Those Three Little Words

Nothing makes me cringe more than hearing the dreaded three little words while I am at church… “All are welcome.” You may ask, Stacy, what about that phrase makes you want to bite on a hymnal to muffle your screams? Why is that phrase more annoying than a commercial break featuring three different 30-second ads for Geico Insurance? Why does your church’s “All Are Welcome” banner make you want to fling aforementioned sign into the street where it would probably be run over by some sort of hybrid car? Continue reading

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Let there be Lights, Camera, Action!

W.H. Auden once said “Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can; all of them make me laugh.” I feel the same way about movies. For every Snowpiercer that I enjoy watching, there are about four John Hughes or Wes Anderson films that I love with a capital L. Seeing as this is not a blog for movie lovers, I wanted to share five films about religion that make me laugh. Some had been banned in certain countries, some had been protested, and some bombed at the box office. But all of them made me laugh at loud. Please feel free to reply to this post your favorite movies about religion- especially ones not mentioned- in the comments section. These are not in any particular order because it is impolite to rank them- like my children. Continue reading

Let My People Go- To Denver

“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2

In May of 1909, a woman by the name of Elizabetha Mayer sailed from Havre, France to New York. Her trip actually started in Bačka Palanka, a town that was once part of Austria-Hungary then Yugoslavia and now is part of Serbia. But just like most people from this area around the Danube River, Elizabetha was actually of German ancestry and spoke German. How she got from Bačka Palanka to France is anyone’s guess; perhaps there was some sort of train travel or a donkey drawn carriage or a very awkward piggyback ride. After first stopping at Ellis Island, Elizabetha made her way to Denver, Colorado, where relatives welcomed Elizabeth into their home. After living in Denver for two years, Elizabeth sent enough money back to Bačka Palanka for her soon-to-be husband, Joseph, to join her in the United States. They married in Denver where Joseph worked as a tailor and Elizabeth was a stay at home mom to their two girls; later she would became a maid. Thirty years after her arrival- on June 8, 1939- Elizabeth was sworn in as a US citizen. That’s right: Elizabeth was an illegal immigrant in the US for 30 years.

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She Likes Me, She Really Likes Me

If Theologee suggests anything about me, it’s that I really like two things: religion and humor.  I could also write a blog about the fantastic slices of heaven that make up Niman Ranch bacon but the research needed to publish those posts regularly would not please my doctor.  (“Your cholesterol chart does not read a number; it just says ‘lard.’”)  I stick with humor and religion for my sanity and my health.  So when I came across a book titled Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter are at the Heart of Spiritual Life, I immediately downloaded it to my Kindle and was unable to read it for months because Orange is the New Black needed to be watched.  But since catching up with Piper and Alex, I have been able to read the book and I have not been disappointed.  Written by James Martin, SJ, (a Jesuit priest), the book is a mixture of scripture, jokes, and personal tales of humor that Fr. Martin has experienced in his spiritual life.

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Jesus Loves Me This I Know, For The Sticker Told Me So

(Sometimes on the NPR show This American Life, host Ira Glass will inform the audience that the upcoming segment will talk about sex and then warn the listeners that while the description of sex is not going to be detailed, it does acknowledge the existence of sex. It’s basically a warning for parents who are listening to the show with kids around.  Here is my disclaimer for this blog post:

Hello, Theologee readers. Today on my blog, pornography and Jesus will cross paths on a sticker.  While I am not going to get too graphic about either subject, I just thought you should know in case you want to skip reading this post. Thank you.)

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Hello! My name is Stacy and I’d like to tell you about a book

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I got a chance to spend the night in San Francisco and see the play The Book of Mormon.  The guys who created South Park, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, wrote The Book of Mormon with the genius Robert Lopez who was behind the Broadway show Avenue Q. For those who have never heard about The Book of Mormon, the musical centers around two Mormon missionaries who are sent to Uganda to convert the people of a very poor, war torn village. One of the missionaries, Elder Kevin Price, is upset that all of his dedication to the faith failed to get him sent to be a missionary in Orlando, home of Disneyworld.  Elder Arnold Cunningham is a not-so-bright kind of fellow who is also compulsive liar and is picked to be Elder Price’s partner in Uganda.  It is clear from the start that Elder Price sees this mission to Uganda as a proving ground for what a good Mormon he is while for Elder Cunningham, the thrill of this mission is a best pal kind of friendship with his mission partner.  Hilarity and singing ensue. Continue reading

Why I Shouldn’t Love That Dirty Water

Do you have the patience to wait

till your mud settles and the water is clear?

Can you remain unmoving

till the right action arises by itself?

–       Tao Te Ching, verse 15

Last week, our son B started speech therapy because at three years old, we have a hard time understanding him.  The fact that I have a child with any kind of issue in regards to speaking is a surprise to me because I will talk to a lamppost if I think it made eye contact.  He has only been to the speech therapist less than a handful of times and they are currently just evaluating him to see what issues he might have. They spoke to me about there being a possibility that his brain is working faster than his mouth muscles can form the words. Or perhaps he has an auditory processing disorder in which he thinks he is saying the word correctly but he actually is not.  In the meantime, they have explained to me an embarrassingly high number of times that they are still just in the evaluation stage and they will inform me of the diagnosis in a couple of weeks.

This does not please me, for issues which are all strictly my own. For one thing, I hate waiting. If the pediatrician or my kids’ teachers even mention something that could be wrong, I am reading articles, going to parenting classes, or even talking to friends to get help. This is agonizing not knowing what I could be doing to help B during this initial phase.

Another big problem: I am a profound worrier. If worrying was a sport in the Olympics, I wouldn’t even win a gold because my anxiety would paralyze me with fear during the qualifying round.  But the minute the phrase “auditory processing disorder” came up, I “googled” it and it was like a starter’s pistol going off in my head. The worrying jumped off the line and it sprinted.

Again, there is no diagnosis yet. Auditory processing disorder was merely brought up as something they are looking into. And of course during my fear-filled hour of Internet research, my husband- the voice of reason and calmness- was not home at the time to close my laptop.  When he did come home, I brought up my discoveries for the possible diagnosis with him.  I then compared the problems B would face with the problems that my husband faced before (and even after) he was diagnosed with dyslexia.

Mark said to me, “You know, I feel my dyslexia has been a blessing.”

Surprised by that response, I asked, “Don’t you wish you could read faster?” This is based on a conversation we had recently about our desire to read more when the kids are around but not being able to focus with the banshee screaming one of them will eventually emit.

“I think I read more than anyone.” Mark was right about this. Most of what he reads is web articles and white papers and I am positive he logs more hours reading a day than I do.  “I also think the dyslexia helps me solve problems at work because I can see things in a way others can’t.”  I guess I never thought of it that way and I felt a tinge of guilt that I couldn’t see past what I thought as a hinderance to learning and instead view it as a new way to think.

As I sat in the waiting area during B’s next speech therapy appointment, I was reading the book Man Seeks God: My Flirtation with the Divine by Eric Weiner. This book is a must have for anyone who likes their religion with a side of humor.  In one chapter, he is discussing Taoism and he briefly touched on that verse 15 that I put at the beginning of this post. Can I keep still while the speech therapists decide the best course of action for whatever my son’s diagnosis may be?  Can I stop the worrying, knowing that it just stirs up the mud with more fear? When the best course of treatment is finally decided on, can I be the unmoving source of strength so that B doesn’t look at this as a setback but as an advantage?

As parents, we know there will be obstacles in our kids’ lives.  Nobody escapes childhood without a few scars but how we as parents handle the rushing water of life is equally important.  If we can all achieve the ability to not muddy the water during every crisis-large and small- then I think the solutions will present themselves earlier and in much clearer ways.

I have decided not to “google” anything else in regards to B’s speech issues. But is it okay to search for “how to stop worrying”?