Thursday, May 9, 2013

Doubting Catholicism

I don't think I can remain Catholic anymore. I am having a really hard time reconciling the Bible and early Christian history with what has been the Roman Catholic church for the last 1500 years. I have been reading like a mad woman and am hoping God will show me what I need to know. There are so many Catholic theologians who do not agree with each other on so much, and the papacy has a helluva history for screwing things up. Sure good things have been done too. But what I see is a huge disconnect with the majority of the laity (in the West...Europe, US, Canada) and the hierarchy.

There is also the development of dogma which has been more than questionable...Mary's immaculate conception and the Assumption of Mary. Also JP II encyclical referring to Mary as co-redeemer. Ummm, I don't think so. I tried to ignore that stuff, after my conversion to Catholicism, but it's hard to ignore when I am told that by missing a Marian Holy Day I am committing a mortal sin and will go to Hell unless I confess it. Really? I mean REALLY? I have a really hard time believing that when I read the New Testament.

Anyway, that is where things stand for me. I don't hold any malice toward any Catholics personally. Most of my friends are Catholic and I love them to bits. I just have issues with the Catholicism. And I'd rather not be a dissident Catholic inside the church, but a happy Christian outside.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring has Sprung...yuk

It is truly amazing how when the temps go up, I go down. Normally it's supposed to be the other way around. You know...S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder) is supposed to be about Winter. When the temps go down, and the days are darker more people are pitching themselves off of bridges. This is when it's my turn. What sucks, for me, as a Catholic is that this is the time of Lent. NOT GOOD. So, what I end up 'giving up' tends to be God or Mass or Prayer. I don't think that is what the Magisterium had in mind.

I know this is a time of looking inward, but what I see in here scared the bejesus out of me so no thanks. It's a time of self mortification. Catholics just love suffering...apparently. Well, I think I should be exempt. I have something just heinous going on in my lower back and right hip. Some docs say Sciatic pain, some say Trochenteric Bursitis of my right hip, others say Piriformis Syndrome. Know what I frickin sucks and I want it to go away or I want major drugs to anesthetize me. So, since I am stuck in physical therapy, which is making it worse right now (I can't get comfortable lying down AT ALL, which makes sleep nigh impossible) Why nigh....coz there are things like muscle relaxants and benzodiazipine type drugs that will shove me into unconsciousness. But it still sucks. So I am considering all this pain and lack of sleep my mortification because why on EARTH would I want to make it worse for myself??? I am trying to offer it up. But I am a taurus and I bull through everything. I just hope some of it counts for something.

I wish I knew what it was about all the sun and hot that gets to me so badly. You know how some of you out there just loathe Winter. That is exactly how I feel about Summer (and some of Spring too...the hot parts). Now, of course, because I live in the northern burbs of Atlanta it is amazingly beautiful here right now. The flowers, bushes and trees are blooming. Azalea's, Dogwoods, Forsythia it's all so pretty but it comes at the price of my sanity and spirituality. As I get older this seasonal bipolarity is getting really annoying. I mean I know it's coming. I try every little mental trick to move past it but still I am dragged into a desparing pit of depression no matter what. I feel like I am bilocating sometimes, like I can see myself from the outside and I know the problem is temporary but it feels SO REAL.

Combine all this with a lack of appropriate for me air conditioning because my house is an open floor plan so nothing ever really cools off well, except for a few bedrooms. I mean I could really crank it but it would cost damn near a 1k a month to do that and I just can't justify it. So, I spend alot of time in my air conditioned very cold minivan which helps in one way but hurts in another. Driving just kills my hip. I gotta go to confession before Easter. What do I say, "I confess I am losing my religion because it's hot out?"

Oy Vay!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

See what happens in Winter.

I'm back. I know, you missed me. Ha! Well, it's cold...and it even snowed on Christmas in Atlanta. It was awesome. A gift from above. "What is that, Rachel? Did you say, gift from above?  I thought you were really pissed at God." Well, yeah, I was. And I still have stuff to work out with the Big Man Upstairs, but too many of you wrote really wonderful comments. And they got me to thinking. I started thinking about all my blessings, instead of all my perceived curses. And there are so many, that I realized I can't be that spoiled child that I was in my previous post. I actually had this epiphany awhile back, but didn't get around to writing about it until now. Suffice to say that I just had to have a reality check. Life is not perfect, I will not get everything I want, even if it's really 'good' stuff that I want. I am not talking about things here. 

So, yes, I will always have friends who have tons of kids, and I'll wish I were one of them, but have decided to be content knowing that I am not. The upside is I have time to go out to dinner with my Hunny, like we did last night, and know I don't have to get home right away to nurse a baby. Yes, my nest is going to be empty a lot faster than some of my large family friends' are, but I'll find something fun and useful to society to do, when  that time comes. And hopefully, someday soon (well sooner than later), I'll have grandchildren and will be young enough to enjoy them. It's a good thing God is so good and so much bigger and better than I am. He can take all my rantings and ravings and turn them into praising and thanking with the counsel friends, commenters, priests, prayers and, of course, the Mass.

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and I hope your 2011 is truly filled with peace, hope, and love. 


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My worldview turned on it's head. Some history and a RANT

Okay. I have gone through phases like this before. However they are VERY short lived and usually only happen in the Summer. It is Fall now. The weather is much cooler. I can't get a whole lot happier than the season right now. This is when I am so tuned into God. And you know what? I couldn't be less. What is weird is that it isn't God who I am having a problem with. It's who every person in the world says God is: Jews, Protestants, Catholics, Muslims, Hindus, Bhuddists, you name it. Organized religion has got me down, waaaaayyyyyyyy down. I can't seem to reconcile who I am with any other belief system other than say, Deism, the beliefs of our Founding Fathers.
I wrote the above statement in October of 2009. I just found it while looking over my blog posts. I realized that it was still a draft so I clicked 'edit' to see what it was. Needless to say I was kinda stunned because the content of that paragraph is exactly what I wanted to tackle today. I am kind of still in the same place. They tell me Mother Theresa went through this. I have not read the book about it, so I can't comment.

Here's my dilemma. First let me give a little background. I was born, baptised and raised a cultural Presbyterian. We went to church. I loved singing hymns, but that was all it meant. As a kid I was REALLY interested in spiritual things and my favorite book, which I still have, was a National Geographic title called Great Religions of the World. Fast forward and when I was 13, my dad 'Got Saved'. Suddenly he was talking about Christianity in a more personal way than I ever understood it. But he was really confusing, especially since he was talking about being a new creation in Christ and he seemed like the same ole dad to me. Fast forward to when I was 18. I think it was February, and my dad had talked my mom, brother, and me into going to a Billy Graham Crusade. I, being the idealist that I am, was bowled over, and walked down with throngs of people, at the ending 'altar call' to receive Christ as my Lord and Savior. Later that week, I would find a Church, as it turned out I went to Good Shepherd Methodist Church in West Palm Beach, FL. They had a very active and vibrant youth group. I made a bunch of friends there, deepened my new found faith, and even recently have reconnected with some of those folks through Facebook.

So, from 18 to 34, I remain a fairly active Evangelical Christian. As most protestants do, I dabbled in denominationalism. I went from the Methodists to the Episcopalians to the Lutherans- Missouri Synod, to Southern Baptists (where I was re-baptised), back to the Presbyterians- PCA. I tried some fundamentalist churches too, with their hands in the air and speaking in tongues. It scared the shit out of me! I kept trying to find the denomination that fit me. Some were too uptight, too legalistic, too liberal. Gosh, it drove me crazy. I tried to fit in and make friends and sometimes it worked for a little while but I never felt like I belonged anywhere. My parents even found a pastor who was churchless and we set up a home non denominational church in our house for a couple of years. We had 20 people coming to it for a while. (Tho it was just really a glorified bible study.)

At 34, my mother, who I loved more than God (being honest here), was diagnosed with colon cancer right after Mother's Day 2000; the day Autumn was baptised. Autumn was baptised in a Presbyterian church, as was Andrew, Ben was baptised in a Methodist church. Mom suffered for 5 months, the colon cancer had spread to both lobes of her liver...a death sentence....and then she was gone. She died just a few weeks shy of her 54th birthday, in a Catholic hospital (interestingly) with all of us surrounding her.

Okay, so did I pray that my mom, the best grandmother in the world, would be healed? Yes. Constantly. Did I pray that her suffering be relieved. Yes. Constantly. Did I pray that God help me to find a way to help her. Yes. Constantly. Was she healed? No. Did she suffer horribly. Oh yes. Was I able help give her a lobe of my liver? No. Was I pissed? HELL YES! I was so angry at God. SOOOOOOO ANGRY. I joked with really good friends, who are Catholic, during Lent several months later, that I had given Jesus up for Lent (tho, I had never really celebrated Lent as a protestant...not really). Btw, I thought Catholicism was a cult and Catholics poor duped souls. I was always trying to get Catholic friends to leave the Church.

(Let me state emphatically right now...don't trust me...ever....I don't trust myself anymore. Believe what you want, it's none of my business.)

Back to my story (which I am sure is just riveting) fast forward again. I'm not going to church anywhere. I still mad. It's been a couple of years since mom died. Our Catholic friends (R&K) are over for dinner and K says I should come with them soon to a spaghetti dinner at their Church and after, if I am interested, I could go to this program for people interested in becoming Catholic. Que inner monologue "Who me? Catholic? Ha! Join that Whore of Babylon of a so called Church....Ha! Right? People actually BECOME Catholic? Why the heck would they want to do that? " So, I said, NO. And when they left, I promptly went up and googled 'Protestant Converts to Catholicism'. Needless to say, and another long story, I was blown away. The net of it was I did alot of reading. Went to RCIA, and after some roadblocks here and there, became Catholic in Novemember of 2003. (Note: I have written my conversion story to the Catholic Church and given it as a speech at several retreats. I have never transcribed it here, because it is long, and I am lazy. I am very convincing, very persuasive. I think due in large part to a dad who always played Devil's Advocate and my private prep school education. Word to the wise....don't listen to me.)

Since becoming Catholic I have learned all I can. Starting out, it was difficult not to throw myself into uberCatholicdom so, naturally, that is what I did. I went to all 4 years of a Bible/Encyclical study called FAMILIA. Some of my Catholic friends (R & K) probably thought I was pretty intolerable, looking back they were right. All in all, it was the first time in my spiritual life that I ever felt like I truly belonged. I was welcomed into the Church with open arms and have made truly wonderful friends there. The first and foremost being R & K, who I still completely love and adore. They were our sponsors coming in to the Church (Robert, who was raised Catholic never was confirmed so that is what happened for him, and then our marriage was convalidated).

Fast forward to about a year to 18 months ago. The disenchanment began, somewhere in there. I started to wake up to the fact that God always wins. Not that I want to win, but He always wins. If anything good happens, God did it. If anything bad happens, God allowed it and He will bring good from it (uh, I am still waiting for the good from mom's death...I have become estranged from my father (he went nuts when she died) I have lost both parents and my kids lost both their maternal 'good' is that!?!) Also, if I do anything good, it's Christ in me that does it, if I do anything's all me....all me and my sinful nature rearing it's ugly head. What about the many people I know ,who are really great, kind, generous, caring people who don't believe in anything....or believe in a completely different God, what then? And, again, just being honest here, both Heaven and Hell don't seem all that great to me. One is eternal suffering, the other eternally praising God. One sounds awfully painful and the other painfully boring.

Now, I have read ALOT of theology. I have read Church history. There is no denying Christ existed and there seems to be more historical proof that he not only existed but did what he did and said what he said, than there is historical documentation proving my or your existance. (And I'm not just talking about the Bible here, I am talking about other historical documents of the time). I also happen to believe that the basic celebration of the Eucharist of the Catholic Church (and even the Orthodox Church) is the closest we have to what the original Christians were doing. However, after all the shit that continues to come down in the Church I have become so turned off. And yeah, I know, the standard response (excuse) is that it's spiritual warfare....the Devil is coming against the Church. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Or maybe, just maybe, all these so-called leaders of the Church should be more properly vetted? Look, I am no angel, but I am no Fr. Maciel. Holy shit. What evil, twisted mo fo.

But you know, maybe priests should be able to marry. Have you ever looked into the history of how the celibate priesthood came into being? Without any kind of agenda-glasses on? It was for the church to make money and aquire land. Then they tacked on spiritual reasons later. The whole thing with the Legionaires of Christ and their lay apostolate Regnum Christi really sickened me. I got to thinking. How easily I could been duped by them? I went to their study group FAMILIA for 4 years and when you are done with it Regnum Christi makes a pitch for you to join them. I didn't. I'm glad. But how close I almost came to drinking that Kool-aid scares me. But it also makes me wonder how much other Kool- aid have I been drinking?

I'm really over the redemptive suffering thing and the reparation suffering thing. I don't see my suffering redeeming anyone or anything. And what is worse is that I have met people really into that and they dont seem happy or they are really judgemental. They show no love of Christ, no mercy, no forgiving attitude (only to each other in their little club) but for everyone else....just judgement...holier than though CRAP! I went to this Alliance of Two Hearts seminar given by this Fr. Bing dude. It scared me horribly. I mean, I left there thinking, "OMG, if this is Catholicism, what the Hell did I do joining this Church?" I mean, I felt like vomiting. I was so overloaded with a sense of guilt and shame and hopelessness that I almost cried. All it did was solidify what I continue to see all around me everywhere, people love to sit in judgement of everyone else. They want to think they are right and have the right answers and as a result, God is going to reward them and damn everyone else. I mean, for crying out loud, look at the Jihadist Muslims. How crazy are they? And they believe that what they are doing is what God wants of them. And so do so many Catholics, and Protestants, and Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, goodness...the list goes on. For what it is worth, I believe that suffering is suffering and suffering sucks and everyone suffers over something...get used to it....end of story.

Let me set up an example from my life: Long before becoming Catholic I was having a real problem with birth control. I think it is evil. And not from a religious point of view. Fertility is not a disease. Loading a woman up with artificial chemicals to render her a female enuch just so she is sexually available at all times is the height of mysogyny. And that women have 'bought it' that it is their right to chemically sterilize themselves is even more disgusting. I have been on those pills and shots. You know what they do? They make for a moody, fat, sexually distinterested woman who is prone to stroke and breast cancer. Sounds like the lotto to me! And condoms are no better. I mean, when we used to use them, way back, what differentiated me from any other woman? Sure, my husband loved me, and was committed to me. But, when you have an affair, wouldn't one use a condom? If I, as a married woman, am so special, well then, I shouldn't have to fill myself with chemicals or rubber stoppers filled with spermacide that only makes me itch. Nor should do I have to deal with a piece of synthetic material between me and my hubby. I don't cover the rest of my body in saran wrap when we are making love, so why cover one of the most important parts. Oh, so that leaves me with physical sterilization. Mmm, sounds awesome! No thanks. I have a cycle, I'll watch it. I'll excercise some self control for a bit which will only make it more fun later.

Whoa...did I digress or, my example is this, one of the things I was excited about in regards to being Catholic is that the Church thinks birth control is bad, for most of the reasons I do. I thought that was pretty cool. Robert didn't, at first, but that has all changed. The Catholic Church also highly esteems motherhood (which alot of Protestants say they do, but they act like they don't), and believes children are a blessing. Well, I REALLY wanted another child. Specifically, another little girl, but I would happily take a boy too. I wanted Autumn to get to be a big sister and wanted a namesake for my mama. I was very involved with the FAMILIA program, at the time, and we were reading encyclicals about the merits of children. I PRAYED MY ASS OFF. I CRIED AND BEGGED FOR ANOTHER CHILD. I was using NFP, I knew when I was fertile. At first, I had to sell Robert on it. He wasn't wanting to buy. Eventually, he came around. But I never got pregnant. Now, there are those who never get pregnant. I have, at least, have 3 kids. Who was I to complain? But I know people with 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 kids. Those are all seperate families, by the way. So, did God say NO? Did my body say NO? Why? Why couldn't I have another kid? Am I that horrible a mother ? (Ok, don't answer that.) I wasn't praying for a Porche or a Lake House. I wanted a kid. In a world which considers the conceptus of a man and a woman as something disposable, I didn't (don't), I think it's a person, and amazing one of a kind person. And I just wanted another one. I believed I was being led to want another one. What is so wrong with that? So, it wasn't God that wanted me to have another child? Or it was, but he just wanted me to be willing to have one, it's not like he promised it or anything? Or it wasn't God's idea and that is why I never got pregnant, because it was really 'my' idea. Heck, I almost had a tubal, and it was God (or was it) who prevented me from being able to get it done. Then he fucks with me like that and brings about the desire for another child(ren) only to give me a celestial 'Fuck You' later? Really? Do I want to believe in that God? (Note: If your offended go away. This is my blog. Oh, and I think the Creator of the Universe can handle a little obsenity. So get a grip.)

The bottom line is, I 'thought' God wanted me to have another child. I thought wrong. I have thought God wanted me to do or not do all sorts of things, and I can ALWAYS find some sign that He is guiding me in a certrain direction. When that certain direction turns 180 degrees then I have to find some reason God did that too. I don't know what he wants from me. Any of us could justify just about anything that has happened to us or that we are going through in the light of God's design. I'm just sick to death of it all. Really I am. Do I believe that God exists? Yes. I believe there is a creator. Do I believe that Jesus is the human manifestation of that creator? Yes. Did 'Jesus' ask me to follow all these stupid rules all the time and make myself crazy? No. What did He ask me to do? "Love others, as I have loved you." That's a tall order. I'm horrible at it. So, maybe I should just work on that one for a while, not ask for anything, and leave the rest to those more capable.

Peace out

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I really don't think I'm gonna make it.

Okay, so I guess we are into our 3 rd week of Summer vacation and I am ready to wound myself in a near fatal way so that I can be in the hospital on a steady morphine drip. THAT is my idea of a vacation...a real get away...from reality altogether. I mean, I know that pretty much everyone with a soon to be 14 year old has dreams of suicide ( or homicide) , but when that kid is also bipolar well all bets are off. The kid is on meds, but it's not like they have developed anything that I know of that would give him an entirely new personality, let alone happier more stable moods. Of course, there is Haldol, but I am really not interested in hanging him on the bathrobe hook at the back of my closet door....hmmmmm...or am I???

And should I really be complaining at all? After all, didn't I bring this on myself...fighting with my younger brother all those years ago...I seem to remember my mom muttering a curse of some kind, that my behavior would be revisited on me. Well, shit, it really has!!! Autumn and Ben and their constant bickering over the dumbest things makes me wonder why I didn't have my ovaries ripped out before I was of childbearing age, like I'm going to have done to my puppy next week.

So, what I am trying to do, when I find that my 13 yr old son has surfed porn for the first ( and better be last) time on my iPad, (there was nothing like opening the browser that day...his PC is completely protected from him looking for it there) is trying to remember the sweet baby I nursed and carried in a sling and adored. And it's not so easy, because what I see in front of me is the greasy headed, smart ass teenager who is so hostile to his little sister and to me and his dad. He lives to bicker and argue and I want to send him flying out the window (without a net). There is no pithy cute happy ending to this post. It's gonna be a long Summer. I hate the heat to begin with, the only upshot to Summer for me is the ability to sleep in, but the new puppy has effectively ended that, sooo I figure I have a couple of months to perfect drinking heavily. But if you hear I'm in the hospital on a morphine drip, because of some 'freak' accident, don't be sad for me. Know that I am
probably enjoying the vacation of a lifetime..... in my head.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I've had a new puppy for a month and haven't blogged about it!!!!

This is my first time blogging with my iPad. So far so good. The only thing is I don't think I have pictures of Tru, our new Husky pup, in my iPad picture folder, so I may have to add them later. Anyway, Tru is here. We got her the day before my birthday and she was actually born on Autumn's birthday, so I thought that was a good sign. Especially since I was picking her up sight unseen and had only reports from her breeder as to her temperament...with TiVo we got to meet his litter and he picked us. Anyway, it's been over a month and she is awesome. For the first month she only had eyes for TiVo and we thought show was never gonna notice any of us. But over the past 2 weeks she has come out of her dog centric world and is becoming attached to us...especially me, but then again, I'm the one with her all the time.

Tru has been great for TiVo. Siberian Huskies really are social dog and while they can be fine in a one dog family they are really happiest when there is, at least, one other dog. For the first 36 hours TiVo wouldn't let Tru move. He had to keep her pinned down and drag her around and show her who was the king of the house in typical Husky (quite wolf like) style. After 2 days they were in love. He still rough houses with her at least once a day to keep her in the #2 slot, but it is killer cute how they play and enjoy each other's company.

Tru loves the dog park as much as TiVo and when we first got her, she was 10 weeks old, and we took her there she walked in like she owned the place. No fear! I loved it. She is almost 4 months old and huge. TiVo is over tall for a Husky, but he is light...54lbs. Tru is already 27lbs! And she is a big girl. She may get close to TiVo's height which would make her tall for a female, but I would be cool with that. I love TiVo's gangly wolfy look.

Of course, the deal with Robert was that I had to rehome the kitties in order to get another Husky. TiVo had been trying to eat the cats since he was about 4 months old. I had a dream last night about all three of them. I miss them a lot. But they we were really unhappy with one dog...2 would have sent them over the edges. I had to split them up. Toonces went to one girl, and Milo and Ginger went to another, but I still crying jags over them. Don't judge me...I judge myself enough. But the dogs go with me everywhere, the cats didn't. The dogs get me out to exercise and meet new people, notsofor the kitties. So, I'm praying that St. Francis continues to watch over my kitties and keep them happy in their new dog free homes.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

It's been so long.

Okay, so I have no idea what to say, except that facebook is so damn fun that I forgot about my blog. I started writing this as a way for my kids to see what a wacky mom they have. Then it kind of became a journal. I got alot out that first year and it was good for me.

This year so far has been pretty fun. In January, we found out that friends we had met on facebook were going to be in our area. It turns out Bill Mueller had a training thing for his job and it was right here in Roswell. He came first and then his wife, Terry, came a couple days later. We had a blast. I was really sorry to see them go at the end of the week. We introduced them to Doctor Who and they introduced us to Coupling. I took Terry all over Roswell, TiVo fell in love with Bill, and then, on Friday, Bill and Terry took us out to a fab dinner at Relish, along with 2 more facebook friends who live here in town, Loren and Tracy Peters (I went to high school with Loren). We had a really good time for 4 people who had never previously met in person. Oh, and we all survived (several friends of mine thought we were insane to invite facebook friends over...I mean what if they killed us). And here is proof that it all went well (Oh, and I now I have to figure out how I am going to get my ass to Illinois where they live.)

I met MUSE, my favorite band in the world and they were such nice guys. It is so awesome to meet people you admire so much and they turn out to be great. They could have been jerks...but they were not. Matt Bellamy, the lead singer, couldn't believe that Andrew was my kid. As if I didn't love Matt enough, I got a compliment. What a cool guy. Thanks to my Hunny and his friend Mike Greene, I got to see the most amazing concert of my life AND got to meet the band too. We chatted with them back stage for about 15 minutes. It was just the 4 of us, Robert, me, Andrew and his longtime pal, Claire. The latter two were virtually hyperventilating at meeting those Rock GODs...and it was adorable to see.
Robert finally got out of for-profit corporate life. A huge prayer was answered and he is now the managing director for internet & new media for the American Cancer Society. It's more a prestige position than a monied most non-profits are. But, we can still stay in our house (we had it for sale for a 4 months) and he is doing something that matters. And that is what we have prayed for for so long. Robert is an amazing husband and stand up guy. He wants to take care of this family as sole provider, so I can be the hand that rocks the cradle at home, but he always wanted to get paid to do something that made a huge positive impact on those around him. So, here's a shout out to the big man upstairs...Thank you, GOD, for making this all happen!!!

Now, I am thinking of adding a new puppy to the mix. Before that happens I have to re-home our 3 cats. It's not something I want to do, but no one pays any attention to them, or takes care of them anymore and it sucks. I change their litter and feed them, but I am the primary carer of the dog, so I am in and out of the cats business pretty quickly. I love Toonces the most, will miss him desperately, but the cats were for the kids. They are growing up and don't care. Everyone loves TiVo and it's not hard to understand why. He is awesome, and loving and interacts with everyone. The cats interact on their terms...whenever that is. And those 3 fluffy idiots could have become friends with TiVo, but they would have nothing to do with him and now that he is big they are afraid of him. I'm kind of sick of living in the Gaza strip of my own home. There are zones for the cats and the dog and it's gotten really old. Before anyone gives me any crap, understand, I wouldn't give away a kid. These are animals. If they are not happy, I believe I should help them to be so. I love all animals....I really do. But when it comes down to brass tax I am a dog girl. I love walking TiVo, I love taking him to the dog park. I love all the social interaction he brings to me. I am an extrovert...and I believe cats are for introverts. NO judgement, just a statement. I drive around with TiVo all day. He comes with me everywhere. I can't take my cats anywhere. Anyway, that's what going on there.
On the spirituality front, the last year has been weird. Right now I am in a good place and am praying it sticks. I have gone through a lot of so called 'atheist phases' and I don't like them. They are very dark and dry and lonely...a great breeding ground for anger and selfishness. Sometimes life does seem pointless. I told Robert recently that it (life) seems like a giant hamster wheel we get on and have to keep running on and we only get to get off when we die. Translate that into me feeling exhausted...and bored. I need new things to shake me up.

Lately, I have re-committed myself to caring for myself and losing the few pounds I put on, over the last few months, this after having lost over 30 pounds. How easy it is to slip off the saddle. Luckily, it was less than 10lbs, 5 of which are I am on track. I am feeling so much better. It's not fun getting out of control and feeling that you can't seem to help yourself. I am happy to be back in the saddle and taking it day by day to stay there.

The kids are all doing really well. Autumn has been in a really cool homeschool co-op this year and the time off (for me) and added social interaction for her has been fabulous. Next month she has a jazz recital...they are dancing to All That Jazz from Chicago and should be adorable. Here is Autumn with the girl half of the her co op, there are 3 boys in it too.
Ben is almost done with his 7th grade year at the Cottage School and boy howdy do I love that place and everything it's done for our boy. Ben is really doing so much better this year, on all fronts, than he has in the past. I have high hopes that things are going to continue to change for the better, for 'the Bendamin'. Oh, and Ben's braces finally came off...look how handsome.
Andrew, my handsome vulcan son, is still working at Trader Joe's...almost 2 years. I am so pround of him. He has just a couple weeks left and will be done with his sophmore year at Georgia State. He is still living at home (which I love) and still plugging away at his post-rock band, Absence of Ocean. He has taught himself how to play guitar and writes alot of songs. All in all, he's pretty damn cool. I love him to bits...just wish he were a little more is he my kid??? I mean, he looks just like me so I know he is mine....but talk about opposite. One great thing is that Andrew will be 21 in 6 months and then I can send him on booze runs for me and Robert....woo hoo!! LOL Below is Andrew's shocked, "I just met Muse" face.
I think I am gonna go bake something yummy now. I am off wheat again, due to allergies. I am thinking this time I should stay off of it for good, but we'll see. Wheat definitely bothers me most in Spring and Summer as it causes my eczema to flare. I have been off of it over a week now and my hand eczema is almost healed. You know what else is weird...I swear I am addicted to wheat. When I am not eating it, I don't have the insane food cravings I normally do...the very same cravings that got me into trouble gaining almost 10 pounds back of the 30 I lost. I wonder if there is something too that? All I know is that in 2 or 3 days time my hands will look and feel normal again and that is worth everything. Besides, I made a KILLER gluten free version of my favorite cake 'Tres Leches' and it soooooo frickin good, I dare anyone to guess it's not made with wheat flour.

Oh yeah, how could I forget a really cool thing...we now have a Keurig One Cup coffee making system and it is the coolest thing in the universe...and yes, I have even seen and played with the iPad. But really great coffee (which I don't need to roast, or grind or measure or brew) in a minute is freaking awesome when you are as addicted to the substance as I am!! My birthday is coming up this Thursday, the 29th. I love K-Cups...send me some!! ;-)


Sunday, September 6, 2009

WARNING!!! Foul Language and a very fed up blogger.

Here's the deal (to coin a phrase from my youth).
I am sick and tired of the Olbermanns, Maddows, and the combined media outlets of MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS oh and the Bill Mahers and Jeaneane Garafolo's painting me as some fringe right wing idiot.

You know why I like Glenn Beck, because he acts like a regular dude who doesn't talk down to me. O'Reilly doesn't take shit from anyone, and Dennis Miller, having once been a wacked out Liberal, knows how to show them up for who they really are....and his insults are par excellence. I can't handle Hannity because he is too partisan. Plus, I am not a Republican. I am a pro-life Libertarian. Glenn Beck is too. He genuinely seems to want to know what the fuck is really going on, while so many people sit complacently in their EZ Boys figuring that everything will turn out OK.

Did any of my friggin peers read 1984? Do you really think any political party trying to get all the power in all 3 branches of the government, and co-opting most of the media is a good thing? You don't see conservatives out there trying to get Olbermann off the air. Yet, Czar Van Jone's group was responsible for pulling 50 advertisers from Beck's show. Geesh, are you Libs really that worried? Holy shit! Can't there be differing points of view or is it only yours that counts? So all you liberal scaredy cats are gonna try (it won't happen) and try to get Beck off the air. Am I not allowed to hear differing points of view. You mean I have be stuck with Olbermann, Maher, Couric, and that lot? Are you fucking kidding me??????

To that Garafolo bitch I would like to say that I am NOT a racist. I love Alan Keyes, I think Michael Steele is a cool son of bitch. Thomas Sowell is smarter than everyone at the Daily Kos put together. Condoleeza Rice is a bad ass, and she would be an awesome president. BUT somehow I am a racist because I didn't want a 'particular' black man as president. STFU, you stupid Hollywood skank!

Olbermann: I watch your show. Lately, you do and say nothing substantive. All you do is show clips from Glenn Beck and then act like someone slipped you some frigging Meth. Take a Xanax and calm down. Sorry ratings suck....but you do and that's why.

Bill Maher: the ONLY thing you and I agree on is that marijuana should be legalized and have the shit taxed out of it. I think alcohol is far more dangerous. Drunks kill people, start bar fights, cause domestic violence. Potheads laugh alot. So, I think my more strictly conservative friends need to lighten up on this issue. Geesh, just a little more than 100 years ago you could get cocaine at the drugstore. Other than that, Bill, I think you are the most smarmy, snobbish, asshole with the biggest superiority complex next to Obama himself. But you know what? As much as I loathe you, I will defend voraciously yor right to the airwaves and your free speech. Too bad your ilk is all behind the Fairness (NOT) Doctrine and want to kill my ability to listen to Rush, Laura Ingraham, Glenn Beck or Michael Medved.

Mainstream media: Catch this clue....your ratings are tanking because everyone believes you are so far up the Obama administration's ass that you will find polyps before his Proctologist does! I watched Maddow and she didn't have one, not one, conservative or libertarian guest. The whole show was skewed to the left and openly mocked those on the right. That???? is fair and balanced????? Yeah, right. You are all such LOSERS. The press and the media are always, always supposed to be there for 'the people' and constantly critique the powers in Washington. And this is not happening anymore. What is so hysterically funny to me is that Progressive Liberals have become 'the Establishment' that the original liberals from the 60's so hated. So whoopee, I am a bonified non-conformist!

I don't want the federal government in my local schools, in my healthcare (medicaid, medicare are fucked up enough and going broke...woo hoo...the government is SOOOOO GOOD at what it does...NOT) I don't want them in my churches, syagogues, mosques, temples, teepees..where ever. I don't want them insinuating themselves into the homeschooling of my children. I don't want them taking over or bailing out banks, oil companies, car companies any companies. You can protect the nation, build roads, dams and bridges and back off of everything else.

And last, President Obama, you know had it been 1973 when you were born, you might not have been. Thanks so much for you care of the unborn. Thanks for saying you didn't want either of your daughters to ever have to deal with the mistake of a unplanned pregnancy = BABY. I had a baby who wasn't planned. I had people tell me to get rid of 'it'. Hmmmm, surprisingly my 'it' is downstairs on the couch, getting ready for work, looking over some college work. Surprisingly, my 'it' isn't an it. It's not even a lump of tissue.... It's a human, a man. He is a man of almost 20. The world would be a much sorrier place without him. Though, of course, to you he was a mistake. You know what? YOU are the mistake America made when voting you in as President.

Keep your hands off my religion, and my guns (if I ever get any), and my Democratic Republic. Fire your Czars. There is no room in American for anyone with the title of Czar. Besides which, all these unvetted Czars are not constitutional.

Oh and would you like to know who I am.

I am a woman who gave life to my child when confronted with an unplanned pregnancy, instead of killing him for my convenience.
I am a woman who stayed home to raise my children because I see children as worthwile, not just things to aquire or DNA to be passed on.
I am a woman who breastfed her kids through toddlerhood, not just for a few days.
I am a woman who co-slept with her nursing babies instead isolating them to a lonely room in a little jail called a crib.
I am a woman who cloth diapered all of her kids. I washed them myself and hung them out to dry. How Donna Reed of me.
I am woman who does not like to be referred to, by my kids friends, as Mrs. Ross or Miss Rachel, Rachel is fine with me.
I am a woman who homeschooled her kids, not for religious reasons, but because I think school is a very dysfunctional system that is in no way based on the way people really live.
I am a woman who, as a homeschooler, was an unschooler, which meant my kids learned what, when, why and where they wanted to learn. No forcing of lessons here. My oldest is now a sophmore in college.
I am a woman who thought it was crazy that when her son turned 18 he could fight and die for this country, or get married, but wasn't allowed to have a drink. A drinking age of 21 is dumb.
I am a woman who was a devout Evangelical Protestant who hated Catholicism and then, 4 years ago, become a Catholic (don't tell me God isn't hysterical). I don't pretend to be perfect or all together because I am a serious work-in-progress.

I am a woman who thinks the theory of evolution takes far more blind faith to believe in than the theory of intelligent design. But if they are going to teach evolution then they need to teach intelligent design (which is different from the idea of fundamentalist creationism). Afterall, how many times can you through up flour, butter, sugar, and eggs and have it come down a cake....uh...NEVER. So if you know someone 'designed' your car, home, shoes, clothes better darn well get it through your thick atheist skulls that someone or something DESIGNED this planet.

I am a woman who is very committed to traditional marriage and values, but believes that the government needs to get entirely out of the marriage licensing business altogether. EVERYONE should receive a civil union license and then go on to get married at the religious or civic venue of their choice, provided that venue has no ideological problem with same sex marriage. If the Marriage Act is off the table and everyone gets C.U. license, then a gay/lesbian/transgender couple can't force any denomination which believes eclusively in man/woman marriage to marry them. Yet, they can still get married. That way everyone (and their beliefs) is protected.

I am a woman who loves my God, my husband, my kids, my pets, my friends, my country. I swear like a sailor, but I am a fiercly loyal friend. I love great coffee, great food, great sex (with said husbad), great conversations, a cool buzz (every now and again), alternative rock music, vampires, Catholic saints, apologetics, cute guys, Monty Python, SNL, Family Guy, staying up late and then sleeping in, cold rainy weather (snow is even better) and breaking schedules. I love to live my life on the fly and hate making plans.

I am a woman who WILL NOT BACK DOWN fighting for the right to be who I am and for the right for you to be who you are...even if we disagree.


I am an American and proud of it. I will NOT apologize for wanting to keep my country free of an oppressively large, powerhungry, money-grabbing, and increasingly out-of-touch government.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Just one me

Okay, so I may be ADHD out the wazoo, but I absolutely cannot focus on multiple blogs. They actually make me squirrelly (sp)? Anyway, my one and only blog here has to reflect everthing about me. I removed myself from one and deleted the other one. My love of my family, my love of unschooling, my love of the Catholic faith, my love of Siberian Huskies...TiVo in particular, my love of food, music, movies, books and yes...even hot guys.

So, I started blogging and then stopped because I become addicted to a facebook game called farmtown.

Let me tell you it is my own little piece of cyber zen. What is funny is how Robert has given me shit about it. This coming from a guy who played Ultima Online and Everquest for the first 7 years of our marriage. I was a gamer widow. He is now into his iMac, iPhone, audiobooks and facebook. So, I do see alot more than the back of his head these days...well for the last 5+ years easily. :-) Now it is his turn to see the back of my head. HA!

Also, as it typically my style, I am in the midst of reading 3 books. The first one is Memnoch, The Devil by Anne Rice. It's the 5th book in her Vampire Chronicles. The second book is Four Witnesses by Rod Bennet. He is a former Baptist now Catholic and this book is a compilation of 4 of the earliest Church Fathers. The last book is a food memoir and cookbook by Shauna James Ahern called Gluten Free Girl. It is soooo good. I have been gluten free for a bit now....with a few glutinous run ins...and do feel ALOT better without it. Go to Shauna's blog for awesome food, pictures and matter whether you eat gluten or not: Gluten Free Girl

Robert is still at Suntrust...amazing to still be employed by a bank after 2 years...especially now. They are doing stupid corporate team building this week and my Hunny just wants someone to shoot him in the face. He hates this stuff. I don't blame him. I went to a cocktail party with some people I didn't know and having to small talk was KILLING ME. I bolted early because I thought I would explode.




Andy is downstairs with his band doing some run througs as they have a recording studio session later today. Andrew (drums/vocals) and his band: Eric (guitar), Harrison (bass) are most likely going to change their name from Iconoclast (because there are too many of those) to Absence of Ocean. It is a fitting name as the trio have moved in a definitively POST ROCK direction. For those of you in the know think: Sigur Ros without the Icelandic.

Autumn is playing with Morgan, who is over for the afternoon. My girlie and I have recently gotten into My Sims Town on Wii and love playing it together. She also wants to go to the pool all the time. I don't mind as long as it is late. I hate the sun....something I have in commom with Lestat and Edward.

Ben is, as usual, perpetually plugged into the matrix. The XBOX 360 broke in late Spring (the dreaded red ring of death) but I sent if off and it came back within a week...all fixed up and saving my Summer! I also troubleshot the Wii and fixed that too. Pretty amazing since my husband thinks technology and I don't mix. However, he told me he was done with dealing with gaming systems, so I had to learn fast and on the fly. I am proud I did it. I, however, can't get into Ben's games. Right now he is into Far Cry 2. Thank God for Xbox Live so he can play online with his friends.

Last are my kitties, still pissed that Mr. Dog (TiVo) is still here and alive. TiVo is awesome, just awesome. He has turned into such a good boy. He is a big Husky too. These days he spends his days lying around in the AC where ever I happen to be. He is sound asleep right now because Andy's band practice just puts him right out. Meanwhile the cats are all having panic attacks at the loudness of the music. TiVo is also a regular at our local dog park and I know almost every dog there by name and most of the owners names. He has a bunch of Husky friends: Misha, Aspen, Ozzie, Max, Banshee, Darby, Luca, Darla, Dexter, Morgan, Sage, Simon, Tory, Kota. That is alot of Siberian Huskies. I don't think I am missing anyone. He has some other best dogpark pals too: Cosby: schnoodle (black schnauzer/poodle), Mirabelle: black/white harlequin Great Dane, Maya: caramel/white pitbull mix and Max: black/white Karolean Bear Dog (very cool). Then there are my friends dogs: Einsten (Kath's labradoodle/australian shepherd mix) and Danny and Doris (Lisa's mixed puppies). Last, across the street is Gretchen a shepherd mix. They play in Gretchen's yard together. As you can see TiVo is the dog about town. I take him to the dog park at least 5 days a week. Lately we go at 8pm coz it's alot cooler. It's really fun to watch him play.

Last Friday, in typical Husky style, Tivo, for the first time, escaped from our yard. It was 3am when we realized he was missing. The last time I actually saw him out front was 1am. (We have an underground fence system). Well, I didn't have his collar on snuggly enough so he ran right through the charge and didn't feel anything....and he just kept going. My husband took off on foot and I drove everywhere that I walk or take TiVo. Finally, on my way home thinking he was gone for good, I notice my husband walking him home on the leash. Turns out TiVo had run across the street behind the school to the huge park. He was muddy and wet and pretty darn happy. I am just glad he is safe.

I posted this on a sidebar awhile ago...then took it off. But it is worth keeping.

"I’d encourage your youngest one to abandon kindergarten altogether. Almost everything I learned was learned outside the classroom, and school itself interrupted my education. Moreover, school locks you in with your peers. That is a mistake. One’s social circle should never include one’s equals. From my earliest years I found children uninteresting and always preferred the company of adults. This was an advantage, because I got to know lots of folks who are dead now whom I never would have known if I had waited until I was an adult. - So I have a collective memory - and oral tradition - that goes back to the eighteenth century, having spoken with people who knew people who knew people who knew people who lived then. - The only real university is the universe and a city its microcosm. That is why an expression like “New York University” is foolish. New York City is the university….Instead of school, children should spend some hours each day in hotel lobbies talking to the guests. They should spend time in restaurant kitchens and shops and garages of all kinds, learning from people who actually make the world work….One day spent roaming through a real classical church building would be the equivalent of one academic term in any of our schools, and a little time spent inconspicuously in a police station would be more informative than all the hours wasted on bogus social sciences. Formal lessons would only be required for accuracy in spelling and proficiency in public speaking, for which the public speakers in our culture are not models, and in exchange for performing some menial services a child could learn the violin, harp, and piano from musicians in one of the better cocktail lounges, or from performers in the public subways….So I urge you to keep your child out of kindergarten, because kindergarten will only lead to first grade and then the grim sequence of grade after grade begins and takes its inexorable toll on the mind born fertile but gradually numbed by the pedants who impose on the captive child the flotsam of their own infecundity." ~Fr. George Rutler

Originally posted by Peter Robinson via The Corner at National Review Online.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

EGAD! Gluten Free?! Me?!

I know I am just not blogging enough. I was fb'ing with my friend Helen and she mentioned how she does alot of writing in her head, well so do I. I have always got something to say or that I want to talk about but never seem to have the time to really sit and write. Well, since Ben got out of school last Thursday at noon and Autumn used saved money to buy herself a pre-owned DS Lite, I might actually get some time to write in lieu of my micro-blogging on facebook. 

So, what's new with me, I have gone gluten free. I have been at 90% compliance over the last 2 weeks, most days I am eating 100% no gluten and then on 2 occasions I had some. Why the Hell would you do something crazy like that Rachel? (That IS what you are thinking right?) Well, it's because I stumbled upon some internet articles regarding joint pain and gluten sensitivity (I am not talking allergy here). I was in a car accident 9 years ago and after 2 excruciatingly painful years of neck, shoulder and arm pain (only my right side) along with LOTS of chiropractic and Ibruprofen (which wrecked my stomach lining for about 2 years) things seemed to get tolerable and I was kinda okay. Every once in a while I would get flare ups of the accident pain. I was told by regular docs that I had myofacial pain (look it up if you care to) and that I was just going to have to deal with it off and on. Whoopie! 

Fast forward to now. In the last year I have lost over 30 pounds. I got in shape primarily through walking. I didn't have the time or money for a gym. Then my right side starts to go again and I am in agony and waking up with headaches straight from the pit of HELL. Also, my knees and hips started fricking killing me. But wait, I weight less now....shouldn't they feel better? I went to a orthopedic guy and he confirmed there were no structural problems and that there was no arthritis or any kind of degenerative thing going on. He said it was probably some inflammation and to take some.....wait for it.....Ibruprofen!!! After being scoped every which way from sundown in 2004 and being on Nexxium for 2 years, I am not super interested in developing NSAID Gastritis again.

So, I am thinking what the heck to do. I start researching joint pain and inflammation and keep coming across gluten sensitivity. Okay, if you know me at all you know I love to bake. The last fricking thing I even want to consider is that gluten is making the pain from my accident worse than it needs to be, or contributing to my knee and hip pain.  At first I dismissed it. However, at the same time I had gained back 5 pounds of the 33 I had lost. I was having the hardest time with maintaining my new weight. It is really different when you're losing because you kind of get into this zone. But when you hit goal you have to adjust things. Some of the stuff I wouldn't go near were allowed back on my plate. That stuff was all gluten based: french bread, pasta,pancakes, waffles, cookies, crackers, pretzels, cake. When I was losing weight I was not remotely low carb, but I ate mostly veggies and lots of fruit. I had grains but ate really high fiber low cal bread, whole grain pasta etc... because I was watching my total caloric load. So, I am at maintainence and having a helluva time with carb cravings. At first I thought it was sugar so I reduced that. It didn't help. Then I went to whole wheat only, tried staying off the white stuff. That didn't help either. Then I found I was just sabotajing the crap out of myself gravitating to more bread, bigger bowls of pasta, more cookies etc. All my healthy habits of eating lots of lean protein, fruit veggies and whole grains were slipping away and ALL I wanted to eat was wheat based food all day. I kep a food diary for a bit and nothing but bread, scones, pasta, cookies, etc was crossing my lips almost exclusively. Talk about GRAINDAMAGE! 

I got to thinking and figured maybe my mostly wheat based diet and constant cravings for more wheat based things AND all this joint pain (which landed me back in the chiropractors office 3 times a week again) would go away or at least be significantly reduced. It was worth a shot. Well, I haven't been to the chiropractor in 3 weeks. Yes, I have pain, but it is stunningly less than what I was dealing with a month ago. But what is more profound than the reduction of pain is that I don't crave glutenous carbs like I did. I am not carb or grain free either. I have a little stash of gluten free chocolate chip cookies and I can eat 2 and feel fine. One regular choc chip cookie and I will eat them until I am full or they are gone. I have made GF bread (it tastes like corn bread but holds together better) and I just made gf banana bread and it is AWESOME! Another side effect is that Spring is when my hand eczema flares and it my hands were getting itchy and breaking out.  They are presently clear. 

Anyway, I am going to give a a couple of months. If things continue to markedly improve, I may just stay gf and discover a renewed passion for baking in a new way. However, since blood tests for Celiac Disease came back negative a few years ago (when I was having all the tummy trouble) I know that I will still be having a eeny weeny amount of gluten every week and that would be what ever is left in the host after being consecrated into the Eucharist. God's gluten I will never give up! ;-)


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

29th day of April = 43 years old.

Ok, I suck, I know. There I was just blogging along and then I got sucked into the black hole called Facebook. I have missed writing here, tho.  However, since today is my birthday, I figured it would be as a good a day as any to start back up. 

So, how do things stand for Rach, on this, the 43rd year of her birth? 

Mentally, I am doing pretty well. We are heading into mid Spring and I feel 'up'. Unlike most people dealing with mood issues, I tend to start heading down this time of year. BUT, since I did that this past Fall (lucky me!!!) maybe there is hope, for me, that I am going to have a good Summer (which would be a first counting the last 5+ years).  I have to give credit to facebook here. It is a great place for instant feedback. For instance, today, it's been a non stop flood of Birthday wishes. It's a great, drugless and free mood enhancer. Also, the fact that Ben has done REALLY WELL at The Cottage School, this year, helps too. Andy is doing great at GA State and Trader Joe's, Autumn is having fun homeschooling and is even enrolled in a cool new co-op for next year. And my marriage is spectacular...coz I have a great Hunny Bunny.

Physically, I am falling apart. This past year, I lost 30+ pounds. I have maintained that loss, but have done a fair job of screwing up my knees and right hip. I never got into a running program, only walked, but I think I was never really careful of 'how' I walked.  Like, I never really was careful how I held my posture and/or came down on my feet when ascending or descending hills etc... So, tomorrow, I have my first appt with an Orthopedic doc. The first guy I am going to see deals with hips and knees. Then I have to make a 2nd appt to see one who deals with neck and shoulders. I was in a car accident 9 years ago. I had extensive therapy and chiropractic care for several years...then I thought I was fine. Well, no. I have been back at the Chiropractor for a month with not a ton of progress being made. Today was a horrible day, pain wise. I went to my Chiro and still felt horrible after my adjustment. He continued to work on me to no avail. Both of us were stumped. Normally, I get some immediate relief. I took some extra strength OTC painkiller and it's hasn't touched the pain. This freaks me out because I am worried if I don't keep up the activity I normally do that I am going to gain some weight back...and that will suck....any suggestions?

Spiritually, it's been a weird year. Very dry. I had been doing so well (the fact that I said 'I' is probably indicative of my's about Him, right, not me) for the first 5 years of my conversion to Catholicism. Now that I am working toward my 6th year, things are getting murky. That zeal I had has really ebbed away. It's bumming me out. I am feeling what I can only imagine is a mid-life crisis. I really thought I would have had another kid. Kids are great with giving someone purpose. However, I think my ovaries ran away. C'mon, who can blame them? Let's just say Robert and I have done our part on many an optimal occasion and I feel like Yukon Cornelius from Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer when, while digging for gold, he threw his ice pick into the ice, pulled it out, licked it and said, "Nothin!"  So, I guess I am feeling aimless and purposeless now. Yes, of course, my hubby and kids still need me. But it's so much less engrossing than the needs of an infant or toddler. I kinda feel like I should be put out to pasture (trust me, I know this is just a feeling...but still).  So, God is clearly working on this with me...and we shall see what happens.

Well, I guess I will just have to be hopeful that this new year for me will be one of physical and spiritual renewal. 


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

One very bad dude!

This whole article was taken from Life After RC. It was so good I had to reprint her here.  I hope those of you in RC realize that if you were to remove Catholicism from this scenario Maciel would be seen as a predatory con-man pure and simple. It is only our faith that muddles this situation. Like the author says, LC and RC really has no charism. It's just real Catholicism dressed up as a movement. Go back to authentic Catholicism and practice it in your home parish among your family and fellow man. Leave this group to wither like chaff. ~Rachel

A con-man

Glenn Favreau summarises our current understanding of Maciel:

I was a Legionary of Christ for nearly 14 years. I have been working with Regain for nearly 10 years now, and I have followed the genesis of the downfall of Marcial Maciel since the first Hartford Courant articles in 1997 more closely than most people. It has been my business to help ex-members as they leave the group, to counsel parents, and to provide truthful information both about my experience and about the group.

Over the years, I have come to an intimate knowledge of the workings of the Legion and the place that Maciel is given in these workings. I have carefully studied many diverse responses to the person of Maciel as his private life and public activities have come to light and been commented upon. I am of the opinion that Marcial Maciel began the Legion of Christ with no spiritual motivation whatsoever.  He was a con man. He was a very good con man. Whether he was caught up in the typical con man's dilemma of believing his own con or not will probably never be known, unless he confided to this to individuals outside of the Legion of Christ.  

If Maciel were of any other profession (outside of the Catholic Church) and committed this type of fraud in any other framework, we would call him a con man with out any hesitation. Unfortunately, we naturally try to save the perceived "spiritual" aspect since we share in it as Catholics. I say “unfortunately” , because if we could overcome our own bias in this regard, we could put this entire saga into the annals of the history of the greatest cons of our time, and make peace with the fact that we bought into it, we were mistaken, and we can move on.

When you compare the reaction that faithful Catholics have about the "gifts" that Maciel left to the Church, no one can beat Diogenes for an analogy:

[C]onsider a woman whose husband ingeniously hid his infidelities from her for many years. Once she realized she had been deceived, the gifts he brought back from his business trips would be understood to have been instruments in that deception. Far from cherishing the jewelry he gave her, she'd feel that the diamonds now mocked the affection and fidelity they symbolized. By the same token, Maciel's addresses will be spiritually kosher -- he was after all a highly successful deceiver. But those addresses dishonor the very truths they expound, and it's impossible that they can cause anything but distress and confusion in those who attempt to nourish themselves on them.

If we consider that the victims of Maciel (not the physical abuse victims, but the hood-winked rank-and-file) are in the position of the foolish wife who trusted a man despite the warnings of others, we will understand their trauma, their reaction, their fumbling about for explanations. Betrayal is a horrific thing and it takes tremendous grace -- especially humility -- to arrive at the fullness of truth. It takes grace -- and time.

If it helps, we can remember that he fooled the hierarchy as well (the one's he didn't pay off to help cover his game) and his cloak of orthodoxy is a "plug and play" for those who understand the faith. As his followers attest, the "charism" is nothing more than Basic Catholicism -- so he didn't even take the time to invent something new. What the Magisterium didn't provide, Stephen Covey did. A clever con, but only a con in the end.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The nails continue to be driven into the coffin

More on Maciel and if the LC/RC charism can really still be valid. The following was taking from this article. Below is an excerpt using not only Maciel's own words but a passage from the Gospel that LC used to use to defend Maciel and now seems to do nothing but damn him. Folks, this is looking worse with every passing second. 

But consider these passages from volumes called Envoy, which publish selections of Maciel’s letters recommended as spiritual reading to Legionaries and Regnum Christi members. They demonstrate the problem the Legionaries will have in keeping them as part of their spirituality. 

Purity of heart… is so foreign to the licentiousness and cult of sex all around us that it shows clearly you are committed to follow Christ… a great measure of your apostolic fruitfulness depends on it, since to a great degree our possession of God depends on this virtue. (Vitoria 13 August 1959) 

We should never lie for any reason whatsoever. It is a mortal sin when God is greatly offended by causing damage against religion, the Church or Authority, or when the name and good reputation of other people is considerably damaged… “Lips that lie are abhorrent to Yahweh” (Proverbs 12:22). (Bermuda 23 February 1962) 

If you want to convince others of the value of a certain lifestyle, you will attain little or nothing if you yourself do not demonstrate your personal convictions by your actions. Such is the wisdom of the popular refrain, “Actions speak louder than words.” (Rome 1 November 1991) 

These are passages of Maciel that cannot now be read with a straight face let alone serve as spiritual nourishment. Will Legionary novices, as they have in the past, continue to learn the charism from daily study of the many volumes of Cartas de Nuestro Padre? (Can they still call him “Nuestro Padre”?) Can we learn from a hypocrite to hate hypocrisy? By his own words, his impurity, lying, and hypocrisy rendered Maciel’s ministry fruitless and abhorrent to God. His own words refute the Legionary claim to recognize the good that can come even from a flawed instrument.. And if we must discard some of Maciel’s writings because they have become inconvenient, what is the criterion for choosing and keeping any of them? 

Maciel’s defenders always cited Matthew 7.20. Father Kearns wrote in 2006 after the discipline: “Vindication has always come, because the Judge's instructions to the jury have always been the same: By their fruits you will know them.” Father Neuhaus had based his “moral certitude” of knowing Maciel’s innocence by the fruits of his professed orthodoxy and the Legion’s impressive vocational statistics. But the argument was always circular: it excluded a priori from consideration those who were damaged by their experience of the Legion and Regnum Christi and became critics, including those who lost their faith or nearly did because in the name of Christ they had been manipulated and lied to. The accusers were always themselves fruits of the tree, even though they were not believed.

Now that they, not Maciel, have been vindicated, Matthew 7.18 comes into focus: A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. As Legionaries confront their past and face their future, it will not be easy for them to account for these words of the Lord. 

... honesty would make a healthier attitude for Legionaries to adopt than Father Corcuera’s “regarding the person of our Father Founder, I cannot but recognize all the good I received through him.” If Legionaries continue to claim publicly that a sexual predator and liar led them to faith and vocation, we must wonder how authentically Catholic and Christian that faith and vocation ever was. Is their Jesus our Jesus? 

EXLC Priest's blog, Third Journey

The audacity of the Legion. I had an actual member of RC tell me that she wasn't going to talk about what Maciel did because that was a sin. HUH? Whah?

If you are in LC or RC,  I have three words to say to you:  

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday & Lent

I hope everyone, who celebrates Lent, will have a blessed Ash Wednesday and Lent. Here is an amazingly wonderful prayer that I found while in Adoration. It is in the January 2009 edition of the Magnificat. I typed it here because it is so wonderful I want everyone who doesn't know about (or like me, subscribe to) the Magnificat to be able to use it. My friend Sara and I are going to say this prayer each day of Lent. We thought it was a perfect prayer for Lent, since it has to do with conversion.  ~Peace

Litany of Ongoing Conversion


Response: Lord, give me the grace of conversion.


Lord Jesus,


When I look at my life from the starting point of my own insufficiencies instead if from the fact of your compassion, grace, and love for me. R


When I would prefer to live by my own thoughts and my own understanding instead of by your Truth which alone can set me

free, R


When I would rather brood over what annoys me than to turn myself over to you who always invite me to come to you, R


When I obsess over self-absorption, complacency, and self-assertiveness, R


When I get dejected about my sin, not because it offends you, but because it prevents me from being able to take delight in myself, R


Whenever I live in a dualistic way, as if my faith and my “real life” are two separate things, R


 When I am deceived into thinking my happiness depends on something in the future instead of what you give me in the present, R


When discouragement and shame make it hard for me to be faithful, R


When I become distraught over the evil I would commit if left to myself, forgetting that I do not live according to myself but that I live in you, R


When self-doubt and fear seem to have the last say, R


When I miss the point of my fragility, a gift you give me so that I will be prompted to rely on you, R


When I am inclined to interpret my problems as punishment and my miseries as being abandoned by God, R


When impenetrability takes over my life, making me resistant to your beauty and all the little ways you ordain to give yourself to me, R


When I get distracted, my emotions, my passions, my regrets, R


When I get duped into thinking I must fix myself up in order to have a relationship with you, forgetting that you come to me with your love just the way I am, R


When I treat my faith like some answer to be sought instead of as a loving Presence to be affirmed, R


When I get discouraged by chronic or recurring sins in my life, R


When I would attempt to earn your favor by my achievements, forgetting that I did not choose you, but it is you who chose me, R


When scandalized by my own selfishness and self-assertion, R


When the oppressive nihilism of life makes me ignore or reduce the desires of my heart that lead me to you, R


When independence or self-sufficiency make me resist the companionship with others through which you will to give me your friendship and tenderness, R


Whenever I treat my preconceptions like idols that drain my life of wonder and simplicity, R


When the evidence of all that is wrong with my life leads me to become paralyzed, indifferent, or lax, R


When I get preoccupied with all my self-justifications try to convince myself that I am lovable, R


When I would rather live my life in a safe and sheltered way instead of living my life as a risk, putting your will first in all things, R


When the daily inner rebellion makes me cynical and negative about what really matters most, R


When my misgivings keep me from receiving the fresh embrace of love you offer me every moment, R


~ Our Father…