My Sacrifice for Lent

So, it’s Lent.

I’m Lutheran, which means Lenten sacrifice is not required (those of you who have survived the gauntlet that is Lutheran Confirmation are probably mumbling some variation of “sola gratia, sola fide” right now, <cough>ThisIsMostCertainlyTrue<cough>).  It is–at best–an interesting relic of our Catholic roots maintained as a cultural practice, not an integral part of our theology, and–at worst (to those really hard-core right-wing-y type Lutherans)–a papist heresy in which no good Lutheran would partake.

I like cultural relics and being heretical to crazy right-wing-y anti-Catholic Lutherans (seriously y’all?  You’re going to alienate our fellow sprinkle-not-dunk people?  You may as well put your beer down and go hang out with the boring t-totaling set), so I usually make some wacky attempt to give something up for the season.

This year I picked something half seriously….and I am failing like mad.

I am trying to give up swearing.

Yeah, my co-workers laughed hysterically, too. Read the rest of this entry »

Catholic Coffee

Would we have coffee with soon-to-be-former Pope Benedict?

Cammy:  In light of today’s shocker news that Pope Benedict is planning to retire via some means other than the grave, it seems like we ought to address whether we’d have coffee with the guy….and I’m gonna go with no, myself.  While I would totally love to ask about what really brought on this retirement thing (is he really doing it because he feels he can’t be the best Pope he can be?  Multiple centuries and he’s the first one to think that?  Really?), I doubt we’d get a straight answer.  And, to be honest, he always kinda creeped me out a little.  Pope John Paul was all warm and fuzzy and Polish-grandpa-esque.  Benedict?  Well, I go back to what my German Catholic friends said when he was first elected , “Ach!  Ratzi der Nazi!”  Also, being so painfully Lutheran with no close Catholic influences in my life, I’m pretty sure I lack the proper deference.  So unless Kristy’s feeling up to quizzing him….

Kristy: Yeah, it’s a no for me as well. Yeah, there’s lots of interesting stuff he could tell us, but I’m not convinced he would. I’m with Cammy on the creep factor, and it would be kind of hard to not ask things like, “So… how do you feel about the fact that your papacy will be primarily remembered for the whole child molestation thing?” I have lots of influential Catholics in my life, and it would be really hard for me to be disrespectful to him, but I think it would also be really hard for me to enjoy coffee with him.

Mistaken E-mail Identity.

Somehow, just over a year ago, I started getting e-mails from a Catholic prayer group.  The messages were clearly meant for a group of people who knew one another and were providing updates on the goings on in their parish.  It appeared someone had mistyped an e-mail address and I was the unintended recipient.

I deleted the first one.

And the second.

And the third.

I suppose at that point I should have politely responded to let these nice people know that they had the wrong person.  But the tiny, nagging little voice in the back of my head suggested that this could be an elaborate scheme to identify live e-mail addresses for spam purposes.  If I responded, I would be ground zero for unwanted Nigerian scams and offers for male enhancement drugs.

So, on and off, I would get these messages, maybe one every two months.  It’s not enough to bother me, and there’s no regularity to this at all.  I started actually reading through them.  I know who’s making care baskets, that Sister Mary Ignacious has been in and out of the hospital and that Joe has been a blessing to the hospice center.  It has to be the most bizarre form of voyeurism I  could possibly have chosen.  I don’t really feel bad about being privy to anything private–the group is large enough that this isn’t state secret stuff here.

But I do feel oddly guilty that there’s probably some little old Catholic lady who is supposedly on the e-mail list but who never gets a single message….