24 Hours Without an iPhone

Yesterday morning my iPhone stopped working. I was still using my 5S from 2013, trying to eek out a few more months until I could upgrade to the 8 which is supposed to be completely different from recent models.

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With being at work yesterday and having things scheduled afterwards, I had no time to try to switch my cellular service over to my old 4S (from 2011!).

At first it felt odd wondering not having the ability to text or get emails immediately. But as the day went on it became an afterthought. I went to the local park in the evening for a softball game with my family. The thought of checking my phone never struck once and I made the comment how “this is like the 90s! I won’t know what’s going on until I get back home!”. It felt great not being tethered to it.

Today I have an appointment at Apple’s Genius Bar to see if my 5S is easily salvageable. If it’s not, while I’ll probably end up using the 4S, I gotta say, the idea of reverting to a “dumb phone” that flips open seems very attractive. Well…at least until the iPhone 8 comes out. Then I’ll reassess my desire for one. ☩

Catholic Mom Groups

Groups for Catholics have been steadily springing up nationwide. Many Millennials, disenchanted by the beige, formless, and often ugly strain of Catholicism they grew up with in the 1990’s, seek to claim the full inheritance of the faith passed along to them by creating groups which celebrate the good, true, and beautiful all while having a great time. However, it seems–at least to me–that most of these groups are for men.

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Unlikely 50 Shades of Grey is on the book list

True, many of these men’s groups have formed as a way of countering the lopsided decades of wives and mothers being forced into the role of spiritual leader within families due to men abandoning their posts.  In many ways, the men’s groups are forming simply to counter the years of spiritual apathy contracted by husbands and fathers.

That being said, there’re so many Millennial women that long for (if not already enjoying) the company of authentic Catholic women, especially when it comes to the vocations of motherhood and marriage. My wife is in one which was started at a neighboring parish and loves it. The women she is now friends with are wonderful people with wonderful families. They are diverse in backgrounds, talents, hobbies, and interests which make their weekly get-togethers interesting. Anchored around the Rosary, these morning meetings provide excellent play time for the children and an opportunity for truly engaging conversation on an endless variety of topics. The guests of the respective host are treated to fun food, coffee, laughter and more.

Women need each other, especially for mothers in a culture where motherhood is scoffed at and authentic faith is mocked. These groups are also a wonderful opportunity for children to meet quality friends whose parents you’re not wondering about when your child goes over there to play. All the people my wife has met through her group (husbands & children included) have been people I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting and inviting to our home or going over to theirs. These dinners, where beer, wine, and, if things are really going well, scotch flow along with excellent, stimulating conversation. Topics on anything from smoking meat to politics, liturgy to favorite authors, philosophy to music are discussed. These are the type of interactions humans need, especially those who are seeking to live in a counter-cultural manner (as in, wanting little to do with the destructive popular culture). Without these quality interactions it can become easy for someone to feel isolated, as if they are the only person in their neighborhood who reveres true truth, beauty, and goodness and doesn’t want to discuss what happened on The Bachelor last night or what so-and-so posted on Facebook this morning.

Anyway, I got carried away, as usual. The entire point of this post was just to share an image I made up for anyone who is looking to start a group of their own (because I’m a nerd). Feel free to use it. ☩

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Comments: 10 Reasons Why Millennials are Opting Out of Religion

Most Millennials are falling away from religion. This isn’t news. We all know this both from the polls being released and, mostly, simple observation. The reasons for this situation aren’t news either. That’s why a recent editorial on Fox News isn’t groundbreaking.

Catholics Mark The Start Of Lent With Ash Wednesday Mass

The piece written by protestant Dr. Alex McFarland points out reasons why Millennials are indifferent, skeptical, or repulsed by Christianity. While most points are not new and some are more accurate than others, a few deserve commentary. The points worth expanding on are put in order of importance below.

Ten Reasons Millennials are Backing Away from God and Christianity

4. Lack of spiritual authenticity among adults. Many youth have had no — or very limited — exposure to adult role models who know what they believe, why they believe it, and are committed to consistently living it out.

This is huge. As a Millennial (who even went to Catholic schools) I can absolutely vouch for this. After years of religious ed and Sunday Mass, most Americans Catholics are still left with little understanding of the importance of Jesus’ Sacrifice or the purpose of the Catholic Church. Few suburban parents during the 90’s-00’s transmitted faithful Catholicism to their children because they themselves had a poor understanding of it. Adults need to have a solid understanding of their own faith and live it out authentically rather than awkwardly fit Catholicism into their already existing lifestyle. Children need to see adults living the faith out even when no one is looking or when it is uncomfortable. Children need to witness their parents praying like adults, otherwise they just think it’s something adults make kids do like putting teeth under the pillow for the Tooth Fairy or cookies out for Santa.

Parents: read about your faith. The benefits to the mind and soul of reading Catholic literature cannot be underestimated. If you don’t know the answer to something, immediately seek the answer on your smartphone. There’re no excuses! Then live out the faith personally foremost and let these practices radiate to the rest of family life. This leads to the next point…

6. Pervasive cultural abandonment of morality. The idea of objective moral truth—ethical norms that really are binding on all people—is unknown to most and is rejected by the rest.

If one doesn’t understand the objective essence of God and His Church though the first point made above, why would they live a life of objective morality? If everyone can make up their own truth, anyone can rationalize behavior in seeking personal enjoyment. If moral truth isn’t objective, virtue/vice doesn’t exist, and the entire reason for Jesus dying on the Cross evaporates. This leads to the next point…

2. Breakdown of the family. It has long been recognized that experience with an earthly father deeply informs the perspective about the heavenly father. In “How the West Really Lost God, sociologist Mary Eberstadt correctly asserts, “The fortunes of religion rise or fall with the state of the family.”

He’s quoting a sociologist but he could have just as easily quoted Pope Saint JPII: “As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live.”

5. The church’s cultural influence has diminished. The little neighborhood church is often assumed to be irrelevant, and there is no cultural guilt anymore for those who abandon involvement.

The author is looking at this in a short-sighted protestant way. This is true for the Church more than an individual neighborhood church (although still accurate). The Roman Catholic Church’s clout when it came to moral applications to new situations in the world has been destroyed, nearly entirely self-inflicted. The self-destruction following the unfaithful applications of the ambiguous Second Vatican Council documents and the horrendous sexual scandal which followed was unparalleled in Church history. This led to many priests and bishops to speak of the Church publicly in a self-loathing manner, further contributing to this issue. Due to the reduced worldwide influence of Rome, we have seen the rise of the next point…

3. Militant secularism: Embraced by media and enforced in schools, secular education approaches learning through the lens of “methodological naturalism.” It is presupposed that all faith claims are merely expressions of subjective preference. The only “true” truths are claims that are divorced from any supernatural context and impose no moral obligations on human behavior.

Catholics must stand up and fight for what is true, beautiful, and good. Adult Catholics must understand their faith better than any generation before and live it out in a way that permeates their entire life. There is no room for, as Bishop Barron calls it, “beige Catholicism” any longer.


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It can be argued that this entire situation is a way of strengthening the Church. As the Catholic Church sheds millions of people who are, essentially,  “Catholic in Name Only” or “cultural Catholics” due to the diminished shame associated with abandoning one’s baptismal rites, a more true, beautiful, and good form of Catholicism rises from the ashes…purified through the intense fires of the last five decades. The impurities will burn away and left standing will be, as always, the gold that is the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. ☩

CS Lewis: Holiness isn’t Dull, it’s Irresistible

If Christianity feels like a chore to you, dig deeper. Once it clicks, it’s like the Wizard of Oz; life goes from black & white to color. Every person, art, and (upright) activity you love…you love more deeply. Beauty is found in places you never expected. As Saint John Paul II stated: “life with Christ is a wonderful adventure”.

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If you don’t believe seeking holiness is joyful, exciting, and irresistible, keep digging, keep reading, keep praying, and seek out beautiful liturgies to surround your reception of the Eucharist.

Catholic doctrine and discipline may be walls’ but they are the walls of a playground.

-GK Chesterton

Moderating the Bunnies and Eggs of Easter

With Easter approaching, it’s hard to avoid the only reason secular culture seems to celebrate the day: A creepy Easter Bunny and egg hunts. How weird. How lame.

These are fun traditions for kiddos growing up in America but the real meaning of the extremely important reason for Easter is more easily suppressed than, say, Santa and the meaning of Christmas. I’d argue fewer people, especially children, understand the reason for Easter than the reason for Christmas (although I’m sure the latter is dismal as well).

Image result for easter bunny protestant memePart of the reason for this is that today’s parents and adults are less reluctant to discuss the meaning of Christmas than Easter. Jesus being born is far less radical and outrageous sounding than Jesus resurrecting from the dead for us. Many millennial parents in today’s purely rationalistic, politically correct, and spiritually suppressed culture blush at the mention of such extravagant and miraculous claims. Better for them to fit in with today’s beige understanding of Christianity and not be seen as a “fundamentalist”. I mean, that’s kinda “extremest“, right?

This is why I am suggesting a firm effort by Catholic families to better moderate the Easter season’s connection to eating candy; finding eggs; and talking about a big, ugly, creepy, protestant bunny. It’s fun and festive to take part in these secular and cultural activities surrounding holidays–Santa Claus and his reindeer, trick-or-treating, and Easter baskets–but we must not let these largely empty secular customs suffocate the important reasons behind these holidays. If Christians continue trying to be polite and bashful, it will continue to happen. These are OUR holidays, don’t concede them! It’s exactly what the Enemy wants…just ask Screwtape.

The balance between secular celebration and truth/Christian understanding needs to be re-calibrated. Let’s start doing that now. Otherwise popular, anti-Christian culture will continue to devour truth, beauty, meaning, and Christ within our society until there’s hardly anything good left. ☩