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Lynn Freehill-Maye :
22 article(s)

A freelance travel and lifestyle writer, Lynn likes to explore her faith through journeys — both far away and close to home. She's lived and worked in the Midwest, Southwest, Northeast, Europe, Africa, Central and South America, and now upstate New York.
November 24th, 2015
Frozen ducks, lost love, and a memorable holiday dinner

An always-loud tropical night was still thrumming through my open window, frogs croaking and insects hissing, when Becca woke me up. “We’ve got to get going on the duck,” she whispered.
The new day’s reality hit me in quick bits: 5 a.m. Thanksgiving Day. Friends visiting. Making dinner for 10. We were 24 years old and marooned on an island, with two frozen ducks on our hands and a boyfriend missing in action. The day would be longer than I knew.
Becca was a staffer at Bon Appétit magazine and a perfectionist cook. She and another dear college friend, Laura, had come down to visit me over the holiday. In a lucky first job, I was working at the local Caribbean newspaper on St. Thomas and dating a fellow reporter.…

May 13th, 2015
Was a labyrinth a medieval path or a New Agey maze? With labyrinths mysterious but surprisingly common, I had to find out.

The sign was so coy; I’d walked past dozens of times without once registering it. “Labyrinth,” it whispered next to a small arrow along a busy sidewalk between a church and a bank.
This was on my own neighborhood’s commercial street of stores and restaurants. I walked this strip at least three times a week. Not only did I never notice the labyrinth sign, I also didn’t know quite what the word meant. It sounded mysterious and somehow both medieval and New Agey at once.
Then my husband pointed out that there was something as exotic as a labyrinth just a few blocks from us — and I wanted to learn what it was all about. Immediately, I hit a wall: Our local labyrinth beside the Unitarian Universalist Church was…

April 21st, 2015
Even as churchgoing declines, societal trappings like rock concerts, Apple products and the CrossFit craze may have religious urges embedded

If you’re like the rest of the American public, there’s a 20 percent chance you’re not affiliated with a church right now. One-fifth of the general population — and one-third of millennials under 30 and Gen Zers — say they don’t identify with any particular religion. This puts “nones” at their highest level ever, according to the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life.
But could spiritual impulses also be embedded in the secular rituals of modern life? A run of recent studies and think pieces in the New York Times, Washington Post, and elsewhere suggest yes. Even with church playing a smaller role in our collective life, we may still feel certain longings and desires,…

March 16th, 2015
How does it feel to play tourist at a grand old church in your own city?

With four minutes to Mass time, St. Casimir’s was jammed. The grand Byzantine church was so large, it would pass for a cathedral in most cities. A barrel-vaulted ceiling led to a huge dome over the altar. Earthy brick offset paintings of angels rejoicing in blue-lit skies.
We looked up in wonder, but back on the ground, we needed to jostle for a pew. A gray-haired couple smiled, giving us the okay to squeeze into theirs. And then the choir sang out in Polish. “Bóg sie rodzi,” the pink song sheet said: “God is born.”
This was our first Mass mob. We’d heard about this trend, named for the quick dance-and-disperse flash mobs that started in 2003. In the Catholic version, organizers put out the word through social…

March 5th, 2015
All kinds of Christians "church shop," but there's more to finding a church than going to a service and deciding whether you like the sermon that day

Americans shop for everything — so why not churches? I’ll admit I’ve never liked the phrase. It reduces believers to consumers, and it implies that there’s this perfect-for-me church everyone can find, just like the right outfit. Ideally, our connection to a community of faith goes deeper, especially because there can be big differences in the teachings between even Christian denominations.
As a practical matter, though, most of us move at least once in our lives. My hubby and I recently made the jump to upstate New York. Being Catholic, we had the denomination nailed down, but we still had to choose a new parish. Where to start?
Based on our experience, I’ll share these tips:

Gather recommendations…

February 25th, 2015
Slow down — embrace winter's end with coziness, reflection and cold-weather fun

For hours now, snowflakes have been floating down outside my study’s window. A thousand-mile stretch of the northern U.S. has just been hit with a snowstorm.
At least, the news reports call it hit — or clocked, pounded or pummeled. Americans share a societal dread of cold weather. Since air-conditioning made summer more bearable 60 years ago in places like Arizona, Florida, Texas and Georgia, tens of millions of Americans have migrated from the Frost Belt to the Sunbelt.
I used to share the winter dread, too. Fresh out of college, I’d landed a job in the U.S. Virgin Islands and bolted from the Midwest. On St. Thomas, the average highs dropped from 85 in July to 80 in December. While my family back home was…

January 7th, 2015
Let some genius bits of technology help you accomplish your 2015 goals

“New year, new you,” sounds catchy, but let’s face it, you’re the same old you — with some new resolutions. It’s natural to use the start of a fresh calendar page to embark on self-improvement missions, experts say.
“New Year’s provides us with a clean slate,” says Anne Marie Ludovici-Connolly, a corporate behavior change consultant and author of Change Your Mind, Change Your Health. “The possibility of a ‘new year, new you’ makes a new calendar year a very motivating time to attempt change.”
While up to 45 percent of us make resolutions, according to a recent University of Scranton study, only 8 percent achieve their goals. The good news: Those who explicitly make resolutions…

November 10th, 2014
An interview with a veteran about his faith, service, and call to ministry.

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Jamie Hickman went to West Point and then Afghanistan. Read about how his military service deepened his career goals and his faith.

Lynn Freehill-Maye: What kind of kid were you growing up? Did you play with GI Joes?
Jamie Hickman: Yeah, definitely — we still have GI Joes back in my parents’ house [in Richmond, Va.]. I played sports. I was pretty good in soccer and was really into swimming. I got into running in order to cross-train and kept that up.
LFM: Tell me about the moment you decided to enlist.
JH: My senior year was when the 9/11 attacks were. I felt a definite call to serve. I wrote in my application that I might be called to be a chaplain down the road. I went…

October 9th, 2014

Patti Rogers was a superhero young wife, mom and party hostess when she received news that would change everything from her career to her spirituality.

Lynn Freehill-Maye: What was your life like in your 20s and 30s, pre-cancer?
Patti Rogers: I grew up a long-distance swimmer. Because of swimming, I had been introduced to healthy eating young. So it was a real surprise that after a lifetime of whole foods eating — that and all the exercise didn’t prevent me from getting this.
LFM: Tell me about the moment you were diagnosed.
PR: …I’m pretty sure no one else on the planet can say they were diagnosed in a Batgirl costume.
I was 41. I was on my way to pick my kids up from school on Halloween. I was merging onto the highway,

July 28th, 2014
When communion bread started to taste as challenging as a vanilla wafer, we refreshed our faith with a different kind of vacation service

We hopped into a little Nissan Almera and started off around Table Mountain. The South African landmark stood, flat-topped, above Cape Town. The city we knew flowed down to the harbor from there. We were headed to the other side, one that most visitors don’t see.
The car was steered by Matsepane Morare, a Jesuit priest in denim and fringe. Matsepane was going to take my husband and me to Mass in a township behind the mountain, where a large percentage of Cape Town’s 3.7 million residents live.
For years, I’d attended local churches while on vacation. Even when conducted in another language, the familiar ceremony reassured me. The communion bread went down like a vanilla wafer. I always got the comforting, if…

March 4th, 2014
Does "adding something" really add to your Lenten experience? How traditional sacrifice can bring you closer to God

If you’re up on all those Catholic trends, this scenario has probably played out during the last couple Lents: You turn down a beer or dessert, explaining that you’ve given it up for these next 40 days. Your Catholic friend smiles tolerantly. “Oh, that’s nice,” she says. “Instead of giving something up, I’m actually adding a daily Bible reading.”
“Adding something” has been the new approach to the old Lenten tradition, and it’s not hard to understand why. For too long, many Catholics have sacrificed something easy or gone through the motions. Worse, some give up things more for self-improvement or dieting purposes than spiritual ones.…

January 8th, 2014
Don't make just another New Year's resolution. Change a daily habit -- and improve your physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

Lately, New Year’s resolutions have been getting a bad rap. And sure, the ubiquitous weight-loss goal is easy to ridicule, since it always seems to fail.
The essential problem is that New Year’s resolutions are big, dramatic, turning-point goals. But our health is not a matter of big dramatic choices we make. Instead, it’s all about the habits we slide into.
Yet a “new year” still holds so much inherent appeal — the feeling that things can be different, that we can make a fresh start.
You can have the best of both worlds. Why not apply the momentum of the new year to a realistic habit change?
After all, when you find ways to improve your physical well-being, your mental and spiritual well-being will…

November 5th, 2013

Mark Mason is a gay activist and an outspoken atheist. He’s an unlikely Catholic cheerleader. So why is he such a fan that he’s set a Google Alert so he can read every piece of news coverage on Pope Francis?

Busted Halo: How did you arrive at your place of atheism?
Mark Mason: I was not always an atheist, but sometime after college I pursued my course of increased rationalism, which, to me, led me to the lack of evidence around believing in any god. One thing I think it’s really important to say is that atheism is not a club. The only thing we have in common is a lack of belief.
BH: Pope aside, what is your overall perception of the Catholic Church today?
MM:… I think the Catholic Church in this day and age is unfairly

October 1st, 2013

Steve Lehmann isn’t Catholic, but as a grad student at the University of Notre Dame and self-described “armchair theologian,” he watches the Catholic Church closely. Nearly six months after the beginning of Pope Francis’ leading that church, here is what the new pontiff has meant from one evangelical’s perspective.

Busted Halo: Tell us about yourself and your religious background.
Steve Lehmann:… I was born and raised on Lake Michigan, in a little town called Ogden Dunes. I went to undergrad at a little liberal arts college, Valparaiso [University]. I studied engineering and the humanities. After the recession, I ended up in Oxford doing a postgraduate course in Christian

July 18th, 2013
My visit to a cathedral in Toledo, Spain, didn’t inspire admiration so much as a crisis of faith.

For Americans, visiting Europe has been a rite of passage since well before even Mark Twain’s Innocents Abroad. And given the number of significant old cathedrals on the continent, Eurotours inevitably include churches we visit more as museums than as places of faith.
Ten years ago, I found myself on such a tour in Toledo, Spain. At Toledo’s very center is an enormous cathedral that was once a true seat of power for the Catholic Church. Begun in 1227, it took 250 years to finish this temple of Spain’s establishment religion.
I read about it in James Michener’s 795-page Iberia and went to visit with the book in hand. I went in part as a tourist, but also as an actual (if slightly disenchanted)…

June 25th, 2013
Getting married is the right time to check back in with your faith -- and make sure you and your spouse will be on the same page

We thought we were just checking the box of official requirements for a Catholic wedding ceremony. And looking around the room at the 52 other couples, it was obvious many of them did too.
We were all undergoing what priests call “Pre-Cana,” some kind of mandatory workshop on preparing for marriage. My fiancé and I didn’t know exactly what that entailed; but we knew this one took a single Saturday, while others spanned multiple weeks or at least a weekend. So with three months to go before our wedding, here we were.
From 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., we dug into the nitty-gritty of married life: managing our expectations for finances, children, chores and the inevitable disagreements. We were given organizational…

May 29th, 2013
Ease up on planning for Day 1 and start planning for Days 2-18,000 of a long marriage

Once my fiancé and I got engaged, I found out that in the wedding industry, they call spring “Bridal Christmas.” That’s because such a significant proportion of couples get engaged between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Come March, they get down to wedding planning, and in the spring and summer, nearly 65 percent get married. A spending bonanza has begun.
The U.S. wedding industry — or the bridal-industrial complex, as some call it — is now estimated at $50.6 billion. Magazines, websites, bakers, caterers, stationers, dressmakers, florists, photographers, videographers, bands, DJs, limo drivers, restaurants, reception halls and hotels are just a few of the businesses that…

February 21st, 2013
Sit out the papal succession hype and stay focused on your own personal faith

Copies of the February 11 Italian edition of the Vatican's L'Osservatore Romano newspaper on a news stand near the Vatican. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)Every day when I wake up, I fumble for my phone right from bed so I can check The New York Times and get a grip on reality. When I woke up last week and saw that the pope was resigning, I thought I’d lost that grip. Everything I thought I knew about Catholicism — where tradition is tradition is tradition — was upended.

It didn’t take long to tumble down the endless chute that is the papal succession obsession. What did it mean that the pope would resign at such a tumultuous point? Who would be the next pope? What country would he be from? What kind of changes would he make? …

September 12th, 2012
How to buy wisely by letting your spiritual side help make economic decisions

Most of us don’t like to think of ourselves as consumers. I know I’d always hated the term. I’m a human being, after all, not just a buyer of things. I disliked the word “lifestyle” for similar reasons; I live a life, not just a “style” that naturally requires buying more things.
Then a magazine story I was editing about Rob Walker, a consumerism critic for The New York Times, called me out. He was explaining why the Times… needs such a thing as a consumerism critic.
“People constantly tell me that they’re ‘not much of a consumer,’” he said. “That’s the mindset everyone comes to this with. Everyone thinks they’re sharper, less greedy, and more virtuous

March 28th, 2012
Giving up something extreme, like your car, provides spiritual benefits

Since I was a teenager, I’d always been a heroic sacrificer of chocolate, candy, or sweets come Lent. I heart sugar, so it was genuinely hard. But looking back, I was probably doing it as much for my looks as for God.
In 2010, I took a slice out of my vanity by giving up Facebook. Robbed of the chance to check my profile and see how great I looked on the outside, and how much everyone wanted to post messages to me, I soon realized how little those things had to do with the person I was made to be.
Well, the next year I hit upon the idea of sacrificing something even tougher: my car. Giving up driving isn’t possible for everyone — not with the way our cities and small towns are designed — but a JustFaith course on social…

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