Modesty Helps Women Be Friends

08/03/2011 Comments (104)

One of the things I’ve found most refreshing about Catholic culture is the understanding of the importance of modesty. Though each woman may have different ideas about exactly what it means to be modest, there is a general agreement that putting forth some level of conscious effort to avoid looking like a backup dancer in a Snoop Dogg video is a good thing. And it’s fascinating to see the effect that it has on women’s interactions with one another.

When I was in my 20s, I worked at a startup company where there were no standards for appropriate dress. Over time, an unspoken tension developed among the females of the office. Sally from marketing showed up to a board meeting in a startlingly...READ MORE

Filed under modesty, secular society, women

What Makes a Person Special?

08/01/2011 Comments (22)

A while back my kids were watching the Nick Jr. cartoon Ni Hao, Kai-Lan, and I happened to see something that has troubled me ever since.

Kai-Lan is a little girl with a friend named Rintoo, and in this particular episode Rintoo isn’t feeling special. Kai-Lan and her other friends seem to have an instinctive feeling that Rintoo must be special somehow, and spend most of the episode trying to figure out why that is. After some searching, they finally figure it out. At the climax of the show, Kai-Lan announces with a little song that she has found the source of Rintoo’s specialness! I suppose it was too much to hope that she’d quote directly from the Catechism, since it’s kind of hard to...READ MORE

Filed under love, love of christ, love of god, love of others, secular society, secularism

My Trip to Whole Foods: An Epic Saga

07/29/2011 Comments (97)

Every now and then I have one of those moments when I realize just how much life has changed since my conversion. One such occasion occurred earlier this week when I made a trip to Whole Foods.

It was a spontaneous decision, based on vague positive associations of the organic foods chain rather than any kind of rational thought process. You see, the last time I had been in a Whole Foods was back when I had one child and lived downtown, a short walk from the flagship location. I have these fond memories of relaxing strolls down to the store with the baby in the sling, picking up one bag’s worth of food that would feed my whole family, not even glancing at the receipt because I still had the...READ MORE

Filed under family, family life, motherhood, parenting

Reasoning with Atheists

07/27/2011 Comments (528)

On Monday, professor PZ Myers wrote a nuanced treatise titled “Jennifer Fulwiler: vacant-eyed, mindless cluelessness personified.” Oh, man, he doesn’t even know the half of it. I’m no genius on my best days, but I’m so sleep deprived right now that I’m shuffling around vacant-eyed and mindless, acting like the poster child for cluelessness. I’m drooling on myself as I type this.

After the accurate title, however, the piece kind of goes off the rails. I don’t recommend that you read it due to offensive content, so I’ll summarize it: Professor Myers was flustered about my post called 5 Catholic Teachings that Make Sense to Atheists, and in response to most of the points he basically said...READ MORE

Filed under atheism, atheist, atheists, evangelization

5 Catholic Teachings That Make Sense to Atheists

07/25/2011 Comments (750)

Last week I gave a talk about atheism, and in the Q&A afterward there were a lot of questions about how to share our faith with atheists. I emphasized that the most important thing is simply to pray and work on becoming a saint yourself, so that you can show people Christ rather than just talking about him, but people with atheist friends, family members and coworkers wanted to know more. In the case where you’re chatting with a nonbeliever who is open to hearing your perspective and specifically asks for information about what you believe, how should you proceed?

Obviously there’s no one right answer, but I thought I’d list out some Catholic beliefs that might be good places to start....READ MORE

Filed under atheism, atheist, atheists, evangelization

When the Best Place to be Born is the Worst Place to be Conceived

07/22/2011 Comments (30)

A friend asked a seemingly innocuous question recently: “If you could choose to be born in any time and place, when and where would it be?” Not surprisingly, my answer was: “Here in modern America.” The answer seemed obvious: By being born here and now, not only would I likely make it to adulthood thanks to our blessedly low infant mortality rates, but I would go on to have a life of freedom! We have unprecedented levels of personal freedom in our culture, and what’s not to love about that?

But my argument was turned on its head when my friend followed up with a similar question, to which I had a startlingly different reaction: “When and where would you choose to be conceived?”

Suddenly,...READ MORE

Filed under abortion, culture of death, freedom, modern society

Does Contraception Make Marriage Easier?

07/20/2011 Comments (85)

While we’re on the subject of NFP, this New York Times article has been making the rounds. It’s about Sam Torode and Bethany Patchin (formerly Bethany Torode), authors of the well-known book Open Embrace: A Protestant Couple Rethinks Contraception, who were once vocal opponents of artificial contraception. In 2006 they announced that they no longer believed that natural family planning is the best method of birth control, and went on to say that it is in fact harmful to marriages. In 2009 they divorced.

The article focuses on the problems that NFP caused in their marriage, and the reasons they ended up speaking out against it. Mr. Torodes said that it makes men feel guilty for desiring...READ MORE

Filed under contraception, divorce, marriage, natural family planning, nfp

In Praise of Catholic Guilt

07/18/2011 Comments (17)

Now that I’m Catholic, I spend a lot more time feeling guilty than I used to. “Ah-ah!” the world would say, “Catholic guilt! Told you being Catholic was no fun.” I’d heard of this concept all my life, and I too had a vague image of Catholics walking around all tense and frowny-faced, too held back by unnecessary guilt to live life to the fullest. I felt bad for these sad sacks, thinking that that was the sort of thing that one would need years of therapy to get over. So it’s been interesting, then, to find that Catholic guilt is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me.

Before I was Catholic I had much less guilt—not because I never did anything wrong, but because I told myself I...READ MORE

Filed under conversion, sacrament of reconciliation, sacraments

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About Jennifer Fulwiler

Jennifer Fulwiler
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Jennifer Fulwiler is a writer and speaker who converted to Catholicism after a life of atheism. She's a contributor to the books The Church and New Media and Atheist to Catholic: 11 Stories of Conversion, and is writing a book based on her personal blog, She and her husband live in Austin, TX with their five young children, and were featured in the nationally televised reality show Minor Revisions. You can follow her on Twitter at @conversiondiary.