Podcast as a Book Club? I am attempting to read a good book with a group of people from our school and beyond while maintaining distance and avoiding yet another virtual meeting. Feel free to follow along and participate here!
Parking Lot Observation:
People are currently dressing in public the way people dress for classes their Freshmen year of College.
Half of the population are dolled-up because they are finally in public. The other half are proud to still be in their PJs.
Daily Chapel is a hallmark of our school’s program.
We have been working to create a series of At-Home Chapels that help students make sense of all that is happening in the world.
The first in a somewhat daily series of 15-minute breaks from the news that will heal your soul.
It was to a room full of people in a similar situation to our own that C.S. Lewis once spoke these words:
The first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs.
Doodle of Lewis’ talk available here.
Billie Wynn Jordan, born on March 3rd, officially makes us a family of five. Zoë got her little sister!
Last year I taught a class at Coram Deo called Becoming Saints. Since that class, our oldest daughter has remained interested in learning about Saints. She especially loves discovering Saints whose Feast Days align with a friend or family member’s birthday.
While this is an odd thing to brag about … our family has some great birthday Feast Days. Mine is St. Irenaeus of Lyons, defender of second-century orthodoxy and subject of my Masters thesis. Vivien’s is Mother Theresa. Our oldest daughter has St. Clare of Assisi, and our son’s birthday falls on the Feast of the Apostles St. Jude and St. Simon.
Once we arrived home from the hospital and got a few hours of sleep, I pulled out my handy Saint of the Day book and searched for March 3rd. When I first saw the entry, I was a bit disappointed. Most of our family’s Saints span the great history of the Church; Billie’s lived in the 20th century. St. Katharine Drexel, who died in 1955.
But as I continued reading, I was encouraged by both the opening sentences of her her story and by the commentary offered by the Saint of the Day editor, both of which you can read below:
If your Father is an international banker and you ride in a private railroad car, you are not likely to be drawn into a life of voluntary poverty. But if your mother opens your home to the poor three days each week, and your father spends half an hour each evening in prayer, it is not impossible that you will devote your life to the poor and give away millions of dollars. Katharine Drexel did that.
Saints have always said the same thing: Pray, be humble, accept the cross, love, and forgive. But it is good to hear these things in the American idiom from one who, for instance, had her ears pierced as a teenager, who resolved to have “no cake, no preserves,” who wore a watch, was interviewed by the press, traveled by train, and could concern herself with the proper size of pipe for a new mission. These are obvious reminders that holiness can be lived in today’s culture as well as in that of Jerusalem or Rome.
May Billie—and her parents!—follow the example of this modern Saint.
This post is an excerpt from my last newsletter, which you can read and subscribe to here.
Cal Newport—who you should be regularly reading—wrote a piece in The NY Times last year that is worth reading, or reading again.
In short, he suggests that the iPhone/smartphone should be used as a phone, iPod, and navigation device only. The fact that many of us have spent over a decade using these devices more than we should means that we don’t notice the way our phones have used us:
Under what I call the “constant companion model,” we now see our smartphones as always-on portals to information. Instead of improving activities that we found important before this technology existed, this model changes what we pay attention to in the first place — often in ways designed to benefit the stock price of attention-economy conglomerates, not our satisfaction and well-being.
We’ve become so used to the constant companion model over the past decade that it’s easy to forget its novelty.
“Instead of improving activities that we found important before this technology existed, this model changes what we pay attention to in the first place…”
Read more—hopefully not on your phone?—here.
The new year and my new rekindled relationship with Cal Newport means that I am back to using my phone in the most bare-bones way I know how.
In the midst of a busy fall I found myself adding email back to my phone most days. I am trying to avoid that again. (See #10 on my how to stop loving your phone post from two years ago.) I put together that list before I dropped all social media; I would still recommend removing social apps from your phone if you aren’t ready to quit cold turkey.