It felt real. I don’t get that impression very often.

I also watched Facing the Giants. Very different movie. It’s an early effort by Sherwood Pictures to evangelize through film, this time about a high school football coach who learns to trust in God even for the impossible. It wasn’t as good as Courageous, though. The second act dragged, and the supporting actors felt too caricatured. (When I think ordinary people playing ordinary people are less caricatured than ordinary people pretending to be gang members, that’s not a good sign.) The ending felt just too contrived.

The message I took away from Facing the Giants was not that all things are possible with God, but that good things will come to you if you believe. That’s the prosperity gospel, and that’s not right. Sometimes bad things come even if you do everything right. Courageous had a much better grasp on that, by showing that sometimes all you can do is take steps toward holiness and then wait. Nevertheless, if it took a football movie to point Sherwood in the right direction, then I can get behind it.

— 7 —

No progress on the job front yet. I’m doing my best to remain hopeful and productive. I’ve knocked out a good chunk of the alumni magazines that have been cluttering my coffee table over the last year. I even decided to pick up an uncovered holy hour at the chapel I’ve been part of for two years. I don’t have to work, and it’s a short drive, so it seemed ideal to spend some extra time with Jesus.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Booking Through Thursday: Dream Cast

bookingthroughthursday

It is not Thursday, but I was so pathetic at posting last week that this is going up today anyway!

Do you ever sit and wonder who could be cast as your favorite characters? (Please feel free to give examples!)

What actors do you think have done particularly excellent jobs with some of your favorite characters?

Ooh, two separate questions, and both of them are delightful.

I’m not a big fan of dream casting. The ladies at Forever Young Adult do one for every book they review. While I like the concept, dream casting requires so much knowledge. I love to read YA, but I don’t like to watch nearly as many TV shows with teen stars, so I wouldn’t know who’s available for dream auditions, so to speak. These days, I’ve been reading mostly for my column. Religious nonfiction doesn’t have casts so much as author photos.

I’m usually pretty happy with actual casts for books-turned-movies. My imagined Professor Snape looked kind of like a troll, so it was easy to prefer Alan Rickman. It’s always easy to like Alan Rickman. Then again, I did not like Michael Gambon in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire at all. He was too harsh. Dumbledore was always a quiet kind of intense, not a shouting kind.

I’m interested to see if Jennifer Lawrence can do a good enough job with Mockingjay to make me like it better than the book. I thought she was fine in The Hunger Games, but if she can win an Oscar, maybe she can make PTSD-afflicted Katniss actually interesting. The first book wasn’t easy material to work with, but I was pleased with the way it turned out. (I actually just re-discovered notes I made for a film review here but never posted. Now I don’t even want to bother!) A good actor does not necessarily a good movie make, though.

The God Who Is Just Like You (Review: “Strange Gods”)

I don’t worship false gods, at least not on purpose.

Do you see God like this, or like, well, God? Photo (c) The Exploratorium.

Do you see God like this, or like, well, God?
Photo (c) The Exploratorium.

Let me explain. I never say I was raised Catholic. My mom’s side of the family is Catholic, which is the reason I am a Catholic (although not the reason I remain one). We didn’t go to church for most of my childhood. Because of that, most of what I know about Catholicism is what I learned on my own. I taught myself the basic “Bless Us, O Lord” table grace; all my Catholic friends in college knew it already. I started attending Mass weekly of my own volition. Even now, it can take a minute for me to remember the Commandments. I know them all, though, which is part of what intrigued me about Elizabeth Scalia’s first full-length book, Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life. We hear about people “making sex and money into idols” by placing them before God, but do we ever really think about what that means? I hadn’t at all until I started reading this book. I am so glad I did.

Read the rest at Austin Catholic New Media.

What I Wore Sunday, Vol. 34

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If you follow me on Instagram (@whatlindsayloves or through Statigram), you may have noticed that I promised details about yesterday’s outfit “on the blog soon.” Somehow I knew that I wouldn’t get around to posting immediately like I usually do. And I was right.

I remembered to take the photo, though, when I only had one shoe off. I’m making progress!

Dress and undershirt from Old Navy. Bolero jacket from Target.

Dress and undershirt from Old Navy. Bolero jacket from Target.

You may notice the different background. It’s still a bathroom, but it’s one at my parents’ house instead of the one in my apartment. It has a fish theme.

This dress is one of my first repeats ever since I’ve been doing What I Wore Sunday. I wore the same dress back in Austin last month, so I decided to add my trusty white bolero jacket to switch up the look a little bit.

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I initially chose this dress to go with my white sandals (the same ones I wore last week), since I think this is the end of this aqua pedicure. I also remembered to take some detail shots of the shoes.

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Shoes from Target's Easter sale, which is also a great time to buy summer wedding shoes.

Shoes from Target’s Easter sale, which is also a great time to buy summer wedding shoes.

I went to the parish I normally attend when I’m in Maryland. Their Gloria sounds a bit too much like a carnival ride for me, but as I commented on an Austin CNM post last week, I don’t go to church for music, or even good preaching; I go for Jesus. I found it comforting that the priest spoke a lot about Jesus’ power to raise the dead, particularly since we had just entrusted my grandfather to him with finality. His body might be in the tomb for now, but I trust Jesus to raise it on the last day.

That particular parish’s bulletin always has one page in Spanish, written by the priest who does Spanish-language and Hispanic ministry. It is always more direct and informative than almost anything I read in English besides the Catechism; maybe it’s a language thing. The Spanish notes on the readings focused more on Jesus’ raising the widow of Nain’s son for its social significance, since she was doomed without any means of support. I was put off by that conclusion at first, thinking that the ability to raise someone from the dead and thereby control death and life was the point. Then I remembered the Gospel from my grandfather’s funeral Mass: the raising of Lazarus. Lazarus had been dead longer than the widow’s son. His sisters seemed to be okay socially and financially without him. I suppose the story of Lazarus is the one that’s more about Christ’s power over life and death, then. It’s definitely more sensational—Jesus cried over Lazarus’s death!

Church bulletins should be so educational more often.

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