Folks, I’m still having some technical issues in getting my new blog platform situated. So here’s a litter of cute Cocker Spaniel puppies.
How now, Brown Cow?
Sorry I’ve been silent for a few weeks. I’m still around. And one of the major projects I’ve been working on has been transferring my blog from WordPress.com to its new home on its very own shiny new site. Behold, the new LonelyPilgrim.com!
If you’re reading by subscription, via RSS or email, then you ought not to see any difference at all from your end. If you continue receiving my posts as before, then all is well. If you don’t — then you probably won’t receive this one. But if you happen to notice any interruptions or problems, please let me know.
I’d like to draw your attention to my shiny new gizmo, the primary reason why I finally decided to move to a self-hosted WordPress installation: a plugin that generates Scripture tooltips upon hovering over Scripture references. One of the most tedious aspects of my blogging was having to manually link every Scripture reference to some Bible site or another. From my end (and from your end, too, as commenters!), all I have to do is refer to a Scripture — for example, Matthew 16:18 or John 3:5 — and the plugin dynamically tags the reference. From your end as readers, if you are reading on LonelyPilgrim.com, all you have to do is hover over the tagged Scripture reference, and the text will appear! Try it out! I call it Sacred WordPress, and after a little more tweaking, I hope to be able to share it with other WordPress users.
My only regret is leaving the close-knit WordPress.com community. The WordPress.com Reader has been the source of many interesting random encounters, and I’m going to miss those. But new readers can still follow me, and read my posts in the Reader! And I will continue following all the wonderful blogfriends I made on WordPress.com.
I hope to resume my regular blogging soon. May God bless you all, and His peace be with you!
The broken WordPress app misdated my last entry, and rather than break all the links I’ve already made, I thought I would share a link to it. When Protestants read the history of the early Church, do they understand the faith of those early Church Fathers to be the fruit of the Apostles, or rather the sign of a very early falling away from the truth of Christ? Examine with me the implications of these statements:
Hi, everybody. I am about to desperately enter the thesis cave once more, for one last stand. Only one of us (the thesis or me) will emerge alive. But because I have a bit of argumentation backed up from various conversations with folks recently, I thought I would try to make a few brief posts here and there, so as not to entirely let the blog languish. As you well know, brevity is not a strength of mine, so please bear with me.
Also, I want to offer a general apology for my attitude in some recent discussions. It’s so easy for me to let myself become heated in a debate, to lose sight of Christ in the moment, to let my argument become more about me and being right than about Him and sharing His Word and His Truth in charity. The truth and the richness of His Church is marvelous, and I want to share it with everyone I meet; but sometimes, I’m afraid, I go out into the blogosphere seeking critics and opponents of the Church, looking for a fight and finding it. While I do want very much to encourage and engage in dialogue with Protestants, and to defend my Church against unjust charges, misunderstandings, and misinformation, so often I fear I approach people aggressively and obnoxiously, with a spirit of pride and disputatiousness rather than one of brotherhood and love. So, to anyone whom I have offended, please forgive me. Dimitte me, Domine.
May the peace of Christ be with you all.
I have a few posts on the stove that I hope will be ready to share before too long, but in the meantime: my dear friends Jessica at All Along the Watchtower and 1CatholicSalmon have both awarded me the Liebster Award. Once again, I am humbled and honored to be recognized by these two very fine bloggers.
Jessica’s Watchtower is every day overflowing with insights into the Christian faith from a number of different perspectives, from traditional Anglican, to Anglo-Catholic, to Catholic proper, by her or one of her several contributors. Jessica herself is the most charitable and generous and supportive blogger I’ve ever have the blessing to meet: she has always been so encouraging to me here.
The Salmon is full with great thoughts and news and insights on the Catholic faith and all its richness, from a global (read: not provincial American) perspective that picks up on a lot of things that I miss (since I live in a small burrow and sometimes am afraid to peek out), as she fights upstream against the onslaught of modernity and secularism. She has also been very supportive and encouraging to me, always one to “like” my posts before I even knew who she was (I thought it was a little fishy at first).
So this Liebster Award (not Lobster, although that is nice, too) is meant to shine the spotlight on lesser-known blogs so that the rest of the world might find them. And I appreciate it so much.
Per the official rules of this latest permutation:
The requirements for accepting this award are:
- Post the Liebster award graphic on your site.
- Thank the blogger who nominated the blog for a Liebster Award and link back to their blog.
- The blogger then writes 11 facts about themselves so people who discover their blog through the Liebster post will learn more about them.
- In addition to posting 11 fun facts about themselves, nominated bloggers should also answer the 11 questions from the post of the person who nominated them.
- The nominated blogger will in turn, nominate 9 other blogs with 200 or less followers (We’re guessing for our nominees) for a Liebster award by posting a comment on their blog and linking back to the Liebster post.
- The nominated blogger will create 11 questions for their nominated blogs to answer in their Liebster post.
All right. I shall do my best.
I was born, and have lived my whole life, in the Great State of Alabama in the southern United States, within twenty miles of where numerous ancestors settled nearly 200 years ago.
I spent most of my growing up in an Assemblies of God church, but after wandering from there dabbled in Baptist (SBC), Methodist (UMC), and Presbyterian (PCA) churches, before finding my way home to the Catholic Church.
I knew who Darth Vader was before I knew who Ronald Reagan was.
Incidentally: The first movie I can remember seeing in the theaters was Return of the Jedi in 1983. (The Emperor gave me nightmares.)
I am addicted to all books, but have particularly vicious addictions to Bibles and dictionaries (Bible dictionaries — watch out!).
I have one brother who is fifteen months younger than me. People thought we were twins when we were kids, but now he’s a lot taller than me.
I’m a huge fan of Joss Whedon’s work, after I watched Firefly (years after it was cancelled), and my friend Braeli got me hooked on Buffy and Angel, which we watched all the way through. Dollhouse is another one that was gone too soon.
- Right now I’m reading a compelling book by Anglican historian Alister McGrath, Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification. I’ll give you a report when I’m done, but it may be a little while. It’s a difficult but worthwhile read, since it’s hard-core theological scholarship chocked full of untranslated Latin and Greek. It’s really giving my language skills a workout!
I have a great love for J.S. Bach, one of my favorite Lutherans ever, especially, at the moment, his organ works and harpsichord works. He is a barrel that I hope to never reach the bottom of.
I became involved in researching my genealogy when I was just sixteen, and it remains one of my biggest hobbies. Lately I’ve gotten interested in DNA genealogy, and I’ve traced my family tree back several generations and identified ancestors by getting in touch with genetic matches (my cousins).
I stumbled on teaching by accident, when shortly after graduating with my bachelor’s, a dear friend messaged me to ask if I’d like to teach history, Latin, and Greek at a Christian school. To my surprise, I found I loved it.
Questions from my Nominators
How long have you been blogging? About a year and a half with this blog. Before that I had a couple of other short-lived blogs years ago, and I rigorously maintained a semi-private LiveJournal for some seven or eight years.
What is your favourite food? My mom makes a chicken casserole that is my absolute favorite. Southern comfort food is the kind of food closest to my heart (probably literally). Beyond that: I love Italian and Mexican (especially the Tex-Mex variety served up by Rosie’s Cantina, a local restaurant and my favorite eatery).
What type of music do you like most? I listen to classical almost always. I’ve listened to J.S. Bach more than anybody else lately, and I also love early music, especially sacred, liturgical, a capella music. Josquin, Lassus, Dufay, Palestrina, Byrd, and Tallis are a few favorites. When I do listen to anything relatively modern, I like Christian music (Rich Mullins, Danielle Rose, Matt Maher, Audrey Assad, and David Crowder Band are a few favorites) and sometimes bluegrass.
Who inspires you most? Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the saints, especially Saints Peter and Paul, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Pope St. Gregory the Great, Saint Francis, and Saint Bernard. In terms of people in this life: my parents, my grandparents, and my brother.
Do you have a favourite poet? I’ve always been partial to Wordsworth. Coleridge is another who comes to mind. Emily Dickinson is my favorite American poet. I also love Chaucer and Shakespeare.
Do you have any pets? Not right now. My last pets were a betta fish named Ozymandias who lived an unfortunate and brief existence on account of my not really knowing how to care for a betta fish, and Muffin, the sweetest cocker spaniel in the whole wide world, who was my dog in high school and a few years after. I do have a hardy philodendron named Christina who has lived with me for six years or so, and is still prospering despite my horticultural ineptitude.
Do you prefer wine of beer or are you teetotal? I like both wine and beer a lot, but only seldom drink either.
Do you listen to the radio? I used to listen to NPR all the time, until my hard swing to Catholicism brought me to realize that they were suddenly too liberal and progressive for me. Now when I’m in the car I listen almost exclusively to podcasts, more often than not Catholic Answers Live.
Favourite film? I haven’t really thought about it in a while, but my answer used to be, and I guess still is, Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, or The Truman Show, or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Favourite food? Still southern. (See above.)
Religious leader you admire? Pope Francis; before him Pope Benedict XVI; before him Pope John Paul II. Do you sense a pattern? And of course Jesus Christ, Saint Peter, Saint Paul, Pope St. Gregory the Great, St. Francis, St. Bernard, St. Benedict, St. Ignatius of Loyola… And this from a guy who used to be a Protestant? Even when I was a Protestant, I think I would have given you the same answer. I really don’t recall ever having any particular admiration for any Protestant or evangelical leaders. My feelings as a Protestant were always tinged with doubt and distrust.
What inspired you to start blogging? This time around? A feeling that I needed to justify my affinity for the Catholic faith to those around me and possibly to myself. I felt compelled to write, and I thought it might be helpful to share my thoughts with others.
Religious leader you admire? See above.
Do you think having pets changes you? I would say it makes me overly responsible and concerned for their welfare, possibly to the detriment of other things I’m supposed to be doing. That’s one reason, despite thinking about it often, I never got another pet while I was living alone.
Is family important and why? Family is the most important thing to me, apart from my faith and my relationship with God. Because it’s the only thing in this life that can follow us to the next. My deep roots to home also include deep roots to family. I have parents and a brother, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, great-aunts and great-uncles, second cousins, and numerous other relatives who live close by or with whom I otherwise have close and loving relationships. The study of my genealogy has brought me in touch with many extended cousins whom I love as my own family, and many ancestors and other relatives in the next life of whom I think fondly and often and for whom I pray.
Do you pray regularly? Almost all the time in some form or another, but at dedicated times in the morning when I get up and in the evening when I go to bed. I’ve been trying to get in the habit of the Liturgy of the Hours throughout the day, but so far I’ve been too distracted.
Why is your Christian witness important? Because Jesus is my life and my light, and I want that light to shine before others (Matthew 5:16). I pray that in some way people will see Him and His love when they see me.
Do you think Jesus’ message is radical? Yes! It was radical to the Jews of His time on earth, in His rejection of a legalistic interpretation of the Law for the spirit of the Law, which is Love; it was radical to the Greco-Roman world, in teaching humility, selflessness, service to the lowly, self-denial, and self-emptying love — all ideas that were profoundly radical to the spirit of the age; and it’s radical still today, even after 2,000 years of cultural immersion in the Christian message in both the East and the West, in so many parts of the world. The natural inclination of man is to be selfish, self-seeking, and self-serving, but Jesus — to those who truly seek to understand Him and follow Him — calls us to be so much more.
What’s the favourite habit of your parish priest? Our parish doesn’t have a permanent priest, but relies on many visiting priests from around the diocese. And I don’t know any of them well enough outside of the Sacraments to describe their habits very well. I do like Fr. Michael’s habit of always saying the Roman Canon, which I rarely heard before I came here. Thinking of my pastor back before I moved here: Fr. Joe always defies expectation. Smoking cigars, reading comic books, playing video games, and of course blogging all things Catholic with his unique humor and depth of conviction.
My Nominees for the Award
Nine people? Really? Do I know that many people?
Anyway, I nominate the following people for this award. Repost it or don’t repost it; I to want to honor y’all.
- E.G. Norton at The Trenchcoat Introspective, another fellow traveler on this Catholic road, and a lovely one at that, full of deep and thought-provoking musings on our journey toward salvation, full of beauty and love and wisdom.
- Roy at Becoming a Catholic, whose Catholic journey and growth in the faith has been a joy to watch. Welcome to the Church, brother.
- Benjamin Palmer at Southern Reformation, whose depth of commitment to the faith and to confessional Reformed principles I admire. (And he’s Southern!)
How many is that? Just three? The next one I was going to name turned out to have 900-something followers. Sheesh! I think I’m done.
Questions for my Nominees
Phew! I forgot all about this part! A thousand pardons! These are some things I would be curious to know.
- How long have you been a Christian? How long have you been in the particular faith tradition you’re now in, and was there any journey involved in getting there? [Yes, I know that’s actually three questions.]
- Do you have a favorite bird? Why that one, or why not?
- What kinds of music do you listen to?
- What languages do you know, and how well?
- Who is your favorite super hero, and why?
- Do you like breakfast, and if so, what’s your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
- What’s your favorite book of the Bible, and why?
- What about biblical people: Who are your favorite people in the Old and New Testaments, respectively? (If you pick Jesus, pick a second one, too — He kind of has an unfair advantage.)
- What Bible translations, revisions, or editions do you prefer?
- Coffee, or tea, or both, or neither? (And if neither, what in the world do you drink?)
- Do you know your personality type, by the Meiers-Briggs Type Indicator? What about your Temperament? (For what it’s worth, I’m a through-and-through INFP, and a melancholic-phlegmatic temperament. If you don’t know yours, here are online versions of the test for the MBTI and one for the Temperaments. I haven’t tested either, so caveat susceptor. I think it’s fun and interesting, but if you don’t know and don’t care, or don’t feel like sharing, it is okay to skip this one.)
Please bear with me, friends. Last week I moved out of my apartment and back home to Alabama, my graduate coursework being at an end and it being expedient for the completion of my thesis. My whole life has been taken apart and put in boxes, and I’m now faced daily with the disconcerting feeling of not knowing where the things I need are. It’s going to take a little time to settle back in.
In the meantime, I am deeply honored and humbled to accept from Jessica her award as one of the Blogs of the Year. I strive to teach and to share the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith with anyone who might happen to stop by, and it’s gratifying to be recognized by someone with such an admirable blog as she. I thank her deeply and kindly for what an encouragement she has been to me.
I don’t understand all the rules that are supposed to go with this award. The only thing that really matters to me is thanking and recognizing the one who nominated me for the award, and passing it along to someone else. She named three people; I am also going to name three people, mostly because the two blogs to which I’m most inclined to give the award, the ones that have meant the most to me this year, have already received it: Jessica’s All Along the Watchtower and Laura’s Catholic Cravings.
Every day Jessica or her brother (in the Lord, and by marriage) Chalcedon451 posts some illuminating reflection on faith or history. The Watchtower (not to be confused with this Watchtower) blesses me daily, either with the sheer radiance and beauty of her thoughts and observations, from the point of view of a Catholic-leaning Anglican, or with the piercing brilliance and depth of his knowledge of history and the Church. Jessica is also my most faithful commenter and encourager here, and her blog and her friendship mean very much to me.
Laura’s Catholic Cravings is also a blog that blesses me as often as she posts. She, like me, is a recent convert to the Catholic Church, and I have gained a lot of insight into my own conversion by following along the road with her as she has recounted it, as well as purely enjoying the journey. She has a way of formulating and ordering thoughts and arguments for Protestants in favor of Catholicism, succinctly and sharply, yet gently, that I can only hope to emulate. She is also always full of lovely observations and connections and a ready and delightful wit. She posts a lot of beautiful paintings, too, and I like to think hers is a sister blog to mine, as I’m glad to have found in her a friend and sister in the Lord.
Okay, hmmm — one more? There are many to choose from. I think I’m going to pick one I’ve just recently discovered, that has amazed me and inspired me: Southern Reformation, whose author is known pseudepigraphically as Benjamin Palmer. He is perhaps the most hard-core of all the hard-core Presbyterians I have ever met, bearing a passion and dedication that is delightful and invigorating to see. So being, he is also less than friendly to Catholicism, but he has nonetheless been friendly and welcoming to me, in Christian love and Southern hospitality. I do not know his whereabouts, but any fellow Southerner, as well as a brother in the Lord, is a friend of mine. He is a brilliant scholar and theologian, armed with a knowledge of Greek and Hebrew that puts my amateurish pickings to shame, and a sharp and critical mind to discover error and see the truth. It is plain to see his love and devotion for the Lord and for His Church: I can only pray that he might examine his preconceptions and find that the Catholic Church serves the same Lord and is a part of His Church also. 😉
Hmm, and there was something about collecting stars (?):
I think you’re supposed to add a star every time you receive this award? I guess that means Jessica and Laura can both add a star.
Oh, and there’s another thing: exciting news and a post that’s rushing out of the barrel — soon. Stay tuned!
In talking to a dear friend the other night, who is a new Christian, I realized that sometimes my complaints about Protestants and Protestant theology can be taken in the wrong spirit. (Sometimes I fear they’re made in the wrong spirit.)
My friend was confused and worried that in my lashing out against “Protestants,” I was speaking to her. Let me first say this: I believe that all people who call on the name of Jesus, who believe He is the Son of God, who believe He died for our sins are was raised from the dead that we might be, too — all people who affirm the core and fundamental truths of the Christian faith, as stated in the three ecumenical creeds of the Church (the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed) — can rightfully call themselves Christians and can be saved. All we Christians of particular doctrines have many disagreements about finer points of theology, even about who is saved and how one is saved, but we agree on this: Christ is our Savior, and we are saved solely by God’s grace. We have all been baptized into the one Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12‒13) — in a real sense, we are all One in Him.
That said, I have come to the conviction that the Roman Catholic Church is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church that Christ founded (Matthew 16:18) — a visible Church, that the world can see and identify. I do believe that those many Christians — in particular meaning Protestants — who are outside that visible Church are at a disadvantage, lacking some essential doctrines and especially the integrity guaranteed by apostolic succession and the means of grace in the Sacraments — but I affirm, with the Church, that Protestant churches carry elements of Christ’s Truth and His sanctification and can bear souls to Him for salvation (Second Vatican Council, 1964, Unitatis redintegratio 3.2).
I believe it’s gravely wrong that we have created such division in Christ’s Church, His Spotless Bride. I pray every day that God will reunite the Church; that He will help us find reconciliation with each other and heal our ancient wounds and gashes. I pray that through my blog I might lead others toward that reconciliation, or toward the convictions I myself have reached about the Catholic Church.
But even more important than that — infinitely more important than that — I pray and long that people may find Christ and know Him, by whatever avenue they find Him. If you find truth in my blog, I hope and pray above all that it’s the truth and the love of Christ. Finding His love and His grace is more precious than any fine point of doctrine: for as the Pharisees, I can be knowledgeable and orthodox and right about doctrine and practice, and yet entirely miss the point: it’s love. I could memorize the Catechism backward and forward; attend Mass every day of the year; fast and do penance to the point of utter mortification — and yet if I didn’t have love, I would have nothing and be nothing (1 Corinthians 13).
So if you find a place where you can meet Jesus, where His love lives and is lived, where you are loved and nurtured and find faith and grace and healing — stay there: especially if you are a baby Christian. If you find I am speaking the truth about history and doctrine and practice — if you come to believe with me that the Catholic Church is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic one — don’t feel, unless the Holy Spirit compels you, that you’re expected to immediately jump the ship you’re on and swim the Tiber. I’d much rather you stay in the loving and nurturing and edifying place God has brought you than make this arduous quest before you’re ready. I would much rather plant confederates all throughout the Body of Christ, who are convinced of the truth of the Church and the necessity of reconciliation and reunification, who might influence others from the inside to lay aside old prejudices, who might urge the Church, from where they are, toward reunion, than have anybody break ties with their Christian brothers and sisters and strike out alone.
I pray that we might all one day break bread together again. But until then, love God, love your neighbor, and strive to be transformed by that love.
Today I’m struggling with a difficult post, so I thought I would give you something light.
Annedisa of Life, Christ & Me nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award some time ago. Liebster is German for “dearest.” And today I wanted to dedicate this award to you, mein liebster Leser (my dearest readers).
The award originated, my Google nosing* has revealed, as an award to honor up-and-coming bloggers with fewer than 200 readers. I honestly don’t really know how many readers I have, but I’m sure it’s fewer than 200. So, thank you, dear Annedisa. I don’t know whether my blog is “up and coming” or not, but I pray that wherever it may go, it speaks the truth in love.
* Thanks to Sopphey for in fact doing said nosing, which my nosing quickly happened upon. A splendid research into the history of the internets.
Annedisa’s blog is a lovely place always full with beauty and inspiration, and I enjoy it a lot. Check it out, if you haven’t!
Now I’m supposed to nominate eleven people — but I don’t really think I know eleven people. According to the original rules, as near as Sopphey could surmise, one was supposed to nominate 3–5 other bloggers with fewer than
3,000 200 readers†. I think I’ll go with that instead.
† Apparently the original specification was 3,000, but I think the change to 200 was a reasonable emendation. We little people need all the help we can get. Gadzooks, I wouldn’t even know what to do with 3,000 readers…
Annedisa also gave me some interview question, which I’ll answer. To add a little jazz, why don’t we do this: I’ll add a question to the list at the end (#12 below will be mine), for the next person to answer. Each person I pass this to will add a question, too — so the interview gets longer and longer, and more and more interesting. (I’ll go ahead and specify that if this really keeps going and the interview reaches 30 or so questions, someone needs to edit it down to a reasonable number again and pick only out the best questions.)
First, before this gets too long, let me nominate a few of my liebster bloggers (I’m not quite sure how to tell how many readers a blog has, but I think it’s safe to assume that most of us in our little Catholic WordPress circle are not Big Wheels):
Laura at Catholic Cravings, a dear fellow convert and fellow Medievalist‡, always blesses me with lovely, witty, astute, or thought-provoking observations on the Church and her road to it.
‡ I’m only part-Medievalist; but I’m sufficiently drawn in that direction that I claim it.
Roy at Becoming a Catholic, a dear candidate I discovered just a few days ago, walking the road of his conversion now, through the path of RCIA. I’m excited to be here to cheer him on!
1CatholicSalmon, who has been “liking” many of my posts lately, and I appreciate the encouragement more than you can know. Your blog is full of passion for the faith and strength in the face of rushing stream of modernity. May you go on rowing against the current!
Here are the instructions for reposting:
- Post the award image in a post of your own.
- Acknowledge who gave you the award (and link back to them).
- Choose 3–5 other bloggers who you think should be noticed more than they are and should have more readers, and pass the award on to them.
- Copy the interview questions below and answer them.
- Make up a question of your own and add it to the bottom, and answer it for yourself.
- Copy these instructions somewhere in the message to pass it on.
All right, without further ado, the questions:
1. A book that changed your life: The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander. I’d like to tell that story sometime. But it was the first book that I recall really setting me on fire with a passion for reading and fantasy, when I was about seven years old.
2. Your favourite author/writer: Lloyd Alexander to this day remains one of my favorites; his books are still wonderfully entertaining to me. I recently dusted off my Dickens and I enjoy him a lot. I’ve been reading a lot of Catholic apologetics, etc., lately, especially Karl Keating, Jimmy Akin, Scott Hahn, and others. So I don’t really have a single favorite.
3. Pet and its name: My last pet was a betta fish called Ozymandias (Ozzy for short).
4. Craziest thing you have done: In due time.
5. My best friend: I have several, and they know who they are.
6. A childhood prank: At my tenth birthday party sleepover, one of my friends called the local radio station and pretended to be locked in the bathroom at the mall after hours, and asked if they could send somebody out to help him. Oddly, this was before cell phones were common — so I’m not sure how someone locked in the bathroom at the mall would have called a radio station. Ten-year-old logic. The DJ did mention my friend’s supposed predicament on the air. It was amusing at the time.
7. Favourite music artist: This changes frequently, and can fall into several categories:
- Favorite classical composers: Josquin des Prez, J.S. Bach, Orlande de Lassus, Tómas Luis de Victoria, Frédéric Chopin, William Byrd, Thomas Tallis, Guillaume Dufay — This could go on a while.
- Favorite classical artists: Oxford Camerata, Tallis Scholars, The Sixteen, Hillard Ensemble, Wolfgang Rübsam, John Eliot Gardiner with the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists, Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields — To name a few.
- Favorite contemporary artists: Rich Mullins, Danielle Rose (discovered her very recently and like her a lot), Matt Maher, Audrey Assad, David Crowder Band — To name a few.
So yes, it’s hard to narrow me down.
8. A place you would love to visit: I pine for Rome. I have a grand pilgrimage planned out, if I should ever have the time and money for it: A long time in Rome, then Assisi, then Florence, then Milan, then Pavia, then Turin (with many stops along the way), then up through Geneva to see Calvin’s stomping grounds — then either to France or Germany to see more saints; I haven’t really planned past Italy. But probably France, to pursue St. Bernard. Also, I’d love to go to England, especially London and Oxford and Cambridge, and York and Durham and Lindisfarne — and Scotland and Ireland, too. That sounds like another trip or four.
9. If you had just 5 minutes left to live what is the one thing I would do?: Ideally, I would be in bed surrounded by my family and my pastor receiving the last rites. But supposing I’m not — I’d fall on my knees and pray and confess whatever sin might be on my heart and throw myself upon the mercy of God.
10. Favourite sport: I agree with Annedisa: Does blogging count? Other than that, I would say American college football.
11. How do you define love?:
- Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. (1 John 4:7-9)
- Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:10)
- Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
12. Who’s your favo(u)rite saint? St. Paul, St. Gregory the Great, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Augustine of Hippo, St. Ambrose of Milan, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Bede the Venerable, St. Thérèse of Lisieux — So many precious people; you know you can’t nail me down.
Last night I happened upon something nifty I thought I would share: an online gadget someone has set up for the Year of Faith to enable one to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church in a year. I think this is an amazing and worthy goal for this Year of Faith. Catechesis — the teaching of the faith, to ourselves and others — is at the core of the New Evangelization.
As a candidate, I started trying to read the Catechism cover-to-cover, but I really didn’t get very far. This time I intend to follow through. The daily chunks don’t seem to be too big — today it was seven paragraphs — so this is doable for just about anyone. Today is just Day 2; so it’s not too late to get on board by any stretch. I want to encourage you all, whether you’re a committed Catholic or a wandering seeker or just a curious observer, to embark on this journey with me. The Year of Faith is the time to delve into and discover the riches of the Catholic faith.
My dear friend Jessica has highlighted in warmth and charity a remarkable but largely overlooked moment here at the beginning of our Year of Faith: Jessica’s own archbishop, the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, addressed the Catholic Synod of Bishops in Rome yesterday, offering meaningful words on the contemplation of Christ and its essential connection with sharing Christ with others. As the bishops and Catholics worldwide discuss the New Evangelization and our call to share the Gospel in today’s world, his words were especially timely.
But even more than what Archbishop Williams said, I am gladdened by the ecumenical step this represents — both that Pope Benedict invited Archbishop Williams to speak, that Williams agreed, and that the Catholic bishops received him graciously. To my knowledge, this is the first time the leader of a major Protestant sect has ever addressed an assembled synod of Catholic bishops. This may seem to some a small step, but considering the five hundred years of history that have passed between us, the bloodshed and fear and anger and many martyrs for both causes — this, to me, marks a huge step forward.
The Anglican Communion, especially some branches of it like Jessica’s, may be closer in thought and feeling to Rome than any other division of our separated brethren — in fact, some branches are already breaking off to return to us. Archbishop Williams’ address to our bishops is but one step — but the road to reunion must be walked a step at a time. It is my deepest and sincerest hope that we can continue to take steps such as this.