laceblade: Shot of stained glass window from St. Norbert Abbey, text says: Eli, eli lamma sabachtani (Catholic: Eli eli)
This is the first post in the "you generate my content" meme. I still need more suggestions, b t w. Feel free to suggest multiple topics.
Also, I lock just about all of the posts I write about my personal life, but I'm going to see how many of the posts in this meme I can post unlocked.

[personal profile] j00j asked for religious community, as in community of laypeople moreso than a religious order or etc. This post meanders a lot & I'm not sure I addressed what you wanted me to, so sorry ^^;;;

Back in high school, a woman at the church named Carrie took my friend Ryan, my friend Heather's sister Rachel, & a dude named Andy who was in another school system on a trip to a place called St. Meinrad in Indiana. St. Meinrad is a Benedictine monastery, & they had a liturgical youth conference every year.
The four of them came back & wanted to start performing youth liturgies. Some of my friends & a few other intelligent/talented people joined a group that we self-dubbed, for lack of a better term, Youth Liturgy.
We planned masses: the music, who did the readings, etc. We wrote the petitions.
We acted out the gospel. We delivered homilies ourselves or assisted the priests in delivering them (and when local Catholics called out this practice in the diocesan newspaper, I wrote letters back).
For Pentecost one year, we lit the baptismal font on fire. For Palm Sunday, we did stuff from Jesus Christ Superstar.
We made programs, and two members would draw art for the covers. I still have some of Jenny's up on my bulletin board - they were beautiful.

For the music, Carrie's son Matt led us, & the choir we created was called "Youth Liturgy."
The liturgies themselves were great. We'd close every mass by singing "Carry Your Candle" & walking out with candles.

But we did other stuff, too.
I met with our youth minister & two older/slightly more popular kids to try & create a youth group that met weekly. We called ourselves "The Quest."
We cleaned out the youth space & tried to get more of it.
I went to St. Meinrad myself one summer, and Lindsey/Ryan/I went to Notre Dame another summer for a different conference.
We had mission trips in Washington, DC and in Milwaukee, which focused on doing work (and not evanglization).
When the people in my grade (the biggest % of youth liturgy people - me, Lindsey, Jennifer, Heather, Kristy, etc.) graduated, we had a retreat at the Abbey, which was really nice.

We infiltrated a bunch of the standing committees in our parish so that our concerns would be heard. I don't remember what anybody else joined, but mine was the Worship Committee, which controled the art/environment aspects of church - banners, cloths used on the altar, whether the lady who was slightly off the deep end could put up her bigass picture of the Divine Mercy.

It's hard to describe what made this group special. A large chunk of people were already my friends (and joined b/c I joined first).
Some people (Carrie, Tom, Colin, etc.) were people I respected the hell out of, & still do.
Matt's suicide undoubtedly tied us in a way that only tragedy can.
But mostly, we just talked, about everything. It's a fine balance, in talking about faith, needing to be creative together, sometimes acting with one another, etc.
People were excited to come to our masses.
I didn't realize until later what a big deal being permitted to be involved in delivering the homilies actually was.

Putting it all together like this, it was sort of a how-to on getting involved in a bureaucratic structure & forcing it to listen to a group of people who felt ignored.
When I go to mass now, every aspect of the liturgy makes me think about the time I spent with my friends, our own preferences for different aspects of the liturgy, etc.

In college, I attended mass at St. Paul's at the campus end of State Street. Almost my first day there I met James, some kind of liturgical minister who also sang well. He took me out for dinner at Chin's one night, and after telling him all about Youth Liturgy, I agreed to write the intercessions for weekend masses - I did this weekly for all four years.
While living in the dorms my first two years, I walked to church with Paul, a guy I was friends with from high school. Paul and I disagreed on almost every aspect of the liturgy - he'd prefer mass be said in Latin with the priest facing away from the pews. Still, we had a similar sense of humor and had to try hard to not smirk at one another when things went wrong during mass.

In the second two years at St. Paul's, a committee was formed so that disparate groups of people responsible for different parts of mass could meet and talk - thus, I was invited.
This was my first time meeting people other than James.
I don't remember the controversies or topics discussed, except that I felt like an outsider. These people's entire social lives revolved around St. Paul's, and mine didn't.
Everyone else's opinion of me solidified when I expressed my opinion about lector training, which Paul and I had just gone through. (I liked reading aloud.) I said that I had felt turned off by our trainers talking about their personal faith relationships with God - I had come to be trained, not for a spiritual retreat. The training was very long due to this, and I had homework to do.
I phrased my feedback as nicely as possible, but I could tell I'd hurt this girl's feelings. Since everyone else was friends with her, I felt like people were pretty cold toward me after that.

I know that I would have been able to speak frankly at Youth Liturgy about something like this. I do like talking about faith with people when I expect to do it.
But yeah. I need people who think about what they're doing and are willing to talk about aspects of the liturgy/trainings/whatever that they take for granted. This is a thing that often disappoints me in most groups of people, though.

After college, I defriended most of these people on Facebook over the next couple years due to their semi-evangelical and/or misinformed political posts.

While living in my efficiency on Hancock Street, I attended St. Patrick's downtown. I tried attending a Catholic feminism group, which is thoroughly documented in this post.
The group of women weren't actually feminists. I eventually left that parish because the priest is about as conservative as our bishop.
Even while I still identified pro-life, I found his constant homilies on abortion insufferable.

I now drive across the city to attend mass in a parish that feels - in its 1970s construction and homillies - like my home parish did when I was in high school [it doesn't feel home-like THERE any more because of the crappy priests they've gotten lately]. I peruse the bulletin whenever I'm there, but all activities surround food.
There's a chronic pain group in which I'd been interested, but they meet during the work day.
I'm leery of making friends - would they be judgmental upon finding out I live with my non-Christian boyfriend?
I also ignored it for a couple years while learning to cope with chronic pain and a few spin-offs from that.
I feel like I have my shit together now, though, so I'm still looking.
I've been considering seeing about volunteering at the Catholic Multicultural Center, which my parish now runs after the bishop abruptly and inexplicably cut funds and shut it down.

There are other things I'd like to look into more, too, like Call to Action, etc.

Overall...I'm really lucky to have had the community I did growing up in my church - the circles of friends I had in general growing up, I know that I'm really lucky.

I'm still trying to find ways to recreate that now.
It's more difficult when you're older and aware of politics, etc. In high school, most of the Catholic-esque politics went over my head.

And amusingly now, most of us who were in Youth Liturgy together have pretty radical beliefs about the Church, and are mildly "heretical" in our thoughts on social teachings, etc.

Since the point of this post is to be part of a user-content-generated meme, I'm going to say that I'm more open to questions than usual.
laceblade: Ashe from FF XII, looking at viewer over her shoulder. Text reads: "So you say you want a revolution?" (FFXII: You say you want a revolution)
• What are you currently reading?
Cross Game, volume 7. Almost done?!

A Woman Wrapped in Silence - I've mentioned this before, basically the all-in-verse fic about Mary. In the passages I read over the weekend, Jesus was born - yay!
I'm not sure how I'll feel about this long-term. As implied by the title, it's basically about the silence/mystery surrounding Mary during moments of high emotion/drama. It's not really compelling to me for a woman's silence to be the most important thing about her, ;p

• What did you recently finish reading?
Basara, volumes 25-27 - Wow, the end! Yumi Tamura really knows how to pull all her threads together. As for the past/future after-stories, I really only cared for the ones about Sarasa & Shuri and the one about Hayato (OMG HAYATO). Someone should write a paper about how Sarasa views her own gender, kthx.
I just really loved this series. Definitely one of my favorites. I'll now spend my life hunting for these volumes in used bookstores!
Maybe now I'll read her current series, 7 Seed, like all the cool kid?? It's only available to me in scanlation format, though, & I vastly prefer reading manga in paper format. Before switching to another apocalyptic one, I'd like to finish some other things I have downloaded, like Gokinjo Monogatari.

Cross Game, volume 6 - Still gr9. I was wary about Akane at first, but I like her quite a bit.

The Last of Us #4 (final) - this was good, although as predicted, now I just want to play the video game for which this mini-series is a prequel. Unfortunately, it's for the PS3. Who knows, maybe I'll get a PS3 after the PS4 comes out & there's a price drop?? WE'LL SEE. I just love Faith's art. I'll read any story she's drawn/written. Post-apocalypse is so much the better. I'm glad I read this mini-series!

Mara #5 - That's how it ends?? Meh. I won't be keeping these issues, so look for my upcoming "take my stuff" post, because my current paper grocery bag marked "sell" is full ;)

Buffy, season 9 #23/24 (The Core, parts 3 & 4) - I love that Spike has Xander entered in his phone as "Wanker," :*) UMM THESE WERE INTENSE BUT I DON'T HAVE MUCH TO SAY ABOUT THEM?! The final issue comes out today. Overall, I've liked Season 9 more than Season 8.

Angel & Faith #24/25 (What You Want, Not What You Need, parts 4 & 5) (final) - umm, wow, I just really loved Angel & Faith a lot, this entire run. Go Christos Gage for being a great writer, & I really loved Rebekah Isaacs's art, too. The characterization has been spot-on, & the emotional arc was super compelling for me (I <3 angst-ridden stuff about finding your own way/meaning in life, so ymmv).
I'm sad it's over, & will definitely reread this. I loved it way more than Buffy season 8. I'm interested in the details regarding Buffy season 10 - when it's going to start, obviously, but what the partner titles will be, too.

X-Men #3 & #4 - I <3 the art in this series. I still don't know who the fuck anybody is, but I like it enough to keep going & I want to make an icon out of Jubilee working on a tablet from issue #3.

• What do you think you’ll read next?
I've been organizing/catching up on my comics (can you tell?!). I have a larger stack of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which I'd really like to read & get through, & decide whether to continue to keep it on my pull list or not.
Since I don't know who the hell anyone is in X-Men, it seems like it'd behoove me to read some more X-Men stuff -_-
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Sailor Moon: Maiden's Policy)
• What are you currently reading?
Soul Eater, volume 5 - It's been a long time since I read 1-4! While I enjoy some of the character designs, I feel like I'm only here for Maka & Soul, and wholly uninterested in everything/everyone else :/

A Woman Wrapped in Silence - Basically a fanfiction about Mary (mother of Jesus) written in the 1940s, in verse. I've owned this since buying it at St Meinrad while on there on a retreat, in high school, but never got past the first 10 pages or so. I picked it up after attending a mass led by a woman priest. Progress is slow because I can be easily irritated by most poetry.

• What did you recently finish reading?
W.I.T.C.H. graphic novel, volumes 1 & 2 - I still feel about the same toward this as I did while I was in the middle of volume 1. I <3 the art, but feel the writing is a little sub-par? Still unconvinced I'll reread these later, but I'm reserving "putting it in the sell pile" judgment until I read all 8 volumes I've acquired (half from the library).

Shugo Chara-chan, volume 1 - This is a 4-panel comedy manga spun-off from Peach-Pit's Shugo Chara! Its about the guardian characters, mostly gags. It wasn't amusing enough to hold my attention, & I ended up skimming half the volume & returning volumes 2-4 to the library unread.

Basara, volume 8 - This series continues to be pretty great overall. Starting to feel some dread about how certain revelations are going to be handled. I do like its dealing with the realities of power/etc. - examining what characters are going to do once they get what they think they want, how different territories are governing themselves (or being governed) if the aftermath of the apocalypse, etc.

The Gospel of Mary Magdalene - What survives of the Gospel of Mary Magdalene is short, so this book has an introduction & a preface, and after the straight-up translation of the gospel, a line-by-line commentary.
The commentary discusses the idea of the "divine feminine" in the context of Mary revealing this super spiritual scripture, as opposed to the other way I've encountered it in the past ("feminine divinity means subjugating yourself to men").

This gets a little gender essentialist, which happens often when I read women in relation to the Bible.
Example is discussing the Marys hanging out at the Crucifixion - this gets brought up a lot! ONLY THE WOMEN STAYED, etc.
Are men less courageous than women? Perhaps they have less fear of death, but more fear of suffering? There are no simple answers to this. Yet it is worth noting that it is often mostly women who are present in great moments of life such as this, at deathbed and at birth. Husbands and fathers are more often absent. Surely this would not be seen as desertion (of which they are often accused), but rather as an indication of the great difficulty of the masculine mind (and some feminine minds as well) experiences when it feels powerless in the face of suffering that it can neither combat nor alleviate.

...OR it's because women are socialized to be caretakers?? jfc.

After MM has seen the risen Christ & spoken with Him, she goes back to the Apostles to a) tell them about it so that Christianity starts spreading afterward, and b) tells them about all kinds of other mystical stuff. Their immediately reaction is pretty predicable:
Having said all this, Mary became silent;
for it was in silence that the Teacher spoke to her.
Then Andrew began to speak, and said to his brothers:
"Tell me, what do you think of these things she has been telling us?
As for me, I do not believe
that the Teacher would speak like this.
These ideas are too different from what we have known."
And Peter added:
"How is it possible that the Teacher talked
in this manner with a woman
about secrets of which we ourselves are ignorant?
Must we change our customs,
and listen to this woman?"

& then LOL at leaving this gospel out of the Bible. :( :( :(

At some point, the author digresses into this own interpretation of the Ten Commandments, which is a little more expansive than their general interpretation. I'll use my favorite of his - Honor the Sabbath - as an example. The first part = common interpretation, second paragraph = more mind-blowing to me.
You may rest from all your doing, working, and producing. Human beings are not only made for work, but also for repose - that holy repose that is fully savored after good work, not only on the Sabbath, but every day.

On the day of the Sabbath, all human beings will become equal, for there are no more employers and employees. This law is intended to free us from the bounds of another law, that of dominator and dominated. On the Sabbath, there are no more professors and students, no more lords and serfs. There are only the children of God, sons and daughters of the One Light.

WHOA, right?!

The author's reinterpretation of the Beatitudes are a little similarly radical. The Beatitudes = well-loved by many people who ID as Christian & are also compassionate about social justice.
Yeshua is not saying, "Blessed are you, unhappy victims, be happy in your martyrdom." He is saying, "Do not let yourself be stopped by persecution, slander, and all sorts of violence. Use this as a challenge and opportunity for growing in consciousness and love."

While I'm not typically a fan of "hard times are there to make you stronger" interpretations of life, I do like interpretations of the Gospels that are about Jesus saying, "You're better than that, & if you really believe in me, then DO something about it."

Overall, I enjoyed reading this, although the latter half of the book got into philosophical stuff that I'll freely admit I didn't understand. I think I even skimmed some of it.
I have another commentary/analysis/etc. of the Gospel of Mary Magadalene waiting for me at the library, & I'm hoping that it will be a little more accessible to me.

• What do you think you’ll read next?
More manga, & I should starting reading Pantomime by Laura Lam. It's our next [community profile] beer_marmalade book.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Sailor Moon: Chibi Fight) is now in "soft launch." As a non-tech person, I'm led to believe that means, "we're not totally done yet!"
It's fun to be on a new site! The forums where people discuss the website itself are very friendly and helpful. I am confident that once I have plants around, I'll be able to ask questions about really basic things (idk what it means when something "goes to seed," for example, stuff like that), & people won't laugh at me, I don't think!

While you cannot yet add people as friends, the # of users is still pretty low, so it's easy to find other people's accounts under the "Members" tab. I am ribbonknight there.
I am a little sad that I can't add my non-food crops/plants (yet). So far, I've only been successful in maintaining non-food plants, like my spider plants & my rabbit foot fern and my peace lily.
During the summer, too, my red runner bean plant last year was my most successful in terms of how big it got/how long it stayed alive/how pretty the blooms were. But it literally only produced one bean.

I'd like to grow some flowers and other non-food plants on my balcony this year, if possible. I want to talk about my non-food plants, too. BUT. That is why I have this Dreamwidth blog, I suppose.
Anyway. Growstuff still seems like it will be valuable.

I'd like to do an inventory of the seeds I still have in my closet & blog about them here.

I'd like to link to an article with a pretty banal headline ("Pope Francis doesn't represent all Catholics"), but I ended up feeling motivated & proud by the end.
I'd like to quote it for my own posterity. & preface it with...I really do understand why people do leave/have left the Catholic Church/Christianity/organized religion, in general. I don't mean to quote it to chide or shame other people, but rather sort of as a summation of why I stay. (Or how I wish I behaved - I haven't been "active" in a way I feel good about since high school, when we shook up our local parish at least a little bit. I would like to do that again.)
Since then, the story of the church has been punctuated by people who consulted their conscience first and their popes later. Francis of Assisi assembled his community of barefoot wanderers before going to Pope Innocent III to seek approval. In more recent times, Dorothy Day didn’t need a pope’s permission before opening a house of hospitality for the poor and resistance against war. The Community of Sant’Egidio, founded in Italy in the late 1960s, has fought HIV/AIDS and negotiated peace treaties around the world on its own terms. Yet, in honor of this witness, Benedict XVI made a habit of visiting Sant’Egidio’s ministries in Rome. Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York is seeking Dorothy Day’s cause for sainthood. And now, almost eight hundred years after Francis’ death, a pope has named himself after him.

Each of these Catholic heroes had a certain respect for the papacy, but they didn’t let that get in the way of living out the gospel for themselves. They took inspiration from the words of church authorities, but more importantly they took action on their own—in creative, authentic, and Christian fashion. “In all times the laity have been the measure of the Catholic spirit,” Cardinal John Newman said more than a century ago. If what we expect from the church is what we expect from the aged and insulated man who happens to hold the office of Peter, there is little reason to expect much.


What the church needs is more committed and courageous souls in it, not fewer. It needs souls who are too busy organizing communities of radical living and prayer, and working for justice among the oppressed, and composing new hymns, to worry all that much about whom the Spirit and the cardinals might choose as pope. It needs souls willing to undertake new forms of thought and action capable of making what Catholics see as God’s good news a reality in our time—forms that will influence and inspire popes of the future, even if the present ones don’t yet get it.
laceblade: Buffy from Season 8 comics, holding scythe (Buffy Season 8)
• What are you currently reading?
Anna Karenina - Most of my book club hates Kitty & think she is terrible, but I don't?! She's 15 & things are sad for her. idk. :[
I'm most of the way through chapter 2 right now. I rolled my eyes a lot at the horse-racing chapters, where Tolstoy makes Vronsky riding a beautiful horse a metaphor for this entire book. He couldn't control her fully! Then she did something unexpected! Then she fell & broke her back & he felt bad about it for the rest of his life! It was just kind of like...WELP. GUESS I KNOW WHERE THIS NOVEL'S GOING.

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs - reading this b/c it's this month's pick for [community profile] beer_marmalade. I wasn't there when the book was voted in, so I didn't know much about it. Urban fantasy is usually NOT my thing (I am so uninterested in fairies/FAE, omg), but I am really liking this so far. Protag can change into a coyote, runs her own car repair place as a mechanic. Is friends with/surrounded by werewolves. I AM INTRIGUE.

I have a subscription to Give Us This Day, & now that it's Lent, I'm trying to focus on that a little more. I really appreciate the diversity of people/sources used to write the reflections in these prayer books. Women, people of color, lay-people, BLOGS, etc. It's just...very welcome.

Lots of news articles about the CIA/Benghazi/WikiLeaks/congressional hearings/etc. I think I have finally figured out a small plot-point in my fic that I wish I would have figured out a long time ago! Anyway, it's really useful to me to be able to clip articles/PDFs that I find browsing the Internet using EverNote, & then be able to read them later, even on my phone.

• What did you recently finish reading?
Runaways/Young Avengers: Secret Invasion - I liked this a lot more than the first YA/Runaways crossover. The plot was more interesting & I liked the manga-esque art. Still probably like Runaways more than Young Avengers, ;_;

Young Avengers: Dark Reign - Hated pretty much all of this, oop. Now I just have to wait for Children's Crusade to come in at the library!

Heart of Thomas by Moto Hagio - This is super important in the history of manga! A very influential shonen-ai piece about boys living in a German boarding school. It felt very Gothic. The art was very consistent & quite beautiful. The story sometimes almost overwrought.
It begins with a suicide that ends up overshadowing the entire book. Also content warnings for strong allusions to a past history of sexual abuse.
I'm really glad to see this translated into English & released in the US. It does cost $40, so I'm also really glad that my library has it, lol.

• What do you think you’ll read next?
I'm a little behind on comics, so probably catch up on Angel & Faith, and then go get whatever's waiting for me at the comics shop. Still need to catch up on Batwoman and TMNT.
laceblade: Shot of stained glass window from St. Norbert Abbey, text says: Eli, eli lamma sabachtani (Catholic: Eli eli)
So I read this book that's memoir-esque about the author's return to the Catholic Church. She'd grown up going to Catholic schools, but never got confirmed.
Feeling depressed and distant from her husband, she starts looking back into the Church, going through the RCIA process to become confirmed.
Today, we turn to shrinks, Prozac, yoga, drinking, television. Crises are supposed to come and go, and we're supposed to deal with them. But when it comes to a crisis because of a desire for faith, none of those solutions seemed to work for me. The contradictory desires for companionship and solitude that pushed me into panic and sorrow mirrored my problem with the phone: I've had a cell phone for years, but fewer than ten people have the number. I want to be able to call out, but I don't want anyone to reach me.

In addition to many of her political beliefs (supporting LGBT people in society, etc.), many facets of her faith ring true to mine, too.
I don't find a Jesus I can identify with in the stories about the miracles. They're like novels or old epic poems, just clusters of metaphors because for someone who's used to finding solace in facts and has taught literature for over a decade, they're tough to believe.
I prefer the stories of Jesus and people, particularly when he's talking to women.

Her experience going to mass feels like how I feel now.
Anyone who attends Mass by herself is guaranteed to be surrounded by what looks like hordes of loving Catholic families. There are lots of female lectors at my church, lots of women in the choir, lots of women who attend services, but they're with their families or in groups of other women.

The author seems to magically find groups of like-minded people to join, including a group of women who bitch about the Church's politics.
This sort of happened to me in high school, in that joining one group led me to join a bunch of others.
However, in college this really didn't work. I wrote the weekly intercessions for all four years, and through that was invited to join some sort of advisory board. However, I was way more liberally-minded than everyone else there, and every meeting was uncomfortable. I never felt part of the community there.

I've found another church now that has a strong commitment to social justice, but it seems like the only way to meet people is by joining a Bible study. All of the other "adult enrichment" groups are centered on around the making and eating of food.
So. Jealous, yeah.

Anyway, I like her thoughts on why the Church sucks at issues of gender equality.
Church does not love women unless they are nuns or the Virgin Mary, and some priests go into the seminary too young; they never establish deep friendships with women, and thus fail at understanding even the most basic challenges women face. Their entire knowledge of women is based on a teenage girl who lived several thousand years ago and a handful of particularly pious female saints. This is why I find myself getting along a lot better with priests who have sisters; they've had some exposure to women as human beings, not as plaster statuettes representing impossible ideals.

And politics in general.
The Catholic Church is so good at ministering to the poor, caring for the sick, educating people in forgotten communities. It is so good at encouraging its flock to injustice and fight oppression. And it is just freaking awful at understanding what it means to be a woman, or to be gay, or to want to express your sexuality without catching a disease.

IN SUM. I found a lot to agree with here, and the book makes feel less alone. There are a lot of liberal U.S. Catholics, and there are other parishes like mine that try hard to do/speak the things they think are right, in spite of being under the thumb of a right-wing bishop.
However, the book makes me miss the communities and friendships I'd made in high school, and haven't found a way to replicate since.
laceblade: Shot of stained glass window from St. Norbert Abbey, text says: Eli, eli lamma sabachtani (Catholic: Eli eli)
I was thinking the other day that it's probably a lot easier for me to remain Catholic-ish than a lot of other people because I went to public schools for my entire life. If my parents had forced me to go to Catholic schools, I'm sure things would have turned out much differently & I would have stopped giving a shit about religion before graduating from high school.

As it is, I still care even though I haven't been to mass in a long time. I have been praying a lot lately, though - was praying a lot those first few weeks after surgery.

I feel angry about priests and their role in driving people away from the Church right now.
The priest who's at the church I grew up at is someone I have never met, but I know things about him.
He told a couple my age that he didn't feel "comfortable" performing their marriage ceremony because the dude in the relationship was Christian-but-not-Catholic, even though this violates no canon law.
He told a girl I went to school with that he would not perform her marriage ceremony if either she or her bridesmaids wore strapless dresses.

The theme of the Green Bay Diocese for the past few years has been "Welcome Home," an attempt to get kids my age (mid-twenties) to join the Church in their adult life.
This attempt is incredibly amusing to me, because all I see priests doing is their damndest to drive people away.

I don't think that this is because they're stupid; rather, it seems to be a coordinated effort that favors a smaller and "more pure" laity.
Pope Benedict's homily from Holy Thursday is basically entirely about this theme.

But not everything sucks.

Occupy Catholics exists; they're a group out of NYC who protest with the Occupy movement.
Their tag line: We are the 99%, made in God’s image, seeking God’s justice.

I'm also trying to learn more about Catholics United, a pro-labor progressive non-profit that focuses on protest & lobbying Congress.

I've really been liking Give Us This Day as a daily prayer alternative to Magnificat.
When I originally picked up GUTD in the Catholic bookshop, the clerk said something about it being "different" than Magnificat. For Catholics who don't know one another well, this could either mean "super conservative" or "super liberal." I picked it up and was pleasantly surprised.
The daily devotionals seem to make an effort to feature writings from women and people of color. The pages about "how to use this book" are really chill about emphasizing that you don't need to read the morning prayer, mass, AND evening prayer EVERY SINGLE DAY. Every copy has a reminder/instruction about how to do lectio divina, which I appreciate.
And there has yet to be a single mention of fucking abortion, I think!

And there you have it.

There are Catholics who actually give a shit about Jesus's social teachings & who connect with the United States's current movement to protest against socio-economic inequities (laity).

There are Catholics with sticks up their ass about clothing & who we marry. People who wag their fingers & spend their time focusing on rules that either cosmetic or that they fabricated so that they had more to finger-wave about (priests).

And then the hierarchy wonders why we dissent.
I know there are many who might read this post and ask, "So why the hell are you still Catholic then?"
For me, & for the people with whom I cultivated my faith in high school (mostly a group of my peers), it's kind of like, "the fuck if I'm going to let some asshole define FOR ME what Catholicism means."
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
Fucking isn't working for me again. And my laptop was being a good boy earlier today! Still not sure what's wrong with it, but it was functional for a while there.

WTF, I am sad to see this show done! I would really love to own season 5 on DVD. It still blows my mind that I loved this season so much, considering my love/hate relationship with the other four seasons of the show. Are the other four seasons worth it? MY DEVOTION TO WESLEY SAYS YES.


Spoilers and caps lock lie behind the cut, as always. )

I hate that Joss Whedon and cast members keep making references to Shakespeare readings at Whedon's home. How much would I KILL for recordings of those?! They should sell them! People would buy them!

Does anybody know where I could *ahem* things such as the song's opening theme? Or Lindsey's "L.A. Song"? Or any of Lorne's karaoke songs?

I'm not quite sure what to do with myself, now that I've finished both shows. I feel strange, but extremely glad that I watched them. Everyone should watch Buffy and Angel! I've already started the first disc of Arrested Development, and intend to continue. Lighthearted is a nice follow-up to dumptrucks of angst, I think. I'd also like to rewatch Firefly this summer; I've only seen it once, and it was a couple of years ago. PLUS, this time I can blog about it. :D
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
I think that former members of my high school Youth Liturgy team will appreciate this story.

I'm a member of the liturgy team that meets once a week at the ungodly hour of 7am. This week, as a sort of ice-breaker, we went around the circle sharing our favorite liturgical moment. One said, getting his marriage blessed by the Pope. Someone else said watching people get full-submersion baptism on Easter.

And then it was my turn.

"Hmmm, it's hard to choose.....I guess my favorite would be Pentecost that one year, when we set the baptismal font on fire."
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
It's weird, but I think that I open my post-writing window in LiveJournal or Blogger depending on my mood. Maybe I should keep track of which interface equates with which moods.

Moods. I feel a mix of many things tonight. I'm going home this weekend, to visit my family. I think it's been nearly two months since I've been home, which is kind of a lot for me.

I have a paper that I should have worked on tonight, but didn't. Now I will have both a paper and a take-home midterm to be worrying about at the same time, until the paper is handed in Thursday and I am left with just the take-home midterm.

Job-searching is progressing. I'll be doing a phone interview sometime this week. Am still looking for places to submit applications, though.

Actually, since it's halfway through Lent now, maybe I should see how well I'm doing at my Lenten goals*:

1) Make my bed every morning. I know this sounds like a stupid goal, but I wanted at least one achievable one. It's been going well, :)

2) Clean my room every week. It took a while - the first two weeks, I'd put some things away, like clean/dirty laundry, and put books in piles. But it wasn't until yesterday that I actually put everything away and swiffered, dusted, and vacuumed. Hopefully now, I will stay on track.

3) Write sometimes. I haven't really done much with this at all. I did download a text editor that I played around with, organizing some Ghost Hunters notes and scenes. Still, I wish there was something like Scrivener for PC. So basically, this goal has not been "going" at all. :(

4) Do at least one thing every day to further your job search. I had been beginning to drag my feet, so I wanted to make this a priority, and it's going well. My resumes are finished, I've met with career advisers, and attended the Career Expo. I've applied to two jobs. I will do more!

5) Make an effort to only spend time on the Internet if you have an actual purpose. You spend too much time online. Use the extra time for homework, job-searching, reading, socializing, etc. Ummm....I would say I've been better than I was before, but not by much. This area also needs work.

* For those who aren't Catholic, Lenten "fasting" doesn't necessarily have to mean, "I'm giving up soda for Lent this year." The goal is to pay attention to an area in your life that needs work, and with improvement will bring you closer to God. Making better choices about eating habits tends to be a popular Lenten promise, which is cool. I don't find anything particularly wrong about my eating habits, and I don't drink coffee or much soda, so there isn't really an easy thing to pick out. Thus, I tend to go for goals instead.

I'm feeling restless and angsty tonight, so I probably shouldn't say much else. Will read something comforting before bed, after typing a bit about Angel.

Spoilers through most of disc 2 of Angel, season 3 )

And, randomly....OMG! Wiscon panel descriptions are posted. Have you guys signed up for Wiscon yet? DO IT. BEST DECISION I EVER MADE.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
I still need a new blog layout liek whoa. This one is starting to disgust me.

I procrastinate.
Today was weird. I wrote a paper on Thomas More and Utopia (which inevitably makes me think of "Ever After" and is probably the reason I rewatched it a few weeks ago). I also wrote essays on how Romantic writers viewed women, how Hans Christian Andersen idealized nature, and how two other Scandinavian writers wrote about peasants. And that was basically my entire Sunday.

There was this blizzard thing this weekend and I haven't left the house since Friday evening. I'm really not looking forward to walking around tomorrow.

I like my boyfriend!
Not much happened this weekend, but I forgot to mention something that I find interesting about dating. Six months is a long relationship for me. This is my second of two relationships EVER (unless you count the time in 6th grade when Chad and I "dated" for a week and a half), and everyone keeps assuring me that the "OMGYAYness" will wear off soon, or should have already, but it hasn't. On Tuesday, for instance, I was feeling crappy, so I called Antoine up and we met at McDonald's for dinner. McDonald's. And yet, when I hung up the phone, there was this grin of inexplicable glee on my face, and my mental thought process was something like this: "I GET TO SEE ANTOINE! AND EAT FRENCH FRIES! AND BE WITH ANTOINE! IN TEN MINUTES!!!" It's really weird to feel happy all the time. I mean, I feel pissed about homework and tired from work and confused about life-after-college, but I'm talking about day-to-day overall mood. There is no depression (except for the odd hormonal imbalance), not quite as much cynicism, less hating of myself. It's weird and I'm wondering if those things will come back with the OMGYAYness leaves.

Church Attendance (or lack thereof)
Part of this bit is just me saying things that have been on my mind for a long time, but a recent entry in Steph's blog got me thinking.

I think I went to church last Sunday for the first time this semester; I didn't go on Ash Wednesday despite making time for it because it was literally the only time I had all week to catch my breath and study for Friday's Shakespeare exam. Church-going is something of a strange habit for a college student, maybe. There are certainly things the Church does that I don't agree with, but I don't really see that as a reason to stop going. I don't think I agree with all of the tenets in any organization I am, or have ever been, a part of - even Anime Club has rules I don't agree with, and I'm the freaking president. I certainly don't agree with any of my friends on every issue, but I still spend time with them. I don't know. I guess that, for me, if I feel like I grow in a certain environment, I'll keep going.

I don't often feel like I grow in church due to the other people who inhabit it, or at least not often. In my experience, it's rare to find a priest who gives a homily that is deeply based in Catholicism and challenges me on my own beliefs and why I act the way I do. I've met about 4 such priests in my lifetime, and although 2 of them are at the University Catholic Center, I still don't go every Sunday. And why not?

The reasons sound cold, but they are true. I find it very inconvenient to go to campus on Sundays. Going in my own car makes for the most efficient there-and-back game, but it's difficult to find free parking on campus, and I really don't care for either of the priests at the parish close to the house here in Madison.
Sundays are my only uninterrupted day for homework.
Also, I don't have to go. I mean, I should go and I would like to go, but unlike, say classes (which I also find inconvenient, and in some cases, useless - unlike mass), there aren't tangible consequences for me not going.

And what are the intangible consequences? I feel like I'm kind of slipping in my faith. Not like I don't believe in it any more, or like I don't want to go any more, but like I'm slowly falling off a cliff and nobody's really noticing. None of my close friends here at school regularly go to church except for Paul. Although, Paul doesn't go until 5pm and by that time I've already mentally decided, "I have too much homework to be able to go to church and also get to bed at a reasonable hour."

I find it really sucky that my personality and views on faith seems to clash with people at my campus parish. I never realized how lucky I was in high school to be able to go to church with people who had realistic faiths like mine. And I guess it really feels like I have no one to share that with here at school, and I'm kind of afraid that I never will again.

It's not like I was conditioned to feel guilty about it. I mean, technically Catholics are supposed to go weekly, but my parents never really habitually went on Sunday mornings. So while my brain is like, "Okay, whatever," every time I think about the fact that I haven't been going to church, I feel like crying and not knowing why.

I don't even know what I'm giving up for Lent (and yes, Lent began 5 days ago), but still.


laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)

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