Friday, February 29, 2008

I put in 14 hours on Tuesday.

My boss asked me into his office on Wednesday to speak to me about my hours. He's concerned that my life is suffering because of all the hours I work, and has helped me develope a plan to cut way back on them! As a result, I can go to school next Fall! I am so excited! I never thought my job would allow me to do so! I'm going to go to a local community college. The first class I'm taking is English. I was always good at English. I never had to write a paper, though. So I'm going to audit the class the first time and ask the prof. to help me learn how to write a paper. Then I'll take it again for credit. And Math. I want to take a Math class. It will probably have to be remedial Math 'cause my Math skills ar enot very good. Oh, well.

I don't know what degree I'm going for yet. The particular community college I'm looking at offers an Associates degree in Liberal Arts just for undecided people like me. I can tell you that no matter what major I decide on ultimately, my education will include these topics in addition to the requirements of the discipline: Classical Literature in Translation; The Bible (preferably semester long surveys of each Testament); Christian Thought before 1500; Modern Political Theory; Shakespeare; United States History before 1865; Nineteenth-Century European Intellectual History; Roman History; The Divine Comedy; Intro. to Modern Philosophy; Constitutional Interpretation; History of Economic Thought; Intro. to the History of Science; The English Novel; Music Appreciation; Art Apprecitation.

It's extremely important to me to have a well-rounded education, one that will shape my mind, broaden it, train it to think well.

My views of education have been molded by Dorothy Sayers' essay The Lost Tools of Learning; the Intercollegiate Studies Institute*; Father James V. Schall; and various articles and essays I've found on the web.

*especially ISI's booklets A Student's Guide to the Core Curriculum and A Student's Guide to Liberal Learning. A slightly longer (that is, longer than the booklet) and free version of A Student's Guide to Liberal Learning is available here: link.

Monday, February 25, 2008


That's a somewhat misleading heading. It will lead some to believe I'm on vacation this week. Alas! This is not so! My vacation doesn't begin until March 12. I'm not going anywhere. I was supposed to go on a pilgrimmage (with a possible day trip to the beach--the real beach by the ocean, not the lake shore that passes for the beach here in Michigan), but my pilgrimmage/vacation buddy canceled (Mr. David Shaner, you owe me! Well, not really, considering the circumstances).

Vacation! I can't wait! Eight days, I'll have! Eight days to do everything I don't normally have time to do: hang out with friends, daily Mass, go to the library, catch up on e-mail, organize everything I own, get two more bookcases (for a total of eight, with the eighth one being for overflow from the other seven), watch all of Torchwood Season One on DVD, sleep!

Eight days without the stress of work! I'll be really ticked if I get sick!

I feel like a little kid in a car on a long trip: Are we there yet? (The Trekkie in me wonders if little Vulcan children ask their parents: "How much time will have elapsed before we have reached our appointed destination?")

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

This post is not for children and I'd never talk about this around women, either!

But since this is on the web and I don't know the age and sex of the individual(s) reading it...

I've been asking God for a while now to help me know and understand myself better, and to honestly face up to the truth about myself, even if it's painful. God said, "Yes." I'm realizing things about myself I never realized before. And some of it is painful.

I'm realizing that I'm deeply ashamed of myself. This insight came about as I reflected on the fact that I'm very rarely in my own sexual fantasies. My body-image is so bad, that I have to imagine other men having sex with each other! I just realized this today. It's not healthy. You know, a few months ago it occurred to me that one of the reasons, perhaps the primary reason, I lust so much after hot guys is that I'm jealous of their looks. I'm overweight (which I can change but am too lazy to) and, while I'm not ugly, I'm not one of the best looking guys in the world. I've started praying that God will help me like myself, and make the changes that I ought to make for the right reasons; that is, I should lose weight and tone up my body, not for vanity, but because it's healthy.

I'll probably edit and add to this post later. Right now, I'm going to bed.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Recent Telephone Conversation I Had at My Parents' House

Ring, ring

Me: "Hello."

Female voice on line: "Who is this?"

Me: "I don't know. I can't see you."

Female Voice: "Well, I can't see you either."

Me: "We seem to be at an impasse."

Female Voice: "Who is this?"

Me: "I don't know. I can't see you."

Female Voice, a little frustrated: "I can't see you either!"

Me: "Well, we're at an impasse!"

Female Voice, a bit more frustrated: "Look. I called this number because I found it on my Caller-ID and don't recognize it."

Me: "So you call my house and ask me who I am? Don't you think the polite thing to do would be to start out with, 'My name is so-and-so. I found your number on my Caller-ID and was wondering who you are?'"

Female Voice, very rude: "Good-bye!"

My parents would be so proud!

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:
missionary (7x)
sex (4x)
death (3x)
dead (2x)
erection (1x)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Culture Shock

When I first joined the Catholic Church, at the Easter Vigil of 2004, I went through a period of culture shock. Sometimes, perhaps because I'm only four years "in", I still get "shocked" at the differences between Evangelical and Catholic culture. Evangelicals are much more into world missions and evangelization than are Catholics. Those of us who were into missions as Evangelicals were in somewhat of a minority, but it wasn't too hard to find other like-minded individuals. As a Catholic, the only people I have found who are into missions, other than Intentional Disciples (and many thanks be to God for them!), are the individual priests who visit our parishes on World Missions Sunday, the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, and the guys I spent a "come-and-see" weekend with at the Society of the Divine Word in March of 2005. I'm not in contact with any Catholic lay persons in the Detroit-metro area who are interested in world missions.

Another difference between Catholic and Evangelical cultures: when I mention to my Evangelical friends and family that I want to be a missionary, they immediately picture me preaching the Gospel to people who have never heard it. When I mention to my co-workers who are Catholic that I want to be a missionary, they immediately ask me, "Why don't you be a missionary here? There are so many people to feed!" They just don't get that I want to tell people about Christ: proclaim His life, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and second coming and what these things mean for us. I want to take care of people's physical needs, of course ("Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me."), but I don't want them to miss out on the blessings that God's grace has given us through Jesus Christ, either!

Worldwide, there are 1,600 people groups with a population of 10,000 or more who are effectively unreached with the Gospel. That is, some individuals in some of these groups may have heard the Gospel and believed in and accepted it, but the vast majority of their people haven't even had the chance to hear it; and in some of these people groups, not even a single individual has ever heard the Gospel and they don’t have a chance to hear it unless someone intentionally goes to them to share the message! There are many groups with much smaller populations than this who are in the same boat!

Our Evangelical brothers and sisters have formed organizations to send missionaries to these unreached peoples. They've developed many resources, like Operation World which is listed in my links (please visit it!) to help individuals and groups pray for the nations of the world. There are missions think-tanks; missions bookstores; missions conventions; an entire course one can take on the Bible, missions, cross-cultural studies, and other issues; etc., etc., etc. And it seems we Catholics barely acknowledge that Christ ever gave us a Commission.

I'm a small voice on the web, visited by very few individuals, but I urge those of you who do read my blog, to commit to praying for God to raise up Catholic missionaries to take the Gospel to those who've never heard it; commit to giving to Catholic missionary societies, particularly those who try to meet both people's spiritual* and physical needs; commit to praying for those Catholic societies who have strayed from the truth to come back to it; read the great missionary documents of the Church (Ad Gentes, Evangelii Nuntiandi, Dominus Iesus, etc.), encourage Catholic young people to seriously pray for and learn about world missions and to consider becoming a missionary; and consider perhaps that you and your family might go as missionaries to some land where the Gospel has never been preached, or perhaps somewhere where it has been preached but the local Church is in need of the support of your personal presence.

And pray very much for a re-unification of the entire broken mystical Body of Christ into one visible Church again! We need the Orthodox, the Protestants, the Coptics, the Armenians, the Evangelicals, the Baptists, and all the rest, and the world needs the united ministry and witness of all Christians!

And if you know any Catholic lay persons in the Detroit-metro area who are into missions, please tell them about my page and to e-mail me!

*by witnessing to the truth about Christ and His Church, accurately teaching what His Church teaches.