“Ridicule expressions of concern”

LS - ridicule

This is the first of two hard-hitting quotes that should cause us to examine our consciences and our biases. It’s easy to make fun of “tree huggers,” isn’t it? To view concerns about environment as secondary (at best) or pagan (at worst). Tune in tomorrow for the second half.

#intentionalcatholic #realfaithrealworld #faithinaction #theologyofthebody #creation #environmentalstewardship #steward #green #greenliving #gogreen #climatechange #laudatosi #laudatosii #catholic #socialjustice


An Award Nomination

In my “other” life, part of what I do is writing and composing for the Church. Recently I found out that my newest song from WLP, “Show Us Your Face,” was named as a finalist in the Association of Catholic Publishers’ “Excellence in Publishing” awards for 2019. You can hear it on the “listen” tab at this link.

Show us Your Face - cover small

Two other songs are in the running, both of them fierce competition:

Rise Again, written by my friend Christian Cosas; and Struggler, by Brother Isaiah and the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. Hope you’ll listen to all three!

Stewards of Creation

Spring baby leavesI grew up on a farm. I had tree houses (yes, plural). I took walks in the woods, imagined forts in the corn field, sat on a low roof to watch sunsets, read and wrote stories and journal entries sitting on the front porch, played badminton on still summer evenings with my sisters. At night, I fell asleep with my head pressed up against the screen, talking to God and looking at the Big Dipper and the North Star.

My mother tells me I didn’t spend nearly as much time outside as I think I did, but nonetheless, nature is the shape of my childhood.

Spring treeAs an adult, I realize how deeply my concept of God is connected with nature. Nature calmed my fussy babies. Nature soothes my troubled spirit. Nature is where I go to rest–to escape overstimulation and “be still.” It is where I do my best writing, and walking in nature is the quickest way to figure out the solution to whatever obstacle is blocking me–whether that’s a lyric, a plot point, a character motivation, or a real-life relational problem.

I’m not the only person who experiences this, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence. I think we are more ourselves in nature, because we’re closer to God there.

So the widespread resistance to the idea of environmental stewardship displayed by some Christians is baffling to me. How can anyone view the upswing in catastrophic wildfires, floods, droughts, and storms in recent years and still argue that climate change is a hoax?

LS solid scientific consensus

I came to understand what it means to be a “steward of creation” when we were suffering from infertility, and a water filter helped us get pregnant…because it filtered Spring waterout the atrazine, diazinon, and alachlor in the water supply that had been preventing us. It made it clear to me that indeed, human behavior can and does impact creation.

Since then I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out how I, and my family, can live more sustainably. We do pretty well, but I never get complacent. I know there’s always more I could do. Like everyone else, we struggle with convenience (which virtually always involves more consumption. Can you say “water bottles”?). But simply being aware of our habits, we have found, has made a huge difference. It has allowed us to be more intentional about this part of our faith–the part about being stewards, rather than consumers, of creation. We have a responsibility to protect this precious, beautiful gift that God has given us–this gift that displays His power and majesty, this gift that is a little slice of what Heaven must feel like.

I still have some quotes from the US Bishops on racism’s continued power in the modern world, but with spring finally arriving, after an endless winter, it seems like a good time to place the focus for a while “On care for our common home.”

Spring moss

How To Use This Site

IC thumbnailWhen the idea for Intentional Catholic first came to me, I intended to be invisible on this site. I had a vision of combing Church documents for nuggets of guidance on timely and difficult issues, and I wanted them to stand on their own, without commentary.

I still want that, but the longer I spent working on this project, the more I realized that the reading of these documents is, itself, continuing to challenge me. And if I don’t share my own struggles, in addition to the insights I’ve gained, I’m culpable in two ways: one, for failing to offer the benefit of my experience to fellow Christian pilgrims; and two, for failing to make myself vulnerable to others in allowing them to push back and challenge me so that I, too, will continue to grow.

So Intentional Catholic now has two facets: first, the graphics, posted as individual blog posts with minimal commentary and shared to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. And second, a once-a-week post (after this week, at least!) where I’ll blog about the things that are on my heart. Perhaps we can all undertake this journey together.

Whenever you come across a graphic on this site that resonates or challenges, refer to the source. All those source documents (with the exception of saint quotes) are linked from the documents page. Some of these quotes are challenging. In virtually all of them, the context reveals complexities that don’t fit in a social media graphic. I don’t expect you to take my excerpts as the final word. In fact, I beg you not to do so. I want you to go back to the source documents and read them in their entirety.

A note about comments: I want you to discuss, to probe and dig down with me, to challenge yourself and to challenge me. But I reserve the right to moderate—that is to say, delete—if comments deteriorate to ad hominems, name calling, and other violations of human dignity. We should be better than that. Here we’ll be dealing with difficult but important topics, ones that ignite great passions. But thoughtful, open-minded, reasonable conversations are the pathway to conversion.