Category Archives: Blogging

The Wealth of the Church

 Marc Barnes, author of my new favorite Catholic blog, Bad Catholic, explains, through a conversation with someone he knows, why beautiful cathedrals rise up out of the Church’s holy poverty.  The following text is my 2 cents. 

One time a non-Catholic friend and I visited a church where she saw a nonthreatening basket of donation envelopes on a table in the back of the chapel, pointed to them and said, “*That* is why I don’t go to church.”

Really?  Because if you put on your Critical Thinking Cap, you’ll see why that is a really stupid reason to not be Catholic, if that is indeed your only reason.

A Catholic Church functions on free will donations.  We don’t sell tickets to Mass, or have a membership fee.   We’re not even allowed to sell religious goods once they’ve been blessed.

People donate to the Church, firstly because they want to glorify God.   Consider what our churches house.  God Himself, the Creator of all beings,  Who died to save us from our sins, physically sits in our tabernacles.   Even if you do not share this belief, surely you have enough imagination that it isn’t a strain to understand why we, who do believe that, would want a beautiful place for Him to live.

That, and we want lights to read our missals by,  and food to ensure that our priests do not collapse from undernourishment during the homily.  We want them to have reliable cars to get them to mission parishes and sick calls, and for our nuns to have books with which they can teach catechism. Them things cost money, honey.

Nonprofit organizations are so called because they don’t make a profit and rely on donations.  PETA, The Salvation Army, The Red Cross, public television…  I wish I had writing skills to further expound on what I can only summarize as “Duh.”

Speaking of which, did you know that the NonProfit Times names Catholic Charities USA as #2 in the list of top 100 nonprofit organizations?   The Church has long supported and started charitable causes, in public and in private.   The clergy of my church have, in the past, paid rent and mortgages and various other bills for not only its members, but people who I have seen all but once– when they knocked on the door of the rectory to pick up the check.   I wonder why it is that when people need help, they look to a Catholic church, if not because the Church has a long history of generosity.  Lay Catholics are strongly encouraged to do volunteer work, and many practicing ones do.

Yes, there is a Precept of the Church that dictates that you must contribute to the support of the Church.   Most people tithe, but for those who cannot, “contributing to the support of the Church” can come in the form of volunteering your time,  or participating in things like choir, or altar serving. (I quit my job and donated half a year of my time to my church last year.  Can you rack up credit points for that sort of thing? My mom says no. [I kid, people.])

This is my favorite part of Marc’s article:

I: […] Your entire argument rests on the arrogant assumption that all the poor want is cash and food. Have you ever asked the Catholic poor whether he’d like the beauty of his church stripped for cash? Boy, you’d get smacked, because the majority of Catholics are poor, and know what’s important in life. Is it not enough that we are the largest charitable organization in the world?
Him: But you can’t deny the Pope lives in a mansion.
I: And you can’t deny that if he didn’t, the Catholic people would put him in one. We’re human, we like to reverence things.

Christians in War

This past week marked the 66th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.  Here is an interview with WWII Catholic chaplain,  Rev. George B. Zabelka who repents that he did not counsel against the dropping of the two atomic bombs.  At times, it feels like a punch in a gut.

I’m not really sure where to start, myself.  This is a stark subject for me.  It makes me question the greatness of my country, and the greatness of the Church who did not oppose something so horrendous.  As I write, I feel halted, as if I’m channeling Hemingway.

First of all, I don’t oppose war itself.  Like many parts of life, I consider it unfortunate and horrible, but inevitable and often necessary.   There are, however, just wars and unjust wars, and the line between the two are often blurred.  And even if one side has a just cause, does not mean that all the men behind it are entirely just themselves, nor the methods they use just.

Perhaps I was just naive about this for a long time, but I spent most of my life believing that, whatever you said about Vietnam or the Iraq War,  one war we could all get behind was World War II.   The Japanese brought us into it with an unprovoked attack on Pearl Harbor,  and Hitler needed to be stopped.  If there was a line between Good and Evil,  the sides upon which the Allies and the Axis stood were clear.  We were The Good Guys, they were The Bad Guys.

The evidence was there:  the Axis was undeniably evil and committed horrible crimes against humanity. On one side of the world, they were murdering millions of Jews, Catholics and other minorities and were bulldozing Europe in the process.   On the other side of the world,  Japan had a raging case of The Little Guy Who Snapped,  wanted to be treated as one of the World Powers, and they needed the United States out of the way.    It was truly a noble war, proving to all the goodness of America, as well as its greatness.  The only reason to blush, for our part, being that now we get to take a collective look in the mirror and see ourselves wearing a t-shirt reading, “My grandfather went to Midway and all I got was The Baby Boomer generation.” (The Baby Boomers alone make me like grenades a little more.)

But does The Bad Guys being bad make the opposition The Good Guys?   World War II,  even if it was a just cause, was not won without making extremely amoral, and anti-Christian compromises.   We may have stopped Hitler, but only by aligning ourselves with Stalin, who was responsible for anywhere from three to six times the genocide that Hitler was.

And we ended the Pacific War with the murder of 250,000 civilians, and somehow, this slips under the genocide radar.

For the first three centuries, the three centuries closest to Christ, the Church was a pacifist Church. With Constantine the church accepted the pagan Roman ethic of a just war and slowly began to involve its membership in mass slaughter, first for the state and later for the faith.

Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants, whatever other differences they may have had on theological esoterica, all agreed that Jesus’ clear and unambiguous teaching on the rejection of violence and on love of enemies was not to be taken seriously. And so each of the major branches of Christianity by different theological methods modified our Lord’s teaching in these matters until all three were able to do what Jesus rejected, that is, take an eye for an eye, slaughter, maim, torture.

It seems a “sign” to me that seventeen hundred years of Christian terror and slaughter should arrive at August 9, 1945 when Catholics dropped the A-Bomb on top of the largest and first Catholic city in Japan. One would have thought that I, as a Catholic priest, would have spoken out against the atomic bombing of nuns. (Three orders of Catholic sisters were destroyed in Nagasaki that day.) One would have thought that I would have suggested that as a minimal standard of Catholic morality, Catholics shouldn’t bomb Catholic children. I didn’t.

I, like that Catholic pilot of the Nagasaki plane, was heir to a Christianity that had for seventeen hundred years engaged in revenge, murder, torture, the pursuit of power and prerogative and violence, all in the name of our Lord.

I walked through the ruins of Nagasaki right after the war and visited the place where once stood the Urakami Cathedral. I picked up a piece of a censer from the rubble. When I look at it today I pray God forgives us for how we have distorted Christ’s teaching and destroyed His world by the distortion of that teaching. I was the Catholic chaplain who was there when this grotesque process, which began with Constantine, reached its lowest point – so far.

My thoughts on this are still evolving, and will probably continue to evolve for a long time.  But please read the rest of the interview.  For me, it was a turning point.  I used to be able to say I was not at all opposed to war and still, some of Rev. Zabelka’s anti-war and anti- military sentiments don’t sit well with me.   But it was an upheaval of all I thought I believed.  I now must question whether war is something I truly believe in, or something I have been conditioned to believe in.  Some things are worth dying for, yes, but is anything worth killing for? (excluding direct, immediate danger, in cases of self defense)

But were the Crusaders and the popes who commissioned them wrong?   Where does this leave soldiers who became saints?  St. Martin of Tours?  St. Joan of Arc? (it’s important to note, however, that in the latter’s case, God never directed her to kill anyone, and she never did.)   I can fortunately fall back on something  C.S. Lewis wrote in The Screwtape Letters,

[T]ens of thousands […] will nevertheless have their attention diverted from themselves to values and causes which they believe to be higher than the self.  I believe that The Enemy [Screwtape, a demon, refers to God as ‘The Enemy”] disapproves many of these causes.  But that is where He is so unfair.  He often makes prizes of humans who have given their lives for causes He thinks bad on the monstrously sophisticated ground that the humans thought them good and were following the best they knew.

This merciful quality of God is certainly a blessing, because as I read about Nagasaki and Hiroshima, I find myself less and less convinced that we have as many just reasons for war as we think we do.

Sputter

Struggling a bit with writer’s block… Just not feelin’ it lately, I guess.  I’ve watched a steady decline on my stats page with a slump and a “Meh.”   I’ve started topics that seem interesting for a whole five seconds before I get distracted by a Gizmodo article and the post trails off on its own.  Bear with me.

Gosh, even finishing this post was a struggle.  I need a coffee and a massage.  Blergh.

 

Weekend nothing

Until I get home internet access and a laptop that will make it worth it (once I get more readership, maybe I’ll put up a donation widget!) I only have Internet access during the week, except through my phone. Not so good for long or well-edited pieces.

But I did want to share the following link on forgiveness. It’s a good follow up from my last post, though unfortunately, I can’t remember how to embed a link using WordPress Mobile. Meh. I’ll fix it Monday.

http://shirtofflame.blogspot.com/2011/07/only-believe-that-everything-belongs.html

I loved this paragraph:

Just as Christ blew apart for all time the old “law” of an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, he also blew apart all notion of counting the cost, hedging our bets, playing things close to the vest. To forgive is not to let someone off the hook—this time. To forgive is not to be outwardly “nice” and inside to plot vengeance. To forgive is to open our arms and heart wide, to remain woundable—as Christ did on the Cross.

Anywho, have a great weekend, everyone!

Human Solutions

I didn’t write yesterday; I may not write anything else today.  I have days where I just drop my face onto my keyboard and think, “Ugggghhhh,  I can’t write.  I suck.” 

This usually happens after one of three things happen: 

  1. Someone tells me how much they liked my writing.  I always feel this manic tick go off inside me that tells me I have to top, then, whatever I wrote before, so as to actually be deserving of praise.  Right now. This instant. I need to pump out something absolutely epic, that will change the life of the reader with my gritty insight.  Something poignant, yet witty.  Then my eye starts twitching.  I told you from the start— I crave approval, but when I actually get it, it does weird things to me.
  2. I start reading other people’s blogs;  blogs written by people I very much admire.  And when I finish, I slump my shoulders, take a long drag from my coffee, think, “Uggghhh, why didn’t I write that?  I’ll never be able to say that kind of stuff without sounding like an idiot.  Well, who cares? It’s not like anyone’s actually reading your blog.”  Face:Keyboard. 
  3. I have an idea for a post, but haven’t worked it out to the point where I can articulate it and am consequently consumed by a need to get my thoughts on paper.  But since the thought is half-formed, it comes out looking like:  “sahsadfdhgfdhgf-soap-nachos-conclave-synergy-Armando Guebuza-ashdkgkhghg.” 

Yesterday, all three happened, which sent me into a spiral of artistic and melodramatic self-loathing.

I’ve learned that if I’m in a bad mood, coffee is actually not a good idea for me.  This is counter-intuitive, since I usually think: Coffee + Happy = Energy = More Happy.  But apparently, Coffee + Bad mood = Energy = Restless Crankiness. 

So, having had multiple cups of coffee by the time I got home last night, I really was not keen on a quiet evening at home with my book, alone with myself and my dumb writing.  I tried, I really did, to just sit with my book and my soup.  But in the end, after a phone call from my sister, I went to Panera in search of just some basic human contact, had another cup of coffee (and a bagel) and tried to read again.  No luck.   With the dangerous combination of intellectual frustration, caffeine-induced restlessness and your average bout of moodiness,  all I wanted was a good, real life conversation. 

I’m not really a lonely person.  I spend a lot of time by myself, and I’ve never been the type who minded that so much.  In fact, if I have just too much time with too many people, I start to want to kill them and so I go catch a movie by myself and I feel better.  Most people tell me that going to the movies by yourself is lame and asocial, but I’d like to remind them that it at one time may have been the only thing keeping them from an untimely death.  Rachel, I’m talking to you.

But this time, I was cursing the year I was born as two years too early to be able to go to a dark bar and spill my troubles to a chatty bartender like a Freudian psychologist patient with daddy issues.  I drove around for about 20 minutes in a residential area, not totally sure where I was or where I was going, until I popped out, unexpectedly, onto the route I take to get to the church. 

Hey, I can take a hint. 

I sat in Church for a little while, not really saying much, or feeling like I was hearing much on God’s part.  This is usually okay with me.  When I worked at the church, if I just needed to get away from the soul-crushing florescent-ness of the church’s kitchen, I’d go up to the chapel, just to sit.   Sometimes I’d have deep thoughts, and sometimes I’d just think about whether or not the spaghetti sauce could use more basil.   I used to think of it like sitting in church and not saying much was like being able to sit in comfortable silence with a friend.

After a while, my inability to pray and the ensuing silence between God and I started to feel like “awkward silence,” and I wondered if it was my fault because I didn’t come to church often enough anymore.  Annoyed that I had come all that way to the church and not felt any more at peace,  I heard the piano playing downstairs.  Well, I sighed exasperated, that was it.  Any little bit of prayerfulness I had was waning fast, as my mind kept wondering who was playing the piano, what they were playing, how nice it sounded, but how goshdarn distracting it was, etc., etc.  So I walked out of church, leaving my purse and missal behind, and went downstairs.

It turns out that of all the people who could have been on the otherwise-deserted property,  there was no more perfect person to have picked that moment to distract me from my attempt at meditation.  Once thick as thieves, though granted, fraught with complicated adolescent hormones.  He was my best friend until unique circumstances eventually ended our former closeness and by now, we hadn’t talked for more than a few minutes in a long time.  Things change, and people grow up, lives diverge into different paths. But if you’re lucky, there’s still a solidness there in a friendship, and a bond still intact, no matter how long its been stagnant, even after its been deluged in a lot of pain, misunderstanding or separation.  The bond’s changed, but it’s there, simplified and laid bare, and better for that.

So we caught up for a solid half hour– more than we’ve talked in seven months, and left with promises to pray for each other,  and no matter how long  it is before we catch up with each other again, an almost tacit agreement that we would still be friends.  “I’ll be there… I mean… you know what I mean.”  “Yeah.  Me, too.”

It’s funny how God works.  And not to sound cheesy, but it occurred to me what a generous gesture it was.  He gave me, who doesn’t come make visits often enough as it is, an answer to a prayer against loneliness in human form, when His company should be all I need.  He wants me to come to Him, but when I do, lets me leave.

[UPDATE:  I was trying to think of a better way of explaining what I meant by this.  It’s like a Father seeing His child, sad and lonely, and instead of making it another unhappy lesson in coping, and blind trust, sent me off with a piece of candy, knowing there will be plenty of other times for me to learn the hard way. In other words, He gave me a good break.]

I went back upstairs to get my things from the chapel, and as I walked out, I mouthed a thank you.

How to Make a Bowl of Cereal

If I ever have kids, they’re not leaving the house until they’re 30.

I sometimes take a step back from myself and imagine what I would say if I were not myself and were someone else, perhaps my inner 40-year-old. My inner 40-year-old would say, “19? Go home. If you’re an age that ends in “teen,” you don’t belong here. You look like you’re playing dress up. Take off those ridiculous heels and go home.”

It’s not that I think my parents made a mistake in letting me leave the house when I did. For one thing, it wasn’t up to them. Short of shackling me to the bunkbed I shared with my sister, I don’t think there was anything they could have said or done to stop me when I was ready. I was 18, had a car, a destination, and it was just as well that I also had their blessing.

I spent most of my early life looking forward to my 18th birthday as the day that I was magically granted a nice car that never ran out of gas or needed repairs [I wonder if my mom remembers the times I would ask if we could go visit my grandparents in California. Of course, mom, I know airplanes are expensive. But why can’t we just drive there? Driving is free!] and a house and a dog and a horse, because when I was 18, no one could stop me from the simple task of putting up a fence like the one in my Aunt Sue’s backyard and keeping a horse there. It really can’t be as hard as you think, dad. Gosh.

But then I turned 16 and I got a job and had a few minimal expenses and some distant concept of what it meant to have rent to pay. So by the time I was on my second second-hand car, I realized that it was probably unlikely that I would actually be out of the house by 18. I also sort of came to terms with the fact that this was not only acceptable, most people aren’t actually independent of their parents until after they graduate college, or get married. This was such a dire reality for me that during the Midterm Breakdown of Spring Semester 2010, I sat at the table with my parents, crying because I was afraid that I would never be able to provide for myself and would have to rely on some guy to marry me before I could move out of the house.

Mere months later, at age 18, I was packing my car up to make the 500-mile trip to my new home.

For the first 8 months, I was still not “on my own.” I had almost no bills, a ton of freedom and lots of people to help me out if I were in a bind. But I had no money, and very little independence, which is a whole lot different from “freedom.”

So I got a job (try two) and an apartment and am now, in every possible way, on my own. Even emotionally, I’ve made myself a bit of a loner in that sense of detachment I think most adults have because they understand that people will not always be there when you need them and that you might just die alone, so you might as well get used to the idea. I don’t say that in a jaded, bitter way; I just say it because it’s the truth.

Then there’s your own physical well-being. When you nearly dismember yourself with a staple like I did last night, you have to go out to Walgreens at 10pm and get your own bandaids. There, you see one of your boss’ clients and hope they don’t recognize you, and realize what it’s like to be offended when they don’t. I mean, seriously, c’mon. You see me all the time, lady! Too often, in fact! You come in without an appointment, like, three times a week! Lady? I’m not old enough for the sweats-and-no-make-up me to look so grotesquely unrecognizable from the black-dress-and-brushed-hair me, right? Right?! You better just be pretending not to recognize me. Seriously. Look at meeeee.

To those of you who have been at this whole adult thing for a long time (a nice euphemism for “old”) this is not worth writing about. This is like me writing an instructional article on how to make cereal. But for me, all the time I’m finding some other new thing I hadn’t accounted for in my daydreams of what adulthood would be like. Things like having to check the mail every day.

Checking the mail every day is weird. Grocery shopping is weird. Walmart really intimidates me. To varying degrees, I live some version of this article almost every day.

When you haven’t actually done it, there’s no way to predict the exact way you have to itemize every dollar and every minute spent. There’s no one to remind you of literally, anything. The buck starts and stops with you and your survival strategy. Only you can decide when the dishes in the sink have reached critical mass. This sucks in ways you can’t even imagine, and there are times you think, “I can’t do this by myself anymore.” But you can and you do. And it’s fun. It’s good to have a chance to know that you’re a complete person. Independence is invaluable to me, as it has been since I could first utter the words, “I do it MYself” to my parents.

I write all this wondering if I’ll ever show this to my kids, as a warning or encouragement, when it comes time to decide if they’re ready to face The Great, Wide Somewhere. It won’t matter, though. In the immortal words of Crush the Turtle, “Well, you never really know, but when they know, you know, y’know?” Experience isn’t passed on by word of mouth, and sage advice honestly rarely matters. Like me, they’re gonna do what they’re gonna do. And like me, they’re going to be fine.

Especially if they wait until they’re 30.

UPDATE: Oh my gosh, guys, a giant spider just skittered across my floor. This is one of those times I feel like I am just not good by myself. Without someone to “GETITGETITGETIT” while I screech from atop a chair, I am fairly demobilized. If anyone wants to stop by my apartment and rescue me, I’ll be here, trapped on my couch while the spider moves in and leaves its towels on the floor.

Blogging for the “Catacomb Rebellion”

I always feel unsatisfied when bloggers blog about blogging, and yet, that is probably what the first of my posts will be.

Catholic blogging, for me, always seemed like something I could never do.   As it is, Catholics are low on the radar, with only barely a voice in mainstream media.  Sure, I guess we have  Stephen Colbert (have you ever watched his Catholic Bender?  Hilarious!) but he helped get Obama in office, so c’mon. 

And frankly, until relatively recently, anyway, I didn’t really enjoy Catholic blogs, myself.   I didn’t think that, were I a secularist, I’d come away from it any more informed on Catholic teaching, or more warmed to the religion that so many mistakenly think is harsh, judgmental, inscrutible and yet, paradoxically, for simpletons.  I was looking for something earthy and real, that made the Catholic Church look like the reasonable, rational, timeless Entity that it is.  The ones I found were jargon-happy, seemingly written for Catholics alone, who already had at least the basics down.  Which is fine.  Those have their place, but it wasn’t what I was looking for, which was something that would showcase the intellect behind our beliefs, and that yes, we really, really believe them with our minds, as well as our hearts. 

And those were mainstream Catholic blogs–as mainstream as anything Catholic gets– written by members of the Conciliar Church who wept with joy at JPII’s beatification.  I couldn’t imagine writing a blog that focused on what I believed as a Catholic and expect it to get much attention, except from the people who, though agreed with me at least as far as the Papacy was concerned, sometimes had other misinformed, small minded beliefs that embarrassed me.  I can remember the sputterings of protest that ensued when I called some of my friends’ attention to the fact that Jesus would have looked like a Middle Eastern man and not the fair-faced European of our Renaissance paintings.   

Now, there have been books– books!– explaining the Sedevacantist position.  I’ll hopefully get a chance to address some of them individually and more extensively in later posts, but I’ll try to summarize.  In short, and in layman’s terms, Sedevacantism–derived from the Latin for ‘The Seat is Vacant” in referrence to the Chair of Peter in Rome– is the belief that the popes and priests that practiced and spread the errors and heresies of the Second Vatican Council, and participated in the further abuses and heresies that it paved the path for, excommunicated themselves by default.  And if the pope excommunicated himself,  we were on our own, a Body without a visible Head.  In the eyes of the Conciliar Church (the Church that recognizes Benedict XVI and a few of his predecessors as popes), we are in schism. 

 The main difference, along with the endless list of satellite and effectual differences, is that Vatican II was in error when it made changes in the Mass, in spite of the fact that in 1570, Pope Pius V made the Mass as it was then, the standard, as it remained until the 1960s, when Vatican II went into effect.  Sedevacantists attend Mass in its old, Latin form, untouched as it was intended to be.

Ironically, I’ve found that non-Catholics are more willing to accept this explanation than practicing mainstream Catholics.  Due to the objectivity that comes from being an outsider, they can more readily say, “Of course, if it goes against your religion to change something as fundamental as the ceremony it revolves around, and the punishment for changing such a thing would be expulsion from said religion, well then your position makes perfect sense!”  

Our camp is small, and needy.  When I’m in a romantic mood, I feel I can identify a little bit with the Roman martyrs of the early Church, at least in the sense that they are quietly rebelling against the “norm,” hidden underground, misunderstood and marginally unpopular, if known of at all.  The Catholics who do know about us have a warped idea of what we believe, some viewing us as a cult, or opposed to the papacy as an institution.

One of the most–what’s the word I’m looking for?– edifying… conversations about my Faith, for me, was the first time I talked to Catholic columnist, Max Lindenman (now, happily, a friend, and one I will be citing occasionally) who writes for Patheos. He had heard of sedevacantism, but had probably never actually talked to a person who actually held the view, and had certainly never talked to one he believed had any sense.  One of the first questions he asked me upon finding out this little quirk of mine, was if I had a problem with his Jewish ethnicity.  When I laughed and revealed that I, myself, had Jewish roots, he was surprised as he had always believed sedevacantist were anti-Semitic.  After setting a few more nasty and misinformed rumors straight for him, he generously conceded my sanity and had interest in things about sedevacantism that I had been taking for granted for years. 

As I’ve explored more, I’ve found that I read more Catholic blogs nowadays than secular ones, and have found in them the down-to-earth intelligence I craved, at least in the most basic Truths of the Faith, and only sometimes do I have to skip over either a reference to one of the most recent “popes,” who now sit in Vatican City, or some new Novus Ordo-y practice that makes me wince.  While those blogs have made me realize what I have in common with Conciliar Catholics, they’ve also emphasized the silence coming from my side, a silence I hope to fill once in a while.

UPDATE

To any readers I may have or attain later on, I ardently urge you to ask me questions about Sedevacantism. It’s much easier to address things on a smaller scale than try to capture the whole scope.

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Screaming into the Void [An Introduction to Blog #364]

I’ve started and promptly abandoned umpteen blogs.   I’ve had whiny, early-teen emo blogs,  stream of consciousness blogs, what-I-thought-were-high-minded blogs… I really thought my last one would take off and I’d be really good about keeping it running and I’d post thoughtful insights about the world, etc., etc. 

Well, I wrote two posts.   Neither of them were very good, and I soon realized a change in direction (and color scheme) was needed, but being the type that has a hard time changing midstream, I redirected my opinionated spiels back to Facebook comments while I watched everyone else’s infuriating opinions take their official place on the blaggosphere.

In my mind, I had plenty to say, but not really.   Anyone can start a blog, and there are many really good ones, (I am a marathon-reader of blogs) but many, many more reallyreallyreally bad ones.  I didn’t want to risk finding that I could produce nothing more than the kind that just blended in with the rest of those who are just screaming into the void that is the internet abyss, where inarticulate and poorly-spelled rants go to die, unread, which is probably just as well.  Was I really worthy to take up one of the few IP addresses left on the internet?  And would I be able to satisfactorily put my thoughts into readable words?

So I watched enviously from the sidelines as friends of mine articulately and intelligently bore their views–which I often disagreed with– for the general public’s scrutiny.  I was just a lowly commenter on their facebook page, proclaiming my principled dissent for far too few than my potential for monologue deserved.   And like everyone else (come on, admit it) I thought my opinions were waaaay more well-reasoned and balanced than anyone else’s.  Of course, that sounds narcissistic.  But let’s be honest, here: If I didn’t think my opinion was better than yours, I wouldn’t have started a blog. :) 

But you don’t have to agree with me.  In fact, I am a contradiction in that while I crave approval, when I actually get it, I stiffen uncomfortably and look askance at the speaker’s motives.   And there’s nothing I like more than a good debate.