Faith is like life: You really can hack it

Father Mark Goldasich is the pastor of Sacred Heart parish in Tonganoxie. He has been editor of the Leaven since 1989.

by Father Mark Goldasich

“If you’re ever attacked by a swarm of wasps or bees, use hairspray to immobilize them.”

You can never tell what gems of wisdom you’ll find on my kitchen table, a spot I’ve affectionately named Mount Messopaper. That bee advice was a June 12 entry from a page-a-day calendar. Why I kept it, I have no idea, as I can safely say I’ve never gone anywhere carrying hairspray.

So, if I’m ever attacked by a swarm, well, say nice things about me at my funeral because any negative comments would surely “sting.”

Actually, that hairspray trick was not the only bit of advice I saved from that calendar, which contained a whole years’ worth of life hacks. If you’re not familiar with the term, “life hacks” means “any procedures or actions that solve a problem, simplify a task, reduce frustration, etc., in one’s everyday life” (from “Life Hacks,” by Keith Bradford).

Here are additional hacks excavated from my kitchen table:

  • Ice cream too frozen to scoop? Don’t microwave it, simply run the spoon under hot water.
  • Exhale as much air as possible to suppress laughter at inappropriate times.
  • Don’t burn yourself with those hard-to-reach candles. Use a stick of raw spaghetti to light the wick.
  • Microwave Nutella and milk in a mug for the best hot chocolate ever.
  • Need some good music to work to? Try video game or movie soundtracks. They’re designed specifically to provide backgrounds that won’t mess with your concentration.
  • When your dog gets out, don’t chase him. Lie down and pretend you’re hurt. He’ll come back to see if you’re OK.
  • Have a song stuck in your head but can’t think of the name? Midomi.com will find it based on what you sing or hum into your computer or phone.
  • (Since the above only worked occasionally) Memorizing songs is extremely healthy for your brain and will improve your mental capacity.

Now, I’ve not tried all the hacks above — heck, I don’t even own a dog — so take them with a grain of salt. But if life can be hacked, why not our faith life? Now, you could take a theology course or read a dense tome on the faith.

But there’s a simpler way: Just carry around a few holy words of wisdom to share. And a great source for those are found on these church signs:

  • Jesus: Rated “E” for everyone!
  • Exposure to the Son may prevent burning.
  • Don’t just wear the cross — bear the cross.
  • Only pray on days that end in “y.”
  • GODISNOWHERE. (Now read it again.)
  • We are the care-givers. God is the cure-giver.
  • Stop trying to figure God out and start trying to figure him in.
  • Pride and sin have one thing in common: the letter “I” is in the middle.
  • Those who leave everything in God’s hands will soon see God’s hands in everything.
  • Give people a bit of your heart rather than a piece of your mind.
  • The only place you should put people down is on your prayer list.

Admittedly, although faith is serious business, it’s not all serious and it’s not all business. These next church signs capture some of the lightheartedness found in faith:

  • May all your troubles be as short as your New Year’s resolutions.
  • Come early to get a seat in back.
  • Prayer: the only call the government can’t hear.
  • Confession without repentance is just bragging.
  • Sometimes life stinks. We have a pew for you.
  • Noah was a brave man to sail in a wooden boat with two termites.
  • The best wireless plan? PRAYER — unlimited minutes, unlimited messages.
  • Living without God’s spirit is like trying to dribble a football.
  • Think once before you act, twice before you speak, and three times before you post on Facebook.
  • Jesus is the bread of life, not the cake for special occasions.
  • Adam and Eve should have read the apple terms and conditions.

So, what faith hacks can you explore to make 2018 a blessed time? You might try using a finger rosary to make your commute or exercise a more spiritual experience.

Or maybe meditate or sit quietly for just 10 minutes a day. Or download the Echo app to your phone to remind yourself throughout the day of people you’ve promised to pray for.

This final church sign says it best: We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.

In other words, when it comes to our life of faith, with God’s good help, there’s nothing we can’t hack.

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