Friday, July 28, 2006

Buy this book!!!!!!!

Okay, kids, it's time. ANGEL WITH A RAY GUN is out...but for now, only in electronic format. Soooo...go to the site,, and scroll down the page until you see the bright red cover. :-) Then click on the BUY links, download whatever version you prefer, and prepare to have a great read. Yes, the author is a friend of mine, so I like promoting her stuff .But also yes, the story itself is worth buying, not letting languish in e-book land like so many of these small press items do (mine being an example, sadly enough). And yes, the book WILL go to print version...but only after it sells enough e-copies. So we need a push, and we need a push NOW. TODAY. Let's give Deb the book premiere party she deserves!!!! Janny

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

"By their names ye shall know them"?

Heard an interesting story a few days ago on the news; while it was bad news, and mind-numbing, in that it was *yet another* story of Iraqi casualties in the war, it in a sense "witnessed" to me about something I feel we used to have, and may not anymore.

The announcer mentioned that in Iraq, you can tell which religious sect a person belongs to by their name. So when rescuers come to save the lucky ones, or when the law comes to find those not so lucky, with one glance at their IDs, they can tell how many of which religious group have been involved in a certain encounter.

And that got me thinking...what if we could tell what faith we were by our NAMES alone?

And that got me remembering that there was a time when, for Catholics, that was just about true. And maybe that ought to start being true again.

Think about it. If you grew up in a neighborhood with the proverbial big Catholic families, what kind of names did they give their kids? Of course--saints' names. When I was growing up, in fact, you had to have at least a saint's name for your middle name (if you had one) in order for the priest to be willing to baptize you in the Church.

Not for Catholic kids the whimsical, spacy names of 60s flower children; we didn't get away with baptizing babies Starshine or Astral Joy (that one's for you, T2). And even some of the more popular names of our day--if they couldn't be traced back to a saint's name with a fairly straight line--had to be linked to something that COULD, or the priest would make you add another name to the kid or choose something else.

In those days, amazingly enough, that wasn't considered violating anyone's was what you DID, as a Catholic. It was expected of you, the priest said so, the Church said so, and so you did it. You didn't think about how "unfair" it may have been. It was part of your Catholic duty, your identity, and in the end you were proud to do it. If Aunt Sunshine was a little put out because you named your girl Mary Ellen instead...that was just something you dealt with.

But now? Now the Church gently "suggests" or "advises" that your child's name be traceable to a saint's name.



Since when does the Church have to feel that the best they can do is "suggest" or "advise"? How about "require"?
Will it drive people away from the Catholic Church? Not in the numbers the Church apparently fears. More people are leaving the Church because it's not taking strong enough stands than because it's "too strict." That excuse used to have some validity. Now? Don't make me laugh.

In the name of "compassion," thousands of grown-up children of the 60s have diluted the Catholic identity to the point now where it's hard to know what a real Catholic looks like anymore. Maybe knowing one by his or her name--and having that name proudly represent and honor a patron saint--would help.

It's certain that at least having a saint in a child's background would be better catechesis than many of them are getting nowadays. And any better catechesis is a step in the right direction.