So I lost a few email subscribers... and it's okay with me. I wasn't upset or alarmed to see the numbers drop. I'm mostly just surprised that people who were interested enough to subscribe to my email list in the first place would disagree so fundamentally with my position on the recent Supreme Court rulings... which also happens to be the position of the Catholic Church. It's not as if I hide my Catholicity here on the blog. But I expressed my sorrow in that email... and people expressed their disagreement by unsubscribing.
No big deal. But it got me thinking... Do my readers really know me? Does it matter? And I thought Of course it matters. Because on the whole, our reader feed should reenforce the goals that we have for our lives. As Christians, the salvation of our souls should be at the top of the list and if I'm not helping you reach that goal, you should drop me like a hot potato. But if we can help each other pursue Truth, beauty and holiness, we should pursue the relationship. So let's talk the big stuff. The following questions have all been asked of me (in one form another) by other Catholics within the last few months...
WHERE DO I STAND ON MARRIAGE?
I stand with the Catholic Church. Period. (And not with certain shepherds who seem to be struggling with their personal assent to Catholic moral teaching... but THE Church.) I posted this last week on my blog Facebook page:
I tend to do most of my active posting on my private FB page and mostly post blog updates here. So it has been quieter here this week while I have worked out my disappointment elsewhere. But this isn't an issue that will pass, nor is it a topic that should die out after a week within Christian circles. It's not just another judicial overstep in a corrupt political system and its not just about love.
It is devastatingly sad when a handful of activist judges undermine American liberty. They have sidestepped the democratic process to legislate morality on a nation. In doing so, they have not furthered the cause of love but have substantially increased the governments control over our basic liberties. It is not about love.... Because even those who celebrate will eventually suffer under a system that denies basic freedoms to people of faith.
Every blogger out there is writing about this right now and I don't intend to do a specific blog post because it is almost too large for words... I'm not talented enough to capture it all. But it is a part of who I am. I will not be bullied into silence against injustice. My efforts to build a culture of love have redoubled in my home - An increase of prayer, of learning, of living out the Gospel message. My blog will continue to be a place where I pursue that end without compromise.
For some super quick reading and evidence that this is not fundamentally about love, I encourage you to read the updated Facebook status of the Christian bakers who have not only been denied their livelihood but also (just this past week) stripped of their First Amendment rights. Sweet Cake Update
WHERE DO I STAND ON LITURGY?
This is important to people. I was recently asked in a discussion if I was a "neocon or a traditionalist" and I answered: I am a Catholic. But I understand the desire to know more about the preferences and self-identifying labels of fellow Catholics, which is why certain terms can be helpful in some cases. For example, if someone identifies himself as a liturgical or political liberal, I pretty much know what they mean in an American context. The label annoys but it can sure help if cooperative effort is necessary. So here's some additional information about my preferences...
I am neither a traditionalist nor a charismatic. I believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit and I have seen them at work, but I also believe that the Holy Spirit has guided the direction of the Roman liturgy. Consequently... I think the rubrics ought to be followed.
My liturgical preference (based on my basic understanding of the Church's preference) is for Mass in the vernacular that is celebrated ad orientem, with sacred music, smells and bells, all male altar service, a communion rail, and rock solid preaching from joyful, manly priests. My second choice would be the incomparably beautiful Extraordinary Form. My tie for last choice would be the banal 1970's liturgies (with beauty stripped, priests going off-the-cuff, guitars ka-chinking next to the sanctuary, 42 extraordinary ministers, etc.) and full charismatic liturgies where the emotion too often seems to overtake rubrics (but not always). In the end, I'll take any of these with gratitude - if I must - because.... JESUS.
WHAT PLACE DOES HOMESCHOOLING HAVE IN THE CHURCH?
The saints of Church history have come from all kinds of educational backgrounds and cultural scenarios. God can work through ANY circumstance. That being said, I homeschool my own kids because I have an obligation (if it's within my power) to offer an environment that honors them as sons and daughters of God; emotionally, physically, and spiritually. In other words, homeschooling is not simply an educational choice, but a lifestyle of faith. I wouldn't be doing it if I didn't think it would make an eternal difference. It's too durn hard to be embraced lightly.
Now, do I think you should homeschool? I can't answer that because I don't know your specific situation. I have seen bloggers promote Catholic parochial schools as the best option for Catholic kids. Some of these families are being taught by faithful, young, dynamic religious sisters, strong orthodox pastors, teachers who all sign the mandatum, and community which is largely believing. To be blunt, they've kind of found a Catholic unicorn. They have an option that most in the American Church don't have and promoting Catholic school as the optimal scenario based on their rare gem is perhaps short-sighted. In any case, homeschooling is a beautiful and important option that will become increasingly important (and persecuted) as our freedoms come under fire.
WHAT KIND OF HOMESCHOOLER AM I?
A Catholic one. No, seriously. That's all. I am constantly (imperfectly) reevaluating the needs of my family in order to honor the dignity, beauty, and individual intelligence of each soul under my care. The changing curricula I use reflects that alone and not any specific methodology.
WHAT KIND OF BLOGGER AM I?
I don't know. Catholic? Yes, Catholic.
IS BLOGGING YOUR JOB?
No. For every penny I have earned blogging, I have spent two. I would honestly love to be able to supplement our family income through blogging but, up to this point, have not. Such material success would have required much more time than I can reasonably take away from my family and probably also more skill than I naturally have. Monetarily successful blogging takes a tremendous amount of time and for many Catholic bloggers, involves a family commitment based on specific need or mission. If you've ever wondered how a mommy blogger is able to "do it all" when you are struggling to comb your hair, rest assured... she's not. She either has a family arrangement that allows more time than you have, hires others to do things like design or social media engagement, or must work to help support the family and has chosen this path to do so. Nobody can vacuum, cook, and write a blog post at the same time, but I caution you: Don't judge. Every family discerns it's own path according to needs. You are likely not ever going to be privy to those particular needs.
In spite of a desire to make my time on the blog work materially for my family, I have decided to keep affiliates and sponsored posts intentionally to a minimum. I do include them periodically... although never for a group, cause, or product which I wouldn't stake my reputation on.
My long term dreams for this blog do include the hope of monetary blessing (because, yikes, raising kids can get costly), but that may be a pipe dream. If I do ever come up a couple pennies ahead, it will be because I have finally managed to finish the book or two I have in draft (and convinced a few people to read them) while fulfilling my primary obligations in the home.
Interested in knowing more about my blogging perspective? You can listen here to Catholic Blogger: Created for Greatness
WHAT IS YOUR PARENTING STYLE?
Catholic. (Are you sensing a pattern here?) After 17 years, I have eaten so much humble pie that I don't even dare try to label what I do. I sometimes cringe when I read the postulating of very young blog moms who will most certainly be retracting their public positions after a later child brings them to their maternal knees. I was an amazing parent when I had 3 little ones and knew the answers to everything... that didn't last long. I periodically give my opinions and perspective here, but with the full knowledge that the Church leaves these details up to individual discernment.
If I had to generalize... I would say that I more strongly relate to the attachment parenting lifestyle than highly structured parenting. I believe (based on my understanding of Church teaching) that we have an obligation to explore the beautiful and natural means by which God has designed us to bear, nourish, and raise children before we commit to other options. Translated, that means I do what is reasonable to birth, feed, and nurture babies in a way that is consistent with my body's natural design. I am not freaky about this... but it is important to me to do my best to reasonably seek that ideal. And no, I don't think you're a terrible parent for doing it another way that honors the health of your family and children.
Did I miss anything essential that you'd like to know? I'll gladly answer those questions for you... just leave them in the form below. If it seems like we can get along reasonably well (or if you don't mind getting to know people whose different ideas challenge you to sharpen your own), you can subscribe to my email updates here: Blossoming Joy Newsletter