Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Secret Lives of Women (Who Don’t Use Contraception)

Fellow writer and blogger Jennifer Fulwiler recently contributed to a new book: Style, Sex, and Substance: 10 Catholic Women Consider the Things that Really Matter. The description of this book is:

Who is to say who the authentic Catholic woman is?

And how do the perils and pitfalls of modern society impact that vision?

Here is a fresh look at life from the perspective of ten Catholic women who live in the spotlight of the Internet -- ten bloggers who keep it real every day with their personal posts relating their triumphs, trials, and temptations for all to see.

In the same way, nothing is off limits in "Style, Sex, & Substance." Each of these women brings a refreshingly open and humorous perspective to growing in faith and improving their relationship with Christ.

In her recent article, The Secret Lives of Women (Who Don't Use Contraception), Fulwiler writes:

On Monday Our Sunday Visitor released a book called Style, Sex, and Substance: 10 Catholic Women Consider the Things that Really Matter, its timing so fortuitous that I picture the staff at OSV filling a kiddie pool with champagne and throwing themselves into it in unbridled glee every time the title is mentioned. It’s a collection of personal essays by ten women, including me and fellow Register blogger Simcha Fisher, all of whom are practicing Catholics. Nine of us are married; none use contraception, and so the volume acts as a window into the life of this mysterious woman who rejects artificial birth control. A lot of folks have been speculating lately about what existence would be like for American women without contraception; now, they have an answer.

My copy arrived in the mail yesterday, and I read the whole thing by this morning. I had a lot of reactions: I thought it was funny. I thought it was thought-provoking. I thought the authors’ takes on their topics were refreshing. But the one thought that persisted more than any other as I peered into the lives of the nine other contributors was this: These women are having fun.

It reminded me of something I noticed when I was first exploring Catholicism. Back then I found myself in two different arenas of the online world: I spent about half my time reading secular women’s blogs, most of which were written from a decidedly atheistic/agnostic point of view. I spent the other half of my online time reading Catholic women’s blogs. Both groups of women were smart. Both were funny. Both were educated and articulate. Yet the Catholic women had something that nobody else did, something that was so evident that I would always notice if I had accidentally clicked on a secular blog when I’d meant to click on a Catholic one: They had joy. They had peace. And they just seemed to be having more fun than the rest of us.

That’s not to say that the Catholic women were always happy; happiness is different from joy. And when I say they had more “fun,” I don’t mean any kind of fun. I didn’t see nearly as much fun in the form of cynical ranting or amusement at the expense of others. What I saw was the type of fun you’d have on a voyage to an uncharted land, the kind of entertainment that can only be found from witnessing someone live a great story. And, no, the Catholics were not always perfectly behaved, and neither were they always the very image of Christ. Rather, what I saw was that their lives had a certain wholeness that I’d never encountered anywhere else. It was as if they had the secret owner’s manual to the human soul, and I didn’t.

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