Saturday, March 19, 2011


First up, James M. Kushiner's post "Discretionary Saving" is about what it means to be a saint, and it's good reading for Lent. He says,
Since holy means “set apart” for God, it follows that our thoughts and actions that are negotiable, or what we describe in monetary terms as “discretionary spending,” should be given over to divine things. You could say that our discretionary time should be spent “laying up treasures in heaven,” or what we might call “discretionary saving.”
He goes on to talk about what those "divine things" are: not just prayer and Bible study (though certainly those), but also "corporeal works of mercy", like feeding the poor, and he talks about why those acts of mercy are part of becoming a saint.

It's a very good and challenging post.

And then, more on holiness, is Quotidian Moments' post "Duties of My State in Life". After pointing out that introverts might be tempted to escape their duties not by doing a million outside activities but rather by reading and writing and praying too much (ouch!), she says,
Every once in a while, I used to search online to find exactly WHAT were the duties of my state in life. But the answer is simple -- it is my husband and children, my parents, and more generally, the practice of a Christian married life. I think I was probably searching to find the minimum so I could check off "duties done for the day." I suppose I was also looking for a way to feel good about myself -- sort of a grading scale. I did that and that and that, which adds up to holiness! But it's not so easy, when St Augustin says quite clearly the Church's teaching that we don't "earn" God's help nor can we expect to please Him by trying to get by with a passing grade.
The rest of the post can be found here.

Speaking of daily duties, one of the ways I find good books to read to the kids is by haunting the blogs of children's book authors, because they're always one top of the latest buzz in what is, after all, their own business. My favorite for this purpose is Melissa Wiley. She writes posts like this and all of the sudden we have our library list for the week. (I keep her post open in one tab and my library's website open in the other and flip back and forth, requesting, requesting, requesting.) From that specific post, I can definitely vouch for "Chalk", "Shark Vs. Train", and "Flora's Very Windy Day".
And, speaking of books, Semicolon's weekly book review linky is up, and it's a great way to find many, many things to add to your own TBR pile.
And through Semicolon's link, I found this excellent post, "The Truth About Homeschooling, Part I". An excerpt:
Socialization is probably the most hot button word in the homeschooling world. Just mention the word and homeschoolers immediately become defensive. First you’ll hear the argument that socialization and socializing are different. That is true. It’s also true that most people who bring up socialization really mean socializing but we know what they mean and we don’t win any points by splitting hairs over definitions. Then you’ll hear homeschoolers categorically deny that either of these is an issue. Type in “socialization and homeschoolers” on Google and you’ll get a bunch of articles and blogs and reports that all spout statistics showing that neither socialization or socializing or anything of the sort is, has ever been, or ever will be an issue for homeschooled kids.

The truth?

Socialization and socializing are issues for homeschoolers.

Reading something like that makes me give a slight sigh, Ah, and go on to read the rest, relieved to know I'm hearing a truth deeper than the party line, and yet something that's not depressed, but just clear-headed. Instead of saying, "This isn't an issue," this post says, "this is an issue, but if you don't ignore it, it's not an issue that lacks a satisfactory solution." Very helpful, to me at least.


Matthew Green said...

Perhaps I'm the introvert trying to avoid my duties, but when I look at Kushiner's discretionary time concept, I bristle a bit at the thought that time should be spent on "divine things". Perhaps it's semantics, but my feeling is that perhaps it should be spent on redeemed things. His delineation of divine things feels somewhat forced in its attempt to be moral. Is it possible to engage in activities such as art or study in relationship with the Spirit such that these, too, are in accordance with the design of the human person in its creativity and relationality, both divine and human? Assuming Newton or Bach worked in concert with the Holy Spirit as they did so, was their work any less valuable in the Father's eyes than, say, MLKJr? And what do you do with Ecclesiastes where it repeatedly notes that man's place is to enjoy his work and whatever he finds to do?
Not that Kushiner's point is invalid or that the things he delineates under divine things is bad or wrong. Scripture does indeed advocate scripture study and care for the needy, and so such things should be incorporated into our time, but I just wonder if it's overall too narrow a view.
But perhaps I'm just being picky...

Jessica said...

I see what you mean - and I like the suggestion of "redeemed things". But, for me personally, this does prod me in the direction I feel I need to go: towards giving more of my discretionary time to the Lord than I do.

"Is it possible to engage in activities such as art or study in relationship with the Spirit such that these, too, are in accordance with the design of the human person in its creativity and relationality, both divine and human?"

Well, to this, I'd say "yes". :D