Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sexuality and Authority

The goodness of the created order is founded on the primordial covenant in which God the Creator names something else, something other than Himself as good.  This something other is His creation constructed according to the beauty of covenantal differentiation.  The primary symbols of this covenant are the male and female person.  Salvation does not annihilate the self, thus it does not annihilate sexual difference, but according to the faith of the Church, the order of redemption rests upon the bodily symbols of man and woman.  The manner in which these symbols function redemptively in the order of grace is the basis for male and female authority in the Catholic church.

---Monica Migliorino Miller, Sexuality and Authority in the Catholic Church

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Fried Rice Pilaf, sort of

This is one of my favorite ways to use rice.  You can toss in tons of veggies, whatever you like.  Or you can have it plainer as a side dish -- even without the eggs.  With the eggs and veggies though, it is a complete one-dish meal.

Brown Rice
1 cup brown rice
2 cups (1 small can) chicken broth
1/2 cup water

--- cook the rice as you normally would, a day or two ahead of time and refrigerate.

Fried Rice Pilaf
 medium onion, small dice
2-3 cloves garlic, smashed and diced
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/8 to 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts or whole pine nuts
pinch of cinnamon
3 cups cooked brown rice
3 eggs lightly beaten
1-2 cups julienned spinach
3 T Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Saute onions and garlic in the olive oil until clear.
Add rice, pinch of cinnamon and spinach, stir until spinach wilts
Stir in nuts and eggs, keep stirring until eggs are cooked

You can add any other veggies you like or omit the veggies and eggs for a plain side dish.  It will keep in the refrigerator for several days in a well-sealed container.

Social Darwinism at Work

With little evidence in their favor, and sometimes great evidence to the contrary, courts are increasingly imposing death sentences on the innocent.

Names like Karen Ann Quinlan and Nancy Cruzan ring distant bells, having been forgotten by most.  Terri Schiavo, whose battle was more prolonged and received much more attention, is remembered by more people. But how many people yet know that name of a 32-year-old Massachusetts woman who suffers from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder who is the subject of the latest court-instigated death order?  Not for her, but for the child she has carried in her womb for 5 months now.

The parents of the woman are seeking legal guardianship so they can order the death of their grandchild.  Her court-appointed Guardian ad Litem found that the woman who has described herself as being "very Catholic" would want to have the baby.  In the face of the woman's beliefs and the findings of her GAL, the lower court went far beyond merely making a contrary order.  In fact, the lower court pulled out of thin air a sterilization order in addition to ordering an abortion. Thankfully the appellate judge has thrown out the sterilization order but has remanded the abortion ruling back to the lower court which will hear the case and make a new ruling.

All this in direct opposition to a 1982  Massachusetts Supreme Court decision which found that the right to give birth, "must be extended to all persons, including those who are incompetent."  The lower court abortion/sterilization ruling is even more troubling given the woman's previous history - she suffered a psychotic break after a previous abortion.  She believed people were telling her she killed her baby.

By the way, about her name?  We don't know her name.  She is only known as "Mary Moe" in the court records.

Pray for "Mary Moe".  God loves her and does know her name.

Life Site News coverage here

"History of Death" story here

Friday, January 6, 2012

On the Feast of the Epiphany

I've seen a meme that seems to be gaining traction in the twitterverse.  Instead of making a boatload of New Year's Resolutions that last all of three hours, choose one word.  Instead of buckshot, it's more like a sniper approach.  One word makes one theme to guide your year.  It provides focus and clarity, a foundation instead of sixteen rooms with nothing holding them up. (how's that for a bouquet of metaphors?)

I have thought about this off and on since I started hearing about it between Christmas and New Year.  But every word I came up with seemed as if it was someone else's word.  And then this morning, I had my own personal epiphany.  In an uncertain place where I seem to be facing a mid-life career change and having spent a year arguing with God about that, about how I thought my life would look and how I was so very wrong about it all, I found peace.  I realized that whatever I end up doing to keep a roof over my head and beans in the crock pot, I've known for a very, very long time what my vocation was.

That's the word: vocation

And here's a website to help you: My One Word

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

China's Culture War

China's president and Communist Party head, Hu Jintao believes hostile powers are trying to "westernize" China and that country must take serious measures to prevent this Western cultural colonization.  At the same time, the country must work to develop Chinese culture because of the "growing spiritual and cultural demands of the people".  China's rulers see Christianity as the essence of Western culture.  They are acting to nationalize Chinese culture and take tighter control of the Internet, blogs and other news outlets.

Look for persecution of Chinese Christians to increase.

Read the original article here.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Children: The Casualties of Individual Freedom

With an unprecedented amount of freedom in regard to personal moral choices, barely half of all adults in the U.S. are married.  Bastardy is a word now only read in historical novels, it is no longer a social reality.  But with the removal of the power to stigmatize comes the lessening of social and even legal pressures which direct young people toward marriage.

The casualties of this freedom are our children.  Mothers struggle to be both sole provider and sole nurturer and fathers often lose contact with their children despite their best intentions and legal provisions.  Children are then deprived of the security of having both parents in the home and are subjected to unknown risks when a stranger enters their home as their mother's* new beau.

Read Rick Banks on the costs to our children here.

*the majority of single-parent homes are headed by mothers

Reasons for Hope

I ran across several blog posts and articles over the New Year looking back at 2011 and looking forward to 2012.  Both looked up at reasons for hope rather than down and reasons to be discouraged.  Let me share a few with you:

The Gregorian Institute at Benedictine College in Kansas offers seven events of 2011 which are cause for hope in the future.  The lasting impact of the 1993 World Youth Day event here in Denver is shown in a rise in both priestly and family vocations.  2011 marked the year "Denver babies" started college.  The Penn State and Hollywood sex abuse scandals provide an opportunity for the Catholic Church to move from villain to advocate.  Catholicism, the book and video series by Fr. Robert Barron featured in several Catholic lists and was said to mark the merger of the New Evangelization with excellence in media production.  Read more about these and the rest of the items on Gregorian's list here.

Catholic Vote's Top Ten Reasons for Hope also mentioned the World Youth Day movement as well as the youth involvement in events like the March for Life event in January.  Coming in at #10 on their list is an event I would have put at the top - Geron Corporation's abandonment of embryonic stem cell research. While adult stem cell-based therapies continue to march forward with new hope for patients, embryo-destructive stem cell research has hit a road block which may spell a sea change.  Watch the video here.

And, for the Anglophiles among us, Peter Oborne takes a look at The Return to Religion.  After suffering a decades-long decline, church attendance in England is on the rise.  The increase in attendance at Sunday services is particularly noticeable in London. As the neighborhood post office, grocery and doctor's surgery close, the church steeple remains and becomes more inviting.  As these community fixtures continue to disappear, the churches and members are finding news ways to connect to their communities.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My favorite 2011 Posts

Not as much fun, and not as much cooking as I would have liked on this blog last year.  But there are a few posts I'd like to hang out front again as little reminders.

The first is a bittersweet post.  It is always heartening to hear about pro-life heroes in Hollywood.  It's sad though, when so often we hear about it in their obituaries.  Perhaps that is as it should be - no one does that sort of work in order to boost their fame and fortune.  They do it because it is the right thing to do and they can't not do it. Jane Russell was one such hero.

I'm always excited to hear about a new health food discovery.  Especially one that is so very satisfying.  Courtesy of my friend Brian St. Paul (formerly of Inside Catholic), we all learned that booze is the new health food..  To quote one of the wise founders of this country, "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy".

Just to prove I don't mind poking fun at  myself and to assuage the fears of some that I go running to behind the broad shoulders of certain brothers in the faith when the going gets tough and danger knocks at my door, I give you the Alligator whisperer.  (p.s. that is not tape, it's a scrunchy)

Bachmann and the feminist double-standard

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is not most people's idea of a feminist.  Mother of five children and foster-mother to 23 more, she has spoken of being submissive to her husband.  Just what that "submission" looks like for the Bachmanns became evident in the controversy that erupted after Byron York's question to her in one of the early Republican candidate forums:

As president, would you be submissive to your husband?

He needn't have bothered asking.  According to several attempts at clarification on the Sunday morning round of shows, in the Bachmann marriage wifely submission turns out to be nothing more sinister than mutual respect.  However, York was right to ask the question as I have argued previously.  Bachmann is different because she is a woman.  But the question was deemed out of bounds and unfair.  Some said it was wrong of him to ask it of her if her wouldn't have asked it of any of the men on the stage.  Isn't that the point?  None of the men on that stage, to my knowledge, have ever professed they believe there is a biblical mandate for them to submit to their wives.  It was a different question because she is a different candidate.  But York got boo'd and we were reminded once again you can't treat women differently from men. 

At least not until the woman wants you to.

And now, with her star fading and her poll numbers down in the single digits, Bachmann wants us to treat her differently.  According to today's AP article Bachmann, "has made the gender card central to her closing argument". Evoking  Margaret Thatcher and repeating the theme, "it's time to put a mom in the White House", she hopes to give herself enough of a bump come caucus day to regain some credibility and keep her campaign going.  

It's a risky move.  Iowa has never sent a woman to Washington as a member of its congressional delegation nor has it ever put a woman in the governor's office.  Sunday morning guest preaching gigs will not endear her to the sort of conservative Evangelical who believes what prominent Complementarians (who embraced Sarah Palin's position on the Republican ticket in 2008) teach - that men are charged with leadership in the home and church but  are not so sure about politics.  Many Complementarians support women in civic leadership positions even when they do not support Pastor Polly.

So you can vote for Michele Bachmann because she is a woman and in the words of one supporter, "Gutsy has never looked so gorgeous".  But don't you dare ask her a question about how women do things differently.