Monthly Archives: November 2011

The Devil Never Wore Diapers

Take a peek over on Crisis magazine at John Zmirak’s latest piece, The Devil Never Wore Diapers, at . I don’t know which impresses me more: real theology with such a down-to-earth approach, or a professor with such a down-to-earth approach. Zmirak is (as ever) winning on both counts. Of course, the whole point of the article is that God took a literally down-to-Earth approach to redeeming us, and that makes our humanity, with all its associated flukes and fluids and flatulence and whatnot, something altogether more important than we often remember. I’m currently teaching Anatomy to a pack of enthusiastic teenagers, and I find it at once impressive how complicated the human body is, and repulsive how terribly (and fairly easily) its many components and functions can go awry. But then, I guess the same is true of the human soul: intended as something complex and beautiful, when it veers off course, something dark and repugnant can indeed blossom there. This is just a quick “hello” from the teaching trenches (check the timestamp if you don’t believe me that my life is insane right now), but I’ll be back to reflect on these ideas sometime soon. In the meantime, hope you like the link!

God Bless,


Falling Back

I woke up about 15 minutes ago thinking it was 10:30 and started scrambling to get out the door for Mass. A moment later, I noticed that my phone said 9:30 and remembered about Daylight Savings Time. From the perspective of someone who wakes up first, then realizes it’s DST, it feels more like an extra hour of waking than an extra hour of sleep. With my extra hour, I’m writing this post to reflect on the other way I “fell back” in time last night. I had a little PalmPilot back in high school, nothing too fancy, but it was good for schedules and contact info, playing little games, and reading/writing documents. Last night, I dreamed that the old device surfaced in my house and my mom decided she’d like to use it. Throughout the dream, she and my dad would suddenly corner me and demand explanations for various little notes and files that she’d found on it. Some of them were messages from my friends, which I tried to explain to my parents, but they refused to believe me and remained angry even after I’d convinced them the words weren’t mine. They refused to put these minor wrongs into context and realize that hollering at a grown adult for something that happened almost a decade ago was cruel and unnecessary. As the situation worsened, I began dreading more and more that they would find it. In true dreamlike fashion, I couldn’t clearly remember what it was, but I knew it was written in a flurry of teenage angst and that even years later, they would never understand it and never forgive me for it. I tried telling my mom that I wanted to use the PalmPilot myself, but she said no. I tried asserting my right to privacy, but that just made them more suspicious that there were old mistakes of mine they hadn’t found. The dream crumbled before my parents found it, so I was spared a final confrontation, but I woke with a sense of frustration and dread lingering in my system like a hangover. The worst part of the dream was that, while it was clearly set in the present, my emotional reactions and my perception of my parents were skewed with teenage drama. OMG it was like, so unfair! Why didn’t they understand me? Falling back in time like that was rather unpleasant for me, since I’ve come to understand their intentions and my own mistakes much better in the intervening years. High school was a rocky time for me, a time of wrestling with my faith and with that perverted egotism that claims “I’m so terrible and broken that I’m totally unique and nobody could ever understand me.” Facing that past calmly and privately has been therapeutic for me, but facing it under unsympathetic scrutiny would truly be a nightmare.

From what I can tell, there are two little morals to my dream:
1) Thank God for the sacraments! Without confession, every old, shameful mistake would still be on our records and this nightmarish experience of accounting for them all would face us when we die.
2) Teenagers are a different species. If you are a teenager, cut your parents some slack- it’s not their fault they don’t understand you. And if you have or work with teenagers, try walking a mile in your own teenage shoes before you decide how to address their problems. That’s advice I can really use, since I’m teaching mostly sophomores right now.

Oh, and one more little moral… if you woke up with an extra hour today, use it to do something good! Happy DST everyone 🙂