“All’s Fair in Love and War”

How can I argue with such logic?

I posted on my personal site about meeting a nice Catholic girl after daily Mass recently, only to find out this week that she is “seeing someone” who lives in another state.

Well, I was disappointed about that and told her I didn’t know if it was such a good idea for us to spend time together. My reasoning was simple: I don’t want to become romantically attracted to her and have the affection not be requited, nor do I want her to become romantically attracted to me when I don’t feel the same. Also, it would bother me if I “stole” her away from her out-of-state boyfriend. How Christian is that?

Well, I spoke with three close loved ones: my best friend, my mom, and a very good friend who is older than me by half a generation. All three surprised me by saying some variation of “All’s fair in Love and War”. From my best friend, I expected this answer, as that is how he would handle the situation. From my mom, the advice was more nuanced but still an encouraging “there’s nothing wrong with doing things together”. From my other good friend, it was a confident “All’s fair” with good evidence to back it up. Here was his reasoning:

People in our society get the false notion of loyalty in relationships ingrained from an early age. Even kids in junior high speak of going steady with others, as if they will marry them one day. This is bad. Even older teenagers think that they have to be in exclusive relationships with others, and that they shouldn’t date other people. This idea is harmful because, especially at these ages and even older, young people should engage in healthy, friendly relationshps with others, dating many people (in a chaste way). Not until you are in a relationship where you are confident that you will be married one day, and then become engaged, is there a need to put the Not Available sign out to others who might want to date.

So, since this girl told me that she still hangs out with other people, I feel better about going out with her, even taking her to dinner, on the basis of my friends and family’s wisdom.

Propaganda

I work with many interesting people. I believe God loves all of them. Most of them do not share my belief in Jesus Christ. When I first began full-time work after graduating from college in early 2001, I was afraid to put up anything on my cube walls (like posters or even pictures of my friends and family), mainly because I felt I needed to prove myself first at work and not “make myself at home” until I had been there for a good while.

After a year or so, I got more comfortable and started decorating the inside of my cube with pictures and what-not. Eventually, I started putting some stuff up along the outer walls of my cube that anyone who passed by would encounter. I didn’t put up much Catholic-specific stuff for a long while, though most of my coworkers knew I was Catholic because we had lots of conversations about religion.

Finally, I grew in boldness and put up very Catholic articles and pictures outside my cube. It was cool because it opened up lots of good conversations with my coworkers about God, religion, politics, and life. Now my coworker across from my cube, who is a liberal atheist (I would say), puts up lots of leftist liberal articles and pictures outside his cube, so our cube walls face off each day. With interest we read each others’ propaganda and debate differences in our beliefs.

So if you workplace allows it, or at least doesn’t proscribe it, I encourage you to put up the Catholic propaganda!

For an example, outside my cube at the moment is an article by Mark Shea about the foolishness of the statement “You Can’t Legislate Morality”, a batik from India of Blessed Mother Theresa, pictures from the National Catholic Register of John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger with young people cheering and crying around them.