I had a job interview this afternoon for a part time position. I need a bit of extra cash and par normal I had to go through a quick interview involving the typical 'Tell us about your best/worst qualities' question. While I dodged the question, as is always the goal, I wish I had a better answer than taking a good quality to make it sound bad.
What is your worst quality?
I sing Journey songs in the shower as loud as I can
I've been known to sell questionable merchandise on EBay
I own several John Mayer albums
I have a crush on Candace Bergen circa 1972
I began collecting transformers for my son 3 years prior to his birth
I've been known to tailgate Pussycat Dolls concerts
Our weekend away is drawing to a close here. After this, I am going to have to up my workout for a few weeks, and try to really burn off some of the excess that I have eaten.
We stayed at the Mayors Mansion on Vine, a bed & breakfast from 1889. Our room had a 120 year-old canvas ceiling (about 18 feet up) used for painting murals. I imagine that this one probably had the Charge of the Light Brigade painted on it at one time. I have no evidence whatsoever to support this. Not even conjecture from the inn keeper.
The food here was great, and there were always Hors ‘d Oeuvres or other snacks out and about. Breakfasts here were great, definitely beating out anything continental. Also, I really enjoyed the front porch. (Actually I am writing this from a rocker on the porch as we speak).
We began the trip in earnest as all great trips begin, with dinner. Food Works has some great bar food. I don’t mean that in the better-than-Applebee’s sense. I mean that I had Mac and cheese made with Gouda, pork belly, chorizo and topped with onion rings, and it tasted like it fell out of a gourmet kitchen. It is in the old knitting mill across the river from the Aquarium and when you walk in, it looks like a trendy sports bar, which is what it is, but really, it is the best food for the money that I have gotten in a long time.
After dinner at Food Works, Friday night was spent walking the city taking a ghost tour. I’m not a big looking-for-orbs ghost tour fanatic, but I do enjoy them, being a bit of a history geek. Of the ones that I have been on, Boston and Savannah were my others, this was the best so far. Our guide was quite the storyteller, and he made up for in style what he lacked in timeline continuity. See the ghost in the picture? We didn’t see that.
After a restful night we were off in the morning to Rock City and Ruby falls. Now, I am 6’5″ tall. I am almost 240 lbs. I am not a slight lad. Though I enjoyed ruby falls, I was much better suited for rock city. I don’t have the fear of heights that I once did, and looking out from Lover’s Leap over the Tennessee river valley was very impressive, especially when you leaned out so that mot of your body was over the fence. I don’t SUGGEST that you do that, but I did enjoy it.
Finally… did I mention that I ate steak on a boat?
Is it a sin to substitute carob for chocolate during your Lenten fast? Well, it turns out that it depends who you ask. Sometimes we all need a bit of advice to make the tough calls in life or need a second opinion on matters tangentially related to faith and morals... and whether Hell is consumed with a dry heat or humid heat.
What began as a series of blog posts from the Ironic Catholic is now an E-book and it's print version, available through both Lulu.com and Smashwords.com. The book, though relatively short in length at 24 pages, Dear Communion is packed with sage advice, wicked humor and razor sharp insight into the scruples of the more-or-less faithful.
Dear Communion of Saints is humorous and a dead ringer for the various saints "contributing" to this collection of "Dear Abby-esque" litany of questions. Each letter has the feel of authenticity with a very human touch where you learn that some saints do not suffer fools lightly while others are more willing to play along. In the end, all the saints point to the greater lesson that should be learned from questions such as "Why did God create Jellyfish" and my favorite, "I'm Having Problems Cooking This Thanksgiving Day Turkey. Help" answered thoughtfully by Flannery O'Conner (Though not a saint in the canonical sense, being from Atlanta, I am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, we southern Catholics have to stick together).
I enjoyed this book quite a bit, being able to pick it up in my spare moments, read a couple of the letters and replies and then when duty called, be it a diaper changing or having to tend to some injury among my son's stuffed animal buddies, put it down without losing the flow. I definitely recommend this book for anyone with a lightly wry twist to their humor. If you have a dog-eared copy of Saints Behaving Badly on your bookshelf, this is for you.
I was reading a letter today from a nun of the Orthodox (EOC) variety and in it found a wealth of advice that made it worth the read, and then the re-read that I gave it in that first sitting.
It is a letter to a former protestant, converted to Eastern Orthodox who has a common spiritual ailment which most of us are quite familiar with.
It sounds like you have a pretty good case of Calvinist-Jansenist indigestion: uncomfortable and debilitating, but not inevitably fatal. A lot of western converts to Orthodoxy—Americans, Germans, etc., suffer from this to one degree or another, especially early on in spiritual life. Our gerondissa at St. Paul’s calls it the Medieval Sickness, a combination of moralistic nitpicking, pride,secretiveness,lack of faith in God, and lack of belief in the compassion of God. It makes one pretty joyless, prone to ill-considered and short-lived bursts of ascetic effort (often as not alternating with equally ill-considered and short-lived bursts of carnal distractions of one sort or another), often melancholy, often judgmental.
Now, not to nitpick, this does sound very familiar. How often does my frustration on lack of progress in my spiritual life, despite the zeal that I embraced it with, cause me to swing on my pendulum the opposite direction and live counter to how I ought to? Pretty often. I get frustrated, then frustrated with my frustration… It becomes a spiral where I end up bottoming out, spiritually, only to rebound again to great heights of intentions to begin the cycle again.
It is a form of spiritual insanity.
Those who have this mindset tend, by nature or training, to see God always as the stern, unappeasable Judge, whose dealings with man are always based on law and justice, and who demands of us an exact fulfillment of rules and rubrics. And we, in fulfilling these, do not really hope for, or believe in, the transfiguration and renewal of our souls and minds.
Interesting point here is that the purpose of the liturgy, the sacraments, the entirety of the Christian life *SHOULD* be a transfiguration of our souls and our mind. Scruples do not lead to this end.
At best, we hope that our scrupulous fulfillment of the Law will induce God to overlook our flaws and sins which we, in our heart of hearts, feel remain always with us, unforgiven, unchanged, and unchangeable. In such an atmosphere, one’s spiritual life is not really a journey into communion with God through repentance and deification, so much as a dreary pendulum of efforts to appease an inscrutable and implacable God, interspersed with the outbreaks of resentment and frustration this causes us. Naturally, as you have observed, this leads either to a mental breakdown, or to the abandonment of participation in church life, which we come to feel is not “working” for us.
Head on over and check out the whole letter, it’s brilliant.