Wednesday, June 14, 2017

At the Gluttony Pride Mass...

(Please note: the following is an attempt at satire, inspired by this real-life news article. I am putting this up front to make sure everybody knows it.)

June 14, 2027

ANYTOWN--The word "brunch" usually conjures up images of cozy breakfast restaurants, but for several dozen gluttony pride activists and their families, a Mass held in their honor at the Cathedral of St. Volusian was more like a brunch.

The doors of the Cathedral opened to reveal snack tables dotted with omelettes, bacon, and pancakes placed strategically throughout the church building. Those attending were encouraged to help themselves on their way up to a special area in the front of the church, where large sturdy recliners provided comfortable seating to the small-in-number but vigorously welcomed group, all of whom were members of Gluttony Lovers Always Eating, or GLAE.  Many of them were dressed casually, sporting t-shirts which read "We're Round, We're Around, Get Used to It!" or, more simply, "GLAE Pride!"

"I'm so glad to see you all!" Cardinal Tweedledum welcomed the group, which included gluttony pride members and GLAE families from several different parishes in the archdiocese. "For too long, the Church has hurtfully focused on the so-called 'sin' of gluttony, wagged her fingers at you about the virtue of temperance, and called your appetites disordered. Your appetites for far more food than is needed for sustenance isn't disordered; it's just 'differently ordered!"

Recognizing a quote from the popular new book Building Rather Heavily Reinforced Bridges by Jesuit theologian Father Phil Lacious, the GLAE crowd applauded.

The welcoming of openly gluttonous people to a Mass would have been unthinkable a decade ago. But Cardinal Tweedledum is one of a number of new Church authorities trying to be more welcoming and inclusive of groups like GLAE. In an interview last week, Cardinal Tweedledum explained. "The shift started happening a long time ago. We used to differentiate between people who were trying to get away from their sins, and people who didn't see their sins as sinful. But the conscience gets to decide. Maybe gay sex, or adultery, or theft, or lying, or gluttony isn't right for me personally. But if it's right for you, well, who am I to judge? We've always had fat people in the Church, and we sort of took it for granted that most of them went to Confession when they overindulged and that otherwise they were sincerely trying to learn temperance and stop overeating. And we know that some fat people aren't gluttons--health problems and so on--and some gluttons aren't fat. But the GLAE Pride people set us straight. Making them feel unworthy, unwelcome, like they were less than everyone else just because they're capable of eating an entire rotisserie chicken for a light snack--that was wrong. That was unwelcoming and intolerant, and we're trying to change that."

Founding member of the local GLAE chapter Addie Pose agrees--to a point. "I'm cautiously optimistic that the Church will get with the times and change her old fat-shaming teachings that call gluttony and overeating sinful one of these days," Pose said. "Masses like this one are a great sign of hope to our community--hope that we can come out of the pantry and admit that we like to eat, that eating is the most important part of who we are and how we identify. But we have a long way to go. The Catechism still teaches that gluttony is a sin. Active practitioners of gluttony are often barred from priesthood or religious life, usually on some kind of spurious health concerns as well as the spirituality question.  All of this is terribly hurtful to the gluttony pride community, and as a community we demand that greater attention be paid to our concerns. As much as I appreciate the cardinal's efforts here, it's not nearly enough. True welcoming means accepting and affirming us in every aspect of our lives, including at the dinner table."

Brother Toby Lard, a theologian with ties to the New Meals Ministry group that serves the GLAE community and agitates for changes in both secular and religious laws to accommodate the gluttony-American community, says that Cardinal Tweedledum's gesture of a Mass where people are encouraged to keep eating through the entire celebration is a good start. "The GLAE community finds the one-hour fast prior to Communion to be especially hurtful," Brother Lard said. "It singles them out in such an obvious way. This is not a community of people who is used to going a full hour without eating. We are asking them to suffer in ways that ordinary eaters don't have to just to encounter Jesus, and that's got to be addressed."  Brother Lard, whose scholarly works include a study of the gluttony community of Ancient Rome complete with its lavish feasts and vomitoriums, adds, "Christ was well aware of the widespread and community-based practice of 'safe gluttony' among the Ancient Romans, and yet He never condemned those practices or told anybody to avoid feasting. He often encountered people while feasting, and frequently used food-based metaphors and parables to teach His flock, which is not consistent with the idea that Christ would ever have condemned gluttony." Asked how the Church's prohibition against gluttony came about, Brother Lard's answer was immediate. "Paul," he said. "The Apostle Paul had some truly weird hang-ups. He just didn't like people to enjoy life at all, you know? And unfortunately his ideas have impacted the Church for ages. But luckily that's all changing now."

Addie Pose isn't quite so sure. "We've presented several demands to Cardinal Tweedledum, and he's already shot down one of them completely. There will be no consecration of deep-fried Communion wafers, even though we use unconsecrated deep-fried wafers in our private worship services. Some of our members have gone ECUSA over that--the Episcopalians were willing to experiment with deep-fried Communion. But we're Catholic, and we just want our culture and our community and our struggles reflected when we encounter the Lord. Is that too much to ask?"

Cardinal Tweedledum says it is--for now. "Who knows where the Holy Spirit will guide us eventually?" he said. "But, confidentially, those things are a mess, and besides, the Church doesn't allow the extra ingredients that go into the coating." He added, "Some of the other things the GLAE community wants are no trouble. Bigger pews with more spaces between them--we're already planning to remodel a section of the Cathedral for that. So few people show up to Sunday Mass anymore that it's not a problem at all to rip out half or two-thirds of the pews to make the worship space GLAE-friendly. Of course, the Affirming Nudism group will need to test the pews to make sure they're still acceptable to the clothing-optional Catholics, and we will need to have diversity sensitivity training to make sure the Celebrate Thieves group doesn't think the spread-out pews are somehow meant to discourage their lifestyle which includes occasional pick-pocketing. But other than that I think we can be as welcoming and affirming as possible."

GLAE Pride member Ella Fantine thinks the cardinal is doing a good job. "I remember my mother telling me I was risking eternal damnation by eating a whole coffee cake for breakfast every day," she said, wiping away tears. "To have Cardinal Tweedledum welcome and affirm all four hundred and six pounds of me and tell me I don't have to change at all--that I can eat two coffee cakes if I feel like it--is amazing. This is a message of hope and love for all, and it has taken a long time for us to get to hear it. But finally our lifestyle is being seen as just as good, noble, grace-filled and holy as everyone else's, and it's about time."

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A dangerous experiment

What a busy month this has been! I can't believe I haven't blogged since May 1st, but actually that's probably a good thing. There have been so many news headlines and articles to annoy me this month that it's arguably better that I'm finally sitting down to write more generally about them all instead of about individual and specific articles.

I'm talking about the rash of news articles, opinion pieces, blog posts and other writings all lining up to push the transgender agenda on America. As I wrote long ago on my old blog, the goal of the gay "marriage" push was never just about redefining and destroying marriage; it was always about deconstructing gender, destroying society's alleged "heteronormativity," and obliterating people and ideas that don't agree that biological sex means nothing and one's individual and personal definition of gender and sexual orientation is sacrosanct.

Here in Texas, we have seen that in the legislation that has been dubbed a "bathroom bill." Even that phrasing is designed to make people think, "Oh, how silly. Who cares where small children use the bathroom?" The reality that this legislation covers other things like whether or not teenage boys can change in the girls' locker room and whether or not a middle school girl will have to share her hotel room on a school sports trip with a boy in a dress gets overlooked by focusing on the word "bathroom." In point of fact, there are all sorts of spaces and situations in school environments that have typically been sex-segregated, most of them for excellent reasons. Demanding that a fifteen-year-old boy who is suffering from gender identity disorder be allowed to play girls' basketball and go on road trips and share hotel accommodations with "her" classmates is a lot more serious than requiring five-year-old girls to let a boy in a skirt share their bathroom, though even that is fraught with potential problems for the actual biological girls who deserve modesty, privacy, and respect. But most so-called "bathroom bills" are establishing policies that go far beyond kindergartners' bathroom habits.

Which is one reason why it has been so annoying to see the media focus, again and again, on "transgender" kindergartners and first-graders and whether or not they can, despite being biologically male, relieve themselves in the little girls' room. These articles take the unquestioning stance that if a five-year-old boy says he's a girl, why, he IS a girl, a girl who just happens to have a penis--and nobody but a bigot could ever object to girls with penises using the girls' bathroom, right? Those meanies, to tell this child that his--er, her--penis makes him--or, her--a boy! It's cruel to misgender a child based on such whimsical things as, you know, his actual biological sex and his penis and his actual other boy parts/organs and his chromosomes...I mean, SHE is wearing a dress and lip gloss, so that PROVES that SHE is a girl!!!

It is, of course, utter nonsense. He is a boy suffering from gender identity disorder. On the statistically small chance*** that he will grow up to identify as a male-to-female transgender, everyone around him is being told to tiptoe and whisper around the reality of his maleness, and his female classmates are being conditioned to believe it is mean and cruel to object to his presence in their private spaces--no big deal, perhaps, at age five, but what about when they are all 12 and grappling with periods in public restrooms (a fond memory for NO actual biological female I've ever heard of), or 15 and on that sports team trip? When you condition girls to accept boys and men in their private spaces, you are opening them up to the possibility of real harm--no, not necessarily from the gender-confused, but from those who will take advantage of the situation. We are telling girls that it's okay for boys to be in their bathrooms, changing rooms, locker rooms, and even hotel rooms so long as they identify as female--and then giving them no tools at all to make that split-second determination that that boy in a dress actually identifies as female, while this boy in a dress is a rapist taking advantage of their willingness to let him in.

But when you bring that up at all, the transgender propagandists brush such concerns aside. They assert without evidence that this sort of thing won't happen. There will be no increase in attacks on women and girls in private spaces, because they say so. When you provide news articles about attacks on women in private spaces they insist condescendingly that those kinds of attacks happen anyway, and just because we are now being conditioned not to object when an obviously male person enters a women's bathroom or dressing room there will be no increase, now or ever, in these attacks.

What is actually happening is that we are conducting a dangerous societal experiment in female safety. Many of us believe, not without evidence or reason, that attacks on women in private spaces actually will increase when both men and women are taught to see it as no big deal for a man to follow a little girl or young woman into a restroom or changing area. Just because he looks like a man, it doesn't mean he is one! We must stand back and let "her" enter "her" preferred restroom or changing area--and until his victim starts screaming we are bigots if we are worried about the situation.

The safety of actual women and girls is being treated as something that is totally expendable in the war to promote the full LGBTQIA spectrum of identities, orientations, and behaviors. Finding that unacceptable is not bigotry; it is common sense.

***Most children with Gender Identity Disorder do not end up identifying as transgender as adults.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Keep writing

I have to be honest: this was the most difficult National Novel Writing Month event I've ever taken part in. Camp Nanowrimo of April 2017 almost became the Nanowrimo I didn't complete.


Never underestimate a redheaded novelist.

The book itself, the third book in the Ordinary Sam series, isn't quite finished yet. But by the end of the Camp Nanowrimo event yesterday I had crossed the 50,000 word mark, making this the fourteenth time I have managed to do this (three times so far with Camp Nanowrimo, and eleven times writing during the original National Novel Writing Month event in November).

Am I writing this blog post to brag about it all? Not in the least. I'm writing it because every year I encounter people online or in real life who say they want to write a book, or that they wish they could write a book, or that they'd really like to try NaNoWriMo, or some such thing. And some of them do try, but circumstances come up and they have to quit early without making their goals, or they slog through the month and still come up short from a word count perspective--and at that point the temptation is to quit and never try again. Because, some of them are thinking, I already failed, and that proves I'm not really a writer, so why bother trying?

Well, as I said before, on my fourteenth attempt at this I found myself facing the reality that after making a fifty thousand word count goal thirteen times in a row this might finally be the year I didn't make it. But even if something had happened and I had failed to make the word count at the last minute yesterday, I already know I'm a writer. And so, if you're really honest with yourselves, do you--those of you who really do want to write that book, those of you who tried NaNoWriMo already, those of you who are always spending at least part of your time in an imaginary world inside your mind.

Don't sell yourself short. Don't give up. Don't quit trying.

Sure, there are temporary circumstances that might make a really big word goal unreachable right now. But you won't always be tandem nursing two sets of twins or homeschooling a dozen children all day or running three-fourths of the volunteer work at your parish or whatever else you've gotten yourself into these days. In those situations a word goal of "One coherent sentence typed in Times New Roman per day" might be more than enough. But someday when the children are all eating solid food or attending universities, etc., you may find yourself with time to do much more--and it will help immensely if you've already started, how ever small your previous efforts may have been.

The only real setback would be for you to give up writing altogether, because that would be a real tragedy. The world, as the National Novel Writing Month people put it, needs your novel.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Oh, Canada...

This is the last week of Camp Nanowrimo, and I'm so far behind in my word count that it isn't funny. It doesn't help that yesterday I had a visit to the dentist to replace a filling that went missing; after a very busy, non-writing weekend I just didn't need to lose such a huge chunk of valuable afternoon writing time, but missing fillings wait for no man. Or woman. Or any of the other seven-hundred-twenty options (apologies if I left anyone out! Not really).

One of the topics I hope to blog about next week is the rising tide of transgender activism and the dangerous direction it is taking. As a lead-in to that eventual discussion, I present exhibit A (for "appalling"). This article is about a proposed bill in Canada that would add gender rights/gender expression to Canada's Human Rights Act; it would, according to some critics, criminalize perfectly ordinary speech and totally normal assumptions people make every day when they are in contact with other people.

But this is a direct quote from that article; it is the Global News writer's definition of the word transgender: "A transgender person is a person who was misidentified as another sex at birth, often due to having physical characteristics not typically associated with their sex." (Link in original--E.M.)

Read that through very carefully. It may take two or three readings before you begin to understand what they are talking about. What they are saying is this: Nobody is actually born a particular sex. Nobody is born male or female. For some unfathomable reason, doctors "assign" sex at birth, and luckily for them the vast majority of the time they guess right--but it's only a guess. There's actually no way a doctor can tell someone's sex at birth, because some boys have vaginas and some girls have penises (e.g., "physical characteristics not typically associated with their sex."). So some unfortunate penis-girls and vagina-boys have to go through this hurtful process of claiming their rightful gender and undoing the terrible and egregious harm that was done to them when some careless doctor, looking only at empirical biological science and applying that to their genitalia, "misgendered" them.

And Canada's poised to make it a criminal offense, of the hate-crime variety, for anybody to deny that that, and not, say, gender-identity disorder or a deep disconnection with one's biological reality, is what transgender is.

Before you dismiss this as being nothing but Canada being Canada, remember that most of the harms we've seen from the progressive sexual agenda here in America were foreshadowed by similar situations in Canada. Before Americans were being sued, harassed, and driven out of business for refusing to celebrate or participate in gay "weddings," it was happening in Canada. Before people were being called bigots and hater in America for refusing to believe that two men or two women were exactly the same as a husband and wife, they were being called those things (and charged with crimes for their beliefs) in Canada. Before state "Human Rights Commissions" began policing artists and photographers and florists in America, they were doing this in Canada.

So when news writers in Canada can write without any attempt at humor a definition of "transgender" that pushes the belief that some poor girls (with penises) or boys (with vaginas) are tragically and unjustly mislabeled at birth, and that, really, all of us were randomly assigned sexes (note that the definition isn't even using the term "gender" here!) and nobody is really in any innate or real sense an actual man or an actual woman, I tend to pay attention. It's easy to shrug and say, "Oh, Canada..." It's harder to see our own militant sexual progressives reflected in the mirror along our northern border.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Happy Easter!

This post is a little late--is it really Easter Wednesday already?? But I wanted to take a moment to wish my loyal readers (yes, both of you!) a very happy Easter.

I do plan to resume regular blogging again, but I've been behind in my fiction writing and can't spare the time. Posts that will be coming soon include a reflection on the idolatry of physical strength, a look at some new manifestations of the transgender activist agenda, and a discussion of the virtue of prudence.

For now, though, I'm trying to get a newly-named character to behave herself. See you soon!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Ah, Holy Jesus

Two things to me really bring Good Friday to mind. The first is this painting:

And the second is this hymn:

Ah, holy Jesus, how hast thou offended,
that man to judge thee hath in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by thine own rejected,
O most afflicted.

Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee.
'Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee:
I crucified thee.

Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered;
the slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered;
for our atonement, while we nothing heedeth,
God intercedeth.

For me, kind Jesus, was thy incarnation,
thy mortal sorrow, and thy life's oblation;
thy death of anguish and thy bitter passion,
for my salvation.

Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee,
I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee,
think on thy pity and thy love unswerving,
not my deserving.

Have a blessed and holy Good Friday! Back after Easter.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Too busy to blog...

...but I hope to check back in before Easter.

Meanwhile, Princess the cat says hello. It's pretty amazing that she got into that basket, but I don't think I'm getting it back anytime soon. :)