Friday, October 23, 2009

I'm Having Trouble with This One

Earlier this week, the Vatican's doctrinal branch decided to make it possible and easier for Anglicans to come in to full communion with the Catholic Church. From what I gather, there is going to be an "Anglican Rite" branch of the Catholic Church and entire parishes may convert and enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. I'm not familiar with the doctrinal aspects or the historical aspects of what is going on. Here I'm reacting to the reasons and the motivations given behind it. Apparently, the idea is to attract Anglicans who are angry with the Anglican communion's ordination of women and openly gay priests and bishops and their acceptance of homosexual marriage.

So, practically speaking, the Catholic Church's marketing pitch to Anglicans (and the world) is, "Is your church (even though according to us it's not really a church) a little too gay? Not sexist enough? JOIN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH! We're the (slightly) less gay (much) more sexist option!"

Seriously, I love being Catholic. I love having a tradition of reasonable theological discourse. The long tradition which persisted until the council of Trent of engaging and having theologically productive debates with those of differing points of view gives me hope today. I love that, since the middle of the 2oth century, Catholic Biblical Scholars have been some of the best in the world. I love that even with the doctrine of papal infallibility, the Church's official teachings on slavery, religious freedom, the other religions, democracy, and social justice have managed to keep up with the times.

What turns my stomach is when the image of the Church that the Vatican presents to the world is so intolerant and mercenary. By making it easier for the most intolerant and sexist members of the Anglican Communion to come into full communion with the Catholic Church, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is basically digging its boots into turf that has become no-man's-land for anyone with half a brain in their head.

Let me ask a simple yes or no question: Is sexism wrong?

Let me ask a slightly more complicated yes or no question: Is discrimination on the base of sex or sexual identity wrong?

The answer to both these questions is "yes." Sexism is wrong. Discrimination on the basis of sex and sexual identity is wrong.

I have a difficult time justifying my participation in a church which so blatantly embraces immorality, that encourages it in its members and seeks to incorporate more like-minded individuals. Basically, the magisterial teaching is that God is sexist and God discriminates on the basis of sexual identity. In reality the teaching office of the church has built an idol that looks a lot like them. So doing, they discredit themselves yet again. They ignore human reason, God's greatest gift to humanity. They ignore the sciences. They ignore ethics and common human decency. This pope and this CDF are trying to take our church into the dark ages of intolerance and bigotry. It is sad and disheartening. I want to raise my daughter to love the Church I love, but how can I do that when so many of the Church's leaders behave so hatefully?

Friday, May 08, 2009

Latest Update

Here's what I'm up to these days, folks.

I spend a lot of time playing on the floor with my kid. She's 12 1/2 months now and full of energy. After a couple weeks of disruption involving an infection that made her really sick and made us really scared, it has taken me about 5 days to get her back to her usual, happy-go-lucky self. She still isn't walking all that much, but is getting a lot better at the little bit of walking she does. She talks a lot, but we still don't have much clue what she's saying unless she uses her sign language too. Still, she has multiple ways of letting us know what she wants and when she wants it, most of which involve some combination of frenetic gesticulation and vocalization. She only gets really mad when I take away something she wants (like that Sharpie! GAH!!!!) and then only for a few seconds before she spies something else (like the stapler! GAH!!!).

While she naps, I try to do stuff related to managing this little family. Laundry, dishes - yeah, I do that. Cleaning, cooking - I do that, too. I keep us on a loose budget and do my best to keep track of all the things that we are going to do between now and September when Michelle starts work in DC (get the dog to Mom & Dad, get the rest of us to Tennessee for a family reunion, get an apartment somewhere near DC and near a Metro, MOVE, go on a vacation). It's a little crazy. Oh yeah, and I'm still working on my thesis. Every so often I actually make some progress. I'm better off now than I ever have been in that regard. I hope I get it done soon. I'd love to graduate in December.

In my free time (roughly 32 minutes during the day), I play a little XBOX, watch some DVDs, and take part in fake debates on stuff like same-sex marriage and the economy on Facebook. I'm warming up for the family reunion (most of my extended family are hard-core Republicans and some are quite vocal about their right-wing status). It should be fun.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mr. Sensitivity

That's some other guy. I on the other hand, am the big jerk husband who, for whatever reason, didn't foresee that going to Target and buying a few toys and clothes for my one-year-old daughter without her mother present and then opened them and let her play all afternoon with the new fun stuff (again - no mommy) would in fact make her mom feel miserable about missing out on these new experiences in her baby girl's life. If any of that came across snarky or sarcastic, I certainly don't mean for it to. I'm really pissed off at myself for not being as tuned in to my wife's feelings as I truly ought to be. And shit like this happens immer wieder (look it up in your German-English dictionary).

I am pretty sensitive; I can almost always tell when she's upset about something. However, I currently lack the skills necessary to know what that something is and, more importantly, I seem to lack the ability to avoid doing things that will upset/piss off/generally displease her. I don't mind pissing her off once in a while - usually it turns out good. I eventually learn something that benefits the relationship in the future. General displeasure isn't such a big deal either. We are different people and occasionally what one of us does is going to rub the other the wrong way. What I hate - HATE - is when I really upset her; when one of my many human failings butts up against her passionately felt and dearly held emotions. This feels like one of those times.

I am having difficulty being both a good dad and a good husband simultaneously. At any given moment, I can do a good job at one or the other. The thing is, I want to be a great husband. The best. I want to be a great dad. The best. But I keep getting in the way.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Bi-lingual Baby

Vivian knows a few words in at least two different languages. She knows dog, more, and food in ASL and she can say dada and book (kinda) in English. Not even a year old and bi-lingual. Heh. She also may know a few words of Tagalog, but I'm not going to say which ones. (How she picked up the curse words I'll never know, but I suspect her Lolo is responsible.) Next, I think I'm going to have to teach her German and Spanish. That shouldn't take much more than a month or two. Of course, I'll have to learn them first.

Oh, by the way, I just checked out the good ol' What to Expect: The First Year and found that the fact that Vivian runs around like a little spaz, wants our complete and undivided attention at all times except when we give it too her, and "understands the word 'no', but may not obey" are all perfectly normal things for a not-quite-one-year-old to be doing. That's a relief. On the other hand - the book assures me that all these behaviors become amplified to the nth degree as she progresses through toddler-hood. Yikes.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Facebook Blows It

I love Facebook. I think it is a great way to be in touch with people from my Mom who I don't call enough to people I've barely met but now know my life story. Unfortunately, when they changed their Terms of Service a couple weeks ago without telling anyone, they used language that implied an open ended right to use my photos, videos, etc. for whatever purpose they wanted forever. The Washington Post reported on it a couple days ago, and this morning they posted that they had changed their ToS back to what they were originally along with a couple links explaining themselves, blah, blah, blah. Point is - the whole episode skeeved me out enough to remove all my photos and all my videos from Facebook. I'll continue to post my status and links and write on "Walls" etc, but no more media content featuring my 10-month-old daughter. I'll post videos here instead and put the pics up on snapfish. If you want them, you gotta tell me so I can share them with you. Putting vids and photos here is not as easy as on Facebook, but they blew it. They had a great thing going and blew it by acting just a little to sketchy.