How to Stop Judging Others So Much

Often attempts to “admonish the sinner” online play out like this. Person A notices the sin of Person B. In a sense of self-righteousness, they set out to correct Person B. The gist of their message is, “This is a sin. Do not sin,” but it gets wrapped up in feelings of self-righteousness and frustration toward the sinner. What also is communicated is “What the heck is wrong with you?”

Person C than notices person B’s self-righteousness. “Ah, this is now an appropriate time to practice ‘admonishing the sinner.'” So they approach person B, and the gist of their message is, “This is a sin. Do not sin.” And sometimes the question of “What the heck is wrong with you?” is attached as well.

The answer to “What the heck is wrong with you?” is pretty basic. “I’m a sinner. That’s what’s wrong with me.” But it especially gets confusing when our idea that sin is always rooted in an “I’m going to do it anyway” mentality, rather than in spiritual blindness.

So, when Person C corrects us with:

How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye?

Continue reading “How to Stop Judging Others So Much”

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The Long Night and Emmanual

Note: If you’re confused as to why I’m talking about Christmas on December 26, please note, I’m Catholic. The season ends on January 6. Christmas BEGAN on Christmas Eve. The four weeks prior to Christmas was Advent.

Christmas lies just after the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year (marked by its very long night). The celebration of the Solstice has always been a reminder that the days are about to get longer. Indeed, when we Catholics are in the Advent Season, the nights are lengthening. We anticipate the coming of the light, but not just the light of the sun, but the light of Christ.

And so now, during this Christmas season, our days lengthen by about a minute each day. We likely won’t even notice it that much till we’re a week into January. Likewise, we don’t reflect so much on Christ’s ministry nor on his saving work. We reflect simply on His presence. We reflect on when and how He came.

It’s easy to get lost in the familiarity of the story. “Oh yeah, he was born in poverty.” Well, do we think of poverty? Do we reflect on the darkness?

I think, so often, we get so focused on the light, that we become repulsed by the surrounding darkness. We get offended by others sins, we react with shock when we’re reminded that this is the time of year where more people are depressed and where the suicide rate is higher. We get so focused on “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” when it isn’t. It is a dark time of the year, a time we bring light into with twinkle lights and candles, all while thinking of Christ, the light of the world being born in the poorest of conditions after being turned away by countless people.

The light comes to us in the darkness, and indeed, so much of the gospel is all about that. It’s heard best when you’re suffering, when you’re feeling like crying out “My God, why have you abandoned me?” The answer, the good news, is in the name. Emmanuel. God with us. Indeed, the gospel is that God has NOT abandoned us. And thus like those twinkle lights, we can bring joy out of the darkness and even find something quite beautiful.

A gospel that ignores the darkness misses the point. It’s like putting lights on a tree and refusing to turn off the light because “I’m afraid of the dark.” No, turn them off and appreciate. Indeed, not all is light, but we can bring light into the darkness. THAT is the joy of the season.

Why The Lives of the Saints May Alienate and Bore Us

Saints are supposed to be our heroes, individuals who’ve entered that spiritual journey we’re on, who have struggled and gained profound spiritual insights we can learn from and hopefully apply to our own lives. And the saints we find most inspiring are supposed to be the ones we identify with the most.

Continue reading “Why The Lives of the Saints May Alienate and Bore Us”

Lactational Amenorrhea Method – Why Did We Abandon it?

This is Part 3 (See Part 1 and Part 2) and the last of my posts on the myths surrounding NFP. And to be frank, I don’t really know how to parse the truth from reality in this one? Because what I have is a lack of research I can find on this method beyond the year 2000 and claims I heard from my Creighton instructor and a few friends that insist recent studies have disproven the effectiveness of this method. But with 17 years gone by, I can only express uncertainty. Where are these recent studies? Do they even exist?

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If it’s not being used for contraception, then don’t consider it one.

This is a part 2  of my series on the myths surrounding NFP. The first part, “Actually, NFP IS the Rhythm method“, covered the surprisingly lower than expected method failure rates of the old 1932 chart, and the lived reality that periodic abstinence–whether we call it NFP or Rhythm–presents a real challenge to Catholics who have need to consistently avoid for grave health reasons. (This all being said not to attack Church teaching, but to assure that we don’t minimize and bear false witness in our promotion of NFP)

My next topic, though, deals with the issue of menstrual health.

Many years ago, I was walking up the hill to Egan Hall on the campus of Franciscan University when I came across a friend. She was sitting alone on a bench looking rather distraught. I sat next to her and asked her what was wrong.

“I hate this school so much!” she said, and then went on to explain to me how her friends had tackled her and thrown her prescription medication in the trash. Why? Because she was managing her PCOS symptoms with “the pill.” And indeed, most students had heard so many talks about the petty reasons doctors would prescribe this medication, they felt it was important to stop her. It didn’t even seem to matter that she’d gone out of her way to find an NFP-only physician who’d respect her faith. They’d exhausted all other treatments before taking this route.

In more recent years, this fear that being on “the pill” to manage conditions–like endometriosis, PCOS, excessive or heavy menstrual bleeding–is immoral has been used to market Naprotechnology to women. And while I see nothing wrong with mentioning Naprotechnology, I do think we take things too far by shaming women for treating their menstrual health problems with standard medical care.

Before I start my list of myths, I want to be clear on one point. I’m talking about using the pill to manage menstrual health problems and hormonal imbalances. I have no idea if some irregular cycles are within the range of being considered healthy. I do know that many menstrual problems are associated with an increased risk of health problems including cancer. Naprotechnology has no research to identify whether their methods actually decrease this risk. However, there is some research, however imperfect, that standard care may reduce some of the risk. Granted, I can’t link to just one source as it really does depend on what condition we’re talking about.

This article is NOT about women with regular cycles.

Continue reading “If it’s not being used for contraception, then don’t consider it one.”

New Chapter of DEVIL’S RETURN is live

returnmock1RETURN TO ME || It’s been three years since Philip departed, and though Alison can’t forget him, she has tried to move on. She’s got her own place, a job, and even a budding new relationship. But as things start to blossom between her and the new guy, Philip appears briefly just before a strange man distracts her and stabs her in the hand.

A new danger arises as the Spirit realm begins to recognize Alison as a means to gain more power, and though the angel Gabriel warns her to keep the St. Benedict medal on for protection, Alison can’t help but feel tempted to search for Philip even though it means putting herself in danger and risks hurting her boyfriend.

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Actually, NFP IS the Rhythm Method

This is the first of a series of posts I’m going to be doing about NFP (Natural Family Planning), as in the use of periodic abstinence to avoid conception. Originally, I wrote up 20 Myths of NFP to submit to the FemCatholic blog, but a 10-page essay was quite long. I did send it suggesting it be split up into multiple posts, but then felt “No, I want to start posting now.” As such, I’m reviving my old blog. Out of the mothballs, here I come!

Besides, what better way to build a blog following than to stir up controversy? Afterall, I’m going to say things that remove the guild from the truth. This will be just the honest facts, because anything else is bearing false witness.

Indeed, this information does not come from my own self-interest, afterall, I’m relatively infertile and have not been able to achieve pregnancy in the four years I’ve made no efforts to avoid it.

This rather is rooted in having watched my mother go through 4 high-risk pregnancies in the course of fewer than 3 years. My parents had severely grave moral reasons to prevent pregnancy, and the NFP rhetoric put my mother’s life in jeopardy repetitively. And, as I kept hearing about how it was 99% effective and only moral to use if you were in a situation like my mother’s, I began to see that something was wrong. I even speculated that perhaps situations like my mother REALLY mandated TOTAL abstinence.  (A view I no longer have)

As such, in 2004, I decided to write my first paper on the effectiveness of NFP back when I was a college student at Franciscan University. But I never stopped. The information I have is the result of 13 years of research simply because NFP is my hobby interest.

Continue reading “Actually, NFP IS the Rhythm Method”