Lessons Learned : June 2018


This June, I went to a billiards room with a friend. I wish I would have spent more time learning to play while I was in college. My freshman year, I tried billiards with bro-sis just to practice failing gracefully. It was a psychological exercise—and I was so focused on the psychology that I never really learned the game. Now, I’m pretty sure I could spend a long time time discovering the physics of good shot. Enjoying pool might seem like a small thing, but I think it’s a good sign. I’m growing into a person who’s more secure in her identity. Because I’m more secure, I’m willing to take risks—to look silly and to laugh at myself. I guess I’m finally taking some of my own advice to heart.

Contra Dancing Basics

So what is contra dancing? It’s kind of a cross between square dancing and line dancing—super fun. There’s a club that meets on Monday nights in Chicago and I’ve been twice. The dancing is delightful and so are the opportunities for people-watching. Also, there’s live music 🙂

Fr. Mike has a podcast!!!

I’ve been watching Fr. Mike Schmitz on youtube for a while now, but this month I discovered that all his homilies are on Apple Podcast. So apparently binging on homilies is something I do… Guess that’s better than Netflix, right? I highly recommend his homily from two weeks ago (“The Unforgivable Sin“) if you’d like to tune in.


I always wondered why Catholics kneel before entering a pew, but I watched one of Fr Mike’s videos, and now I know. It’s called genuflection and it’s because they’re kneeling to Jesus and his presence in the eucharist which is kept in the tabernacle.

What’s the oldest parish in the continental US?

It’s the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine—this parish dates back to a celebration of mass on September 8, 1565 by the Spaniard Pedro Menendez. I went to a service at the cathedral on Sunday morning while visiting Florida with friends.

Apparently, I’m not as good at Euchre as I think I am…

I love Euchre—it’s the quintessential Midwestern card game. I have lots of fun memories playing Euchre on youth missions trips in junior high. Now, I rarely find myself in a group of four willing players—so I was pretty excited when Finn and Ollie agreed to learn the game during our week in Florida. I thought I was a decent player, but they beat me and Sarah 2-4.

N.T. Wright & the Problem of Evil

I read a handful of Wright’s essays this month in “Surprised by Scripture.” I often agree with what Wright has to say, but I get a little tired of his formula. It seems like all his arguments go something like this: Let me show you how what you believe is either A) a false dichotomy or B) an ancient secular philosophy. I’ve discovered the bigger picture that’s been overlooked by centuries of Christianity. [Insert a fascinating exploration of the Gospel narrative.]

Style aside, I was pretty impressed with his essay on the problem of evil. For better or worse, I get irritated when people attempt to justify evil. I don’t like to be told why. I just want people—and God—to acknowledge that something is very wrong.

Wright, didn’t try to explain evil. Instead, he highlighted God’s response in Jesus. Here’s my favorite excerpt:

“What the Gospels offer is not a philosophical explanation of evil—what it is or why it’s there—but the story of an event in which the living God deals with it

The Gospels thus tell a story unique in the world’s great literature, religious theories, and philosophies: the story of the creator God taking responsibility for what’s happened to creation, bearing the weight of its problems on his own shoulders. As Sydney Carter put it in one of his finest songs, ‘It’s God they ought to crucify instead of you and me.’ Or as one old evangelistic tract put it, the nations of the world got together to pronounce judgment on God for all the evils in the world, only to realize with a shock that God had already served his sentence. The tidal wave of evil crashed over the head of God himself. The spear went into his side like a plane crashing into a great building. God has been there. He has taken the weight of the world’s evil upon his own shoulders. This is not an explanation. It is not a philosophical conclusion. It is an event in which, as we gaze on in horror, we may perhaps glimpse God’s presence in the deepest darkness of our world, God’s strange unlooked-for victory over the evil of our world; then, and only then, we may glimpse God’s vocation for us to work with him on a solution to the new problem of evil.”

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