Friday Flannery

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Good news for fans of Miss O’Connor! She will be featured on a new U.S. Postal stamp which will be available for purchase beginning in June.

  

In his 2009 biography “Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor,” Brad Gooch wrote, “O’Connor said that modern writers must often tell ‘perverse’ stories to ‘shock’ a morally blind world. ‘It requires considerable courage,’ she concluded, ‘not to turn away from the story-teller.'” 

Read about it here.

On Ireland

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It is likely too much has already been written, said, argued, and spewed all over news sites and social media. I don’t have much to add but I’d like to highlight two columns worth reading.

The first is, Spare a thought for those who voted No in Ireland. It’s a thoughtful column from a reluctant Yes voter. Edwards notes that this was something of a head vs heart battle. Which leaves me wondering: will heart always win given our current degraded state?

The second piece is Rod Dreher’s long and challenging column,  The gay rights revolution in Ireland. It’s well worth engaging for its depth and his sober assessment of the situation well beyond Ireland. 

Finally a bit of news which Mr. Fry seems to have missed in his bid to outdo the late Oscar Wilde in decadence and debauchery. Wilde repented of his sins and was received into the Catholic Church before his death. There is hope for everyone.
  

Friday Flannery

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Sometimes I work for months and have to throw everything away, but I don’t think of that as time wasted. Something goes on that makes it easier when it does come well. And the fact is if you don’t sit there every day, the day it would come well, you won’t be sitting there.”


Read a reflection on Flannery O’Connor as creative writing tutor from Daniel McInerny here.

You can’t be serious!

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I’m not sure why anyone still takes religious feminists seriously. On the one hand, they argue they are not liberals because their movement traces back to 19th century women such as Catherine Booth. On the other had, they offer this installment in their Women’s History Month series in which it is claimed the Little Flower might have been a priest if she hadn’t had the misfortune to be born in the rotten old 19th century (emphasis added):

Thérèse is exceptional because she lived out her vocation of love with pure and honest sincerity within her context: the convent in Lisieux. That Thérèse was called to a hidden life seems obvious to those of us who have benefitted from her straightforward wisdom, but she struggled with her vocation on occasion, saying, “I want to be a warrior, a priest, an apostle, a doctor of the Church, a martyr… If only I were a priest!” (Story of a Soul, ch. 11). We all struggle with God’s call for our lives at some point. We compare ourselves to others and create misguided dreams and expectations of what we think God should want for us when most of the time all he wants is ourselves, obedient in the context he’s given to us. However, I can’t help but notice that if Thérèse had been called to be a warrior, a priest, an apostle, she would have been prohibited because of her gender and the time in which she lived.

The irony is that after her death Thérèse became all of the things she longed to be. She ministers to us and fights for the faith through her simple words of devotion and confidence in the love of God. She even became a doctor of the Church! As I reflect on Thérèse’s vocation and ponder my own, I am thankful for the options I have to live out a vocation of love. If God so leads me, I have the ability to minister to his people. Let us continue to live the little way, creating the space for all of God’s people, both men and women, to follow wherever God’s love might lead.

Aside from all the irony in that article, the inconsistent arguments made by feminists are, well, mind-boggling.  Which is it? Were women recognized as preachers in the 19th century, or were they denied such outlets because of their benighted times?

Whichever way it was seems to depend on whch will help advance the cause at the moment. 

Friday Flannery: Responding to Pablum

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Holding high the banner of a mythic “homophobia”, Vicky Beeching calls for love. But this love she calls for is really no love at all. It is a mindless affirmation, completely lacking discernment and truth. She is quite wrong about choice. When we come to Christ, when we arrive at the foot of the cross, if we wish to follow him, we must leave all of our identities behind save one – that we are children of God, called to holiness. We must leave aside our sinful inclinations and orientations, including my sloth as well as her sexual orientation towards members of her own sex. 

Beeching is an attractive woman with a winsome way. What better spokesman could the UN choose for their  Free & Equal campaign? But I hope we all know better than to take theological instruction from a representative of that particular organization. Yes, we are all created to be loved. But, as the saying goes, God loves us too much to leave us where He finds us. 

Now, on to Miss O’Connor:

What people don’t realize is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross. It is much harder to believe than not to believe. If you feel you can’t believe, you must at least do this: keep an open mind. Keep it open toward faith, keep wanting it, keep asking for it, and leave the rest to God. 

The Habit of Being, Letters of Flannery O’Connor

Cooking Adventures in the New Year

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I’m not sure how I managed it, but I ran completely out of peppercorns today! That was on top of the large crockpot dying earlier this week. But everything was salvaged and turned out nicely. In fact, the dish intended for the crockpot is rich and gorgeous
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First up is a rich and warming, but not overwhelming soup. It started out as eggplant stew, but I decided it would be better puréed.

Thick Eggplant and a Tomato Soup

2 eggplants, peeled and cubed
2 large cans of tomatoes (whole, crushed or puréed are all fine)
2 large onions, diced
3-4 cloves garlic
2-3 T Ras El Hanout
Salt, pepper and sugar to taste

Place the onions, eggplant, tomatoes, and Ras El Hanout in a large Dutch oven. Cook at 350 for 2-3 hours, until vegetables are very tender.

Mash and chop garlic, let stand at room temp for 20-30 minutes, then stir into stew and turn off heat. When it is cool enough to purée, adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and sugar. Purée and serve over rice or with something crunchy like pita chips.

Since this is a vegetarian dish, I topped mine with some crumbled goat cheese. Feta would work as well. You can also toss in some chick peas after it’s all puréed.

Gorgeous!

Today, I also split a head of cabbage between a simple soup with Turkey bone broth. I’ll season/change it up when I serve it. Right now, it’s a good, easy to fancy up, way to preserve the extra cabbage.

With the rest of the cabbage, I made my favourite version of cole slaw. You can use a traditional cole slaw dressing with the cabbage, then add chopped pineapple, mandarin oranges, diced red bell pepper, and poppy seeds. Toss and refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

It was a yummy day in the kitchen.

Winter Cooking

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Yes, I know Asparagus is traditionally a spring vegetable. But, for some reason, it seems to be everywhere this week, at very good prices, and looking young and tender. I’m making a fairly simple soup with it including chicken broth, garlic and sweet onion (plus salt and pepper, of course!). When it’s finished cooking, I will blend it until smooth, add the reserved tips to cook for a few minutes then turn the heat off and stir in some heavy cream to finish it. I’ll experiment with Chervil and Tarragon as garnishes when I eat it.

Today’s other dish is a long-time favourite and something I take absolutely no credit for. I owe it all to Delia Smith, one of Great Britain’s cookery mavens. Traditional Braised Red Cabbage with Apples has been a star for me at many a pot luck. I’ve made just a few tweeks: changing the vinegar to Apple Cider Vinegar, I use Granny Smith Apples and tend to let it cook a bit longer. It’s a great dish to serve with brats or the iconic British dish, Sausage and Mash and would be outstanding with a venison or other game roast. It also freezes and reheats well.

All of which reminds me, I hope I have some brats for tomorrow’s lunch …

Friday Flannery (5)

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“If other ages felt less, they saw more, even though they saw with the blind, prophetical, unsentimental eye of acceptance, which is to say, of faith. In the absence of this faith now, we govern by tenderness. It is a tenderness which, long cut off from the person of Christ, is wrapped in theory. When tenderness is detached from the source of tenderness, its logical outcome is terror. It ends in forced-labor camps and in the fumes of the gas chamber.”

— from, Mystery and Manners