Taking another stab at a faith community online

Created a new faith-based Twitter list of only nuns, consecrated virgins, a handful of priests, and maybe a layperson or two. This is in an effort to build an online Catholic community of prayer I can tap that isn’t cliquish or politically charged. Most online priests are awfully mansplainy, overly opinionated, and far more full of themselves than the nuns, I’ve noticed. Too many priests and bishops on social media leave me disheartened and deeply annoyed.

I’m still craving a sense of religious community that I left when I returned to Rome. Diocesan Catholic culture is bereft of coffee hours and bonding among parishioners, especially in this time of pandemic. It’s clear that individual Catholics have to build that sense of community themselves, which explains in part why I see a lot of effort to bond among folks in the world of #CatholicTwitter.

That effort, for me, is undermined these days by the QAnon Catholic conspiracy theorists who are dividing the American Church. I destroyed a previous faith-based Twitter list because too much political and conspiratorial uproar was infiltrating the conversations.

The minute I see any political tweets or supportive retweets from the likes of the Daily Caller, Trump, Catholic extremists like Taylor Marshall, or any number of right-wing (or far left) sources, I’ll 86 the list member. I’m disheartened enough by the secular political climate; I’m trying desperately to maintain a sense of hope and civility about my Church.

Trying to keep most, if not all, personal venting to a worn-down yellow composition notebook that is still only half-full since I started using it in August as a makeshift journal. But I’m aiming to fill it by the end of the year, if not sooner.

I have learned, and continue to relearn, that It’s best to keep one’s most intimate distress and bitterness offline – a lesson that is not taught enough in the age of ubiquitous corporate social media.

I have to minimize, if not eliminate, how much stray work tasks I carry over into my Sundays. It helped that the last couple of months had been slow enough to prevent this, but this past week forced me to take on more editing work than I would have liked. Fortunately, it’s relatively minimal this go-round. Thank God for the long holiday weekend (even though I have to cover the Saturday-Sunday portion of the upcoming weekend as a backup editor).

I’ve curbed my Twitter activity again. But once again, in my latest fit of pique (this time directed at a certain gift catalog company), Twitter proves itself to be a fine outlet for my consumer rage.

It begins again. No surprise, really.

I had four Audible credits to spend. Delighted to see Obama’s new presidential memoir is already available in audiobook. All 29 hours of it.

I’m fine with that. Downloaded.

Trading one set of anxieties for another

Been disinclined to blog much lately. I post sporadically on Twitter and, to a lesser degree, on Facebook and Instagram.

In recent weeks, I’ve tended to direct my energy outside work and family to following a Twitter list I created with political feeds. I called it my “Doomscrolling” list. I came to my senses this week and deleted the list, leaving my other Twitter lists focusing on faith, sports, and video gaming.

This is the third Doomscrolling list I’ve deleted on my Twitter account. I created this last one as the last weeks of the presidential campaign heated up. I even clung to it during my private retreat a couple of weeks ago, a few days after the election.

I’ve been steeped in anxiety and anger for months now, alternating my attention between the pandemic and politics; sometimes the two areas would overlap. Sometimes my thoughts about faith would in turn overlap with these other areas. But more often than not, the pandemic and politics would suffocate my attention to faith.

I’m long past the point where I’ve burned out on politics. (At this point, I pray to be secure enough in the knowledge that God has got this, and that the transition crisis will be resolved.) But I remain anxious – and am perhaps more so than ever – about the spread of the coronavirus. This, too, needs to be entrusted to God, but not without action on our parts: We will certainly continue to be masked and sanitized and close to home as much as possible. That said, it’s easier to weave faith into our pandemic life; I find myself praying a lot for people, particularly those who have lost loved ones to the virus or are otherwise in the thick of this latest wave of infections. Even on Twitter, I pray along a lot more as I come across requests for prayer and other needs.

But I have a long way to go in keeping my anxieties in check, persisting in prayer, and trusting in God.

Have I mentioned how much I hate it when a meeting is composed of somebody reading aloud a PowerPoint slide YOU CAN READ YOURSELF???

Chick fil A breakfast. Errands. Baked mini muffins with F. Viewed a few YouTube links from my sister.

Now streaming two archived games from August 21 – Houston-San Diego and White Sox-Cubs – and waiting for my Advil/Tylenol cocktail to kick in. Gonna start assembling split pea soup and baking bread in an hour.

Not an exciting day. But a day of rest I kind of needed.

Just threw 25 bucks at MLB.TV for video archive access to the past season. Self-soothing on this mental health day off by bingeing Padres and White Sox broadcasts.

I am so glad I’m taking a long staycation break the week of November 2. I anticipate a lot of napping early in the week – and either celebrating or planning our move to New Zealand, depending on how the election turns out.

I watched maybe 5 minutes of this debate before I exceeded my daily usage of the term “fucking moron” at the screen, and my husband shooed me out of the room before I had a stroke.

So I stuck around long enough to hear Biden make my point that the Dems couldn’t get anything done during the “do-nothing” Obama administration because of a Republican Congress. Then I screamed “fucking moron” at President Crazypants one more time at the screen, and went on my way.

I’ve done my part for democracy for today.

I’m a sucker for a close Senate campaign race. I’ve contributed to Gideon, Harrison, McGrath, Greenfield, and now Hegar. All small-potatoes donations, but I have never been so desperate to get one guy (supported by these candidates’ incumbent foes) out of office.

Got this yesterday. Hoping this exempts me from exposure to campaign ads for the rest of the season. (And thank you to my poll-working spouse for hand-delivering my ballot to the county election commission the other day.)

The mail came today.

Chris came home today after finally wrapping up his Census gig in Des Moines. He arrived with gifts.

There was actually a time when I listened to Rush Limbaugh.

More than 20 years ago, I was dating someone who found Limbaugh entertaining and not as awful as the media made him out to be. (He also thought Newt Gingrich to be an innovative thinker, and that health care was not a right.) So, I tuned in every weekday afternoon for a time, and I did find him somewhat entertaining at first. He seemed to be outrageous for its own sake, like Howard Stern or (another radio personality I listened to regularly at the time) Don Imus. Eventually, though, I realized how much of a repulsive one-note wonder he really was, and tuned out.

I no longer speak to the guy who introduced me to Rush Limbaugh. When I see him online at all, he’s usually talking about basketball. I’m almost afraid to find out where he is politically now.

I have family members who text in ALL CAPS as a matter of course, and I generally ignore their texts. I would suggest this approach when it comes to Twitter, too.

What the 12-year-old does on her phone these days.

Mood.

Winslow is all of us.

Baseball always helps when the state of the nation leaves one anxious.

This morning, I taught Frannie the word “schadenfreude.”

Rambling conference call on a Friday afternoon when you have a head cold < ramming white-hot steel pokers in both eyes

Last week: apple picking. This week: first attempt at a very easy apple crisp. Unfortunately, I was low on cinnamon, but it still worked well, especially with a bit of Culver’s frozen custard.

Had to ask the 12-year-old who Travis Scott is. I’m not nearly as embarrassed by that as I am by the fact that I learned he was a thing while waiting in a McDonald’s drive-thru line.