ella_menno: (lament)
I am shaking very hard. It is difficult to type.

I spent a long time - years, really - searching for the "true" religion.

In the 8th grade, I was confirmed in the Lutheran church. During my interview with the pastor, I was asked why it was necessary to attend church services.

My answer? "It isn't."

I then explained that according to the religion as I understood it - as I had been taught by Sunday School teachers since before I entered kindergarten - what mattered was a person's personal relationship with Christ. That, to me, meant that there was no need, no requirement for a Christian (or, at least, one identifying as Lutheran) to attend services.

Given the pastor's reaction to my answer ("Of course you need to attend church! Because....um....."), I thought that perhaps I'd better go looking for a religion that made some sense.

From ninth grade through my junior year of college, I studied churches and religions. Read about them, attended services offered by a variety of denominations. And then I studied some more.

After this time, after reading about the Reformation and the (many) reasons for it, I still came to the conclusion that the Catholic church was, truly, The Church Christ Established. The papacy was founded by Christ and Peter was the first Pope; all the moral laws, guidelines, requirements were in place for a reason. Granted, I personally might not understand the reasons: yet I was okay with that.

Again, to my way of thinking: as a parent, I tell my kids not to play in the street. It's a rule, and one I expect them to follow. When they get old enough, they'll understand why, the reason - but until they do, I simply expect them to obey the rule because I KNOW BETTER.

God is my Father; therefore, I will listen to him, even if I disagree with the rule. Which is overly simplified, but was the way I felt about God's authority.

And as I believe(d) that the Catholic church and its administration - the Pope, the Vatican, the bishops - were the true representatives, the human face of Christ on Earth, I obeyed their teachings. Even if one (or several, or many) of the Church's priests and bishops were wrong, or did wrong, or covered up for their brethren who did wrong, I still felt the institution itself - the Church - was right. That it was the "highest earthly authority in matters of faith, morality and Church governance."

I attended Mass. Matter of fact, I was at Mass on Friday (First Friday devotions, you know.) I work at a Catholic school. I send my three children to Catholic school.

And now there is this: A senior Vatican cleric has defended the excommunication of the mother and doctors of a nine-year-old girl who had an abortion in Brazil after being raped [by her stepfather].

Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, head of the Catholic church's Congregation for Bishops, told the daily La Stampa on Saturday that the twins the girl had been carrying had a right to live.

I can barely express how this makes me feel. Sick, physically sick. Hurt. Embarrassed. Stupid. Wrong. Betrayed. Violated.

Oh, and angry. Very, very angry.

How can I go to work tomorrow? How can I continue to send my babies to a school that is governed by these kinds of people?

How can I call myself Catholic anymore? And why - please, God, tell me why - would I want to?
ella_menno: (safety pin)
Fgrd 'd gv p vwls fr Lnt ths yr.

(Smd mch lss dffclt thn gvng p chclt.)
ella_menno: (baby!ginny)
Some hodgepodge, both fandom and otherwise, that’s accumulated in my brain.

1. HP: Not that I've written in, oh...forever, but I've got a bunny. Have a seat, I'll tell you about it.

It'd be a happy little gen piece featuring post-book 7!successfully-defeated-Voldemort!Harry. He pops around to talk with also-survived-Voldemort-and-is-now-happily-married-to-Tonks!Remus, because he needs advice on proposing to Ginny.

You see, our poor Harry can’t ask any of the numerous male Weasleys - you (and he!) know full well that at some point, the story of “when Harry needed advice on women” would come up around the Christmas tree. He won’t ask Hermione, either, because this is a guy thing, darn it -- not that he’s usually like that! Of course not! -- but for some reason he would be like that about marriage stuff. Not that he could talk to Hermione about this anyway, as she and Ginny are so close now, and one has to suspect that said information would get back to the potential bride to be.

Harry would be tentative, and though Remus would have a fairly good idea of what the poor boy wanted to talk about, he wouldn’t want to push. Tonks would wander into the kitchen, which would, sadly, stifle Harry’s conversational skills even more. Now, Tonks isn't the socially inept ninny so many authors insist on portraying her as, so she’d make up a completely scurrilous excuse about having to leave the house RIGHT NOW on some ridiculous errand. Isn't she sweet?

Anyway. At this point, Remus would realize that certain people - ahem - are simply more comfortable conversing if they don't have to look someone in the eye. Remus mentions a little pub down the way where they could shoot some darts (and can’t you just see the two of them playing darts?) until Harry finally gets around to asking Remus about marriage in the wizarding world. Sure, Harry had been to the one wedding, but he’s wondering if there are any traditions he’s unaware of regarding the actual proposing of marriage - see, he loves Ginny, and he very much wants to do right by her and her family. And yes, he knows full well they’d excuse any faux pas he might make, but the point is he wants this to come off perfectly. Just this one thing, just this one time, mind you.

I've wanted to read that story for the longest time. *sigh* I suppose I'll have to try to write it someday....

2. SV: I don’t read spoilers – I try to avoid them, for the most part *glances furtively at [livejournal.com profile] celes720* – but I’m here to throw down about this week’s episode, for which I am pretty much unspoiled.

The commercials are making it look like Ha! I bet you thought I'd forget to cut this for those of you who are spoiler averse! )This way, if I am correct, I can be all smug and self-satisfied, gloating to one and all that “I totally called that one!”

If, however, by some freak accident of scriptwriting, I am incorrect? Well then...*whistles* What? Predictions? I never make those.

3. random: We’ve all heard the phrase “a thing of beauty,”

i.e., “Tom Welling is, truly, a thing of beauty.”

Why, I ask you, is there no like phrase for the opposite end of the spectrum – say, for example, if your across-the-street neighbor decides to display his newly completed papier-mâché bust of Elvis on his front lawn. Is there no provision in our language to tell your friends that each time you leave the house, you are forced to behold “a thing of ugly”?

4. children: Decided to transcribe the 4 yr old’s version of the “our Father” tonight, to keep it for posterity. It goes like this:

Our Fadder
Who arf in heaven
Hall-uld be die name.
Vy kindom come
Vy willby done
On earf as dizzen heaven.
Give us dis day-hour
Daily bread
And furgib us are trefpath
As we *pause to inhale so nobody notices she doesn’t know the words* ‘gainst us
And lead us not to ‘tashun
But delibber us from ebil.

Heh. Ebil. *is amused*

5. HP: was thinking about Remus tonight (not that I spend an inordinate amount of mental hours dwelling on the fates of various characters in the Potterverse, mind you!) when this occurred to me: fandom being what it is, the likelihood of Remus/Wolverine fiction existing somewhere in cyberspace is quite likely, isn’t it.

Pardon me whilst I shudder.

6. In closing, I have recently realized that, as of next month, seventeen years will have passed since I was seventeen years old. I really liked being seventeen, for the most part. I’m not sure how that has any bearing on…anything, really. Just had to put it out there.
ella_menno: (strange girls)
More of my seemingly endless quest to figure out who I am and what I believe, this time in chunky list form.

I don't feel quite right sending this out into the world without noting that all opinions herein are just that - opinions. Don't be surprised if you find sentences that seem to contradict other sentences. I'm trying to figure all this stuff out myself.


Read more... )


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REETCHICK or, the intersection of fandom, sex, motherhood, marriage, homeschooling, and idiosyncrasies.

Read more... )

I don’t know who I am. I’m not sure I’ll ever know who I am.

But sometimes, just sometimes, I think I’m starting to know who I want to be.


Follow the link to download “Living Prayer” by Alison Krause and Union Station:


quote in subject line from Richard Bach
ella_menno: (Default)
I highly encourage you to read this article:

The Abortion Debate That Wasn't.

It covers the increasing occurrence of eugenic abortion - in other words, killing babies before they're born because they are, or potentially may be, disabled.
ella_menno: (little girl at window)
ETA:I'm unlocking this post because I feel the need for some sincere discussion and education on the matter. I welcome and encourage comments from anyone so interested; that being said, I ask commenters to be civil in their words. Disagreement and/or debate doesn't require rudeness, after all. Thanks.

For those of you who missed (or avoided!) it yesterday, this is the info I'm discussing:

quote from a news item at Catholic Exchange:

Vatican, Sep. 19 (CWNews.com) - Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) has given his approval to a new Vatican policy document indicating that men with homosexual tendencies should not be ordained as Catholic priests.


The text, which was approved by Pope Benedict at the end of August, says that homosexual men should not be admitted to seminaries even if they are celibate, because their condition suggests a serious personality disorder which detracts from their ability to serve as ministers.

Yesterday I mentioned that the document made me vaguely uncomfortable, but I couldn't decide what about it was pinging my wrongometer.

I think I've pinpointed what it is, exactly, about this latest stance of the Church that irks me. Let me quote yet again, this time from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994 edition:

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

In particular, I'm reading the part that says they must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. To me, this newest stance of the Vatican's, the "you can't become a priest if you have the slightest tendency towards being gay," is in direct contradiction to what the Catechism says.

The Church teaches that if a person is homosexual, he or she is required to live in celibacy. Okay, fine; if we accept that (which, again, I understand is a point of contention), isn't it an "unjust discrimination" against those people (okay, those men, since this is Catholicism) to refuse them the priesthood?

(Not to mention that the sense I'm getting from this latest directive is that they believe homosexual men are more likely to be sexually abusive to children, which I believe has been proven untrue.)

Seems like I’m getting at a big part of my spiritual/existential crisis, doesn’t it. Hm.

I guess this is the problem I end up facing, when it comes down to it. As a Catholic, I’m required to believe the doctrines of the Church. Even if I disagree with them, I’m supposed to submit to the legitimate authority of the Pope and the Magisterium, accepting that they know better than I do.

But what about in a situation such as this, where I honestly believe they are contradicting themselves? Then what?

I don’t know. I don’t know. I feel like I’m being asked(required?)to sacrifice my freedom of thought - my ability to think independently, even - in order to be a good Catholic. I understand that as an adult, I’m responsible for informing my own conscience to guide my free will – but what if, in my work to inform myself, I come to a conclusion that is contrary to what the Church says? Evidently, the correct answer is that I need to believe that I am in error, that my fallible human brain is in error, and then toe the line with what I’ve been told to think.

I’m getting rankled. *tries to calm down*

I’m guessing that what a priest, or a more faithful Catholic, would tell me is that in such a case, I should do more study, and more research until my opinions were in concert with those of the Church. That and, of course, lots of prayer – presumably for obedience.

And just to complicate things, I actually can understand that I need to “take God’s word for it.” I can apply the analogy to my relationship with my kids, and I can accept that God knows better.

(My favorite analogy: a piece of bread gets stuck in the toaster. My son goes to unstick it with a metal butter knife. I stop him and tell him he can’t do that because it might kill him. He doesn’t understand electricity or conductivity, and it’s not the kind of thing he can experiment with without grave danger – so he just has to trust that I know what’s best.

This is, to me, kind of similar to God telling me something. Do I understand it? No, not necessarily. But I don’t need to understand it to believe (and obey) it, because I believe God knows what is best for me, like a parent (usually) knows what’s best for his or her well-loved child.)

But I can’t believe that God wants His Church to actively discriminate against gay men in this particular way. God calls them to chastity, celibacy even – I can get there, mentally. I can see where that comes from. And I understand the requirement for a celibate, unmarried priesthood. I get that too. But a blanket refusal to allow men who’ve shown “homosexual tendencies” – and how is that being determined, by the way, if these men have led celibate lives? – to enter the seminary?

That I don’t get.
ella_menno: (Default)
1. I tried the whole “deep thoughts” thing last night, and I’m amazed at how bad I’ve gotten at the whole LJ/blogging thing. I feel like I can’t write – no, scratch that – I feel like I can’t even think properly anymore. Seems I need the mental exercise of putting my thoughts into concrete words, of committing them to paper in order to force them into some sort of sense. Because the stuff I wrote last night? Not so much with the making sense.

In other words, back to random, trivial natterings.

2. For reasons beyond my control, my daughter has spent the evening addressing me as “sir.” In a moment of ill-advised sarcasm, I said to her, “so what does that make you, Marcie?” Naturally, because Life Is Like That, she said “Yes. I’m Marcie,” and now she won’t respond to her own name.

Oh, and just to stir things up a bit - Daddy intervened, and now if she doesn't call me “sir,” she’s calling me “Peppermint Mommy.” Ah, the joys.

3. If OTPs were assigned based on how much you encountered them in one day, my new OTP would be “My Dog/Underpants in the Hamper.” I’m just saying.

4. Once again, the mister is working (at least he’s at home, though!), leaving me to my own devices to entertain myself.

*pauses* this is how I got into trouble the last time, isn’t it.

Anyway. In a pile next to me, I have the following (in no particular order):

*seasons one and two of Stargate SG-1
*season two of Smallville
*book - The Half-Blood Prince
*DVD - "Fifty First Dates"
*book – The Valley of Horses

Plus, y’know. The laptop.

I don’t know why I give myself this many choices. I’m going to do what I end up doing ninety-five percent of the time when he’s down the hall and I’m in here – I’ll keep telling myself I’ll watch one episode of Smallville and then turn off the computer so I can be asleep by ten-thirty.

What I’ll actually end up doing is dinking on the computer until midnight, all the while lecturing myself on how I need more sleep.

Being predictable is so … predictable.

5. Unlike the way that you never can tell, with bees, I find that I always can tell, with headaches - one of which I have now.

See, there’s the 'I just need some caffeine' headache (this is not one of those, which is good, because caffeine this late at night would make for a whole new set of problems).

There’s the 'everyone is so LOUD' headache, which this one cannot be, as the house is as close to silent as it gets.

There’s the 'I’m utterly exhausted' headache, which this just doesn’t feel like; when I tried to lie down earlier, me poor wee head just hurt all the more.

There’s the 'I’m so stressed out' headache, which I have ruled out because those headaches occur right here *points to back of head* and this current headache hurts right here *points to side of head, towards the back sort of behind the right ear, but kind of reflecting out in a triangular fashion*.

Happily, it’s definitely not the 'hello, I am a migraine and I’m here to keel you ded!' headache. (As if I’d be here typing if it were that sort.) However, that leaves me with the 'shut up and suffer through it and it’ll most likely be gone in the morning' option. Hmph.

Unless, of course, it’s one of those sudden-onset brain tumors. *wg*

6. I can’t decide whether or not this is sacrilege. Whether or not it is, I know that it’s funny. (there are 16 panels). Don't miss "Sodom and Gomorrah"!

7. That's it for tonight, as my right eye is now tearing up with pain. Oy.
ella_menno: (Default)
Because I'm a big dork, but I don't want to forget what I'm thinking about.

Just watched the 70-minute DVD Star Wars: A Musical Journey - some parts several times - and my brain is overflowing. Section 5, "A Hero Falls," ends with three shots one right after another: first, TPM Anakin in front of the Jedi council, Yoda vo "the future is clouded" - to AotC Anakin, answering Padme's "you're not all-powerful" with his "I should be - someday, I will be" -- to RotS' Gunray vo "Lord Vader" and Palpatine's vo "rise" along with a long slo-mo shot of newly!suited Vader being levered upright on the table.

Brought me to tears every time I watched it. In my head, over these 28 years (!) of this story, Vader has gone from this utterly evil, soulless thing to a ruined, broken shell of a man - and in the telling of his backstory, he's become a character, a person I can and do have pity on. Not that his actions as Vader are any less reprehensible, but having a context to put them into...I find that it makes so many parts in the OT that much more vibrant and tragic and emotional.

Examples. Vader's first appearance in ANH, stalking onto Leia's ship. Instead of solely seeing him as The Big Bad, now I see him as - well - crippled, certainly physically (can you imagine, having had the access to/power over/relationship with the Force that Anakin had before he was maimed, how it must have felt, how it must feel for Vader every day, remembering the way he used to be and now being able to touch a mere fraction of that power?) and just as certainly emotionally - he stalks onto that ship, and I know he's headed for Leia, and I'm thinking Oh, Anakin, you can't hurt her --

-- and towards the end of RotJ, in the throne room, when the Emperor is zapping Luke, and Vader is looming in the background, watching, in my mind I'm practically screaming stop him! Anakin, stop him - that's your baby, that's Padme's baby, you can't just stand there!

And I know there are so many other moments that'll come to mind after I see RotS, and again as I re-watch the OT.

I know there's been criticism from some quarters as to the quality of the PT. To me, though, they've added an immeasurable complexity to the OT, movies that I didn't think I could enjoy more than I already did.


A thought that might bear further introspection, if I can make the time.

Clearly, there's no small bit of Christological symbolism employed throughout the films (the "virgin birth" backstory in TPM, for starters). Add to that the "chosen one," the savior of the universe, the falling and redemption...it's there.

Another biblical parallel that can be drawn is, again, found in that final Emperor/Vader/Luke showdown. Bear with me, it's still rather fuzzy in my head, but I don't want to forget.

In Genesis, God commands Abraham to take Isaac up to the mountain and offer him as sacrifice. Though he's deeply grieved, Abraham obeys his Lord and brings the boy to the summit, and is fully prepared to kill his own child in order to be obedient to his God. (That God calls off the sacrifice at close to the last minute is not fully relevant to my point, I think.)

Back to the throne room: Luke has made his choice and - he will not join the side of darkness. Vader looks on as the Emperor begins to torture Luke - torture that is obviously meant to culminate in death. Keep in mind the number of years Vader has stood by the Emperor, how much he lost in choosing to be this Lord of the Sith, to have this power and control. Yet what does Vader do? When the time comes for him to make a choice, he finally makes the correct choice, a choice for good and light - instead of yet again obeying, he picks up the being he's sworn his allegiance to for almost the entirety of his adult life and, basically, tosses him in a pit straight to Hell.

Vader doesn't listen to his 'god', but he does do what's right. In the end, his love for his child wins out over his devotion to his Master. He chooses well, he chooses wisely. He renounces Vader, and once again becomes Anakin Skywalker - only for a moment or two, yes, but there is that redemption prior to his death.

Okay, in reading that over, it's definitely a mish-mash of Abraham/Isaac and the Redeemer motifs. Like I said - just wanted to get it down, and perhaps I can make more sense of it later on.


ella_menno: (Default)

December 2011

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