Who is Jesus?

This week’s Gospel reading was the one where Jesus asks “Who do people say I am?” and then “Who do you say I am?” and gives Peter his name. Much of Fr. Joe’s homily centered on those questions. Who do we say Jesus is?

It made me remember one class this past spring. When teaching about heroes and celebrities, we teach the 20-point mythical journey of a hero. I usually end up talking about the story of Jesus that we have in the Bible because it’s the one I’m most familiar with. This year, as I kept referring back to him, I had one student say she was uncomfortable with it since she is Christian. I tried to explain that I am Catholic and I am looking simply at the story that has been told, I’m not trying to disrespect anyone. She didn’t look like she believed me.

But that’s something that we, as Christians, tend to forget. Yes, the Bible is important and has much wisdom contained, it is a collection of stories. When we call something myth or mythology, it doesn’t change people’s beliefs or spirituality or religion surrounding it. We think of myth as fictional, but it’s not. Hercules was viewed as a demi-god in Ancient Greece. Myth does not equal fiction. Myth is another way of talking about a story, which is often rooted in reality. When you tell someone about your day or something that happened to you, you are telling a story. It’s not fiction, it’s what happened to you. The same thing goes for the story of Jesus. He was a man who lived 2000 years ago who did wondrous things. The things he did are a part of not only Christian mythology, but Jewish and Muslim as well. But calling this mythology doesn’t change how each religion views him – son of God/Messiah/Christ, prophet, prophet respectively.

If I were teaching this semester, I’d be explaining all of this in class. Hopefully I’ll get to teach it again and add this. But for now, I’m sharing it with all of you. Look around, there’s mythology everywhere!

Walking on Water

Today at Mass, Father’s homily struck a chord with me. The Gospel reading was Jesus walking on water and Peter doubting and starting to sink. He talked about how we have all walked on water at some time in our lives. A time when we feel called to do something but we have a sinking feeling, we aren’t sure if we can do it.

Tomorrow I start Graduate Student Orientation, again. But this time it’s for me starting my Ph. D. Starting my Ph. D. while I study up so I can complete my Master’s and graduate in December so I can continue with my Ph. D. This is one of my walking on water times. I know that this is the right thing for me. But I’m worried that I’ll get in my own way and won’t pass the comprehensive exams so I can graduate with my Master’s degree. I’ve passed two of the three parts before, I know I can do it again.

But a little part of me keeps popping up and messing with that faith. Thankfully, it’s getting less frequent. I’m still worried that it will pop up at the worst time – during the exam – and I will start to sink. I know that if I put the work in, study, and have faith in myself, I will walk through those exams and finally be able to move forward with my studies.

At least this week is simply about getting to know my cohort, the faculty I don’t already know, and get a good solid start to the semester and my Ph. D. And I am really looking forward to it!

The Dude and the Zen Master

As I mentioned earlier, I recently re-read the book The Dude and the Zen Master by Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman. This book is something I really needed to familiarize myself with, again. I started it on November 12th and finished it on the 17th. It really helped me to get a perspective on the world and to nourish my soul.

Rather than try to talk about it more, I’m just going to transcribe the quotes I made note of as well as any notes I made while reading it. I just ran across a wonderful article that talks about the book. Check it out if you’re interested. These are simply the quotes that really impacted me this time around. I hope that they inspire you to pick up this book for yourself, or at least gain something from them. But remember that these are simply parts of the whole. They have more when they are consumed as part of the whole. Enjoy! Continue reading “The Dude and the Zen Master”

That’s just, like, your opinion, man.

One way I’ve been taking care of myself lately is to get more into Dudeism. I reread The Dude and the Zen Master. The first time I read it, I did so on my Kindle. I loved it so much that I knew I needed the physical book. That’s what I read this time. Sometimes you just need the book in your hands and get away from the many glowing screens in life.

Lost my train of thought there…

Anyway. It’s an amazing book. I got so much out of it. I wrote down many, many quotes, and made many, many notes. I will post them soon.

I finished it and found myself wanting to read The Dude De Ching. But I knew it was at home, since my hubby’s the one who turned me on to Dudeism, and I didn’t know it was available for free for Kindle and Epub since a new, annotated version is out. So, I started reading The Abide Guide for the I-don’t-know-what-number time. It’s always good to refresh the basics every once in a while.

But, I’m setting it aside briefly because I’m soaking in the wisdom of The Dude De Ching. I’m thinking it’s going to be another book that I’m going to get my own copy of so I can have it on hand wherever. I’m only about half of the way through, but it’s got some sage advice put “in the parlance of our times”.

What can I say? Dudeism and The Big Lebowski are providing me with advice, wisdom, and guidance that are going to help me weather the political storm that is coming, unless something drastically changes. I even decided to become a Dudeist …I still haven’t decided which word I want to use to refer to myself. Being Catholic, “priest” just doesn’t quite work. I may just go with being an ordained Dudeist and be done with it. For me it’s more of a philosophy to live by than a religion…

The World That He Sees

One of the things I enjoy about this time of year is Trans-Siberian Orchestra. They have created some amazing music, with three of their albums being geared toward Christmas. One of my favorites is “The World That He Sees”.

It’s that refrain: “And he dreamed of another world, in another time, and another place. Where no man has to wear a sign saying where he’s from, saying what’s his race. And he wants us to believe, this world that he sees.” I’m actually a little sad that it’s become a more and more relevant message rather than an increasingly less relevant one. It’s something that we all need to believe in. That world where we see others as people, not focusing on one part of who they are, but in the whole that those parts are the sum of. It’s a beautiful message that applies to all of us and really speaks to the holidays of this time of year. Let’s all continue to work toward making that world a reality.

Happy Hangover!


So I just found out that we’re on day two of Hangover. That totally explains why I have wanted to dress as casually as possible yesterday and today. Right now I’m sitting at my desk in my office wearing very baggy lounge pants that are about 15 years old now, my candy cane Meh. shirt, and nothing on my feet. I have flip flops for when I need to leave the building. But to go down to get more water for tea or anything else in the building, I’m barefoot! Now I’m seriously considering stopping for some half and half on the way back to the apartment so I can have a White Russian before going to bed. Hmm….

Yule Greetings!

Happy Yule to all of you who celebrate this amazing day in the year!

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but my husband and some of our closest friends are Wiccan/Pagan and celebrate Yule. Something about this year is making me wish we did something special for Yule. We celebrate Christmas with my family and his, but Yule is a separate time that we could really make our own.

This year we exchanged gifts. But it feels like it’s not enough. I think I’m going to have to do some more looking at the meaning of this day and the way others celebrate it and talk with the hubby. I’d love to have something to do to celebrate next year. Something that we can turn into a wonderful tradition for the two of us.

I just felt like sharing that. Happy Yule!

The Rosary

Recently we were discussing religion in my Anthropology class. We were talking about items used by various faiths that have importance to the followers. The Rosary was brought up and I pointed out something that most people don’t know, which inspired this post.

Like all good Catholic children, I was taught the Rosary as soon as I could understand where you said which prayers. I had a kids rosary made from large, colorful wooden beads for as long as I can remember. I think my Mom still has it.

Before I go any further I should explain something, the thing that I pointed out to my class. You probably noticed I talked about the Rosary and a rosary up there. It’s not a typo. The Rosary is the set of prayers. A rosary is the set of beads used to keep track of the prayers. You can say a Rosary without having a rosary. Neat, huh?

Here is how the prayers go:

The Apostles’ Creed
The Lord’s Prayer
Three Hail Mary
The Glory Be
Then there are the decades:
– Announce the mystery (if using)
– The Our Father
– Ten Hail Mary
– The Glory Be (on the space between the last Hail Mary bead and the next Our Father bead)
– (The Fatima Prayer is commonly added after the Glory Be)
At the end, the Hail Holy Queen prayer and the sign of the cross.

It took me a while to really enjoy saying the Rosary. I was given a nice rosary at my first communion, but I never really liked using it. Praying the Rosary was just so boring! Until I was in high school. First, we were talking about the Rosary in religion class and we all had those cheap rosaries with the plastic beads. I started to feel a connection to it and decided to keep mine.

Later, I think it was my junior year, a new priest arrived and he was friends with one of the visionaries from Medjugorje. We started a little group who would meet after school to pray the Rosary together. He gave anyone who wanted one a beautiful wooden rosary made in Medjugorje and blessed by Mary. That completely hooked me on the Rosary.

Part of it was finally connecting with the form of prayer that it provided. It really is a form of meditation. You say the prayers over and over again. It can be quite refreshing when you finish. Part of it was that rosary. I loved the look and the feel of it. I would take it with me on the way to Academic Team matches at other schools. I would sit on the bus and close my eyes and pray. It helped me to calm myself and center. It made me feel more confident.

I admit, I now have a bit of an eye for interesting rosaries. At that point, my Medjugorje rosary was my third. Since then I have added three more to my ‘collection’. I bought one at the, then Blessed, now Saint, Kateri Tekakwitha shrine in upstate New York. She is my confirmation saint and the Rosary was her favorite form of prayer, so I naturally bought one there.

Later, at the annual Renaissance Faire held on the South Oval at Ohio State, I saw a rosary that I ended up giving in and buying. It’s made out of chain-mail links! The way they created the beads and linked it all together is just beautiful. It feels weird to bring it out and use it because I feel like I’m showing off or something. So it mostly sits and looks awesome.

My last addition was one I was waiting for a long time. I am the closest thing that my Great-Grandmother had to a namesake. Her first name was Clara, my middle name is Claire. This is because my Mom was very close to her Grandmother. When she died, she left her rosary to me. She made it herself from crystal and silver. My Mom, rightly, decided that I would get it when I was older. She said I would receive it when I was confirmed in the 8th grade. Confirmation came, and she decided to put it off until I graduated from HS. Graduation day came, and she decided it wouldn’t be safe at school and put it off until I got married. At this point I was a little frustrated. I remembered a little about my Great-Grandmother and wanted to feel closer to her. Finally, on my wedding day, my mother gave me the rosary. It is so beautiful and it does make me feel closer to my Great-Grandmother. It is another rosary that I rarely use, I’m simply happy to have it.