A Little Proof of a Large Thing

03/15/2012 Comments (47)

Here’s a photo of a young man struck by lightning. 

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His arm has been exquisitely branded with a Lichtenberg figure, the visible pattern left by an electrical discharge.

I’ve seen photos of Lichtenberg figures in the sand (fulgurites), formed when lighting strikes the ground and actually fuses the sand into tubes of glass in a characteristic branching fractal.  There is even a theory that mountain ranges themselves were formed by some immense, cataclysmic electrical discharge.  Here is a view from space of the Alps:

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The other day, as it started to get warm, I saw the thick ice of the turtle pond start to give way, and the water below began to move and breathe again. 

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I saw that...READ MORE

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Forgiveness, Cell By Cell

03/13/2012 Comments (45)

My kids learn first that Jesus died for our sins.  Then, when they’re old enough, we discuss exactly how He died.  Finally, for a question I hope they’ll be pondering for the rest of their lives, I ask them why He suffered and died.  Why did He do it this way, when He could have chosen any number of other methods to save our souls?

My son, who is seven, ventured a guess:  “Was it just easier that way?”  Nope.  Harder.  Much, much harder.

First, we discuss how sacrifice makes a gift more precious.  The kids could understand that something won through sacrifice is more meaningful than a gift given easily:  if someone has 100 pieces of candy and gives you one, you might enjoy the candy, but...READ MORE

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Good For You vs. Just Plain Good

03/08/2012 Comments (50)

I hope everyone’s seen this excellent piece by Emily Stimpson—and not only because she appears to have hated There Be Dragons as much as I did.

Stimpson investigates why Catholic media, especially entertainment, stinks so bad, and what can be done about it.  Among the problems is a fundamental (and fairly recent) misunderstanding of what can reasonably be achieved, quoting Dominic Iocco, provost of a Catholic university for communication arts:

[Catholic moviemakers] want every film to be ‘The Passion [of the Christ]’ and expect people to walk out of the theater converted,” Iocco told OSV. “But we’ve already had ‘The Passion’ and the whole world hasn’t converted. Nor are they going to...READ MORE

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How To Find Yourself

03/06/2012 Comments (105)

For some reason, divorce stories fascinate me.  Maybe I’m hoping to reassure myself that, as I read, I won’t recognize anything at all about my own marriage.  (I’m not actually afraid that my husband would ever leave me.  Over the years we’ve worked out an understanding:  whoever leaves gets custody of the 15-passenger van.  That keeps us both pretty close to home.)

Anyway, this author, writing for the Huffington Post, stands out for her astonishing lack of self awareness.  Jennifer Nagy considers herself an unusual and fascinating specimen: newly divorced, she wonders why there is not more help out there for people who aren’t victims of divorce, but perpetrators.  Why doesn’t she get more...READ MORE

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What If WE Are In Dissent?

03/02/2012 Comments (117)

A reader writes in response to Thursday’s post, “Why Are They Here?”:

I feel that I am a faithful Catholic- attend Mass, pray regularly, try to follow the Church in all things. But I fall short on this with one issue- I do disagree about the Church’s stance on homosexuality and gay marriage. My beloved sister is a lesbian, is married (in her state and in the Episcopalian church) to her partner of 15 years. They have 2 beautiful children. I have prayed over this issue, talked to my priest, talked to my husband, read extensively. I know intellectually that what I feel goes against Church teaching. But I cannot/ do not look at what my sister is doing as wrong. I’m happy she found someone she...READ MORE

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Why Are They Here?

03/01/2012 Comments (63)

A reader at Jezebel asked her fellow readers a very good question:

I was wondering if there are any Catholic jezzies out there? Are y’all still practicing? How do you reconcile all the @$$hattery going on with the Bishops with your faith?

I don’t want to leave the church, but I’m upset about a lot of positions the leadership has taken. Any advice/comments? I’m thinking about continuing to practice/attend church, but redirecting my donations to Catholics for Choice or Catholic Democrats.

Yes, how do they reconcile it—and why?  If you’re someone who consider it “@$$hattery” when the bishops,  decades overdue, show courage and leadership in the face blatant persecution —then why not leave...READ MORE

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Choice

02/28/2012 Comments (104)

You’ve seen that bumper sticker, “Question authority.”  Several generations have internalized the idea that to question authority is a fine and courageous act of freedom, and they are right.

But what they forget is the whole point of asking a question is to find an answer.  Only a fool would hear that answer and continue to crow, “Yes, but I asked a question!”  Questioning is a means to an end, not a self-contained act that has value in itself.

The same is true for choice.  Choice does not have value in itself.  The freedom to choose is a hallmark of liberty, but liberty is for something.  Choice is like the action of sharpening an axe:  after a while, you need to stop sharpening and...READ MORE

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Just Pray.

02/24/2012 Comments (30)

I hate to tell you this, but you’re going to have to pray today.

Any Lenten penance you’re doing—any fasting, any sacrifice, any alsmgiving, any good works —these are all very well.  But if you’re not praying regularly, all your efforts are like buying someone a present, wrapping it carefully with a big, beautiful bow, and then putting it away in a closet forever.  It’s like cooking someone the perfect omelette and then leaving it in the pan.  It’s like calling someone your best friend and then—well, not talking to him.

Praying is hard work.  Praying is boring.  Praying makes you feel silly, and you don’t do it very well.  So what?  Do it anyway, because if you’re not, you’re like a...READ MORE

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About Simcha Fisher

Simcha Fisher
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Simcha Fisher, author of The Sinner's Guide to Natural Family Planning writes for several publications and blogs at I Have to Sit Down. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and nine children. Without supernatural aid, she would hardly be a human being.