Wednesday, March 18, 2015

On a mission from God and I'm up in alms!

(See what I did there?)
Performance art is overrated.

Hi all, how have you been doing?  I hope well.  I have been, um, busy!  Let's see, I've been--
  1. trying to get a second (fully written) book published, called The Gift of Birth
  2. teaching a lot of general education theology in a country where we lost 7.5 million believers since 2012
  3. writing an academic article on reader-response criticism, genre, and the Theology of the Body (trust me, its better than it sounds)
  4. trying to start a second academic article on a Theology of Disability.  The non-academic version is getting published in a couple of weeks
  5. lassoing my five kids into school, back home, to various events
  6. negotiating Alex's great big surgery to alleviate his CP spasticity this coming May
  7. getting named chair of my department at work, because I guess I looked bored (all the responsibility and none of the power)
  8. Pondering my friend Rob Kroese's brilliant statement: "If Pi Day, the Ides of March and St. Patrick's Day could get their act together, they could combine into one awesome celebration of beer, pie, snakes and stabbing."  We so missed an opportunity here when discussing how the sin of masturbation may be ok, but will not be accepted in the Church
Oh, and this thing: my husband has been starting a small press devoted to making it easier and more practical for families to pass on the faith!

(Everyone who has started a small business, we are feeling each other's joys and pains right now!)

Here's the thing. We Catholics have a problem, a big problem. Parents are not teaching the faith to their children. They may be taking them to mass, or enrolling them in Catholic schools.  But they aren't talking about the faith--and all the studies say this has devastating effects.  But to be fair, a lot of parents don't know what to do.  They had poor catechesis themselves, or just aren't comfortable being in a teaching role of any sort.  These parents need family faith helps that are as simple as slapping together a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich: good stuff, tasty, solid nutrition for the next couple of hours.

My husband used to work as an editor at a press, and has been doing free lance writing and editing for years.  He's good at design and social media engagement.  he has a solid background (including a master's degree) in Catholic theology.  He can create these books and more.  So in October, he decided to take the plunge and do it.  He created an imprint called Peanut Butter and Grace: books and resources for parents to better teach, pray, and live the faith with their kids, and books for kids to read with their parents.

Amazingly, my teaching career at a small liberal arts mission college and sporadic success as a blogger (erp) has not put us on easy street.  He got a little help to begin this ministry and has made it work so far based on a lot of blood, sweat, and tears.  Lack of sleep has factored in too.  But the time has come to fundraise some money to get these items out more quickly.  He has published three books (two books that help children and adults pray the rosary with a classical art image for each prayer, and one book for parents needing ideas beyond saying grace, called 77 Ways to Pray With Your Kids.)

He wants to publish seven more books by the end of the year.  But there are some costs--paying illustrators, copyright permissions, editing costs, and especially marketing.  People love these books so far.  But there needs to be marketing so others know they exist!

To that end, in addition to the top eight items I am also the "campaign manager" for a crowdfunding endeavor to raise some funds to move this press forward quickly and well.  There is a lot more at the website: all about the books, published and upcoming, FAQ, the weekly newsletter with ideas to implement in your family's life this week, and more!  But consider this passing the collection plate.  Brother, if you have a dime, could you drop it in here?  There are perks for this almsgiving, and you have our heartfelt gratitude as well.  

If you don't have a dime, maybe you could spread the word.  Just like you spread peanut butter?  OK, OK, I'm done.  Thanks for reading and blessings to all of you!

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Calvin can be funny!

Explains so much.
But admit it, you were expecting Calvin and Hobbes.  Sorry about that.

HT: Regina!

Monday, January 05, 2015

Want to win a free book? Every day in January?

My extra editorially-enhanced husband, Jerry Windley-Daoust, has launched a small press imprint named Peanut Butter and Grace, focusing on family formation and spirituality: books for kids, books for parents, people in between and people who love them!

Two books were released January 1, 2015: First, The Joyful Mysteries: The Illuminated Rosary

Have you ever tried to do the rosary as a family and the "contemplation" part was a bit, um, missing, because of your squirrely 2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 year old?  That is how this idea came about: give them a book that has the recited prayer on the left page, and a piece of sacred art on the right page.  At the end of the page, turn, continue.  I'm telling you, it helps!  But beyond that, adults are liking this as well: there is a lot of beautiful art in here, and it may help you pray the rosary as you haven't before.  It is available at the website (while supplies last) at a discount, $11.99 (paperback).  P.s. if you are into Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, this is way up your alley.  But even if you are not, you will like it!

The second book is 77 Ways to Pray with Your Kids:

Do you need fresh ideas on how to incorporate prayer into your family's prayer life?  Or you know this would be a good thing, but you don't even know where to start?  This is your book, including the standards but also thinking outside the box opportunities to pray.  The ideas are tagged by age appropriateness icons.  Available in paperback ($9.99), and the e-book version ($4.99) will be out the second week of January.  Both the above books have nihil obstats.

The third and fourth books, coming soon (February and April):


The Sorrowful Mysteries is a similar set up to the Joyful Mysteries book, just different mysteries, different art.  Available Feb 2015.

The Little Flower: a Parable of St. Therese is a lovely children's book that introduces the child to Therese's "little way" through one of Therese's own parables, written in her autobiography, and lightly rewritten for presentation to a child.  The book is written by Becky Arganbright and illustrated by Tracey Arvidson. It may be preordered at a discount here.  Available April 2015.

But wait!  You said I could win a book!  

I did!  Here is what you do:

1. Go to the website and sign up for the weekly e-newsletter, chock full of family formation ideas.  One chance to win, lasts all month.

2. If you do facebook, like the facebook page here:  Now you have another chance to win, lasts all month!

That's it!  If you win, you can request the book of your choice above.  Afraid this is open to US and Canadian citizens only because of the shipping costs.

And please, consider buying a book or a bunch of them, because if you win, you will want to give that one to a friend as a gift.  ;)

Spread the good word, everyone!  And thanks!


"I am the very model of a Biblical philologist"

My sense is most people have no idea what academic study of sacred texts looks like. This ditty hints why you may not want to know....

And a big hat tip to my friend Brian for pointing me to the video!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Ironic Catholic's Top Ten "Top Ten" Lists for 2014

Hasta la vista, 2014!  It's been great!  Long!  Yearsome!  And, it's almost over.  My bloggerly friends have been posting their "Top Ten" lists...Top Ten Books, Occasions for Sitting Down, Facebook Flame Wars, etc....  Here at the Ironic Catholic, we have tried to provide the Top Ten Everything Else Catholic.  We dig the scoops for you, dear reader.  Enjoy.  And Happy New Year!

1. The Top Ten Books Written By Matthew Levering In 2014 (Look, the man's theological writing is excellent. And, uh, profuse.  I think he's gunning for Thomas Aquinas.  Don't mind me that I wrote and published a single theological tome in three years.  I am happy, I tell you happy, for him.  Anyway, pick any ten.)
Fr. Barron, get cracking on that review!
2. The Top (Or Only) Ten Movies Not Commented On By Fr. Robert Barron In 2014 (Hint: One is the Penguins of Madagascar.  But he still has 24 hours to note that "Private" is a Christ figure for the Postmodern Age, darn it.)

3. The Top Ten Catholic Media Post-Mortems For The End Of The Colbert Report (I wrote them out but the tears smudged my writing and I can't bear to go through that again and I just don't want to talk about it, OK?)

4. The Top Ten MSM News Stories That Got Pope Francis' Words Right.  (Oops, sorry, there aren't ten.  In fact, we're having a hard time finding one. So will you stop reading them already?)

It's on the internet, so this really happened. No it didn't, you schmuck.

5. The Top Ten News Stories That Seemed Like A Big Deal And MAYBE The Coming Of The Apocalypse But So Far Not THAT Bad. (What?!  You want me up all night doing this post?  Could you just insert any news story?  Especially if you heard about it primarily through facebook or Twitter? But... cough cough cough ebola-in-the-usa cough cough cough)

Accurate Synod News?  I've got nuttin'.

6.  The Top Ten Helpful News Articles On The Synod on the Family Meeting.  (Once again, we have no quorum for this.  There were a couple, but most coverage was the journalistic equivalent of hyperventilating on helium. Go back and read those articles in a Mickey Mouse voice.  There, don't you feel better?)

7.  The Top (Well, Again, Only) Ten People Left in New York City Not Profiled On Humans of New York.  (Next year: Humans of Syracuse.  I'm not terribly hopeful.)

8.  The Top Ten Catholic World Cup Miracles/Prayers/Liturgical Caxirolas/Jokes.  (Again, I'm wondering why I have to do all the work here.  I mean the event was in BRAZIL, which is practically more Catholic than Italy.  And you know you're looking up caxirolas now.)

9.  The Top Ten Catholic Buzzfeed Clickbait!  You Won't BELIEVE #6!  (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

10.  The Top Ten Satires Eye of the Tiber Missed.  (Nah, I think they've gotten them all. Kudos!)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Handy Dandy Hiney Guide to How Not to Get Kicked out of Vatican City

The Roamin' Correspondent of the IC, Regina Hiney, creates a timely and handy guide as a Christmas gift to Vatican-bound travelers.
In light of recent unfortunate events of a topless feminist stealing the baby Jesus from the Vatican City Crèche this Christmas tide, I have done a bit of research and lo and behold, Vatican City (given its small population) actually holds the record for the highest crime rate in the world.  Now, not everyone gets exiled.  But enough folks have gotten banished, that it is abundantly evident that a Handy Dandy Hiney guide is sorely needed.
1.    Let us begin with the most recent faux pas.  If you are visiting Vatican City and you want to see the official Vatican City Nativity Scene, please remember to keep your shirt on and try not to take the baby Jesus as a souvenir.   This is considered very bad form and you will be exiled.  Having said that, let us take a exiled look through history:
2.   Don’t be an idiot Visigoth.  Idiot Visigoths may ransack Rome but Saint Jerome or someone of his grandeur will take time out of their day to excoriate you with their words.  Jerome defended his dear friend, 85 year old Saint Marcella who was murdered by the idiot Visigoths.   Who won?  Well, all parties are dead . . . But there are no more idiot Visigoths, 1.2 Billion Christians (and not a few idiots in their own right) and 2000 years later we still have both the Latin Vulgate of Doctor Saint Jerome and know of the heroic virtue of Saint Marcella.  Idiot Saints beat Idiot Pagans every day of the week and twice on Sundays.  If you want to remain in Vatican City, don’t ransack Rome and tick off our doctor-saints.
3.   Don’t be possessed by a demon.  Pope Francis exorcises the Vatican frequently.  The Saint Michael prayer is said daily.  Don’t want an exile?  Reject Satan.  And all his works.  And all his empty promises.  If a legion sneaks in, chances are, the exorcists will find you and they will expel you.  Don’t mess with the diabolical.  Seriously.  Even if you don’t plan on going to Italy.  Throw away the Ouija board. 
4.   Don’t be Pope during the reign of a jerky anti-pope.  An antipope is a person claiming to be Pope who was not duly elected or proclaimed while a duly elected Pope was still in office.  Now there have been quite a few antipopes in the 2,000 year history of the Catholic Church. Currently, there is a dude named Michael, living in Kansas with his mom, who claims to be the legitimate pope.  Pope Michael of Kansas is not the legitimate Pope.  Pope Michael might be legitimately crazy.  But he is mostly harmless, albeit schismatic.  Now, here is the very salient point, neither Pope Michael, nor his mom can exile Pope Francis.  This is NOT to say however, that there have been times when powerful crazy schismatics (and their moms) have not been so harmless.  If you don’t want to get banished from the Vatican, you want to avoid being pope when power crazy schismatics (and their moms) try to seize the chair.  Saint Silverius and Pope Vigilius (and Emperor Theodora) learned this the hard way.  So did Sultan Boabdil of Granada and his mother Aixa of the Nasrid Dynasty.
5.   If you ever find yourself writing the greatest piece of Italian poetry of all time, don’t place the reigning pope in the “Inferno” portion of your “Divine Comedy.”  Placing the reigning pope head first in a flaming baptismal font whilst his feet are being licked with scorching flames of burning embers is also considered bad form.  Folks have written things they regret.  Be it the politics of the Black and White Guelfs of Dante’s day or racial issues of modern America, don’t get sucked in.  And once a person gets defriended or exiled, they can’t take it back.  Dante wrote the greatest poem of Western Civilization.  He died banished and he may very well still be in his own Purgatorio.
6.   Don’t start your own church. 
    • If you got a beef with the bishop of Rome and you would STILL like to visit the Vatican Museum, think before you post your 95 thesis on the cathedral door.  And then, even if you post on the cathedral door and you “accidentally” get excommunicated over the small misunderstanding, should the pope summon you to appear at the Diet of Worms, show up.  They say that showing up is 80% of life.  But I say, showing up and communicating is always key to ending a Vatican Exile.  What you DON’T want to do, is call the letter of Saint James in Holy Writ an epistle of straw, call the Pope the antichrist, get involved in a peasants war, hide out in Wartburg Castle and marry a former nun.  Name calling, canoodling, and hiding rarely ingratiates yourself with the curia and it won’t get you an invite to the papal apartments come Christmas.
    • If you may have had a legitimate annulment claim according to Levitical law, but it was nullified by “interfering” Holy Sees, Spanish in-laws, and the lack of discretion by German princes, but you really should like to see that new statue everyone is yammering about over there at the Sistine Chapel, then sometimes, you have to suck stuff up, buttercup.  Festering leg wounds may never heal, but a fickle heart clearly will indeed.
7.   Incidentally, the Baby Jesus stealing friendly feminist was actually NOT the first woman interred in the Vatican jail and then banished from Vatican City.  Interestingly, when the little Vatican jail (whose one cell overlooks the Vatican gardens) opened in 1929, the first inmate was a Swedish woman who assaulted a member of the clergy.  She was given psychiatric tests and sent back to Sweden.   The best way to enjoy the Vatican gardens is by WALKING through them via a guided tour, or from the top of Saint Peters.  But if you have an axe to grind and are on a limited budget, the jail does offer a nice few, for a low price, for a limited time.  But chances are, it will be a once in a life time opportunity.
8.   Don’t steal alms from the poor.  After WWII, an Italian man broke into a alms box in Saint Peter’s.  He was held in the Vatican jail.  He was not allowed to return to Vatican City.
9.   Avoid assassinating popes.  Sure, this may SEEM obvious.  But not for the reasons you may think.  
    • If the Pope dies, chances are, you just made him a martyr.  He goes straight to heaven and Catholics all over the world have a powerful intercessory saint at their disposal.  And he’s going to be praying an Assassin’s Creed (HA!) for your sorry soul. 
    • If the Pope does NOT die.  He will look for you.  He will find you.  And he will forgive you.  Then you will have an awkward conversation in your jail cell.  Avoid an awkward conversation in your jail cell; don’t try to assassinate the pope.  Plus, the Swiss Guard won’t give you a “bye” on your banishment from Vatican City if you ever get out of jail.
10. Finally, if you get hired as a butler for the Pope, don’t steal his personal papers.  And if you “accidentally” pick up his personal papers because you “accidentally” put your Sudoku game book on top of the Pope’s first draft of Deus Caritas Est.  Don’t “accidentally” give them to an Italian journalist.   You will find yourself banned from Vatican City.  Especially if the original title of the encyclical was tentatively; “What’s love got to do with it?” 
--Regina Hiney, Roamin' IC Correspondent

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The I Antiphons (in honor of the last week before Christmas)

I come, I come to the last week before,
and wish to shop for presents nevermore.
Make straight the way that leads to my bed,
because I'm feeling re-ally dead.
Rejoice!  Rejoice!  I come the week before
and ransom coffee from my local store.
I come to wisdom from on high
that caffeine will soon energize.
The path of peace is just days away--
it soon will stop and sitting I will stay. R.
I come to realize that setting free
the kids beneath the Christmas tree
was not the best move you'll ever see,
now Christmas presents large maracas be. R.
I come, I need a Day-spring soon to cheer
my spirits by this advent here--
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
Consumerism put to flight. R.
I come with a Key of King David, come,
Twill open wide our much disheveled home;
Make safe our hearts from shopping and stress,
And help us now appreciate our mess. R.

I come to plead the Lord of might,
Still Lord at the gift-buying's height
Please help us recall what advent is,
and let our neighbor love her wrapped Cheese Whiz.  R.
I come, with amaryllis root and tree,
I come with jars of pre-made nut cookies,
and cards promised in February for all:
All peoples on Thy mercy call. R.
I ask, Desire of nations, bind
in one the hearts of humankind;
Bid Thou our self-made craziness cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace. R.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Colbert, gone. Mary is My Homegirl, gone. Maranatha already!

It's true: you probably heard about Stephen Colbert closing down shop at the Colbert Report to host Late Night. The end of an era, people. Busted Halo put up a few remembrances here (sniff--grab a hanky--and oh yeah, language alert);

Colbert's Top Ten Catholic Moments

Here's a clean one here :)

And then--AND THEN--the tumbler blog "Mary Is My Homegirl," a blog dedicated to "Coping with the terrible life choice of studying Catholic theology in graduate school," said I'm done.  Blogging, that is.  I think she is still in grad school.  Daggonit, she made me almost like Tumblr and animated gifs.  Or at least, I loved the way she used them.

I'll warn you this is insider theology school humor, but man.  Good stuff.

Like here...
and here...
and here...
and here...
and here.

A moment of silence, IC readers.  It's a humorless day in the darkest, coldest week of the year.  It makes a Catholic humor fan want to go

Yeah, Maranatha, people. We're done here.