Recycling Day: Searching for God and Underpants

I have decided Tuesday would be a good day to sift through the Archives here and recycle posts I’m particularly fond of. Because it’s my blog and I can. Also because writing something new and fascinating more than once a week is kind of tiresome. (I know some of you think, now that I’m retired, I have nothing but time on my hands. Actually, that’s true, but it doesn’t mean I want to spend all of it creating more stuff to fill this space.) Sometimes Tuesday may fall on a Wednesday. We’ll see.

Searching for God and Underpants
(originally posted 9/23/10)

MY DAUGHTERS WHEN THEY HAD BIG HAIR AND WERE STILL CATHOLIC
MY DAUGHTERS WHEN THEY HAD BIG HAIR AND WERE STILL CATHOLIC

We baptized Baby Bret recently. He was baptized in the Lutheran church, which was a bit odd for me. My own children were baptized and raised to be good Catholics. They defected, every one, a puzzling thing and still a little irritating. It isn’t that I can’t go with the flow, but excuse me, I must have spent close to $100,000 on Catholic schools over the years, and if I had known how things would turn out, I would have taken advantage of free public education like everyone else.

Gina, who is Baby Bret’s mother, had no problem being Catholic right through her expensive college education with the Jesuits. Then she met Bret Sr. and promptly converted to Lutheranism. My middle daughter, Jill, and her family are some religion I can never remember the name of but they sing really loud. And the oldest, Jessica, who I thought had settled on Episcopalianism or Presbyterianism, is on the hunt for her spiritual home again and presently attending the Unitarian church.

It rankles a little, I must admit. All that money and my grandkids don’t know the Hail Mary.

Moving along… The baptism went well. The service was nice and Baby Bret never said boo, not even when he was passed around like a plate of rumaki. Afterward everyone drove to my house for lunch, simply because adding a fourth person to his parents’ house has made it impossible to squeeze in guests even if someone sits on the diaper pail and someone else holds the breast pump.

Lunch was nice, too, if hectic. Jill had an anxiety attack when she realized five-year-old Grace wasn’t wearing underpants. Apparently Grace sat through the entire church service in her little red sundress and white shoes and no underpants. So I went searching for little girl underwear, couldn’t find any, and ended up pinning the sides on a pair of my own for her. Gracie was utterly disgusted, but I just told her, “That’s what you get for not wearing underpants. You have to wear your grandma’s.”

The weather was good.

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Keep the Faith, Baby

We baptized Baby Lee last Sunday. By we I mean one Lutheran minister and the religious consortium that is now my family, including Lutherans, Pentecostals, Episcopalians, a Baptist, a Humanist, a few Jewish friends who showed up and one resigned Catholic.

Baby Lee didn’t care. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen an infant so unflappable. Through the pre-baptism photo session, the long church service and the even longer luncheon that followed, he never made a complaint. He was passed around, bounced, kissed and had children stick their noses in his face. I think he flinched once. Obviously the child knows already: This is my family. Resistance is futile.

We gathered at my house after the baptism for lunch. It was no less chaotic than usual, what with the five grandkids and two little friends running around, up the stairs, down the stairs, indoors and out. At one point I saw Toddler Bret, who is normally restricted to a sippy cup, walking across the porch with a glass of pink lemonade. It was a plastic glass. I turned and walked away.

And God said, “Truly I say unto you: it’s all good.”

AND THEN THERE WERE SIX.

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Phone-It-In Confession

SISTER BERNICE WOULD NOT APPROVE.

I imagine by now you’ve heard about the new $1.99 “Confession” iPhone app Catholics can get to keep track of their sins. I’m kind of Catholic; i.e., I’ve had plenty of first-hand experience with the confessional, although not for a long time because frankly I haven’t had any sins for a while.

I’d like to have some sins, but occasions of sin just never seem to present themselves anymore. Unless you count bad thoughts, but personally I never bought into that particular no-win-ology. Or unless neglecting things is a sin. I guess that would be the sin of sloth, but I wouldn’t need an app to keep count. I’d just tell the priest I’ve been sloth-afflicted every day for most of my adult life. Of course, then he might not give me absolution, because the whole point of the Sacrament of Penance is promising to go forth and sin no more, and any priest worth his collar would be suspicious of someone who’s been committing the same sin every day for years.

So you see, there’s really no reason for me to go to Confession and I certainly don’t need an app.

Anyway, Bishop Rhodes of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne, Indiana, has given the Confession app his blessing, which must make it the first mobile app officially sanctioned by the Church ever. I hear it’s been selling well, too, which makes me wonder what kind of person needs a special tool to keep a handle on these things.

Is there a killer out there thinking, “Let’s see, did I kill just the one person last month?” Thieves don’t go to confession (they might have to give something back). People who covet their neighbor’s wife seldom think it’s wrong (unless you’re Jimmy Carter). And if you committed adultery more than a dozen times last year, you might as well throw yourself on the mercy of the College of Cardinals right now.

But I don’t care. If you think the Confession app will help you be a better person, $1.99 is a small price to pay. As for me, if I ever get the chance to commit a sin worth confessing, I’m not likely to forget it.