Comments for Fragments Against Ruin Wed, 22 May 2019 13:16:12 +0000 hourly 1 Comment on Bare shoulders and barren hearts by Anonymous Sat, 08 Jun 2019 14:28:07 +0000 “Bare Shoulders and Barren Hearts” is so good. I especially loved that you ended it with a sentence indicating that we each need to take a look in the mirror, so to speak.(Your writing gift always blows my mind, by the way.)
A long, long time ago, I chose to become Catholic as a young teenage girl. The parish was pretty small and lightly attended one Saturday evening mass that I’ll never forget.
I adored our priest, as he’d given me personal instruction to become Catholic. He was brilliant, kind, had a dry humor, and I respected him.
This particular Saturday, he stood silently before the pulpit for a few moments at the very beginning of mass, clearly agitated. Then he burst forth in a brief, but clearly angry and bitter tone, about “a poor boy in Madison, Wisconsin that was convicted of rape of a young woman who’d been scantily clad…” Then he lectured on the responsibility of young women to dress appropriately for Mass.
It took me a few minutes to realize he was talking about ME. I was horrified. I was the ONLY young woman at that Mass, and I wanted the floor to open up and swallow me. I WAS wearing a tight shirt. I was 16 years old, and I was both aware and innocent at the same time about my shirt, to be honest. I was just learning about the power that a woman holds over young men if she dresses a certain way. I’d had a check in my heart about wearing said shirt, but I wore it thinking no one would notice. I never expected the priest to notice, though.
In this culture, we are not allowed to say that women should take responsibility for how we dress. I absolutely don’t think a woman should EVER be raped for any reason, but I do think every woman is quite aware as she is purchasing or putting on sexy clothes at the effect she even HOPES it will have, if she is honest. I try to do that for my husband AT HOME.
That priest humiliated me. But I did learn that I needed to take responsibility for how I dress. This is such an unpopular notion…we live in a time when some women want it both ways. “Look but don’t touch. It’s the MAN’S fault if he can’t control his erection over my shirt.” Well.

Personal responsibility is up to me. We are all flawed in need of a Savior.
Though I have not been a Catholic for a long time, I want to be clear that I don’t see them as one big group of men who are especially flawed and horrible. Aberrant sexual behavior knows no specific denomination.
That being said, my priest is long dead and gone, but I saw his name on a list a few months ago of priests who had sexually abused teenage boys. Now, I see his calling me out that Saturday night as being more about his personal issues, rather than my shirt. But It was a good lesson for me about taking personal responsibility.

Comment on Bare shoulders and barren hearts by Doug Fri, 07 Jun 2019 12:47:31 +0000 I once went to a church that was mostly doctrinally sound but was very much vested in their bowling shirt and Birkenstock look. I was in a coat and tie, which is what I always wear to church for the reasons you state. A member of the church (dressed of course in bowling shirt and Birkenstocks) nicely said to me in the hallway, “you know you do not have to dress up on our account”. I just as nicely replied, “I am not dressed up on your account, I just figure that if Christ can hang on a cross for me, the least I can do is put on a coat and tie for him”. His mouth opened, but nothing came out and we both walked away. It is not my nature to usually respond to an otherwise nice and probably well meaning person like that, but I have to say that I have never regretted my response.

Comment on The weak link by Ken Larson Thu, 30 May 2019 21:52:09 +0000 I’m glad your son is okay, Tony. And with no lasting injury or problems, hopefully.

Comment on The weak link by John Mon, 27 May 2019 14:53:20 +0000 My son spent many years studying martial arts (with my encouragement, since I was a cop for over 26 years and wanted him to be able to defend himself). My son achieved his black belt, but not without a few injuries along the way. So, I can relate to your post, and am thankful your son will be okay. Children are such a gift from God, but I think we age not from the passage of time but from worry for our kids!

Comment on The weak link by Sharon L Stanners Fri, 24 May 2019 20:50:26 +0000 So glad he is okay and thank you as usual for articulating things the rest of us can not.

Comment on The weak link by Ron Cox Fri, 24 May 2019 19:51:43 +0000 Tony, thank you. I am so glad when you write – your words are a blessing to me. Peace, Ron

Comment on The weak link by Eric Cochling Fri, 24 May 2019 16:45:18 +0000 I am very glad that your son is OK, Tony. And great job, as usual, in telling the story.

My oldest just left the hospital after four days fighting off a severe kidney infection. A couple of those days were pretty scary but, like you, I’ve marveled at how he (at 13) handled himself while sick. Like your son, he was up to the challenge far more than I was.

It’s these little (or huge, depending on your perspective) moments where God’s grace is obvious, allowing our weakness to be matched by something in others that is heartening. In this case, He’s showing us that our sons have what it takes and are learning how to make a way in this world. Every father longs to know that about his children.

And when we see evidence of that strength, it’s nice to know that we’ve had some hand in its creation and that maybe some of our lessons and better qualities are making their way through.

Hope to see you soon, Tony.

Comment on Mugged by reality by Woodlief Wed, 22 May 2019 13:16:12 +0000 Came across this episode of one of my other favorite podcasts, The Partially Examined Life, with guest Francis Fukuyama discussing some of these same topics re citizenship and identity. Worth a listen:

Comment on Mugged by reality by Woodlief Mon, 20 May 2019 13:55:09 +0000 Ken, Andrew, David, Loriann, John: Thanks for the kind words — nice to put something up here and not see it sit alone in a digital wasteland.

Rick, I think you’re touching on exactly the conflict between two reasonable goals: 1) allowing people in a community to govern their way of life and who can become a citizen, vs. 2) affording individuals a set of rights to speech and protest that can disrupt how others live their lives.

Comment on Mugged by reality by Rick Caporale Mon, 20 May 2019 13:26:50 +0000 So let me get this straight. A non-citizen makes a decision that has uncomfortable unforeseen consequences she cannot abide; consequently, she complains about the source of her discomfort, which, in turn, disturbs the peace of her neighbors. In response, they overlook a citizen’s right to protest and render a decision that punishes her, the source of their discomfort. That all sounds normal, if not exactly right, to me. Next time, she’ll wait until she gets the votes she needs before she lodges any complaints. Or maybe I don’t get it….