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.)