10/7/10 Daily Dose of Catholicism & Culture

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Good evening friends. Beginning this week I will be attempting to add a daily post to this blog that contains a bit of reflection for the day and a compilation of good links, quotes, book/movie/music reviews, and other odds and ends. This daily dose, in the spirit of the blog itself, will follow my walk of faith in a culture of death and will record for posterity the oases I come across in the desert – those little intersections between my catholicism and culture that raise my eyes to heaven, move my heart, get me thinking, or otherwise appear to have value in sharing with you.Read, think, discuss, enjoy!

Notes from the day: Today was my wife’s 26th birthday. After my brief reprieve since my own birthday in August, my wife is now 3 years older than I am once again. : )

Yesterday, we decided to get rid of Netflix. Now don’t get me wrong, we LOVED having Netflix and it definitely provides the most bang for the buck as a source of entertainment. However in the case of Netflix, though we had a steady supply of DVD’s in the mail and on online library streamable any time of the day or night, the problem with such easy entertainment is that it is indeed so easy.

Humans always tend toward the path of least resistance! Both the benefit and problem with movies and video games is that they require minimal effort and provide maximum “entertainment”. When push comes to shove, movies/video games eventually begin to win out over other forms of entertainment, unless conscious action is applied.

Problem for me is that at the end of the day when my wife and I are tired and ready to relax, with an almost unlimited supply of “easy” entertainment, we end up watching the tube far too much.

Now on the flip side of the coin my wife and I really do enjoy watching movies and tv together – we laugh together, discuss the plots and characters, cuddle, etc, and in these respects movies are great!

Our solution? not to eliminate TV/Movies altogether, we are just switching to a different subscription (one from blockbuster) that revolved only around getting movies in the mail. This way, we have movies/tv available to us but at the same time there is a definite cap to how much we can watch.

This is the passive side of the plan. On the active side, we are making sure to pursue other, less “easy” forms of entertainment. I think this is very important. Our appreciation – our ability to appreciate – is like a muscle and needs to be worked. Have you ever noticed that you begin to appreciate things you put time and effort into? Projects, new forms of entertainment, new food or drink, and even people!

There are many forms of entertainment that are “easy” to appreciate because they basically spoonfeed us – movies, video games, net browsing etc. This does not mean they are bad just as candy isn’t “bad”. However, if we eat too much candy (the potential for cavities and weight gain aside) our appreciation for more complex/healthy/beneficial foods will atrophy. In the same way, if we constantly rely on “easy” entertainment not only will our appreciation of greater things become weak, but we also will never grow.

Thus, its good to keep pushing ourselves. We still enjoy watching a good movie here and there but we also do puzzles together (training in patience), we read aloud and vocally act out plays (training in humility and courage), we read books to each other (training in diction), and of course we try to spend more of our time praying together.

If you have any thoughts on movies, entertainment, the ability to appreciate, etc, please respond and discuss!

Great Website:

The Catholic Education Resource Center – For whatever reason, this site never disappoints when it comes to having a consistant supply of very solid and informative Catholic articles. Many sites are a mixed bag one has to sift through, but I am continually please by the variety and quality. Recently read some great articles addressing the “Christopher West Critiques” that have been going around and a fun article about the “manliness” of St. Thomas Aquinas. It is, as its title suggests, a tremendous “resource” for any Catholic reader.

Great Book:

Master Christian author Clive Staples (CS) Lewis offers up a work of pure delight and wonder to fiction lovers. This rollicking sci-fi tale follows Dr. Ransom as he uncovers a living, breathing universe where he thought there was only dead space. It is a universe which not only is populated with extraterrestrials of all shapes and sizes and levels of intelligence, but it is a universe where the physical world is only the “tip of the iceberg” and in which “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” (Shakespeare, Hamlet)

There is great commentary of technology, language, space travel, philosophy, modernism, and a whole host of other themes, all of which are woven beautifully, subtly, and seamlessly into this epic. Like all great books, they gets better every time you read them! I am on my fourth read through and am only picking up on more and more of Lewis’ genius. Definitely a must-read!

Great Quote:

An “impersonal God”– well and good. A subjective God of beauty, truth and goodness, inside our own heads — better still. A formless life-force surging through us, a vast power which we can tap — best of all. But God Himself, alive, pulling at the other end of the cord, perhaps, approaching an infinite speed, the hunter, king, husband — that is quite another matter. There comes a moment when the children who have been playing at burglars hush suddenly: was that a real footstep in the hall? There comes a moment when people who have been dabbling in religion (“Man’s search for God!”) suddenly draw back. Supposing we really found Him? We never meant it to come to that! Worse still, supposing He had found us? –C. S. Lewis

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