Tuesday, August 03, 2004

We are experiencing technical difficulties.

Dale: Blogger has made it a nightmare to post at this address. As a result, this blog is now closed.

The good news? Please consider yourself invited to the sequel blog: To Love, Honor and Blog II.

Thank you for your patronage.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Heather: On the Da Vinci Code/Magdalene thing...

I still haven't read the book, but I've given the plot some thought.

I've got some questions for anyone that thinks it could really be true. In no particular order:
1. When did Jesus and Magdalene get married? Before or after he began his ministry? If after, why isn't it covered in the Gospels? If before, how could she have been the woman he cured of the seven demons? Or the adulteress he saved from stoning?
2. Let's assume that they met during his three year ministry. If they met on his way back from the desert where he went after his baptism, realistically, how many kids could they have had? There would have to be a period of courtship--say just for the sake of argument six months. 30 months to go, give or take, before crucifixion.
Say she got pregnant on their hypothetical wedding night. Nine months down, 21 to go. She would have nursed the child, which I for one can vouch delays the return of fertility. The earliest I've heard of fertility returning in a nursing mom is four months (honest--all three times for her). And they sure wouldn't have been able to afford a wet nurse with him preaching instead of woodworking, not that they would have been rich anyway.
So, just to give the silliness some air of credibility, say she got pregnant again at four months postpartum. Four postpartum and nine pregnancy, thirteen. Thirteen from 21 is... eight.
Repeat procedure, the most they could have had is three kids, and probably not that many.
I'm still not won over.

#3. If, after the crucifixion, Magdalene was running around as a peterless Peter, where were these children? Did she take them with her? Were they with their grandmother? John certainly would have had something to say about that, and since he lived longer than the other apostles and had her with him, he probably would have mentioned it somewhere along the way. He would have had the opportunity to amend anything removed by Peter, that's for sure.

Those are my thoughts on the silliness of the idea. I think the whole book cheapens motherhood in a subtle and sly way, besides. It's like our society: lots of lip service to motherhood, but when it comes down for it very little actual support. "Working mother is redundant" bumper stickers, but no recognition in ways that matter.
Brown's proponents say, "Magdalene's real job was as head of the church. She was the one Jesus wanted in charge, not Peter. Jesus wanted the 'sacred feminine'. Oh yeah, and by the way, she was the mother of Jesus' child(ren)." Like it was a side job for her. Talk about adding insult to injury...

What they don't consider is the Church already has a wonderful, beautiful, marvelous example of the sacred feminine. Mother Mary. Women have proven over and over again that we can do anything men can do, both good and bad. We can be lawyers, doctors, architects, teachers.... We can be murderers, theives, liars, and sociopaths.
What makes women special? What is the sacred thing women can do that men cannot? Not preach, or write, or minister. It is create another human being within our body. And even that, God wisely decided, would require a man's help to start.
Heather: Yeah, it's been a while. After that teaser of "watch this space," nothing for... three months? So here's a quick update.
1. Madeleine is virtually potty trained. She went today twice and told me after she'd gone. The second time, she actually brought it to me as I was on the phone in the kitchen (with Daddy, no less). How did this happen? The magic of nudity--or at least no pants. And I think the cloth training pants helped a bundle to start, so she'd know when she was wet. Sure, the super absorbency of the paper diapers nowadays helps UNTIL you're trying to potty train.

2. Dale III is mobile and thus requires much more attention. When I could just set him down and was pretty sure he'd stay there, we were okay. Now he can get from one end of the house to the other in mere seconds. At least I don't have to carry him indoors quite as much.
He's also virtually weaned. He's younger than Maddie was, but I need a longer break than I had before. He's a year old and has figured out sippy cups pretty well, though he shows a preference for his sister's.

3. Third pregnancy is fine. Doc wants me to come in for an ultrasound to confirm dates since I don't have a menses date to use; I figure I've got nothing to lose by humoring her. *I* know when I got pregnant; if she wants to prove it that way, so be it.

That being said, I'm going to spend the next half hour on the Magdalene post I've promised the faithful (persistent, patient, forgiving) reader.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Heather: Okay, here goes. This is the rough draft.
I wrote a while back about how I wish there was a book on how Mary is the fulfillment of the first generation of feminists. Another chapter would be on how she fits the divine feminine, too.
Brown and his adherents (hereafter referred to as "they") want Magdalen to be the "divine feminine". They claim that Christianity wiped it out and they're just trying to restore the balance. She was the Holy Grail, carrying the "blood" of Jesus in her womb as his children. They want her to be The Apostle, running the Church. They want her as priest, as leader, as forerunner, just like Peter and Paul. They want her running around doing all of the things the men of the time were doing. They don't want a "sacred feminine." They want "sacred masculine" in drag.
Mother Mary, on the other hand, is a much better example to me of someone both sacred and feminine. She actually did something feminine, like give birth.

To be continued...

Over at Envoy, they've got a two-part review of The Da Vinci Code. I just read the first part--okay, skimmed it. I've got some thoughts about those proponents of the Code as gospel, catechism, or anything more than pulp fiction.
These thoughts are percolating through. Because this is just a blog, I'm not sure how much I need to cite as sources and I don't really have the time to hunt them down. Or the inclination, frankly, to slog through a bunch of gnostic malarkey to find where they actually state what Brown seems to promote as their beliefs.
Watch this space, and please don't make me turn it into a doctoral thesis. I'll leave that to the professional authors.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

As a cradle Catholic, Christmas Masses don't individually stand out in my mind. They all kind of blur together in a kaleidoscope of memories: incense, candles, poinsettias, carols, the Nativity set up. Yeah, I know. But those are the same every year, which can be both boring and reassuring at the same time. Usually I opt for reassuring.
Of the two years in my living memory that I missed Mass for Christmas, one was last year, when confusion about the Mass schedule in Dale's home town left us high and dry. The other was in 1996 when I went with Dale to the Methodist service in the aforementioned home town.
That year, the pastor had somehow managed to get use of a barn. They even had a dog there; to represent the animals, I think. I found it less distracting than Liturgical Movement, personally.
Was I thinking about the Christ child, His parents, their long journey, animals, or anything to do with 2000 years ago? The miracle of the Incarnation, the Virgin Birth, shepherds, or Bethlehem? In a word, no. It is commonly accepted that Jesus was not born in December but probably in the spring, when shepherds really would have been out in the fields (it's too cold, even in ancient Israel, in winter). I knew that so the snow drifting in the large hole near the roof of the barn where I was didn't seem relevant to what the pastor was talking about.
I was thinking about people right at that moment who had nowhere to go on this most holy night. At the end of this service, I was going to leave my shivering behind. I was to go to my now in-laws' house where a mountain (seriously, the sucker was three feet high) of presents was waiting. Where on the morrow a mountain of food was to be prepared and enjoyed, and laughter and merriment were the order of the day. Where there was heat, for God's sake!
I was thinking of those who, like my father in his day, hope for the Goodfellows to bring Christmas. For those who don't have heat. Or companionship. Or a meal.
We went back to the house and I changed into the pajamas his mom had gotten for me the year before. I went out to the living room, where his brother was sprawled in sleep on the couch, and I studied the pile of presents by the lights on the tree. And I almost wept.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Dale: Decapitated chickens don't run around as much as we have the past four days. No, eventually, the future entree flops down and gets a rest. Heather and I hope to later this evening.

If the kids let us.

I now have a deep appreciation for the work my parents put into Christmas, given that we assumed the role of hosts for the family Christmas this year.

I was the designated last minute shopper this time around, a task made easier by the fact that the office closed early pretty much the entire week. This year had the added complication of mailing gifts to my brother and his family in Tacoma. Memo to self--mail it earlier next year. UPS isn't cheap on December 22. But it is guaranteed, as we found out yesterday afternoon--mission accomplished, the gifts there on time.

Finding Heather's main gift was "wandering in the wilderness" fun. I hate shopping in malls if I can at all avoid it. Far from the Christmas spirit, it instills in me a Darwinian urge to prevail over competitors in everything from parking spaces to getting in line to check out. Lakeside Mall here is the worst this time of year. "Throne Hall of Satan" doesn't quite convey my attitude toward the edifice.

Therefore, it was a blessing that the gift list I had prepared could be filled without going to a megamall. Topping Heather's list was an all-in-one: printer, scanner, copier--for our computer. Our printer is an ancient (in computer years) HP inkjet that cranks out a page every ice age or so, if it's feeling spunky. I finally got one--after hearing the dread phrase "out of stock" more times than I can remember--on Christmas Eve. From OfficeMax. Much quieter than a mall.

I'll install it later. Much later. Should be a nice one.

Last night involved the final essential preparations--getting the turkey in oven ready condition, and baking the monster cookies. Oh, and wrapping about a couple dozen gifts. Before all of that, I had to make sure that we had every possible item we needed not purchaseable from a 7-11. Check. I still got milk for Madeleine anyway.

The turkey cleaned out and stuffed quite nicely--it was a 14 pound bird that had a pop-up timer. I didn't know that when I bought it, but it earned me brownie points, so what the hey! The stuffing was extra-oniony, which was a good thing. Not overwhelmingly oniony. Good oniony.

Excluding this sentence, that will be the last use of the word "oniony" in this blog.

The turkey was the last item we addressed before going to bed at 1am. Sleep came and went quickly, with the lad up a little before seven. He just started crawling this week, propelling his 26 pound bulk around with success, if not exactly fluid grace. Heather generously let Maddie and I sleep a little longer, till about 7:30. Then we got up and opened the gifts. Maddie's favorite is a Belle (Beauty and the Beast) doll. Dale's a little harder to gauge, although I hope he learns to like the race track I got him.


The turkey went into the oven at 9 am, and started smelling good around 9:08. Mom and Dad arrived a little before 10 am, slightly hampered by the fact we did have a white Christmas this year. Heather's mom got here a couple minutes later. As of this writing, almost 2 inches have fallen. In Mom and Dad's neck of the woods, they got around 5 by this morning, with more expected today. We invited them along for Mass, which they agreed to attend. My mother in law attended Midnight Mass, so she decided to watch the fort while we were gone. It was good to have Dad and Mom along, and not just for the extra pairs of hands to hold the kids. My dad held Dale a lot of the time, and Heather noticed something I wish I would have seen: Dad whispering the words of the "Our Father" into his grandson's ear.

After Mass, we hurtled home to execute Phase 5 (or 8, or whatever) of the Christmas Plan. We opened the gifts my parents brought, and Dad surprised me with my official 2003 Successful Hunt patch, and two nice hunting knives. He insists I hit the deer from 75 yards out, not 40, but that could just be the dad talking. Heather was pleased by a Nao sculpture of a little girl with her mother, entitled "A Moment With Mommy."

After bagging up the flammables, we marched into the kitchen for the final preparation of everything from candied yams to green bean casserole to getting the brown and serve rolls done. The dinner bell rang at 2:15.

Christmas dinner was just about perfect. The only blemish was discovered just about a minute ago: we forget to get out the candied cranberry roll. Tomorrow.

Right after I gobble down a bushel of fiber. The veggie tray I prepared helped, and should help tomorrow.

Madeleine should be going through a post-sugar binge hangover all day tomorrow. Every time I turned around, she was either reaching for another cookie or walking away with one. "Wired for sound" pretty well describes it. Things wound down nicely, with our 20th viewing of "The Grinch" and "Horton Hears a Who!" since we purchased the DVD on December 11th. It's very popular with the toddler set. Mom and Dad left around six, their gifts in tow.

But perhaps the best gift of the weekend came via providential news from Doug--his appointment in Baghdad has been cancelled. No, he's still going to Iraq, but it will likely be somewhere in the south. This blessing has us all walking a little lighter these days. Nothing you can wrap compares to that gift to us.

I hope you and yours had a blessed Christmas, and the blessings continue into the new year.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Heather: On the Da Vinci Code...
I've read the plot summary and a review or two, but no, I haven't read the book. I'm afraid someone will see it in my hands and breathe fire. I wonder, though, if it has one of those disclaimers. You know, the one that says the people and events are entirely fictitious and any resemblance to actual people or events is coincidental. I'll bet a fair share of folks could use a reminder of the definition of fiction. Like those who are taking it as catechesis.

If someone were to write The Booth Code, about how Mrs. Abraham Lincoln actually hired John Wilkes Booth to assassinate ol' Abe because he was philandering, I don't think ABC would have had a documentary on it. (Note: I don't think Abe was. It's a hypothetical example.)
If some hack were to write The Aldren Code, about how our government faked the moon landing and Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldren weren't even real people but androids of some kind, it would automatically be dismissed as fringe fanatic fiction.

The fact that this book is getting so much attention is a symptom of two things: one, the abysmal ignorance of the seatwarmers in the pews and two, that anti-Catholicism is alive and well in America.
Okay, I probably shouldn't call my fellow pew occupants "seatwarmers." It's an apt description for a fair share, though; those who are too apathetic to sing "Gather Us In" or endorse liturgical movement or who wonder why we're kneeling all of a sudden again.
And given the publicity regarding the Scandal in the past few years, you'd think every priest is a child molester. I don't mean to downplay the trauma the victims have gone through at all, but how often would you like to be reminded of such a thing on the evening news?
It seems lately, for the past few entries/months, I've been the one posting on this board. Dale has his forum, which I hesitate to call a locker room. He vents too much about the Church for that moniker.

These two blogs seem to reflect what goes on in reality. He goes out daily and slays the corporate dragon, making the world equal for employees everywhere (okay, just in Michigan). He surfs the 'Net and has commentary on current events, sports, the Church, modern cinema... (I could post links, but I'll let you explore on your own if you haven't already). Something new and interesting, if brief, almost daily. Great Issues are introduced, discussed, sometimes resolved. Important Things come to light and are bandied about.
His is the world of flesh-tone bandages, so as not to call attention to a small wound. It would be a potential sign of childishness or immaturity, inappropriate in the adult world of business and professionals.

I, however, stay home with our offspring, where every day or week is very like the next--or the last. So it seems, anyway. I'm awash in a world of diaper changes, household chores, naps, and snacks. I don't bother to close the door of the bathroom most of the time because that guarantees that either a) it will be flung open by a toddler or b) an apparent trauma will be undergone by an infant. Or both.
I'm here, dancing to the rhythm of two small children. The very mundanity is its saving grace--and biggest flaw. The pressure is cyclical and constant and sometimes crushing; there is no walking away to get a fresh perspective. Usually no Great Issues but a lot of thinking on my feet and improvisation.
Most days the biggest question is what to serve us for our post-nap snack, and the biggest catastrophe is simultaneous poopy diapers. The highlights of my day are the times I hear, "Mama, I yub you so much!" or his gurgle when he wakes beside me. The really good days are Mommy Sandwich days, those stolen naps when she has padded in, still groggy, and falls back to sleep beside me. I usually can't bear to fall back to sleep and miss a moment like that, when I lay between the two most beautiful human beings I know.
Mine is a place where I don't mind cartoon bandages; they are a reminder that I have two reasons to own them. Honestly, too, sometimes they're the only bandages we've got.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Once upon a time, Dale had to pick me up from work. He stopped along the way and got Madeleine, too. Since we were running quite late that day, we decided to let someone else cook. We needed a sippy cup for Madeleine, so we stopped at the baby equipment emporium en route to the chosen restaurant.
While we were at aforementioned emporium, Maddie fell in love with this little pull bear--parents, you know of what I write. One of those things you tie to the crib, you pull down, and as it retracts it plays some sort of lullaby. This one also says a prayer: Now I lay me down to sleep. Maddie could reach a yellow one, pulled it off the rack, and we could not wrest it from her grasp. It was tricky getting it scanned at the register, even.
She has since dubbed that toy Baby Bear.

Fast-forward to yesterday evening. She was rooting through her toy box for something else and she came upon Baby Bear. "Mama, open Baby Bear," she said, bringing it to me. She wanted me to pull it to hear the music. I complied. Mind you, this routine can go on interminably.
She then proceeded to sit in her rocking chair, holding Baby Bear in the crook of her arm, gazing at its sleeping face adoringly. "I feedin Baby Bear," she said. "I feedin him."
"Ssss, he's seepin," she whispered a minute later. She then stood up and lay the toy down with gentleness appropriate for a Ming vase... or a newborn baby. "He's aseep."

I wonder where she got that.

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