Monday, July 27, 2015

A Hipster Review of The Sinner's Guide to NFP

I'm the king of complaining. 

Unfortunately, complaining usually leaves me off worse that I was before. Not so, however, with a little complaining I did during Amazon's Prime Day. 

I opined about how I was waiting for a great Prime Day deal on Simcha Fisher's book The Sinner's Guide to Natural Family Planning, and how cheated I felt by what I could only presume were Amazon's anti-Catholic motives, when there was no deal to be had. 

Luckily, that complaint did not fall on deaf ears with the amazing folks at Our Sunday Visitor, as they quickly took action to heal my wounded heart by shipping me a copy of the most anticipated book of 2014 (to a small group of weirdos within the Catholic Church). 

My anticipation was only furthered by the impressive reviews Simcha's book got on Amazon:

Angry? Broken and bitter? Choppy, forgetful, and uncharitable? An atttitude of self-absorption? 

This sounds like just the book for me!

And, with that in mind, it's time for A Hipster Review of Simcha Fisher's The Sinner's Guide to Natural Family Planning!

Can we all just take a minute to be honest? 

NFP can really suck sometimes. Not just NFP, though, but the whole package of Catholicism in general. 

Okay, okay, before you click away and unfollow me on Twitter, hear me out. Yes, Catholicism is the fullness of truth. Yes, it gives us the means of attaining salvation and becoming the person that God intended us to be. Yes, it allows us to have a personal relationship with Jesus that Non-Catholics could only dream of, thanks to the gift of the Eucharist. 

And yet, it's hard. 

Our culture is constantly banging on our door, showing us an easy way out. If only we would sit around and watch football on Sunday. If only we would read celebrity tabloids, watch meaningless sitcoms, and allow our emotions to be driven by whatever hashtag is trending on Twitter. 

If only we would take a pill, get an injection, or surgically "fix" our reproductive system, life would be so easy. 

As an NFPer for the last 5+ years, I have to admit that the constant bombardment of the easy way out presented by our culture wears on me. 

And yet, we keep pressing on. We keep carrying our cross, and striving day after day to live a life of sacrificial love. And why? Not because it's easy, not because it always gives us a positive feeling in our stomach, but because we have come to know it's the right thing to do. We know that if we want to grow, emotionally and spiritually, it's worth the difficult battle. 

Simcha Fisher gives a voice to all of us struggling with doing what's right in her book The Sinner's Guide to Natural Family Planning. She opens up, cuts through the positive and upbeat marketing angle of NFP, and gives a glimpse into the real world of NFP in the trenches. She shares with an honesty and openness that you would only give to a fellow NFPer who you have thoroughly background-checked to make sure they are in the same place you are. 

This book is laugh-out-loud funny, with my favorite moment coming when Simcha declares that she wouldn't comment on the validity of another's marriage even if the consenting parties were a Jehovah's Witness and a horse. 

The book is thought provoking and encouraging of taking a deeper look at the often untalked about parts of one's relationship, including a serious list of questions for spouses to discuss with each other (a list of questions that, frankly, makes this husband nervous just thinking about).

This book has a fantastic point of view, despite what the above Amazon reviewer thinks, Simcha's willingness to speak about her own experiences and tell it like it is, is completely refreshing and the reason that I wanted to read this book in the first place. 

After all is said and done, though, I have to say that the chapter titled The Golden Box was the most powerful for me. I assume that I'm not alone in often fretting that I don't know what God's will is for me. I tend to look at each and every tiny decision and give it so much power, by supposing that God's will has to be either turning right or turning left. 

Nowhere is that more evident that when considering if we're ready to have another baby. In The Golden Box, however, Simcha masterfully lays out that God's will is not necessarily a magical this or that, but rather a series of decisions that lead us to grow in a specific area that he intends for us. And sometimes, when we feel tempted to give too much power to one decision or another, we need to take a step back and remember that all a hamster can grow up to be is a hamster. 

I could go on and on, but the point of this is that Simcha Fisher's book is fantastic. 

You should definitely click on this link and pony up the cash to buy it:

So, thanks Simcha for writing this wonderful book. And thanks OSV for sending me a copy to review the book, based on the premise that I am something more than just some Catholic nerd with a blog. 

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