Friday, September 26, 2008

Get Back to Where You Once Belonged

I am spinning the wheel and going back to the beginning. That's what they told me to do: to solve this you have to go back to the beginning. Join us won't you at the New Old Catholic Ragemonkey. And tell your friends.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Who Will Leave the Island?

Hello, all.
I have potentially good news. It however could be deeply frustrating news. I just don't know.

After fiddling with the Blogger interface, I figured out how to get access to the original Ragemonkey site. It filled me with a guilty little thrill to find myself back in the dusty corridors. Also, the asset is if Fr. Hamilton were to be tempted to come back, I wouldn't have to reconfigure a bunch of stuff. Here's the problem though. I am not sure Blogger will let me change some of the settings, specifically the email address. I am just barely keeping up with one email much less two.

So, here's the vote. Either stay here or go back to the original Island. Which should I do? You let me know while I try to send some posts over to Ragemonkey Prime and see what happens. It may all be moot, but it will be worth the effort.

Leave your thoughts please.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Things That Make Me Go "Yawn!"

Saw this in the morning e-news pile. I call it "news" in the technical sense of the word in that a news service had to type something up and send it out. Otherwise, not a real surprise to ... well, anyone. Frankly, if the news services want to take my mind off of the global economy meltdown, they are going to have to try much harder. How hard? A story about a monkey, dressed as a jockey, riding a Saint Bernard winning the Kentucky Derby would be about right.

Leslie Gornstein, who writes for E!, had an interesting take on the impact of coming out of the closet. The hestitation, she claims, stems in part from the fact that people don't like feeling as though they are being lied to. As she put it, just sing me your song, but don't lie to me. Given the way that some fans have reacted, I think she may be right.

Personally, the instant he took part in the recent fertilization fiasco with his female friend, I knew something was up.

Battle Front

Okay, kids, here's the situation. I blew it. Threw myself under the bus. Behaved in a way that was both ghetto and bush league all at once. Total rank amateur.

I weighed in on Tuesday evening before the evening Holy Hour. I was horrified that I had gone up three pounds! How did that happen? I had stuck to program except for a couple of days. Part of me that that I landed on the scale funny but be that as it may, I posted a gain and wasn't happy about it.

Now, as I headed home because I had done otherwise so well, I decided to treat myself to pizza. Big Mistake. Let's just say we have a fight on our hands.

So, I am not expecting a loss this Monday. It's just not in the cards. But I am going to give myself a small penance. I don't think this will help erase the gain, but it will help erase the attitude (hopefully) that leads to these moments. I am consciously not going to eat my activity points. For some of you, you are thinking that isn't going to be a big deal, but for me, it's huge. It's a matter of learning to live with what I have and not using exercise to indulge in bad habits. So regardless of weight, I am going to win this fight!

And I went to Pilates this morning.

Time is of the Essence

I shared this observation with my parents and RE teachers recently and it was very well received. I then passed this same observation on to some of my religious education friends and they loved it. So, I am sharing it here for the sake of everyone else.

What do these numbers have to do with each other?
40, 35, 40, 10, 2, 1.67, 5, 168, 56, 10.5, 10, 7.5, 2221-2226
(First you don't have to worry about the Island releasing a EM pulse if you get it wrong. Just give it a thought.)

The answer is ... they relate to everything folks do in the course of a week.
168 = Total Number of Hours in the Week
40 = Hours at Work
35 = Hours at School (that's for the kids)
40 = Hours of "Screen Time" (that's time in front of tv, internet, IPod; call it entertainment time.)
10 = hours at afterschool activities
1.67 = hours of homework on avg. for K-2
5 = hours of homework on avg. for 3-5
7.5 = hours of homework on avg. for Middle School
10 = hours of homework on avg. for High School
10.5 = hours for meals
56 = hours of sleep

There's only one number I have left off, that pesky "2." Whatever could that "2" stand for?

On average, most people spend only 2 hours on public religious practice: 1 hour for religious ed. for the kids and 1 hour for Sunday service. This means that 1.19% of the week goes to the goods of God and half as much for the average adult. Given my experience with encouraging adults to learn more about their faith, you can safely assume that most Catholics haven't done much in the way of continuing formation.

This leads to a follow up question: who is responsible for making sure that one's child knows the Catholic Faith? If you think it's the pastor's job, you better think again. The pastor's job is to make sure that adequate formation programs are offered and that his homilies are bursting with good content. But one or two hours a week cannot make up for the vast stretches of time spent in other environments. Nope, the primary educators of children in the Catholic Faith are their parents.

Don't believe me? Try the Catechism on for size. Paragraphs 2221-2226 cover the subject. (You see, this is like Lost. You thought I had forgotten about that but here it is right back in the plot.)
2221 The fecundity of conjugal love cannot be reduced solely to the procreation of children, but must extend to their moral education and their spiritual formation. "The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute." The right and the duty of parents to educate their children are primordial and inalienable.

2222 Parents must regard their children as children of God and respect them as human persons. Showing themselves obedient to the will of the Father in heaven, they educate their children to fulfill God's law.

2223 Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. the home is well suited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery - the preconditions of all true freedom. Parents should teach their children to subordinate the "material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones." Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children. By knowing how to acknowledge their own failings to their children, parents will be better able to guide and correct them:
He who loves his son will not spare the rod.... He who disciplines his son will profit by him. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

2224 The home is the natural environment for initiating a human being into solidarity and communal responsibilities. Parents should teach children to avoid the compromising and degrading influences which threaten human societies.

2225 Through the grace of the sacrament of marriage, parents receive the responsibility and privilege of evangelizing their children. Parents should initiate their children at an early age into the mysteries of the faith of which they are the "first heralds" for their children. They should associate them from their tenderest years with the life of the Church. A wholesome family life can foster interior dispositions that are a genuine preparation for a living faith and remain a support for it throughout one's life.

2226 Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child's earliest years. This already happens when family members help one another to grow in faith by the witness of a Christian life in keeping with the Gospel. Family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith. Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray and to discover their vocation as children of God. The parish is the Eucharistic community and the heart of the liturgical life of Christian families; it is a privileged place for the catechesis of children and parents.

Now, did some of you get a knot in your stomach? Let me guess: you thought to yourself, "Well, I don't know the Catholic Faith all that well. How am I suppose to pass it on to my kids?" Believe me, I have sympathy. Why do you think that I write articles, offer classes, get on radio shows, and am writing a book? (Look for it in January.) As the Catechism points out in that last paragraph, the parental component sets the stage for everything else. The parish is the privileged place where this can happen, but clearly it is not the only place that it can happen. For effective education and formation to happen in a parish, it must begin at home. If you are a parent and you need some suggestions for where to start, leave a request in the combox. I'll add books and suggested reading. Then go and bug your local DRE (director of religious education). Or better go bug your pastor and encourage him to offer more stuff for adults. Here at the parish and national shrine we offer a wide assortment of formation opportunities that are generally not well responded to. To be fair, though, I want everyone there so take that last sentence with a grain of salt.

All of this was brought on by a witness to the Faith I encountered last night. Last night, we had the second night of our 40 Hours Devotion leading up to our parish's feast day on Sunday. As part of these, at the conclusion of the day, we have a solemn, preached, Holy Hour. Well, last night I saw a gentleman with his son who had come at some distance to help my little flock cover the hours for adoration. His son is on the youngish side, perhaps 5 or 6. As I watched out of the corner of my eye, I saw this gent encourage his son, embrace his son, and most importantly, explain to his son what Adoration meant. I was particularly moved when after a reading from Sirach that covered family relationships, I looked up at the conclusion of the reading to find him, clasping his son, close to his chest. I thought he's understood. From this point forward, that relationship has changed. Our friend from afar figured out that his boy wasn't just his boy; his son belongs to God and that this father received a great commission to ensure that his son learned all that he would need to come to salvation.

So, people, time is of the essence. What will you do with the portion of the 168 hours awaiting you this week?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Sound of Silence

Hey, everyone. Sorry about not posting but things here have been a bit out of sorts. I have some post ideas that I am bringing out including one which will explain the appropriateness of the Ragemonkey moniker. It can't be missed. That doesn't really answer the question: what have I been up to?

Well, you see, I have always considered myself an up and coming Bond villian. Admit it; you know and I know that if people just listened to me more often, things would be a lot jollier. This blog already has two followers. That's a good start to a global army, isn't it? So, I have been trolling the internets for secret bases. You would be amazed at how affordable they have become since the housing bubble burst. I have my eye on one of those volcano bases - the geothermal energy is very green, but when the secret agent shows up, it's a bit too easy to destroy. We don't need another Krakatoa. Mainly I am looking for a place with good communications equipment, a pool to store vicious, or ravenous, or ill-tempered mutated sea creatures (head-mounted lasers are optional), and all utilities paid. If you see anything, let me know. Till next time...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mistaken Identity

Evening, All. It's been a very full day but I had to share a couple of stories of mistaken identity that took place.

I was asked to cover a funeral for a neighboring parish. The pastor is suffering from a chronic illness and therefore couldn't be there. So, dutifully, I zipped over and celebrated the funeral and then went to the cemetary for the burial. Before the funeral began, a woman in the congregation waved me over. Frankly, I didn't expect anybody to know me at this parish; that's the nature of rural Oklahoma parishes. You don't really rub shoulders with folks more than 30 miles away. I would suspect that is true in city parishes, but I digress. This woman looked me in the face and asked my name. I gave it and she looked at me and said, "You can't be you." I was worried about onset of stroke in that moment - mine or hers, I couldn't say. She stammered, "You look so different." Ah, there it was. She had seen me last October about 70 pounds ago. I quickly explained what had changed and then slipped away.

At the place of burial, the server (who was a older gentleman) and I got to talking and he asked where I went to school. I told him Edmond (shout out for the mighty and original Bulldogs!) and he asked, "Did you wrestle for Edmond?" Now, gentle reader, I have NEVER in my life been mistaken for an athlete. A trivia dork, sure, but an athlete, ah, no. I am still flattered by the question and lamented that I was not.

For whatever reason, sports weren't in the cards for me. I tried basketball in eighth grade and made a TOTAL ass of myself. I give myself credit, though, as I did go beyond my self-expectations. I sorta wish I would have stuck with it. But who knows? I wanted to belong to that world. It just wasn't in the cards.

If I had stuck with sports (which along with an absence of athletic ability and the sports fanatic gene sequence) I would have missed out on all the interesting things I did do. You see, I was a dancer. Ok, stop sniggering. Truthfully, those who are migrating over here from Facebook who knew me in High School can tell you that what I did in show choir was only dancing in the technical sense of the words. Think of it as lumbering to the music. Still that experience in front of a crowd helped prepare me for priesthood. After doing Joseph and Bye Bye Birdie, I am pretty hard to embarass. I can recover from almost any flub. I still sort of wish I had stuck it out on South Pacific, but that's another story for another tie.

I guess that's part of growing up, isn't it. You try on a bunch of hats, trying to find the one that fits. If you are lucky, you never stop trying on new things. It's what keeps life interesting. Most people I meet are a quilt of all those experiences, good and bad, failures and successes.