Only posts tagged with: Not Pity | Display all
Oct. 24 at 10:17pm
It’s been a few years since I translated Self-Esteem without Selfishness, and I’m finally able to read it with fresh eyes--for enjoyment, not false cognates and typos.
One recurring problem I encountered during the translating was how to render “amor de alta calidad.” “High-quality love” just didn’t cut it: in English, it sounded like I was describing merchandise, hawking a product—exactly what the author was not doing. In the end I found several more palatable ways to render the phrase.
But Fr. Michel Esparza has some strikingly perceptive observations about love. They touch on something we’ve discussed …continue reading
Oct. 20 at 11:39pm
The Synod is over! The Synod is over! Relieved or dismayed, euphoric or alarmed, we can take a deep breath and relax. (No, not really: now it’s time to begin sifting through the results and preparing for the real Synod.)
The commentary has ranged from distraught to elated, but one recurring idea is that it’s been good to get things hashed out: that it’s a good sign we haven’t settled for a bland, generic document-generating process. Over at Shoved to Them Rebecca Frech even has a post entitled “Why I’m grateful to Cardinal Kasper,”
She argues that a rousing debate about important questions is a wholesome and necessary thing, recalling the words of her high …continue reading
Oct. 13 at 2:00pm
This is not a post about the Extraordinary Synod on the Family. You can learn about what’s actually going on there elsewhere. (Here’s Katie on Pope Francis’ opening remarks and here's the document that's causing today's uproar).
No, this post is about the caricature of the Synod, which you can all too easily bump into--by reading only headlines, or reading entire articles uncritically, or reading them critically but failing to consider the source.
The caricature is this:
The centerpiece of the Synod is the fate of divorced and remarried Catholics, and the sole question at issue is: Justice or mercy? Will the Catholic Church finally relinquish its fixation on rules …continue reading
Oct. 2 at 11:07pm
At considerable inconvenience and expense to many generous people, I just spent a week flying to and riding around New England to see nearly every single member of my very extensive extended family. I flew down to Baltimore (because that’s where Southwest likes to take everybody, regardless of their chosen destination) and then up to New Hampshire. I stayed with my parents and then with my sister’s family, which includes not only nine children and one on the way but also Boomer, a dog who’s bigger than most of them.
My father, sister, nephew, and brother-in-law took it in shifts to drive me to a certain strategically located McDonalds which lies halfway …continue reading
Sep. 20 at 12:49pm
The Appalling Strangeness of the Mercy of God is a book that was on my meaning-to-read list for months. I’m only partway through the introduction, but already there's a lot to like.
The book is a collection of letters from Ruth Pakaluk, a woman I knew slightly when we lived in New England. In fact, we were sent to visit Ruth and her husband right after our marriage by a priest friend who thought it would be good for us to see everyday matrimony in action—a kind of belated marriage-prep field trip.
Ruth was an atheist girl who went to Harvard, converted to Christianity, got married (her husband Michael put the book together), bore seven children, and then died of cancer at the age of 41. …continue reading
Sep. 13 at 2:02pm
Browsing through the library one day, I happened on a book about “soft addictions.” It belonged to the self-help genre, and I don’t remember what kind of treatment the author recommended, but it was an interesting idea: the causes and effects, not of physiologically addictive substances, but of relatively innocuous habits like overeating and nail-biting. (This was a long time ago, so electronics were not on the list, but I have no doubt they would be now.)
I thought of it the other day when I ran into two different videos making the rounds. They’re also about addiction, but they’re concerned with showing that certain addictions are “real” because they have a physiological basis or …continue reading
Sep. 6 at 7:33pm
Lots of people are haunted by the sense that they’re not doing enough, not becoming what they were meant to be, not doing what they were put on earth to do. Their efforts seem pointless. For some, this worry amounts to an ever-present low-grade despair, lurking in the background.
There are plenty of possible reasons for this, but rooting out one particular misunderstanding has been especially helpful for me.
Faced with a crisis, a tragedy, or just a looming mountain of laundry or paperwork, it’s easy to get paralyzed for lack of knowing where to begin. Of course, we could begin anywhere. “Ninety percent of life is just showing up,” says Woody Allen, and “Well begun is half done,” says …continue reading
Sep. 3 at 12:54pm
The Marshallin in Richard Strauss’ wonderful opera “Der Rosenkavalier” sings a beautiful aria about time and what it is like to get older. “Die Zeit, die ist ein sonderbares Ding”, “Time is a strange thing” she sings in elegiac tones, bemoaning the fact that she is no longer young, and that the young man with whom she is having an affair will not be hers forever. She sends him away before he has gotten tired of her, only to have to tell him farewell for good after having smoothed out all difficulties for him so that he can marry the young Sophie with whom he has fallen in love. She has to accept the fact that she was forced into a loveless marriage at a young age, and that she is now …continue reading
Aug. 28 at 12:52pm
In Devra's recent post on "Becoming who you are..." She described the fallacious notion that gender is a mere social construct that inhibits self discovery.
I, too, reject the notion that gender is nothing more than artificial social norms that restrict us from being who we truly are. After all, God created us Man and Woman, two different types of human. Thus, there is a natural distinction between "masculine" and "feminine." Yet, I find myself annoyed whenever the discussion comes up amongst fellow Christians. Not because I don't take the topic seriously, I just don't like the direction the dialogue takes. I've been trying to pinpoint the common missteps taken by earnest individuals when …continue reading
Aug. 27 at 11:23pm
“Become who you are!” St. John Paul II used to encourage us. I loved that. But I ran into a problem: how to figure out what, or who, that was?
People have different ideas on how to go about this. One popular approach is to strip away all your roles. Once you’ve shed all that extraneous stuff, you’ll be able to see what lies beneath it. You’ll be free, the theory goes, to become who you really are.
Well, that depends: what do we mean by “roles”? There are lots of possibilities, but here are four, for starters:
One meaning of "role" is all the “socially constructed” aspects of you. They’re not part of who you “really” are, but they’re so …continue reading
Aug. 20 at 12:20am
St. Paul warns the Ephesians against letting themselves be “blown around by every wind of doctrine.”
Another danger these days is letting yourself be blown around by every false headline. Or every true headline. It hardly matters. Whether the journalists are lying or not, the game is to get you to imagine yourself an informed consumer of information, a connoisseur, not a human ping pong ball, bounced forever back and forth by the force of your own predictable reaction to their stimuli.
My grad school roommate Agnieszka once explained to us how journalism operated in her native Soviet-controlled Poland. The government would accuse a completely innocent man of …continue reading
Aug. 14 at 10:36am
Christ’s reasoning is shocking sometimes, nay seems downright unjust. To the one who has, more shall be given and from the one who has little, what he has will be taken. This seems like cut-throat capitalism. Then again, Jesus seems to go against justice in order to err on the side of mercy, when he tells the workers of the last hour that they will receive as much as those who have labored all day long. He shuts the door in the face of the foolish virgins who are just a tad late, though they have now managed to get some oil (shouldn’t that be rewarded?); the prudent virgins, who were not generous enough to share their oil with them, however, are rewarded. He speaks in parables so that we …continue reading
Aug. 11 at 2:03pm
Remember when Trayvon Martin was shot, and President Obama said that if he’d had a son, he’d look like Trayvon?
At the time, I confined myself to assessing the President's sincerity, or lack thereof. I can’t give him, or any politician, the benefit of the doubt. I can't assume he just happened to be voicing a genuine, spontaneous feeling of personal connection that just happened to benefit one particular side of a hot-button current-events battle.
But what about that kind of thing? I don’t think it should be dismissed reflexively. It can be used as a tool to manipulate a sentimental populace, certainly, but that’s not its only possible meaning.
I’m Jewish …continue reading
Aug. 7 at 2:28pm
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, "I certainly didn't mean any offense!"
For many (especially many offenders), this should be the end of the matter. He hadn't meant to offend; time for her to forgive and move on.
But, notice that the real …continue reading
Aug. 4 at 10:51pm
I’m still editing Foundations of Management, that book by Juan Antonio Perez Lopez, my husband’s late mentor. I continue to be happily surprised at how personalist-friendly it is. The book is lengthy and systematic, but this post will be neither: just a little something to whet the appetite.
On the Limits of Coercive Power
Juan Antonio distinguishes between power and authority. Power in business organizations is generally measured in terms of money: if you have enough of it to offer—or sufficient power to take enough of it away—you can force anyone to do anything, can’t you? Whether it functions as a carrot or a stick. It’s the “universal …