Monday, August 30, 2010

Just curious...

To lighten things up from the atheism talk (which is ongoing), I thought I would throw out another "Just Curious." (I need an icon for it. Well, I made an icon for it, but I didn't like it. Must try again soon.)


Did you go to public or private high school?  And, did you enjoy high school?


I went to a public high school. There were about 2,000 kids in the school, and about 500 in my graduating class. I wasn't super-popular, but I wasn't unpopular, either. Generally, I enjoyed my high school years and have a few really great memories, but I can't say that I miss those days. 


How about you?



Saturday, August 28, 2010

For atheists, a couple of questions



Dear atheists, 


I desire to understand you. I really do. I am not being sarcastic or flippant when I say that. I don't get you. I try to figure things out so that they make sense to me, and so I have a couple of questions that may seem silly or simple-minded or obvious to you, but I am asking in good faith. They are not trick questions. Here goes:


1) Billions of years ago, the material universe was created when some stuff interacted with some other stuff (chemicals, gases? I don't know... I'm not a scientist so I will defer to you). My question: Where did the "stuff" come from?


2) Atheists believe that "gathering knowledge" and "intellectual curiosity" are important (and I agree wholeheartedly). My question: If your brain is the product of randomness and chance, then why do you trust your brain to give you true information?


Thanks in advance for taking my questions seriously and answering them directly, without tangents.



Friday, August 27, 2010

Just Curious...

How many siblings do you have?


I have one sister, and she is 19 months older than me. We didn't really get along growing up, but now we are very good friends!


She knows about my blog, but she doesn't read it unless I force her, ha!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Part II.... File this under, "Why haven't I heard this before??"

Well, I guess describing something as a "spiritual equivalent of a nuclear bomb" is setting the bar high! But I really do stand by that analogy. If you take what I am going to tell you and truly apply it, then a nuclear bomb will look like a water balloon in comparison. Because union with God is infinitely more powerful, exponentially more earth-shaking, than a nuclear bomb.

The book which changed my life is called The Ordinary Path to Holiness, by R. Thomas Richard. I have the original, regionally-published edition, which isn't professionally done and looks pretty cheesy. I used to wonder why something so amazing hadn't been published by a "real" publisher, and eventually it was! It now has a pretty cover and new typeset, and a foreword by Fr. Benedict Groeschel (who doesn't love him??!).

The "ordinary path to holiness" is just that. It's ordinary, meaning, it's the usual way that every soul must travel to get to God's Heart. Every one of us, no matter our vocation, is called to the highest form of prayer (infused contemplation/mysticism) and to spiritual marriage (consummation) with the Trinity. Please stop here and re-read that, slowly.

What this book did for me was to lay out a path that I could see, with a clear goal at the end and recognizable landmarks along the way. I am a linear, logical thinker, and I need things to be spelled out clearly. I had no idea that the spiritual life could be this way. I thought that while doctrine was concrete and linear, holiness was sort of nebulous and abstract, fluffy and wispy, like a cloud. I figured I would just pray throughout my life, read the Scriptures, be kind to others, and then holiness would just sort of "happen," in some sort of meandering, ill-defined way.

I was shocked and ecstatic to discover traditional Catholic spirituality. The author (a former Protestant pastor... ya gotta love those converts!!) synthesizes the works of several experts on the interior life and prayer (including saints who've walked the whole path!), and he makes it easy to understand the route our souls will take as we approach union with God.

A soul in mortal sin is not on the path. Once a soul gets on the path (i.e., is in a state of grace), he will travel through three stages of holiness: the purgative, the illuminative, and the unitive. These stages are not static and perfectly separated, yet they are identifiable and trustworthy as our guide to the interior life. I briefly described these stages in my latest Doctrinal Quiz Show, so check that out for a little more info.

The Ordinary Path to Holiness presents the order of the path. Oh, how I love order! To discover order in the spiritual life -- be still my heart! It now makes perfect sense to me that just as the body goes through normal stages of growth (childhood, adolescence, adulthood) so, too, does the soul.

The book layout goes like this: The author first explains the three stages of holiness, which are unknown to most Catholics. (By the way, you will never hear the parable of the sower in the same way again!).

In the next section, he shows us how a soul in each stage reads and responds to Scripture. An advanced soul encounters the Bible in a completely different way than a beginner. I knew after reading that section that I was definitely a beginner, ha!

Next, the author illustrates how the experience of prayer changes for the soul as it progresses through each stage. Can I just say, WOW????!!! You will crave holiness when you read what the Lord has in store for those who perfectly align their hearts to His.

Another section walks us through St. Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle, corresponding her seven mansions to the three stages of holiness. He also corresponds the sections of the Our Father with the three stages. Amazing stuff which just further illustrates the perfection of the Lord's Prayer.

Then, after a section on the sacraments, we are shown how the three stages of holiness are made manifest in the Holy Mass itself. All I could think of was how much I wanted to one day experience the Mass while in the unitive stage! Ahhhhh!!!

Finally, there is a section on holiness in suffering and dying. Again, wow....

When I finished the book, a whole new life opened up to me, and I couldn't wait to learn more, pray more, and love God more. A perfect follow-up book for me was Fire Within, by Fr. Thomas Dubay. While The Ordinary Path to Holiness changed my life, Fire Within just about set me over the edge. I couldn't believe the descriptions of the interior life of a soul that is in union with God. Talk about a romance!! Fr. Dubay focuses on works of the prayer masters, St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. I think I walked around on a cloud for days after that one.

I would be remiss if I did not also mention Fr. Benedict Groeschel's Spiritual Passages (an old work of his... did you all know that he is a psychologist as well as a priest?) and Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange's The Three Conversions of the Spiritual Life. Fr. Groeschel's work (subtitled "The Psychology of Spiritual Development") is a fascinating look into the psychology of the three stages, in simple terms that I could understand. No psycho-babble and lots of real life examples, too. As for Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, he is pretty much the acknowledged expert on the three stages, and some consider him the greatest theologian of the 20th century.

Okay, just writing about this stuff makes me want to recommit to my prayer life! If you really think about it, there is nothing -- truly nothing -- more important than the path one's soul will take to its eternal destiny. The fact that I can see it laid out before me in a simple but breathtaking road map form is the perfect way to draw me out of my head and into a full-on love affair with my Beloved, Who continues to wait while I dilly-dally in the first stage.... But more on that later.... Maybe I will make that Part III.

And since I guess this ended up as a Books in the Bubble, here it is:


The Ordinary Path to HolinessFire Within: St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and the Gospel-On PrayerSpiritual Passages: The Psychology of Spiritual Development "for those who seek"The Three Conversions in the Spiritual LifeInterior Castle: The Classic Text With a Spiritual Commentary (Classics With Commentary)

*Update: Another book in this vein is Descending Fire: The Journal of a Soul Aflame, by Jean Petit. I can't leave that out, as it left me reeling, too, and exclaiming, "I want what that soul has!"

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

It changed my life... and blew my mind! Part I

Okay, so first let me tell you a little story....


About 15 years ago, I fell in love with my Catholic Faith. I had been a lukewarm Catholic before that point, and I was ready to jump ship for an evangelical Bible Church. 


Now, people are pulled toward God in different ways, i.e., they are attracted to God's beauty, God's unity, God's goodness, God's truth, etc. For me, the path to God came through truth. Truth is wildly attractive to me, and when I followed it, it led me to the fullness of Catholicism. Life suddenly made perfect, beautiful sense. 


It sounds weird, but I felt like I almost had an "infusion" of knowledge of the Faith. My friend Kim and I were asked by our priest to design and teach an RCIA program while still in our first year of studying Catholicism, and before Kim was even a Catholic. It was almost too easy. (I have since learned a little bit about different charisms, with which we have all been gifted. More on that in a future post.)


For about five years after my reversion, I had a deep love affair with God's truth. I was obsessed with doctrine. I read, I studied, I wrote, I taught, I spoke doctrine and apologetics. It was beyond exciting and perfectly fulfilling.... Until it suddenly became a teensy bit tedious.


So, after five years of teaching, I thought: Is this all I am supposed to do? It's incredibly beautiful, this Truth, but what now? I mean, I can defend Purgatory six ways to Sunday, from the biblical, historical and logical bases, but something is missing.


In the back of my mind, I knew that that "something" was a deeper prayer life, a more profound love relationship with the Lord, and a growth in personal holiness. 


The only problem? That part sounded so boring! Sure, I liked reading and teaching about the communion of saints, and I loved growing in knowledge about the Most Holy Trinity. But I didn't want to do the laborious stuff it would take to become a saint; and I was more interested in knowing about God than actually knowing God. Sad, right? But those of you who live more in your head than your heart will know what I mean.


Then one day, Kim told me about a book she read that had rocked her world. She'd heard about it from a fellow convert and friend of ours, who was also blown away by what it contained. When Kim described it to me, I was energized! I instinctively knew that the knowledge I would receive via this little book would break me out of my doctrinal malaise. 


That was an underestimation, as it turned out to be a watershed event in my life as a Christian. 


I discovered the spiritual equivalent of a nuclear bomb.


To be continued…




.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Answer to Doctrinal Quiz Show, Spirituality Edition. And, Bubble Awards!

This one is a toughie, since none of us was taught about traditional Catholic spirituality in CCD!  Well, we weren't taught much of anything in CCD, but that is another story.


The DQS challenge was:

Traditional Catholic spirituality speaks of three stages of holiness through which a Christian must pass on his way to perfection. Name the three stages of holiness, and give a brief explanation or characteristic of each one.


And the answer is:


First Stage ("spiritual courtship"): The purgative stage. This is also known as the way of the beginner. A soul has left mortal sin behind and is now in a state of grace and on the path to holiness. However, the temptation to slip back into mortal sin is present (at least in the beginning of this stage), and the soul is still preoccupied with "self" over God. The vast majority of Christians live and die in the purgative stage.


Second Stage ("spiritual betrothal"): The illuminative stage. Also known as the way of the proficient. At this stage, fear and anxiety start to recede, and peace and joy take their place. Prayer life changes from active to more passive (i.e., in the purgative stage, we do most of the work of prayer; in the illuminative stage, God starts to do most of the work, and we receive). Many souls glimpse or enter the illuminative stage, but then fall back to the first stage.


Third Stage: ("spiritual marriage"): The unitive stage. This is the way of the perfect. This is what the saints achieved on earth -- unity with Christ and a share in the Heart of the Trinity. What happens to the soul in this final stage is breathtaking, and it is characterized by infused contemplation. The Dark Nights happen at certain points in this stage. (By the way, the Dark Nights are greatly misunderstood, and I hope to write on that soon). Most of us won't get to the unitive stage until Heaven! 


I could really go wild with descriptions of the stages and how our prayer, our reception of the sacraments, our Scripture reading, etc., change as we progress through the stages. But stay tuned... I am going to do another post on this soon. I had forgotten how mind-blowing and life-changing this was for me when I first learned it! I need to revisit it in my own life, and I will take you all along for the ride. 


Now, on to the coveted BUBBLE AWARDS!!!!


The Saying that TCIE is Awesome Award goes to Mrs. Blondies!! (I always do what TCIE says.)


The What an Impertinent Question Award goes to Beth!! (But I will answer you this way: The extended family had four hotel rooms for five days each, so that's a lot of soap! Unfortunately, I am running low and didn't take nearly as much as I should've.)


The Nice Try, You Almost Got the Grand Prize But You Were Not So Much Brief as Incomplete as You Only Answered Half the Question Award goes to Complicated Life!! 


The If You Are Dwelling in Stage Negative One, Get Thee to a Confessional! Award goes to Wheelbarrow Rider!!


Meanwhile, I think it's no secret who has won the Grand Prize this time around.....
THIS CROSS I EMBRACE!!!! She has had a rough year, to say the least, but I think her luck is turning around! Get a load of this:




Enjoy your green shower, TCIE!!!!  
And to all those who didn't win an award this time, don't lose heart! There is always next time. :)


Thanks for playing this spirituality edition of DQS!!!









Saturday, August 21, 2010

Doctrinal Quiz Show! Spirituality Edition



Well, I've got yet another bar of holey soap burning a hole in my pocket. I need to unload it, so it must be time for a new episode of Doctrinal Quiz Show! This time, it's not about hard and fast doctrine, but more about the spiritual fruits of our Faith.


Here we go! 


{Cue nerve-wracking game show music, and read the following in pseudo-hushed tones...}


Traditional Catholic spirituality speaks of three stages of holiness through which a Christian must pass on his way to perfection. Name the three stages of holiness, and give a brief explanation or characteristic of each one.


Special Note to Contestants: A few months back I touched on this issue in the comments section of another blog. Any player attempting to access that information will be subject to the harshest penalties that I can mete out, which may include, but shall not be limited to, public blog humiliation, a banning of any future claim to a Grand Prize (yes, you may miss out on future bars of soap), and a non-binding requirement to place a "Scarlet C" icon on your homepage for one year as a form of mortification and penance.


What I am trying to say is.... please don't cheat?  :)


All right guys, you know you want the soap, so fight for it!!!



Friday, August 20, 2010

I hate it every time

Six times I've had to do it, and it never gets easier. It's one of the things I dread as a parent. 


Today, I had to explain to my five-year-old son what abortion is. 


Every kid has the same reaction. Disbelief, confusion, denial, horror.


How could anyone do that? Who doesn't love little babies? Who forces a mom to do that? How could a mom ever do that to her baby?


It's the worst conversation I ever have to have. I feel like I'm taking their innocence by telling them the terrible truth of it.


And kids really get the evil of it. You don't have to paint a picture (I never, ever get graphic, and I use only the simplest terms). Children are naturally pro-life. The idea of someone killing a child in his mother's womb is so foreign to small children as to be absurd, nonsensical, insane. As it should be.


I wish we all could have the clarity and innocence of little children, and that the whole world could be repelled by the thought of abortion.


Sigh.




.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

3 Quick Opportunities for Sanctification! (Formerly known as Pet Peeves)



1. Really, what is up with Kleenex boxes? Why do I have to reach in and pull up half the tissues when I open a new box and try to get just one? Am I missing something simple? Please advise.


Sanctification will come if I simply take my time, not curse the designers of the tissue box, and be patient. Indeed, this is an opportunity that the Lord provides for the exercise of the virtue of patience.


2. It is infuriating to be driving along, follow the rules of the road, when another driver does something illegal or dangerous and then gestures angrily at ME as if I were the one at fault!! Hello???


This is surely an opportunity for holiness. Instead of cursing the offending driver, I could immediately pray for him, giving him the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps his mother just died, or his wife left him. Perhaps he was distracted and truly did think that I was the one at fault. Perhaps he came from a culture where this type of behavior is not seen as offensive. Prayer and forgiveness are the answer here.


3. Just having a good time at a social event, feeling great, mingling, strike up a conversation with an acquaintance who says, "You look really tired, Leila."

If I were a saint, the best response would be to thank her for her concern. Always assume the good intention. Try not to be so vain that the rest of the evening is spent preoccupied with how bad I must really look, when I actually thought I looked kinda cute.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The logical case for infanticide


So, by now I hope you have done your "homework" and have read the section of the article I directed you to. If not, go ahead and do that now. We will wait.  :)

Some sick stuff, isn't it? What Professor Peter Singer proposes should shock the consciences of decent people everywhere. After all, he advocates the right of parents to kill their children after birth:
Infants lack [characteristics like rationality, autonomy, and self-consciousness]. Killing them, therefore, cannot be equated with killing normal human beings, or any other self-conscious beings. {Singer is referring to animals, which he believes to have more rights than infants.}
and
[K]illing a disabled infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Very often it is not wrong at all.
So here's the part that may surprise you (although a lot of you picked up on this, too): My overriding thought was that Singer’s argument is logical! Check it out:
[I]n discussing abortion, we saw that birth does not mark a morally significant dividing line. I cannot see how one could defend the view that fetuses may be 'replaced' before birth, but newborn infants may not be. Nor is there any other point, such as viability, that does a better job of dividing the fetus from the infant. Self-consciousness, which could provide a basis for holding that it is wrong to kill one being and replace it with another, is not to be found in either the fetus or the newborn infant. 
In other words, he is saying that if abortion is okay, then so is infanticide. It’s the only logical stance, and he’s right. He is showing us where moral relativism leads.
Singer is a consistent, honest liberal who understands the implications of his beliefs, even calling out other liberals who try to insist that infanticide is fundamentally different from abortion. Instead, he rightly argues that infanticide and abortion are not different in the least, and that birth is an arbitrary line drawn by abortion proponents to make themselves feel a distinction where there is none. 
It goes without saying that I do not agree with Singer's premise, and his beliefs repulse me. But his utilitarian, atheistic worldview is clearly stated. Remember how I’ve said that I prefer clarity to agreement? Well, Singer has -- with clarity -- shown us the worldview which stands in opposition to the Christian worldview. 

Liberals talk a lot about compassion and tolerance and love and acceptance, but when their philosophy is played out to its logical conclusion, it doesn’t look so pretty anymore. 

Despite his shocking views (or perhaps because of them), Singer is a darling of the academic left and has received heaps of accolades. However, your average American liberal (i.e. the nice guy next door, or the girl who does your hair) doesn’t have a clue where liberal thought ultimately leads. That is why I am grateful that Professor Singer lays it out and tells the truth.
And that is why I am honestly grateful to Gwen for doing the same
It’s so important to keep having the dialogue so people can make an educated choice about which worldview they will adopt. As Pope John Paul II said repeatedly, it is a battle between the Culture of Life and the Culture of Death. And we really do have to pick a side. Even Singer himself acknowledged this when he said of Pope John Paul II: "I sometimes think that he and I at least share the virtue of seeing clearly what is at stake."

Singer sees it, John Paul II saw it, and we need to see it, too. 




Monday, August 16, 2010

Do me a favor...

Click here. Don't worry, you don't have to read the whole thing. Scroll down to the section entitled "Life and Death Decisions for Disabled Infants" -- you'll find it right under the heading of Justifying Infanticide and Non-Voluntary Euthanasia. Read the whole section. Take it in. It's important.


I want you to read it because soon I will be doing a commentary post on this man's thoughts, and I think a lot of things will come clear to you, as they did to me. You might actually be very surprised at what I am going to say. So consider this some "homework" if you will. It's important that we know this, that we teach ourselves, our husbands, our children, our nieces and nephews, our friends and even our clergy.


By the way, the man who wrote it, Peter Singer, is one of the "architects" of the Culture of Death. He is not some ranting, crazy freak that all reasonable people rightly shun. In fact, it's quite the opposite: Singer is a highly respected and sought-after academic, and even holds a bioethics chair at Princeton University, among other high distinctions.


Hat tip to Monica for the link to the article. I had always known Singer held unconscionable views, but to actually read his own words is a shock to the system.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Prayer Buddy Revealed!! *UPDATE*



Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary


I can't tell you how excited I was for prayer buddies this time around! (I had missed the Advent and Lent prayer buddy seasons because I was not yet a blogger.) 


When I found out who my summertime prayer buddy was, I was giddy!!! I love this girl, and she was one of the original IF bloggers whom I stalked when I was just a groupie lurker. She was classy, intelligent and oh so lithe! (Any guesses yet??)


Also, she was the most intimidating in some ways, because she was none too fond of fertiles! I figured if I ever won her over, I was golden with the IF bloggers! (Now do you know who I'm talking about??)


Well, someway, somehow, I think I did win her over. And when she friend-requested me on facebook, I knew it was official! The infiltration was complete! I found out from facebook photos that she was not just an "eye" after all! (Surely you've figured it out now??) 


That's right, my prayer buddy was JellyBelly, from Frustrated Musings of a Seemingly Calm Gal! Our sister from up north, eh? Proud Canadian and yoga practitioner extraordinaire! Not to mention gifted writer, inspired teacher, loving wife and amazing Catholic!


Now, it so happened that the praying started right around the time of one of her most hopeful cycles. I prayed for those follies like nobody's business, and I offered every mass for her intentions. Also, I had put off a very important (but mundane) chore for years, but I became supernaturally motivated when I knew I could offer it up for JB to become a mother. 


I admit that I was was crushed when her hopeful cycle was a bust. But I kept going. I had made a promise to God that I would become more attentive to my own vocation if He would work on fulfilling hers. Basically, praying for JB has made me a better person.


If you think that I am done praying for her, you are wrong! I am going to be like the old woman in Scripture who pesters the judge relentlessly until she gets him to make a judgement in her favor!! (I am too lazy to look up the chapter and verse for you, but I promise you it's there!)


So, dear, sweet JellyBelly, the end of the prayer buddy season is irrelevant to me.... you can count on my continued prayers for as long as it takes to fill your arms with your heart's desire!


*Update: Today I learned that the blogger praying for me was Brenda at Life As We Know It! I have been reading her blog for a long time, and I was so happy to know that she was the one responsible for the spiritual lift I received all these weeks! Here's how it works, this amazing Body of Christ: The supernatural "vocational productivity" I received during prayer buddy season was certainly God honoring the prayers of Brenda on my behalf. I can't tell you how amazing things have been since she started praying. I did things I never thought I could, and I have kept them up. I have been a better wife and parent, so much so that it almost surprises me (don't worry, I have a LONG way to go!). And, as my intentions were being attended to by Brenda, I was able to offer to God the good fruits of those intentions for JellyBelly's intentions! Got it? Wow!

Friday, August 13, 2010

We love our non-blogging husbands!



Danya's DH            Sew's DH            my DH



No blogger meet-up yet for me, but my dear husband got to be at a blogger husband meet-up!!  It's a start! 

(And isn't that the sweetest sign?? Props to Danya's man!)


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Books in the Bubble -- Architects of the Culture of Death (guest post by my husband!)

We all know that the Culture of Death comes from the dark pit of hell, but of course humans are always complicit in the evil we see here on earth.
In the spirit of my recent overpopulation post, and in the spirit of blogger husbands emerging from the shadows, I have asked my husband Dean to write this post on one of the most important books we've ever seen, profiling the people who actually built the Culture of Death brick by brick.

Hi! This is Dean, Leila's husband. Welcome to my first guest blog post.

Architects of the Culture of DeathThe Architects of the Culture of Death, co-authored by Donald De Marco and Benjamin Wiker, sheds light on the morally bankrupt philosophies of 23 influential thinkers. These thinkers were no dummies. They were highly intelligent over-achievers, and, interestingly, had the common experience of being from deeply dysfunctional families. 
The roster includes Ayn Rand, the intellectual hero of libertarians, who advocated extreme individualism whatever the outcome; Charles Darwin, the man credited with formulating the theory of atheistic evolution; Karl Marx, the founder of godless communism who hated organized religion; Alfred Kinsey, the legendary and oft-quoted sexual liberation crusader who based his "ground-breaking" research on the sexual responses of children, prisoners, and sexual deviants (including himself); Margaret Sanger, the humanist (“no gods, no masters”) who advocated contraceptive rights as a means to liberate women’s sexuality and eliminate “undesirable” populations; and Peter Singer, a current tenured Princeton professor who espouses the dubious “quality of life” ethic to justify the killing of born children up to three months old (!) and “mercy killings” for the elderly. 
Wow, these people are really downers! However, their beliefs pervade every aspect of our society and creep into the mindset of many people, including Catholics. In fact, modern society places these people on pedestals to admire and emulate. In each chapter, De Marco and Wiker, who are both professors at Catholic colleges, contrast the writings of these sorry folk with the dignified and hope-filled tenets of John Paul the Great’s Culture of Life.
If you want to understand the psychology of the Culture of Death, it’s important that you read this book. I don’t know of any other book out there like it. The "architects" reject the Judeo-Christian worldview and replace it with a new frightening image -- the image of humanity as the unintended result of blind natural forces rather than a creation of a loving, personal God Who made man in His image. They hold Modernity, Materialism and Relativism (the unholy trinity) as their salvation. They reject the notion of human transcendence, they reduce sexuality to a reflex of instant gratification, and they place comfort as man’s highest good. As Catholics, we are called to combat the Culture of the Death. Understanding the wretched, wounded souls who drew its blueprint is a crucial step in accomplishing this call.

Thank you, Dean! You are welcome to contribute to the Bubble anytime! This book you described is unique and its information presented clearly. And you know me -- I’m all about clarity!  Here is a rundown of all of the folks profiled in this book:
The Will Worshippers
  • Arthur Schopenhauer
  • Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Ayn Rand
The Eugenic Evolutionists
  • Charles Darwin
  • Francis Galton
  • Ernst Haeckel
The Secular Utopianists
  • Karl Marx
  • Auguste Comte
  • Judith Jarvis Thomson
The Atheistic Existentialists
  • Jean-Paul Sartre
  • Simone de Beauvoir
  • Elisabeth Badinter
The Pleasure Seekers
  • Sigmund Freud
  • Wilhelm Reich
  • Helen Gurley Brown
The Sex Planners
  • Margaret Mead
  • Alfred Kinsey
  • Margaret Sanger
  • Clarence Gamble
  • Alan Guttmacher
The Death Peddlers
  • Derek Humphry
  • Jack Kevorkian
  • Peter Singer
Concluding this amazing resource is a chapter on Pope John Paul II’s Personalism and the Culture of Life.
So it ends on a real upper!  :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How to hack into someone else's blog and have a nervous breakdown to boot!

While the amazing, beautiful drama of Sew's baby reveal was going on today, a side drama was occurring behind the scenes. 


Here's a how-to for creating a similar drama in your own lives:


Step #1: Get an email from a blog friend who shall remain nameless (don't worry, I won't blow your cover, Jenny from All Things). She has recently updated Sew's post to let the world know that Sew is having a girl!


Step #2: Receive another email from the same blogger, saying: "You should pretty up the post!! I couldn't make it pretty from my phone!! Make it pink or something! If you want to... I'll give you the log in info!" {First mistake: My brain reads "blog" instead of "post"}


Step #3: Get excited at first, but then worry about what Sew might think. Respond via email: "Would she kill us?"


Step #4: Receive another email saying: "She's fine!! Her post was blue yesterday!! Just make the word girl pink and BIG!!!! And whatever else!!" {Second mistake: My brain translates "whatever else" to mean, "Do whatever you want!"} The blogger proceeds to give me Sew's secret password which gives me unlimited access to the sacred, untouchable Sew Infertile blog. It's like accessing the Holy Grail. Blogger ends email by saying: "Happy decorating!! :)" This further encourages me.


Step #5: Get more excited, as I have just last night started to play around with some advanced blogger template designs. Remember seeing some super cool backgrounds! I could find a baby girl background! This is the internet equivalent of decorating someone's locker!! Hmmm, then start to get worried again, knowing that I do not have Sew's permission to mess with her blog. But trust unnamed blogger implicitly that Sew won't mind.


Step #6: Send another email to unnamed blogger (aka Jenny): "But if i mess it up, I am so blaming you!!!!!!!"


Step #7: Crack Sew's blog wide open, realizing the incredible power I now hold in my hands. I am awestruck at the responsibility. Can I bear it? Will I be worthy? I proceed with great reverence and trepidation.


Step #8: Begin to meddle around with new blog backgrounds, fonts and colors. Realize pretty quickly that something has gone horribly wrong. Start to wish it was yesterday. Also realize that I have only about a half an hour before I leave for a swim party. I don't have much time to make this right.


Step #9: Send another (now panicked) email to blogger friend who got me in this mess: "[I use a bad word here for which I am now ashamed] I think I messed it up!!!!  I hope she doesn't kill me!!!  The background didn't work right!!!!!!"


Step #10: Notice that Sew uses a Shabby Blogs application, and I have transposed a Blogger background without first understanding that the two are not compatible and one must be removed or things look messed up. Have no idea how to remove the Shabby Blog background. Continue to panic.


Step #11: Email blogger again, with the following rapid-fire cries of desperation: 


"She uses Shabby blogs, that's why!  It is not compatible with what I did on blogger so now she is going to kill me!!!!!!!"

"And I have to go to a swim party now!!!  I am going to die!!!!"

"How do I get shabby blogs gone???"



"don't tell her it was me!!!   i'm scared!!!"


Step #12: Email blogger again, demanding her phone number (secretly thrilled that I get to talk to Jenny, er, unnamed blogger, for the first time)!


Step #13: Receive number and call blogger. What a sweet girl! Soothing, calm voice, just what I need, as I am FREAKING OUT!


Step #14: Did I mention that I had a deadline and was trying to get out of the house? And did I mention that Sew's blog (unbeknownst to her) is lying open on my screen with all its innards exposed like an open-heart surgery patient with his chest cut open? And I am the only surgeon? And I can either cure the patient or kill him? And I have never done a heart surgery before? And this is not just anyone's blog, but SEW'S BLOG??? Did I mention that????


Step #15: With blogger on the phone, supporting me, walk through various possibilities to cure Sew's blog. Almost delete her entire template (and possibly her entire blog?). Think that computer illiterate people should not be allowed secret passwords to iconic blogs.


Step #16: Twenty minutes later, after going through too many off-the-cuff experiments on Sew's blogger guts, we figure out how to rip her Shabby Blog out of her widgets. With moments to spare before I have to leave (and before Sew gets home to find her blog in a shambles), I click the blogger background into place and feel a six zillion pound weight lift from my shoulders. I was like Jack Bauer defusing a nuclear bomb with .0003 seconds to spare.


Step #17: Go to swim party and tell Danya all about it. 


Step #18: Come home and notice that several commenters have complimented Sew's new blog look! Sew herself has emailed unnamed blogger to tell her she likes the new background. RELIEF!!!


Step #19: Unnamed blogger tells Sew to watch for my next post. This is my next post, and it's the first time Sew will hear what really went down and who did it. As of this moment, I don't believe she is even aware that I was involved. Or that I have lost ten years off my lifespan from the stress.


Step #20: Realize it was all worth it!!! I would do it all again if it meant showing Sew how honored and thrilled we are to welcome news of her new baby GIRL!!!!