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Patreon! My podcast! And dignity. Always dignity.

My husband says that I have many skills, but self-promotion is not one of them.

He is correct.

Here are two things that I haven’t been able to bring myself to tell you about, even though I’m hoping they will, you know, succeed and make me money or whatever.

FIRST THING: I have a podcast. Damien and I have been doing 27-minute* podcasts which do not at all labor under that awful burden of too much polish. Nope, I will never ever say “Wypchać się sianem!” Nor will I overproduce, overthink, or over-prepare for one of these podcasts. Last time, for instance, we explained what not to do about ice dams on your roof, we accused each other of various misdeeds with soup, and I praised Mariah Carey’s beautiful tush.

HOW can you hear this amazing podcast? You can become a patron through Patreon. That’s SECOND THING.

As you can see, this blog does not have any ads on it. This provides a beautiful, uncluttered reading experience. It also keeps my bank account from becoming cluttered with money. In the interest of feng shui, I’d like to balance out the zero advertising dollars with dollars coming in from somewhere else, because of my wretched attachment to things like groceries and electricity.

This site will always be free to read. With Patreon, masochists readers can keep it going by, well, sending me money; and as a thank-you, I send various perks.

Here’s how that works:

If you sign up to pledge a dollar a month — A DOLLAR A MONTH! — you get access to my podcast. (I originally set the podcast pledge level at $5, but those four extra dollars have been haunting me, so $1 it is. If you pledged $5 to get the podcast and want to change your pledge to $1 now, I won’t be offended.) (See above: Not great at self-promotion.)

Here’s my Patreon pledge structure:

$1 monthly pledge makes you a Fisher of Pants (an actual phrase someone typed into Google and then ended up at my blog) and gives you access to the podcast. Every week, I’ll email you a private Soundcloud link so you can download it and listen at your leisure.

Any additional pledge earns you the podcast and also . . .

$5 monthly makes you a Little Two-Legs, and I’ll send you a Pants Pass decal.

$10 ??? Still looking for ideas. I’ve rearranged this perk structure so many times, I think I’m going to throw up, so I’m just going to leave it like this because I’m dying here.

$50 monthly makes you a Heretical Hosebeast, and gets you an autographed copy of my book, The Sinner’s Guide to NFP, OR an autographed copy of one of the other books to which I’ve contributed: Style, Sex, and Substance and Catholic and Married: Leaning Into Love.

$75 makes you a Defender of Dignity and earns you a pair of Dignaroos, which I still think is funny, even if no one else does.

$100 patrons are Actual Patrons, and I will contribute an additional $100 yearly to our partnered family in India through our favorite charity, Save a Family Plan. Hooray, I’m useful!

And finally, for $500, you can call yourself a Mensch, and I’ll mail you a nice batch homemade rugelach. Your choice, cherry or apricot, with nuts or without.

Okay, phew.

To all the amazing folks who went ahead and pledged even before I got my act together enough to tell anyone about it, thank you so much. It was enormously encouraging to me as I made the leap to an independent site, and I appreciate it so much!

To everyone else, please consider making a pledge so I can keep churning out this nonsense. And whether you pledge or not, please share this post, especially with your rich friends.

Thank you. From the bottom of Mariah Carey’s beautiful tush, thank you.

*I don’t know why.

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Additions, corrections to Greg Popcak’s book Holy Sex?

Gregory Popcak and I were chatting the other day. He’s thinking of writing a second, revised edition to his book Holy Sex!: A Catholic Guide to Toe-Curling, Mind-Blowing, Infallible Loving.

holy sex cover

If you have read it, are there things you would like to see included in any future editions (certain problems addressed, topics discussed, sections refined)? Even if you haven’t read it, are there things you would like to see addressed in a book that’s intended to help people live the Catholic vision of sexual love in a healthy way and overcome problems and struggles in a faithful manner?

Let me know in the comments, and I’ll pass it along to him. Please don’t be a jerk. Criticism is fine, but keep it factual, not personal, please!

I will admit, I haven’t read his book in a long time, so I’m not sure if I remember exactly what’s in it. My own suggestion for an expanded topic: a clear discussion about what kind of intimate behavior is moral when you’re abstaining — or at least a guide for how to judge your behavior. Some couples keep a strict hands-off policy, which may or may not work for them, and some couples think that’s everything’s okay as long as no one reaches orgasm.

I do cover this topic in my book, The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning, in the chapter called (heh heh) “Groping Toward Chastity.” I said that there are a few things which are always off limits; that we’re not supposed to try to make each other orgasm; that some behaviors are acceptable for some couples and not for others; and that we must remember that we speak through our bodies, so we should pay attention to what we are saying to each other when we do what we do with each other. I don’t know if there’s really a better answer than that, but I’d like to hear more opinions about it, anyway. In my experience, priests have no idea what to say, other than keep praying and go to confession if you think you  need to.

Oh, and I always associate the phrase “toe-curling” with sudden, severe pain, like when the baby latches on wrong. That might be just me. “Mind-blowing,” I’m okay with.

NB: It will be ten thousands times easier for me to pass along your comments if you leave comments HERE, rather than answering on Facebook or Twitter or via email. I understand that it’s a hassle, but if your goal is to really reach Greg’s ears, then that’s the way to go! Thanks.

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Additions, corrections to Greg Popcak’s book Holy Sex?

Gregory Popcak and I were chatting the other day. He’s thinking of writing a second, revised edition to his book Holy Sex!: A Catholic Guide to Toe-Curling, Mind-Blowing, Infallible Loving.

[img attachment=”78026″ size=”full” alt=”BLOG – SIMCHA – holy-sex-cover” align=”aligncenter”]

If you have read it, are there things you would like to see included in any future editions (certain problems addressed, topics discussed, sections refined)? Even if you haven’t read it, are there things you would like to see addressed in a book that’s intended to help people live the Catholic vision of sexual love in a healthy way and overcome problems and struggles in a faithful manner?

Let me know in the comments, and I’ll pass it along to him. Please don’t be a jerk. Criticism is fine, but keep it factual, not personal, please!

I will admit, I haven’t read his book in a long time, so I’m not sure if I remember exactly what’s in it. My own suggestion for an expanded topic: a clear discussion about what kind of intimate behavior is moral when you’re abstaining — or at least a guide for how to judge your behavior. Some couples keep a strict hands-off policy, which may or may not work for them, and some couples think that’s everything’s okay as long as no one reaches orgasm.

I do cover this topic in my book, The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning, in the chapter called (heh heh) “Groping Toward Chastity.” I said that there are a few things which are always off limits; that we’re not supposed to try to make each other orgasm; that some behaviors are acceptable for some couples and not for others; and that we must remember that we speak through our bodies, so we should pay attention to what we are saying to each other when we do what we do with each other. I don’t know if there’s really a better answer than that, but I’d like to hear more opinions about it, anyway. In my experience, priests have no idea what to say, other than keep praying and go to confession if you think you  need to.

Oh, and I always associate the phrase “toe-curling” with sudden, severe pain, like when the baby latches on wrong. That might be just me. “Mind-blowing,” I’m okay with.

NB: It will be ten thousands times easier for me to pass along your comments if you leave comments HERE, rather than answering on Facebook or Twitter or via email. I understand that it’s a hassle, but if your goal is to really reach Greg’s ears, then that’s the way to go! Thanks.

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Autographed books about marriage for Valentine’s Day

I’m not going to tell you to get your wife a book or two for Valentine’s Day, but IF you are VERY SURE that she would want a book or two for Valentine’s Day, here’s a deal for you: I’m offering …

 

book set valentines day

The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning (OSV list price $9.95)

and

Catholic and Married: Leaning Into Love (OSV list price $14.95) with my chapter, called “Mirrors Around a Flame: The Gift of Children”. This is a new book from OSV. You can read a nice review of it at Aleteia here.
(If the Aleteia link isn’t working, cut and paste this into your browser:
aleteia.org/en/society/article/9-wise-funny-and-totally-catholic-takes-on-marriage-5872273021992960)

both autographed by me. $12 each, $20 for both, including shipping.

*****

If you’d like to order either or both of these books,

1. Email me at simchafisher[at]gmail[dot]com and put “SIGNED BOOK REQUEST” in the subject heading.

2. Include the following information:
(a) which books you would like: just SGNFP, just CMLIL, or both
(b) exactly what you would like me to write on each book’s title page (if nothing is specified, I’ll just sign my name). If you would prefer to have them without anything written in them, please specify that.
(c) the address to which you’d like the books delivered.

If any of this information is missing, I may run out of books before we can straighten it out.

3. The cost is $12 per book or $20 for both, which includes the cost of postage and shipping materials. Please pay with PayPal. You can use the link on the right sidebar (where it says “Tip tip tip tip tip!”) or use simchafisher[at]gmail[dot]com as the recipient address. Please specify “signed book” in the “note” section. (Yes, please pay via PayPal AND send me an email. Trust me, I need the email.)

4. No Valentine’s Day orders will be accepted after February 7.  You may still order signed copies after February 7 if there are any left, but I cannot guarantee it will get to the recipient before Valentine’s Day.

5. I have a limited number of copies on hand. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. If you ask very nicely, I may be willing to give up the one I inscribed for my bishop but then chickened out and didn’t give to him.

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About the Pope’s “don’t be like rabbits” remark UPDATED

Peter-rabbit

 

 

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

First, kudos for Erin of Bearing Blog for spurring me to reread the full transcript of the Pope’s recent in-flight remarks. He didn’t precisely say “Catholics shouldn’t be like rabbits” (and he never used the word “breed” at all). What happened was that the reporter asked him what he thought about the idea that so many in the Philippines are poor because of the Church’s ban on contraception. The Pope replied:

God gives you means to be responsible. Some think that — excuse the language — that in order to be good Catholics, we have to be like rabbits. No. Responsible parenthood. This is clear and that is why in the Church there are marriage groups, there are experts in this matter, there are pastors, one can search; and I know so many ways that are licit and that have helped this. You did well to ask me this.

Another curious thing in relation to this is that for the most poor people, a child is a treasure. It is true that you have to be prudent here too, but for them a child is a treasure. Some would say ‘God knows how to help me’ and perhaps some of them are not prudent, this is true. Responsible paternity, but let us also look at the generosity of that father and mother who see a treasure in every child.

So, yes, if you read the entire context, he wasn’t saying, “The Church thinks you shouldn’t be like rabbits.” He was saying, “Some people think the Church teaches this, but it doesn’t.” A subtle distinction, a fairly important one . . . and an unfortunately quotable phase that just screams to be misunderstood.

Francis Phillips of the Catholic Herald UK says pretty much what I thought when I read the stories about the Pope’s interivew: This is really nothing new, but yikes. Phillips:

[W]hile I knew exactly what Pope Francis was actually saying, I still groaned. … Those people who read and listen to the secular press and who already have their own prejudices against Church teaching, will remember and repeat the word “rabbits” like a mantra, while we Catholics will sigh and point out as patiently as possible that that the Church has always taught “responsible parenthood” – and indeed, the Pope mentioned this too, during that hour-long meeting with reporters on his flight home.

What the Holy Father implied was that “responsible parenthood” is what matters, not specific family size. This will be different in each family and with each couple; while the use of artificial contraceptives is intrinsically life-denying it can also be irresponsible to have children thoughtlessly, without regard to issues of health and family circumstances.

But the problem with these remarks, unless they are carefully developed and explained within the context of Catholic teaching, is that they might cause confusion, not only outside the Church but also inside, among faithful families. Yes – people can have large families from selfish motives, just as they can limit their families from selfish motives. But what about large Catholic families, struggling to do what is right in their circumstances and under the normal pressures and demands of family life? They might, wrongly, take the Pope’s remarks personally and worry that they are being profligate and irresponsible. They have taken the biblical words “Go forth and multiply” seriously, at great personal sacrifice. They have already, in our secular society, been dismissed as “breeding like rabbits”; the Pope’s remarks will seem to undermine them, however much this was not intended.

Yup. He wasn’t advocating contraception, and he wasn’t saying small families are better than big families. He said things that are true, but he said them in a way that gives ammunition to people who are sloppy thinkers, or who are unmotivated to find out what the Church really teaches, or who are looking for justification to hate the Pope. Which is just about everybody.

Look, this is our Pope. He’s kind of a blabbermouth, and sooner or later, he’s going to irritate just about everybody. And no, this isn’t the first time he’s said something that makes me go, “Oy.” All the more reason to pick your head up out of the constant stream of gabble in the media from time to time, take a deep breath, and focus on your own family and your own spiritual life, rather than diving headfirst into the outrage du jour. (And yes, that means you might end up reading my blog less. Go ahead, I can take it!)

Anyway, Phillips was nice enough to recommend my book as an antidote to some of the confusion over what the Church actually teaches about family size, and how to balance the seemingly contradictory ideas of responsibility and generosity. I do hope that it helps!

I guess if Catholics want the beautiful teaching of the Church to be better understood by a skeptical world, then it would behoove us to spend our energy, you know, using these dust-ups as an opportunity for sharing and explaining that teaching, rather than constantly bitching about the Pope.

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Hooray, I wrote a bizarre book that should have been stopped!

At least according to Tiffany Willis, in her piece 27 Bizarre Religious Book Titles that Should Have Been Stopped. I’m #27!

sgnfp stack

According to her bio, the blogger Tiffany Willis “has spent most of her career actively working with ‘the least of these’ and disadvantaged and oppressed populations.”

Sister, if you can find anyone more disadvantaged than the author of a book about NFP, you’re a better finder than I am. Still, to have my slim volume in the company ofCommunism, Hypnotism, and the Beatles and The Bible Cure for Irritable Bowel Syndrome . . . well, I always say I’m open to new experiences. I shall now go back to designing my new GoFundMe Campaign, “Dog Balls for Tito.”

Worth noting: The Sinner’s Guide to NFP has made not one but two others of this type of list! Worst Christian Book Covers of 2013 and Ten Christian Book Covers You’ll Wish You Could Erase From Your Brain. Again, I say hooray!