Dear Potential Confirmation Sponsors:

Just Be God’s: A Call to Continuing Conversion is a series of blog posts. You might want to start reading it from the beginning: Here.

All of the Sponsors!

I sent this message out to about 15 friends inviting them to sponsor me for confirmation:

2/24/2014 Gmail – Becoming Catholic. Being Protestant.

Paige to ALL THE SPONSORS!

Hello friends!

So, if you didn’t know, I’ve been going to RCIA this past school year (YAY! or NAY?!) and I’m in that whole getting confirmed discernment process with a bunch of BC upperclassmen. So much fun, and also kind of weird considering I’m like a “real” adult to them with a theology degree and super raised Christian and all that. Anyway, I wanted to invite YOU to be my AMAZING sponsor.

I know what you’re thinking, “Paige, I know I will be an amazing sponsor to you, teaching you all our secret catholic handshakes and things, but what about all these OTHER people on this email?” Welp, it was a weird conversation in RCIA the other day, “Can one person sponsor two people?” Yes. “Can many people sponsor one person?” Yes.

So there you have it. You may all sponsor me.

Will I, or won’t I get confirmed? Probably, I will… Will I stop attending mass? Probably not. Will I still preach/attend at the Brookline Church of Christ, or any other variety of church services? Probably yes. Will agree with everything the Catholic church teaches? Probably not. Will I post an impossible amount of Francis memes? Possibly yes. These and many more questions will soon be answered. 

So, as a sponsor, I think you have some responsibilities, like coming to some special masses, hang out with the bishop, write to the cardinal, tweet at Francis, bake me cookies etc. Generally keep me in line. Potential time of confirmation will be the Sunday AFTER Easter at the nine p.m. mass. Lots of undergrads.

All encouragements, criticisms, questions, and concerns regarding this are very welcome!

Is there anyone else i should inform and invite to the sponsor team? “Reply all” if you so desire.

Peace be with you, paige 

Mike: I thought you only had one sponsor?

Paige to Mike: traditionally yes, but it’s not a hard and fast rule… according to stm grad student guy who helps with rcia.

Kate:

Yayyyy confirmation and coming into full communion!

So I won’t be able to be there for the Mass. Is that ok? Can I still be a sponsor?

I will of course cyber support you in any way possible.

Congrats! Kate

Mom to Paige: So then you can be a “Non­denominational Catholic Protestant” like me! xoxo yo mamma Sent from my iPhone

Margaret to Paige

I love this. And you. And I am thrilled to sponsor you. I will most definitely be at the mass. And happy to tweet francis, bake you cookies, etc.

Peace be with YOU great one, margaret

“The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart.” ― Dorothy Day

Cheryl to Paige:

Oh Paige! How exciting! I’m so excited to join you on this spiritual journey! You will be in my thought and prayers as you prepare!!! Did you tell the peeps at Tobar Mhuire? Fr. Mel would be sooo proud of you! haha! Man, I miss those priest!

Love you! Cheryl

Dave to Paige:

Dearest Paige, Congratulations! I am so very happy that you are perhaps going to (possibly) join the Church. Now that you’re thinking about it I can less ecumenical and capitalize Church, because that’s how all the insiders know it’s THE Church. I could’ve slipped you some chrism a long time ago (I didn’t realize your baptism was valid ­ hence the purported need for surprise baptisms, which I think Kate actually tried once, right?) although the sacrament would have been neither licit nor valid. What secret handshakes have you learned? Unless, of course, you haven’t learned any, in which case that’s silly talk. Silly Paige! Thinking the Catholic Church has secrets… But I digress.

I’d love to be a sponsor, although I have many doubts about being able to be in Boston after Easter. So that limits my potential, or perhaps even destroys it. However, I do have a few other little plans to do my part in your journey… we’ll see if I am actually organized enough to get them done. I have high hopes, given how long I’ve been planning your surprise baptism.

And with your spirit, Dave

Paige to All:

Hello Sponsors! (I assume all of you are my sponsors.)

First, I want to thank all of you for your most gracious responses (they have been lovely).

Secondly, I want to let you know of things that are coming up that you should choose to attend, live tweet, skype in, object to, photograph, video, etc etc etc etc. I am approaching “The Rite of Sending.” Where we apparently begin (Feb 23 10:15 in the Height’s Room BC) a two week walk (not literally) to the Cathedral where there is the “Rite of Election” that takes place sometime in the afternoon on Sunday March 9th. I still don’t totally get it, but you should come! (Especially Margaret.)

Lastly, it’s been a very exciting semester of RCIA thus far. We’ve talked about sex, and baptism and some other sacraments, and Bibley stuff, and it’s been canceled TWICE on account of snow (even though everyone involved lives within or less than a mile from campus). Ok, well, it’s not THAT exciting… Also, because I don’t understand all the sacraments (or any?), I bought Joseph Martos’ book to learn. Any sacramental insight would be most welcome. Also, if you are somehow scandalized or offended by these weirdo updates, or would like to be removed from my sponsorship list, please let me know.

Love, Paige

Kate to Paige

Martos is a good historical introduction to the sacraments, but I wouldn’t count on it for much beyond an introduction.

Not really sure what the Rite of Sending and Rite of Election are, since I haven’t studied the RCIA, but since I’m currently reading about the origins of Lent for my exams, here’s my thoughts.

The Rite of Election is probably a modern RCIA version of when the bishop agreed to take on the catechumens who had been “elected” for baptism during the upcoming Easter vigil. Then, beginning with Lent, they began their pre­baptismal fast and instructional series. The bishop spent a few hours each morning teaching the baptismal candidates about the scriptures, doctrinal issues, and the Creed. These weeks of instruction were interspersed with rites of exorcism and renunciation of the devil/wicked ways/the world. They were not, however, taught anything about the sacraments, except that their upcoming baptism would be a complete break with their previous life and would be eternal. Then on the Easter vigil they were baptized, anointed, and received first communion. They attended Mass every day in the week that followed, being instructed during the sermons on the mysteries which they had undergone (mystagogical sermons)­ ­these sermons explained, using scripture, what the sacraments of initiation meant.

This pattern of election, fasting, instruction and celebration of the sacraments, climaxing at the Easter vigil, was a liturgical innovation of the 4th century, necessitated by the large numbers of pagans who wanted to become Christian. Although this pattern was really only necessary for a century or two, it was incredibly popular among the already­ baptized, who prayed and fasted along with the baptismal candidates and who likewise enjoyed the catechetical and mystogogical sermons. In time, it was only babies who would be enrolled and elected, who underwent the scrutinies and exorcisms, and who were baptized at Easter; but the pattern of communal prayer, fasting, penitence, and paschal expectation endured (since it really was a very good innovation) for centuries. Over the course of the Middle Ages, the Easter Vigil became moved to a Saturday morning liturgy. It was not until the 1950s that the vigil in the evening was restored (and it became very popular). Furthermore, it wasn’t until after the reforms following Vatican II that the RCIA came into being, modeled upon this early Christian pattern, and restoring the original baptismal meaning to Lent.

So, there’s my contribution for the connection between Lent and the process you’re going through. I’d be happy to answer any questions!

LOTS OF LOVE (and maybe an upcoming Catholic Meme cheering you on), Kate

Clarissa to Paige

Yo Paige ­ I’ve sat down to write an e­mail to you twice but it time keeps getting away from me. First of all congrats on making it this far. And secondly, I’m honored that you would ask me to be one of your army of sponsors. That’s quite special. I can’t make it physically to Boston for the Mass, but thanks for the invites.

I’m not sure what you need from me from afar but I will certainly be praying for you as you prepare for the Sacraments (wait, did you take Bader’s Sacraments class with me?).

Man, this is exciting stuff.

How are things/life in Boston other wise? Let me know if you make it out to the Midwest and maybe we can rendevous in a cornfield in Illinois or Indiana.

Peace, Clarissa

Kevin to Paige

Awesome ­ yay can’t wait to go to Easter mass with u!!!!!!

Margaret to Paige

I accept these invitations and will do what I can about the sacraments… hmmm… 10:15 is MAD late. I’ll think about it, but wanted to let you know that YES i’ll be spiritually present there.

Margaret

Margaret to Paige

Also… Dorothy Day is my favorite person who talks about the Eucharist. Confirmation is slightly confusing to me. I get marriage… even though I’m not… That’s all I have for the moment…

Paige to Margaret:

Come on! We can dress in sweats and hoodies and pose like undergrads. It’s ok. You and Doug are the most likely to attend any of the crazy RCIA masses. I think I have to be there at 9:45, and we’re supposed to have some sponsor there. Could you make it on March 9th?

Dorothy Day does talk great about the Eucharist! I do enjoy her style. Kind of how I feel.

Yeah, maybe I should start by reading about confirmation, it probably is the most confusing.

I don’t even get marriage.

The only things that make sense to me are pretty much baptism and eucharist, but that’s because I’m a protestant…. I don’t know why foot­washing isn’t a sacrament…

Heart, Paige

Margaret to Paige

Aright I’ll stop being a flake. Count me in.

Chris to Paige

Hi Paige!

Congratulations!! Now I really wish we made that Inception video with you and Tom Groome.

I can honestly say that the Catholic Church will be better off with you as an official member. I’m really proud of you for making this decision and taking this journey. I’m sure it can be hard and a bit scary (the sacraments and parish­based formation often are), so I really look up to you for exploring and following how God is calling you. Your passion for the faith is something I always admired. I know we all studied theology but I often got the feeling that you were one of the few who really knows and loves Christ. And you going through RCIA is just another example of how you have challenged me to live out my faith better. So congrats.

As for being one of your sponsors, I am incredibly honored and couldn’t be happier to help. However, I don’t know if I can make it to much. I can’t make the Rite of Sending today, and I’m going to be getting back to NYC from a trip with some students on March 9th during your Rite of Election. If I’m reading your email correctly and your actual Confirmation is April 27th (the Sunday after Easter), then I should be able to make that at least. So if that means that I can’t be one of your formal sponsors, that’s fine. I will be praying for you anyway.

Well, I hope everything else is going well. I can’t wait to see and hang out with you again. Good luck with everything and let me know if there’s anything I can do.

Sincerely, Chris

7 Things I’ve Learned Roasting My Own Coffee

img_4347Going from buying fancy coffee to roasting your own coffee is insanely easy. I wrote about it in the last post, and with very little (money and time), you can be your own roaster.

You could roast on your grill, in the oven, on the stove in a cast iron pan… The whole process can be very raw and earthy – fire, bean, water… As for my own roasting craze, I’m not even sure if it was my idea or if Steve planted it in my head. I’m not even sure if I started with the popcorn air popper or the stovetop whirly popper. But I did have them both at the same time. I killed the air popper in a few roasts… After about a year, the gears on the whirly popper give out, and I have to make good on their lifetime warranty. I’m on my 3rd lid. Now, with a friend’s generous investment, I have a Behmor 1600+. It’s basically an expensive toaster oven for coffee.

I began with the popcorn popper and green beans from Sweet Maria’s. Sweet Maria’s sells new roaster kits and all the instructions, tips, and tricks you could want.

Every coffee and roast can be different. The average coffee drinker lives in the dark roasts. But seriously, a light to medium, freshly roasted coffee is where it’s at.

Things I’ve learned:

  1. Coffee expands but loses weight while roasting. So, 8oz green = about 6.5oz roasted.
  2. Coffee doesn’t taste good right after you roast it. It doesn’t even smell like coffee. It takes at least 3 days before it’s at its most awesome.
  3. When roasting, coffee “cracks”. Like when you’re popping popcorn, you get really distinct snaps. Once those first snaps end (“first crack”), you have drinkable coffee, and hopefully a light roast.
  4. It also cracks again, called “second crack.” This is where your bean is like crackling like it’s on fire. That’s where the dark roasts begin and end. If you get through 2nd crack, you’re beans are basically ash.
  5. Second crack is also where all those oily beans come from. If your beans are oily, they went into 2nd crack.
  6. Espresso is mostly just a way of brewing, not a bean. Any bean (and roast) can be espresso, but certain beans (and blends of beans) and roasts make better espresso.
  7. Country, altitude, processing, bean type, infusion, roast, water, brew method, filter, and on and on are all variables in a delicious cup.
img_4469
A guide to roast level. Who cares if it tastes good?

To roast a batch of coffee, 8oz, takes anywhere from 10-20 minutes. I know my stove, and I know my Whirly, and I know my thermometer. I aim for finishing first crack and no second crack.

Over 20 batches in, and I’m still working out all the options on the Behmor – the variables and precision is amazing. So, for every bean I get, I can try something different.

Now, I’m selling coffee with the intention of breaking even enough to buy and try more. It is quite the hobby. If you want any, just leave a comment!

 

Protestant and Catholic Sacraments

“Lord’s Supper”

Just Be God’s: A Call to Continuing Conversion is a series of blog posts. You might want to start reading it from the beginning: Here.

February 20

Something weird happened to me the other day. My buddy, who was/is Catholic, not sure, kind of annoyed me. It was a weird feeling because I felt defensive of the Catholic church. I felt like an annoyed/offended Catholic. I felt kind of judged and maybe even attacked and maybe even silly for some of the choices that I make. Now, my buddy would feel so bad if he knew any of this. He doesn’t want to annoy me or offend me, and when he thinks he does, he feels so bad.

I was talking about the paperwork that goes into Catholicy wedding things, and he said something along the lines of “Maybe just not do any of that bs.” Essentially, a Catholic wedding. Maybe I sounded like I was annoyed at all the paperwork and he was trying to empathize? That actually makes more sense. But the fact is, wedding planning is a lot of paperwork no matter where/how you do it. Sure, there are ways around it, like, don’t invite anyone, but otherwise, it’s a serious ordeal. And no doubt, when/if he gets married, it will be a serious ordeal for him.

Even though he says, “Maybe not do any of that bs.” I know his present girlfriend will be all about a super liturgy. She doesn’t want a Catholic wedding, and that’s fine, but she wants a wedding in a church, and any church wedding requires “that bs.” I felt a little caught off guard because Steve wants a Catholic wedding (because he’s Catholic), and I’m perfectly fine with a Catholic wedding (maybe even also want it), and I didn’t like my decision to be okay with a Catholic wedding to constitute as any more BSy than any other type of church wedding.

Again, I don’t really think my friend meant any harm by it, he just says those things sometimes as a way of empathizing with a potentially crappy process. Like confirmation!

Marriage is a sacrament, and like confirmation, there are all these rites and rules, and there is no bending any of it to be “officially sanctioned” somehow by the Church as a-okay! Now you’re married and can have sex and babies. Just like confirmation (kind of), you get “officially sanctioned” as a-okay by the church to, I don’t know, take communion? Be fully in grace? I have no idea.

If you’re an adult you get all the sacraments at once: baptism, confirmation, [confession], communion. And if you’re raised Catholic it’s baptism, confession, communion, confirmation, all spread out over about 13 years.

Anyway, I just needed to get this Catholic defensive feeling off my chest, because I didn’t really like it.

June 8, 2016

I barely remember this day, and this day seems like I was very annoyed. There were a couple things going on. First, I had just recently become engaged, and the the first couple months of wedding planning are the worst. It is exhausting, and I wasn’t Catholic, planning a Catholic wedding. Looking back, it probably was a lot of bs. The paperwork is ridiculous. On the other hand, this meticulous record keeping is part of what keeps the Catholic church in business. In that sense, I get it.

But the part of this entry that got to me was the part about the rites and rules and steps that a person must take in order to par-take in something in the church. I know it’s all holy and sacramental and all that, and no one is perfect, but I still don’t get confirmation. I get these things on a very trivial level. Let me explain the sacraments in Protestanty terms: 

  1. Catholic Baptism—For Protestants this is like a baby-dedication. We’re initiating this child into the community and committing to training this child in Catholicy things.
  2. Catholic Communion—Protestant Cracker and juice. Think about Jesus.
  3. Catholic Confession—Protestant Feel sorry for your sins, confess them to someone.
  4. Catholic Confirmation—That member training/teaching that some Protestant churches do before you place membership. Confirmation and confession in the Catholic church are kind of like baptism in some protestant churches— at this point, you know you’re sinful, and you know what the church is about, so commit with baptism.
  5. Catholic/Protestant Marriage—Now you can have sex.
  6. Catholic Ordination—Protestant Process of becoming a church leader.
  7. Catholic Healing the sick—Protestant Caring for others.

All that to say, I still don’t get confirmation, and I do get why people don’t want to do it. It is extreme.

From Specialty Coffee to Roasting

img_4464Where to begin? I’ve been roasting coffee for about three years now. Why roast, Paige? It started as a money saving, good stewardship thing. Coffee is grown in the poorest parts of the world, and buying good coffee can help sustain good communities. But for every exchange of hands: from farmers, to green, to roaster, to shop, to your cup, the price goes up linearly 3x-4x.

$1 per pound –> $3 green –> $9 roasted –> to like a million dollars for a Frappaccino

$1 per pound is not a fair trade price. The same way I shop at local businesses, buy second hand clothes, and since I drink coffee everyday, I wanted to make good coffee decisions.

In Boston, I investigated all the specialty coffee places (new and old ones were popping up like every week), stumptown, intelligentsia, blue state, fuel, and George Howell. George Howell is the man, and he schooled me on this whole “fair trade” “organic” business. Buying fair trade and organic is a good way to insure good coffee, but it’s at a cost to the growers for the label. THE LABEL. You might be fair trade, i.e. buying coffee for a very fair price, and/or organic, i.e. not using certain pesticides, etc., but until you buy that label…Nobody cares. Well, some buyers do, and if you buy from a specialty store claiming “direct trade” – no middle fair trade person, then it’s probably pretty great. Though, I’m pretty sure even that term is Trade Marked now… At Sweet Maria’s they call their direct trade program “Farm Gate” and you can read about it here.

Most, if not all, specialty coffee is going to be bought at a fair price and not using pesticides because they care about the cup.

So, I’m buying my two weeks worth of roasted coffee at like, $15-20 per pound (really like 12oz) from a local roaster in Florida who gets his beans directly from a coffee farmer in a coffee shop that is half a pentecostal church, and I feel good about it. Yeah, it’s still cheaper than buying out, but it’s still too expensive. I make a quick jump from buying fancy coffee to roasting my own fancy coffee.

I started roasting, and I was amazed at how insanely easy and cost efficient it is to make an outstanding cup of coffee. And I will write about that in the next post.

If you want to learn (and buy) more about roasting your own coffee, pretty much anything and everything about coffee, you should check out Sweet Maria’s. They are a business based in San Francisco and all their green coffee and gear is outstanding.

Also, I love all the Seattle Coffee Gear videos if you want to learn about all coffee gadgets.

Mystery and Desire

Just Be God’s: A Call to Continuing Conversion is a series of blog posts. You might want to start reading it from the beginning: Here.

February 18

I just read a little piece on DailyTheology.org here: http://dailytheology.org/2014/02/18/living-the-questions/

It’s about a High School teacher in theology in Massachusetts. It’s a nice piece about the mystery that is God.

I find myself at this point where I’m half in one place an half someplace else. I just want to be in the other place, the place I’m not in right now. I want to be out of my job. I want to be married. I want to be in Florida. And I want to be Catholic. It’s strange how I have gotten here, but I feel less waiting now and more readiness.

I don’t know exactly what is compelling me to question less and do the confirmation. It’s because I have already asked a lot of questions, I don’t have all the answers, some of the answers aren’t even adequate, but I still want to go through with confirmation. Is there worry or fear or wonder? Of course, and maybe that’s part of the draw. Will there be a drastic cultural shift or no? I don’t know.

I started reading a textbook on the sacraments because I don’t know them. I don’t think that it will greatly change my mind or even make me feel more secure in the Catholic choices I’ve made thus far, but I want to learn. Not taking a course on the sacraments was another short-coming of my dual-degree program. But alas, I wasn’t in it to become Catholic, or to teach Catholic things. I was in it to become a counselor, and now look at me.

Late Catholic Paperwork!

Just Be God’s: A Call to Continuing Conversion is a series of blog posts. You might want to start reading it from the beginning: Here.

February 10

This morning, I was thinking about how I had to fill out my Catholic paper work, but I never heard back from Sr. Mary about if she was able to open it and get it in in time. Part of me was like, “Oh well, that’s okay.” But then another part of me was like, “No! I don’t want to have to do this again!” Like, if I miss my confirmation window this round, I won’t have the wherewithal to do it again.

I would be strangely sad and annoyed if I was “too late” The paperwork for the bishop looks quite strict, like, “If you don’t get this to us by the date, then you can’t become Catholic until next year.” It’s disheartening. Then in some ways, maybe it’s a nice thing, because obviously no one is like super worried for my Protestant soul.

I guess I would be pretty sad if my impending Catholicism was postponed on account of a technicality and the strictness of the Boston diocese. My parents already have tickets to come out and see the Confirmation. But it’s nerve-racking not hearing from Sr. Mary… I’m sad about it.

Other things that feel awkward about confirmation— another nine p.m. mass. It’s all undergrads.

And that is really close to my bedtime.