Friday Five (Vol. 36)
Posted by Jeff Walker
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I won’t lie. It’s been a rough week, filled with headlines that when compressed into a shortened time frame make the world seem a much darker place than it is. The weight of all the world’s problems seemed so crushing as to cause me to wonder what on earth I would write about this week. I’ve collected several links for a few different post ideas but I’ve shelved them for now. I’m sticking with Facebook only to get through the final week of the baseball season because of the interaction I enjoy with other team parents there, but once the state tournament is finished in a few days I’m going incommunicado for awhile. As I’d figured would happen the political foul mood of the country in general is spilling over and I’m growing very weary of biting my tongue out of deference to friendships.
To be fair to my friends it’s Facebook itself that is the issue, not them. As all other portals on the internet are, it is a place where clicking a link takes you to another story or another link where you’re exposed to more of the crazies in the comboxes. News sites are full of ‘em, and now Facebook is too. I spent a portion of my evening last night “unliking” a bunch of Facebook sites where the discourse has devolved into uncivil partisanship or the always handy anti-Catholic bigotry that runs rampant. Last night I saw this piece by Bethany on her blog about her disgust with what Facebook is becoming and have to say I agree with most of what she’s written. I miss the individual creativity that used to be prevalent there. My friends are all interesting and creative and wonderful. But Facebook has become mostly a series of shared images and photos.
I thought that’s what Pinterest was for. Perhaps we’ve become collectively bored by the Facebook experience.
I read something this week on my daily desk calendar that helped to keep my mouth closed as the rhetoric grows more heated.
As a small crack in a lute tends to make its music dull and discordant, through causing the air to escape in the wrong place, so is the intercourse of friendship or love sometimes strained by trifles, which turn harmony into discord.” – J. B. Lippincott’s Everyday Phrases Explained, 1913
Discretion really is the better part of valor, and I don’t want my heightened hackles over a small trifle to become a major kerfuffle. So this week found me tired. Tired and wondering whether to continue an online presence.
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Taking a bit of my own advice (Blogger, heal thyself!) I decided to look harder for the beauty that is out there. I’ve always liked to think that those faithful few who do read my blog did so because I offered an alternative to all that noise, and that if I became yet another who rolled around in the mud and the muck I’d be disappointing you. I recalled that C.S. Lewis (or maybe it was Tolkien) once wrote that he wrote what he wanted to read but had found wanting in the world. In other words: write the kind of stories you are interested in reading and are not able to find anywhere else.
I also stumbled across the website of professor and author David Athey. While I’ve added his latest novel Christopher to my bloated Amazon Wish List, I’ve also bookmarked his site for a daily viewing. Each day his site presents a Daily Writing Tip, Today’s Reason to Love the Church, and a Mystical Quote of the Day. A little “soul food” if you will, and I hungrily devour each morsel each morning when I arrive at work. Do yourself a favor and check it out.
I also took a detour from my summer reading list and took Strangers and Sojourners from my bookshelf and began reading. It is the first in a series of six books from author Michael O’Brien. I haven’t read it in almost ten years and find that I recall almost nothing of the story so it’s as if I’m reading it for the first time. As all of O’Brien’s books do, this one hooked me instantly and the words and images sing to my soul as I pour over each page. I read 80 pages last night and can’t wait to pick it up again tonight.
The book’s title brought to mind that phrase from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians in Chapter 2. I encourage it as reading for anyone who is a little down in the mouth. I’ll quote just the last four verses (Ephesians 2:19-22):
So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
Buoyed by all of the above (and a few other little epiphanies along the way) I decided to at least continue my blogging, with the reminder to myself to keep it focused on the uplifting when I can and to stay “in” the world, but not “of” it.
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All of that being said, I do have to ask (to no one in particular) these three questions from my random observations this week:
- When did “I don’t agree with you” and “I hate you” become synonymous?
- How is it that the promoters of modern “tolerance” demand people accept their point of view when they’re not willing to accept other people’s point of view?
- Why will some women wail and gnash their teeth if “wives, submit to your husbands” (Ephesians 5:22) is read aloud (especially when taken out of context as it often is) and yet gleefully purchase forests of the male-dominated-woman-submitting-to-bondage-filled-mommy-porn that is 50 Shades of Grey?
Parting shot: Chick-fil-A anyone?
Parting shot snark disclaimer: I didn’t write this. Somebody else made it happen.
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I found the following journal entries in my eight-year old son’s “journal” that they were using in April at school. I had “spoke/read” it into the Notes function of my Droid and reviewed it the other day. I think his class was practicing writing short stories/paragraphs at the time. While our oldest son is our introvert and thinker, our youngest two children are more extroverted and it’s difficult to pin them down and get them to express themselves as they’re usually keeping themselves “busy”. These three entries make me smile, as they provided me with a seldom-seen view of his thoughts.
I was going outside to say goodnight. When I got out there I saw hail. It was cool. I got hit with a part of the hail. Then I said goodnight to my brother and my dad. I went inside and went to bed.
One day I was playing inside. Then I got up to see the rain storm. MY DAD WAS OUT THERE!? I got out there quickly! I asked my dad what he was doing. He was reading his bible. Then I went to bed.
When I was at my brother’s game I saw two flashes. I knew it was lightning. I told my dad and he saw it too. He got everybody in my family in the car. My brother had to ride the bus to get out of the rain. The lightning was in the shape of a baseball field! I could not believe my eyes! It was big! Then I went to bed.
I guess the kid likes his sleep.
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Sooooooo…let’s wrap this up with a little ethereal beauty shall we, and promise each other that the next time we’re getting down in the mouth about events over which we have no control we’ll pull up this video as a reminder that we are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.
Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
About Jeff WalkerI am a project manager/systems analyst by day, sporadic writer by night, a Catholic-husband-father-Red Sox fan 24/7/365.
Posted on July 27, 2012, in Beauty, Books, Catholicism, Christianity, Family, Friday Five, Music, Opinion, Parenthood, Peace, Politics, Reading, Social Media, The Bible. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.