7 Quick Takes – Volume 18 (American Jesus)

— 1 —

Friday again. As I mentioned last week, I’ve been spending more time working on the Real Catholic Love and Sex blog.

Here are this week’s posts:

I’ve noticed more readers seem to need help with following the Church teaching on sex than with sexual issues themselves, which brings me to my next quick take…

— 2 —

Calah Alexander of Barefoot and Pregnant wrote a post “Sloppy Seconds Sex Ed” about problems with abstinence-only sex ed.

SONY DSC

The reaction of the Catholic blogosphere went something like this:

“I had NO IDEA abstinence-only was so bad. That is TOTALLY not what be believe! Theology of the Body!”

“But people should wait until marriage.”

“Wait, I remember the spit-cup demonstration from Catholic school.”

“What???”

“Yeah.”

“That’s not right.”

“We need to remember that sexual sin is serious. We can’t ignore it. Catholics don’t take sexual sin seriously anymore.”

“I grew up Catholic back then and we were taught that sexual things were shameful and dirty. We were taught impure thoughts would send us straight to hell.”

“I never heard that. The Church never taught that.”

“That’s what I was taught growing up.”

“That’s really strange. We weren’t taught anything about sex in Church. We were told it was OK to use the Pill at pre-Cana.”

So while it’s easy to criticize Protestant Purity Culture, it seems like most Catholics (at least American Catholics) have no shortage doctrinal misunderstandings and sexual issues. I’ve written about how the conversation about sex in Catholic circles (at least in the United States) can get incredibly neurotic, and the reaction to Calah’s post shows that I wasn’t far off base.

My favorite post of all of them has been Elizabeth Duffy’s. It basically boils down to “Let’s not sugar coat it, abstinence is a sacrifice.” Because if abstinence doesn’t involve some sacrifice, you’re doing it wrong.

— 3 —

But where I was off base in my earlier post is seeing neurosis about sex as a problem with the Catholic Church. No, it’s a problem with American Catholic culture.

Like most Americans, I always thought that the United States of America is, in fact, the center of the universe. But then I found this post on our facebook feed.

Ten Things Americans Don’t Know About America

Essentially, the rest of the world thinks Americans are narcissistic, materialistic, and emotionally stunted. Part of me is insulted, the rest of me knows they’re right.

— 4 —

There is an old joke that goes something like this:

Q: If someone who speaks many languages is multilingual and someone who speaks two languages is bilingual, then what do you call someone who only speaks one language?

A: An American.

Which is why I find how people think in other languages fascinating. Knowing only one language really limits one’s perspective on how they see the world.

On that note, here is a really cool Chart of Emotions that Have No Names in the English Language

ku-xlarge

The Russian emotion Tocka (“longing with nothing to long for”) is perhaps the most powerful, but they all convey a feelings that we all feel, but don’t have words for.

— 5 —

I have learned long ago never to argue with fundamentalists.

Its like casting your pearls before swine. Or is it like wrestling with a pig? (You get dirty and the pig likes it.) I’m sure it’s some pork-related analogy.

What I have also learned is that having a discussion with ex-fundamentalists can be just as difficult. Although they have stopped drinking the Kool-Aid themselves, sometimes it can take awhile to realize that normal people don’t know about the Kool-Aid and don’t understand why red liquids in a pitcher can trigger horrific memories of abuse.

What's wrong with Cosmopolitans?

Perhaps the most harmful element of fundamentalism is the distortion of what is normal that goes along with it. Because everyone should be able to enjoy a cosmopolitan without fear.

— 6 —

One of the hardest things families struggle with is family prayer time. Plenty of good Catholic families have started with high hopes of “praying a family rosary” only to find that getting children to pay attention for one decade of the rosary, much less all five, requires a minor miracle.

rosary02

But sometimes minor miracles do happen.

In my case, the minor miracle is called the “iPhone 5″ (you do have to admit smartphones are a minor miracle) combined with the Laudate app and the iPod connector in my car stereo.

When I leave to take the children to school in the morning, I put the rosary podcast on. (The fourth podcast, by Christian Peschkin, is my favorite.)

While I started doing it exclusively for myself, this morning, my older daughter asked if I was going to put the rosary on. More amazingly, the two of them are quiet while the podcast is playing, and, most amazingly, do NOT interfere with each others’ personal space.

I don’t know whether they are paying attention to the prayers or not, but if it keeps them quiet and on their own sides of the car, I consider it a minor miracle.

Perhaps minor miracles like this is why Pope Francis is releasing a new app?

— 7 —

Spring is finally here! After weeks of clouds, rain, and cold, it’s in the low 80s and sunny. Still a bit cool for mid May in the South, but I’ll take it.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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