Benedict Option B

Benedict

So a lot of Catholic internet folks have been talking about the Benedict Option. Like seriously everybody is talking about this. I’ve got my own thoughts on it but I’m not going to share those yet. Instead, I’m going to talk about a different Benedict. When I first heard the term “Benedict Option,” I thought it was about Pope Benedict XVI. And I thought we were just going to try to save Western Civilization through a revitalization of Catholic Liturgy. IKR?! The "real" Benedict Option is definitely something different though. Still! That doesn't mean my first idea was bad! So, I’m going to propose “Benedict Option B.” All you gotta do for this one is read Pope Benedict. Read … [Read more...]

Selling your house to pursue… milk goats

wpid-img_20140627_193957.jpg

By now, most of you have probably heard the news via my wife’s blog. But I thought I’d go ahead and share things from my perspective. For about 5 years, I’ve worked at a software company. It hasn’t been THAT bad. The hours are somewhat flexible. The office is close enough to our house that I can bike. The people are nice. The coffee is better than it used to be. I’m thankful I’ve been able to work here. But it certainly isn’t what I want to do forever. The work isn’t rewarding or satisfying. Of course, when you have a family, the criteria of “Is this job rewarding?” falls somewhere below “Can you afford to pay your mortgage?” and “Can you feed your children?” So I kept working here. I … [Read more...]

Bagpipes, sainthood, and other passing interests

I bet this dude's sporran is FILLED with ladies' numbers.

Sometime in highschool, I started to think I might like to play the bagpipes. I became interested in my “Scottish Heritage” and got pretty into the highland games and festival. Seeing the pipers in their regalia, filling the air with what was surely the heartsong of my people, how could I not be drawn to this instrument? I imagined myself, clad in my clan’s tartan, cheeks puffed out, wooing the lasses with an ancient dirge! Like you do. For a few weeks, I browsed every bagpipe selling website and looked into lessons. And that’s about as far as I got. The vision was fleeting. Sure, it’d be kind of cool if I could play the bagpipes. I still think that. But it isn’t something I want to turn … [Read more...]

The night is dark and full of caricatures: religion, hypocrisy, and authenticity in Game of Thrones

Sept of the Faith of the Seven

When people ask why I read George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, I first mention the complexity and subtlety of both his imagined world and his ever growing cast of characters. The history of Westeros stretches back thousands of years and involves the clash and mingling of multiple cultures, complicated political machinations, and a dizzying number of multifaceted conflicts. Additionally, the characters sprung from these cultures and conflicts are often nuanced and driven by complex motives and desires. Unfortunately, all of this nuance and complexity falls to nothing when Martin describes religion. The problem for Martin is not the number of religions. He gives us the Old … [Read more...]

A Guide to Jane Austen for Men Who Don’t Think They Like Jane Austen

Bow Down.

When it comes to books and movies, there’s plenty of room for different tastes in our wide world. And I’m not the kind of guy who will usually argue with someone who didn’t enjoy a book or movie I happen to like. Even if it’s something I REALLY like. Had a hard time getting into Beowulf? I understand. Maybe try the Seamus Heaney translation? Didn’t care for Star Wars? You know, I see how it’s not everyone’s thing. Don’t enjoy zombie movies? Well. Ok. But there are some exceptions to this. And one of those is Jane Austen. I don’t think everyone should read Austen just because she’s an important literary figure and her words are classics. There are plenty of classics that I’ve read, … [Read more...]

New E-book! Beyond the Cereal Box: Gluten-Free and Family-Friendly Recipes for Breakfast

Beyond the Cereal Box

About eight years ago, before my first child came along, I got really into baking. I worked hard at my large sour dough loaves as well as pain l'ancienne and other European breads. I experimented with yeast and temperatures and rising times and water and flour. I LOVED baking bread only slightly more than I loved eating bread. A perfect breakfast to me was coffee with hot bread with butter and honey. So, when our son came along, I was a little taken aback when Haley first suggested he might have a wheat allergy. I was certain this was just a bit of parenting hypersensitivity based on a silly trend. Really, I think I was also a bit overwhelmed at learning to cook and eat in a completely … [Read more...]

“Suffered Under Pontius Pilate”: Intolerance for Injustice in the Kingdom of God

"Ecce Homo" by Antonio Ciseri. Behold, the man!

During Holy Week, we see Jesus betrayed and treated unjustly in the scriptures again and again. The Pharisees plot against him. Caiaphas and the Sanhedrim plan his death and excuse their actions to each other. Judas betrays his master with a kiss. Herod mocks Jesus. Roman soldiers beat him. The Jews call for his death and the Romans laugh to see Jesus tortured and killed. Hardly anyone in Jerusalem can escape blame for Jesus’ death. Yet, in the Apostle’s Creed, blame for the suffering and crucifixion of Christ falls squarely and only at the feet of Pontius Pilate. Those words, “who suffered under Pontius Pilate,” are repeated over and over again by Christians all around the world. My … [Read more...]

“Actually we’re not:” Freedom and Community in Frozen

Do not let it go. This is terrible advice.

By this point, every parent has heard (probably more often than they would like) the anthem of Disney’s Frozen, “Let It Go.” The song is extremely catchy to say the least. And not nearly as annoying as it could have been. Even my 6 year old boy, who swears he hates Frozen, is often caught singing the song as he concentrates on his Legos. The lyrics of “Let It Go” are relatively straight forward. Elsa has spent most of her life trying to hide her powers. But, now that she doesn’t have to hide, she can “let go” of the past, use her ice powers, live in isolation, and be happy. Superficially, the song seems like the typical postmodern celebration of individuality to the point of severing … [Read more...]

How to fix the world with humility, service, and human excrement

16th century icon of Jesus washing his disciples feet.

“The world would be a better place if everyone had to wipe another person’s butt every day.” I remember thinking this when I first started changing diapers. It’s hard to feel cool and important when a baby is yelling at you and his poop is a few inches from your face. I mean, I feel cool every now and then when I change a diaper incredibly quickly or with one hand or something. But it’s still not a task during which you want to meet your neighbors. This is especially true when you’re just getting started with diapers and you still think of yourself as a smart, cool college guy. That confidence is shaken when your baby has that first big blow out and now you’ve got poop on your hands. Not so … [Read more...]

Saint John of God, patron and extremist

"St. John of God" by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

As an adult convert to Catholicism, I had the good fortune of being able to chose my patron saint without the burden of being an angsty teen. But I still found the whole process overwhelming. How do you choose one amongst thousands? After combing through several volumes of saints, I felt drawn to Saint John of God. I thought his name was pretty epic. And I happened to love a story about him saving people from a burning building. Not kidding, I had recently saved a bedridden old man from a burning building. And then the building exploded. Anyway. Connection? Aside from that superficial reason, I just felt drawn to him. After conversion, I ended up working at a mental health hospital. … [Read more...]