Wow, the end of March snuck up on me! Sorry for getting this up a little late.
Lots of awesome discussions going on this month! Here are some of my favorite comments that were left on the blog.
On "The Last Thing I Ever Said to Him...": 5 Tips for Avoiding Last-Conversation Fears, Mórrígan said:
When my dad had a stroke, my little brother (aged 11 at the time) was the only person home. Dad was trying to pack himself a bag while the ambulance was on the way (he was also dizzy and slurring speech), and my brother had to get him to sit still. He just yelled at him, "Dad, sit down and shut up!" so he would stop exerting himself. My brother was so terrified that those were going to be the last words he said to my dad.
This also reminds me of my rule of telling people that I love them, no matter how awkward it feels. The day after the Columbine shooting (when I was 11), my dad stopped us all as we were leaving for school and said he wanted a hug and a kiss and to say he loved us, because "you never know what might happen" (which sounds a lot more foreboding and doomsday-paranoid than it felt at the time, I assure you). From then on, I never left the house without giving my parents a hug and a kiss and telling them I loved them. When I was younger, our neighbor had passed away at age 100. He had meant a great deal to me, but being so young, I didn't take the opportunity to tell him I loved him when he was really sick. These experiences added up for me, and I when someone means a lot to me, I always tell them. That's why I told Husband that I loved him long before we were even dating, because I just wanted him to know how important his friendship was to me.
Everyone really came through for me when I asked for help describing Faith Permeating Life in the post "It's Like... a Christian... Marriage Blog?"
Greg Calhoun said:
I think your blog is about publicly living and sharing your faith, with all its practical implications. That is refreshing because many people treat faith as a strictly private venture, which in my opinion doesn't mesh particularly well with Jesus' public preaching and ministry.
I see the topics (marriage, happiness, career etc.) as being all about how you make choices that fit your understanding of your faith and how you want to practice it in a variety of contexts.
I think the diversity of your target audience has something to do with it; the concept of "dialogue" immediately came to me as a unifying factor, although you do touch on a range of topics. You blog from a specific viewpoint of faith (specifically that of Catholic Christianity), education, relationship status, etc., but one of your main strengths is to engage and welcome people who have different viewpoints on those same topics.
I always get a "This is what works for me" feel from your blog entries. The topics are all different (though you do tend to focus on marriage, faith, sex, etc.), but it's always a forum for talking about how you live your life and inviting other people to talk about how they live theirs.
The post I Am a Catholic. I Am Not Every Catholic. seemed to resonate with people from a variety of backgrounds.
This happens a lot in the Lutheran church as well- heck, the WHOLE church. I can't tell you how many times people have talked to me and have been "most Christians wouldn't say/do that" and I have to say yet again that "I'm not most Christians." Whatever that means. In the Lutheran church it's similar to the Catholics, everyone assumes that we all think and believe the exact same things simply because we are Lutherans. However - NO ONE does and it drives me nuts! We need to learn how to really listen to people and not pass judgement when they disagree.
I continue to thoroughly enjoy your blog, regardless of the fact that I practice a Neo-Pagan religion. My mother is Catholic and I share my life with a Catholic, yet neither fall into the "stereotypes" and often express similar views as you. Raising my son in a family with a variety of beliefs, the lesson I always have for him is close to your statement " If being a true Catholic meant you had to know and understand and agree with and act upon every little piece of Catholic teaching, there would be no true Catholics." Each of us has our very own unique relationship with the divine and no one else can say whether it is right or wrong. I say I am Pagan because "most" of my beliefs are similar to the tenets of Paganism. My S.O. says he is Catholic because "most" of his beliefs are similar to the tenets of the Catholic religion, but neither of us are in away "All" of that particular religion.
Fire Fairy said:
Love this post! When I tell people I'm a Christian and that I am part of a church I sometimes gets that kind of reaction, especially with regards to science. Thankfully the majority of people don't make those assumptions, but a few seem to jump to conclusions very quickly. It's so frustrating! On the other hand I sometimes worry that I will start to assume that all atheists will jump down my throat the minute I admit to my faith. A few who think one way and shout loudly about it, make us assume that all who hold a similar belief are exactly the same. It's something we need to watch for in ourselves as well. You're absolutely right about needing to listen to each other. One of my best friends is a Pagan, and it's because we both listen to each other, are open about our beliefs, and respect each other, that we've stayed friends for so many years. To borrow you're great statement - I am a Christian, but I am not every Christian!
And finally, earlier this week I posted How I Began to Understand Jesus' Sacrifice, and I appreciated the support and understanding I got on this post.
I think so often Christianity focuses on the wrong parts of the Atonement and Christ's actions. You're so right: it isn't the physical pain that made His crucifixion extraordinary (though, I am sure the pain was extreme, as well). It's the circumstances. The fact that it was unjust and completely unwarranted is what makes it so emotional for me.
Likewise, culturally we tend to focus on the fact that "Christ died for our sins." And while that is true, it is such a minute portion of what He actually did. He did not just "die" for our sins- He lived a perfect life knowing that He would eventually die and suffer for our sins. In a very real sense, every second of every day of His life was for us. Not just the last few hours (or the last few years, even), but the whole thing. And THAT is a monumental sacrifice.
Just me said:
Thank you so much for this Jessica. I relate perfectly to this and it's wonderful to hear it come from someone else - I have always struggled to, in your words, have appropriate awe for Jesus' death, and it's definitely something I still feel very guilty about.. like maybe I don't really believe because I've never cried; like maybe I'm not 'doing Christianity right' because I still don't even begin to grasp the magnitude of what happened. I know it's true but it's like I can't make it true for me in a way that really strikes me. And then I feel awful for not feeling anything because surely I should.
I really appreciate your honesty in sharing this and it gives me a lot of hope to know I'm not alone. And hope that at some point I can get the kind of realisation I need, like you did.
As always, thanks to everyone for your thoughtful, challenging, and insightful comments!