I've been tagged.

I'm sure you've seen these before: blog memes. This is the first time I've been tagged (thanks, Anne), so here goes nothing. Here are the rules:

People who get tagged need to write a blog entry of their own 6 weird things as well as stating this rule clearly! Three people need to be tagged and their names listed. Finally a comment needs to be left on each tagged person’s blog…

Six weird things about me? I don't know if I can narrow it down to just six. Let's see here ....

1. I don't just loathe mayonnaise, I fear it. My younger sister used to chase me around the house with two pieces of white bread just oozing with the stuff, and I would run away shrieking. I would resort to mild violence, if necessary, to keep her away from me. This was as late as high school. To this day, if someone in my household requires mayonnaise on some food item, I insist my husband deal with it. I will not keep it in my fridge on a regular basis, where I might accidentally brush against it while reaching for the ketchup. If my husband has been eating it, I make him brush his teeth before kissing me. And if it touches my food by mistake, like someone's mayonnaise-infested burger brushed up against mine on the serving tray, I will cut away the entire "contaminated" section and throw it away before eating the rest.

2. All that said, I like spinach dip. Yes, I know it contains mayonnaise. But I can't see the mayonnaise.

3. I don't notice my own accent (Southern California), but when I hear it emerging in my son, it grates on my nerves. Dude, fer rill. I have no idea how anyone can stand to hear me talk, and I have asked my husband to make a concerted effort to talk more when our son is around so maybe he'll grow up sounding more like the mid-Atlantic city boy he actually is than a transplanted beach bum like his mom.

4. My favorite music genre is trip-hop. Moby, Mono, Morcheeba, Portishead ... it's not weird that people in general like these artists, it's weird that a devoutly religious, politically conservative, SUV-driving suburban mommy who has never "tripped" on any illegal substances in her life likes them.

5. My other favorite music is Latin chant. My mom called the other day while I was listening to my "Renaissance Classics" CD, heard it in the background, and asked "WHAT are you listening to?" I told her "Church music," and her reply was a bewildered, "Why?" So I guess it's weird.

6. I can't stand thinking about veins. Apparently I share this phobia with Shellie. I don't like to look at them or even think about them (just writing this section of the post is making my skin crawl and my hands go clammy), it makes me squirm to get my pulse or blood pressure checked, and blood tests require me to lie prone or I will pass out and throw up. I am somewhat better about this since having a C-section that required me to have an IV for a day, but still, just thinking about it ... ugh. (Needles aren't the problem, as I'm fine with shots so long as I know they're intramuscular -- it's thinking about the needles going into veins that bothers me.)

Weird enough for you? Okay. Dixie, C.J., and Tanya, you're next. TAG.

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Being "Seeker Sensitive" is the job of the laity, not the Church.

Red Neck Woman's reponse to the protestant Pastor who got huffy about church shopping has started quite the discussion over at Postscripts (I think that's a new record for the number of links I've crammed into a single sentence).

A poster named ty23 has been most vocal in his insistence that "all that doctrine stuff" doesn't matter, it's people that matter, and especially whether those people have accepted Jesus Christ as their Personal Lord and Savior (TM). (I'm sorry, that was snarky. I'm pretty sure "Personal Lord and Savior" is not, as of yet, a trademarked phrase. Then again, with the business-model approach of many churches these days, it wouldn't surprise me in the least ...)

I could have gone in a lot of different directions in my response to him (sorry if you're a female, Ty, I'm making an assumption here in the interest of readability). He brings up the impressive numbers (just under 2,000) attending Elevation Church (WARNING: turn speakers down before clicking if you're at work, have sleeping kids nearby, or just don't like loud music) as being proof positive that God is at work there. I could point out that the average neighborhood parish in my diocese has 15,000 members (does that mean God is 7.5 times more active in these parishes?). He talks about the need for something called "impactful" ministry, which I assume means ministry that changes lives, though I have to say for the record that I am not a fan of cutesy invented marketing buzzwords. I could ask what could have more impact than receiving our Lord and Savior -- body blood, soul and divinity -- in the Eucharist?

But ultimately, I was struck by the one repeated plaintive cry in Ty's posts, that were echoed by another poster called Purplegirl. A cry that said "We don't get it. We don't really WANT to get it. You use too many big words and require too much of your members and the whole thing is just really strange to us. And if we, your fellow Christians, don't get it, then how much more do the unchurched not get it?" Their argument is that because Catholicism is "too deep" (their words, not mine), that it's not relevant to regular everyday people who would rather read the sports page on Sunday than drag themselves to church. So seeker sensitive churches are reaching out to those people in a way that isn't too scary or challenging.

Ty has a valid point about bad catechesis and lack of outreach. The Church is so busy ministering to Her millions of members already that maybe not enough resources are spent reaching out to the truly lost and really explaining the faith to them.

But here's the thing: that's OUR job -- those whom we Catholics call the "laity" and Ty probably knows better as "regular people." The job of a Priest is to minister to the faithful. The job of the faithful (that's us!) is to reach out to the world.

See, the journey doesn't end at the Church door. I think a lot of "seeker churches" operate with the idea that once you get the seekers in the door and they "make a decision for Christ," that the rest is up to them. If they want theology, they can take a class. If they want fellowship and accountability, they can join a small group. But where does this leave the needy? Those who struggle with embarrassing habitual sin. Those with desperate material needs. Shut-ins. The gravely ill. Those who don't "fit in" with the rest of the church in one way or another. These people are not the exception -- THEY ARE ALL OF US! And if you think you're not one of them, you have some serious pride that needs to be rooted out. A pastor should be so busy ministering to the needs of those who have already decided to follow Jesus that he doesn't really have time to think up inventive, cutting-edge ways to "reach the lost." We are all "the lost" at one time or another in our Christian walk. And we need earthly shepherds to lead us back to God. That is what priests, confession, the Mass, etc. are all about. And when these things are working properly, then those of us who are just "regular Christians" are spiritually prepared to go out and win souls to Jesus.

Francis of Assisi said "At all times, preach the Gospel. When necessary, use words." This is our job. This is how we win the lost -- we live our lives in radical obedience to the Gospel of Christ. It's a model that has worked to sustain and grow Christianity for 2000 years. It doesn't require a fancy multimedia presentation or a talented rock band. It doesn't even require us to bring a friend to Church. If we're getting what we need from Church, and it's equipping us to live holy lives, we'll convert people without having to say a word, let alone drag them out of bed on a Sunday.

Not to say church isn't important -- it clearly is. But church isn't what converts the lost ... people (in union with the Holy Spirit) do that. The Church feeds the faithful so we'll have the spiritual energy and strength necessary to carry out the Great Commission: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."

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Perhaps the funniest thing I have ever read ...

From Sister Mary Martha comes this clarification regarding the Brown Scapular:

Do I think if you wear a Brown Scapular and lead a sinful life and are not sorry ever but just run around saying, "Ha ha, I'm wearing a brown Scapular! Satan will never get me!" that you won't see the fires of hell? Not a chance. Satan already has you. The one time you take it off to shower, you'll slip on the soap and crack your head open. The bus that knocks you out of your shoes will knock you right out of your scapular. The flood waters that wash you away will wash the scapular off your neck. Your evil boyfriend will remove it while you sleep and murder you for your jewels. The paramedic will take it off to give you a shot of adrenaline that doesn't work. The nursing home worker will steal it from you. The atomic blast will vaporize the Scapular one millisecond before it vaporizes you. As you tumble, end over end, down the basement stairs with no one home to hear all the thumping, your scapular will be tossed off and land right before your eyes along with you at the foot of the stairs. As the life drains from you as you lay bleeding from your head wound, you will reach pathetically for your scapular, but the cat will grab it and run out the basement window. At some point, you are going to want to throw it in the wash. When you do, you'll drop dead.

You are not going to get away with it, mark my words.

I held it together until the cat grabbed the scapular and ran out the basement window. Then I laughed so loudly MY cat scrambled for the basement window (which is closed, ouch). This is an excerpt from a much longer (and just as funny and truthful) post, so go check it out.

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Tell It Like It Is.

Protestant Pastor gets huffy about shallow lady who is honest about what she's seeking in a church. RNW calls him on his incredible hypocrisy.

Oh, the irony. As a Gen Xer, it would entertain me .... that is, if it weren't breaking our Lord's heart.

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Pray for me.

I'm teaching RCIA tomorrow night -- as in adults with preconceptions, not 4th graders who more or less blindly accept every word I say. I am prepared in many ways by my background in politics (particularly concerning the subject matter, which is the fifth commandment, i.e. pro-life issues), but still ... to be asked to give this lecture is intimidating and awesome at the same time. I am looking forward to it, but I am quite scared of messing up -- please pray that the Holy Spirit will work through me to bring people in the class to a closer and better understanding and appreciation of the Lord's teaching on Life issues.

It is so strange to be in this position. From "I could never be Catholic" to trying to convince others in less than two short years ... it is amazing what God can do if you allow Him to move you in uncomfortable ways.

Please also pray for my family, in particular my father. I try not to talk about them much on the blog in case they ever discover it, but I have to ask for prayers on this -- my dad told me he's been thinking a lot about Catholicism since I converted. He's even been watching Fr. Corapi on EWTN (those of you who know my father will laugh knowingly at this). He has a few obstacles in his way, but they are the same ones I had when I wrote this post, and I entered the Church less than six months later. So pray. Pray God's will be done, and that my father be open to God's will, even if it means losing face in the aftermath of some pretty strong statements. Been there, done that. It's hard. But SO worth it. If (and when!) my father receives the REAL Eucharist for the first time .... well, I can't even think about it without tearing up and getting anxious for him. So please pray.

My husband says if my dad and my dad's good friend/ex-pastor convert to Catholicism (against all odds and in addition to myself), he's putting HIS dad in for sainthood. I agree. John H., pray for us!

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