Bloggerhood Etc. 3/3/14

Summer Beach

Photo: Natalie Trust

Second straight beach picture? It’s been a long, cold winter, and we’re already planning our summer coast trip. In the meantime, we’re taking each week as it comes, and here’s the best (and worst) of the last one from around the Blogosphere.

Most Mystical.This is the Part Where My Mystic and the Ocean Meet” by Natalie Trust.

Best Comebacks.Snappy Answers to Stupid Stay-at-Home Dad Questions” by Kevin McKeever at The National At-Home Dad Network.

Craziest Schedule.A Day in the ‘Life’” by Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary.

Best Second Chance.We Change; We Are Being Changed” by Addie Zierman at How to Talk Evangelical.

Best Special Needs Post.A Thank You Note to Mumford and Sons” by Nish Weiseth.

Worst Computer Game.Jon’s Basketball Game” by Jon Bois at SB Nation.

Most Timely.Now” by  xkcd.

Best Commentary.Walking the Second Mile: Jesus, Discrimination, and ‘Religious Freedom’” by Rachel Held Evans.

Best Question.Ashes to Go or not to go, that seems to be the question …” by The Rev. Michael Sniffen at The Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew.

Best Answers.Glove and Boots Responds, #3” by Glove and Boots (via YouTube).


Forgiveness has no Expiration Date

Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

Image: St. Mary’s, Longview, TX

Yesterday, I posted my planned Ash Wednesday reflection, but I left out one important part of my church-going experience: an apology for a slight long-past and already forgiven in my heart. I wrote about this encounter in August, 2010 on the old version of Fatherhood Etc. I reproduce the post in full here:

God Bless You
August 16, 2010 09:56:27 AM
Posted By David Ozab

I went to Mass yesterday at the Carmel of Maria Regina—a Carmelite convent about ten minutes from home. This was my second visit there in three weeks, and though I don’t see it as a permanent church home for my family it is a quiet, prayerful place that I enjoy visiting.

After Mass, I was walking through the parking lot to my van. As I walked to the driver’s side door, I heard a voice behind me.

“I’m surprised to see you here with those on your bumper.”

He was referring to the three well-worn Obama campaign bumper stickers that have adorned our van for the last two years. This wasn’t the first time I’ve heard a rude comment about them, but it was the first time I heard one in a church parking lot after Mass.

How Christian of you, I thought, but I refused to counter his comment with one just as rude. Instead, I got in the car and started backing out.

The parking lot is quite narrow so it took a few tries to pull out of the spot and straighten up without hitting someone. As I was about to drive off, I glanced over my shoulder. He stood there staring at my bumper stickers, like he could peel them off if he glared at them hard enough.

“What?” I asked, knowing the answer.

“What?” He sounded surprised that I was challenging him.

I paused for a moment, wondering what I’d say next. When I opened my mouth again, I think the Holy Spirit was guiding me.

“God bless you.”

His scowl transformed into a smile. “God bless you too.”

It’s been over eighteen months, I haven’t thought about it much since then but he had, and as we left church yesterday morning he pulled me aside:

“I don’t know if you remember, but I made a comment a while back about your Obama bumper sticker. Well, I just wanted to apologize.”

We shook hands and chatted for a few minutes. We have very strong, and often differing opinions about many subjects, but on two things we wholeheartedly agree:

  1. Those things we hold in common—our shared faith and our shared humanity—are far greater than any of our disagreements.
  2. Forgiveness has no expiration date.

All in all, it was an excellent start to a Lenten journey.

Dust and Ashes

Cross of Ashes

Photo: Jennifer Balaska

Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return. (Genesis 3:19)

I went to Mass today for Ash Wednesday, just like I’ve done for the last eleven years. As an Episcopalian, I came to associate that quote from Genesis—said as Adam and Eve are expelled from the garden—with the imposition of ashes. Each year, on this day, I would kneel at the rail, and the priest would trace a dark grey cross on my forehead while saying those words:

“Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

Since I became Catholic, I miss those words. It is one of the options for the priest to say when he imposes ashes, but in my short experience I’ve not heard it. Instead I have stood in line (I also miss the rail) and as the priest traced the cross on my forehead, he has said:

“Repent and believe the Gospel.” (Mark 1:15.) Continue reading