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Katie van Schaijik

Joined: Aug. 12, 2011

Bio:

Restless, melancholic soul of Irish descent. Born and raised in Connecticut, married to a Dutchman, mother of two daughters and three sons. I love books, conversation, friendship, delicious food, gardens, long walks and beautiful places. I am easily ensnared in politics and web-browsing. I crave silence, sweetness, poetry and peace. I am always wanting to write and ever-failing to write. All my hope is in God’s power and will to save; all my trust is in His promise.


Most recent posts by Katie van Schaijik:     (See all of them)


Testing for soundness in relationships

Aug. 21 at 8:44am | Comments: 10 | Most recent comment: Aug. 28 at 8:07am

I don't know if I can call it the number one lesson of my adulthood to date, but it's up there. I have learned that individuals and groups who seem to be wonderful may actually be badly mired in dysfunction, that is to say, unsound. An unsound group or individual can't manage right interpersonal relations, just as an unsound physical structure can't support weight. No matter how noble their aim and how good and sincere their intentions, they will...

Not whether I meant to offend, but whether I did offend: that is the question

Aug. 7 at 2:28pm | Comments: 9 | Most recent comment: Aug. 16 at 6:20pm

A couple of recent articles about wrongdoing and forgiveness together with some conversations, both in person and online, have revived my ever-ready ruminating on this subject. I keep being surprised and disturbed and taken aback by how much basic misunderstanding there is out there, even among otherwise mature and thoughtful Christians. Let's take a case: person A (we'll call her Ann) is offended by person B (we'll call him Bob.) Ann says to Bob, "That offended me." And Bob responds, ...

Dietrich von Hildebrand and Victor Frankl

Aug. 4 at 10:49am | Comments: 0

Having heard somewhere that Dietrich von Hildebrand had "discovered" Victor Frankl, author of Man's Search for Meaning and founder of Logotherapy, I asked Alice von Hildebrand to tell me the story the other day. Here is her ten-minute reply. Some of her details are off. For instance, according to The Victor Frankl Institute website, he was in a concentration camp for 3, not 7 years. But the gist is true and touching. N.B. "Gogo" was von Hildebrand's nickname. Von...

Life and death in a look

Aug. 2 at 12:09pm | Comments: 1 | Most recent comment: Aug. 2 at 12:48pm

I've noticed in recent years that my favorite thinkers-about-love regularly refer to "the gaze of love." I have immediately in mind Dietrich von HIldebrand, Karol Wojtyla, Jean Vanier, and Roger Scruton. Plato, of course, called the eyes "the windows to the soul." It is in and through the eyes of someone who loves us that we feel and experience ourselves as loved, as valuable, and hence discover our reality as personal selves. Maria Fedoryka discusses the point in the talks...

Searching for community

Jul. 30 at 10:13am | Comments: 68 | Most recent comment: Aug. 19 at 7:46pm

One of my ongoing mental preoccupations is the problem of community. How do we establish it without getting it wrong? What are the sound principles of "intentional" communal living? By "intentional" I mean a kind of communal life that is deliberately adopted and cultivated, as opposed to what occurs spontaneously just from the fact of our living in society. I've been pondering it since my undergraduate days, when my discovery of philosophy coincided with the imploding of the covenant communities...


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Re: Testing for soundness in relationships

Aug. 28 at 8:07am | see this comment in context

In the case of the apostolate I mentioned that I used to support financially, I twice sent emails expressing my concern. I got no answer. Then I noticed on facebook that many others shared my concern. The public outcry became strong enough that the head of the organization wrote about it. He didn't just defend his organization, he touted the Christian heroism of its members. He didn't just disagree with the critics, he chastized them for their lack of charity.

That's when I determined to disengage, which is to say (in this case), stop sending them money.

Re: Testing for soundness in relationships

Aug. 27 at 9:28pm | see this comment in context

Internally, the leadership would have conducted an investigation, determined the facts, determined who was responsible for what, and called those employees on the carpet. He would have told them that their work was substandard and will have to improve.

That's the opposite of throwing people under the bus.

No reality-based person expects any organization or institution to be perfect.

But we can and do expect them to be responsible. Organizations (like individuals) that hide or deny or downplay their wrongs, or deflect all criticism back on to the moral character of the one making it—as if in order to fulfill their mission they have to have a perfect image—are dysfunctional. 

My advice is: Keep away.

Re: Testing for soundness in relationships

Aug. 27 at 9:25pm | see this comment in context

Hi Sarah. Thanks for commenting.

SarahG, Aug. 27 at 7:56pm

When one/two people who work there make a bad decision, and the organization as a whole chooses not to throw them under the bus?  

Throw them under the bus? That phrase usually implies scape-goating, viz. throwing blame on someone who doesn't deserve it to protect the interests and reputation of someone higher up. That's not what I'm talking about at all. The normal way to respond to bad acting is to correct it, right? In other words, to hold the ones responsible for it responsible for it. Depending on the case, if we're talking about a Catholic organization, say, that might mean a friendly reminder, a reprimand, a censure, a demotion, or a firing. 

A sound organization has ways and means of adjudicating wrongs. A sound organization is willing and able to take responsibility for its acts and omissions as an organization. So, in the case of the apostoloate I mentioned, the leadership might have responded to critics by saying, "You're right. Our bad. In future, we will do better. Thank you for bringind this lapse in professional standards to our attention."

Re: Testing for soundness in relationships

Aug. 21 at 1:25pm | see this comment in context

Well, maybe you're right. It's an interesting thought. My sense of what's normal among Christians might be distorted by the fact that I've spent so much of my life around what you're calling public Christians.

Re: Testing for soundness in relationships

Aug. 21 at 12:21pm | see this comment in context

That's a beautiful story! I'm glad you tell it often. 

Kate Whittaker Cousino, Aug. 21 at 11:37am

If being able to accept correction is a sign of a trustworthy person, being able to accept correction from someone you are in a position of authority over may be the gold standard. 

I agree. At the same time, it seems to me strange that it's so rare among Christians, since it's so basic to the gospel. Humble yourself; the last shall be first and the first shall be last; let him who will be great make himself the servant of all...

This seems to me a major theme of Pope Francis' papacy too. If we want to help others, we have to present ourselves not as righteous ones, explaining to the others where they're wrong, but as sinners who have found help and grace.

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