7 Takes: Other Than Bacon

If you’d gotten the impression I’ve spent the last two weeks with no other thoughts than bacon . . . that would be a reasonable guess.  Since it’s Friday, I’ll be sociable and make a list of seven.

1. At AmazingCatechists.com, I wrote yesterday about how to evaluate your Christian Formation situation using the Great Commandment.  It’s a fleshing-out of this comment I left at William O’Leary‘s combox:

Couldn’t agree more. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your *mind*, and all your strength.

Which means the more your mind is capable of, the more it needs to study the faith. If you don’t love Jesus, you’ll love something else. If you don’t worship Him, you’ll worship something else. If you don’t work for Him, you’ll work for something else. –> And if you don’t use your powers of reason to know and understand Him . . . that blank space in your brain will be filled with something else.

We’re made to know God, and know Him fully. No other way to be happy.


2. At CWG today, I tossed up a couple links on writing competence and the new evangelization.  Something we struggle with at the writer’s guild is that fine line between “encouragement” and “enabling”.  If we had a narrower focus, like “only literary fiction”, or “only professional authors with trade-published credentials”, it wouldn’t be so difficult.  But since we represent all faithful-to-the-Magesterium Catholic writers, from aspiring amateurs on up, every genre . . . it’s a bumbly boat.

I like the bumbly boat, of course, since it’s the only one that’ll let me in.

3. Is it a cult, or just weird and stupid? Fr. L. posted an excellent article on the traits that characterize cult-like behaviors.

Readers here will be assured, having reviewed the criteria, that I am in no danger of becoming a cult leader.  Whew.

4. Sometimes I wonder whether what I wrote somewhere else is really of interest to readers here, and whether I should post a link. The other month when some people were freaking out because Pope Francis Is Not Pope Benedict, I posted some thought at AC.  Naturally I linked it all back to catechesis, since I didn’t want Lisa M. kicking me off her blog.  And because it was relevant.

I re-read my post and thought it wasn’t that bad.  So you could go look, if you wanted.

5.  A non-bacon recipe: Venison stroganoff. So good you can eat the leftovers cold for breakfast. What to do:

  1. Use the recipe for beef stroganoff from the Joy of Cooking.
  2. Skip the beef step.  Toss your hunk of venison roast in the crockpot with a little liquid (water is a liquid), cook on low all day.  Take it out and chop it up.
  3. Start up the Joy recipe.
  4. Crazy Innovation: Add parsnips — yes parsnips!  Peel and shred them (you have to shred the onion anyway), and toss them in after the onion but before the mushrooms, and let them saute a bit before you put in the mushrooms.
  5. When the mushroom mixture is all cooked up, toss in your diced venison, then the white whine wine, and then the sour cream.  I’m sure it’s possible to use too much sour cream, but I don’t have any proof.
  6. You’ll be serving this over rice — oh wait, most people do noodles, but actually rice tastes better. Yes, I said that.
  7. Regardless of what you put your stroganoff over — or nothing at all, if you’re having it cold in the morning for breakfast — you’ll want to make gravy with the venison drippings.  Chunk of butter in the bottom of saucepan, melt it, dump in a bit of flour and mix like a crazy person, and when it’s a nice pasty-paste, pour in the cooking liquid from the venison, mix it up.  (Immersion blender is your friend.)  That’s it. Best gravy in the world, easy-peasy.

6. I know.  It’s not deer season.  Too bad.  Ask your friends to open up their freezer to you.

7.  I had a long train of thought (hanging out laundry), and ended up with this thought: If there one thing — and only one thing — I could ask bishops and priests to do over the next year towards the reform of the Church, it would be this:

Make the Catholic Faith the Non-Negotiable Minimum Standard for Those in Ministry

People freak out when you do this.

So I completely get that it’s an unpleasant task, and clergy want to be all pastoral, and all that.  And to be clear: I want the pews packed — packed — with tax-collectors and other sinners.  That’s what not what I’m talking about.  I’m speaking only to those in ministry.  The DRE who tells the confirmandi that gay marriage is AOK.  (Didn’t happen at my parish, whew.) That kind of stuff.

And that’s something only those in authority can actually enforce. We lay folk can do all kinds of helpful things to make up for a pastor who can’t read a contract, or doesn’t know how to hire a good plumber, or whose fingers freeze when it comes to dialing 9-1-1 . . . but we the laity can’t really do a whole lot when the hierarchy decides to be indifferent to the practice and teaching of the faith.

So that’s my new one thing.  I figured out it’s the source of my chronic grumpiness about these or those other little hot-button topics.  So I’m resolving to at least keep my temper-tantrums focused on the real issue.

Meanwhile, since what comes around goes around . . .  What do you think is the one thing clergy wish laypeople would do?

13 thoughts on “7 Takes: Other Than Bacon

  1. “Make the Catholic Faith the Non-Negotiable Minimum Standard for Those in Ministry” -Okay, don’t kill me but as soon as I read this I thought: “Oh, so I can play in the orchestra?” I’ve often tempted myself with the idea, since our conversation about playing french horn, if I should ask to play even if I’m not 100% Catholic…. it may not even relate to what you talking about. And I have enough hobbies to keep me busy when my work isn’t sending me off somewhere all the time.

    (I’ll repost my response on that page if I can) —> I agree with your article on calling… ever read those stories in the news or some article about a situation and then you sit there and wonder, “Why didn’t they call the police before it got worse?” Often so many time we wish to live in a perfect world or at least one where bad stuff doesn’t happen in our bubble of existence. Some people even rationalize what they’ve seen in order to meet that standard even more so when the act wasn’t committed against them directly. But I’ve always told myself that if I see something wrong I have to report it. By not doing so I am just as guilty as the person who commits whatever act they ought not to. The world is not perfect and there are people who make mistakes or worse are really bad guys that deserve a nice dose of justice. Words to keep in mind: vigilance and awareness or consciousness.

  2. “The world is not perfect and there are people who make mistakes or worse are really bad guys that deserve a nice dose of justice. Words to keep in mind: vigilance and awareness or consciousness.”
    Yep. Exactly.

    “Oh, so I can play in the orchestra?”
    Chuckling. It raises a good questions, but a bit beyond my scope.

    Funny story: I have a good online friend who is orthodox Jewish, and a musician. For years she made a big part of her living by playing at church weddings and stuff. To the point that if you have a question about Catholic church music, she’s a reliable source for answers. But eventually her conscience bothered her, and that plus deciding to be serious about observing the sabbath, and she had to let that line of work go, which was a huge sacrifice, financially. (Which I admire.)

    –> Stories like that leave me of two minds on the musicians question.

    But my rant-o-rama was more towards . . . could whoever’s playing the music pick lyrics compatible with the Catholic faith, please? And then we can parse out tricky topics some other day.

  3. I couldn’t decide which place to leave my comment, but I decided to do it here. :) I am so glad you posted those thoughts on writing competence! I’m really anxious to write stories that reflect my faith, but it is such a tricky line to walk, because I don’t want to market only to Catholics. The nonfiction world is easier b/c all the writing I do is religious writing anyway. I can be as frank as I want. But if I do that in fiction, it’s off-putting. And yes, quality is soooooooooooo important!

    • Kathleen – It’s a good fear, but I say jump in and try it. (Says person who is still 2000 words short on a 2000-word short story. :-). Not by trying to say, “How can I write a story that reflects my faith?”, but by writing whatever story pops into your head. I wouldn’t over-think the genre, unless you have to make a living on the first book. And if you do have to make a living on the first book, then all the scrutinizing is beside the point, you have to write to the genre guidelines, so just do that. It’ll reflect your faith because you wrote it.

  4. “Readers here will be assured, having reviewed the criteria, that I am in no danger of becoming a cult leader.” The net allows one to become a cult figure and not know it. Just sayin’.

    • I don’t think that’s the kind Fr. L was writing about. But in the unlikely event someone forms a cult association around me, don’t let me know. I want to die peacefully in my bed, not worrying about poor misguided souls and their deranged habits.

      (I mean really? What kind of person devotes themselves to the worship of a frumpy bacon-obsessing procrastinator who goes around getting snippy at dissenting DRE’s? Seriously? That would be a sorry group.)

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