Bloggerhood Etc. 1/5/15

2015 rollover

Via Google Image Search

Happy New Year! Here’s the best of the week from around the blogosphere.

Best News.Pope Francis Is Trying to Rally 1.2 Billion Catholics to Help Avert a Global Disaster” by Tom McKay at World Mic.

Best Advice.Counting Gifts Instead of Problems” by Abby McDonald, guest-posting at Purposeful Faith.

Geekiest Post.Who Would Win and All-Out Battle: Star Wars or Star Trek?” by Rom Lokken at Gizmodo.

Best Theological Post.Why it Matters That the Bible Was Written by Human Beings” by Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry at Inebriate Me.

Best Parenting Post.A Tale of 2 Elsa-Themed Birthday Parties” by Jennie Sutherland at Huff Post Parents.

Best Question.Is Depression a Kind of Allergic Reaction?” by Caroline Williams in The Guardian.

Best What If?The Alternate Histories of Mario Cuomo” by Russell Berman in The Atlantic.

Best Infographic.‘Let it Go’ with Phonetically Accurate Lyrics” by Andy Herald at How to be a Dad.

Best Commentary.The NYPD’s ‘Work Stoppage’ is Surreal” by Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone.

Best Reflection.Hail Mary: You Have More in Common with the Mother of Jesus than You Think” by James Martin at Slate.

Best Story.The Most Important Cardboard Box Ever?” by Stephen Dowling at BBC News Magazine.

Best Bad Idea.Nothing Gold Can Stay: In Pursuit of the Best Sports Account on Twitter” by Jon Bois at SBNation.

Best Confession.I Am Lord Business” by Buzz Bishop at DadCamp.

Best Video.The Teleporter” by Glove and Boots (via YouTube).

“Yep. The blog’s ruined.”

Bloggerhood Etc. 10/13/14

BEEFTANK!

BEEFTANK!!! (Image: Jon Bois/SB Nation)

Best Return.Breaking Madden: BEEFTANK Returns” by Jon Bois at SB Nation.

Most Honest.Making Peace With My Mental Illness” by Cara Strickland at Little Did She Know.

Best Special Needs Post.An Extraordinary Story” by Robert Rummel-Hudson at Support for Special Needs.

Best List.10 Reasons I Can’t Relate to the 30-Something Blogger” by Andee Zomerman at Nature of a Servant.

Best Question.I Sing Because I’m Happy! Or is it the Other Way Around?” by Adam Hall at Tenor Dad.

Best Parenting Post.Target’s Response To My Calling Out Their Girls” Clothing Problem” by Stephanie Glese at Huff Post Parents.

Best Commentary.Synod 14: The Church Needs to Replace the Family” by Artur Roseman at Cosmos in the Lost.

Strangest Story.I’m a Blonde Tattooed Girl From Texas. Why Are ISIS Fighters Tweeting Marriage Proposals to Me?” by Jennifer Williams at New Republic.

Best Use of Bad Candy.Six Silly/Spooky Candy Corn Crafts” by Brent Almond at Designer Daddy.

Best Travel Article.Shakespeare and the Seven-Year Old” By Melissa Hart at Show Me the Monkey: An Oregon Family’s Adventures.

Best Guest Post.Why I Am Made Right” by Ashley Linne at Addie Zierman’s How to Talk Evangelical.

Cutest.What Happens When Second Graders Are Treated to a Seven-Course, $220 Tasting Meal” by Jeffrey Blitz at New York Times Magazine (Video).

Best Essay.40,000 Suicides Annually, Yet America Simply Shrugs” by Greg Zoroya at USA Today.

Best Bilingual Video.Transformers: Age of Extinction (變形金剛4 灭绝重生)” by Honest Trailers (via YouTube).

“The Transformers are back! And they’re as over these movies as we are.”

Bloggerhood Etc. 8/18/14

Lit candle

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

I usually try to make these weekly roundups a mix of deep, thought-provoking posts, and lighter, funnier pieces. And then weeks come along that are so filled with heartbreak that there’s nothing I can do but weep with those who are grieving. Last week was one of those weeks.

First, a cross-section of voices on the continuing tragedy of Ferguson and the regression of Civil Rights in our country.

Why We’ve Got to Go There” by Deidra Riggs at Jumping Tandem.

Five Minute Friday: Tell (And Cry to Listen)” by Ashley Larkin at Draw Near.

First They Came for the Black people, and I Did Not Speak Out” by Matt Stauffer.

In Which I Have a Few Things to Tell You About Ferguson” by Sarah Bessey.

When Ferguson is Across the Street” by Shawn Smucker.

Things To Stop Being Distracted By When A Black Person Gets Murdered By Police” by Mia McKenzie at Black Girl Dangerous.

Racial Bias, Police Brutality, and the Dangerous Act of Being Black” by Kristen Howerton at Rage Against the Minivan.

Ferguson and Healing our Nation” by Alice Chaffins at Knitting Soul.

Black People Are Not Ignoring Black on Black Crime” by Ta-Nehisi Coates at The Atlantic.

The New Racism: This is How the Civil Rights Movement Ends” by Jason Zengerie at New Republic.

Second, two bloggers share their own experiences with depression in the wake of Robin Williams’ death.

What Will it Take to Become a Church for the Depressed?” by Chris Morton at Growth and Mission.

Depression is Not a Joke” by Lorne Jaffe at Raising Sienna.

Third, a Prayer for Those Fleeing Violence and Oppression in Iraq, in Their Own Language.

May God our Father watch over them, and over all who are in danger.

Amen.

Filled to Overflowing

Salt Creek Falls

Salt Creek Falls (Photo: Julia Ozab)

“How full is your bucket?” This is the question asked by a best-selling book of the same name. It uses a metaphor of a bucket and a ladle to describe how selfish acts diminish the positive outlook of other people (symbolized by water in a bucket), and how self-giving acts replenish not just other people’s buckets, but our own as well.

It’s really a meditation on the infinite abundance of love.

We read the kids’ version of this story to Anna. She picked up on the metaphor right away, and I picked up on a couple of other points that the authors might have missed.

First, that depression is like a hole in your bucket. I know that when I got depressed none of the people or things that normally brought me joy could lift me out of the darkness. There’s a hole in the bucket, and—just like the song—any attempt on my part to patch that hole is futile. That’s why people who suffer from depression need to get help. You can’t will yourself to get better anymore than you can will away an infection or a major injury. Depression is not a lack of faith, in either God or in oneself, it’s a disease.

Second, that God has an infinite bucket filled with infinite water that never runs out. This is what Jesus told the woman at the well—”whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)

God is love; a spring of living water that never runs out. And he fills us to overflowing.

Five-Minute-Friday-4-300x300

When I wrote this post last Friday, I had no idea how tragically relevant it would become. If you’re struggling with depression and especially if you’ve thought of hurting yourself in any way, please seek help. 1-800-273-TALK.

 

All Shall be Well

Statue of Julian of Norwich, Norwich Cathedral, by David Holgate FSDC

Photo: David Holgate FDSC (CC BY-SA 2.0)

I discovered Julian of Norwich at a mid-week Eucharist in 2001. On this particular Wednesday, my former Episcopal parish was observing the feast of this obscure anchorite from 15th Century England whose legacy is contained in one fascinating volume: Revelations of Divine Love. Because little else is known about Julian, she was never formally canonized, but her feast is kept by the Anglican Communion on May 8 and unofficially by some Catholics in England on May 13.

The most famous quote from Revelations of Divine Love are the words she heard Christ say to her: “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” I heard those words for the first time at that mid-week Eucharist in 2001 and they have stayed with me ever since:

“All shall be well.”

I was in an understandably stressful place in my life that Spring of 2001. I was studying for my doctoral exams and the pressure was excruciating. I had coped with depression for years and was falling into another one of my deep dark holes. Despair was a common companion. In the past, nothing would break through, and I would wallow for weeks ignoring everything and everyone around me. But two things had changed in the last year: I had a woman in my life who loved me for me, and a church that kept the door open all the years I was away. So when I heard the words I knew deep down that they were true:

“All shall be well.”

Everything is in God’s hands. I had just journeyed through my first real Lent that Spring. I know how the story ended: death swallowed up in life, light overwhelming the darkness, and the Gates of Hell breaking down before the Lord. All the other trials of life could be over come because the biggest one had already been overcome.

Beginning on that day, I had a special place in my heart for the mysterious Julian. I’ve never been much of a mystic myself. I think the reason why Benedict is my favorite saint (after Our Lady) is because he’s such a practical one. His rule has been a loose guide for me and though I struggle to keep faithful to it my struggle is part of my growth in Christ. But when I find myself overwhelmed by the darkness, when the rhythm of prayer becomes dry and barren, and when I can hardly muster the will to open a prayerbook, Jesus’ sweet words to Lady Julian pull me out of the pit:

“All shall be well.”