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Abortion Current Events Heidi Ink Slingers NFP and contraceptives Respect Life

Not This Family

I have listened to friends lament the hyper sexualization of our society for years.  I have seen it myself in the media, but turning the TV off or choosing not to go to a certain movie never seemed like such a burden.  Carefully selecting activities and putting limits on clothing for my kids is something I’ve never had a problem doing.  I have been content to mostly let society do its thing, however self destructive I think certain behaviors may be.

Just leave my family alone, please.
Last weekend we had such a great time and the Art Festival, including our visit to The Leonardo- a local museum of science and technology.  As a part of the visit to the Leonardo, we enjoyed a visit to 101 Inventions that Changed the World.  It was over all a pretty neat exhibit with time lines, a huge multimedia movie thing on ceilings floors and walls (which I didn’t get to enjoy because it was way too much for Caleb), actual examples of the various inventions, and some interactive computer displays with puzzles and quizzes about the inventions.  Each display gave a slightly different perspective on the same invention, maybe the inventor or another more modern invention based off of an initial find.  I learned a lot!
I was also boldly confronted with just how normal our society thinks sexual behavior is.
The first peak into the exhibit is a timeline of each of the inventions chosen.  Check out 1956.

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The description read something about relieving women from the burdens of unwanted pregnancy.  Sigh.  Ok, I told myself.  I mean, the atomic bomb made the list too and that is not a positive invention. The exhibit isn’t 101 Inventions That Changed The World for The Better.  Move on, Heidi, I told myself.

Unfortunately it is the thinking of this 1956 invention that lead me to finding this ad in a festival program another museum visitor left behind.

I mean, what kind of slogan is “Show him you care.  Make an appointment today.“?

What exact message are they trying to send here.  Show him you care enough to sleep with him?   Show him you care enough to abort your baby?  Show him you care enough to relieve him from the burdens of responsible behavior?  Show him you care so much about his physical comforts that you are willing to take drugs to “fix” a part of your body that isn’t broken?

And Planned Parenthood is supposed to be this voice for women’s health care.  Tell me which part of this message promotes a woman’s health?  Which part supports the woman as an empowered, capable, and thinking person?

I can’t even wrap my mind around it.

Now, if you go back to the first picture, you will notice in 1952 the introduction of the Polio Vaccine also made the list.  No debate there, my grandma was a nurse during the polio epidemic who worked extensively with iron lung patients.  I’ve heard many, many stories and the polio vaccine has certainly had an undeniable positive effect- eradicating Polio from our continent.  As I mentioned before, however, each display in the exhibit gave slightly different perspectives on the same general invention.  Further on in our tour, I noticed this little box.

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Say what?  A vaccine available for less than 10 years, with questionable safety, and minimal effectiveness gets the same recognition as the polio vaccine?

Maybe it’s that this represents the impact of a certain 1956 invention?  You know that whole perceived consequence free sex thing?  I mean, he deserves it ladies…. that’s the message Planned Parenthood wants to send us.

I think its fair to say my blinders have been fully removed.  My naivety crushed under the weight of what this all says about our culture.  I want to scream and shout and cry that I want something better for my kids- both the boys and the girls.

I want them to know that their sexuality is uniquely theirs.  A gift from our Creator for a specific purpose… and that purpose is beautiful.   It is not a tool or a negotiation.  It is not a burden.

I want to scream to all the young people I know.

GIFT!  GIFT!  GIFT!

Not just a gift to themselves as teens or young adults, but a gift to their future selves and their future spouses.

This is our burden now.  It has always been there, but it seemed so simple before.  Just stay away from certain influences and everything will be ok.  It is now abundantly clear to me that avoidance is not likely to be enough.  We will need to continue to teach our children and surround them with family and friends who share our faith and values.  Teaching them how to live, show, and share that faith.

I am blessed to have this realization now, I think, while my oldest is just shy of 10 and not yet aware of all of these cultural influences other than knowing there are certain things we won’t let him watch on TV and certain clothes we don’t allow.  We haven’t had any sort of “talk”.

Tomorrow I may go back to blogging about homeschooling, life, and my adorable little family but today I’m talking about this.  Today I am putting it out there for all to see.

This family will not settle for what culture has accepted.

This family will not embrace what this culture has embraced.

 

::reprinted with permission from Ink Slinger Heidi’s blog, Work and Play, Day by Day::

Categories
CS in the media Current Events

Keep Up With The Catholic Sistas on Pinterest

 Announcment!  Announcement!  Announcement!

Some of our readers may  have noticed the new Pinterest button on our home page.  That’s right, Catholic Sistas is on Pinterest.    For now we have categories for Respect Life, Book Recommendations (for kids and grown ups), Daily Prayer and Devotions, Liturgical Seasons and more.  We look forward to adding boards for homemaking and homeschooling in the near future!   All of the boards are organized and moderated by a team of Ink Slingers from Catholic Sistas.

See the books and ideas that inspire us!  There is no way, however, we can catch every web resource, great book, and fabulous liturgical idea alone so here is where our readers come in.  If you find something that might be interesting to other Catholic Sistas readers, be sure to tag us (@Catholic_Sistas) in your own pin.  We will be able to see your tag and then pin to one of our own boards.

When I first came to Pinterest personally, and searched “Catholic”, there wasn’t much to be found, but now you can join your favorite Sistas in the ever changing, ever inspiring, and ever growing world of Pinterest!

Follow Me on Pinterest

Categories
Apologetics Evangelization Faith Formation Heidi Ink Slingers

What If His People Prayed….and acted?

Aidan's Sign
My 8 year old made this sign for the 40 Days for Life Prayer Vigil.

Long before I became a Catholic Christian, I was a huge fan of Contemporary Christian music. In fact, I still am. We live in a valley and Immaculate Heart Radio doesn’t come in very well in certain areas and so I switch over to the local Contemporary Christian station until I am in Immaculate Heart territory.

Since becoming Catholic, however, I have noticed a few things have changed about how I feel about this genre of music. First of all, I catch myself singing along and then stopping to realize that a particular song is not quite theologically correct. Some are even flat out wrong. Truthfully, I think I can probably thank my fellow Catholic Sistas for most of those a-ha moments!

The second thing I have noticed is about the songs themselves. Popular artists such as Casting Crowns , Third Day, Michael W Smith, and others write song after song about the good that we as Christians should be doing in our world. Caring for the sick, feeding the hungry, welcoming the troubled into our arms, protecting unborn life…. sound familiar?

These songs used to move me. I mean, really move inside of me to say- Yes, Heidi, I’m talking to you…stand up and DO something. Don’t just keep sitting there. I was sure these artists were correct in their ascertation that it was our responsibility as Christians to care for those less fortunate than ourselves in all times, in all places, and in all ways. In fact I spoke up in our Lutheran Bible study on more than one occasion asking, “Why we wouldn’t WANT to do these things in response to the abundant mercy that Our Heavenly Father shows towards us?”

I felt so frustrated by a general lack of empathy and compassion towards others among so many of my protestant brothers and sisters. Of course there are those who were called to action and made a great difference, but it was always such an extra. Those were the “good” people, but it was equally ok not to have time for that sort of thing. It was always looked at as optional, or a bonus, but definitely not required. Definitely not in anyway related to our eternal destination, despite the fact that the Bible so clearly says differently.

Fast forward past a few years, through our family’s coming home, and I discovered that in fact these things are happening every day in the Catholic Church. The members of the Catholic Church are actively and vibrantly involved in protection of the unborn, refugee ministries, prison ministries, and more. Some members are called to be involved in the trenches, others through financial donations, and still others through the often under-appreciated ministry of prayer.

As I was reading through Surprised by Truth, by Patrick Madrid, I realized I was not alone in my thoughts. One convert shared that in his role as a minister he found himself preaching about good works, convicted that the Bible clearly supported the importance. Only to have the message go straight over his congregation’s head as meant for someone else…you know, those really awful bad people who need to turn their lives around and live for Christ.

They are singing along to their music without listening to the words with their hearts.

What if the church for heaven’s sake, finally stepped up to the plate.  Took and stand upon God’s promise and stormed hell’s rusty gates…What if the family turned to Jesus? Stopped asking Oprah what to do.*

Indeed, I wonder? What if “the church” did that?

Actually, I don’t have to wonder. The Church I now belong to is deeply committed to every single one of the areas mentioned in the above song: protection of the unborn, Biblical family life, prayer for world leaders, kids praying in schools, and more. They are not only praying, they are acting. They are being the hands and feet of Jesus in our broken and lonely world through their actions, their donations, and yes their prayers.

Even though this is a call I have been hearing for quite some time now I still struggle.  How much time?  How much money?  Which ministries?  How do I involve my family or find the time to serve alone away from family?  I would be the last to claim that doing the Lord’s work on Earth is easy, but the benefits are truly out of this world!

*From “What If His People Prayed” by Casting Crowns. You can read the entire lyrics, here.

Categories
Apologetics Conversion Evangelization Faith Formation Heidi Ink Slingers

Don’t Pull Your Sister’s Hair This Christmas

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My husband and I are recent converts to the Catholic Faith.  We are passionate, we are excited, and we are the only Catholics in our family.

Coming to the Church was somewhat like having our eyes opened to all of the holes in our previous belief systems.  We are continually seeing ways that our former beliefs didn’t make sense and Church Truth has deepened our understanding on even simple matters of faith.

As our eyes continue to be opened, we are eager to share these new-to-us discoveries, especially with our closest family and friends.   We are also sometimes filled with a variety of emotions ranging from passionate excitement to urgency, and even sometimes to fear, frustration and anger.

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    Why don’t they get it?

    Don’t they want to know the fullness of Truth?

    Don’t they want to grow closer to God?

 

 

During the Advent and Christmas seasons, our differing beliefs come quickly to the forefront as we strive to live our faith more fully.  As we have company during our evening Advent devotionals or extra bodies at our dinner table, we are sometimes faced with the difficult task of balancing our love of our faith and our love of our family.  If you (like me) struggle this time of year, here are three ideas to keep peace in your heart and in your home this Advent and Christmas season, all while keeping the door open for future conversations.

Practice your faith unapologetically, but respectfully.  Don’t apologize for your Catholic beliefs and customs, but look for ways to practice them while still respecting long held family traditions.  Can you sacrifice a preferred mass time in order to participate in your family’s traditional Christmas Eve activities?  Can you complete your evening devotionals after you return to your hotel or in another room if it makes the in laws uncomfortable?  Whatever you do, don’t skip out on important practices of your Catholic faith!  Skipping things altogether is (a) wrong and (b) sends the wrong message to friends and family who are watching your actions… maybe even looking for a reason to discount your beliefs.

Be inviting.  Be sure that your extended family and friends know that they are welcome to participate in your traditions and that you are more than willing to answer any questions they might have.  They may not accept your offer to join, but an offer made cheerfully and a decision accepted without judgment is more likely to leave both parties with a feeling of peace with the other’s choices.

Stay positive and patient- show your love for the Church through your love for family.  It is easy to get trapped in the idea that somehow we will be responsible for the conversion of our family.   Ultimately it is the Holy Spirit, however, who will work through us (and likely others) and in the hearts of our family to institute change.   That change will happen in His timing and in His way.  Beyond that, as human relationships are deeply flawed and often complicated, we may be the last to know that our family members are ready to reach deeper into the faith.  It is difficult to admit we were wrong.  We need to have empathy and compassion and know that sometimes the most hurtful of words may come from a heart that is just about to be changed forever by the imprint of the Holy Spirit.

All of us with non Catholic, or fallen away Catholic family face added challenges during holiday festivities.  Spend some extra time during the Advent season taking full advantage of the graces available through the Sacrament of Reconciliation and spend time with Our Lord through Adoration and prayer.  Open your hearts to the ways that the Holy Spirit can mold you and prepare you for the challenges that you may face, while continuing to offer your trials and suffering for the continued conversion of the entire body of Christ.

Categories
Faith Formation Heidi Ink Slingers Motherhood Vocations

Mom, I’m Sorry…

A blur of green and a crash, followed by a sad-faced eight-year-old coming into the kitchen holding one of my Willow Tree figures… It is the Brothers figure I purchased when my second boy was born, with visions of my sons becoming great friends.

Only now it is missing a head.

It is one of those mothering moments when I can make two choices- a deep breath followed by a quick Hail Mary or a loud voice followed by a small explosion heard for miles.

I can tell you honestly I would have normally reacted with the latter, but for some reason this time was different. This time, something in his face stopped me.  This eight-year-old and I have been having some long talks about attitude lately. About just why we need to submit to the authority of those in certain positions (*ahem* parents who have seemingly told him 8,000 times that the ball is for the baby not the big kids).

I can tell my son felt truly sorry about breaking the figure. It is one of the few items we salvaged after a massive house fire in March of 2010 where we lost over 95% of our earthly belongings. If you get close to it, you can still smell the smoke.  I carefully moved it across the country a year ago when we traveled from Minnesota to Utah. My son knows that. He knows that figure is important to me.

What he doesn’t know is that he didn’t hurt me most when he broke the piece. My deepest hurt came from again having to repeat myself. Explain that Mommy and Daddy give him rules and expect that he follow them even when we don’t flesh out the reasons. Again discuss the importance of submitting to authority.

Just like my eight year old, as adults we sometimes decide that we are smarter and can do something better than those in authority over us. Wouldn’t Mass be nicer if the music was this way instead?  Why don’t we just let everyone receive communion?  Well, she should be allowed a divorce because he turned out to be a jerk!  That couple who can’t have a child should be allowed fertility treatments.  Maybe “our” human way would be simpler or more “fair”, but how would we learn and practice our own obedience if we just did everything the way that seemed easier or more fun?  Where is the personal growth in following our own whim and fancy?  Sometimes I wonder how many hand crafted pieces of Heavenly Father’s work I have damaged by searching for easy or fair.

Eventually, a repaired figure returned to the mantel over our fireplace.  It is my hope that my son will see it there and be reminded, at least, that he is not permitted to throw balls inside the house.  At most, he will be reminded that rules and procedures for life in our family are there to protect all of us…to make our home a place where all can live and work in harmony and safety.