What a week. I’ll cut to the chase and get right down to assigned reading.
I was curating a more somber list and then this gem popped into my newsfeed and HOO BOY. Now, if the government could go ahead and get it across the goal line by broadening the exemption to include non-religious entities too, that’d be great. You don’t have to believe in God to understand good science.
Still, it’s a good start. And I hope somebody buys the Little Sisters of the Poor a round of mimosas this morning for the hard work and excoriating press coverage they’ve endured.
I found this piece fascinating and deeply troubling. Let me preface it with a personal story. When I was 15 years old, during my sophomore year of high school, I vividly recall sitting at the usual lunch table my friends and I occupied in the cafeteria, passing back and forth a copy of Seventeen magazine pouring over an article about Bulimia Nervosa. My girlfriend, who I’ll call Sydney, confided in us that she’d started making herself vomit during the past summer break, and that it was really helping her keep her weight down. After we’d all passed around the article and peppered her with questions about how it was done, she offered to take us into the bathroom and give us some pointers in self-gagging.
I took her up on it.
I would spend the next 10+ years of my life battling on and off with bulimia – severe enough to cause medical issues at some points – and I can confidently trace my foray into the clutches of that eating disorder back to that table in the lunchroom. The contagion effect is real, and it jolted me to the core to read the theory applied to the astonishing, pandemic rise in gender confusion we are currently experiencing.
Did you see this piece on “the digital colosseum” pop up on social media earlier in the week? I thought it was a fascinating, fresh angle on the nature of the kind of pornography we consume as a culture, and what it says about us as consumers. I found the analogy between spectators in a gladiator fight and consumers of violence behind a screen oddly compelling.
Gun violence. Do we really have the answers? The argument I’ve been having all week isn’t that we shouldn’t be looking for ways to limit access to the more destructive, military-grade firearms that some mass killers avail themselves of, but that the bigger – and often completely neglected – issue we’re facing here is why is this happening in the first place? Why the incredible spike in mass violence of this sort, whether it be a machete-wielding madman, a fertilizer bomb, rifles unloaded into a crowd of schoolmates, a truck plowed into a pedestrian crowd or a hail of semi-automatic machine gun fire over a concert venue?
The argument could be made, I suppose, that ours really no more violent than any other age, that the 20th century, for example, had a particularly bloody footprint of a different nature, that all of human history has been pockmarked by warfare and strife…but this seemingly random killing, the utter banality of the settings chosen, the panic of not feeling safe in a public setting…that seems relatively new.
I think the answer has more to do with an increasing secularization and a wholesale rejection of moral law than it has with any laws or regulations that government could enact in an attempt to legislate away evil. So my 2 cents is not that we shouldn’t discuss regulating certain firearms, but that we’re having entirely the wrong conversation in the first place. It is conversion of hearts that will save our floundering society, and the rebuilding of that most basic of social units: the family.
So sure, let’s have the conversation about how to keep military-grade weapons out of the hands of psychos, but let’s also be clear-eyed and sober in our understanding of the human heart and free will, acknowledging that evil exists, that the technology genie has already been let out of the bottle, and that legislating away the problem isn’t the cultural panacea some of our politicians (and lots of people on social media) believe it to be.
I really struggle to get in a daily rosary. I’m tired, it’s boring, I’d rather read, I have a million excuses, none of them great. But I always come back to the notion that in all of the approved modern Marian apparitions, it is precisely what Mary asks for: conversion of heart and frequent recitation of the rosary.
She doesn’t ask us to start up a new Bible study small group, to go to Confession once a week, or even to attend daily Mass; it’s the rosary she is continually asking for, and so I figure, if she’s that into it, the devil must really hate it and must be really, really pleased by how many of the faithful struggle with integrating it into their daily prayer lives, whether out of distaste for it, boredom, or an inability to connect with it on an emotional level.
I’m asking for the grace to be more faithful to praying the rosary – really praying it, not just mumbling in carpool line and getting it over with (though that’s better than nothing!).
Have the best weekend. We’re looking at a 75 degree Saturday and then our first shot at snow (eeeeei!) for the season on Monday, so I’ll be scrounging for sunscreen and mittens simultaneously.