Saturday, January 31, 2009

Thought for today

Thanks go to Sheila for reminding me of this passage.

"When God put man in a garden
He girt him with a sword,
And sent him forth a free knight
That might betray his lord;

"He brake Him and betrayed Him,
And fast and far he fell,
Till you and I may stretch our necks
And burn our beards in hell.

"But though I lie on the floor of the world,
With the seven sins for rods,
I would rather fall with Adam
Than rise with all your gods.

"What have the strong gods given?
Where have the glad gods led?
When Guthrum sits on a hero's throne
And asks if he is dead?

"Sirs, I am but a nameless man,
A rhymester without home,
Yet since I come of the Wessex clay
And carry the cross of Rome,

"I will even answer the mighty earl
That asked of Wessex men
Why they be meek and monkish folk,
And bow to the White Lord's broken yoke;
What sign have we save blood and smoke?
Here is my answer then.

"That on you is fallen the shadow,
And not upon the Name;
That though we scatter and though we fly,
And you hang over us like the sky,
You are more tired of victory,
Than we are tired of shame.

"That though you hunt the Christian man
Like a hare on the hill-side,
The hare has still more heart to run
Than you have heart to ride.

"That though all lances split on you,
All swords be heaved in vain,
We have more lust again to lose
Than you to win again."

From The Ballad of the White Horse, by G. K. Chesterton.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Names

When I first knew Scott, I referred to him as Scott-from-Cincy, mainly because I didn't know how to spell or pronounce his last name. (Now I think it's easy. Of course, I think the same of The Greek Geek's lovely Norwegian name.) My mom called him "that geeky boy."

Yesterday, I was having dinner with some friends and they were talking about a friend of theirs named Scott. When L. first brought him up, I looked up from my food and said, "Not my Scott?" She assured me that no, we were not talking about my Scott.

I think it's kind of funny that nowadays the way I distinguish him from all other Scotts in the world is by the fact that he is mine.

The Human Face of the Church

In Honors the other day, one of my fellow students remarked that back in Bede's time (we're reading The Ecclesiastical History of the English People) there weren't all the denominations we have today. You were Christian or you were pagan, that was it.

I respectfully disagreed. If you read Bede, you'll notice that he mentions the date of Easter roughly every other sentence. (Okay, so I exaggerate.) Almost the entire church in Ireland split off for a time because of two things: they celebrated Easter between the fourteenth and the twentieth day of the first full moon after the vernal equinox (rather than between the fifteenth and twenty-first days) and the priests cut their hair differently. (I kid you not. The way clergy cut their hair used to be a very important discipline.)

The Church has never, ever been perfectly united. At almost the same moment that Christ prayed "that they all may be one," Judas was getting his pieces of silver.

I believe that Christ founded His Church on Peter, otherwise I would not be Catholic. Thou art Peter and upon this rock... This rock. This fisherman from the hill country of a province of the Roman Empire, who spoke with a funny accent. The man who said that he would die with his Master and then denied Him three times.

This is our rock. The Catholic Church is Peter's church, with all its imperfections and failings and its scandalizing earthiness. It's a simple, concrete sort of religion, with stained glass and incense and statues in abundance, lest we all forget that we're in our church to think of God.

Yet it's Christ's church too. It's the church of Word-made-flesh, of a God who breathed and ate and drank and loved and suffered. It's the church of the one whose Cross was a scandal and a stumbling-block.

This is the Church against which the gates of Hell cannot prevail.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Wanderings of Emails

When I was in high school, I had a Roadrunner email address. Well, I technically still have it but I almost never use it anymore because my parents never gave me the password, so I can only access it from the first floor of our house--sometimes it'd work in my bedroom, but not always.

When I moved to school, my dad set it up so that my Roadrunner account automatically forwarded to my Franciscan account.

Over Christmas break, the Franciscan account was having some issues, so I set it up to automatically forward to my Gmail account.

A couple weeks ago, I got a different Gmail account. Just now, as part of switching over to the new one, I had the old one's emails automatically forward to the new one.

So, that means if you sent an email to my old Roadrunner address, it would get automatically forwarded no less than three times.

This amuses me.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Respecting Life (Updated)

On prior occasions, I have heard people who consider themselves pro-life object to being called "anti-abortion". I have a couple of things to say in response to this.

1) It's in the AP Stylebook. If you have a problem with it, complain to the Associated Press. Don't assume journalists are pro-choice liberals just because they're doing their job.

2) If the boot fits, wear it.

I'm sorry to have to say that; and I'm sure I could have put it more tactfully, but I am sick of people dutifully reciting that they are pro-life, from conception to natural death, and then proceeding to behave nastily to large swathes of the human population.

I went to the March for Life this past week, and I would do it again in a heartbeat, but next time I might just stand in the back of the crowd and pray, because I cannot cheer at speeches that amount to little more than Two Minutes Hate for Obama. I might keep my head bowed while I'm doing it, because I find it hard to resist uncharitable thoughts when I see signs comparing Obama to Hitler (I saw one of these, I'm not making it up) and others that call abortionists baby-killers and murderers.

I don't care if you have a point. You do not ever call anybody Hitler, or baby-killer, or murderer. Those are simply things you do not say to a fellow human being. You do not insult and deride the President. If you are American, suck it up and respect him for his office. He won fair and square. If you can't do that, respect him because he is a human being made in the image and likeness of God. Moreover, when you are arguing with someone who disagrees with you, do not resort to ad hominem attacks.

They're all alive too. Respect them.

UPDATED to add: A reader expressed (via email) confusion because the two parts of my post "seem only tangentially connected." That's because they are. I apologize for any confusion that was caused.

Random Thoughts on Love Languages

Yesterday my household coordinator said in passing that she is going to have us, as a household, do the Five Love Languages test. I happen to be familiar with the concept because I read the book on it several years ago. (Back when I would read Lysol bottles just for the sake of reading something. I also read several books on how to parent adolescents which my mother for some reason had about the house. Which made me so much easier to parent.)

Anyway.

I took an online version of the test just now. I'm not sure how accurate it was, though. I tried to be honest, but once you know what the five love languages are it'd be pretty easy to make yourself whatever you wanted. Plus some of the physical touch questions weirded me out.

Combining my current results with what I remember from several years ago, I seem to be pretty much tied between physical touch and quality time. (This might explain why I can sit next to Scott for hours at a time.) Words of affirmation come in third. Gifts are a rather distant fourth. Acts of service pretty much fall off the chart.

If you are very bored, you may read my reflections on this. Otherwise go find something else to read.

Physical touch: I remember scoring ridiculously high on this one the first time I took the test and being puzzled, because I wasn't aware of any particular desire for physical touch. I realized after I went to college that this was probably because at that time I could simply stand in the living room, say "Hug?", and get one. Then I went to college and my little soul shrivelled because nobody was touching me. Then I got a household and a boyfriend. And they all lived happily ever after.

Quality time: I have always understood why this is one of my primary love languages. My particular variation of wanting quality time is, "Please sit around attentively listening to me ramble without expecting it to make sense or come to a point." Or, as a Facebook Piece of Flair says, "People who don't know me think I'm quiet. People who do wish I was."

Words of affirmation: Pretty self-explanatory. My fragile little self-esteem likes being told that I'm beautiful and lovable and all that good stuff. Because I forget if you don't remind me.

Gifts: If you don't know me really well don't try this one. Scott can give me a shiny rock and I think it's the most awesome thing ever. I have previously had people (mostly relatives) give me fairly expensive gifts that simply did not speak to me. I'll be grateful, certainly, and I'll probably write you a thank-you note because my mama raised me right, but it will not make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Acts of service: If your goal is warm fuzzies, don't try this one at all. For me, accepting acts of service is an exercise in spiritual growth. (So, if you want to help me grow in virtue, by all means offer to do things for me.) I'm very independent, for one thing, and have to fight the idea that people are implying I'm incompetent because I occasionally need help. Also, I'm a perfectionist of the "If you want it done right, do it yourself" school.

This concludes Megan's introspection. Return later for actual bloggy content.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Life

I apologize, dear readers, for my lack of posting this week. Tuesday night I worked from 6:00 pm to 2:00 am, which means I didn't get to sleep until after 2:30. Then Wednesday evening I departed on the March for Life. Basically, between waking up Tuesday morning and waking up this morning, I got 14 hours of sleep total. (That's an average of 4 1/2 per night.) I've taken a nap since, and plan on another one as soon as I finish this post.

This was the first time I'd been to Mass in the basilica. It was a gorgeous church; I wish we'd had time for sightseeing beyond looking around while waiting for half an hour in line for the bathroom. I was just going to rhetorically ask you, dear readers, why there is always a line for the girl's bathroom (because guys can't really be that much faster, can they?) when I realized that probably none of the guys were putting on mascara before Mass. Now, I freely admit to not really getting makeup. I'll probably never wear it except to my wedding and my funeral. But I acknowledge that some girls like makeup. Still, there are times when you really do need to just vacate the sink, please, so other people can wash their hands.

After Mass we were left to our own devices for a while; we just needed to be at the Mall by noon and were given Metro tickets and directions. I am apparently the Authority on Riding the Metro. At that point I was travelling with Morgan and 3 of her friends whom I will refer to as the Glee Club. Morgan was on the Metro when she went on the March in 2006, but the other girls had never actually been into DC before. I, meanwhile, had been to DC 3 times in the past 4 years (I'm up to 4 times now; 1 homeschool conference and 3 Marches for Life) so I was the one who navigated the Metro station, figured out which train we needed to be on, made sure everybody got on the train, etc. Basically I mothered the lot of them. Hey, we all made it to the Mall in one piece.

The March for Life was...well, it was a day of standing around listening to people talking, then walking very slowly in stiflingly large crowds. I joked to Ambrose and Mari that it was more like the Shuffle for Life. All this while tired enough to curl up on the nearest bench and fall asleep. (We tease Morgan still because back in '06 she fell asleep on a bench in the Library of Congress.) Yet I've gone 3 times. I have a strange idea of fun.

Oh, by the way, I spent almost the whole afternoon with Ambrose and Mari. Mari popped up next to the Franciscan banner about 1:00, and I followed her when she dashed off to go find Ambrose. So we had sort of a little Three Anachronisms reunion, if you grant that I can be proxy for Scott. It was good. I don't get to see either of them often enough, and I almost never even talk to Ambrose (he has very limited internet access) so I'm glad we were able to find each other--no easy task in a crowd estimated at 150,000. I wasn't able to introduce them to Morgan, unfortunately--I'd lost track of her after I abandoned the banner, and didn't find her and the Glee Club again until after I'd said my goodbyes to Ambrose and Mari and left for the rendezvous point where we were getting on the busses.

Okay, time for my nap.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Going out

Shortly before I came back to college, my parents went on a date. When Dad arrived home from work to pick Mom up and found himself in the midst of the chaos that is our family (we're a bunch of odd ducks, we are) he made a comment about this not being a standard picking-up-my-date experience.

It got me thinking about what is a standard dating experience. From what I gather, a "date" can take a variety of forms, but it always involves going out, to the point where "going out" is virtually a synonym. You go out to a restaurant to eat, you go out to a movie theater to see a movie...I'm sure there are lots of other things you could do. It doesn't seem to matter, as long as you're going out.

I've been in a relationship for over 9 months now, and if memory serves I've been on a date once. Maybe twice, if you count the time the Cobbler and I went to a restaurant and a play with my parents, sister, and grandmother.

The other one was over Christmas break, when one of our mutual friends (who is dating the Cobbler's best friend) came to the Cobbler's hometown for a visit, and I came to visit, and the four of us went out. (The two others are bloggers as well, but I won't refer to them by their blog personas because I don't know if they've come out as a couple yet.) It was utterly delightful, but at the same time I found myself oddly...lonely, I guess. I missed the Cobbler's family. Some of the most utterly delightful dinners of my life have been had while sitting around their kitchen table, with his siblings laughing and joking and generally just being a bunch of energetic kids. (His parents are utterly delightful too, though not quite as entertaining.)

Now, don't get me wrong. I'd love to go out with the Cobbler again (of course, I just plain would love to be in the same room with him again) and I'd jump at the chance for another double-date with Those We Do Not Speak Of. But I'd also love to just go to his house and spend an evening with his family. There's a few reasons for this: Firstly, they're dears. I'd want to spend time getting to know them better even if the Cobbler were just my friend. Secondly, they're my potential future in-laws, the grandparents and aunt and uncles of my potential future children. I have to evaluate whether my offspring will be spoiled properly. And thirdly, they're his family, and thus an essential part of who he is...but that's the topic for another post.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Reconciled

I went to Confession today. I'm very glad I did; I think that was the longest I've gone without being shriven since I got my drivers' license.

As I stood waiting my turn, I noticed a girl of my acquaintance and her boyfriend standing a few spots apart in line. I remembered abruptly, The last time I stood in this line Scott was a few places behind me.

It must have been the Monday before Fall Break. The paper wasn't publishing that week, so I had the evening off. After eating dinner together Scott and I made plans to meet at the chapel around 7:30, go to Confession, and then spend the evening together. We hadn't seen each other much the 2 weeks before for reasons I won't discuss here. I'll just say that at that point the reasons had become moot and we were spending as much time together as possible. We had less than 48 hours before I left, and when I came back he would be gone.

Just when you think you've exhausted all possible places that have memories...

Then I went back to work. (As an aside: I love my job. "Katie, can I go to Confession real quick?" "Sure.") I finished up around 8:50 and then puttered for a few minutes because there was a Father Michael Scanlan Scholar event at 9.

I went to that, and took notes because, as I said when we were introducing ourselves, "I'm Megan Lastname, and I'm the secretary. I don't know how that happened." Another aside: taking minutes is LOTS easier than taking notes for a newspaper article. This secretary thing is going to be a breeze.

In between jotting down notes I proceeded to enjoy myself. Yes, there were moments when I had twinges of missing Scott. How could I not? I'm going to be at the Thursday night social this year (privilege of being a club officer), which is where he and I met two years ago. Talk about discovering new places that are chock-full of memories.

But overall I enjoyed myself. And I think that's better than where I was yesterday in terms of missing Scott. (I won't say much on that except that people don't buy the "moved by the Spirit" excuse as much when you start crying at Vespers.)

I think I realized today that this is a season. One day circumstances will change...they always do, and I can't speed up the passing of seasons I don't like any more than I can slow down the passing of the ones I do. I don't want to create the illusion here that I am suddenly magically okay with the way things are, but I do want to say that I'm trying, really trying, to approach this not with "Okay, God, when is this going to be over?" but with "Okay, God, what am I supposed to be taking away from this?"

Sunday, January 18, 2009

When I intented there were only 7

There's another Little Servant.

I am happy.

Interesting side note: I am about halfway up the totem pole in terms of household seniority. However, I am currently the youngest member of household. Little Servant #2 (of 4) is 5 months younger than I am. I don't know how old Little Servant #4 is. She might be a whole 7 months younger than me, or she might be 5 months older. (Facebook has her birthday but no year, you see.)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I still kind of want to do that

Scott (after having spent about 45 minutes calming me down from a Highly Anxious state): "We should record a conversation sometime so that you can listen to it when you need to."

Me: "I actually thought about doing that. Well, not that exactly, but making you record yourself saying something and make it an MP3 file and then I could put in on my iPod and walk around listening to it...but that just seemed kind of...creepy."

Scott: [laughs]

Me: "I suppose maybe it's not creepy when it's your boyfriend."

Friday, January 16, 2009

Incarnation

At my first Principles of Biblical Studies II class of the semester, the professor made a point that struck me deeply:

If God cannot communicate with us through the reality that we see, then none of this is true. We might as well all walk out and cease to be Christians, if that one thing is not true.

Once, I was working on the crew in the TV studio we have in the basement of one of the classroom buildings. One of the panelists (who is now my professor for Theology of the Church, interestingly enough) said that so many of us fall into thinking, "And the Word became paper."

The Bible is wonderful. I love the Bible. If I didn't love the Bible I certainly wouldn't have survived PBS I (or, Let's read the whole Old Testament in four months just because we can!). But we do not read upon its pages that the Word became paper. We read that the word became flesh.

In PBS II, the professor read the Greek of the first chapter of John, and translated it literally for us.

The Word became flesh, and set up his tent among us.

As I touched upon in my post about the rules of the game, He was a real human being. He was really truly here, in the world we see and hear and touch. The Almighty God of the Universe got dirt under His fingernails. The Almighty God of the Universe had fingernails.

That never ceases to amaze me.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Name Change

So, I've been blogging at But I Digress... for well over a year now and pondering a name change the whole time. Seriously, there was somebody who had the url I wanted and so I picked a different url that I never really liked, and then after a while I got disillusioned with the name as well, because it didn't give me a focus, and I need some kind of focus, at least so you can poke fun at me when I deviate from it.

Wow, that was a long sentence. Anyway, Garden-Variety Rainbows is a title I came up with years ago, when I noticed that if you spray a hose or set up a sprinkler in your backyard you can get your very own miniature rainbows. I was going to make it the title of a novel but I might not write that novel until I'm 50 so we'll worry about that later.

This blog's focus is pretty simple: Life is beautiful. And when you get down and dig in the dirt, that's when you find God. He came down into the dirt so He would be find-able.

There are two things this blog is not going to be: 1) Deeply reflective. I do not plan on doing posts along the lines of "This happened today and I pondered it and realized that God was telling me __." Deeply reflective stuff goes over at my other blog. 2) Chirpy. In other words, I am not going to be happy and cheerful all the time. I'm a melancholic, it's not how my brain chemistry works. Sometimes you might get more dirt than rainbows.

I have decided that the reason I have a blog is because I don't want to forget this achingly beautiful season my life. Yes, a lot of the things I'll want to remember will be happy, but as far as the sad things go, I'll borrow Aeneas' saying: "One day it will be joy, perhaps, to remember even this."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bravery

At the beginning of December I referred briefly to the recent difficulties of the Cobbler (namely, having to withdraw from school, recently upgraded to having to take a semester at community college) and then proceeded to be absolutely silent on the subject.

You see, I still haven't figured out a way to make this situation not be awful, and just the thought of a "Wah, I miss my boyfriend" post made me cringe. There are plenty of couples I know who are in worse straights in terms of long-distance relationships. Whining about not being able to see the Cobbler at least twice every day (our habit when we are both at Franciscan) seemed a deplorable sign of weakness. I tried to give myself a lecture to the effect of "Buck up and be a man about it," but this failed miserably.

The thing is, I'm not a man, and I don't want to be, and I'm starting to think that being sensitive and inclined to process things emotionally before I process them intellectually isn't something I should stuff in a very secure box and lock up in a little-used cabinet of my mind.

So I have decided that I am going to take it like a woman instead, and if I need a bit of cheering up I'll reread snippets of my copy of The Odyssey*. Does anyone not love Penelope? Now that was a seriously long-distance relationship. She had to wait twenty years for her happily-ever-after, pestered by boorish suitors and without the assurance that her beloved was even alive. But she was a seriously clever and amazing woman even while pining away with longing.

So, I am probably going to cry. I am probably going to complain to God (in the singular, since I'm not a polytheist like dear Penelope) that I'm not particularly pleased with this whole waiting half of forever thing. I am probably going to spend most of my time trying my best to be bold and clever so that my beloved will have a spirited woman to trade riddles with him when we are reunited.

*In which book, interestingly enough, "taking it like a man" does not exclude falling on people's necks and weeping profusely.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I like breakfast

You know you get omelettes a lot when the guy who makes the omelettes knows your name.

You know you really get omelettes a lot when the guy who makes the omelettes remembers your name after you've been gone for a month.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Misadventures of the Absentminded

Over the summer, I succesfully made lasagna from scratch.

Today, I messed up boxed macaroni and cheese.

Methinks the problem is not actually a matter of technical skill.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Culture

I recently discovered a new blog which I think is going to get added to my rounds because I find it both amusing and informative. (It's really hard to find a blog that does both well) Recently, Seraphic wrote a couple of posts on British culture, because she is moving to England (well, Scotland).

Whenever anyone talks about culture and traditions, I always feel like a bit of an orphan. Ethnically speaking I'm German, Irish, maybe English, and goodness knows what else. But those Germans and Irishmen and Englishmen came over here so very long ago that I've lost whatever culture they had. Hence the feeling like a cultural orphan.

Seraphic (who is Canadian) pointed out that America has its own culture. That's something that I want to explore more, but not over at her blog because that's not nice; one shouldn't derail the conversations the moment one introduces oneself on a blog. So I'll ponder it here.

I'm a bit stumped as to what American culture is. It seems like we're just too big to have any real cohesive culture. I mean, certainly we share a lot of the same ideals (freedom is one that leaps to mind) but when I feel like a cultural orphan I don't want lofty ideals. I want food and music and books and pretty dresses.

As I was pondering that, I realized that I do have something that's part of my culture as a Midwesterner. Barn dances. Out where I live, we still have those; there's an annual barn dance a little ways away that my family has been attending since we moved here 4 1/2 years ago. I have no idea where or when or how barn dances originated, but I do know that they are part of this culture I live in, this culture of living simply and looking out for your neighbor. We dance. (And we eat. If you're not actively dancing you should be eating. The two main food groups in Midwestern Culture seem to be Casserole and Dessert.)

So, my not-so-deep conclusion is that if I want to stop feeling like a cultural orphan, I should learn how to square dance. Next November I am definitely going to get the Cobbler up here for the barn dance. Partly just because I just like having him around (and I think he'd enjoy it) and partly because men tend to be a bit scarce at these dances and it's a lot easier to infiltrate a square if you have a partner.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Annually posted Epiphany poem

The Journey of the Magi
T. S. Eliot

A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The snow was deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires gong out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty, and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This: were we lead all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I have seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Catholic Parenting

Mom: "Don't sprinkle holy water on the cat!"

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Many layers of funny

Me: "There's a horse in the Little People's bathroom."

Dad: "Yes it is. Wait. Let it be. It won't be long."

Me: "There's a horse in the bathroom and all you can do is sit there naming Beatles songs?"

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008 in Review

Via Melanie, a template for a year-in-review post:

Post the first sentence of your first blog post of each month. You can also add a favorite picture from each month. (I think I posted pictures 2 or 3 times total this year, so I'm skipping that part.)

January:
Scott's latest put me in mind of a post I've been wanting to write for a while.

February:
*Exhales* I've made it to another Friday afternoon more or less intact, although I think my pride took a bit of a beating on the Anthropology quiz this morning.

March:
This might be a boring post, dear patient readers, but I want to write it down before I forget.

April:
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed."
or:
Lately I have been having a hard time with discerning what God wants me to do with my life.

May:
Well, my dear readers, I just emerged triumphant from my Honors final and am too euphoric to start studying for Anthropology, so I am going to grace you with a post.

June:
Life has been hitting me hard these past few days.

July:
How have you been, dear readers?

August:
The Sister, the Little Princess, and I watched Enchanted for the second time yesterday (okay, so it was LP's first time).

September:
Yesterday at Principles of Biblical Studies (henceforth referred to as PBS), we had a very interesting discussion of Genesis 2.

October:
...do you have two people spontaneously start chanting in Greek and the other two join the chant in Latin.

November:
Morgan: "Megan, I have a question for you."

December:
Morgan: "Oh, that's a cool name."

I think May's is funniest, October's is most incomprehensible without the post title, and November and December are amusingly similar. (I have a very quotable roommate, apparently.)

The Rules of the Game

Well, dear readers, things have been rather solemn around here the last few weeks. It's Christmas now (yes, now, because I'm a Catholic and the 4 weeks before Christmas are Advent, not Christmas) so I'll end my evil series on a lighter note.

I think one of the problems that we have with free will is that we think God won't let us choose things that are bad for us. That's not quite right, though. On the one hand, His will is going to triumph no matter what we do, but on the other hand we can put ourselves and our world through a lot of evil before we arrive at that final triumph of Good. I once read in a C. S. Lewis book (I can't remember which one, perhaps The Problem of Pain) that this wouldn't work for the simple reason that if a multitude of choices only have one possible consequence, then they aren't really choices. If Adam and Eve had eaten the apple and God had just readjusted things so that they didn't have to suffer for it, then God would have had to keep readjusting things every time someone sinned. In this scenario, when Cain killed Abel, Abel would have come back alive again, and so then where was Cain's choice? He could choose to pop his brother over the head, but whether he did or not his brother would go on living. Instead of negating Cain's choice like that, God let him pop off poor Abel. Seth was born, and the righteous line continued in spite of Abel's death, but not in a way that made Cain's free will a sham.

To use an analogy that is probably familiar to anyone who has played any sort of videogame (I include for the moment games played on the computer rather than just those played on videogame systems): We want God to use the cheat codes. We want Him to fix everything by circumventing the way He programmed things and saving us that way.

He picked a different way to save us. He played the game Himself, by the rules that He made. He was a human being who hungered and thirsted and loved and suffered and died. He was like us in everything but sin. And that sinless bit wasn't cheating either. There isn't anything in our programming that says we can't be sinless. If we aren't it's our own fault for abusing our free will, not God's for giving it to us.

Think of it this way: I'm learning to play Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. Last I checked I'd died 119 times. And that was before I tried to jump over a pit without equipping my feather. The Cobbler started a game around the same time I did, and he's probably farther than I am by now (I can only play when I visit him, after all). So far he hasn't died. Seriously. Where my little game profile says 119, his says 0.

Assuming that you think of it in terms of extra lives as grace (rather than as simple biological life, which would be silly because nobody can physically die 119 times) then you can apply that to Christ. He's playing the same game we are, with the same rules. He's just smart enough to not fall in the silly pit half a dozen times before He figures out how to jump over it. He played the game all the way through to the end and won, so that whenever we run up against a boss who seems impossible, we can take heart knowing that winning is possible--even if we need a few dozen extra lives to make it.